October 5, 2009

Stylin' and Profilin' The Baby Bump

Just so you know, this story does have a happy ending....

It has taken me a long time to finally muster up the courage to ask my husband to take some baby bump photos of me that I would be willing to share with everyone. I'm now 35 weeks along and my belly bump is finally starting to round out more. I don't know why, but for some reason, I just do not like the way my body is shaped for this pregnancy. When I was pregnant with Lucian, I really loved my pregnant body. I still felt I looked more oblong than round, but at least I felt very feminine and beautiful. I just haven't felt that way this time around. I feel more rectangular than round. I have belly bump envy whenever I look at other pregnant women and they have these glorious, basketball-looking bellies that are so plump and round. Every time I look in the mirror, I feel disgusted because I don't look pregnant, I just look heavy. I feel like when I'm out and about, people don't know I'm pregnant unless they watch me waddle. To look at me in the grocery checkout line, I just don't think they see me as pregnant but perhaps a woman who maybe just gave birth or is just overweight. When I was pregnant with Lucian, I got the vibe from people that they all KNEW I was pregnant and everyone would smile at me. I loved that feeling. I don't get that vibe this time around.

Just the other week, we were getting our cars serviced. Nate and the mechanic were engaged in a conversation about kids because Lucian was with us and I think the guy said something to the effect of "is he your only child?" and of course, Nate replied that we were expecting another soon and pointing to me as if to say, um, isn't it obvious my wife is pregnant? The man very politely put his hands up in defense and said "Oh, I never assume that anymore. I got myself into a lot of trouble once because I asked a woman when she was due and she wasn't pregnant. I learned my lesson the hard way and I never assume anymore and just keep my mouth shut." Of course, it's understandable. Who hasn't been in that situation where you want to say something, but just don't because you just never know. Of course I understand and I don't fault the man at all. It just stung a little bit because it was just another reminder that I just look heavy and not OBVIOUSLY pregnant. It just bugged me.

It's Just Bumped Up
What's even more strange is that I haven't gained as much weight with this pregnancy either, so why shouldn't I be happy about that? At my last 34 week checkup, I had only gained 21 pounds total. I am really happy about that, don't get me wrong, but it's a struggle because of the strict diet I am on. Growing up, you're trained to view pregnancy as a time to indulge and NEVER a time to diet. Not for me though, there isn't much wiggle room when you have Gestational Diabetes and severe nerve compression. I think I'm mostly upset because I was ten pounds heavier when I started this pregnancy and I was really, really terrified of gaining more weight on top of that because of the nerve compression in my left leg. I've been really disappointed in myself because I didn't lose more weight before getting pregnant. I really wanted to lose twenty pounds so that when I gained the pregnancy weight, it wouldn't put quite as much pressure on my spine, nerves and joints. That didn't happen and so here I suffer the consequences of chronic pain and discomfort because I failed to reach my goal. I'm also very upset with myself because I have Gestational Diabetes again. I could have potentially avoided it if I had lost the weight I should have. So again, no one else to blame but me. I feel really sad that I could be causing this poor baby health problems because of my lack of responsibility to keep myself healthy. I'll never forget poor little Lucian and all the heel sticks they put him through and how they had to force feed him formula to get his blood sugar up. We had to stay in the hospital for five long days because of his low blood sugar and I feel like it's all my fault. I'm so nervous that this baby will have to endure that same treatment. That's another reason, of many, why I am absolutely dreading the C-section because last time, it slowed down the process of lactation so much that my milk didn't come in for seven days. Had I been able to lactate earlier, I would have been able to get Lucian's blood sugar up faster. I really, really hope it won't be as bad this time around and that I can nurse much earlier since at least I'm more experienced at it. I'm confident in my abilities, but not what all the surgery related drugs in my system will do to my milk production.

I know, I know, I shouldn't beat myself up about it, but it's hard not to. The last trimester is, well, TRYING — and tiring. I'm moody, tired and uncomfortable at 35 weeks. Unless you've been through the torment of pregnancy and delivery that I have, you just wouldn't understand. I try to enjoy pregnancy, I really, really do. I'm just venting hoping it will make me feel better. Writing about it is very cathartic for me. I really do believe that pregnancy is an incredible honor, blessing and privilege and I'm extremely grateful to be pregnant. Despite the excruciating, agonizing pain and discomfort I experienced last time, I was willing to endure it again because I believe the end product of a child is worth the struggle and then some. I'm even willing to do it again. That will really depend, however, on how well I recover from this delivery and IF my husband will ever get me pregnant again. He doesn't want me to be in pain so much to the point where he'd just rather not impregnate me. I can't blame him for being terrified. It's not only the woman who suffers but the man who has to put up with her suffers too! Neither one of us is happy to "put the other through it again" so that's something we'll be struggling with in the future. Nate, as I imagine many men do, feels helpless and extremely frustrated when he can't fix me or make me feel better.

