Positively Pregnant and Panicked

It’s been far too long since I have talked about anxiety and panic attacks. This is mostly because when I have panicked over the last couple of months it always centered around being pregnant. Since, the pregnancy was a secret for 10 weeks, I couldn’t exactly write about how I felt.

Overall, I am thrilled with how I’ve mentally handled everything. With moving, quitting my job, getting pregnant, attempting to fix up an entire house and traveling all summer I am surprised I haven’t had to up dosage and invest in a straight jacket. I am mostly happy, comfortable and positive about the future…mostly.

On any regular day I have to work to keep the negative and obsessive thoughts at bay and pregnancy has been no different. At any moment over the last 3 months I may have thought one or more of the below…

-I am not really pregnant.

-I am having a miscarriage.

-Something is wrong with this baby.

-We are going to screw up this kid.

-I am going to die in childbirth.

-I am going to get fat and stay fat forever.

-I broke the baby.

-I am having a heart attack (always).

-I am growing to fast.

-I am not being healthy enough.

-I should be teaching.

-I am doing everything wrong.

-I’m lazy, useless and should have a job.

-Everything is changing and I don’t feel the same. (Thanks Keane)

I know this all sounds so depressing and morbid, but that’s what high anxiety and panic attacks does to a person. It’s a little monster invading your every thought and forcing you to dwell on what might/could/will happen. My biggest fear after we decided to have a baby was that I will not be able to handle it. My panic attacks and anxiety have been mostly under control for a while, but what if the hormones and changes bring it all back? What if I go crazy? What if I can’t handle it??

28 years of experience has taught me that my anxiety is at its worse when I have to face big changes in my life. What could be bigger than moving, settling down and starting a family…especially for us? I stressed more about possibly having anxiety during pregnancy than the actual pregnancy itself.

Now, the great news is that even though these negative thoughts are sneaking in and trying to keep me from enjoying this exciting time in my life, I have been able to stay stable and stop them. All my practicing, retail therapy, medicine, praying and yoga are worth it because I feel stronger than ever. I am able to think rationally and remind myself that these scenarios are so unlikely. THEN, I am actually able to stop dwelling, or at least recognize I am about to go down the rabbit hole and seek rational thoughts from Husband.

I am also allowing/forcing myself to relax. Anxiety is common in pregnancy for everyone so I am making time to distress as often as I can. I have been taking baths, reading, doing yoga, writing and spending quality time with friends. It’s not easy for me to relax (I love to work and be busy), but I can tell it’s helping. I so often forget how necessary it is to unwind.

AND, the truly unbelievable thing is that I have not had any medicine in 3 weeks! Not because I wanted to stop taking it, but because I forgot to refill my prescription while traveling and have yet to do so. Miraculously, I still feel fine. I am so amazed at myself. (I do plan on refilling the prescription ASAP, but still…this is unbelievable.)

My advice to anyone who lives with panic attacks and wants to have children is to get control of them first. Do whatever you need to do to get healthier and stronger, be responsible and prepare yourself for the major changes. Change is hard, and we (panic-attack-havers) need lots of preparation before tackling any new challenges.

Here’s to 28 more weeks of a mostly calm and happy pregnancy!

Cheers!

Ten Weeks….or so…

10 weeks bump

Okay, okay I suck at writing while traveling. In my defense our hotel in Chicago didn’t even have wi-fi so blogging was completely out of my hands. Once again, I’m back with way too much too share. I wrote this post a week ago, but am just now able to post it.

preggo!

I don’t want to write about every single week of pregnancy, but I’m happy to share some milestones along the way. 10 weeks seems like our first real milestone. We heard the heartbeat, the doctor says everything is a perfect as can be and the world now knows we are expecting our first bambino.

10 weeks

 Since I am was ten weeks, I might as well share my Top Ten Things I’ve Discovered During the First Ten Weeks.

