Monday, August 21, 2017

Very little to do...

Smashface was due Saturday, and it's Monday...this is not a big surprise at all. Babies come sort of whenever and due dates are little more than guesses, honestly. I'm basically straight chilling. Walking gets me sore pretty quickly. Swimming means changing into a swimsuit, which I don't wanna do anymore. Sitting in one spot for too long is uncomfortable. My whole goal in life is to do little tasks at a time and then take a break! LOTS of breaks, very little work...and just...WAIT...WAIT...WAIT...WAIT...

But I still have some tasks to do, so I still have a list. Everything is clean and ready to go, just one or two little things here and there...and staying on top of longer term long as they are not too physically intensive. I also have a small list of things to buy that I'm going to put at the end of the list. 'Cause at least one of them, I'm still trying to find on eBay or Facebook Marketplace or something. And the others, it's just down to budget!


This week :

01. Walk, do yoga
02. Scan poster board photos and save on hard drives
03. Price frames for unframed artwork
04. Look up folds for newborns
05. Blog posts
06. Sanitize and organize bottles
07. Travel blog posts
08. Install car seat
09. Rip some more CDs
10. Continue organizing music folder
11. Post more albums to Facebook

To Buy at some point :

01. Size 2 Thirsties (at least three, ideally not full price(
02. Teepee Play Center
03. Passion Planner : Academic Edition
04. Pay off Torrid

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Maternity Retrospective

Since my due date was yesterday (not that due dates are appointments anyway), and I had already been thinking about this, I figured it was time to post the retrospective of all of my naked frolics during my pregnancy! Conception was probably mid-November, so I'm including photos from November 26 up until the week before last, when I did maternity pics with Adam. (Which I might post later.) I had a TON more in the beginning than the end, which is probably more unusual. Lots of women record their "bumps" week by week and I didn't really care to do that. I was happy to get to the point where I could feel Smashface, because then I could forget about what week it was. Prior to that, I felt like I HAD to keep track and HAD to KNOW...but once I could feel Smashface, that was all I needed to know. Also, since Adam went to the island, I did fewer naked frolic shoots, in general.

Being pregnant has been an interesting journey. My main fear was that people would want to touch me and ask invasive questions and be in my business...which hasn't really happened. If anything, I've really reached out more than I expected because medical care has been so fucking atrocious. The fact that I haven't really engaged in social activity has probably helped. Only a few people have been a little too nosy for my tastes...and really, they've acted totally normal. Mostly, people just ask, "How are you feeling," like a lot. I wasn't really nervous about what would happen with my body. Despite the medical community trying to shame me and scare me into believing I'd get some awful complication of pregnancy due to being fat, I knew that wouldn't happen. I kept running until I finished a half marathon at 13 weeks. When I had to stop running, a little earlier than I wanted, but I stayed active. I ate well, and I trusted my body. In some ways, my body has changed more than I expected, and in some ways, it's changed less than I've expected.

Sometimes, being pregnant feels like the most normal thing ever. Like, it just happens, you can't really stop it (unless you wanted to), and it just keeps going. You just do what you do. I don't know if women with "complicated" pregnancies would feel the same way. In some ways, it feels really cool and special. I mean, at least half of the population can never get pregnant, ever. It's not possible for them, and it's cool that it's possible for us. In some ways, it's been really hard. Hormones change shit up on the regular and nothing has been "normal" for a while. Now, I feel like the scariest and most exciting part is coming up and I'm just waiting...a lot of waiting.

In honor of the last few days (or weeks) of waiting, here is a photo from every naked frolic I've had throughout the pregnancy. They're in chronological order. Not all of them feature the belly, because there was a lot of time in the beginning when there was no belly...and then it was like, IMPORTANT to feature the belly!














Thursday, August 17, 2017


A note before we begin : I'm not a doctor, but doctors don't always give you the fullest and best information. As I discuss my journey with learning about and making decisions on vaccines, I am going to give you some excellent information. I will be sourcing the American Academy of Pediatrics, The World Health Organization, and The Center for Disease Control. In America, the AAP and the CDC are the ultimate resources, you cannot find information that is more respected or used outside of those sources. Worldwide, the CDC and the WHO are the most respected health organization that set the standard for governmental policies of public health. Any other source I provide should be compared against the WHO or the CDC. So while I'm not a doctor, and you should probably run your thoughts by your own doctor, I will be giving you the most reputable resources. HOWEVER, you should not use this blog post as a medical resource. This is just my experience and journey to coming to the decisions I made that felt right for myself, my husband, and my child.

