“Today is a day of great achievement! Rejoice! I got my recent bloodwork results back and my Potassium is at 3.3! I know that this number probably doesn’t mean much to you, but the normal range is 3.5-5.5, and I’m usually in the mid 2’s. This is the closest I’ve been to “normal” levels without having IV’s, in over a year. Taking 20+ pills a day has finally paid off, I am one happy lady right now :)”—
As I waddle my way towards my own experience with motherhood, I find myself thinking about and appreciating my own mother even more.
She raised six children (SIX! All from the same dad! And we’re not even Mormon or Irish Catholic!) and has always been an incredible example of grace under pressure.
The guidance, support and advice she has offered me over the past 28 years has never led me astray, and I am even more grateful for it as I stare nervously ahead at the changes our life will be undergoing in the next few months.
She has always loved me unconditionally, accepted Adam into our family with a level of affection that can almost be called disturbing, and has been a doting “Grandmummer” to Gus for the past four years, tolerating all manner of doggy sins from drool covered pant legs, to hair covering every inch of her 400 sq foot home.
Here’s to the woman who gave us all terrible bowl cuts, the woman who happily endures all manner of mocking from her progeny (including being nicknamed Big Mama and The Situation), the woman who leaped out of her chair and did a victory dance when she found out I was pregnant, the woman who posed me like this for a baby picture.
I purchased the onesie (OBVIOUSLY). And then this conversation happened.
So, show me what you bought today.
(after showing him a few other items) ... and I left the best for last! You're going to love this!
Is it a MacBook Pro?
Is it sexy pregnant lady lingerie?
Um. Sort of? How about I just show you! *I dramatically lift the onesie out of its bag. It is ginormous and just keeps on coming, like a scarf from a magicians sleeve*
What IS that?
It's a one-shoulder, floral-print, floor-length onesie.
Is it, like, pyjamas or something?
No, it's a day outfit, obviously.
On what day, exactly, would you wear that?
Oooh you know...just ERRYDAY!
And then I put it on and pranced around and demonstrated the handy dandy pockets (which I never even knew it had! Even better!) and I think the way he shook his head and couldn't stop laughing means that he loves it just as much as I do. Maybe more.
I think I cursed myself by talking about how awkward my weekly photos were. I was actually really excited to do them this week because we have The Camera, and The Camera would no doubt make me look *amazing* in every conceivable way, I’d do two perfectly lit and styled shots and BOOM! I could go about my day!
The issue, friends, is light. The hallway I have chosen to do my pictures for the past 23 weeks is one of the darkest spots in our home. And I don’t know how long you have to take pictures before you’re allowed talking about the light, but damn girl, THE LIGHT is not good!
Give me a pass for this week. I will study my little manual and discover how to eliminate both shadows and double chins come next week!
23 Weeks will be remembered as the week we felt “The Foot”. This is probably the weirdest thing I have ever experienced and I do so wish I had been able to capture the look on Adam’s face.
So, as elucidated the other day , Baby G has been kicking up a Pele-sized storm whist in utero. The movements have formed a pretty discernible pattern for the moment, a few jabs hello when I roll over and wake up in the morning, lots of activity around 2-4 pm and then another flurry when I lie down at the end of the day.
We first felt “The Foot” during one such end-of-day relaxation sesh. We were sitting on our couch, Adam was guffawing loudly along with the laugh track to that abominable excuse for a television show, The Big Bang Theory.
(Tangent: I HATE YOU CHUCK LORRE! YOU AND EVERYTHING YOU CREATE, AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR! /End tangent)
I was sighing deeply and rolling my eyes as emphatically as I could, hoping that my extremely vocal discontent would force him to switch to something more mutually enjoyable.
And just when I thought I would lose my mind over those ridiculously stereotyped characters who speak one line and then pause for ten seconds for the “audience” to laugh, I started feeling baby’s nightly percussion.
Grateful for the distraction, I grabbed Adam’s hand and put it on my belly and we were both sitting there feeling my belly bounce around, laughing and joking about how strong the kicks were, how Adam is sure that this means the Demon Baby is a boy.
And then. THEN, we felt it. About an inch or two above my belly button there came an intense pressure, a stretching, extending, pushing feeling. And whereas the kicks mostly feel like a muscle twitch, quick and fast, this was almost, exploratory.
Internets, it was so clearly a FOOT. And I don’t mean that we could feel toes or the rounded definition of a heel, but it was this tiny, specific area and the way it was pushing and the strength and MY GOD that was our baby’s foot that we felt, separated by nothing more than a few layers of fat and muscle (ha!) and thin uterine walls.
I was completely unprepared for the fact that we would be able to feel something that clearly, with that specificity and definition.
It went on for a good two or three minutes while Adam and I gaped at each other in amazement. The movement was so slow and purposeful, controlled. (and if it was controlled, the thought followed, there must be something, someone controlling it! It’s ALIVE!)
Adam would gently push his fingers into my belly and The Foot would push back. Back and forth, and back and forth it went, this stretching sort of game of hide and seek.
ARE YOU HEARING THIS? Seriously. I have a living thing inside of me, one that can control it’s own foot!
I keep re-living that moment, and the expressions of shock and awe and amazement and (yes) complete weirded out-ness that flitted over Adam’s face as he tried to comprehend what, exactly, was happening.
On Friday I have an appointment with a maternal fetal medicine specialist, who can hopefully shed some light on how my kidney condition will affect pregnancy and birth. These are the people who can give a definite yay or nay to a home birth, based on specific risk factors unique to my condition, so I’m hoping to charm the pants off of them with my obvious health and vitality (?).
And while Adam has been an absolute champ about appointments so far, (he has voluntarily accompanied me to every single one, even my nephrologist appointments), he won’t be able to be there on Friday.
For the most part his presence hasn’t been necessary, strictly speaking, most of the midwife appointments are pretty routine but nonetheless I so appreciate that he has wanted to be there, has volunteered to be there, made arrangements with work in order to be there and has done it all of his own accord.
For this appointment on Friday however, he isn’t able to come and although my god it truly doesn’t matter if it’s one person hearing the news or two, it does feel sort of strange to be suddenly embarking on a tiny portion of this journey solo.
Target sells bravado nursing bras that are really stretchy and will grow with you. I’ve been wearing them since I was about 18 weeks along. The comfort factor is worth it. The same brand also makes nursing camis that I live in.
Thank you! This is an awesome suggestion. Unfortunately I live in Canada where our Prime Minister has explicitly forbade Target from setting up shop, but maybe I can track them down elsewhere. Thanks for the tip!
Is there anything more awkward than pictures taken by yourself, of yourself?
It’s the ultimate in narcissism, and I struggle with it mightily.
Every week as I prepare to take my weekly pregnancy shot, every single week, I feel like a complete and mighty TOOL putting on that same dress and taping up the little weekly numbers and taking a bunch of pictures and hoping that in one or two at least, I come out looking not smug or ridiculous, not like a giant blob, that my dress isn’t doing weird things, that my hair isn’t lying limply around my head like it usually does.
It’s probably the least favorite part of my Tuesdays.
But then when I look back at the photos I really am glad that I’ve taken the time to document my swelling proportions. I look at the 12 week photo and think, “Was I seriously that small?” and I look at the week 14 photo and remember how I puked right before I took it. And I look at the week 18 photo and remember how we had just seen the baby the day before.
So tomorrow I’ll persevere and feel like a tool for 20 minutes (possibly more because how do you set the focus for a camera so it focuses on you, when you are busy behind the camera figuring out how the timer works? I did a test shot today and while I look mighty blurry, the ficus in the foreground is CRISP!)
In the meantime here are some awkward selfies that I did this morning to make myself feel better for the fact that it took me 25 minutes to find something to wear today andthis, this tee-shirt layered over a maxi dress was the best I could do.
Everything I wear looks absolutely indecent. I am a small-chested lady, always have been, and these things are just getting bigger and bigger and they’re still tiny by normal people standards but by my standards HOLY SHIT suddenly I’m Pamela Anderson.
Of course I refuse to buy a bigger bra (because I’m cheap but also because I’ve learned my lesson and am heeding the advice of other pregnant ladies who have warned me that it’s pointless to buy a new bra now because I will need an even BIGGER one once I start nursing, to which I say “Wnfhugzmkdmfnzxhjfhuaj GFJGFUGFHJ!?)
As a result, all my business is just all smushed and lifted and pushed up and…cleavagy.
I don’t “do” cleavage. I do rib bones and flat expanses of skin. These days I look down and it’s all very strange. Right now I’m just trying to camouflage the situation. So. Enjoy the pseudo-muumuu.
Sundays around here are always a lazy affair, even more-so when one of us is feeling gigantic and encumbered and the other is fighting the onset of a particularly nasty cold. No extravagant breakfasts today, just a simple fruit salad and coffee.
It was (finally) beautiful out, so after helping Adam with some work stuff in the morning we went for smoothies, walked around outside for a bit and then gave in to our inner sloths. For me this involved sunning myself on a quilt in our front yard with Gus and a trashy novel (and, of course, the camera), for Adam it involved a series of YouTube fails and a nap.
(For some reason the camera came with an entire booklet on how to take good pictures of SLEEPING PEOPLE. The only other booklet it came with was how to use the flash. THESE are the two biggest topics for new camera owners? How to use the flash and how to best photograph sleeping people? Combined with the sex attic, this camera just upped the creepiness factor of this house to OFF DA HOOK.
Nonetheless, look how good that picture is of Adam! He sleeps upside down like a bat.)
