Sunday, October 27, 2013

First Trimester

I wanted to compile a couple blogs around pregnancy, but I really didn’t want to say the same thing that everyone else says.  It only takes a couple weeks surfing the preggo apps and websites before they all start sounding the same and you get entirely freaked out that everything that can go wrong will go wrong.  So take a break from the giant Pregnancy Guide you bought, prop your feet up, and hopefully have a chuckle or two!

When the sperm meets the egg…
You can get pregnant the first time.  No matter how long you’ve been on birth control.

Preggo Tests
These little f-ers are hard to read, I don’t care what anyone says!  (And no, not hard to read like I can’t follow directions.  The lines can be so faint.  Surprisingly faint.  For some people.)  My best advice, if you see any second line or plus sign or whatever…you could be pregnant.  Listen to your body and your instincts and take another one in a day or two.  Or spend the money on the fancier kind, unlike this cheapskate.

Every book, app and woman will tell you that first trimester fatigue will hit you hard.  Believe all of them!  Pretend your 1st tri is like running a half marathon every day, after climbing 40 flights of stairs and swimming Olympic laps for an hour.  You will feel this tired.  Actually I lie a little - you won't feel this tired, you'll be napping away the entire afternoon as if you were this tired.  Just another thing I don't understand about pregnancy since your baby is the size of a berry at this point - but you don't feel this way when you're carrying around a small watermelon in month 9?

This will be different for every single woman, and I've heard for every single pregnancy.  You will experience it in some way or another, whether it's a 0.2 or 10 on the pukey scale.  Mine didn't hit me until 6.5 weeks and stayed until the 15th, and I didn't vomit once.  Other women get it before their pregnancy test will turn positive, and some women claim they experience none except for a little sniffer disturbance while in the meat isle at the grocery store.  Either way be prepared to have some level of nausea that will be unique to you.  The closest I came to throwing up happened at 28 weeks, so this symptom can also rear its ugly head when you least expect it.  Just keep a prep kit in your purse - mouthwash, crackers, ginger candies, and of course a barf bag.

Mental Retardation
You will have this.  You will forget everything.  You will forget that you’ll forget everything.  It’s worst in the 1st tri but extends through the whole pregnancy, and then those little buggers called children will suck the rest of your intelligence out of you.  Make lots of lists; I carried pens and small pads of paper in my purse and car.  And just forget about worrying about forgetting things.  Juggling a baby and work and marriage and life will lead to much forgetfulness anyways!

Tit Stuff
Your boob transformation will happen right away, even though you won't need these changes for several months.  First, your boobs will HURT, I mean it's unreal.  This is one of the first ways to tell you're pregnant: you'll be geared up for PMS breast tenderness but instead multiply that by 17.  Then your boobs will swell, and'll take your whole first trimester but be prepared to grow out of all your bras by the end of these first couple months.  Finally, your nipples will fly away to a foreign land where they will stay until after you've had the baby, and be replaced with someone's from a 1978 National Geographic Magazine.  They get dark and big and totally different shaped and textured, again reiterating that it makes no sense for this to happen now since this is all breast feeding prep...and voila!  Before you even have a baby bump you'll have had a complete boobie transplant!

This one will come up for each tri, because it drastically changes throughout your pregnancy.  Equate your 1st tri appetite to that of a 2nd grader with the flu.  That’s all that will sound good to you.  No meat, no veggies, no spices, no ethnic cuisine.  Think Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup and Triscuits.  On a good day you might be able to stomach half a Hot Pocket.  Don’t be surprised if you lose a little weight this tri.  Don’t be surprised to gain it all back in a week as soon as your “morning” sickness is over.  (PS morning sickness is a crock; most women experience it later in the day or evening.  You could also call it empty-stomach sickness, which is great because remember how you don’t have an appetite to eat anything?)

