Wednesday, September 24, 2008

big, small, just right!

I've reached the zone of belly-pats. Today, the bus driver; yesterday, the woman selling booties and another one of her customers. I know people complain about this, but I have no boundaries; I love it. Plus, I'm an inveterate belly-stroker myself. I know how tempting it is! I am not going to stand in the way!

I met up with two women recently who pulled me in wildly different directions, self-image-wise. One was a pal from college who found me on Facebook. She's glamorous, beautiful, always up to something you just couldn't imagine yourself doing -- she was our star. Her belly photos, from about a year ago, showed a svelte woman whose tattoos lovingly embraced her bump as the rest of her retained the same pre-pregnancy curves she'd always sported -- a few, only where they should be. "It helps that I'm a personal trainer," she said. "I was doing aerobics until 3 days before I gave birth, no epidural, in my living room." Good Christ. I felt like a slug!

On the other hand, I was getting off the train a few days ago and ran into a very darling woman I'd met in a class, and our due dates are roughly the same. I knew she was "trying" when I took the class with her -- you just have a feeling about these things when you're on hormones! Or maybe I was projecting because we had similar bodies, similar ages, similar marital status (she was a newlywed, I was a newlyengaged at the time, and neither of us was what you'd call a chicken of springtimes). "I mean this in the most loving way, but I'm so glad you're also huge," she said. "I feel like -- what is all this!" 

So, you know, maybe I'm not a super amazon woman giving birth in a yurt, but hey. As long as I do my kegels and perineal massage, I'm doing what I can, right? There's as many kinds of bellies as there are kinds of babies. 

Okay, and maybe I'll try the prenatal pilates. 

Oh, and p.s., upsetting pal? Telling me about your friend's vagina reconstruction after her giant baby birth: NOT NECESSARY. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Good Day

So here's a news flash: If you go through a growth spurt, but don't increase your water intake, you get dehydrated. When you get dehydrated, you bloat alarmingly and experience various other freakouts. 

Guess what I did, the day my rings stopped fitting? Drank three times more water than I'd been doing. Three times. Guess what I discovered when I woke in the morning? My rings fit again. My ankles are still huge, but other than that, I'm back to normal. Or "normal." 


So now I'm never without a liquid, no matter what time of day or night. No more avoiding water at night for fear of waking up a million times to pee. No more lazily putting off a trip to the office kitchen to refill my Sigg. I'm drinking up a STORM, people, and feeling much better for it.

that is all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Bad Day

Sigh. I miss the easy part of my pregnancy. That being said, things eased up a bit for me after I took a yoga class on Wednesday. Amazing: I had given up on, say, forward bends and satisfying stretches, but surprise! if you do them slowly and carefully enough, with the right supervision, you adjust everything and turn the clock back a couple weeks in terms of mobility. It's exhausting, but god, it feels so good. I'd never do Pigeon on my own: thanks, yoga! 

The more you KNOW.... (cue shooting star)

Anyway. Last night I rolled over onto my right side and felt a sharp, burning pain. I lay there for a moment, wondering if it was going to get worse or just stay like that: when do I panic? Then Sluggo shoved something out of the way, and wiggled around a bit, and the pain vanished. Very helpful, child! I appreciate that! 

She woke me up twice last night, once when her daddy got home (terribly late, poor guy is working 'round the clock to get a VITAL VIDEO GAME onto the market, but will be done soon). She celebrated his slipping into bed by creating a one-women Rockette kickline. Same thing a few hours later, for no apparent reason. She also does this during the deep relaxation at the end of yoga class, by the by. 

Oh, but all this is overshadowed by the fact that this morning, I dragged myself out of bed, got into the shower, and, while standing in the spray, realized that (a) I felt like I had a UTI, (b) I was really, really tired and had to go to work, (c) the stepkids were coming and the house looked like shit and the laundry was overflowing and there was NO MILK, and (d) I was just getting more bloated and swollen. The ersatz UTI put me over the edge, and I started sobbing helplessly. Which alarmed The Husband. So I had to admit nothing was really wrong but I just couldn't do everything. 