Vaccinations are QUITE the issue in America, right? Whether or not you've had kids, you've probably heard about the Anti-Vaccination Movement, maybe seen a lot of judgment on anti-vaxxers, read about the Disneyland Measles Outbreak, read about Jenny McCarthy, heard that some people think vaccines are linked to autism, and of course, heard that all of those people who choose not to vaccinate for whatever reason are just crazy...and not always protected by law anymore.

Despite this large body of work about those who oppose vaccines, for any number of reasons, the fact of the matter is, there isn't good or thorough information on vaccines that is easy to find. For starters, the immunization home page for the AAP, CDC, and WHO are complicated and hard to read, full of tons of links. Most of these links, if followed, lead to more links, and many of the sites include FAQs that say the same thing over and over, vaccines are safe because they are safe. However, if you're not great with a Google search, you might not even find the sites of the AAP, CDC, and WHO. Instead you might find, which gives VERY little information, no links, and no clues on how to find better information. You might find, which is unbiased and not really helpful. Or you might stumble on any manner of blogs or forums written by parents or doctors, many of which SEEM, reputable, but aren't. If you've never taken a class on how to verify a source, you might not know what sources are reputable and what sources are not. You might trust anyone with Dr. before his or her name or any mom blogger of any of the many parenting sites out there, ESPECIALLY if they include links to what seem like reputable sources. It's only with very direct and specific search terms that you might stumble on the AAP's helpful FAQ, but what if that STILL leaves you with questions?

Yesterday, I had an appointment with a pediatrician whom I was considering using as my pediatrician. I had already met him and his colleagues in a largely useless and overwhelming meet and greet (and yes, I'll have a blog post on choosing a pediatrician up at some point). Nevertheless, he stood out as communicating well. He seemed thoughtful, like he listened to me, and I liked him. Plus, he's one of the doctors that works with the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism, so I thought that he had the skills to communicate effectively with me. In my first meeting, I told all of the doctors why I was there; because I have autism and I have differing needs from most parents. He knew this about me and he remembered me when he sat down with me a second time.

I had been going through the ringer on vaccines. I found one article on the history of vaccines that clarified a lot of thoughts and made me feel perfectly fine about every vaccine I had ever received. The history was there, the evidence was clear, the evidence of what happens when people choose not to vaccinate is abundant in our news media outlets, and the length of time using these vaccines with great success made it easy for me to understand them and why they were beneficial. Nevertheless, I had some questions about three vaccines for which I could not find adequate answers. What I had found was a lot of scare tactics about how, if you don't do the vaccinations at the recommended time, you ARE RISKING THE DEATH OF YOUR CHILD. Scare tactics and circular logic don't work for me, they motivate me to find out more. So I met with this doctor, armed with a folder full of the research I had done, ready to take notes, and several questions regarding vaccinations and the routine visits mandated by the schedule provided for me from his office.

What transpired was not an educated conversation that alleviated my worries. Instead, I was lectured, yelled at, and treated very badly. First, the receptionist attempted to make me meet everyone, despite my telling her I had and despite my telling her I was there to see one doctor. She started with the, "just so you know," kiss of death for every customer service person. (NEVER say those words. It makes you sound condescending and like your entire goal is to provide customer disservice.) I had to walk away from her. Then the doctor answered my first question with an edict that assured I would never see him again, "I don't care if you're a pediatrician, if I am providing care for your child..." No thanks, dude. The meeting further deteriorated into him practically shouting, "But what if you're WRONG and your child DIES!? Also, no thanks, and not helpful. He provided the same pro-vaccination rhetoric you can find EVERYWHERE online, "Well, so what? What is the harm in giving vaccinations?" And he didn't care about my response to that. Then, things got really bad. He said (this is not a direct quote) :

He asserted that should I continue to waste this much time and energy on thorough research, essentially nitpicking every aspect of every decision I would ever make for my child, not only was I definitely wasting time and energy, but I was doing so at the detriment of my child. That, in fact, it is bad parenting to do research and ask questions and I would be neglecting all of the special time and bonding I could have in building a relationship with my child.

