Monday, June 30, 2008


okay, someone tell me what morning sickness feels like. because i'm starting to suspect it feels like when you get jostled around on a bus for an hour while trying to read the paper. like, i know i'm not going to barf, but the possibility of barf is wrapped like a sickening pashmina around my shoulders.

does it also include a splitting, endless headache? how about hot flashes? hot flashes that last from 11 pm to about 5:30 am, when they are replaced by freezing shivers? is that morning sickness? how about racing adrenaline coupled with utter exhaustion? that? is that morning sickness, people?

because I think -- i think -- that my second trimester has decided to brand itself as "the morning sickness trimester." in which case I say: fuck you, second trimester. fuck you straight to hell.

Meanwhile, labor looms in my future; i feel like i'm paddling down a long river toward a dark tunnel, and that tunnel is full of torture devices for my ladyparts. I've equated that torture with trips to the gym: any day that I don't go to the gym, I feel like I'm guaranteeing more pain. Some would say "good! it'll motivate you to get to the gym!" but it's starting to feel more anxiety-inducing than rational. "Rational" not really being my middle name at this juncture.

I should make it a priority to stop by the friendly little natural maternity store near me. Of course, that means missing the gym after work one day this week... EEK!

In other news: did I mention I have three stepkids? One is grown, so he doesn't really count as a kid and is, essentially, more like a second husband/irreplaceable ally in dealing with the younger stepkids. I was concerned about the two younger kids, but they were great -- coming up with names. I hope they stay positive about it; historically, they've been very excited about various things only to suddenly develop a sense of foreboding and impending doom after they return home and share their exciting news with... well, it's entirely mysterious.

Hi! I'm the most positive person on the planet, and this is my blog! Thank you for your time!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sluggo, meet Sluggish.

it's been hard to motivate myself to post! is that because I'm at 12 weeks and can finally talk about this offline with more than my intimate inner circle? or have i hit some mystical mark in my pregnancy, where Pregnancy Lite becomes plain old Pregnancy? The last few days, I've felt sluggish, nauseated, and much crankier than normal. Today was absolutely impossible -- I almost started crying from exhaustion at my desk.

Then again, that could be because I was up an hour earlier than normal to get to a doctor's appointment, which lasted for 2 hours and involved heavy-duty emotional lifting, before racing to my desk to think about... book clubs.

There's also the fact that there are wildfires not five miles south of me, for days now, and the smoke is making itself known in every pore and nostril of the city. Wildfires! Where I come from, the only wildfires are when a mobster's Buick mysteriously bursts into flame just off the BQE.

Or is it just that I don't want to talk about the genetic testing anymore, because it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and stupid?

It comes down to this: I'm sure the invasive tests (CVS and amnio) are harmless, but the very idea of them fills me with dread -- not that I fear the pain, but that I have a sudden, animalistic fury that anyone would come near my baby with a needle. I'm torn: Do I trust my gut (er, literally), or fight against what's surely about as nonsensical as pure superstition?

It seems to me that the quad screen will rule out enough that I don't have to do the needle tests. But for g-d's sake, why am I so resistant to a simple medical procedure? I wish I understood my own motives better.

Anyway. No gym today, because I felt so vile. In fact, I got home from work and had a 2-hour nap, so I'm probably going to be up till dawn now.

Oh! I have an awesome video of the ultrasound... some of it involving me poking Sluggo, who today felt like a girl, to see if she would push back in response... and I am much too shy to put it up. I. Am so. Fricking. WEIRD!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I went to the gym today, making for a gym-going trend of two. Afterwards, my heart felt all a-fluttery and I felt dizzy, and was convinced something was wrong, but everyone assures me it's normal. Turns out I have twice the volume of blood pumping through me ("but where is it all going?" I asked my friend, who glared purposefully at my belly, duh), which makes my arteries and veins work overtime. Plus, my blood oxygen is going to Sluggo first, then me, so my "aerobic capacity is limited." That's kooky! Every time I think I should be tougher during pregnancy, I find out something like this, and I want to go lie down and gestate quietly.

But I'm petrified of labor. Pals online assure me that adrenaline and hormones will push me through, but my sister said, after her second child's birth, that labor was the most animalistic thing she'd ever done, and she was sure she wouldn't be able to do it a third time. And she's super-workout girl. I have GOT to train for this. I'll just slow down and use the elliptical that doesn't have the arms -- or only use the arms half the time.

