Tuesday, September 24, 2013

25 Weeks Pregnant // Changes, Panic Attacks, + Thoughts on Sharing


25 Weeks Pregnant Update // Bubby and Bean

About 5-1/2 weeks ago, I posted a big 20-week pregnancy update.  It felt good to share the first half of my journey with you guys after holding 'the secret' in for so long.  It also felt good to get to read your stories in the comments.  Despite all these good feelings, I still feel like I need to keep reiterating the fact that this is a lifestyle and design blog with some personal moments thrown in - not a mommy blog or pregnancy blog.  I know that many of my readers don't have children, and I don't want to bore those of you who just aren't interested.  But truth be told, being pregnant is a huge part of my life these days.  I've moved (many, many times) all over the country, I've been lucky to travel the world, and I've gone through major moments (and changes) in my career.  I've been the mommy to several fur babies including the love of my life, Bubby dog.  I've made wise decisions and major mistakes.  I've been through a divorce in my 20's, and I've encountered many losses and serious tragedies beyond anything I could have imagined.  I've fallen in love, and in my 30s, met and then eventually married the best man I've ever known.  I feel like I've experienced a lot.  But honestly - for me - this experience feels like the biggest one so far.  It's strange and beautiful and all-consuming, and I feel like it wouldn't be genuine if I consistently posted here without mentioning something that is such a massive part of my everyday life right now.  And as I approach my final trimester (just 2-1/2 weeks away!), I felt the urge to post another update and share some things with you.

It's actually kind of amazing how many changes occurred after I last posted - some of which were completely unexpected.  I just assumed that I'd only experience big shifts from trimester to trimester, rather than within a trimester. As I transitioned from the first into the second and saw my nausea and hit-by-a-truck level fatigue diminish, I figured that I was set for a while.  And even that didn't feel like a major change (well, okay, maybe the cessation of vomiting did), because I've remained pretty exhausted.  But it wasn't until I got all nice and settled into the second trimester that the real changes started for me.  First, I went through a period where I felt ridiculously emotional (something I didn't experience at all in my first).  I briefly mentioned this in my 20-week update, but it got even worse after that (I mean, who cries at Subaru commercials?).  And then just as quickly as it started, it stopped.  Another big change was the level of the baby's movement.  This is pretty common, but for me, it was overnight that I went from feeling butterfly flutters to being able to literally see this little creature kick and move under my skin.  Talk about crazy.  And of course, we also found out that we're having a girl.  I'm not sure that this counts as a 'change,' but it made a difference for us suddenly knowing that this bean in my belly was going to be a she. 

The most intense and unexpected change for me came smack dab in the middle of the second trimester, between weeks 20 and 24.  I began to experience nightly panic attacks out of nowhere. For no reason. Truthfully, I've surprised myself with how little anxiety I've felt during my pregnancy.  Part of me actually feels like I should be a lot more nervous, because of things like, you know, childbirth and finances and knowing I'll be completely responsible for another human life in a few months.  But ultimately, I feel okay about it all and know that we'll somehow figure it all out. Which is why these intense feelings of being completely gripped by fear, waking me from a dead sleep every night drenched in sweat and heart pounding, made absolutely no sense to me.  I've had panic attacks a few times before in my life, but never in the middle of the night, fueled by absolutely nothing.  I could not for the life of me figure out why they were happening, or how to make them stop.  And they were kind of terrifying.  I wondered if maybe they were triggered by my experience in Colorado right before the 20 week mark, where at an altitude of 9,000+ feet I had severe breathing problems for an entire night, fainted, and ended up in urgent care.  Looking back, it was pretty traumatic going through that pregnant, so I thought maybe this was some subconscious response to that.  I've certainly been through a lot worse though, so that just didn't seem to be enough of an answer.  After a solid week of nights so hellish that they were starting to induce weeping episodes, I finally went to my OB, who had a one-word explanation for me: hormones.  Apparently panic attacks (especially nocturnal ones) are very common in the second half of pregnancy, and are much more due to hormones and chemicals than any sort of emotional cause.  I ended up coming home and doing a bunch of research (okay, message board reading), and lo and behold, there were hundreds of other pregnant women talking about dealing with the same issue.  Almost all of them started experiencing them around 20 weeks like I did.  Some disappeared as the third trimester approached, and others lasted through the course of the pregnancy and into postpartum.  Knowing I wasn't alone was quite reassuring to me, and I just crossed my fingers that they wouldn't last throughout the rest of my pregnancy, because holy sh*t do they suck.  Thankfully, they began to fade, and I'm sleeping much better now.  And the best part is that because I was forced to teach myself how to deal with them, I now feel better prepared should they appear again postpartum.  I hope that none of you ever have to encounter these, but if you do, my most effective solution was to get out of bed, walk around for a few minutes, take some deep breaths of fresh air (preferably outside), make a cup of chamomile or peppermint tea, rub some Gentle Baby essential oil on my belly, and listen to mantras or soothing music.  If that didn't do the trick, I'd take a couple drops of Bach Rescue Remedy herbs and watch Netflix for a few minutes until I fell back asleep.  I can honestly say that this was the most challenging part of my pregnancy so far, and I'm so, so relieved that this hormonal window has passed. (Knocking on wood as I type this that they stay far, far away.)