Yes, the dude told me that doing this research, setting up this interview, and asking these questions MADE ME A BAD PARENT. Clearly, I would not be using him.

(I would like to note, that he ended the meeting by giving me the number of a Cleveland Clinic immunologist who could answer my in depth questions about the rates of infection and complication and mortality for the diseases in question. He also apologized for losing his temper, AFTER I had made him aware that this was how I operated and this is how I would proceed with care. He did compliment me for being so thorough. However, some apologies, no matter how immediate, are too little too late for me. I can't use someone who would bring me to tears in his office because he was offended that I asked legitimate questions and because he was incapable of maintaining his temper when pressed for the actual answers to the questions I asked, instead of spewing more rhetoric that is easily found online.)

Maybe you've figured out by now, but I am not easily deterred by mistreatment. In fact, the more names you call me, the more likely I am to go find the exact information I wanted to be secure in the knowledge that I was asking the right questions and getting the right information.

So, between bouts of crying at being called a bad parent when all I was trying to do was get information from a professional, I did another four hours of research last night and was able to find the definitive information I wanted.

The problem with the conversation regarding vaccinations, is that it's not a conversation. There is a definite script and the only line is, "What kind of idiot are you who wants to argue the safety and efficacy of vaccines because you are clearly a neglectful and stupid parent, SO JUST TAKE THE FUCKING VACCINES AND SHUT THE HELL UP!"

As I was doing all of my research and asking all my questions, even Adam threw out the "anti-vaxxer" term. I knew how much he judged them, 'cause I follow him on Facebook. I also knew that Adam was swayed by "public health concerns," that never fucking swayed me. My brain is not wired to give a shit about your problems, because that is an illogical solution. It is logical for me to care for myself and, maybe, it is logical for me to extend my help to someone else, but it is not logical for me to be concerned with your health, well-being, and safety. I know, that's not a very "American" sentiment (or is it the most American?) and it's not popular, but it's true. This is just how my brain is wired. You can't argue with it, and I really, really can't change it. I'm wired differently, that's all. So when Adam threw out that term, I scolded hum for his judgment and he couched it with, "but you're educated," implying these other parents aren't. The problem, though, is not that these other parents aren't educated. The problem is twofold, 1. The conversation is NOT OK and is ALWAYS met with condescension and judgment and 2. The most accurate and thorough information from the best resources, is either hard to find, hard to decipher, or both. So parents CANNOT get the accurate information from pediatricians who go on and on with "vaccines are safe because they are safe and DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT THE HEALTH OF YOUR CHILD!???" Meanwhile, the internet is a massive hay stack with a tiny needle of truth buried in there somewhere. Many people are not equipped with the same wherewithal with which I am equipped and many parents aren't as adept or determined at research as I am.

When you put these things together, you have parents who are not comfortable with the information they receive and are trying to make the best decision they can despite the judgment...which, by the way, often leads them to get together in groups of like-minded individuals where misinformation spreads like the measles at Disneyland.

Furthermore, if you're like me, you're looking at vaccinations like this : I was vaccinated more than my mom who contracted some of the illnesses I was vaccinated against and she did just fine. My child will be vaccinated more than me, and I contracted some of the illnesses that he or she won't contract, and I did just fine. Or maybe even, My mom and I were never vaccinated against these things, never contracted these infections, and neither did anyone else we know. Not everyone is talking to the same generation, and it can be hard to understand why EVEN MORE vaccinations are needed. (Y'all, it's a fucking lot of vaccinations now.)

What I'm saying is, The information is cloudy and the resources are super fucking judgy.

So last night, before I cried myself to sleep over being called a bad parent for just wanting to find the answers I needed to make sure I was making decisions with the ALL of the best information available, I found the CDC Pinkbook.


My personal issues were regarding the Hib and PVC vaccines. These vaccines are meant to prevent infection from bacteria that can cause meningitis and epiglottis, which are INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS COMPLICATIONS from these infections. But the problem is, the information I found was like, "The PVC vaccine prevents the number one cause of ear infections...and also meningitis which leads to deafness, paralysis, and DEATH". Like, whoa, we went from ear infections (which my brother had a ton of) to DEATH? I mean, I never even had one ear infection. Adam and I both managed not to die from ear infections. Like, what is this vaccine and why is it necessary? Furthermore, how do you jump from a fucking ear infection TO DEATH!??