It’s a bird, it’s a plane –
It’s your sense of smell.  Superman ain’t got nothing on you here.  You will smell things that your dog would walk past without noticing.  You will ask your husband to wash his feet after taking off his shoes.  He should not get offended by this.  His feet will still smell to you after he showers.  You will ask him to brush his teeth 4 times a day.  Again, he should not get offended by this.  Make a game of it and see how far across the house you can smell him opening a jar of pickles.  My guess is your upstairs bathroom…

No-No Foods
There’s a big long list and you’ll be quizzed on it later.  False.  Well, there is a big long list, but I recommend looking over the list, writing down what you commonly eat on the list, and hang that on your fridge.  The rest is all food you probably won’t end up craving or eating during your pregnancy and will stress you out with worry.  My list was: runny egg yolks, raw seafood and all shellfish, brie and blue cheese, and deli meat.  Oh and alcohol.  They frown upon that I guess.

It’s recommended you maintain your exercise regiment throughout your pregnancy until your Dr. tells you otherwise.  It’s also OK to drop the ball on this completely.  When you’re as sick and tired as most women are during 1st tri, exercise sounds like the nine circles of hell.  Just do what you can when you feel up to it, take it easy when you don’t.  If you watch your eating and stay active you’ll be fine.  No one expects you to look like Alessandra Ambrosio during or immediately following your pregnancy.  (Or after?)  I know women who gained 60+ lbs. during their pregnancy and have rockin’ bodies now!  I also know women who have amazing momma curves and stretch marks and look otherworldly radiant.  You’ll see this theme throughout, but stress is worse for your baby than trying to starve yourself or find energy for that extra mile on the treadmill.

The Big Secret
When you find out you’re pregnant, and that pregnancy is welcome, you want to shout it from the rooftops.  But you know the statistics and you plan on waiting until your 8 week ultrasound or you hear the heartbeat or you reach 2nd tri.  This plan will only stay in place for those people that you do not see on a daily or weekly basis.  Everyone else will probably figure it out by then if they have half a brain cell.  And no – this doesn’t devastatingly ruin your big baby announcement plans.  Just prepare yourself to get really good at lying, avoiding everyone you care about, or hope that these people are close enough friends/family that they will also be by your side if anything unexpected does happen.

Is this for real?
Yes.  But don’t be surprised if you go through many phases of “is this really happening to me?”  There were a lot of times in my 1st and 2nd tri where I didn’t “feel” pregnant and started to worry.  Until the baby starts kicking daily (3rd tri) this is a perfectly normal feeling to have.  It doesn’t mean you’ve lost the baby.  (There is that feeling however so don’t totally ignore your instincts and the signs.)  Every month you’ll get to hear the heartbeat, and little tickles and flutters will start happening soon.  The best thing for the baby is to keep your stress level down.  The second best thing for the baby is to fully accept that this is happening to you, so get that nursery going!

The Language of Preggo
You’ll start learning lots of new words that you won’t pronounce correctly and won’t remember what they mean.  This is Preggo Language.  I am not fluent; I know just enough to get me from the airport to my hotel and order a Mai Tai from the pool boy.  You do not need to remember all these terms.  What you will have to do is start talking in weeks.  Everything is measured in weeks: to start you out there are 40 in your pregnancy.  You’ll get the hang of this just in time to start talking in months once your baby is born.  (“He’s 23 months old.”  God damnit, talk like a grownup and tell me he’ll be 2 next month!)

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Preggo Peeves

I know there's plenty of talk about women being each other's own worst enemies. We call each other bitches and hoes, talk about one another behind their backs, and judge each other more harshly than men judge us sometimes! We work so hard to bring each other down only to give ourselves a small boost in ego. Rather than take the bull by our insecure horns and face the real reason for our own depleted self image...rather than build each other up we're just another enemy tearing each other down... This has been an issue plaguing women for some time now, and I too am no perfect saint in these matters.

I guess I never imagined that type of behavior to cross into one of the most sacred experiences that a woman could go through. I knew I'd have to fend off comments when I got pregnant, I knew that not everyone would have a filter and freely say what was on their mind whether their opinion was asked for or not. I knew all that. I just didn't know to what extent and how much it would bug me. I knew to expect it from grandmas and moms of old, I didn't know to expect it from new moms and non-moms either. Call it my new pregnancy pet peeve...but I must finally speak out!