Other than that, the changes have been fairly basic/common.  My belly is getting bigger and bigger and I barely recognize my body anymore.  I'm still gaining weight, but much less quickly than in the first trimester.  There are also, of course, several other standard physical changes that I'll spare you due to TMI-ness. We're starting to really get a lot accomplished in the nursery, which is so exciting, because it makes this all feel more real.  My friends are throwing me a shower/celebration brunch at my friend Rachel's gorgeous downtown apartment this Sunday, and my mom and sister are hosting a baby shower for our big ol' family on October 26th.  Baby can hear now (and see light!), so we talk to her, sing to her, play music, and tell her stories.  And she responds with movement, which is pretty freaking amazing to witness if you ask me.  It's been really great having Robbie back home to share this with me over the last couple of weeks too.  We still have three months left, but it's starting to feel like we're really a little family.  It's the best feeling in the world.  Oh, and we are working on names.  It's so much harder than I thought it would be.  Right now we have the list down to about ten, but we can't seem to get it much smaller than that.  Hopefully we can make a decision before she gets here!


Are you still here?  If so, thank you for letting me share this crazy, bizarre, wondrous, incredible journey with you.  If you're interested in knowing the full story of our attempts to conceive, our struggles, the first trimester and first half of the second, check out my 20-week post (which is even more in depth than this one).  As always, if any of you have your own pregnancy stories to share, I'd love to hear them.

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29 comments:

  1. I'm glad you've decided to do these updates, because honestly, I'd be kind of bummed if you told us you were pregnant and stopped at that. This is a totally major life change, and I think even people who don't have kids (me!) are interested in it for that reason. It's exciting! And the amount you've mentioned it is perfect. Not too much to lose any interest, but enough to satisfy those of us who are curious.

    Anyway, sorry to hear about your panic attacks! I've had a couple of them over the years and they're just horrifying. I'm glad you're getting back to normal!

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  2. I can totally totally relate what you said at the beginning. My blog is related to my jewelry business, and not a mommy/pregnancy blog (though I do have a newfound appreciation for them!). But as you said, pregnancy is a huge part of your life and it has an impact on your day-to-day life and business. I know I especially love reading your pregnancy-related posts as I can personally relate to it, but I also recognize finding the balance between that and what your blog is about (and what your readers probably typically expect from you).

    I'm so sorry to hear about your panic attacks, but glad to hear you have been able to find a way to manage them. In general I always find it refreshing to read about these struggles, regardless of the type of blog I'm reading.

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  3. So funny that you bring this up! I am currently 38 weeks pregnant (with my first) and had the SAME thing happen to me during that time in my second trimester. They totally went away but they were seriously the worst ever! Glad to hear that you are feeling better! :)

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  4. I appreciate you sharing this so much. Not only because it shows you are human and not perfect but also because I want to get pregnant soon and reading a real story about it is refreshing! My sister had panic attacks during her pregnancy out of nowhere too and they also went away. The human body and the changes that take place while pregnant are just incredible. You look gorgeous too! Glowing.