  1. I am soooo tired. Everyone says that the first trimester makes you exhausted all the time, but I honestly thought I’d be okay. I am used to running on fumes and often manage very well with little to no sleep. But, this…this is a different kind of tired. I have had to take naps! I never nap. Even as a small child I used to lie on my red and blue mat at daycare counting the blocks until my teacher finally announced that nap time was over. Now, it takes all of my energy just to type this sentence. While taking my “10 week photo” at the top, Husband kept saying “Your eyes look too tired”.
  2. Speaking of not having energy. I am not drinking coffee. I am rarely drinking coffee. All of my pregnancy books say I can have 200mg a day, which is basically a cup, half a cup if I’m at Starbucks. I try to abstain completely, but it has been hard, like really hard.
  3. I consider myself incredibly lucky because I have not thrown up. However, there has been lots of nausea. Most foods have lost their appeal. The only thing I crave is cheese and beef (neither of which I can eat).  If I go even two hours without eating something small I feel HORRIBLE. Eating often is the only way to ward off nausea.
  4. Husband is even more wonderful than I thought. He will get me crackers and ginger ale the second I feel sick. He makes ramen noodles at midnight when it’s the only thing I want. He encourages me to take it easy and never makes me feel guilty for accidentally falling asleep while “working”. He once went grocery shopping at 10pm so we could make homemade chili at 11pm in July. When I asked him why he was being so nice, he simply said, “Well, you’re pregnant aren’t you?”
  5. Husband is SO annoying. Apparently, being pregnant makes Husband snore, smack, hum, tap, fidget and do a myriad of other annoying habits. (I’ve also heard that pregnancy makes women more irritable, but I’ve yet to see any signs of that.)
  6. I cry A LOT. I am already a sensitive person who cries at anything sentimental, but now it’s a bit ridiculous. During “the red wedding” episode of Game of Thrones I cried for so long and so hard that Husband became concerned. One night Husband asked me to climb a ladder while painting, and I cried….because he wanted me to climb a ladder. Anything and everything seems to bring tears to my eyes.
  7. Pregnancy is the greatest excuse to not do anything I don’t want to do. “Sorry I can’t….I’m too tired, too nauseous, too emotional, too hot, too (insert pregnancy symptom here). It’s awesome.
  8. People are extra nice to you once they find out you’re pregnant. I am loving every minute of it.
  9. Pregnancy is also the best reason to be healthy. Working out and eating healthy is probably more important now than ever. It’s also harder than ever. With all the nausea and exhaustion the last thing I want to do is eat a salad and go for a run, but I’m doing my best. I want to do this right.
  10. My dreams are crazier than normal. I have always had crazy surreal and ridiculous dreams, but lately they are so outlandish that Amanda Bynes would be freaked out.

Overall, pregnancy has been fun, so far. I am loving the changes, the planning and the special attention. Less than 29 weeks until Hilarie Jr. arrives!

Cheers!

We are having a baby!!!

zimbickijr.

FINALLY, I get to tell everyone my super big secret that I never really kept. I suck at keeping any secrets so you can imagine how hard it has been for me to keep this a secret. We have told way more people than originally planned, but whatever, we’re just so excited! This is a huge reason why my blogs have been so sporadic lately. Every day, as I sit at my laptop, I just stare at the screen thinking “OMG, I’m pregnant!” and that’s it. Leaving this little detail out has made it very challenging to write about my daily life.

I am officially 10 weeks and a couple of days pregnant. Everything has gone really well, we have heard it’s heartbeat, seen its little hands and feet wiggle and we are so very excited.

I’ve been thinking of ways to “announce” the pregnancy for months now, and never came up with a super creative idea. We decided to take some photos at our recent Hilton Head vacation, and these are my favorites of the 5 thousand photos we took…

Husband's expression of "what the hell?" here is priceless
Husband’s expression of “what the hell?” here is priceless
I like this one because it looks so similar to our wedding invites
I like this one because it looks so similar to our wedding invites

due date

And of course, Zoey had to sneak into a couple
And of course, Zoey had to sneak into a couple
Awww, Husband is pregnant!
Awww, Husband is pregnant!