Today, apparently, Sluggo is the size of a lime: two inches. I love limes! He also weighs half an ounce, and is starting to pee! And responds to my touch, which I knew from last week.

I've got more to say about female hormones and this book called "the female brain," but I can't process my feelings about it -- I just get angry. More on that when I can get a handle on it.

Tomorrow, crack o' dawn: genetic counselor. Wish me luck, gentle readers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Placenta Brain

People have made much of this phenomenon called “baby brain” or, in my gross family of origin, “placenta head.” It’s supposed to refer to a certain absent-mindedness that takes hold during pregnancy, and it is allegedly hormonally driven.

Now, I’m very aware that my hormones are doing some amazing stuff in my body right now. I am not going to deny that I feel qualitatively different. I’m fatigued, I’m overjoyed, and I’m outrageously frisky. But I am not stupid. My ability to work is not compromised, my ability to think is not compromised, and I realize everyone’s experience is different (and I’m only 12 weeks in), but I’m just not seeing it.

And if I were experiencing this alleged maternal idiocy… Could it be that having a child is emotionally overwhelming, and that having that child take up residence INSIDE YOU might be a little distracting? (I mean, guys complain about losing their wives’ attention. I’m losing my body’s attention. Guh?) Could it be that emotionally, you’re wondering how you’re going to live up to meet the needs of another mammal, one that doesn’t use a litterbox or have sex with you?

And is it really even happening? Men forget stuff all the time, and nobody calls them "testosterone-noggins" or "ballbrains." No, everyone just notices the big-bellied woman who can't find her keys. 

And having invented this non-symptom, then blamed it on pregnancy, making it, therefore, something that only these silly little women do, folks immediately translate this nonexistent phenomenon into some “adorable” “quirk” that enables men (and other women) to dismiss a pregnant woman, shove her out of the workplace and into a more socially appropriate role, and write off real worries and concerns.

This even happens with alleged feminists, by the way. Nobody’s off the hook on this one.

Make no mistake, I’ve been guilty of this too. When someone comes up with a name I regard as goofy, I’ve been known to complain that a woman in her 9th month of pregnancy can’t be trusted to pick that poor child’s actual name. (I’m not saying who I actually said that about; I will only say that one of my sisters has a four-syllable name that our mom insisted, all her life, could not be shortened, which irritated her to no end; her eldest daughter now has another four-syllable name which, until recently, we were also scolded for shortening. I mean, that’s goofy. But is it somehow the result of female hormones? No! My sister is a goofy person! So is my mom! It has nothing to do with their fucking ovaries! They’re just! Fucking! Goofy!)

I know it's annoying when someone squeals at me that I've got placenta-brain because I forgot which Smothers Brother has hair, and I respond with an angry jeremiad against the mysoginist patriarchy. But hey -- if you're the recipient of such an outburst, cut me a break. I can't hewp it -- I hormonal! HA HA. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

you knew it was coming: body image

I found all the pregnant ladies! They're all at Ikea! In fact, I'd have to guess you can't get INTO Ikea without a baby in your belly. It's all the rage! Pregnant ladies nesting!

I really have to admit that I thought being pregnant would mean the end of my body-image issues, at least for 9-odd months. I know that seems insanely naive, but here was my reasoning: I've always (well, for most of the past fifteen years) been the fattest person in my willowy, self-controlled family. Not fat by most standards, but morbidly obese in family photos. So I figured my waistline wouldn't feel like such a loss, since I didn't have much of one in the first place.

Boy, was I wrong. Here, in no particular order, are my new body issues:
  • I'm showing too early! (this is somehow a moral deficit on my part, clearly)
  • It's not the fat, it's the workouts: I'm in bad shape and won't make it through labor because I'm such a slovenly cow.
  • Belly looks nice, but ass and hips? Blech.
  • I'll never lose this weight after the baby comes.
And, you know, I LOVE my belly. I love it so much, wee as it is right now! And I love my big hooters! And all that joy is being ruined because of this terrible anxiety about my appearance. I really want to feel joyful all the time, not just when I'm lying down and rubbing my new expanse, but when I look at it in the mirror, too.