I'm determined and stubborn, it's just that I'm not always quiet about it and I sometimes have to gripe about it to deal with the stress. I can't help but feel envious toward women who can be so active in their pregnancies and immediately afterward. My chronic joint pain and allergies just won't allow me to be as active as I'd like and it's depressing feeling so debilitated at times.

The last time I shared photos I was 23 weeks along and feeling brave because I was in the second trimester and feeling like I had "the glow." So, for the sake of comparison, here I am at 23 weeks.

I am the type of person who tries to find the positive in everything. The silver lining, if you will. After all the griping, I try my best to try to switch gears and look for something to be happy about. Now that you've read all of the negative feelings I've been experiencing, here is something positive. Like I said, I really don't like the way my body looks. Maternity clothing helps to a point, but for the most part, I just haven't found anything that I feel makes me look really nice and pregnant, motherly or feminine.....

Until now.

Maggie Maternity to the Rescue

Thanks to TwitterMoms and their RAMBO alerts, I was awarded the opportunity to blog a review of a maternity dress from Maggie Maternity. I was able to pick the color, size and style so I picked their Summer Sleeveless Maxi Dress. I picked a dress because I've never owned or worn a maternity dress. I normally don't really have many occasions to dress up, but I thought perhaps if I got a dress, maybe we would make an opportunity so I could get all gussied up to feel better. That has still yet to happen, but I have worn this dress to a parent-teacher night at Lucian's preschool so far and then again today to have my photos taken to document the pregnancy. I'm also thinking about wearing it for my upcoming Sprinkle Shower. Another reason I chose the dress is because it's very, very hot in Tucson this time of year and this dress looked like it would be very comfortable in the heat. I was right!

First of all, let me just get the few negative points out of the way. The price of this dress is a bit high-end for my personal budget, but I don't feel it's an unfair price at $75.00 because it's pretty well made and a glorious material. It washes very well and it's simple to hang it to dry. It's probably very affordable for most, but on our modest single income, it just wouldn't be practical for me to spend this much on one piece of clothing that I'll only wear a few times. Perhaps had it been my first pregnancy, knowing for sure I would wear it for another pregnancy later on and with the extra full time paycheck, possibly it could have been affordable. In our current situation though, it just makes sense to buy second-hand for less. Also, when it comes to spending, technology is more of a priority for me than clothing, shoes or makeup. That's just ME. That being said, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to own a "pricey" new article of maternity clothing. It's a real treat.

The second and last constructive criticism I will give this piece is that I'm a bit disappointed with the bust area. Now, this is not necessarily the fault of the dress-maker because I am large-busted and ALWAYS have trouble with clothing, but I do believe a dress sized at an Extra Large should be equipped with a bit more room in the bust area as women who wear this size do tend to be larger breasted. I probably would have been better fit in a 1X or women's size 16/18 for the cut of the top of this dress. It is really hard to find a bra that will work with this dress because of the way the straps and neckline are shaped. Bras for breasts of my size (currently a 42 DD — and bound to get larger once milk comes in! ugh!) are cut with much larger cups, thicker straps and higher cleavage lines for support. I did manage to find a suitable nursing bra in black with a lower neck line and much thinner straps that wouldn't stick out, but then the sides near the armpit area still showed because of the larger cup size. Also, the stitching under the bust line on this dress could be a little more reinforced due to the weight of the breasts it's meant to support. I found myself tugging a little to get my breasts to fit in the area better and I was afraid of tearing out the stitching. I think if the bust of this style dress could be modified, it would be perfect. As you can see in the photos, my solution was to pair this dress with an unbuttoned blouse to hide the bra from showing. It might even be nice if Maggie Maternity were to design a cute, short-sleeved jacket to go with this dress for those of us with larger arms and bigger bust lines. Those are just my suggestions.

Now, on to the best part.

I have to rave about this dress now and NOT because it was given to me for a review. Honestly, I have to rave because remember all the depressing stuff I wrote about before? When I put this dress on, it really lifts my spirits. All those negative feelings melt away. I feel pretty, feminine and motherly when I wear this dress. The fabric is incredibly soft and keeps me cool and comfortable in the heat. It accentuates my belly bump and makes it look ROUND for a change! I feel like I finally look pregnant while wearing this dress. When I wore it a few weeks ago to our son's parent teacher night at his preschool, I loved the way I looked and felt in it. There was one other pregnant woman there and for the first time I did NOT have belly bump envy!! I actually felt good about the way my belly bump was being "presented" — if you will.

I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone else, but that's how I feel when it comes to dressing up my belly bump. Bellies should be worn with pride and up until now, I haven't felt like I could really do that before. So, with the exception of a few enhancements I would make for larger-sized women, I would definitely recommend this maternity dress to others. It gets TheMacMommy stamp of approval :)

Thanks again, Maggie Maternity for helping me to feel good about my new shape!

Posted via email from TheMacMommy