The research on meningitis isn't helpful either. It's a rare disease that doesn't infect all that many people, statistically speaking, and doesn't kill all that many people. Also, unlike with the measles outbreaks, it's unclear how many infants really do contract an ear infection that turns into meningitis and then death. I also couldn't find out exactly how meningitis is, what if I just have to take some steps to make sure my child isn't in the path of this deadly disease that definitely does kill newborns more than anyone else?

I couldn't find these answers online. The pediatrician didn't give them to me. If I hadn't spent yesterday up on the island with Adam, I would've called the Cleveland Clinic immunologist. Instead, I lay in bed last night, listening to Taylor Swift, and I googled, "Hib vaccine history". This led me to that amazing pinkbook. The page on the epidemiology of the Hib vaccine was fucking full of the information I needed! I mean, this page laid out the history and discovery of the disease as well as the history and discovery of the vaccine. It told me all about how the vaccine is made (language I don't understand) and when it started to be distributed. It tells me where Hib lives and how it's passed on and why it affects infants disproportionately to adults. AND it tells me the rates of infection before and after the vaccine. It basically answered every fucking question I ever had and made vaccination a total no brainer to me.

The Pinkbook has information on EVERY VACCINE. It's the best resource you can find to be truly educated and really have all of the information you need to make your decisions. Personally, I had no questions about polio, MMR, tetanus, and everything against which I was vaccinated. I thought the common knowledge information was clear and obvious. However, maybe that isn't the same for you. If it's not, then I suggest you look it up in the Pinkbook. It is industry standard for the medical profession. This is the vault of vaccination information. It will definitely answer any question you might have. I can't say enough about this resource and how much I wish it were made more available to everyone. Like, if I can find it at 2a, when I'm crying about what an asshole my pediatrician was and consoling myself with Taylor Swift and kitty snugglez, why the fuck didn't my doctor pull out his copy, open it to the vaccination in question, and let me read it right then and there?

But as I'm learning as I have to deal with more and more doctors, it's not always easy to get the information you want or need. Lots of people don't ask questions. Lots of people do what they're told. Lots of people lie to their doctors and ignore their doctors and do what they want. And lots of doctors don't have the time or the knowledge or the desire to really answer questions for which they think the answer is already obvious. It's a flawed fucking system, which is annoying as hell...but is not going to stop me from pursuing the kind of care I want and the answers I need.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hardcore Nesting?

Ahhhh....waiting to write a blog post until later in the day, and having a day full of errands and energy, means knocking more off my to do list!!!

I'm feeling that nesting vibe, I guess. Not really sure. Some call it nesting, but this is the kind of person I've always been. It's just that in the past, instead of knocking stuff off my to do list and NOT adding more...I've always added more. I've always added hanging out with friends and going somewhere and making something and doing something. But now, I'm just NOT doing that. Instead, I'm checking things off the list and watching it dwindle and enjoying the bliss of having nothing new to add on. Although, I supposed I could add "deliver this baby," and that would be a kind of massive item to do, right!? But I think that post-delivery, my to do list will grow again, so if I get a week or three days with NOTHING to do, then that's kind of awesome.


This week :

01. Walk four-ish times, do yoga
02. Laundry, especially bedding
03. Put animals back in chest
04. Figure out game plan for big poster boards of photos
05. Swiffer bedroom floor
06. Call Wooster doctor
07. Price frames for unframed artwork
08. Look up folds for newborns
09. Find size 2 Thirsties
10. Blog posts
11. Sanitize and organize bottles
12. Travel blog posts
13. Install car seat
14. Rip some more CDs
15. Clean off desk

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My birth story : Part 1 : The BEFORE

As I mentioned in my to do list, I've gotten most of the big things done. All the cloth diapers are sewn, all the baby stuff has been bought, all the furniture has been moved, things have been assembled... but some of that moving of stuff made the house messy again, so I gotta do that. But mostly, I'm feeling really good about where everything is, physically speaking. So now it's time to work on the mental stuff.


I've decided to put away all the baby books and baby blogs. I had an Ina May Gaskin book, half of which is birth stories, all ready to go...and then I decided not to. I've already studied up on the anatomy of my body, the physiological processes of labor, the interventions I don't want, the risks of various complications, and so on and so forth. But I think all the book reading in the world isn't going to prepare me for actually giving birth. Instead, it's time to take the knowledge I have and internalize that and focus on preparing myself for this experience.