It's so odd: even good friends make cracks about how I don't look like some of the other pregnolis around. I mean, I'm short. Even when I'm thin, my extremities are stubby. So no, I don't have long, muscular limbs and an imposing presence. I'm small and rounded. But I'm not trying to be pregnant Mia Hamm. I'm just little old me, with this amazing new addition. Most of the time, I like it. Why kill my buzz?

When I tell my pregnant friends how beautiful they look, I always mean it. I honestly think there's nothing more beautiful than a proud, swollen belly. I don't mean that as a slam against women who don't or can't carry children, I don't mean they aren't beautiful, but always, since I went on the pill and stopped fearing pregnancy in college, I thought those big bellies were just the loveliest things around. Am I the only one who feels that way? Do people look at me and just think I'm puffy and gross? Is that why my pg friends always go into a self-mocking shame spiral as they grow? I don't want to hate this!

I really hope I have the energy, soon, to get back to the gym. It's best for Sluggo and me if I hit the elliptical at least 3 times a week. (There are women online who claim to cut back from an hour on the elliptical per day, on doctor's orders... who ARE these women?!) I do feel healthier when I am toned and when i keep things moving, as long as I'm not crippled with fatigue in the aftermath. But for shit's sake, I really would prefer not to be so consumed with worry, about my vanity or my health.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Tellingness

So: I'm at 11 weeks, 2 days. I told HR at work. Everyone closest to me has known since, well, Day 1, really. I'm absolutely showing. Really, I can just start telling people. So how come I don't?

Part of it is fear and superstition. Jews don't like to talk about anything good, because someb-dy might hear and take it away from us for being too prideful. That's why we say "kana hara" when we talk about something we're hopeful about. It means, roughly, "if it's meant to be," which means "we're not counting on it, ok? so don't go thinking we're assuming you're going to shower your goodness on it. we don't take that for granted. we don't take anything for granted. please don't throw frogs at us."

And that goes double for pregnancies. We don't like to throw showers, though we do it. Nervously. Putting it off till just before the due date, and making sure we don't accidentally cc: any deities on the evite. Not naming the baby, or at least not calling him or her by the name we chose. Oh, I know you've met Jews who do this sort of thing. There are Jews who do all sorts of things. But my kinda Jew? Is the terrified, superstitious kind. What can I say, I come from paranoid stock -- even on the non-Jewish side.

Anywho, completely separate from the dreadful cultural generalizations listed above, I've got the regular sort of worry, guilt and paranoia. When I saw Carrie Fisher's one-woman show, I cringed to hear her talk about how her infant girl was "pulled from the burning wreckage of [her] body." I knew such negative self-talk was doing her more harm than good. I also knew how she felt. Oh god! I put a kid in this? Good lord, do you remember all the other stuff I put in it over the years? It's like setting up a crib in a haunted house!

All of this is to say: I've been so excited to tell everyone, and now that I'm on the cusp of being able to, I don't want to. Everyone at work (as I mentioned) is abuzz with the news; I see my boss's boss eyeballing me curiously, wondering when I'm going to actually cowgirl up and discuss the increasingly obvious. My online imaginary friends -- members of a community I visit daily -- are wondering why I've fallen silent on issues about which I used to post obsessively. There's something in me that stops short of blurting it out, even though people who see me glance downward and then fix me with a curious glare.

Eh, maybe it's just because I know I meet with the genetic counselor in a week, and want to hold my secret till I feel that much safer. (The terrifying article in this month's Self notwithstanding.) As my midwife Michele put it, it's not like you get to twelve weeks and you're vaulted up onto a cliff of safety, like in a Mario Brothers game. It's more like a gentle climb upward, with slightly better odds every day. I just want the odds a little better before I go blurting things out.

Of course, that's completely separate from the fact that I go blabbing all about it to strangers on the bus every day... hey, I have to talk to SOMEONE.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Work Woes

I'm not sure what's going on with work. A few weeks ago, I was chatting with someone who seemed like a perfectly normal person, until he went of on a rant about how women get paid less because they contribute less to the work force. And, I mean, I thought we were done with that crap.

I don't expect to have to explain that Jews don't have horns and African-Americans aren't born with tails, so why do I still have to have this conversation?