When I first found out I was pregnant we decided to tell our parent’s first. We had a big family dinner with my in-laws and I stood up to take a group picture of everyone. I set my camera on “record” and said “on the count of 3, say Hilarie is pregnant!” The idea was to record everyone’s reactions instead of snapping a photo, but I recently got a new phone and that video is now gone…woops.

We Facetime’d with my family in Texas and sent photos to my closest friends.

Sent to my sister, our babies will be just 11 months apart!
Sent to my sister, our babies will be just 11 months apart!
Sent to some friends to announce the baby.
Sent to some friends to announce the baby.

Belle is probably our biggest concern at the moment. This dog is so incredibly spoiled. She can’t even handle me holding someone else’s child for a minute. Here’s hoping she likes our kid more than she likes everyone else’s.

belle big sister

You have probably realized now that the baby is due February 17th, approximately, which also happens to be mine and Husband’s 9-year dating anniversary! I know it’s unlikely that the baby will be born on its actual due date, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

I could not be any happier right now, life is really good.

Cheers!

Everything is Changing

This week has been painful. It all began with me discovering that I am indeed NOT pregnant (when I really thought/knew I was). I have wanted to be a Mom for…well, for as long as I can remember, and now that we are finally financially ready and stable enough to become parents I just cannot wait. It is probably my fault because I have been obsessive, and stressing myself out this month thinking about finally having a baby. I know it can take time, and that it’s important to relax (blah blah blah), but it sure seems like everyone single person on my Facebook newsfeed has gotten knocked up this year. So tell me fellow Facebookers, what’s your secret?

I was so certain that this was the month that I had planned out exactly how to tell everyone the news. It all began with treating Husband to breakfast at one of our favorite diners and spelling out congratulations with whip cream  on his pancakes. I had already planned EVERYTHING. The planning should have been my first indicator that things would not workout my way. But, how on Earth do I keep myself from planning or getting my hopes up?! My mind is completely consumed with all things baby.

Other than that huge disappointment….it is our last week in our NY apartment. I have tried to prepare for this week for the last month, but with 3 guests and Husband being out-of-town for a couple of weeks it’s been difficult to get it done. We have a couple of days left to get everything packed into cardboard boxes and get all those teeny nail holes spackled. I am so excited to get into a real house with real rooms, but it’s still sad to say good-bye to our first and only New York apartment. In the last two years, we have had about 40 visitors stay with us, approximately 400 dinners delivered and only one mouse.

Since, we are moving out of our apartment, I will be moving into my Grandma-in-law’s apartment for the next month. Thankfully, she is willing to let me stay at her place while I finish up my last few weeks of work, but how on Earth do I pack for a month? In the last 3 days I wore a tank top with a skirt, pants and a coat, and rain boots with a raincoat. The weather here seems to be bi-polar. Do I need my heels? My cowboy boots? A bathing suit? Silver jewelry? My straightener? My coffee maker? A month is just a little too long for one suitcase.

The worst part about all this moving is that Husband is leaving for Tennessee a month before me. I hate when he is out-of-town for just a week. Now he will be moving into our new home, and Belle is going with him. I know I will be lonely without him here, but I will also be a little scared. Even though, my panic attacks have been scarce the last few months, I felt safe knowing that Husband is around to console me if needed. Just the idea of being alone for a month makes me anxious. Who is going to remind me that I am not dying? Anyone want to be my roommate for the next month?

On the bright side? Well… I can still drink coffee without fear of hurting a fetus. Grandma’s apartment has an elevator, laundry in the building, a bathtub AND cable! Staying at her place will be like staying at a resort this next month. And, even though I will miss Husband, I won’t miss unpacking and fixing all the little things in our new house. By the time I arrive, the most annoying tasks will be complete. (Right, Husband?)

Wish us luck as we start our new adventure, find new jobs and hopefully expand our tiny family!

Cheers!

Nashville…The City and The TV Drama

Whew…my 4 days in Nashville have been a whirlwind of emotions. It wasn’t exactly a relaxing getaway. It was more of a hectic, stressful, exciting, very busy business trip. I would love to share every detail of what is happening that is making me so stressed and crazy, but it’s just not the right time. And, NO, we aren’t pregnant.