Today I discovered that two of my friends (including Kris of the glamour photos), unbeknownst to each other, are planning on being in Vancouver over the long weekend. Out of nowhere a girls weekend was born!
It will probably end up being more of a girls day-and-a-half due to my work schedule, but I am unbelievably excited to see these ladies nonetheless. Sometimes you need little plans like this to help you get through a particularly challenging week.
Send some good vibes to this guy, he has a man cold :(
The father of one of the teens I work with very generously donated a few pizzas to us tonight. As he was laying them out he looked at me and winked, “Make sure you get a piece, you’re eating for two - or is it three?”
For serious? I gain three pounds in a week and suddenly I’m having twins. The Blobster is unimpressed.
Yesterday, as you may have guessed, was hard. Yesterday was one of those small mountains that tests a marriage and I’m not ashamed to say that I bitterly failed that test and then kicked the test in the face and yelled at it.
I think Baby G must be going through a growth spurt, because I am tired. Capital T, T-I-R-E-D. I’ve also gained three more pounds this week (and that can’t all be ice cream, right?) . And whereas usually I would just feel a few kicks throughout the day, more-so in the early afternoon and in the evening, yesterday was just a full-on, non-stop pummelfest and despite appearances to the contrary please believe me when I say that I’m not complaining about this- I swear I am not complaining about this.
I know how lucky I am to have these kicks, and my god, this is the goal right? A healthy, strong, vivacious little pumpkin is the dream and I relish the sense of strength and personality I get from feeling each movement. So I won’t complain, but I do want to be honest about this experience and not just write down all of the sweet moments, the pastel memories. I remember reading mommyblogs before I got pregnant where everything was softly lit instagram pictures and perfectly styled maternity photo-shoots and it was daunting, the perfection was stifling. I wanted a real look into it, warts and all. That’s what I’m trying to do here, too.
So. Not complaining, just…elucidating? If I’m honest, the kicking was making me nauseous at some points. The movements and the way they slid back and forth under my skin and how if I thought about it too much (which was easy to avoid when they were sporadic but more difficult when they were a constant one-two-one-two) kind of made me claustrophobic, completely weirded out by the knowledge that there is something alive, THIS obviously insistently alive, swirling around in there.
I feel guilty writing this, because this isn’t how you’re supposed to feel, I don’t think. And I don’t feel like this ALL the time, I LOVE those kicks, those rolls, I do. They make me smile when I feel one unexpectedly and I invariably raise my hand to my belly, absentmindedly rubbing a little hello in return.
But I didn’t love them so much, yesterday. It’s a strange thing to get used to and physically, yesterday I just wasn’t up for it.
As I wrote in my 22 week post, things with this pregnancy and my kidney condition have gone better than I could have ever expected. In saying this though, it’s important to note that my expectations were not exactly sky-high. And part of getting me to this point where I feel mostly good most days, is the fact that whereas I used to take 8-10 pills a day, I’m now up to taking around 20-24, in addition to the supplements my naturopath has me taking.
This is not always easy, sometimes I forget, sometimes I just don’t want to. I feel willfully disobedient and want to do anything, anything at all to avoid choking down one more fucking pill and I feel stubborn and obstinate and throw a small internal tantrum, railing against these stupid kidneys and these stupid fucking pills.
(and I know, I do know how lucky I am that there are pills, that there is a treatment. I know how lucky I am that it’s not worse. I know how lucky I am that I live in Canada, that I have a health plan to pay for most of the cost. I do know this.)
But sometimes still, despite these numerous daily pills supposed to keep me on an even keel, sometimes I find myself listing to one side and yesterday was one of those days. I woke up with telltale signs of low magnesium, all of my muscles felt like they were contracted 20%, especially the ones in my neck and shoulders, around my jaw.
I had a persistent headache, I felt like sleeping all day. I was grumpy and irascible and hot and just generally an unpleasant person to be around.
I went to work, forgot to take my pills with me, and when I got home I was just done. Done. And Adam, oh god, poor Adam.
How I felt yesterday was how I remember feeling in the months leading up to our wedding. Arguments we’d had for years suddenly took on more weight, more significance as I realized that their resolution didn’t just affect our immediate lives but the next fifty some-odd years. Suddenly we weren’t just arguing about the dishes, or how I parked, we were looking decades into the future and fighting to steer us in one direction or another. Things suddenly seemed more important.
Of course once we married, after the wedding excitement died down and we returned from our honeymoon to this newlywed life that everyone warned us would feel “so different”, it just, wasn’t. Life was the same it had always been, arguments about dishes became just about dishes again, rather than about the larger sociological implication of dividing household chores along gender lines.
