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waiting

This is the waiting part. There hasn’t been a lot to report, I’m just enjoying the relief at attaining my sense of equilibrium again. I have enough free time right now that I wish I could squirrel it away for later. I can feel my later self being fiercely jealous of my current self, and that’s a bit unsettling. So, while it lasts, I’m visiting the walkable public library, scheduling dentist appointments, learning to go early to the weekend farmer’s market so I don’t wear myself out in the hot noon sun, and spoiling my cats.

I haven’t received much of the unsolicited Weirdness From Strangers they warn you about once you start showing beyond a shadow of a doubt. Could be my tendency to be the one who initiates and holds eye contact, possibly disarming well-intentioned passers-by, or maybe I’m just not getting out much. One thing I’ve noticed in the few public forums I enter (primarily the grocery store and the two blocks between parking garage and office) is that occasionally a woman will smile at me with a look that goes beyond the otherwise anonymous friendliness. I gather she knows something.

Apparently there’s a lot to know, and it’s just around the bend. I’m doing a rigorous double blind study and can safely say that no matter how much you read, you can’t Know These Things. Whatever they are.

My mom and I were planning her visit at the end of July and she proposed she might bring a small suitcase with just a few outfits, and just launder as needed. I protested, “No, bring the big suitcase, we don’t want to be doing laundry all the time!” “Oh…” she paused, “this visit is going to be so different from what you imagine.” Well yes, of course I think a month with my mom will be fun and relaxing, and then there will also be a baby. Somehow I’m holding those thoughts distinctly. One for each side of my brain.

Well, there’s time to find these things out. Meanwhile, the kid is stretching out in the usual directions, getting tangled in the underside of my ribcage, and generally reacting with enthusiasm for all meals that come her way. Must be time for another Ethiopian feast… we just can’t get enough of that injera!!

feedback

All clear on the gestational diabetes front! And the 3 hour test, 4 blood draws, all preceded by a 12-hour fast actually wasn’t that bad. For me, anyway. The kid swirled around manically with the infusion of extra sugary glucose drink (Orange Crush x 10) and then sulked for 3 days following the test. Monday through Thursday, nothing. Just an occasional flicker to let me know she was still hanging out, but refusing to make eye-contact. I don’t know if she was still upset about the fasting shock, or holding out for a constant drip of glucose, but finally, somewhere in the middle of my trip to Seattle, she started up again with full force belly punches. That’s the way we like it!

I was in Washington for business, but found the very best relaxation around the edges with a dear old friend and laid-back family. Perfect blend, actually felt like a vacation, complete with a strong dose of Ethiopian food, something I seem to never get enough of (until later that evening when the injera takes hold and my belly stretches past all previous landmarks).

We headed back home on what I vowed would be my last flight for quite some time. After the stress of my constant fierceness arising out of the usual airport jostling, I was ready to stay home for the rest of my pregnancy. I found myself staring after the elderly and people on crutches, wondering how they do it every day. An airport is the worst place to need any kind of pampering, and remind me not to sit on the aisle ever again. No matter how many times I have to excuse myself to get up and pee, it beats having canes and coats dropped on my head from the bin above.

Anyway, so we’re nearing the end of the flight, headed into the descent, and she pushes a leg up against the centerline of my belly. Stroking the protruding limb absently, I started humming. After a bit, I stopped… and she pushed back. Stroked it again, hummed some more, stopped. She pushed again. Okay, hi! Wow, I’m doing something useful! It’s a rudimentary form of semaphore, but communication nonetheless. Nice to know there’s someone in there, strong enough to weather the ups and downs so far.

May musings

Here’s the belly, as I sit at my desk in the new place enjoying the stirring kid. Yes, it’s a bit lopsided. Apparently she likes to lean up against the right side, just under the stretching flattening scar. And the tell-tale stripe. What’s with the stripe??

Honestly she’s not quite as swirly active today – a few light paddles of the feet… or the eyebrows, hard to tell. No doubt she’s still recovering from the shock of fasting glucose yesterday, as I managed to just barely fail the short form of the test so had to return for 4 blood draws in as many hours and a double-dose of the orange crush flavored syrup. I was secretly enjoying the drink – I’d had a hankering for orange crush when I caught it idling in an old vending machine the other day. Got what I wanted. In overdose.

So hopefully I don’t have gestational diabetes. It would be weird, but proves the point that it seems to be a randomly assigned condition.

