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May 29 2012

My Jewish Abortion

By at 10:19 am

star of david necklace sarah tuttle singerIt’s no secret why frightened looking girls walk into the social worker’s office on the second floor of the Student Health Center at UC Berkeley.

And while I sat there, vaguely nauseous and needing to pee (for the third time that hour) I avoided eye contact with the students walking by. After all, Nice Jewish Girls don’t get knocked up freshman year of college.

The social worker had a warm smile and a firm handshake. She was short and petite with close-cropped curly hair and kind eyes. She reminded me of my mom, and I tried not to let that bother me. Read the rest of this entry →

May 24 2012

Week 25: Freaking Out About Day Care Before My Baby is Born

By at 1:54 pm
day care blocks

What am I going to do?

This week has been one of harsh realities. Yes, we’re super-excited about welcoming our bundle of joy (Carolyn? Caitlin? Charlotte?–seriously the name keeps changing everyday!), but each day that passes gives us new things to think about. Things that we probably should have anticipated before, but just kind of thought it would all work out. I sound like I’m on 16 and Pregnant instead of 33 and Employed! This week’s worry: Infant Daycare.

After meeting with the Human Resources lady at the school district office, I came to the firm conclusion that I really cannot take more than 12 weeks off (with the last four weeks being completely unpaid). This means I may have to go back to work on a Thursday (fun!) and will have to deal with the concept of having a 3-month-old baby and a full-time job. Read the rest of this entry →

May 21 2012

Week 28: Will My Kids Get to Know the Real Me?

By at 9:52 am

I absolutely love to cook. It’s a love that has grown over several years, starting as I watched my mother make her annual gefilte fish from scratch for Rosh Hashanah (not from live fish she kept in the bathtub, like her mother did, but close enough). It expanded as I started to keep Shabbat in my teens, and flourished during the time I spent living steps away from the Machane Yehudah market in Jerusalem.

Cooking is something that connects me to every phase of my life so far, and I value it not only for the experience itself but as a thread that weaves together very different experiences and parts of my personality. The fact that I keep kosher now has at times complicated things, but has also increased the joy I get from translating different foods to my own cultural palate. Read the rest of this entry →

May 18 2012

Pregnancy: A Surprising Cure for Crohn’s Disease

By at 10:12 am

Being pregnant has helped me put on weight, which is a good thing.Back when I was 18 years old and on my way to college, I had a very dramatic medical situation on a family vacation that resulted in some MAJOR surgery and a diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s Disease, an intestinal disorder that is very common among Ashkenazi Jews, has been a roller coaster for me since my diagnosis.

Before the disease I had always suffered from obesity, trying every diet on the planet to make myself lose weight. However, as the disease progressed, the pain increased and my weight decreased. In the past 10 years, I’ve had an extreme case that has caused me to see multiple specialists, try experimental therapy, and drop a scary amount of weight. The once rotund 16-year-old-224-lb-teenager morphed into the emaciated 113-lb-anorexic-looking-adult, causing family and friends to fear for my well-being. I had planned not to have children, for fear of passing on the disease, even though heredity is not a cause of the disease. It is one of those fun diseases for which there is no cause, no cure, and only maintenance. Read the rest of this entry →

May 16 2012

Pregnancy Cravings & The Evils of Trader Joe’s

By at 2:58 pm
trader joes milk chocolate peanut butter pretzels

How cruel.

I suspected I was pregnant with my fourth child even before the little ritual with peeing on the stick for two reasons. Reason 1: It is not normal to fall asleep in the (parked) car in the carpool line. Reason 2: It is not normal to think that dipping chocolate covered pretzels in hot sriracha sauce would constitute a tasty snack. Well, okay, both of those reasons are “normal” behavior–normal behavior for a woman who is pregnant, that is.

Food is a touchstone of pregnancy. It’s not only because a pregnant woman has to think of the developing child in her womb as she chooses what to eat, but also because those “pregnancy cravings” are very real. Trader Joe’s trips, normally a comparatively inexpensive supermarket trip to stock up on fresh vegetables, have become a veritable minefield of lethal snacks. There is definitely someone pregnant working in product development for that store (chocolate covered peanut butter filled pretzels, exhibit A), and they prey on my dramatic pregnant appetites. Read the rest of this entry →

May 14 2012

High Risk Pregnancy, Second Time Around

By at 9:50 am

high risk pregnancyWhen I was almost 27 weeks pregnant with my firstborn, I went into my OB’s office for a routine visit. My doctor was watching me closely due to cervical scarring that I’d incurred from some preventative procedures I’d had earlier in life.

Within two seconds of the exam, he backed away and told me to move to the ultrasound room. We waited nervously as the doctor pulled up the ultrasound machine and declared that I had next to no cervix left, was completely softened and dilated to 1 cm. He scheduled us the next morning for an emergency cerclage (a suture used to close the opening of the cervix) but when we arrived at the hospital the procedure was cancelled because the monitor showed my contractions were three minutes apart. Read the rest of this entry →

May 8 2012

Mo’ Babies, Mo’ Problems

By at 4:39 pm

double strollerTamara Reese wrote a piece recently about being pregnant with her second child, and thinking about how she could possibly make room in her life and heart for baby #2. Like Tamara, I’m also pregnant, and constantly thinking about these questions. But my main question is a little bit different: how could I possibly not have baby #2?

Maybe it’s because I’m at 36 weeks now, and have spent so much of that time really thinking about what a second baby means. I’ve been lucky to watch many of my mommy friends go through the process of adding a second baby to the family, and though I’ve seen first-hand how hard it is, I’ve also seen that it’s possible. Or maybe it’s the advanced nesting–we’re ready with our co-sleeper, six bags of hand-me-down clothing from friends, and even a massive amount of newborn diapers from a neighbor. Read the rest of this entry →

May 4 2012

Week 25: I Am Not a Yoga Goddess

By at 2:02 pm

prenatal yoga classAmong the many things I’ve been learning about my temperament and my body from being pregnant, I’ve discovered that I enjoy yoga. I always knew in theory that yoga was challenging and rewarding, but in practice the classes made me sleepy and at the end I always felt like that hour would have been better spent working up a sweat on a run. But now running doesn’t make me feel very good or accomplished, just crampy and stressed that I may have deprived my future child of oxygen or proper blood flow. So… yoga. Read the rest of this entry →

Choosing a Name: Too Goyish vs. Too… Biblical

By at 9:35 am

Figuring out a name took us a while...

Now that we’re nearing the sixth month of our pregnancy, my husband and I finally feel safe enough to try to settle on a name. I had suffered a miscarriage with my last pregnancy and didn’t want to do ANYTHING prematurely this time around. So, around month four, we started thinking about names for both boys and girls.

First came the issue of whether or not we were going to give the baby a Jewish name. We’re an interfaith couple, but my husband has no strong ties to any religion and 99% of the time defers to Judaism when it comes to life law, at least as long as we’ve been together (10+ years). That pretty much means that he’s never been a regular church-goer in his childhood, and always comes with me to High Holy Days, Passover, and the occasional Shabbat service. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 27 2012

Pregnancy #2 is REALLY DIFFERENT

By at 1:41 pm

pickles and olivesMy husband’s been noticing that I start a lot of sentences with any combination of the following: “You know what sucks/is hard/feels bad/hurts/is tiring?” The answer is always BEING PREGNANT.

The last time around, though, it wasn’t this bad. When I was tired, I’d take a nap. When I was hungry, I’d eat. When I had to pee, I’d just walk myself over to the bathroom. When I wanted to go to prenatal yoga, I’d grab my yoga mat. When I wanted to take a walk, I’d go. Read the rest of this entry →

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