Sometimes you just need to treasure the ponders of your heart...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sondheim + Pregnancy Brain = ?

"I wish..."

My two most spoken/sung lines repeat over and over in my head as I prepare for another weekend of performances.  Playing Cinderella in "Into the Woods" has been an absolute delight - a dream role fulfilled.  But it has had its challenges.

Have you ever listened to anything Stephen Sondheim has written?  Beautiful.

Have you ever read the sheet music?  Complicated stuff.

Have you ever tried to memorize it while pregnant??  Nearly impossible.

I personally sing the phrase "Into the woods" 28 times with different words following it each time.  There are 12 other times when it's repeated at the end of a song, but TWENTY EIGHT different times that I have to remember what comes next -- with the SAME cue.  I'm pretty sure Little Red Ridinghood has a few extras that I don't, so I'm grateful for my role.  But let me tell you, Sondheim and pregnancy brain do not get along.

Each performance, the show has been getting better and more fun, but I have to constantly look over my lines and lyrics backstage to make sure it's all sticking.  Memorization usually comes quite easily to me, but those brain cells I've lost while making a human have reversed that fact.  Sometimes I just stop singing during a chorus number, knowing that my flubbed up lyrics aren't helping, hoping that someone else is getting it right (and getting a bonus solo, maybe??).

But, all things considered, it has made for some silly stories.

Opening night, I was so eager to get onstage and start the show and pre-set two props -- one that I had never pre-set before -- that I walked right out without the prop that I actually needed to be using!  Thankfully, I was entering in a blackout, so I turned and ran offstage whispering "Hold! Hold!" as I grabbed my rag and ran back onstage.  It worked out fine, but I felt bad for those waiting onstage in the dark.

During our very first full run rehearsal of the show, I completely blanked out on words I knew well.  Why?  Because it was the first time I was actually using the aforementioned prop.  The show opens with me on the floor, scrubbing, while the narrator introduces Cinderella as I intermittently sing about my wishes.  "Once upon a time!"and seven beats later I sing, "I wish!"  Except this time, I was so into scrubbing the floor, thinking, "I'm scrubbing the floor!  It's getting clean!"  (Oh, inner monologues...) that I didn't sing a note.  The narrator kept going, the music kept playing, and I'm just scrubbing away.  And then I realize....something is missing.  It's me!  I looked up in horror towards the director who was just looking at me expectantly like I had lost my mind.  Our first run and I botched the opening 30 seconds.  We just stopped and started over...this time with a little less focus on the joys of scrubbing.

Thankfully, my costumes still fit and even camouflage my growing belly.  It's anyone's bet, though, if they will all the way through this weekend and next.  I've had to get creative with staying comfortable.  Not all ball gowns are comfortable (are any??), and while mine is pretty, it weighs heavy on this baby bump of mine.  The second I'm offstage I'm unzipping the skirt and untying the crinoline.  One night I even pulled my tights down around my thighs for some relief.  I made a few people accountable for reminding me to pull them up before I went onstage and tripped all over myself.  I thought I had more photos of my costumes, but I'll have to take more this weekend, so content yourself with this one:

That was two weeks ago. :)  Pregnant Cinderella....that changes the story, eh?

I'll tell you what, Little One is going to have RHYTHM.  He/she has already accompanied me through learning songs that mix 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 3/2, 6/8, 9/8, and 12/8 like a schizophrenic cocktail creator.  Oh for a time signature that stays consistent!!

In other news, we had a doctor's appointment last Friday.  Pretty uneventful, but we did finally get to hear Little One's heartbeat.  Music to my ears.  It was strong, healthy, and in the 140's, so go ahead and tell me what I'm having based on that (girl, right?). I'm also eating all day long (boy?) and still battling morning sickness (girl?) but only in the morning, thankfully, (boy?).  So your guess is as good as mine.

We have our last ultrasound in 3 weeks where we could potentially find out the gender, but we're still going back and forth on that.  STILL.  Every time I settle on one or the other, I decide against it.  I don't want to just get yellow baby things (find out!), but I love surprises (don't find out!), but I'm impatient (find out!), but I'm old fashioned (don't find out!).  So there you have it.  I also blame pregnancy brain for this. ;)  There are times I'm absolutely certain it's a boy, and others I just know it's a girl.  I'm just hoping the ultrasound only reveals ONE baby.  We've only seen and heard one so far, but apparently it's not uncommon to miss the twin before 20 weeks.  Given the fact that my brother has twins....well, I'm really hoping to only have one!!