Between the crazy moments there were some great moments. I got to eat and eat and eat and eat and eat. We had so much coffee and junk food, which was perfect for every stressful moment. I got to spend some quality time with my beautiful cousin-in-law. I celebrated Passover, got a surprise visit from Husband  AND, I got to visit a dear friend who I had tragically lost touch with over the last year. She now has a beautiful baby and we spent an entire afternoon catching up, reminiscing and starting off right where we left off.

Mommy with her sweet baby girl!
Mommy with her sweet baby girl!

photo-1

 

After my girlfriend date, another business-like dinner and exactly 400 emails and phone calls I decided to take a break and visit Husband at work. He didn’t actually fly down to see me…He was flown in to work on Nashville (the TV show), my being there was just an added bonus.

I LOVE visiting Husband on set, any set. Working in film is not near as exciting as it seems. The workers mostly sit around and wait all day. The days are very long and not very exciting. (Not that they can complain, they get many fringe benefits too!). Visiting someone who works in film is exciting. I like to be able to visit, pick up some snacks and coffee at craft services, watch the actors for a bit, wear headphones so I can hear the jokes everyone cracks back and forth between takes and then leave when I get bored of seeing the same scene for the 400th time.

nashville

 

I didn’t want to be one of those people snapping photos and looking like I don’t belong, so this is the best pic I got. (Don’t tell anyone, but I have yet to actually watch an episode of Nashville… However, watching this dramatic scene over and over got me hooked and I would like to see the outcome now!)

This particular scene was being shot on location at a home in Nashville. It was freezing outside and most of the crew had to be out there for 14 hours. When I arrived there were people either huddling in front of space heaters, eating catered Bar-be-que, powdering Connie’s nose, or texting on their phones. It was just all so glamorous.

I’m already back in NYC, it seems like I just left. I have a friend coming to visit me tomorrow who haven’t seen in almost two years! Can’t wait to tell you about our adventures. With this particular friend wild times are sure to happen!

Cheers!

A Shower Themed Shower

I offered to throw my sister a baby shower the second she announced her pregnancy. I love her. I love babies. I love parties. I love planning. I love being in control. This seemed like an obvious decision. The one problem is I have never planned any type of shower, but with the invention of Pinterest basically any person with a pulse can plan a party.

I browsed Pinterest for weeks before deciding on a “shower” theme, as in “rain showers”. Thank you fellow pinners.

My first step to planning the perfect baby shower was creating the perfect invitation. I found this invitation on Pinterest, and decided it wouldn’t take to long to create these. I decided to make them over the Christmas holidays, December 29th to be exact, and mail them no later than December 31st. No problem, I can handle 70 something invites in two days….

Wrong. Punching out exactly 4 million hearts, cutting 9 thousand clouds, and assembling everything took WAY more time than I ever could have fathomed. Lucky for me I have the world’s best friends.

Husband, Steve, Derek, Zoey, and myself worked together to get the job done. I did not have to ask one of them to help. Nope, each one of them willingly offered to help simply because they are my friends. I am oh so so so grateful to have friends like them.

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Our plan was to work until midnight, get up early (breakfast on me), and spend the next day finishing. However, once we got going we couldn’t stop. We stayed up until 6am finishing every single invitation PLUS their envelopes. The secret to our endurance? Hot fries (duh), Monster energy drink, and jalapeno flavored Cheetos. Yes, spicy junk food and caffeine does the trick.

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Didn’t they turn out great?

I added in a little poem to encourage all the guests to bring a book in lieu of a card (I got the poem from Pinterest as well):

One small request that won’t be too hard, please bring a book instead of a card. Whether the cat in the hat or Winnie the Pooh, you can sign the book with a note from you! Baby Boy will become very smart indeed, if we start early he will soon learn to read.

She got a ton of books BTW!                                                                                     

Thank you so much Husband, Zoey, Steve, and Derek!

Cheers!

If You’re Happy and You Know It….

The other night, while taking a shower, I yelled something along the lines of “I just wish we had a bathtub! ALL I WANT is a bathtub” Husband popped his head in the bathroom, and responded with “You need to be happy with what you have.”