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  5. i love reading these updates. this is such an exciting season of your life. thanks for sharing - and please keep sharing! :)

    p.s. i feel like i've said this before but you look so great!

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  6. I'm still here! :)
    I am glad to hear that you are feeling better and able to enjoy the wonderful things about being pregnant. I had a lot of extreme highs and lows when I was pregnant, but much of that was due to outside factors as well. I had a lot of super emotional swings and panic attacks, but until reading your post I always thought it was just me or because of the outside factors. Who knows! But I will say that you are lucky to have a circle of support around you, especially a partner who is patient and understands you! And you look beautiful!

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  7. I always love when bloggers are willing to share a little of the behind the scenes personal moments that happen, especially with big life changes like pregnancy. There are so many things I had to learn just by being pregnant because no one ever talked about them. The intense physical changes, your feelings about the physical changes, wacky hormones, mood swings, I could go on and on. I think what you've shared is perfect. It's really refreshing for someone to get online and admit that pregnancy is not always beautiful, it's not always comfortable, and there is a lot of really gross stuff that happens to women during pregnancy. We should seriously win awards for making it through, lol!

    Here's to waving goodbye to morning sickness, beautiful baby girls (I have 2, as well), and feeling so happy you feel like you'll burst!

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  8. As someone who struggles with major blog identity crisis and has gone back and forth a ba-jillion times on "how narrow a focus" to have, I say, don't sweat it! Being pregnant, having a child - it's all part of your life and who you are. I like seeing little personal bits even on non-personal/family/pregnancy type blogs. It makes the person all around more real and easy to relate to. Please do keep sharing! I love reading here! :)

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  9. Even though we don't have children (only the furry kind) :) I still like reading all the phases you've been going through, perhaps because you tell your story in such a down-to-earth way! You're going to be a wonderful mommy :)

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  10. I love these posts, the honesty and how you don't sugar coat but are still positive!!! It inspires me for if I ever get pregnant!! You look great too, in such great shape!! :-)

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  11. Still here? *raises hand*
    I hope you don't have any more of those panic attacks. I've never had one before, but I can imagine how unpleasant they would be.
    You're a lifestyle blogger, but being pregnant is a part of your life, and I (for one) know that I'm happy to have you share with us here on Bubby and Bean! I don't even have a category for my blog...It's a little all over the place. LOL
    I remember the first time I saw, not just felt, baby move. It was crazy!!! =0)
    Good luck on narrowing down the name list. Sometimes when you can't decide, but you have a short list, when baby arrives, you'll then know what you want to call her.

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  12. You look so great Mel. You're gonna be an incredible mommy.

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  13. I'm one of those childless readers but I'm not bored by this subject. I've had severe panic attacks, recently, too. And they can be terrifying. I feel grateful to have my boyfriend behind me whispering in my ear, "You're not going to die. This is very, very temporary and we'll get through it." And it always ended and we did get through it.
    This little baby person is taking up a huge portion of your mind space right now! It probably just wouldn't feel right to not discuss it at least a little bit. I think you do a great job at balancing.
    I have a blog, too, and recently eliminated sugar from my diet. It kind of has to be at the forefront of my mind and so it's a real challenge to not talk about that too often on my blog. Not that, you know, monitoring sugar intake is anything even remotely close to bringing life into the world. :)

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  14. I'm one of those childless readers but I'm not bored by this subject. I've had severe panic attacks, recently, too. And they can be terrifying. I feel grateful to have my boyfriend behind me whispering in my ear, "You're not going to die. This is very, very temporary and we'll get through it." And it always ended and we did get through it.
    This little baby person is taking up a huge portion of your mind space right now! It probably just wouldn't feel right to not discuss it at least a little bit. I think you do a great job at balancing.
    I have a blog, too, and recently eliminated sugar from my diet. It kind of has to be at the forefront of my mind and so it's a real challenge to not talk about that too often on my blog. Not that, you know, monitoring sugar intake is anything even remotely close to bringing life into the world. :)

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  15. Thanks for sharing. My craft blog has become a predominantly baby craft blog since I had my daughter 8 months ago but it's a true reflection of me. It would be a lie to pretend that I"m crafting as much for myself as I did before she was born.