There's an amazing women's group in Lakewood (near Cleveland), that holds a monthly group for pregnant women and new moms and I think even those planning on becoming pregnant. I found out about this group when looking for midwives, a service they provide as well. I was unable to use them for a variety of reasons, but I was able to attend their birth group a couple of times and really enjoyed it. They were very supportive when things were very difficult for me, and they've even followed up with what's happening with me. I missed the group in June and July, so I wanted to go in August, since Smashface is due this month.

It was very helpful and made me want to write this blog post. I was able to get my mind off of all the information I've been collecting and on the track of what I need to do. Social situations are hard, because I'm always plagued by this feeling that I'm talking too much. This particular group was an open forum for moms to talk to those in the group who are going to become moms. So I was able to ask a lot of questions about labor and delivery, and the experienced moms were able to lay down advice. It was helpful in two ways; I was able to speak out my thoughts and reframe my mind, and I was able to parse what was being said to me...but it was also unhelpful in one way that has occurred throughout my pregnancy...

Most experienced moms feel the need to impart labor and motherhood stories either as cautionary tales or downright horror stories.


I'm finding this to be largely useless. I know the women mean well. I know they are sharing from their personal experiences. I know that going into having a baby for the first time can be really scary but can also make us naive again. For some women, it's been a mess of inaccurate medical information that leaves them feeling powerless over their bodies, and hearing from women who have done it can be very helpful to bring back empowerment. For some women, it's a naive perspective, not understanding that labor and delivery can be complicated and unexpected, so hearing from women who have overcome those complications can be incredibly helpful. Sadly, some of the women sharing their tales seem to think that none of us can go have the birth we want. They were blind sided by their own situation and feel the need to make sure women understand things CAN go wrong. I understand their desperation, even if it isn't helpful. If you've lived through something scary or traumatic, you generally don't want other people to do experience the same thing.

However, in all these cautionary tales and horror stories, I've never been able to just say, "I feel confident in my body and my knowledge of the process and I believe I'm going to have a complication-free birth that I hope to enjoy."

And honestly, that's a bummer.

Instead, I feel like I'm not even ALLOWED to talk about what I envision my birth will be like. Certainly, doctors are not helpful. When I tell them my "fairy tale" ideas, they roll their eyes or laugh at me. Whenever I speak to a doctor, I always preface my thoughts with, "I KNOW this is probably a fantasy, but..." I'm not trying to fight this, because I've learned that the medical community views pregnancy and birth as a series of things that can go wrong. However, it's frustrating to me that I'm not allowed to talk to other moms about my positive attitude and my belief that my body is capable of this amazing natural process, and I think I'm gonna do it just fine. Instead, most conversations about pregnancy, and labor and delivery, and the early days or weeks of postpartum are just chock full of all of these, "LET ME TELL YOU!" sorts of stories. I'm not so stupid as to think nothing could go wrong, and I'm not so naive as to think that I will immediately transition from pregnancy through birth to breastfeeding and caring for a newborn with zero obstacles, but I believe my body is capable of this experiences and these transitions, and I just want to have that space to believe in my body.

I don't have a solution to the problem, because I wouldn't want to silence women who have become moms...and I do find their stories valuable, for sure. But I just wish I had been given the space to voice my optimism and my confidence with a positive response, even if only for five minutes!


I did say the birth group was helpful too and it was!

Being pregnant has taken away something that has become more important to me than I realized; running. I'm already trying to plan my next marathon! I'm somewhat nervous about how slow and out of shape I'll be when I get back into running, but I AM NOT going to push myself into injury. Making a baby and having a baby is a big deal that has long term physical effects, some of those physiological changes can directly effect running and distance running, so it is VERY important that I take care of myself. I'm happy to take the time to rest and to heal, even if it means getting back into running slowly and at a lower ability than I had before pregnancy.