My health insurance has this cool benefit where they hook you up with a groovy labor-and-delivery nurse who keeps regular during-the-week office hours. I called her and told her all my various symptoms, and she pointed out that indeed, UTIs are sneaky and weirdly asymptomatic during pregnancy, and you don't want to screw with them because of early labor, so I should just go pee in a cup for shits and giggles -- better safe than sorry. She's a very cool nurse, I like her. So I called my doctor and went to work till they told me I could come in for a little pee-in-a-cup party. The upshot? No UTI, but I took to my bed anyway, because I felt beyond dreadful. Exhausted. Disgusting. Horrible. I went into one of those restless coma sleeps, the kind where you're aware you're asleep? You know it's getting darker and you hear things going on elsewhere in the house, but you know you can't do anything about them? So weird. And now it's 1:16 am and I'm awake, finally working on some freelance. 

But I had to take off my engagement ring because my right hand is suddenly fat. I'm a bit worried that I'm pre-eclamptic, or have gestational diabetes, or just uh... something. I wish I'd had them check my blood pressure today. Eh. If I look like tweedle dee tomorrow, i'll go back in. they're always there -- it's a frigging hospital. 

blugh, though. i don't feel good, and i have that fat-nose pregnant-lady face. 

the good news: i get to wear my obama mama maternity shirt this weekend! w00t. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Aaaaaand... I'm HUGE.

Wow. Okay. So apparently my body has been reading books! Specifically, "What To Expect!" Or it has been getting the emails. Because, overeducated schedule maven that I am, I hit what, 25 weeks, and BOOM! Third trimester. I'm huge, I'm exhausted, and I'm stupid. It takes me all day to write a 500-word item that should only take an hour. I forget what I put on my fork before I can get it to my mouth. The bus driver sits there laughing as he waits for me to puff up the hill to him in the morning, shouting "Don't run! Don't run for me! I'm not going anywhere!"

All I want -- ALL I WANT -- is to lie on my stomach. I pile pillows into a little volcano and gently place my belly inside; I can only manage this for a few minutes at a time, because really, it's hard to make pillows understand that they are a volcano.

I have been outrageously fortunate in my pregnancy symptoms up till now, and I'm still really fine, but WOW. It's so sudden. I swear to you, I feel like I've put on 30 pounds in the past week, and no, I'm not pre-eclamptic. It's HER. It's the giant monster baby! We had a growth spurt, and suddenly there's no getting around the fact that I am most definitely pregnant. (Seriously. There's no getting around it, without an off-road vehicle and a full tank of gas. I AM BECOME GINORMICON.)

My excellent neighborhood-parents-email group is full of the most generous women: I put out a plea, and almost immediately was directed and/or invited (!!) to a bevy of heated, soup-warm swimming pool options. And in a few weeks, I'll head down to LA, where my sister has wisely rented a house with a pool. I think that's what'll feel best, though a pal is coming this week to march me around the top of my neighborhood's hill. "It's the best thing for easy labor," she swears. She's done it three times, twice with nothing but adrenaline; I'm trusting her on this.

Mostly, though, I'm looking for an inner tube and/or that cable apparatus Tom Cruise hung from in Mission: Impossible.

(Speaking of Mission: Impossible, guess what else is back? Oh, just my first-trimester horniness. THE IRONY!)

p.s. White guys? You're still pricks. But an older white woman was a TOTAL prick yesterday -- full subway car, lots of standing people, bag AND backpack on the handicapped seat next to her. Ten seconds of glaring, then I said "excuse me." What did I get for my trouble? A pinched-mouth grimace, a begrudging move of the shopping bag, and the backpack got pulled slightly closer to her, so that I was given... half a frigging seat. Oh, white lady! Don't you read my blog?!

Monday, September 8, 2008

White guys are pricks

Ever wonder what kind of guy sits on his butt while a woman whose center of gravity is in constant flux almost beans herself on the floor of the bus because he can't rouse himself enough to help her out? 

this kind.