So here's my opinion, in case you have or have not asked for it.

Yes, this is my first pregnancy.
No, I don't know exactly what to expect.
Yes, I have a reasonable idea of what to expect.
Yes, my belly will only grow larger.
Yes, I will only get more uncomfortable.
Yes, I carry bigger than other women.
No, there's not three in there.
No, it's not the world's biggest baby.
Yes, your comments about my size are offensive and unwelcome.
Yes, I will only become more sleep deprived.
No, I don't want to talk about my labor fears.
No, I don't want to hear about how terrible your labor was.
Yes, I will probably get some stretch marks.
Yes, I will probably have some unnecessary weight gain.
Yes, I hope to return to my previous size after the pregnancy.
No, I don't think it's impossible.
No, I won't think because you didn't, I can't.
Yes, I need practice to be a mom.
No, I probably won't get that practice until mine is born.
Yes, my baby will turn out just fine.
No, you weren't always a "pro" either.
Yes, things are different now than "in your day".
Yes, every older generation of women feel that way.
Yes, I know that this is real now.
Yes, I know that we're in it for the long haul.
Yes, I understand nothing will be the same when the baby's born.
Yes, that's why we decided to have a baby in the first place.

Yes, I find your comments to be condescending and degrading.

No, I won't have first-hand knowledge of anything until I do let me do it!

Let us 1st timers go through this without you looking down on us. Remember when it was your first time and you didn't want everyone's advice, everyone's two cents, everyone's "just you wait!"? I'm sorry if this is your way of lamenting that you're not experiencing your first pregnancy, again or for the first time. Your time will come or your time had come. Let this be my time.

Let's learn to uplift women through each of these times, lets let them shed all their baby pounds and let's let them keep on a few extra. Let's let them make "new mommy" mistakes, and let's not even notice they made them. Let's give a caring smile when they're tired and let's understand when they feel like an elephant.

And let's let me please remember how I felt when I went through my first pregnancy, and let me be a cheerleader for all others going through theirs.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Only Do What Pinterest Tells Me To Do

Yahoo!  You've done it again.  What’s with your terrible, illegitimate drivel you call “articles” anymore?  I used to come to you for advice, support, and an all-around good belly laugh.  But now you frustrate me to no end with your lack of discretion when it comes to your live feed of top reads.  So now I must come out of blog retirement to set the record straight, that once again, I am better than you and your shitty writers.

So let me break it down for my readers, who clearly outsmart your readers by at least 30 IQ points.  The lackluster Shine article “The 10 Decorating Trends You Wish Would Go Away” brought to you from readers like you, has paved the way for this gem of a top ten list from your favorite critic savant.
Here is the real “Top 10 Decorating Trends That Raise Your Blood Pressure” – you know, for those of us who don’t realize there are bigger things going on out there…

1.       LABELING – In case you forgot what you put in that clear Mason jar, write it down!  The new “Put a Bird on it” is now “State the Obvious.”  Yes, that is Cap’n Crunch in there.  And I realize that the primary purpose of the kitchen and dining table is to consume food; hell my entire house could say EAT, I’d find a reason to fat-out anywhere.  So unless you have a 6 year old with Downs, quit describing your entire household inventory with chalkboard paint.  And Live, Laugh, Love won’t bring your ex-husband back.
chalkboard labels

2.       POM POMS – Clearly a decoration only carried out by single women.  Even the most metrosexual male would never let a Pom enter his household unless it contributed to a Cheerleader sex fantasy with the Mrs.  (Or Mr., because equality… but that wouldn't make sense then would it?)

3.       PALLETS – I’ll admit I was on board with this one from the get-go.  Chic old shit used as new shit – Hello!  Anyone else who tried a pallet as shelf/coffee table/chaise lounge realized within 3 minutes that those frickin boards will never, ever come apart.  That bitch is built to stay.
pallet bookshelves

4.       LADDERS DRESSED AS… – A bookshelf.  A towel dryer.  A pot rack.  I can do all things through ladders, except climb on them.  Did this start as a solution for all those extra ladders you had lying around?  It did for Mrs. Fireman, and she put those wobbly wooden ladders to good use, taking a stand against orchard farmers everywhere!  So if you have a thing against gutter-cleaning and tree-trimming, then this is the fad for you!  