Anyway, my office -- full of what my ex called chiaccierona, and I call yentas -- is apparently abuzz with my status. Do these people have nothing else to talk about? To make matters worse, someone close to me was IMing with me -- our office requires it -- and mistakenly told me that someone very high in the company had announced my pregnancy to my boss's boss. I was dumbfounded and felt targeted, embarrassed, and all-around uneasy. (This wouldn't be out of character for this guy.) Today, she cleared it up -- via actual talking, not IM -- and said no, she had conflated two conversations.

Nonetheless, she did confirm my pg is a subject of discussion, and that makes me really uncomfortable. I went to HR and just said look, just so you know, I'm pg, full stop. Nothing'll happen now, no need to talk over the nitty gritty for another bunch of months. But now I feel like my butt is at least covered legally.

I have a ton more to say, and don't feel like it's wise to say it now. I feel awful, paranoid, and altogether negative. Who cares? What's the big deal? I feel like the other women are happy for me, and all the men are disgusted. I'm not putting something over on them. My work's getting done. I suffer more from the stress than the sickness, you know?

I'll come back when I'm feeling more positive. I just feel upset right now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

now, that's a belly dance

I had my first meeting with a midwife today. I'm really not the midwife type, to tell you the truth. I'm highly suspicious of anyone vaguely hippie-like, and I have enough close friends and family who've had bad midwife experiences that my hackles raise at the very mention of non-hospital births. However, my OB-GYN is an amazing, amazing woman who not only comes highly recommended by, oh, everyone, she also earned my eternal loyalty by giving me both her email address and her cell phone number when I was having a minor crisis.

So pretty much anyone she gives her stamp of approval to, I trust. If I'm going to have my baby in this doctor's practice, well, midwives come with the territory, and today's seemed very soothing and knowledgeable. Yes, it irritates me when people suggest I shouldn't have already decided that I'm having an epidural. No, I don't want to read "birthing from within." How the fuck else am I supposed to birth? I'm aware of the physics of the situation. But all in all, I was grateful for the extra time she spent with me, and feel altogether more at ease with the various aches and pains that have been plaguing me since Sluggo and I started working together.

And at least I have some advice to get me on the path toward easing my outlandish terror of childbirth. Plus an appointment with a genetic counselor and some more information to help me figure out what tests are really necessary.

I was treated to yet another fabulous ultrasound today -- this one via the belly, not my ladybusiness. I mean, anything that lets me see Sluggo is great, but I like it much better without the giant plastic violation. And he looked amazing! He was floating around, pushing off from the sides of my womb like he was Kevin Bacon in Apollo 13. I got so excited, I sat up and tried to get my camera so I could videotape the ultrasound, but then realized I'd left my camera charging at home. When I laid back down, he'd gone quiet, clearly disturbed by all my squealing and contorting. Michelle (the midwife) hung out for a sec, though, and we sat verrrry quietly, and he started dancing around again. Amazing. What's he doing in there? And how could it be that he's shooting around like a ping-pong ball, and I don't feel a thing?

And really, why can't I have a home ultrasound kit? There is nothing, nothing more entertaining than watching a fig-sized creature poinging around your insides.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Winter of my discontent!

This mornings "Perspective" on KQED was by an Oakland-based poet named Mary Wang. It was about her post-pregnancy hair loss, and as she spoke about the changes in her body, I appreciated her poetic reframing of the experience, describing it as "a kind of mourning, like autumn leaves letting go of their leaves now that the flowering is done." I also appreciated her description of pregnancy and childbirth as "the ultimate female olympics" -- I've been (intermittently) going to the gym, aware that I'm about to run a really insane marathon. 

But what killed me was when she talked about her body "begin[ning] to winter, letting go of everything it stored" now that those pregnancy hormones are gone. I guess it's the hormones. I also think of it as just the power of life inside me, making me hum with a strange energy I've never felt before. It disturbs my sleep, waking me up every few hours to stare at the ceiling and kegel anxiously. It makes me smile like an idiot at bigger belly bumps, but also makes me want to run up to strangers and hug them because they used to be babies. It leads me to get home from work and frantically attack the still-unpacked and -unorganized corners of my home rather than relaxing on my new deck chairs, still unwarmed by my ever-expanding butt. I know the physical realities of a baby in my belly will make themselves known soon, but right now I feel so at home in my body in a way I never have before, and I really don't want to give it up. I want to be first-trimester pregnant forever. 

