My Life as a Pregnant Woodworker
By Evelyn Jordon
I made my first public pregnancy announcement at my pyrography class in early December.
It was weird, because I wasn’t showing yet and there was no reason they had to know, except that was four days after my first bout of morning sickness, so the news was accompanied by the warning that I might have to dash out of the room unexpectedly. The class was gracious and understanding, and very excited for us. Fortunately, there were no mishaps that day. Everything went well, and I discovered that one of the other women in the class was expecting, too!
A Pregnant Entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur and working from home definitely has its perks when you’re getting ready to have a baby. First bonus is easy access to the kitchen—which was especially important to me for the first three months, because my hunger level was off the charts!
The Dreaded Woodworker and I decided early on that I would continue to work as long and as much as I could during pregnancy. Thus far, I can still easily do graphic design at my computer, set up files for the CNC and laser engraver, and do (well-ventilated) epoxy work. As for work in the actual wood shop, I can get the CNC or laser engraver running, and he keeps an eye on the job while I relax back inside the (air conditioned) house. Or I can sit on our little stool in the wood shop and do some light sanding with a fan blowing on me.
So far, I’ve been able to teach several more pyrography classes and help make some Tazboards products for a pop-up craft fair we participated in. I’m also working on some designs for products we plan to sell at a gallery in upper Michigan this summer.
But there has been no need to push myself to exhaustion. A major benefit of working only for Tazboards is that I’m not tied to a schedule. I can sleep in if I’m tired, and take as many naps as I need. (Last week I took three in one day!) I also never have to pretend I’m feeling okay when I’m really not, or force myself to get work done when I can barely function. For several weeks in my first and second trimesters, I spent my evenings sitting on the recliner watching Netflix or reading a book because the nausea would hit around 6 p.m. and last until bedtime.
I Wasn’t Expecting This
A few weeks into my second trimester, I developed a severe pain in my butt, and I mean that quite literally. One day my piriformis muscle seized up on me, making it impossible to walk without excruciating pain, I sat on the recliner the entire evening and cried, thinking that this would be the remainder of my pregnancy. Twenty-four more weeks, completely immobile. No wood shop. No pyrography. No working at all. I couldn’t fathom it.
Yes, we had agreed that when I couldn’t work anymore, that would be okay, but we weren’t planning on me being completely out of commission this soon. We still had a lot of plans for Tazboards, a lot more pyrography classes we were hoping to do, a lot of orders to fill. Work needed to get done, and all I could do was sit on the recliner and moan in pain.
Fortunately, by morning the pain had subsided quite a bit and I was able to walk around. That was a wake-up call for me, though. I hadn’t been exercising or moving as much as I should have been up to that point, partly because of the morning sickness, partly because of the heat and mosquitoes (see my previous post about Life in the Caribbean). But when I realized that Tazboards was in jeopardy if I couldn’t function, that lit an extra fire under me. I signed up for an online prenatal exercise program, and I started going regularly to the pool for lap swimming. I also did exercises to strengthen and stretch my glutes and hamstrings, which after several weeks made the piriformis pain almost completely disappear.
Leaving the Island
The majority of my prenatal care can be done here, but there was one appointment we had to make in Jacksonville, necessitating a trip off island, and a temporary closure to the wood shop. The Dreaded Woodworker and I had to leave for a week to get the anatomy scan done, to measure the baby and make sure that all his parts were in the proper place and everything was functioning normally.
The stars aligned for a couple of fun adventures that week, some vacation-related, and some woodworking-related. My dad and some other family members were coincidentally in Jacksonville on my dad’s boat the same time as us. (Long story, but my dad has been spending the last few winters cruising on his boat, doing the “Great Loop,” with various visitors—my mom, siblings, in-laws, friends, and others—hopping on and off along the way.)
So I got to compare bellies with one of my younger sisters (who is also pregnant right now), take a fun cruise down the St. John’s River, and TJ got to do some fishing. It was nice to be able to take a little break from Tazboards.
But we also took the opportunity to buy some woodworking supplies, including a super deluxe new chainsaw to cut some fresh Cuban logs we had just gotten.
There was also a woodturning class at Rockler the week we were in town. The Dreaded Woodworker had already been using our new lathe, but I hadn’t tried my hand and was interested in learning. Our 12-year-old nephew Darryl, who had been my dad’s boat buddy the past few weeks, also wanted to participate. So the three of us, along with my older sister—Darryl’s mom—supervising, spent our Valentine’s Day making wooden bowls. So no wood shop for a week, but we still managed to get covered in sawdust! And the results of the anatomy scan were all very good, so all around, a great trip.
Where Are We Now?
There’s another blizzard raging across the Midwestern United States, and I’m in maternity shorts and a tank top that my belly is starting to bulge out of, drinking ice water to stay cool. I am just entering my third trimester, and so far feeling pretty good, although I definitely sit down and rest more often than before.
Our business has been…busy. We’ve had plenty of orders recently for cutting boards, serving trays, bottle openers, and our brand new offerings hot off the lathe—drinking vessels: beer steins, whiskey tumblers, and shot glasses.
We had a pyrography class last week, and have a few more in the planning stages. Stay tuned for barges, scorpions, and fighter jets.
The Dreaded Woodworker has been putting in even more time than ever in the wood shop. He gets home from his day job and goes straight out to the wood shop, staying out there until 9 or 10 at night, every night. I go out and visit him, inspired by his dedication, sorry that I can’t match his energy right now, but grateful to him for everything he’s doing. Our neighbors have started commenting, “Every time I drive past, I see you out there working in your garage.”
That’s right, and it’s all for a good cause—Little T-Rock! We can’t wait to introduce him to the world (and the wood shop)!