Excuse me?

That is not the response I expected. Typically my comments like that receive either a sarcastic reply or a complimentary “yeah, sure” I’m-just-pretending-to-listen answer. So, as I towel-dried my hair I looked at him and asked, “Just what exactly did you mean by that?” I’m not used to hearing such deep and serious comments from my usual jokey Husband.

With the most serious voice he could muster he told me that I have been complaining A LOT lately about things I do not have, and using the phrases “if only” an “I JUST want” far too often. Very quickly I responded with a “pfft have not!” but I was secretly thinking, “Hmmm, maybe he has a point”, although best not to say that out loud.

The next day I thought long and hard about being happy. Being obsessive-compulsive forces me to obsess over any criticism I receive. Seriously, a complete stranger might tell me my eyebrows are uneven and I will spend days examining them in the mirror questioning the exact proportions of my brows. In elementary school one kid made fun of my most favorite pair of pants, and I refused to ever wear those pants again. I couldn’t look at those pants without thinking about that bratty girl’s comment.

So after Husband’s remark I thought, Am I happy? What makes me happy? What keeps me happy? What is happy? Do I have to always be happy? Should I even be happy with what I have? Shouldn’t I want more? Isn’t it good to want more and therefore work harder for a better life???

All this thinking and questioning led to lots of doubting. Why am I not completely happy? I have a great life, and I am basically a pretty healthy person. I have a job that I enjoy, a family that loves me, the best friends I could imagine, and I have gotten to do travel, read, dance, and create more often than most people I know. Yet…nothing seems enough.

I still want so much. I still want a baby, more money, a better paying job (teachers deserve so much more $), a house, a yard, ducks, a cat, a clear complexion, perfect abs, a garden, a trip to every country in the world, more time to dance, a spot on dancing with the stars, to NEVER feel anxious and panicky again, and the list goes on and on. My day of questioning turned into a messy tear-fest.

I had an ugly cry. The kind of cry that requires you to hide in the bathroom so no one has to look at that ugly cry face, hear those deep sobs, and worst of all… the snot. The kind of cry that scares husbands and boyfriends because they have absolutely no idea what can cause a woman to cry like this out of what appears to be nowhere. It’s the kind of cry that I can’t even explain.

So I let myself cry it out on the bathroom rug. I allowed myself to feel sad, scared, and angry. I even let myself think about all the things I am so very afraid of, the stuff that threatens my happiness the most:  disease, infertility, job loss, husband loss, and panic.

I cried until I felt better because sometimes that’s what I need. I am obviously a very emotional person. Kristen Bell once said, “If I am not between a 3 and a 7 on the emotional scale, I’m crying.” I know how she feels. When I find something really funny I laugh until it hurts, but basically everything else makes me cry. It might be a Wal-Mart commercial, Ellen, a dog video on YouTube, a cute baby and their father at the grocery store, or a Taylor Swift song, it doesn’t matter, they all make me cry like a baby.

For years I kept myself from crying because I assumed it made me look weak and vulnerable. I became pretty good at holding back my tears until I could find the closest bathroom to hide and cry, but I don’t care anymore. It feels good to let it out. Sometimes it even prevents a panic attack, or maybe it is a form of panic? I don’t know.

After all the crying and emotional mess, I finally found an answer. I AM happy with my life. I am NOT happy everyday. That’s okay. It’s okay to not carpe diem, and it’s okay to not always be happy. Sometimes life sucks, and on those sucky days, I will not make myself feel guilty for not “being happy”.

The things that I want will bring me more joy, but they will not determine my happiness. Husband is right that I need to be happy with what I have, because well, it’s all I have. I don’t have a baby or live on a farm (which I apparently want after re-reading that wish list) and I can’t wait until I have these things to be happy.

Mostly, I need to complain less. It’s good to vent, it’s not good to whine. Husband, I’ll do my best to stop whining and wanting SO much. Although, I would like to mention that I still would like a bathtub so let’s keep that at the top of our list when looking for new places to live. Thanks.

Cheers and Happy Thoughts