Being on the pill is NOT the same thing -- that really is just hormones. This is reality, little hands reaching across a nascent chest to clasp together inside me, then form into fists, then punch at the core of me, reminding me I don't know as much as I thought about everything -- or anything. 

It's in my very nature to mourn the loss of pleasure even as I'm experiencing it. I can't stand that I won't feel this way someday. Of course, then I'll be breastfeeding or communing with motherhood in some other way, which'll probably be hot-damn awesome as well, but when Wang described the fading "dark line of longitude that separated [her] belly's globe," I felt her loss as keenly as I'll feel my own. 

Give her a listen here:
I can't find her on the Googles. Maybe you can. 

And of course, since I can't finish up a post without some kind of sartorially-obsessed observation, I will just say this: Amazing sale at Belly Dance Materity. It all just arrived (bunch o' shirts and a dress -- i was afraid to spring for non-returnable sale pants without the option to try on) and everything's great quality. It looks like I can start wearing it NOW and it'll all stretch. Of course, I should save it for when I'm too big for anything else and don't have much choice... but i don't know if I'll be able to resist.

Monday, June 16, 2008

What would I do?

I'm talking about the genetic testing, but I'm not saying what I would do if something came up. This is because I don't know. When I think about the testing, I'm thinking about finding out everything is fine -- as I mentioned, that's how I roll, emotionally.

A close female relative announced on the phone to me that "you don't want to raise a Down's Syndrome baby." Now, that may well be true, but it's so outrageous to me -- to just say that to someone, anyone. And this has come up over and over with this person: What testing are you doing? When? Why not? In the context of my saying the doctor thought my 8 week pregnancy was a 10 weeker, she said "Oh, so you'll do the genetic testing two weeks earlier." Boundaries?! Appropriateness?!

As unbearably stressful as it is for me to be nagged about this, I do understand that she just wants to know all is OK. As do I. I asked a pal what testing she did, and she said she did ALL of it, hit me with lots of supportive numbers, and ended by saying "But I'm the kind of person who has to know. You may feel differently."

I'm no Amy Richards. As much as I defend anyone's right to abortion, I am way too terrified of the retaliation of insane assholes to admit to anyone -- even an anonymous blog -- that I selectively reduced, let alone ended a pregnancy due to bad genetic test results. A pal of mine in super-liberal Maplewood, NJ said she wouldn't even tell people the real reason for a "miscarriage" like that. She knew several couples for whom this would be a friend-dealbreaker. And while being that judgmental would, for me, be equally dealbrakey, I do understand the value of just getting along with people, even insane assholes.

Bottom line? Jury's still out on what I'd do. Anyway, first doctor's appointment (okay, she's a midwife, but she's in my doctor's practice) is in two days. I'm champing at the bit.

(And wondering how much lead-time I have to give my boss on doctor's appointments. She's being so picky and impatient with me lately, even though she knows my situation -- but she's been on vacation since last week. Did I wait too long again?! Ugh, I hate this.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Retrofitting the wedding dress

I think everything shifted, so my uterus made herself known, and now I'm in a holding pattern for a while, till Sluggo actually gets big enough to make a difference to the shape of my body. I have the same poochy belly I had a couple weeks ago, and my pants still fit in the tush, so I think I actually haven't gained much, and I don't see much happening in the next four weeks (when my wedding happens).

I went to a nice seamstress who swears my wedding dress will look great with a couple triangles stuck in the sides. I think I'm going to be a cute pg bride. I wonder if I can get my parents to pose with a shotgun for a wedding picture? I'm thinking sepia tones, glaring dad, nervous husband, comforting mom, and baffled bride. I think it'd be hilaire, but I think all sorts of strange things are hilaire. Like the thing I just typed and deleted. Some things just shouldn't be on the blog.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


i can not communicate to you how tired i am. i was waiting for my car to come out of the car wash and had that heavy-headed need to sleep that, before pg, i only knew at 4am when the subway was taking too long to get to brooklyn. and yet! I can't sit still. this is insane.

Friday, June 13, 2008

genetic testing

i have no idea what to do about genetic testing. I'm so anxious about this. I'm going to have to just ask my doctor when I see her next week, no need to turn myself inside out over it. But I'm amazed to be at such a loss.