In talking with these women and listening to them, I was also able to reframe my mental state and remind myself that I've done hard stuff before! I KNOW having a baby is not running a marathon, but I also know that most people haven't run a marathon. I know what it took to prepare myself physically and mentally for a marathon and what it feels like not to finish a marathon because physical obstacles overcame my mindset. I haven't talked about running in several months, because I haven't been running! Instead, I've been training to have this baby, and I FEEL GOOD! Talking with these women and reminding myself of how I approached marathons and how I've managed to finish one marathon and three half marathons reminded me of the mind set I think I need to adopt when going into labor. I was able to voice these thoughts out loud and I felt so comfortable having put away all the books and blogs, because I feel very ready to enter into this experience!

I've done all the research and all the training and found my support system, and now I'm ready to do this...and yes, I'm a little scared, but I have to say, I'm also really excited.

I'm hoping that my positive attitude isn't the insanity I've been lead to believe it is. But that's why I wanted to write this post. I wanted to record how I'm feeling in the BEFORE, so that I have a great reference for how I'm feeling in the AFTER.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Home stretch...

I'm really pleased with what I accomplished on my list last week. I didn't finish everything, but I finished all the tasks that are actual work. All the sewing IS DONE!!! (Mom is gonna do the last velcro tabs on the cloth diaper covers.) All of the photo editing is done. I've also cleaned out all my craft supplies and organized the closet. Which means, this week, Adam can help me move out some furniture I don't need and I can organize the last couple of things I have around my room...get it all cleaned up. I also had a hand from a friend this week...she noticed I had some things on my list that I kept NOT checking off, so she bought me some Snappis! I totally appreciate it. I've been interviewing pediatricians (awful) and had an emergency vet visit (cat is fine) and been sewing, so I haven't had time to sit down and do a lot of the internet searching I had on my list. But this week, since I don't have to sew for HOURS any day (or edit photos), I can have some quality internet time!!!!


This week :

01. Walk four-ish times, do yoga
02. Laundry, especially bedding
03. Disposable wardrobe - last items!!!
04. Figure out game plan for big poster boards of photos
05. Clean out sewing supplies
06. Organize books
07. Mail packages
08. Deliver ALL THE THINGS to Margaret
09. Scrub bedroom floor
10. Call Wooster doctor
11. Hang artwork on walls
12. Price frames for unframed artwork
13. Move furniture
14. Look up folds for newborns
15. Find size 2 Thirsties
16. Blog posts
17. Sanitize and organize bottles
19. Travel blog posts
20. Install car seat
21. Rip some more CDs

Friday, August 4, 2017

Second and Third Trimester SYMPTOMS

I've been thinking about this post for so long that I'm ALMOST to the point where I don't even want to write it anymore...BUT I DO! I do want to write it, I just think it's not going to be as thrilling as all the other horror blogs and listicles about pregnancy symptoms.

It's fairly well documented that beginning pregnancy comes with an influx of hormones that make your boobs grow, your intestines slow down, get everything all tender, make it hard to sleep, give you a permanently stuffed up nose, cause your gums to bleed, and cause that dreaded "morning" sickness, which can actually be "all the time" sickness. This time can also exacerbate or totally alleviate mental health issues. Some women struggle with feeling worse because hormones and some people all of the sudden feel amazing because hormones. These hormones can bring on acne or alleviate acne. These hormones can bring on asthma or alleviate asthma. These hormones can bring on arthritis or put it into remission...the same goes for allergies and autoimmune disorders. However, unless you're suffering from a new and interesting ailment, most of the easy-to-digest listicles aren't going to tell you just how complicated pregnancy symptoms can be. Also, despite the fair amount of documentation and whining among pregnant ladies, most people don't tell you exactly WHY these things are happening.

"First trimester" pregnancy symptoms are caused because your body is growing the placenta. Once the placenta is fully formed, it takes control of the hormone production.

Prior to the development of the placenta, your body was working overtime to give your body enough hormones to GROW AN ORGAN! Yes, your body creates an entire organ that will become life support for your baby. AN ENTIRE ORGAN. If you just started developing gills so that they could help you breathe water, you would be fucking amazed, right? If your body suddenly grew an organ that processed air into food, you would be fucking amazed, right? Well, be fucking amazed, because a pregnant woman grows an extra organ and it provides all of the life support for the human she is growing. Y'all, biology is amazing. (And if you attributed biology to a god, then that deity is amazing for sorting that shit out.)

Here's what all these convenient listicles and whiny message boards also fail to mention : The placenta is usually fully formed by around 10 weeks. What happens after ten week is that many women suddenly feel better and are completely confused as to why. The baby is too small to feel, food tastes good again, and it hasn't been 12 weeks, so what is up with the end of the first trimester???!!!!!

That whole trimester situation is bullshit.

I don't know who created it or why, but they didn't have a solid foundation in math. Many of the "first trimester" symptoms tend to disappear at about ten weeks because the placenta is formed and it's making the hormones and your body is no longer a hormone making machine. OBVIOUSLY, the exact timeline varies per women, but the limbo between "first trimester" (10 weeks) and "baby moving time" (medically speaking, 23 weeks) can be VERY weird for some women, because the symptoms are gone, but you can't feel the baby, and what the fuck is happening, right?

I mean, you're still growing a baby, and you're still actively growing TWO ORGANS!!! Throughout your entire pregnancy, your uterus, which always exists inside you, and the placenta are constantly growing. Girl, you're fucking amazing, you are growing TWO FUCKING ORGANS!!!! You know who is entirely incapable of ever growing two motherfucking organs? MEN. Those fuckers can't grow extra organs, they just get hard and shoot sperm up in someone. Women are the only humans who have the ability to grow two organs and that is fucking awesome science or a miracle, depending on your personal belief system. (It's also why we've been oppressed since forever, which is some BULLSHIT if you ask me. We should be the queens, reigning down power over puny men who can't grow extra organs because they are lame and have penises.)

Ok, lest someone call me a man-hater, I digress.

So what you really have when it comes to growing a baby is :

1. Growing the placenta
2. Growing the uterus, placenta and baby to term
3. Delivering the baby and placenta
4. Allowing the uterus to shrink back to it's usual size.

That's not three things and the math doesn't divide them into 12-ish week sessions either.

So what about second and third trimester symptoms?

The nasty truth is, "it varies immensely by woman". You could continued to have morning sickness or never have it and suddenly crave food you've never ever wanted to eat before (no one can explain cravings, but some pregnant ladies will tell you they are real). You could go into remission for your autoimmune disorder. You could greatly struggle with anxiety or depression, even if you've never had it before. You could have other weird shit happen like :

tingly feet
bleeding gums
mouth sores
restless legs
heartburn or acid reflux
change in vision
change in skin texture or color
change in size and consistency of boobs

The list could go on and on.

The tingly feet happened to me, and it was scary as fuck. Go on and Google "tingly feet". You're gonna be hit with a whole lotta peripheral nerve damage, which is a side effect of diabetes. But if you keep digging, you'll find that tingly feet can also happen due to hormone fluctuations, which is basically your entire pregnancy.

Hormones fluctuate greatly throughout pregnancy and even during breast feeding, and hormones can cause a LOT of weird shit.

So yeah, you could feel like shit throughout your entire pregnancy, be constantly sore and bloated and exhausted, or not. You could develop a new allergic reaction or food intolerance. I mean, there's so much that could happen and no one can tell you exactly what can happen or when it will happen...and lots of people aren't writing about all the really weird shit, because there's just no guarantee. There are a lot of symptoms that it seems every woman tends to suffer from and are fairly well documented and then there's everything else. And worse, the symptoms can come and go, making you feel like a fucking crazy person who has peripheral nerve damage and mouth cancer. (That was a fun weekend for me.)

So what is a gal to do?

If symptoms become extremely painful, limit every day functioning, or persist for more than a week, talk to your doctor. At the end of the day, it is most likely your body is having some hormone fluctuation, but if you wanna be sure, your doctor will know. Only you can know what is severely painful for you. Only you can know if some weird symptom has gone on too long. Because you know your body better than anyone, especially better than any pregnancy blog, so you are the one who should make the call about your body. Don't be embarrassed to bring things up to a doctor. It's literally their job to guide you through your pregnancy safely. You can always call your mom or your sister or your aunt, but what if they didn't experience what you did? Or worse, what if they decide your moment of anxiety is the perfect time for them to lay down on you their horror story? That shit is never helpful.

Conclusion : Pregnancy is FUCKING AWESOME. Your body is an amazing fete of science or a miracle or both! You will get through it, but weird shit can happen. Try not to worry too much and also maybe don't Google EVERY weird thing you feel. (Or do, I'm not the boss of you!) Symptoms vary woman-to-woman and even day-to-day and no one has the master list of what you might experience, so know your body and consult your doctor if you're concerned.