Yesterday I felt shades of that same panic, of arguing ahead of myself. It wasn’t about the unemptied dishwasher, or our overgrown lawn. It was me sitting there feeling weak and needing help, and silently panicking that if he wouldn’t even mow the lawn when I asked, how would we raise a child together? If he could ignore a dishwasher stacked with clean dishes clearly waiting to be put away, knowing that if he left it I would have to do it, would he do the same with our tiny son or daughter sitting there in a stinky diaper?
As is so often the case in a marriage, we weren’t arguing about what we were arguing about.
Today, with the distance of a few hours and a good night’s sleep and the clarity that daylight always seems to bring, I can see this. I need to keep reminding myself that it’s not about the dishes. It’s about my anxiety, my frustration over not being able to predict or control the future. It’s about not knowing what will happen.
I need to remind myself that after the birth, after the excitement of bringing this little demon into the world, everything will go back to normal (or a new version thereof). I will be the same person, Adam will be the same person. Our relationship will work as it always has, and fights about the lawn or dirty diapers will go back to being about uncut grass and poop, instead of taking on the weight of our entire relationship - Atlas shrugging under that behemoth weight. That unfair significance.
This is marriage, this pushing against and pulling for. Constant shifting forwards and back- sometimes feeling like you’ve given too much and sometimes feeling like you’ve received more than you ever thought you deserved.
We do well at marriage, we are good together. I just have to trust that we will take on parenting the same way.
Today I sit here and I have only felt one or two kicks, the baby feels soft and quiet and the movements are soft and exploratory instead of hard and insistent. Glory, glory.
Adam just finished the last of the sea salt and malt vinegar chips that I had been slowly rationing out over the course of the past week. All I had left was the last bits at the bottom of the bag (AKA the BEST PART) and he ate them.
Ate them all!
I loathe this man right now.
Combine this with the fact that every other person in the world is mowing their lawns right now while my husband is noisily licking his delicious salt-fingers and watching a documentary on arctic mammals, while our porch is slowly being swallowed by 2ft tall grass PLUS the fact that earlier today I saw him open the dishwasher, see it was full of clean dishes, close it again and then WALK AWAY and there is about a 89% chance of homicide in our house right now.
I feel shitty, my pharmacy is out of my medication, my hips are aching and this demon baby won’t stop kicking me and all I wanted was something salty I guess I’ll just settle for my own tears WHY HORMONES WHYYYY?
Five and a half months. The weeks are flying and crawling by, all at the same time. I can’t wait (but I CAN wait) but I can’t! I want to see this little person, meet them, see whose eyes she got, whose sense of humour he has. But I’m not ready to give up the sleep, the hours of yoga. I’m not quite ready to dive into that ginormous bucket of uncertainty that is our lives come October 2012.
I’ll be done work sometime between Mid-September to Mid-October, Adam is tying things up with his business and will be done either late August or late September (do you see, already the uncertainty? Do you hear my teeth clenching?) and without work tying us to this town we’re thinking about moving sometime after Christmas.
So. Want to do some quick math? Me not working, plus newborn demon baby, plus Adam at some as yet unknown job, plus a (maybe?) move, plus a (maybe?) house purchase, plus plus plus plus EQUALS CRAZY!
I’m trying not to think about it. I have willed myself into a blissful state of denial and I sit here and rub my belly like a magic lamp and say my positivity mantras (oh what? You didn’t know I have mantras? I HAVE mantras) and I’m just…hoping everything will work out.
When my baby sister Mawney was in Thailand she went to a Buddhist temple and they were having some sort of special ceremony that day ( I think?) involving string. She asked one of the monks to bless a piece of the string and made it into a bracelet for me and I’ve worn it ever since she got back. It’s supposed to bring good fortune and I think that so far, it has.
Despite it’s small lumps and bumps, this pregnancy has gone so much better than I ever thought possible. I had no idea what being pregnant would do to my kidney condition, and although I’m tired, really tired, and my levels are low and don’t seem to be getting higher anytime soon, besides all of that I have been buoyed by this swelling sense of anticipation and happiness. I’m very grateful for that.
I now weigh 121 pounds (BOOYAH!), which is 11 up from where I started (or 6 up from my pre-pregnancy weight, but I ‘ve decided to count from my my lowest morning sickness weight because really, I have gained that weight back. So. 11lbs it is!) and I am eating everything lately. Life right now is just a non-stop eating party where I am running behind my appetite trying to shove something healthy in there instead of the gummy candies that are suddenly consuming my thoughts.
Breakfasts have become huge in our house, especially on weekends when we both wake up together, and this is weird as I’ve never been a breakfast person, I always skipped eating in the mornings, could never stomach much more than a smoothie (which I had been trying to eat every morning for the past year or so because I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day don’t email me, mom!) but now I wake up starving with our little pumpkin kicking at my sides demanding sustenance.