I'm a cockeyed optimist to the bone, despite my deeply cynical veneer. (heh heh, i said cock and bone. and deeply.) I am always convinced everything's going to be puppy-dog fine. Just knew I'd get pregnant naturally. When I didn't, I just knew the first IUI would work. Now I'm sure everything will be groovy, because looking back over my life, the good news seems to have outweighed the disasters.

But this might just be how I look at it. I can easily look back over the same life and get myself very depressed over my career, my relationships with my family (too far away!), the wreckage of my romantic life (sure, I'm happy now, but what was wrong with me for so long -- and how long can I keep this healthy-relationship thing up?!) ... there's plenty that I could be upset about.

The thing is, as I said to someone the other day, I'm just tired of feeling anxious and freaked out and sad all the time. There's no romance in it for me, now that it almost destroyed me. When things seem to be going wrong, as when my numbers refused to properly double, I am really, really good at shoving that doubt. way down and piling Fig Newtons on top of it. My therapist says, "But where'd it go?" and I say "Mmfff ufmsfdmffff." It bubbles up every couple of weeks and I frantically text-message my fiance from the back row of the synagogue while trying to remember how to pray in ACTUAL HEBREW FOR EXTRA PRAYER POWER. Then in passes, and I'm back to carrying groceries up the stairs, saying, "What? It's not that heavy. I'm fine!"

So when it comes to the genetic testing, I trust the universe more than I trust myself. That is, I believe the baby is ok more than I believe my choice to stick a needle (a needle, people) into my uterus would be correct. I have made so many bad choices in my life, and yet life still keeps treating me well... maybe I should just let life make the choices.

Okay, I know that sounds insane because it is. I'm going to have to do a shitload of tests, and I'm going to have a long talk with my doctor about which ones I can eighty-six, with how much risk. I just wish there were a book like "taking charge of your fertility," only called "taking charge of your pregnancy." Frankly, "what to expect" makes me nervous and "the girlfriend's guide" makes me hurl. I just want Toni Weschler to tell me what to do.

I mean, I'll figure it out, but blurg. It makes me dizzy.

In more first-trimester fashion news: I went to Ross last night and got three eight-dollar tank tops with plenty o' room in the old belly area. Of course, they also flaunt the fact that the Boob Fairy has been to visit (and visit and visit and VISIT), but I've decided that's a sufficient tradeoff: as my middle thickens and I get more self-conscious, I let my bosoms blossom to deflect the attention. That's just good thinkin'!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I have an unfortunate addiction to a particular fast-moving online forum. Ten years ago, it was; these days, there's one that's in the same format, but for moms. I went on it originally because I was told I could get immediate answers, but found the anonymous immediate gratification too addictive to resist. (Wow, that sounds sordid.)

On this forum, you hit "refresh" and see three, five, ten responses to your post right away. You can ask "Adam Sandler: Yay or nay?" and you will not only get opinions on the Jewish fratboy, you'll also get corrected for not spelling it "Yea." The women who congregate there are smart, sardonic, and diametrically opposed to the trashier moms at the other two major sites (where they refer to their "wait gain," and not ironically referring to pregnancy as a 9-month wait). They're also bitchy as hell when they want to be.

Someone posted that she was 46 with newborn twins, and another mom and I posted that we were also in the over-40 crowd, and the response was vicious. Calling me "grannymommy" was only the beginning. I was accused of wanting my child to grow up motherless, mocked with a vision of me hobbling after my toddler in a walker, asked if i thought I would have Alzheimer's at my child's high-school graduation. "If you wanted to have children, you should have done so when it was appropriate," one woman said.

After "home birth v. hospital birth" and "breastfeeding v. formula," this was the fastest-moving pile-on I'd seen. Only this time I was on the hot seat. And my butt was definitely on fire.

I found myself stunned, which in itself seemed a bit ridiculous. These were words on a screen. These were the opinions of women I would never knowingly meet. Yet some naive part of me was shocked and upset at the thought that the moms I'd soon be in a group with would secretly be thinking of me this way.

On the other hand, I do feel a bit ridiculous. One friend of mine is 10 weeks ahead of me with her second -- and she's ten years younger than me. I'm going to be asking her advice, and I feel silly. But I feel that way about everything -- I never feel like a grownup. I think that's part of what kept me from finding a way to spawn when I was younger: I was waiting to feel responsible, settled and ready. At this point, I'm ready to own the person I am, imperfections and all, and roll forward knowing that at least I'll be interesting.