I've been doing the same unscientific study that every pregnant woman who depends on public transportation does. It's called "who's the biggest prick?" and we all play it. In fact, a really nice woman who gave me her seat the other day -- and who works as a disabled-rights advocate -- flat-out asked me who the biggest pricks are, and I indicated the two white guys, sitting in front of the blue "give up these seats" signs to the left of the BART doors, whose outstretched feet I'd had to climb over to get to the seat she offered me. "It's always guys who look like that," I said.

Before you go all "poor widdle white guys" on me, and invoke some sad Michael Douglas shit about how hard it is to be a white guy in these dark days of affirmative action and uberzealous feminism, let me ask you this: Do you want a lapful of puke? Because I seriously almost passed out on the train this morning. So while you might feel well within your rights ignoring me, but the practical result, regardless of your rationization, could easily be barf-stained Dockers. 

Besides, some of my best friends are white guys! (no seriously, that's actually true. i'm really open minded.)

Look, there are tons of groups of people who I can count on to stand up and give me a seat:
  • Hispanic men
  • Black men
  • Asian men
  • Women of any hue or age (they reach across the train to pull me into the seat and practically tuck me in)
And there are two groups of people who are guaranteed to either stare at me with some kind of Tom Leykis-fueled smirk or gaze assiduously away from the belly in their faces, in a clearly uncomfortable neck-craning position. (See above for both types. The smirk! Can you believe the frigging smirk on that guy on the right?) 
  • White guys
  • Crazy people
So if you're sitting on public transportation and you're smirking at a pregnant lady who looks like she's about to throw up on you, and you've never been 5150ed, you might be a white-guy prick

Friday, September 5, 2008

In which sluggo says hi to the other one

Husband felt Sluggo kick last night. Did I say "kick?" I meant "do the rhumba." We were lying in bed, overexhausted as always (last night of the convention! hilarious Samantha Bee! plus, I made corned beef! who can go to bed on time?), and trying to have a Very Serious Conversation about something-or-other, when I started sponaneously cackling. 

Not that that is so unusual. 

But the baby was tickling me. From the inside. If you haven't ever been tickled from the inside, let me just enlighten you: IT IS WEIRD. I've been feeling the little gentle fluttering movements for over a week now, but in the last day she has graduated to something much more insistent, much more ... ticklish. There was no going to sleep with her leaping around like early-era Daffy Duck.

Husband put his hand on my belly, but missed the mark; i guided him away from my bladder (why? why always my bladder?) and up toward the sweet spot near my browning, shallowing bellybutton, and he closed his eyes. I thought oh, he won't feel anything, she's still so small. I thought oh, she's tuckered herself out, she's not going to jump around now. Then she pushed off into a triple-flippy-enormo-leap, and both our eyes flew open, round and startled. And then we were both cackling. 

My ringtone right now is Joan Jett, hollering "Hello, Daddy! Hello, Mom! Ch-ch-ch-ch-CHERRY BOMB!" I think our kid is taking it to heart.

The disquieting thing is that I cannot silence the jealous, insecure part of myself that, even as I'm laughing and round-eyed, reminds me that Husband's been here before, and that the thousand little intimacies around Sluggo have antecedents. He's not the type to compare; I'm the one making trouble, and I keep my dark-green thoughts to myself, but I wonder if it doesn't make me possessive -- of Sluggo, of my lineage, of our specialness in the crowded room. My parents never made a distinction between my older sisters (from my mom's first marriage, but integrated into our family unit completely) and me and my younger sister; nonetheless, when I describe the odd personality quirks that most people ascribe to birth order, i can't help but point out that I'm my mom's third ("oh, she'll diaper herself"), but my dad's first ("eight rolls of film in my camera bag? check."). Sluggo, too: alone in my room, lots of company in her dad's. 

but of course I know that -- as my mom used to say, and as I said to my old stepkids -- "my heart is not a pie, where everyone gets a piece and then it runs out. no matter how many pieces of my heart you get, there's always more." or some such. i know those crowded rooms are comfortable and warm and full of love, and the more love in a kid's life, the better. But oohhh, i get seduced by my jealousy! it's so much more entertaining than the reality -- that now is now, our home is full of love, and that's all that matters. BoRING! 

Skip to 2:40 in this clip, by the way, if you're wondering what Sluggo's up to in there: