He’s Home and Some Pregnancy Thoughts

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37 weeks

Sully got home right before I hit 35 weeks. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world. The night before, I could hardly sleep. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come. After 140 days apart, with a total of 9 weeks of zero contact, just knowing that he’d be home if the baby decided to come early was such a relief. The boat got delayed a total of 28 days, so I was starting to lose patience as well as hope. But, it was the most exciting thing to see his face light up when he saw me.

Seeing his reaction to feeling the baby’s kicks the first time was amazing. Everything that excites me daily was new to him, so it’s been really fun for him to experience everything he missed out on in the past 4.5 months or so. He got to see my belly move for the first time, feel the baby kick and feel hiccups.

We’ve spent the last 2 weeks getting reacquainted with each other, taking our childbirth class, setting up the baby stuff and getting the house ready for our move. The childbirth class was really great. We both learned a lot–which was surprising after how much of a disappointment I found the lactation class–and we both feel more prepared for delivery day, whenever that may be. Sully also got to meet my doctor last week which was great. He really liked my doctor, so now we both really hope he can be there for delivery!

Sully got 5 days off after they’d been home for about a week, so we spent the two days after our childbirth class doing baby laundry, setting up baby’s little corner in our room, creating little diaper stations in a few places in the house and generally preparing for the baby’s arrival. We went to Seattle this weekend to have dinner with some friends and meander through Pike Place one last time. We’re trying to soak up our last days without a baby.

We STILL don’t know the gender. We decided with a maximum of 6 weeks left after he got home (my doctor won’t let me go past 41 weeks), we’d both rather hold out for the surprise at birth. We’d already had the gender in an envelope for 17 weeks without peeking, so what’s 6 weeks or less at that point really?

Walter is super pleased Sully is home. Here’s the video of Walter being reunited with Sully. It kind of melts my heart. Make sure you have your sound on. The noises coming out of that dog of our are priceless. He’s a big baby.

Walter and Dad Reunited from Chelsea E on Vimeo.

 

At one point I remember writing that I wasn’t really enjoying being pregnant. Early in pregnancy, I truthfully didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I was sick all the time. Once I got over the vomiting all the time, I’ve really come to love being pregnant. Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of big, and it’s getting harder to move around. But, I’ve honestly been enjoying my pregnancy. I feel pretty good about myself. I’m still doing most of my normal activities without too much extra effort. I don’t have any swelling or pain. My one complaint is that my super long torso means that all my maternity shirts are now getting too short, but most of them are still baggy. So I’m just trying to hold out until the end without buying anything else.

My doctor has been really supportive of me maintaining my previous activity level. He basically told me as long as it doesn’t hurt, I can continue to do anything I was doing before I got pregnant. I’ve been lifting weight still, but I’ve reduced my total load by about 20% just out of comfort. I’m still doing cardio a few days each week, but I’m dying to get back into running. I get quite a few stares and/or comments at the gym. One little old man asked me when I was due this week and after I told him July 21st, he told me I was amazing. Old people who are nice are basically my favorite! I plan to lift and do cardio until I either can’t do it anymore, which I don’t foresee happening, or until I deliver! My doctor is a strong advocate for staying active in pregnancy because it makes labor and recovery easier, so I hope he is right.

It Grew

I know it shouldn’t come as any surprise that my belly keeps growing, but when I compare the pictures, I’m always really surprised. I’ve got quite the belly these days. I think comparing them side by side is so funny because you can realllllly see the growth. Week 32 I was still pretty tiny, and now I’m getting pretty big. The 34 week picture sort of does look like I just shoved a basketball under my shirt though.

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Rather than bore you (and me) with three long lists of updates, I’ll just summarize. I’m up 18 lbs or so. I miss sushi, any sort of cold and/or icy beverage containing alcohol that I could drink on the patio in the sun and my husband. I pretty much only want to eat fruit, salad and icees. I’m trying not to partake in the icees too often because they’re gross if you read what’s in them.

I don’t feel too tired yet. I’m still getting to the gym 4-5 days a week. It’s been getting more comical. There have been some concerned looks, particularly when I go for the 20 lb dumbbells. My doctor is supportive of it, so I plan to keep on lifting until the end, unless gets too uncomfortable. I’ve been enjoying a nice 30 minute nap nearly each afternoon to make up for waking up in the middle of the night to roll over.

And, I’m looking forward to my husband coming home and enjoying our last few weeks before we’re parents. I have a list of dates I’d like to go on once he’s home. Most revolve around food. Pregnant people like food. I’m excited to go to our favorite breakfast place as many times as possible before we move and to just enjoy the nice weather before we go. We’re hoping to meet some friends in Seattle for dinner one night, and I’d like to go wander Pike Place one last time and get some flowers. We’re both just excited to soak up our last little bit of time just the two of us.

I’m most looking forward to seeing Sully’s face when he sees my big belly. I just don’t think pictures do it justice. I’m glad we had mail drops with the SIX delays the boat has had so it’s not a total surprise. (Yes, the boat really has been extended six time and they’ve already set a record for number of days at sea for his type of sub). But, I can’t wait to see his reaction to the first time he feels the baby kick or sees my whole belly move. There’s just so much to look forward to in the next few months!

We’re pretty much set on baby stuff. I’m holding off on baby laundry until Sully gets home so he can veto anything he really hates (but I doubt he will). But, I’m really excited to rip the tags off and put all the baby laundry away in my dresser until we move.

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I’ve got 2 months of Honest diapers ready to go so we’re covered until after the move when we’ll have a mailing address again. Newborn sized diapers might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Tell me these aren’t the cutest, tiniest thing ever.

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Once we find a house, I’ll use the Amazon Mom completion discount to buy everything left on our registry that we actually need–including the crib! So for the time being, the baby will sleep in the 4moms Breeze. I’m really happy with this purchase, and I think it will suit us with all the traveling we have planned for the next few years! Once I found out it opens and closes with ONE HAND, I basically didn’t care what the price was (though the 20% off from diapers.com was really what sold me…because it is really expensive).

Bandaid Rippers

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This is what “I hate people and want to be done dealing with them for the day” looks like. And has nothing to do with bandaid ripping, other than that we are the bandaid rippers in question. And this picture makes me laugh because it depicts us so well.

My doctor called us bandaid rippers when I asked him if it was OK to move two weeks after the baby comes. I actually don’t think I’d argue with him. We are the bandaid ripping type. I moved across the country to be with Sully before we we’d been together for eight months. Our wedding? Planned in three months because that’s when Sully could get time off. Moving right after a baby? Totally doable.

This summer is going to be a whirlwind. I don’t have any issue admitting that. I’ve been mentally prepping myself for the cluster F that will be this summer. I’ve given myself a pep talk or 57. Here’s a fun rundown of our current plan:

  • July 21: Due Date
  • July 31/August 1: House pack out dates (tentative, we’ll see what the Navy will give us…but Sully has to get home before we can plan this one)
  • August 3: Leave for CA, drive 6 hours
  • August 4: Drive the last 6.5 hours, live in a hotel until we find a house

Oh yeah, did I mention that? Since I can’t travel pretty much right after Sully gets home from sea because I’ll be too far along, we can’t go find a house. So, we’re going to be living in the hotel on base in CA for as long as it takes to find a house. With Walter AND a newborn. Try not to be too jealous. Sounds like a shit show, yes?

Walter will ride in Sully’s car, and I’ll drive my car with the baby. We’ll stop every few hours to feed and change the baby…or more often depending on how often “it” screams at me. So the 6 hours of driving will turn into closer to 10 hours from point A to point B each day. We’ll be packing everything we need for the baby for at least the first few month into our cars just because we won’t be able to access anything the movers pack until we find a house.

Now, if that doesn’t sound fun, I don’t know what does. Really, our options are limited. Sully has to be in CA by the end of August. We need to find a house, preferable before he checks into his new job so we can get at least a little bit settled. I have to have this baby here since I’m cut off from travel way too soon after he gets home, and he has too many things to do on the boat up until when we leave.

But, this will make us more flexible. And hopefully, it’ll make our baby more flexible. I’m not a “go with the flow” person. I’m a control freak. I think this will be a good lesson in patience and flexibility–two things I’m going to need as a mother.

And, I know the baby may not be here by my due date. My doctor and I have discussed options. He’s willing to help move things along if needed/wanted–within reason obviously. I’m undecided on this whole idea, so we’ll play it by ear. I’m sure I’ll make that decision in bandaid ripping kind of way too.