At the appointment on Friday, they discovered that I haven't gained any weight yet.  WHAT??  Have you seen my belly popping out??  They aren't concerned (and frankly, I don't think they took my weight correctly the first two times...they need a digital scale) since everything else is on track.  I'm pretty sure this first time around it's just going to be all baby anyway.  I don't think my weight has changed since my freshman year of college despite eating whatever whenever (don't hate!).  And now I'm eating for two and apparently not gaining still.  I know, I know.  It will all change.

I'm loving my baby bump and making every effort to emphasize it.  Now that spring is here, it's so wonderful to break out the skirts and bright colors.  I'm pretty sure Little One loved the freedom of the flowy dress I wore on Monday because it was fluttering almost nonstop all day.

The right photo was 15 weeks, and the left is 17.5 weeks.  I'm trying to figure out why the later one looks smaller (I swear I'm not losing weight!!), but my wise husband pointed out that I'm wearing a tighter skirt in that one.

I am happy to announce that it has been 1 week and 2 days since I have felt absolutely wretched.  I'm definitely hoping it lasts!

As my closing story, I must share how silly I was yesterday.  I swore early on that I was not going to be a silly worrier, freaking out over every little thing, but yesterday I was...concerned.  I have been getting the hiccups every day, multiple times a day, and they are painful and annoying.  I did a little Google research to see if they were just one of those silly symptoms of pregnancy.  I found out very little -- yes they are because your muscles are more relaxed (tell that to my shoulders!), yes they are because pregnant women breathe more frequently, yes but sex will cure them.  None of it was from credible sources...and neither was the horrifying comment board I found.  Someone asked the exact question I was, and the answers??  Terrifying.  Hiccups are a bad sign, there's something wrong with the baby, my wife told her doctor about her hiccups but he couldn't do anything and she miscarried two weeks later, etc, etc, etc.  WHAT??  I immediately called my doctor and left a message with the receptionist, fully knowing how ridiculous I sounded.  My doctor called me back (thankfully) and through a bit of laughter told me that she has never before heard of such a thing and that I'm perfectly fine (no bleeding, spotting, cramping), and not to worry.  So I sighed and felt silly and relieved and then giggled as I told Landon about it all, who was very kind and didn't laugh at me.  :)

So my question for you is, what silly thing freaked you out the most during your pregnancy??  I'm still wrapping my head around a human growing in my belly, by the way.  But I love it to pieces.

Farewell for now!  It's back into the woods for me tonight!  If you're in the area, check out for tickets and showtimes.  You don't want to miss this prego Cinderella!

"I wish!"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A New Trimester

I'm wearing the prettiest new scarf today that I couldn't resist buying while at Target last week.  It's soft pink blending into white with delicate flowers that whisper spring.  I need spring these days, even if it's only around my neck.

We were at Target shopping for -- elastic.  My long-suffering husband waited as I tried on way-too-big, way-too-small, and just right elastic-waist pants.  That's right!  I'm sporting the elastic waists these days.  And loving it.  I'm so much more comfortable with that extra bit of room.  We also invested in a belly band, making my pre-prego pants wearable for awhile yet.  I giggle with the secret that my pants are really unbuttoned all day.

But I think you would agree with me that I need the extra room:

14 weeks and we have a bump!

That's a new shirt, too, and I'm excited about it because it's a "9 month shirt", so technically it should fit throughout the whole pregnancy and grow with me, making it my unofficial baby bump photo shirt unless I decide otherwise. ;)

I never thought I'd be excited about my expanding figure, but there is a part of me that says, "Come on!  Show more!  Look pregnant already!!"  It's a small part, though, because Rational Me knows that the sooner I grow, the longer I carry that weight around!  I can wait for the weight.

It's been a while since I blogged because I've been too sick to even think about it; coping with The Quease has taken all my energy.  I'm very much hoping that now that I've hit the second trimester it will magically go away.  I've heard from several ladies that they woke up one morning and *poof* it was gone.  I'm waiting for that morning....please be tomorrow!!

So let's catch up...

My cravings have been ALL. OVER. the place.  Cravings are funny, aren't they?  They aren't temptations to be naughty with your diet (i.e. "Mmmm, that chocolate cake looks good...I should have a piece, but I really shouldn't!").  No, no.  Cravings, at least my pregnancy cravings, are intense demands that must be met immediately or the world is going to end.  And when they aren't able to be met immediately, I mourn.  It's the only word to accurately describe that feeling.  I mourn for the end of the world.