I spend ten or fifteen minutes just lying in bed thinking about what I’m going to eat, it’s quite the production. Adam, obviously, is loving it. Especially since for the past three Sundays he has been served breakfast in bed, usually a huge traditional eggs, bacon, toast OJ affair but one time an epic breakfast sandwich with spinach and sliced peppers and goat cheese and bacon and fresh fruit on the side and OHMYGOD I’m hungry just thinking about it.
(YES I took pictures! If I don’t take pictures of this shit, people who know me in real life will never believe it happened! “Madeleine cooking?Breakfast? When she could be sleeping?!”)
Actually it’s not just breakfast- food in general has been a good time lately. Adam has been living vicariously through my cravings as evidenced my the chicken Caesar spinach wrap I made last night. I wasn’t craving it for myself, I just wanted to make it, to see it. I wanted someone to taste it.
I must admit though, I have been entertaining thoughts about *gasp* meat. I’m a vegetarian, (you can read about why, and judge me for it here) but also I’m a strong believer that given the opportunity, your body naturally craves what it needs. So I had promised myself that when I got pregnant if I started craving meat, I would eat it. The craving part was sort of important, because as it stands the thought of eating meat just completely grosses me out - it’s dead flesh, and we’re eating it! How weird is that? It’s been almost ten years since I went to the green side and now the idea of eating meat just seems strange. But, I vowed that if that changed, if I started craving juicy steaks, I would listen to my body and go for it.
That hasn’t happened quite yet, cooked meats still reside firmly on the gross side of my brain, and yet. Last weekend I sat next to one of my teenagers as he worked his way through a bag of beef jerky and I would be a filthy liar if I said that I wasn’t drooling.
(OKAY I TRIED A PIECE. I tried a piece of beef jerky. It was awesome. I want to eat beef jerky ten times a day and bathe in it and call Lady Gaga and get her old dress and make it into beef jerky and then EAT THAT TOO.)
Adam’s dad goes hunting quite a bit and sometimes makes jerky out of deer or elk, and this, I think, is the best and safest meat to eat, so perhaps when we’re en route to their cabin in a few weeks I can see if he has any extra lying around that his favorite daughter-in-law can shamelessly devour in the span of three seconds.
Of course a side effect of all the gestating and the eating and the weight gain is that I. Feel. Ginormous. Huge. Adam has affectionately dubbed me “The Blobster”. I know that in the grand scheme of pregnancy I am not in fact huge, that things are only going to get bigger around here, but right now I feel like my skin is stretched to its limits. When I lay down in yoga I can feel the top of my uterus (or, to use my brother’s favorite word, my “fundus”) lying an inch or so above my bellybutton. That means that half of my torso is now devoted to the Demon baby, which leads me to wonder “What more do you want?!” I feel like by the end of this I’ll be feeling kicks in my collarbones.
Things just feel a bit squished and stretched and full and I look at myself and wonder how on earth I’m possibly going to get bigger. But I am. So I just wish myself into that sweet state of denial and rub myself with belly cream and try not to think about how far out this thing will go.
Also: it is now possible to see the baby’s kicks from the outside, but apparently they don’t translate very well onto film, so if anyone wants approximately 1,865,267 videos of my bare belly moving up and down as I breathe with absolutely nothing else happening, just let me know mmkay?
On Saturday Adam and I tossed a change of clothes in overnight bags, grabbed some bedding and met a few friends to head up to their cabin for an evening.
We drove out of town, crept slowly along a deeply pitted road, slowly silencing ourselves as the noise of civilization dropped away too. We watched the canopy of trees unfold above us, the thick drifts of fog envelop us.
It was a short trip - we were back before 1pm the next afternoon - but its incredible what getting out of dodge, even for for less than 24 hours, can do.
A few of the men attempted an icy cold midnight swim, we sang happy birthday, tried to play beer pong while I acted as the judge and mediator. We took flashlights and trudged to the outhouse as needed; groggily boiled water for tea and coffee the next morning.
Adam rigged up a device to toast some bagels for me and we sat there, the six of us in contemplative silence, chewing eggs and fruit, sipping instant coffee.
Adam and I didn’t get much sleep. The upstairs of the cabin held all of the heat from the wood stove we’d had burning for the better part of the evening. I was stripped down to rolled up pyjama pants and a light tank top with all the windows open yet still I lay there sweating and wheezing.
The floor plan was pretty open, as is to be expected in most cabins. Our nearby roommates fell asleep before us and the male half quickly fell into what I can only describe as a series of painful-sounding asphyxiations, struggles with wildebeests and satisfying-sounding moans.
For an hour or so the roaring snores forms a deeply irritating rhythm, a gulping, horking, wheezing crescendo on the inhale, a soft whistle on the exhale.
"How is he breathing so fast?” I moaned to Adam after rolling over for the eighth time, unable to block out the noise with my hands or the two pillows we’d brought.
Then suddenly just as I had begged Adam’s pillow off of him to put between my knees, the rhythm of the snores disappeared, there was a short period of silence.