Leaving Washington

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The view from our patio  |  Olympic Mountain Range

Leaving Washington will be so bittersweet. I have loved living here–despite my bitching about the weather–but I’m also looking forward to all the new memories we’ll make it California. I have such mixed feelings about saying goodbye to Washington. It’s been our home for more than three and a half years. Walter joined our family here. We got engaged here. We lived here when we got married. We got pregnant here. We’ll welcome our baby into the world here.

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The day we brought Wal home

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The day we got engaged, right where he proposed

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We’ve spent about a year of our time here apart because of deployments. Deployments with limited contact via email and that’s it. Sully worked well over 15,000 hours here. We spent weeks not seeing each other while he was in shift work. Coming home at different times, just barely missing each other by an hour. We spent two months with him not being able to communicate off the boat. We spent weeks of every deployment not being able to communicate. He went to sea seven times while we lived here. It hasn’t been easy for either of us.

I got my first real job here after college. I found myself here. I decided to go back to school while we lived here, thanks to the support of Sully and sweet friends I made.

I’m glad to be saying goodbye to the boat. The crappy hours. The uncertainty. The lack of schedule. I’m glad to not suffer through the winter here again. I won’t miss the 8 hours of sunlight in the winter. I will miss the sun rising before 5 am in the summer and setting around 10 pm. I’ve never experienced such a beautiful summer until we moved here. I’ll miss the hours spent outside in the summer, surrounded by mountains. I’ll miss seventy degree summer days. But the lack of sunshine in the winter? Not even sort of sad to not do that again.

In some ways, Washington has become home to me, which I never thought would happen. This place will always hold a special place in my heart because of everything that has happened while living here. We’ve been on many adventures and explored this beautiful state. I’m excited for a new adventure and to see where life takes us, but I can’t help but feel sentimental to leave a place where our lives changed so much. Where we became who we are today. 

30 & 31 Weeks

 I’m feeling pretty large lately. I’m up somewhere between 15-17 lbs. and I can feel it. It’s getting slightly more difficult to move around, though I’m still lifting weights consistently (and getting many concerned stares) and doing cardio regularly. I’ve had to lower the intensity a little bit more, and I have to take more breaks between sets. I’m really thankful for a healthy pregnancy and being able to maintain a consistent routine. My doctor thinks it’ll make labor and recovery easier, so I’m keeping active. Knowing that motivates me, and I hope to bounce back relatively quickly.

30 Weeks  |  May 12

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See my awesome tan? I got burnt at my aunt’s at the beginning of APRIL. I’ve tried evening it out, but the burn gets darker and the rest of me stays white. Hopefully Sully doesn’t mind a farmer’s tan. Also, this isn’t a maternity dress. Small victory. Especially for $8. And it’s nursing friendly because, you know, that’s a priority now.

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31 Weeks  |  May 19

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I go back to the doctor next week, so we’ll see what updates he has. I can’t quite figure out how the baby is positioned, so I’m hoping he can tell me. I feel and see a lot of kicks on my right side, but then I feel something jammed up into my ribs on the right side every night. Sully was supposed to be home in time for that appointment, so I’m sad to be going alone. He was only able to make it to one appointment, so I’d like for him to get to go again to meet my doctor (who I love) and hear little baby’s heartbeat again! It’s been a long pregnancy without him here, and I’m just so ready to have him back home with me. Now if their return could just stop changing. He’ll have been gone for almost half of my pregnancy by the time he gets home. At this point, I just want him home before this kid comes out of me!

Under the Sea

So, Sully is finally back in touch after almost 3 weeks of no communication. Good times. Definitely better than the 6.5 weeks we just did, but not hearing from your husband for a few weeks blows. He’s clearly having a lovely time, so I thought I’d enlighten all of you and share some of his sentiments. I’ve added my delightful commentary in italics.