Meanwhile, I’ve been working from home, limping through the pledge drive on every single radio channel I love, and unpacking around the edges. Slowly. There seems to be a direct correlation between number of boxes in my midst and the degree of misery I’m capable of. So I thought, hey, I’ll visit a new mom/pending mom support group. I’m supposed to make friends anyway, so they say. Got in the car, got within 3 blocks of the venue, stoplight. There, in my rear view mirror, I recognized a brash young mom I met at a single mom’s potluck a couple months ago. She was one of several who mostly discussed custody and divorce and annoying ex-husbands. Needless to say, the realm of single moms needs a more finely-toothed comb. Those of us doing this by choice couldn’t be less interested in discussing disappointing men. And there she was, in my rear view mirror, forecasting 90 alienating minutes ahead. I kept going.

To Home Depot, picked up 4 of their cheapest 5-gallon pots, snagged a huge bag of organic soil at the local garden spot (no, I didn’t carry it myself – decanted from the trunk) and spent an hour transplanting heirloom tomato seedlings (two pineapple, two green zebras, if you’re into that sort of thing). And that there is what I call a support group.

settling

I’m not feeling it yet, but apparently I’ve made my way into the less frantic month of May. Surrounded by too much stuff, service providers, and a sense of overwhelm that supposes this will never feel like home.

I don’t know if it’s a strong power of suggestion, but yes, this third trimester is exhausting. I’m suddenly droopy and unable to pick up much of anything. Frankly I think I’d be feeling that way regardless, after a month of packing, dragging stuff over to the new place in small batches, climbing 15 steps repeatedly with loads I’d considered light enough to carry until a shooting pain developed in my lower back/upper butt. Oh, and then getting on a plane to headquarters to deliver (twice) a half-day presentation of 5 months of research, flying back, packing those loose ends that seem to exponentially reproduce at the same speed it takes to gather them up, cleaning the old place, and moving. In a day with the help of one most industrious friend. Of course cats kept me up most of last night with their fascination and consternation. Let’s just pretend this is all good conditioning for mom-hood, only without the wondrous kid.

She is, however, making herself known. Stronger all the time, she bumped the AT&T contract out of my hand this morning. She seems to prefer hanging out on the right side, though kicks and punches radiate all over. Sometimes she stretches from left to right edge, demonstrating that she is indeed the length of an English Cucumber this week. On the plane I wondered if she was stomping on my bladder, or if those were the fabled Braxton Hicks contractions, or if it was just my travel-weary body whining about airport concessions. Regardless, this distracting fledgling is getting my attention and it’s so very reassuring to feel her daily exercise.

I should take a picture of myself. I suddenly feel huge.

3 months to go!

Two weeks of scouring Craigslist…

Wrote to someone who posted a house for $1000, got this reply:

May the Peace of the Lord be Upon you and,Thanks for your interest in our property.

bdrm.,\\ full bath home features granite counter tops,living roomand dining room or den, tiled floors and all appliances. The kitchenopens to a private backyard. The home is on a no-thru street creating minimal traffic. State of the art recreation center Me  and family have been relocated to  Abuja Nigeria while my first son which is my lawyer he is in London England but me and my wife will are here in Nigeria…”

Nigeria indeed. I should have known it was too sweet a deal to be true.

Next… a house across the street from my daycare… the landlord showed me around a $1900 2-bedroom because the 1-bedroom, turns out, is already rented. I protest, he says he’ll go down to $1800. Single mom here… not angling for a deal, just sorry the 1-bedroom is gone. So he says, “well let’s be creative, what can you do to make up the rent?” I looked at him blankly. Well, the place was wood-paneled and smelled weird and there are smokers living downstairs. I emailed the next day that he seems like a great landlord, but the smoking makes it a no-go for me, creativity or not. He actually replied, “You’re not being creative! I want you as a tenant!” Onward.

I found a place… with wall-t0-wall plush white carpeting. Yep, and we’re in! I’m already imagining it covered in layers of plastic tarps and overlapping IKEA rag rugs. We’ll see. It’ll be colorful, to be sure.

Actually, I offered a damage clause right up front, while mentioning that I have two cats. She seemed pleased. But the big selling point for her, what apparently got me the place over the other eager parties, is that I didn’t get knocked up by mistake. For real! Seems I represent “a new era for women.” It’s like a crit in art class where someone pins up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and it gets interpreted as everything from the future of humanity to an uncanny reflection of someone’s dream last night.

Well, maybe not that random, but it was unexpected. I wasn’t even playing up that angle! The first time my decision to go it alone has given me Bona Fide Leverage. I hope it happens again sometime.

Meanwhile, I was up half the night making new pictures in my head. It occurred to me that the news of eviction was most disturbing because I had a story I’d built up with the baby in this apartment… birth in the bedroom, her sleeping in the crib at the foot of my bed, wandering in the clover under the apple tree, picking plums in the back yard… And as soon as I knew where I was going next, the anxiety shape-shifted and my brain got busy knitting a new story, demanding particular furniture layouts and making a Bed Bath and Beyond list.