"He stopped!" Adam exclaimed happily, we high fived and nestled deeper under our blanket.
And then there was the loudest snort-rumble-gasp-roar of all, jolting us from the sweet reaches of almost-sleep.
"What the fuck was that?!” I cried, not knowing that I would have ample opportunity to analyze each facet of that terrifyingly loud, unpredictable cacaphony over the next two hours.
I honestly think this guy must have had sleep apnea, he must have been stopping breathing for a few minutes at a time. There’s simply no other explanation in my head (except maybe being possessed by the furious spirit of Satan himself, intent on ruining the one thing I hold dearest)
The whole process sounded incredibly painful; complete silence would blanket the cabin for a few moments, unpredictable in duration, often lulling our exhausted selves into the first tentative stages of sleep when BOOM! that gasp! That wheezy, chortling, grunting, grating, rumbling, desperate inhale at the point of asphyxiation.
I am not ashamed to say that after more than two hours of this I just wanted to help him finish the job. I wanted to strangle him to death with my bare hands. I lay there on the hard mattress with my hips aching, trembling with rage.
"How can his wife sleep beside that?! Why isn’t she elbowing him?"
At one point Adam shouted “STOP SNORING!” to no avail.
A few moments later I looked up to see him standing at the guys doorway with a pillow in his hand and a murderous look on his face.
"Adam!" I hissed, "What are you doing?"
He turned to look at me, “I’m going to end this once and for all.” he said calmly.
Internets I wish I had let him. Instead I coaxed him back to bed and we lay there together, listening to that chuffing rhinocerous try to breathe.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I heard it. Water.
"Do you hear that?"
and there it was again.
It sounded like someone was pouring a cup of water onto the floor. Or, you know, PEEING.
"Someone is fucking PISSING on the floor! I’M IN HELL!" I cried, and then actually started crying.
Internets I was tired, so very tired. Sleeping in a sauna, (or actually NOT sleeping), and now someone was fucking urinating the floor. Possibly right next door.
I have no idea how it happened but at some point we must have finally succumbed to our exhaustion because then, suddenly, it was morning.
Grey light and the sounds of more soft rain filtered through the windows and after coffee and breakfast and some good natured teasing for the wildebeast himself, we packed up and headed home.
Home to the big beast, incredibly excited to see us, home to our own beds and our own snores and real coffee and electricity and flushing toilets.
Yesterday for the second time, I paid a nice lady to look at my tongue, and deep into my eyes, and then stick dozens of needles into my tender flesh.
ACUPUNCTURE! Not kinky sex magic. (Sorry.)
Six or seven years ago I don’t know if I would have been able to do acupuncture, the needles would have creeped me out. But several years of donating blood and then more years of IV’s and THEN twice-monthly blood tests have more than cured me of any lingering needle-phobia, and now they don’t phase me one bit, I actually find it pretty relaxing. (The acupuncture that is, not the day to day IV sticking and blood-taking. That would be weird)
Last time I was in my naturpoath focused the acupuncture on my front side, so I had needles sticking out of my forehead and ears, one just below my ribcage, a few in my wrists, and then several in my ankles.
This time she did the back side, so I had a few needles in my legs, some down my spine, a few on the bony protuberances at the base of my skull, one on the top of my head and then several in my wrists again.
Am I grossing you out? Don’t be grossed out kittens! The needles are tiny, like sewing pins really. I was just about to write that you don’t even feel them but that would be a lie and I dare not lie to you lest you get so enthused by my titillating recounting of acupuncture that you book a session of your own and then find yourself cursing my name throughout. That would be bad for several reasons, a) I don’t want anyone cursing me, ever, and b) because you’re supposed to relax and have positive thoughts while needles are sticking out of you.
So. The honest truth is that 95% of them you don’t even really feel beyond a tiny sting as they are flicked in. The other 5% sort of ache, and these are the ones I pay attention to because they tell me what needs working on. I always ask my naturopath which area she just targeted, because each needle is being inserted into a meridian that corresponds with various organs and bodily processes, so it’s sort of cool to see where is being affected. Where your qi (energy) is blocked.
Last time I went I was just getting over morning sickness and the most painful ones she did that day had to do with digestion and the stomach. This time it was the ones corresponding with my kidneys (weird).
Anyway, after the needles (and after heaving myself like a beached whale off of the special pregnancy pillow that allowed me to lay on my stomach for the duration of the treatment - and also after an unsuccessful attempt at begging her to let me take that pillow home, just for one nightplease?!)I headed to yoga and then to work.
Today it rained. Again. Like it has every day for what seems like the past eight months. I swear at SOME point during this summer I will bust out this giant belly in a bikini and sun myself on the shores of a lake somewhere. MARK MY WORDS friends, it will happen. I will make it happen.