And in the end, I realized these were the same women who say things like "If you didn't want to raise a child, you shouldn't have had sex in the first place." Just as having a child isn't a punishment for bad behavior, NOT having one is also not a punishment. It's just what is or isn't. People anxiously ask me "are you sure you want to bring a child into... this?", referring to the fact that my fiance has kids and an ex-wife already, just as they asked the same of my sister (biracial baby) and my mom (mixed marriage). People will find ways to judge when they want to. I just have to find a way to remember that's not my problem.

In other news, I'm so irritated with Old Navy. I have been having a certain issue with my bazooms. An issue known as PAIN. Most of the day I'm okay, but I'd taken to wearing a bra to bed because I'd wake up in the middle of the night in awful pain. I ordered these awesome supportive, squeezy tank tops and they arrived yesterday, but my skin, always sensitive, just couldn't take whatever nice squeezy fabric they're made of -- I woke up at 1:30 am feeling like my skin was literally crawling off my body. SUCH a weird feeling. Plus: hot. I don't know if I should wash it out in the sink and try again or just return it. I am sad! My breasts are sad! How did rugged frontier women do it?!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So far I really like it

I realize that I'm in the halcyon days of my pregnancy, so of course I like it. Nobody is kicking me in the gall bladder and I can see my toes just fine. When I feel fat, I can just remind myself that I am SUPPOSED to be swelling and it's okay. When I feel tired, people tell me that in 3 weeks I'll have enough energy to go back to the gym, and that for god's sake, I'm growing an extra set of fingers and toes so take it easy. It's like I'm Pregnant Lite.

Nonetheless, despite the tired, the fatigue, the need to eat, the hysterical crying during Knocked Up, I am really enjoying this.

I'm not sure I should say this out loud, but being pregnant is a lot like being stoned. I can't remember anything, food tastes AMAZING, and I've got hot pants for my fiance like nobody's business. I remember Pamela Anderson saying pregnant sex is off-the-charts amazing, but I thought she was just full of crap and desperately anxious to appear sexual in the wake of becoming a mom. She was telling the truth!

I don't know -- i can't figure out the biological reason for all this pregnant passion. It makes sense that I voraciously attacked him when I was ovulating. (People complain about the boring every-damn-day sex of trying to get pregnant; i had no such experience. I was so switched-on, my libido was as reliable as my clearblue easy digital fertility monitor.) But why now, when the deed is done?

My fiance says it's to make up for the sex we won't be able to have later. I'm so anxious about post-baby sex (or lack thereof), that theory doesn't sound so crazy, but I have a different theory: The cavewoman knew she'd get unmanageably big, very soon, and would need the dad around to help her gather tasty weevils and berries. Not to mention putting together the stone crib from Rockea. Those of us who unfurled previously unknown depths of passion in the first and second trimesters were the ones who survived -- because our panting mates weren't about to leave us alone with any other cavemen.

I'm telling you: pregnant horniness is a biological imperative.

wow, this post just spun right out of control. I'm so sorry, Sluggo. You will need lots of therapy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Enter Sluggo

So I have been referring to this swelling in my tummy as Sluggo. My mom referred to my most recent nephew as “pea” when he was in utero, and it was so gross, because in case you have not noticed, PEA RHYMES WITH PEE. I proactively and spontaneously started calling him Sluggo when I saw him on the 7-week sonogram (I am VERY proactive) and he was shaped kinda like a lima bean, which is kinda like a slug… okay, it was when iVillage sent my first “what your baby looks like at whatever week” email, with the little gentle colored-pencil drawing, and I was like, “Damn, that looks like… that looks like a slug.”

Anyway, I still want to catch up on some of the stuff from the past 9 weeks I don’t want to forget. Once I realized I was pg, I got overly excited, and then, when I went in for the blood tests, I got ridiculously scared. They measured my HCG levels – a pregnancy hormone. The number is supposed to double every 2 days. Mine barely did, so they made me do a third one. That one also seemed hinky, but only slightly so. The numbers were:

4/25 – 209
4/28 – 490
4/30 – 808

So basically Doctor Jovial (an RE, not an OB-GYN – essentially, the guy who knocks me up and then releases me to the loving arms of the doctor who’ll deliver Sluggo, G-dwilling) threw up his hands and said, “Look, everything seems fine. If it’s not, you’ll know soon enough.”