Hope I get some sleep tonight.

unexpected turbulence

My landlord unceremoniously informed me this past week that he wants me to vacate my apartment. Apparently a pack of homeless Relatives From Europe need to live here this summer. I can’t help but wonder why he doesn’t spruce up one of his many other properties for the wayward travelers, but I suppose that would tarnish his Professional Procrastinator image. He seems pleased with himself for giving me 4 months notice (although this heroic act was actually set into motion by my call and insistent questions about his plans for the unit above mine… “oh,” he croaks “I’ve been meaning to come down and talk to you…”). It doesn’t take a biology whiz to add 4 months + 4.5 month pregnancy and recognize he’s not offering up much of a going-away gift. I pointed this out. Nicely, even. He didn’t flinch and is holding me to 30 days notice when I do eventually find a place.

In an effort to sidestep the hot waves of anger and helplessness this provokes, I’m pretending I’m doing this on purpose: leaving my quiet nest, wandering miles away from the neighboring daycare, disassembling the crib (it won’t fit through the bedroom door), and carrying away every single object I own, just for the fun of it. Yep, feeling wacky! Blame it on the hormones! Pull up the tent stakes, kids, Mama isn’t tired of moving yet!

Craigslist. Pleading emails. Well, so far I’ve had a single mother of 4 proposition me as a potential housemate, negotiated a 45 degree pitched driveway to peer into a tiny, overpriced apartment in the woods, and hit “reload” on the Craigslist search page roughly 1000x a day. No, this isn’t distracting in the slightest.

Ahem. On the baby front, she’s apparently the length of a carrot this weekend. Which carrot, I’m not sure, but they’ve suddenly evolved from measuring her head-to-bottom (tomato, 6.5″) to head-to-toe (carrot, 10.5″), so it appears she had a dramatic growth spurt and is stretching out straight for their weekly vegetable comparisons. Despite these shenanigans, I still can’t feel much, thanks to a front-facing placenta (apparently they get to attach themselves wherever they please), but this should change soon. Considering the array of stresses I’m experiencing lately, it might be better I can’t feel her fight-or-flight reaction kicking in each and every time I express dismay.

Oh yes indeed, a girl-child a’comin!

Nope, not very good at keeping secrets. Especially my own. And anyway, once you know, it’s impossible to refer to the kid as “it” any longer … unless, of course, it grows up to be a CEO of a small-town commercial real estate firm who forces pregnant ladies out of their homes.

Anyway, kid, off we go, into the sunset and a better community just around the corner…

new views

Hey, there’s still a person in there!! A bigger one, with a gorgeous spine, a four-chambered heart, kidneys and toes and a brain! While I’d gotten accustomed to seeing the heart beating in these foggy grey images, I hadn’t imagined I’d be looking into my kid’s skull. Clearly this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see your offspring all close up and translucent without even venturing under the bed or into the diary. Almost makes up for the fact that we can’t yet wander out into the sun together.

So here’s that kid –

getting the hitchhiking thumb prepped…

developing that lovely human profile…

and being a happy ghoul!

I should have asked for an image of the spine – it was the best part. When we first zeroed in on it, the baby was sleeping on its belly, those vertebrae all lit up and distinct, heart beating below. We woke it up with a few expert pokes and took a close look at hands and feet, internal organs, spun it around so we could look into the heart – like the empty shell of a walnut, or a fruit cut cross-wise.

Turns out I haven’t been feeling it because the placenta has made a home on the front of my uterus – which is apparently better than hanging out near the exit, but which also interferes with our nascent attempts at morse code. Who knew?

I got the usual sense of relieved assurance that the kid is still in there. Everything was perfect and I was glowing happily, still lying on the table with green jelly on my gut when the Head Doctor Guy came in. White lab coat buttoned up, embroidered with his name, he shook my hand and introduced himself. He said the pictures were good and he wondered when I’d have my second blood draw for the Bad Genetic Juju search. I said I wasn’t feeling it. Done with that. And anyway, I said, “it feels good, doesn’t feel like anything’s wrong.” Apparently changing subjects, he pointed out that my gender guess about the kid had been wrong. I laughed. He replied “See, so much for mother’s intuition.” Badum-ching!

Oh wait, was that supposed to help me reconsider my choice not to pursue second-stage screening? Woah. So much for the older generation of pig-headed doctors making their way out of the stone age.

He went away and I made my way into the sun to tell my story to mom and dad and my most enthusiastic childhood friend. Then I wandered into a local baby store to find something to celebrate the fabulous new person, only to be confronted and confounded by severe Gender Expectations. More on that later. I left empty-handed and soothed my grrrl-ness with a couple items tossed defiantly into the babywit cart. We’ll find our way through this pink and blue minefield yet…