Today I had the day off work, so I went it to help Adam for the morning and then came home, set my oven timer for 2 hours and scoured my house from top to bottom.
(Remember thenesting?Yeah. Still happening).
All the laundry is done. Floors are scrubbed. Mirrors and windows sparkling. Gus has been de-gussed (as much as possible anyway) and his dog bed cover and collar have been washed. I made laundry soap and vacuumed, took out garbage and recycling, I even boxed up all of my “skinny” clothes. Gone from my closet are my tighter shirts, the dress from my glamour photos, anything with a waistband that won’t stretch or be held up by a belly band. I washed a few more cloth diapers I picked up the other day, I did it all!
I even updated the “About Madeleine” section of this very internet blog. Truth. So, if you have ever wanted to know what, exactly, Madeleine is all “about” then holy shit look to your right because YOU mister, are in luck!
My back aches, I’m drinking nettle tea, and as I sit here I can feel the little demon kicking around in my lower abdomen. Basically, it’s been a good day.
Tonight Adam and I are abandoning the beast and heading to a friend’s cabin for the evening. Nothing like a change of scenery for 24 hours or so.
I hope it isn’t rainy where you are. I hope you have sun and lakes and free time to enjoy both. I hope you get to sleep in tomorrow morning, and I also hope that you get to enjoy a hot frothy cappuccino, do it for me okay?
Sooo let’s say hypothetically that someone I know always gets nagged for not wearing his seatbelt, and then that SAME someone just this morning got a $167 ticket for -you guessed it- not wearing his seatbelt.
Would I be correct in assuming that it would be in poor taste to cackle maniacally and shriek “I told you so!” repeatedly in this persons face?
We just got back from an appointment with our midwife, and I think that 21 weeks will be remembered as the week of what-if’s, of worst-case vs. best-case scenarios.
My attitudes towards birth have changed a lot since I became pregnant, something I didn’t anticipate. Pre-pregnancy, I thought that if anything, heading along the road to this experience myself would serve only to solidify my resolve about natural birth - I’d read the books and watched the movies and just knew that it was right for me (and, by extension, for everyone of course).
In the beginning I believed this, and this line of thinking was a huge factor in why we chose to work with midwives instead of doctors. (It wasn’t the only factor, because contrary to popular belief, you can choose to have a hospital birth with an epidural and all of the trappings while still working with a midwife.
Other factors included the hour-long appointments where they focus on how you’re dealing with the pregnancy emotionally, how you’re feeling physically beyond there being something “wrong”, discussing each diagnostic test with you and trusting that you are intelligent enough to weigh the risks and benefits on your own. The quality of care is incredible and beyond what I would have expected going into this. I wouldn’t change it for the world.)
But as this pregnancy progressed and we first heard the heartbeat, then saw those little feet, then began to feel movements from inside - hesitant at first, now incredibly strong thumps right beneath my ever-more-shallow belly button- something in me shifted. I became less militant, I loosened. I began to see how the issue of “natural” birth vs. hospital birth wasn’t, couldn’t be, so cut and dried.
Even beforehand, in my extremely pro-home-birth stance, I was aware that it was wrong to equate natural with good - we forget that it’s not, always.
We forget that death is natural. Disease is natural. There are natural poisons and toxins and yes, babies and mothers dying during birth is sometimes, unfortunately, natural. So the argument for home birth can’t simply be because it’s natural, you see?
It’s just a choice, and one that everyone and their uncle seems to have an opinion about because as soon as you become pregnant some ancient community instinct comes over people that inspires them to protect that baby, your baby, at all costs.
This protection often manifests itself in the form of observations (in the past week I have been told that I’m tiny for 21 weeks, and huge for 21 weeks), advice (most of it unwanted) and those lovely cautionary tales which often do little else than terrify the listener.
I can’t count the number of times I have heard the following response when I have said I was planning on doing a home birth, “Oh god no, don’t do that! My cousin’s friend had a home birth and her baby died.”
The last word is whispered apologetically as if to say, “So sorry but I just thought you should know.”
It’s infuriating and it cuts to the crux of the issue about pro-life/pro-choice, home birth/hospital birth, breast vs. bottle; this pervasive idea that you as a woman are not intelligent enough nor well informed enough to make good decisions about your health or that of your child.
And this is where I have become less militant, less black and white.This is where I have loosened.
There is no best, what remains is only what is best for you. Your child.
I would hate to have options erased, taken away. I would no more try and convince someone to have a home birth than I would accept the terrifying advice of these well-meaning strangers. It’s my decision.
And this was my new viewpoint, my softened stance. I had decided what I felt was best for me. It was, I rationalized, just one choice among many choice. My choice.
Aaaaaaand then it became abundantly clear that it’s not my choice at all, not really.
I am now in the position where there is a small chance that not only will home birth be out of the question, but so will vaginal birth period.