The most intense craving I've experienced so far was only barely met.  I wanted a chicken salad sandwich.  But not just any chicken salad sandwich.  A chicken salad sandwich from Wawa.  Yes, a gas station.  If you've never been there, don't judge.  It's like nothing you've ever experienced by way of gas stations.  This particular sandwich had to have ranch, parmesan, vinegar, green peppers, pickles, lettuce, and sweet peppers.  And it had to be from Wawa.  Problem?  I'm not in Virginia anymore.  End. Of. The. World.

I spent 2+ hours scouring the internet and making phone calls to local cafes and sandwich shops.  Guess what?  Jimmy John's does not have chicken salad.  Nor does Subway.  Scratch off the two closest places to work.  Corner Bakery puts walnuts and grapes in theirs (no, thank you!).  Snarf's is just chicken and mayo.  Same with Which Wich and they are too far away anyway.

But then -- I found it.

Fat Jack's Subs, independently owned, makes a Dixie Chicken Salad.  Dixie=Virginia=Wawa in my book.  Plus, they advertised it as having "special, secret sauces."  Sold.  I know Wawa does not just use mayo.  30 minutes later it was mine, delivered to my desk!  Chicken salad, lettuce, cucumbers, oil and vinegar, banana peppers, green peppers, and ranch.  So not exactly what I wanted, but so darn close.  And yes, the whole ordeal was indeed worth sharing with you.  Don't mess with cravings, man.

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Enough about me -- you want to hear about Little One.  Well, I am very happy to say that he/she is growing very well!  We had a doctor's appointment and ultra sound a week ago.  That gel is cold!  Don't let them tell you it's been warmed.  Watch them feign shock when you say it's cold.  It's cold (and they know it!).  And totally worth it.

Little One is certainly a performer or athlete already.  It was thrashing about, kicking and stretching, and I'm pretty sure a right hook was thrown at some point.  How absolutely enchanting to watch it moving around so vigorously.

I've been feeling it flutter since about Week 10, early I know, but I'm thin so I figure there's not much between us.  It's the most special feeling in all the world...well, that, and the look of absolute love, delight, and joy in my husband's eyes when he talks to my belly.  He can make Little One flutter just by talking to it.  It LOVES when he laughs and sings.  Flutter storms.

Wanna see?

It's a baby!  An actual baby-looking baby!  No more a blob.  And it's beautiful.

Everyday (during my not-sick moments) I get a little more excited about the thought that we're having a baby.  "Well, excited and scared" to quote Little Red of Into the Woods (more on that later!), but excited nonetheless.  If I'm honest, during those first few weeks I was much more scared, and even a little angry, than excited.  And maybe more than a "little" angry.  After all, we didn't plan this, and if you know me, I'm a planner.  I had most of this year planned out already, actually.  I was cast in a musical at a really great theatre that closes 2 weeks before my due date.  Obviously, I'm not doing that show anymore -- unless they need a tap dancing hippo!  I'm bummed about it because it is directed by a pretty prominent director in this area.  It's been a while since I've been in a dance show that I haven't choreographed.

I had held onto this little fantasy that when we were ready (you know, in 4 years or so), we would decide it was "time" and when we saw those two pink lines it would be the most exciting moment because it was what we really, really wanted, not a frightening, shocking experience with periodic, brief excitement.  Up until about 2 weeks ago, I've done more crying and freaking out than rejoicing about it all.  NOT the way I wanted to react.  Of course, being so sick all the time did not help things.  With my whole world changing course and my body rebelling against me -- how could I not be a little upset??  (Grace, right?)

Little One wasn't in my plans, and I'm still reconciling that a bit with my faith in God's timing and sovereign will (perhaps I'll write more in depth later!), but suffice it to say that ultrasounds and flutter storms are inspiring me to turn to Landon with a glow and a bit of wonder and say with honest happiness, "We're having a baby!!"

Granted, we have a LOT to figure out before Little One gets here and then a LOT more to figure out once we're parents but right now I'm excited to be 14 weeks and showing and eating chicken salad and wearing new clothes and treasuring moments.  If I've noticed any shift in myself, it's that I'm living more "in the moment" than I have ever in life.  Each moment is different and I have to treasure the good ones (like when my husband sings me to sleep on a particularly sick night) and push through the bad....or rather, learn to wait through the bad (watching Numb3rs helps!).

An interesting tidbit :  I've already been pregnant longer than we were engaged!  You have to know that waiting long periods of time is hard for me!!!  Moment by moment...

Tune in next time for more on how Sondheim and pregnancy brain are really, really not friends.