The Best Part of Waking Up…

No, it isn’t Folgers in your cup. It’s a warm, furry buddy who, hearing you start to stir, leaves his post at your feet to crawl up your body and plop, purring, on your chest.

It just doesn’t get better than that, people.

That’s the new routine Oliver (one of my two cats) and I seem to be falling into. It might be my imagination, but ever since I turned up pregnant, I swear this little cuddle bug has been even more attentive than usual.

He follows me upstairs each night, waiting patiently just inside the door until I’m ready to crawl into bed. Then he hops up next to me, and as soon as I arrange myself on the pillows, settles in for a thorough petting session.

Usually, he stays until I fall asleep, his purr more soothing than any lullaby I can think of. He spends most of the night using my feet as a pillow—although how he hasn’t gotten brain damage from the amount of kicking his little head must receive, I don’t know.

Sometimes he’s joined by my dog Kermit, who, when he’s feeling sweet, curls up behind my knees. More often than not, though, he does an excellent Stretch Armstrong impersonation—leaving me with a narrow sliver of bed.

When Kiwi, the third member of the furry trio joins us, it can get quite crowded indeed—and that’s before my husband (a night owl if there ever was one) arrives.

But you know what? Those are the nights I sleep the best. And now that fall’s coming, there’ll be a lot more of those. I’m trying to cherish them while I can, knowing that once this baby comes, these scenes will be few and far between for a while.

I can only hope that Leroy (that’s what we’re calling the kid for now) loves them as much as we do, and that they love him (or her) in return. After all, there’s always room for one more in the family pile!

Surrendering to the inevitable.

The moment I found out I was pregnant, I made a promise to myself. A promise to exercise regularly. To eat healthily. And, no matter what it took, to gain no more than 20 to 25 pounds.

I thought that seemed reasonable. After all, I had just finished losing huge amounts of weight. Eating healthy had become second nature. And working out had long since stopped seeming like work. If I couldn’t keep my weight in check, then who could?

So I began my first trimester determined to gain no more than the two to five pounds all the books recommend.

Then the freight train of badness that is the first trimester of pregnancy hit. Soon, the only way to control the constant nausea was by feeding my face every two hours.

And as for those daily workouts? Well, I sure hope dragging my exhausted ass from the front door to the couch counts as exercise. That’s about all I’ve been able to manage.

Finally, last week I got on the scale. And, blinking at the number, got back off. Then got back on. And back off. And back on. Until finally it sunk in. At 13.5 weeks pregnant, I was up 11 pounds—more than twice my first trimester goal.

That’s when I broke into tears. And not cute, girly sniffles either. These were the huge, wracking sobs that turn your face purple and send snot pouring out of your nose. My poor husband bolted out of bed, convinced someone had died.

It took him a half hour, endless amounts of patience and a cup of deliciously forbidden coffee to calm me down.

And that’s when it hit me. I’m not in Kansas anymore. Whatever control I may have once had over my body is gone. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s tough—even if at the moment he’s only 3.5 inches long.

So I’m going to stop beating myself up. Stop counting every calorie and dreading every pound. Instead, I’m going to enjoy my pregnancy, including my newly rounded (well, rounder) belly and everything that comes with it (like elastic waistbands).

After all, my body’s making miracles happen. It deserves a little respect.

The things I miss the most.

There’s one thing (well probably lots of things) you truly can’t appreciate until you’re actually pregnant. Namely, how many of your favorite things are about to get put on the no-no list.

And it’s not like the no-no list you put yourself on when you’re dieting. The one where you say, no, you can’t have that chocolate cake. Or that double fudge latte. Or that hot dog dripping with cheese. Because those? Are negotiable.

If that “no, I couldn’t” becomes “well, maybe just one,” you’re not hurting anyone but yourself. Well, yourself and your waistline.

But when you’re pregnant? Those no-nos become You Damn Well Better Nots. Because you are hurting someone else. Someone too small to fight back. And let’s face it, my child is going to have enough to deal with without help from any potentially toxic substances that I ingest.

So, on to my list of the things I miss the most.

Drugs. Not the illegal variety. But all the ones I routinely rely on to keep my snot-filled, creaky body functioning. Right now, just about all I can have is Tylenol and Benadryl. And if you ask my three-day old headache, it’ll tell you Tylenol isn’t worth the trouble it takes to swallow it.

Caffeine. All caffeine, but coffee in particular. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was five (ask my mom if you don’t believe me), so doing without is an unusual kind of torture. Sure, they say you can have one cup a day, but when you’re dealing with an addiction as strong as mine, that’s just enough to crank up the cravings to a screaming pitch. Not fun.

Lunchmeat. I looove deli meats. I eat it on sandwiches, cut up in salads, even just rolled up for a quick little snack. It’s one of the 5 essential food groups in my house. Or it was. Now, if I want a piece of turkey, I’ve got to nuke the heck out of it first. Can you say ewww?

Wine. Alcohol as a whole is a no no, but the only adult beverage I really miss is wine. I like everything about wine. I enjoy shopping for it – reading all the little descriptors at the store to see what sounds tasty. I love the hollow popping sound the bottle makes when the cork comes out. And of course, drinking it. There’s just something so relaxing about curling up with a nice glass of wine after a long, hard day. Grape juice in a wine glass? Not the same thing.

But, I have to admit – there’s one huge plus to being pregnant. Well, there are a lot of them, but one I’m loving the most right now. Are you ready for it?

It’s elastic waistbands. This is one time in your life when there’s absolutely no shame in wearing nice, comfy pants. All the time. They even make special lycra bands you can use to hold your jeans up when you can’t button them anymore. Get that? It’s okay not to button your jeans.

It’s paradise. Really it is.

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