    Also, I dealt with quite a bit of anxiety while pregnant and after. I didn't have panic attacks, but instead a general feeling of anxiety. It's good you saw your doctor about it and don't be afraid to ask for help, particularly after baby is born.

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  16. Oh my goodness, Melissa, it sounds like you have been on one seriously wild ride over the past six weeks. I'll be brutally honest and admit that I am not a kid person. But that doesn't mean that I don't think you should share these parts of your life - after all, this is your blog, your space to share whatever is on your mind and I think it's wonderful that you're able to be so open and honest with your readers. I have experienced midnight panic attacks myself at various times in my life and I totally appreciate how disconcerting they can be. Here's hoping that they clear up for you soon!
    xox,
    Cee

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  17. Love the updates, Melissa!!! And thank you for reminding me of the craziness that was watching Max move around and completely change position - no matter how many times I tried though, I was never able to capture any video of those moments.

    Looking forward to pics of the finished nursery, and hearing about your growing family always makes me smile. :)

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  18. So good to read. I love when people throw in personal updates every once in a while! I hope your third trimester goes well! And don't worry about your body, once your baby comes you will be so enamored with her, the stretch marks and flabbiness won't matter as much as you think it will. And yes, of all the things in my life, pregnancy, labor and caring for a baby is by far the biggest/hardest thing I've ever done. So happy for you and can't wait to see pictures of your precious little one in a few months!
    I just posted my birth story on my blog - if you take a read I hope it encourages you!
    http://wearebeholden.blogspot.com/2013/09/archer-cove-birth-story.html

    Joanna

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  19. I don't have any kids and I'm not pregnant but I love these posts! I love reading about the design and fashion stuff too, but it's the more candid personal posts that draw me to certain blogs. I've enjoyed following along with your journey so much!

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  20. As someone who lives with anxiety/panic I know how debilitating it can be and more importantly, how scary it can be to wake up in the middle of the night out of breath. What has helped me is definitely listening to nature sounds while I sleep, but also making sure I get enough rest, if I don't sleep enough I am a wreck. I hope you feel better soon, I know it's probably a nervous time for you, but I just know you're going to be an amazing mother <3

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  21. I'm faar away from being pregnant, but love to read pregnancy stories, it must be a crazy thing to live! I also wanted to let you know about this site for baby clothes, it seems to me that you might like it: http://www.moxiejean.com/

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  22. wow! melissa, you have really gone through a lot. i learned so much, and i think that what your have shared will help others out there, who may experience the same thing.

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  23. I love these posts! Though I'm sorry you've suffered with panic attacks. They are the WORST. I found that distraction helps me too, like even if its just reading a book or listening to a podcast. And I love those belly buds you shared on instagram! That's such a cool idea :)

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  24. you look great for 25 weeks, i was huge by then, especially in my butt. ha. i love these posts. this is the kind of sharing i like on blogs. it's real. no sugar coated crap. i hope you continue to share them.

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  25. <3 SWEET LADY, share. away. If someone doesn't like that you're sharing such a major part of your life, *oh well*. I truly think most of your readers, and most of all, your friends will LOVE reading about this beautiful journey.

    Also, I hate hate hate anxiety, and I have a panic attack about every other week - if not more often - and it's horrible, so I truly feel for you. ♥

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  26. You're looking great, and I am SO glad the panic attacks have subsided!! The name decision is so hard!! Good luck with that. So neat that you feel like a little family already.

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  27. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the truly kind comments. I love feeling like this blog is a little community where we can all share with one another. You guys rock! xoxoxo, m

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  28. Hi hon! I'm excited to read this update, and wish I could throw my arms around you and lil miss! Thank you for letting us peek into your world of pregnancy. Love you.

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  29. I've suffered from panic attacks since high school and they are terrifying. I'm so sorry! I am sending a lot of love and prayers and positive energy your way.

    Thank you for all the love the past few days - I am just so humbled by the support that is surrounding me, and I have so much gratitude and gratefulness in my heart -- I can't even begin to thank everyone. You have always shown such compassion towards me, ever since Daisy passed away, and it means so much. You are a light. xoxo.

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