Archive for January, 2010

wave back!

I just found my way into my second trimester – looking forward to the fabled Best Few Months of Pregnancy. Meanwhile I’m dutifully replacing that hormonal nausea with a new, abstract, mental kind: Searching For Child Care. I know, it’s early. But it’s also late to bring some clarity to the topic for myself. I tried to think about the monumental cost a year or so ago and it sent me into a Relationship Seeking Relapse, completely out of fear. Oops, sorry, I told him. So I retracted my panic and let the guy go and went on my merry way concentrating on getting pregnant, pushing the inevitable out of my mind. Then, about two days after getting pregnant it was on my mind again. How exactly do people pay for this?

That’s still a good question. I’m going to ask a financial adviser this week because I’m pretty sure I have an insoluble puzzle for her and that’s got to be worth whatever it’s going to cost to have her comb through my stuff.

Anyway, enough about that for now.

Here’s better news: I decided to do the screening, the non-diagnostic sifting through my blood looking for statistics, that thing they do to find out how likely it is that the little one (currently the size of a “medium shrimp” says babycenter) is unwell. Stats are extremely good! Yay, the kid knows what it’s doing!

The best part, of course, is getting to commune on TV at the doctor’s office. It’s like Skype for the prenatal set. The ultrasound is probably what most convinced me to do the screening, otherwise we wouldn’t get to make virtual eye contact for another two months! I’ve had at least half a dozen ultrasounds over the past year, so I think I know what’s coming. Vague black spheres and grey cloudy stuff. Mmm-hmm, I’m an expert now.

Until suddenly this little PERSON shows up in the picture:

a little wave

Fingers and everything, look at that coordinated little parade float wave!! That, apparently, is INSIDE my abdomen. I wasn’t expecting that. There’s something about the first trimester of pregnancy that makes you – okay, I’ll speak for myself – I feel like I’m making it up. I’ve never been pregnant, so as far as I know it’s a sort of conceptual state. Nausea isn’t a convincing sign, albeit comforting when I needed some form of external proof. I’m delighting in letting people know, mid-conversation, that there are actually three people sitting at this table. No, seriously. I’m hiding the other one. Really really well.

Apparently we’re now week 13, full of organs and neat-o translucent skin, so the hard part of getting the system configured is over. I say “we” as though I had anything to do with this. Obviously this little thing – which I remind myself frequently is actually younger than an infant – knows what it’s doing. I’m just the container. Which is fun to contemplate. And then sometimes I take some serious credit: Hey, I’m making a whole person over here! I guess I like the extremes.

It was bouncing on its back the whole time, waving those arms around in the air – or water or whatever. Which leads me to constantly wonder if it likes what I’m eating/ listening to/ saying to my cat… Looking forward to the part where we get to communicate more directly. Even a kick or two would be very enlightening right now.

Oh, and by the way, the sense that I’m just inexplicably gaining weight is starting to dim. That’s another weird symptom of the first few months while I’m wondering if I’m actually pregnant and wanting proof but not believing the proof I’m getting. But hey, I’ve never had to do this with my pants before. Ever.

office innovation

So that counts as a Real Change. I’m keeping track of those. Also learning how to buy maternity clothes, which are sort of counter-intuitive. I said to the woman at the consignment store today that I wasn’t sure I could get used to buying pants with elastic. She disagreed vehemently, saying the hardest part is giving them up. Well, after a trip to the dressing room, I was heartily agreeing. Wow, why can’t I be this comfortable all the time?? What’s with the pants that constantly bite into your gut!? Elastic it is.

And on the preparation front, I wrote a will, upped my life insurance significantly, and changed my health benefits. Time for a nap. And another banana smoothie.


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I’m dividing my time between the OB That’s Not Keen on Home Birth and the Midwife That Is (of course). Had a session at home with the midwife right after returning from a parental visit, discussed nutrition, including my Sudden Disdain For Protein and my Heightened Enthusiasm For Dairy. I’m also mildly stunned that I’m still turning up my nose against winter squash, which I was sure I’d never get enough of when I discovered it at the farmer’s market this fall. I’m now counting diligently and daily how much of each food group I’m getting, which feels like an eating disorder of some kind. I’ve never thought about food so much or so constantly, but the nausea seems to require ongoing intake of something.

That was it for the midwife for another month, so then I went to see the OB. It’s feeling redundant, actually, they use the same tools and ask similar questions at this point. But the OB gets a gold star for finding the baby’s heartbeat this time. It feels like they’re tapping into my inner Darth Vader with the probe on my belly: whooosh whooosh thud… thud… whooosh thud (that’s your heartbeat, they clarify needlessly) and then this sudden whup!whup!whup!whup!whup!whup!whup!whup!whup!whup! – there it is! She guesses it’s about 160 – 170 beats a minute, she’s that good. I’m impressed. And though it’s a small thing and I’m not overly sentimental, I find myself thinking of how sturdy it sounded.

Next I get to decide if I’m doing the blood screening to find out if it’s defective. It doesn’t sound defective to me. But maybe more information is a good thing. I don’t know. If I do it, it won’t be because there’s anything wrong with this kid.

Around the edges I’m reading a ton, as usual. The Philosophical Baby, The Mayo Clinic Guide to Pregnancy, Active Birth, anything by Ina May Gaskin, and Journey Into Motherhood are my tops lately.

And then there’s this. An astonishing find, it was my grandmother’s in 1947 and earnestly promises to help by answering the questions we women have that doctors just don’t have time to answer because so very many babies are being born right this instant. The nutritional advice is actually quite sound and familiar, and while the actions of hormones are considered mysterious (hormones aren’t mentioned once, so I’m guessing they weren’t discovered yet), they have a pretty good sense of how gestation goes. So that hasn’t changed. Here’s a novel bit: it also suggests I should cut down smoking to one pack a day, but that if quitting entirely would make me a shrew, then that’s not recommended. Oh here, I won’t paraphrase… “If you have been used to smoking considerably more than [moderately – say 10 cigarettes a day], by no means try to give them up in pregnancy. There is no surer way of upsetting the nerves at a period when you should be calm and happy, or of converting a placid, sweet-tempered girl into an intolerable shrew.

Just goes to show you, take all advice with a grain of salt… or a cigarette, by golly, if it keeps you sweet.

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