5.       CHEVRON – Because I am gaga for it, and I want to be original, so everyone else needs to stop liking it!  (Same goes for Pendleton everything, back off.)

6.       CLOSET TURNED OFFICE – Am I going cray cray, or is it just me?  My opinion of #adultproblems is a lack of storage space; my opinion of #shoppingaddictproblems is that there will never be a closet big enough to fulfill my dreams.  So when I see people turning their closets into office spaces I can’t help but have a grand mal seizure.  You would actually give up that precious asset known as home value to transform it into a den that you will never use because you don’t have a real job and your bills are automatically paid online?!  Give your kid his closet back and buy a desk like the rest of us.
created at: 08/03/2011

7.       RECLAIMED/RECYCLED FURNITURE – “What an eco-thoughtful idea!” – All Portlanders.  “I think there’s an extra digit on the pricetag.” – All Portlanders.  Shouldn’t saving the planet and Old-Englishing a Goodwill find be cheaper than buying new?  Oh, I’m sorry, you mean 4 times as expensive.  17 times more if you compare it to the price that the goddamn dresser sold for in the first place.  What’s the best part about reclaimed or recycled furniture?  Splinters.

8.       OPEN CABINETRY – There would be no better way for me to announce to guests that I haven’t done dishes in a few days and none of my dinnerware matches.  I think I’ll pass.  Then how else would I paint my cupboard doors like its 1974 or swap for frosted glass like 1992?

9.       PAINT CHIP ART – Benjamin Moore had to introduce an entire training manual dedicated to the Loss Prevention of paint chips.  “I’m sorry ma’am, but we’d appreciate it if you purchased something in lieu of taking those 1.2 million free paint chips from our store.”  Calendars, lamp shades, even wedding invitations!  You can do it all with colored squares of paper.  Except convince yourself that these are acceptable pieces of decoration.

10.   LAUNDRY ROOM BONANZA – Extravagant laundry rooms make you think you’ll spend more time doing laundry… Let’s get real.  Who has a 200 square foot laundry room to pimp these days?  I sure don’t.  I’m lucky enough to fit a shelf in my W/D closet turned Computer Room.  I also know if I ever get around to remodeling the least important room in my house, I’m going to opt for an Energy Star front-load washer before I stencil “Looking for my Sole-mate” on the wall, announcing our current missing sock phenomena.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

No Bovine November

Or what I tried to refer to as “No-Bovine-mber” for about a minute, but was too hard even for me to say.  My second attempt at quitting something for a 30-day period bombed, there’s really just no other way to say it.  After a successfully unsuccessful Sober October (read it!) No Bovine November stood to really make a statement in my life, or at least in my lower intestines.

Here’s the backstory:  I decided that I would pump Lent up on steroids, because I’m not Catholic, and quit something each month for 12 consecutive months.  I’m trying to choose things that would be beneficial for me to temporarily stop partaking in, to see if it would overwhelmingly better my life to quit that thing all together.  Sober October was a no-brainer; we all could cut back on the sizzurp.  But after seeing zero positive effects, I gladly (and quickly) reintroduced booze back into my life.  And just a quick word of advice:  after not drinking for an entire month, you unfortunately must ease yourself back into it.  Just ask Danea’s toilet and the sidewalk outside of Couture.

Anyway, my next journey would take me to a magical land of no beef, where I might get a glimpse into the world of vegetarianism.  If no cow for one month improved my internal wellbeing, then I might actually continue on to quit other 4-legged consumables.  But there were two obstacles I was up against for November, two that I really should have foreseen but was too cocky pay attention to.

I did not do this, nor did I honestly think I needed to.  Cow = beef, and beef = hamburgers, roast beef, beef and broccoli, ground beef, shredded beef, and all cuts of steak.  Easy enough right?  If it had the word “beef” in it I was going to steer[1] clear.  Ohhh, but what little Brenda didn’t know is that lots of things that her cute little brain always thought was piggy, was in fact probably cow.  Like:  pepperoni, salami, Lit’l Smokies, all stews and soups from a can, gravy on biscuits and gravy, and probably all “meat” from Taco Bell.  All things that she heartily consumed without hesitation or second thought during the month of November.  Switching back to first person, I honestly broke my rule without even knowing it.  I was sadly informed after consuming three of the previously mentioned items.

Being confronted with my first couple mistakes, I desperately tried to get back on my no-beef train.  As much as my heart was in the right place, my brain was not.  Ordering nachos with ground beef on top didn’t wave any red flags to me.  (Luckily I was with a devout vegetarian, who glared at me because, despite being good friends for the better of six years, I always forget she is a vegetarian.)  I honestly was forgetting that I was supposed to eliminate beef from my diet.  This can’t be contributed to my lack of effort at all; I am very dedicated to my overall mission here. 

As a legitimate Scientist,[2] I must look back at my experiment’s failure, and hypothesize what went wrong.  Could it be that after 26 years of cow consuming I am incapable of switching solely to white meat?  No; this wasn’t an incapable thing, just a short-term memory loss thing.  And a blonde thing.[3]  If happy cows come from California, so do yellow-haired girls that forget to quit eating them.  As a Scientist, I deduce that in order to be successful at this attempt again, I must remove all cow and pig from my diet, in order to dissolve any confusion.  It may have been that quitting bovine wasn’t a big enough task, therefore easily forgotten.  There is a lot in the alcohol family to remember:  beer, wine, vodka, whiskey, tequila, rum, well you get the picture.  Perhaps I must change my method to include significant changes in my habits, not just small alterations.  Stay tuned for next year; when I cut all 4-legged animals out of my diet, including Darwin’s fish.

[1] Excuse my pun.
[2] Not a legitimate Scientist in any sense of the word.
[3] Don’t expect to hear me say something like that ever again.  Savor it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Answer is Always “Meaningless Sex”

OK.  I know we’re all still reeling from the shock that I, Brenda Johnson (née), landed such a killer dude.  No, no.  I didn’t marry an axe murderer, that’s just my 1992 way of saying he’s totally awesome.  (Circa ’93)  To say that I landed some not-so-killer dudes before him would be a disrespectful understatement.  In fact, eight years worth of imbeciles I had to riffle through to find the one.  From the 16 year old that wrecked two jacked-up trucks and ditched me on the day of my freshman homecoming dance, to the PTSD employee of mine with the palm tree tattoo on his back that read “Loyalty” I mistakenly had a fling with the summer after college.  Those are two very mild examples, be-tee-dubs[1].  Just a long list of winners; some real, bronze medal, Special Olympian winners.  In fact, another thing they all had in common was that they were all absolute, text-book douche bags.  When friends ask me how I found the one I shake my head, raise my shoulders, and grunt something that sounds like ‘idunno’.  I like to think that my Knight in shining armor was my reward for saying “no” to the ultimate used catheter[2] who finally “came around” just when I met someone else.  But that really wouldn’t give my husband enough credit at all.

I hate to bore you out of your gourds and noggins so I will continue on to the juicy, delicious, red grass-fed meat of my story.  I have tried to come up with some dating tips for my single friends, “enlighten them” as you will, about how to find the right mate.  And don’t get me wrong – being single is not a bad thing!  I really can’t emphasize this enough.  I was pretty much single most of my life and I had a ridiculously fantastic time full of wild adventures and amazing friends.  But when you’re ready to cross the bridge of no return that is “finding the one” there are a few things that I think will make the experience more successful for the average to could-turn-into-a-cat-lady individual.

1.  Be single.  Like I said before, I really just cannot say this enough.  If I had never been single I would have never:
1.      Rode a party bus with my best friend and our 2 gentlemen callers of the evening – an amputee and a legal midget.
2.      Bought my puppy Bob Dylan who is unquestionably the best sort-of dog in the doggone world.
3.      Or win a dance off at John Henry’s on Burlesque night that got me a handful of cash and several shots of…whisky maybe?
Being single really shapes you into your true self, and ensures that you have your own stash of secret memories that you can live vicariously enough through to last you 20-30 years of happiness.  Conversely, make sure your future prospective partner does the same.  You don’t want your sig oth of two years to jump ship because they ache to know what “meaningless”[3] sex feels like.  I guess what I’m trying to say is have meaningless sex before you settle down.  Protected, meaningless sex.  No babies.  Embracing your singleness will make you more confident, which will make you more attractive, which will make you more likely to snag a jewel of a suitor. 

2.  Be picky.  Get into a relationship only when that person is worth getting in a relationship with.  And NO, not every guy is worth getting into a relationship with.  In fact most guys aren’t worth getting into a relationship with!  Girls are about 50/50.  Serial monogamists are my biggest pet peeve, second to that Pez dispenser Michelle Duggar, and, while also breaking rule #1, are lessening their chance at finding the right person.  They use a relationship as an excuse to get out of their other one.  When relationships are becoming your way in and out of a relationship, you really have a psychological carousel nightmare on your hands.  Odds are you’re not looking for the perfect person when you’re itching to get away from the dud you’ve been dating but just can’t seem to grow a ball or two to actually dump them.  People that are content to live unhappily in a blah or unhealthy relationship don’t have positive vibes burning through their skull, and those on the outside can certainly sense it.  A quality bachelor/ette is not going to be attracted to your insecure stench, so I say let the ol’ ball ‘n chain loose, eat a tub of Shweddy Balls ice cream, watch Ghost 3-8 times consecutively, and get on with your life!  (Again, commence with meaningless sex.)

3.  Meet people.  I can’t tell you how annoying it is for someone to listen to you bitch about how “I just can’t seem to meet the right guy” yet every Saturday night when I invite you out it’s just another excuse why you’re going to stay in, watch Ghost, and munch on Ben and Jerry’s.  Get a gee golly clue and realize that if you wanted Prince Charming to land on your doorstep without an iota of effort, move to f--king India and get an arranged marriage!  For the third and final time I will advise you to go out and have meaningless sex!  What this will do for you is get you out of the house, make you put less pressure on the idea of the perfect virgin individual that will steal your heart on a white horse, and relieve all that celibate tension and prudeness that you’ve been building up and judging me with.  If anyone were to ever say to me that I didn’t deserve my thoughtful and patient husband because I used to hang out with a lot of guys I might rip their face off.  Then, when I stitched their face back on, I would remind them that you must actually put yourself out in the world for that super special person to find you one day.  Girls that lock themselves up and can’t have fun don’t attract me and I don’t even have a wiener.  Also, men that use the excuse that ladies don’t like them – stop trying to meet hot, blonde 10’s and actually ask out a girl of your own caliber.  They’re better in bed anyway.

There are so many more things that you should and shouldn’t do to meet your Perfect Match at[4]  And don’t you pee your little trousers, I will write about them soon.  These are the basics and the essentials.  Without these rules you will be alone and miserable the rest of your life.  OK, maybe not alone, but they’re really healthy and positive ways to live by, more than to just meet your “other half”.  Keep in mind that there is so much more to life than being in a relationship.  Even the best relationships still suck at times, and like you’ve heard time and again, you’ll find someone when you least expect it.  Honest to goodness.  The less pressure you put on yourself and the more you focus on a full life, the more someone else will want to be a part of it.

Now excuse me while I stop being such a vagina.

[1] Be-tee-dubs, also known as BTW, also known as ‘by the way’ if you live under a Geico sponsored rock.
[2] A used catheter is much worse than a douche bag, and should be used sparingly.
[3] I put meaningless in quotations in this example because your first try at meaningless sex is undoubtedly not meaningless. It really takes practice.  Just don’t take too much practice; that would make you a Jezebel.
[4] Actually, that’s my exception to Rule #3,  Meet hundreds of people just like you, from the comfort and safety of your hoarded home, just make sure to lower your standards by 79%.