Not much of a bedside manner, but I appreciated the honesty.

This was one of many times I realized the internet is not my friend. I got hit with a crap-ton of numbers: in 85% of healthy pregnancies, the number doubles faster. 15% double more slowly. So I had a 15% chance of having a healthy pregnancy? “Your chances are better than that,” says my OB-GYN. “How much better?” “I don’t have a number for you. They’re better.”

I ate a fig newton.

On 5/8, I had an ultrasound to confirm Sluggo not wandering around like a zygotical Moses in the desert of my small intestine. Nope! He was safely inside my uterus, with a little yolk sac strapped to his back and a wee bag of placenta. Actually, all I could see was the yolk sac and the placenta. There was a little hyphen in the middle that was probably him, but he didn’t have a heartbeat yet, so who knew. “You could just have a yolk-sac with nothing in it!” my RE exclaimed, cheerfully, as he shoved the ginormous dildo-camera further up my hoo-hoo. Faantastic.

Finally, on 5/15, I saw a heartbeat. 130 beats per minute, just as S had cautioned me to look for (she’d had a heartbeat of 80 beats per minute, and that ended in – you know.) My heart was a huge, slow click; his was a quick swishing hummingbird. I cried my eyes out.

The third ultrasound was 5/30. This time, Sluggo had armbuds and legbuds and looked like a little teddybear. There was a weird noise in there, like purring, so I’m hoping he’s actually a kitten. Heartrate was up to 165.8. “He’s already got high blood pressure!” his daddy cheered. He’s supercute. But I think he might be a monster. “Look at that, nice and big, just like he should be at 10 weeks.” Except he was only 8 weeks. Did I mention his daddy is 6’4”? Oy vey, I have GOT to start smoking.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Contain Multitudes!

It's entirely typical of me that, at 9 weeks of pregnancy, I've decided I missed too much, forget it, it's too late to start blogging about Sluggo. It's so OVER.

I'm fighting that impulse and starting now.

I'll circle back and start at the beginning:

My official first-day-of-pg is April Fool's Day, 2008, much to my mother's chagrin. I happen to know I actually conceived on April 10, in my doctor's office, with my babydaddy many miles away, sitting at his desk and unaware (specifically) of the Barry White music playing in my uterus (having dropped off his "requirement" early that morning). I implanted a few days later, probably at my cousin's youngest son's bar mitzvah, on Wilshire. By all rights it shouldn't have worked, because my uterus and I are Methuselah.

My first symptom was a weird pain around my uterus. That girl has always been tilted a bit off-kilter, like the rest of me; I can only assume that, upon finally learning she was in use, she decided to straighten up and fly right. I can only hope the rest of me follows suit. For Sluggo's sake.

My other symptoms have been: unbearable fatigue, a preternatural ability to achieve deep sleep in zero seconds, an astounding well of ridiculously heated sexual passion, and a great love of fig newtons.

Oh, and diarrhea.

One more thing: My friend S, who is a great mom and has been through the fertility wringer, so it is doubly impressive and wonderful that she lets me go on and on about my peegee, asked me what it was like, and then sent back my answer so I could save it in my baby diary. Well, this is the closest I am getting to a baby diary, so here it is:

so hard to describe. i am reading a vampire book right now so i keep saying it is like i just drank blood for the first time. I feel really energetic and amazing and also like I would kill someone who threatened me (and therefore Sluggo) in any way. I have a heartbeat inside me that I made, and that makes me feel all-powerful. i feel sad that i waited so long. i just feel like YEAH, i'm amazing! i contain multitudes, fuckers! You're all assholes because I have a universe in my tummers!

it's very very very strange, i feel like i want to run through the streets and also lie down quietly and grow things.

i feel hyper and overjoyed.

i told you it was weird.

it's like when you first have sex and your'e like "HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS BEFORE." or the first time you get stoned. or the first time you fall in love. but not like all-consuming like that. my baseline is just very different, smooth, well-oiled, i think i feel confident.

like i said, weird. i will DENY all this when it passes, by the way. ;)