  • I was thinking today. Prison is better than being underway on a submarine. In prison the food is better, you can watch TV, go running, work out, sleep every night, go outside in the sun, play basketball and other sports, make phone calls, send email, send mail, access the internet and even have visitation from loved ones. Sounds much better than being on a submarine. Why would anyone want to do this for a career? Not many people can say that their job is worse than prison. They even have libraries in prisons. And in prison, you know how long your sentence is, and it can’t get longer unless you break prison rules. He’s never been to prison, but he makes a good point. Also, perks of prison? Your food–which is better than sub food–is free. We’ve paid about $800 since he left in January to the government to feed him processed shit. He doesn’t get hazard pay, but he gets separation pay. The separation pay is less than the amount we’ve paid for food. Riddle me that shit. OH and they aren’t coming home on time, yet again, hence the comment about the sentence length.
  • We had “Don’t beat your wife” training today. It was great. “Don’t beat your wife” training is them telling the guys that your wife might not live at home anymore, might be sleeping with some other dude, might have emptied your bank account, etc. before the boat gets back. It happens. BUT when you have a normal/functional relationship, this speech is funny.
  • Cinco de mayo was “fun” (quotations to emphasize the relativity of the term fun). The wives sent them with chips, salsa, mexican soda, etc. I’ll take “fun” over miserable. Cinco de Mayo would have been much more fun if he was home. Imagine that.
  • …smell like boat (which is a combination of recirculated farts, dude sweat, amine, fried food, not to mention garbage and rotten eggs). We are inside a small metal tube that has the same air recirculated for days. Now, if that’s not an appealing description, I really just don’t know what is. And, it’s the truth. They smell so gross when they get off the boat. He had to cut his hair one time to get the smell out. I kid you not. And the laundry. That stuff is awesome. Multiple washes and it still smells wrong. Amine is a chemical they use to treat the air. It’s not a good scent. Trust me.

Now, if this doesn’t sell you on the perks of sub service, I’m just really not sure what could. Really though, we’re both over this. The average JO tour is 36 months. July will mark 44 months for him onboard. Welcome to our very bitter lives. We’re both very lovely people right about now. And his shore tour? Can’t get here fast enough. And, let’s all say thanks that his job is not recruiting. That would obviously go really well. He really sells the upside of sub service, yes?

Changes and Hair Chopping

So, I’ve been feeling sort of in a rut. It’s been tough to go through such a special, exciting time without the one person I want to share it all with. With limited emails–particularly the 6 weeks of no emails and then going back to no emails for a few weeks after getting spoiled with emails for 4 days–I’m just feeling pretty over it. And by “it” I basically mean everything.

I want to be able to send Sully pictures of my belly. I want to see his face. I want to hear his voice. I want him to see a video of our little baby rolling around in my stomach. Or, even better, feel the kicks with his own hands on my belly. Subs are a different kind of beast with really limited communication, and it’s hard. It’s hard to even explain how difficult it is. I don’t think I would have gotten it had I not gone through this.

Part of the reason I haven’t posted much of anything other than my weekly bump is that I don’t have much to say that anyone would want to hear. I haven’t cooked much of anything because cooking for one is really boring, and I just haven’t been inspired lately. I’m tired, grumpy and bitter most days. And, rather than putting that on other people, I’ve kept to myself.

This sounds vain, but I’ve been worried about what Sully will think when he sees me for the first time. The last time he saw me, I looked like this:

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Funny story. I don’t look like that anymore. The last picture he got of me when they had a mail drop was a much smaller version of Chelsea than what he’ll come home to. Normally when he leaves, I spend a lot of time distracting myself in the gym or running. So, he comes home and I’m in even better shape than when he left. This time will be different. Not that I’ve gotten out of shape or I’m gross, but it’s different. He’s never seen me pregnant (other than the sad excuse for a “bump” at 15 weeks). While I know he’ll be excited about my growing belly because of the baby, it’ll just be different than every other time we’ve had to reintegrate our lives after an underway.

So, I’ve been working on things that make me feel good about myself. Sully did send me a very reassuring email that he wasn’t grossed out by the pictures, but it will still be weird. Basically because I’m making it weird in my head. I’ve never weighed this much in our entire relationship. And, no, he didn’t marry me for my body. I know that. It’s just a new life phase, and it’s hard to make the transition alone.

Anyway, going to the gym has been something that has helped me to continue to feel good about myself. I’ve been trying to wear makeup more often, even if I’m not really doing anything special. I’ve been spending time with people who make me feel happy and good about myself. Friends who are encouraging and supportive.

I also decided I needed a good hair cut. I haven’t cut my hair since November. And, even then, I didn’t do anything too drastic. I really loved my shorter hair right after we moved here. Plus, we’re moving somewhere warm and I’ll have a baby that requires a lot of attention. I wanted to do something for myself, so I chopped all my hair off. And, I mean all my hair. SEVEN inches later, I’ve got a new haircut I’m really happy with. There’s something so refreshing about chopping all your hair off.

Before:

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After:hair

 

My face has rounded out a little bit, which is odd for me to see. I know the changes aren’t permanent, and in 6 or 8 months, I’m sure I’ll be back to my prepregnancy size. I feel like no one really talks about some of these things. It’s weird to see your body change. While I am comfortable in my skin and actually feel good about myself while pregnant (contrary to how some of this may have sounded), I just worry after 4 months if my husband will be freaked out. A homecoming comes with a lot of emotions, and throwing in pregnancy hormones and a wife who looks totally different makes this different than the last 6 times he’s come home. Now if that homecoming could get here already. Only in my dreams.

Four Years Ago

 

Four years ago today, Sully and I were set up at a friend’s rehearsal dinner. We were tricked into adding each other on Facebook a few months before the wedding, so we’d been Facebook chatting leading up to the wedding weekend. Look at those young baby faces:

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While it was one of the more awkward evenings of my life, it was also a great night. I got lost on the way to the rehearsal dinner, so I was telling my friend (the bride, who set us up) about how stupid I felt…and Sully was sitting right there. So, yeah, off to a good start. Fortunately, we also got lost on the way to the wedding the next day, so he knew very early in our relationship that maps are not my thing. Or directions. Good times are had in the car, particularly when I’m the navigator. Good times, I tell you.

So, after the rehearsal dinner, we went to some bars downtown. The wedding was in the town where I went to college. I’d finished finals a few days before and just had my internship with Southwest standing between me and graduation. While out at one bar, we were so lucky to encounter my ex boyfriend (who cried when I broke up with him after 2 months of dating and turned into a bit of a stalker–oddly enough, I have a lot of bad dating stories before I met Sully). He followed us around awkwardly all evening. So, basically, why do I tell you this? Sully is a keeper. Such a keeper. Within the first day of meeting me, he got to deal with all of this.

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The next day, I picked up Sully for the wedding and we basically spent the entire wedding talking to just each other. We parted ways the day after the wedding. He called that night. And the next night. And every night after. If you want the rest of the story, you can go read that here.

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The last four years have been the best four years of my life. We’ve been through a lot of tough times between deployments, endless shift work and the normal life struggles, but I couldn’t be more thankful to have this guy by my side in life. We’ve made some really great memories, and I’m looking forward to all the new memories we’ll make as parents and living in a beautiful new place!

29 Weeks

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29 weeks

  • How far along: 29 weeks
  • Gender: no clue! I kind of think girl, but it wavers.
  • Weight gain:  12 or 13 lbs.
  • Maternity clothes: Yes!
  • Stretch marks: None so far
  • Belly button in or out: Still sitting between in and out, with the top part more out than in.
  • Sleep: good!
  • Best moment this week: Feeling and seeing a lot more kicks
  • Worst moment this week: Nothing really other than the sinus infection I’m battling
  • Miss anything: Sully, sushi, margaritas on cinco de mayo
  • Movement: lots!
  • Cravings: salad still!
  • Queasy or sick: nope!
  • Looking forward to: Sully coming home (this is basically a constant)

This week has been kind of tough. I’ve really been missing Sully and feeling sad about everything he’s missing out on. I’m so thankful he’ll be home in time for the baby to come, but I can’t help but mourn the loss of this precious time together before we become parents. On a brighter note, this is the first maxi skirt I’ve ever purchased and it’s not maternity. I’ve never been able to find one long enough. I’ve also been getting in some really great workouts lately. I’ve been going to the gym about 5 days a week and still lifting and doing the arc trainer or swimming. It’s pretty much the only thing keeping me sane and getting me through the end of this deployment.

 

25, 26, 27 & 28 Weeks

So I got a little behind! Rather than drag this out into 4 posts, I figured I’d just do a condensed version of the last four weeks. So far, everything looks good with my pregnancy. The doctor is pleased with how everything is going, and I go back at 32 weeks! It’s so neat to see my belly grow each week!

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Week 25: A non maternity dress! I took my glucose test this week and passed, so that was exciting!

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Week 26: Baby traveled to PA, DC and MD to visit family!

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Week 27: Baby in MD! I finally heard from Sully again this week after almost 2 months of no contact.

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Week 28: Back home and ready for this deployment to end!