If this ridiculous placenta doesn’t move, it’s c-section time. Today our midwife walked us through all of the potential situations that could arise from placenta previa. Her intent was not to scare us, but to inform, yet as I sat beside Adam and listened to all of the different scenarios involving pre-term bleeds and surgery and hospitals and premature babies and complications breastfeeding and and and…It became very clear that all of this is just so completely out of our hands, it’s laughable to plan at all.
Standing here at 21 weeks, where I have seen the sentient profile of our son or daughter, where I have begun to feel this strange distinct feeling of being more than one person, standing here, all I want, ALL I want out of this is a chubby, giggling baby; healthy, happy and strong.
That’s the goal.
And if to get there I need a c-section or a hospital or an epidural or formula in a bottle, fucking go for it mama, I just don’t care. Do what it takes. At this point if they told me I’d have to pull this child out of my left nostril then that’s what we’d do.
That’s the shade of grey I’ve discovered.
Choices look different for everyone and we are all special snowflakes, no two the same and sometimes, unexpectedly, the options disappear one by one and somehow you have to find a way to be happy with what you end up with, without feeling disappointed. Without being judged.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit worried. More so now than a few weeks ago. There was a lot of information to take in today, and for someone who likes to be in control, being told that you can’t do much more than wait is a bit difficult. But what can you do?
You wait, you visualize, you remind yourself that all of this (the c-section, the potential preemie, the hospital in the city an hour away) all of it is just a small possibility at the very end of a long line of what-if’s and worst-case scenarios.
You sit here and type out a too-long post filled with a nonsensical jumble of words that tries desperately to give shape to the swirling mass in your head and in your heart.
You remember how two nights ago your husband lay with his head resting on your belly and received a kick to his cheekbone so strong that he jumped up, clutching his face and hyperventilating with shock and laughter.
You talk mountains back into molehills, take a deep breath and push away the what-if’s and simply go back to enjoying being pregnant in all of your bulbous glory.
(Because I do enjoy it, I am enjoying it, more than anything.)
(P.S. I also realized why all pregnant women do this pose - because otherwise your torso just looks like one massive blob. Doing the obnoxious belly-cupping motion you see above is like saying “Hey! Look! Above my hands? Those are boobs! And between my top and bottom hands, that’s where the ole baby resides, and then below my bottom hand is where my legs begin! See, I haven’t let myself go- there’s three distinct parts!”.
My job is an outreach worker with teens 13-24 years old. I haven't made a formal "I'm pregnant" announcement to them, I decided that instead I'd just deal with reactions/questions as they came up. This has resulted in all five of the girls I see regularly noticing and asking questions, and the other 30-50 boys being completely oblivious to my ever-inflating form (and if I'm honest I find this reassuring, knowing that my body isn't being closely scrutinized. They are teen boys after all)
Anyway, my coworker and I took a bunch of them out for dinner the other night and had the following conversation. I couldn't stop laughing, feeling like I was on the opposite end of a talk I've had with so many teens over the years.
Hey Madeleine can I order a beer?
(sarcasm) Oh sure, why not.
Ok cool, don't worry I'll order you one too.
teen girl 1 :
She can't have a BEER you idiot, she's pregnant!
teen girl 2:
Was this planned?
(laughing) Yes, definitely.
Do you know who the dad is?
Guys! Yes! I'm fairly sure my husband is the dad.
teen girl 1:
oh my god.
When were you going to tell us?!
me and coworker:
(laughing so hard we can hardly speak)
(shaking his head) Pregnant!
(walks in, sits down, stares pointedly at my midsection.)
Yeah. I can definitely tell you're pregnant now. I can see your gut.
(AKA Five Months, AKA Halfway! Or probably a little over halfway because I feel like the baby might come early-mid October as opposed to late October)
Hello friends! It’s me! The woman who has suddenly turned into a sugar-craving bitch, and appropriately enough, is looking a bit bitchy in her 20 week photo as well!
I am not a sweets person. Put me near a table packed with savoury cheeses and a table laden with rich chocolates and ten minutes later you’ll find me passed out in a goat cheese coma every. time. But lately I’m all about fruit! and ice cream! and candy!
I ate Skittles for breakfast. Do you hear me internets? I ate SKITTLES (SKITTLES! I wish there was a bigger capital letter option!) for BREAKFAST!
I can’t even blame this depravity on cravings, because it’s not a desperate “Must have high-fructose corn syrup at all costs NOW” feeling, it’s just that I now prefer sweetness. I don’t like this new development one bit and I consider it somewhat of a personal affront that my fruit bowl is perpetually empty whilst at the same time a full jar of kosher dills languishes in the back of my fridge.
20 weeks is also the week that I have been telling everyone within spitting distance that I am “nesting”.
"Holy shit, I’m so nesting!”
"I’m in full-on nesting mode!"
"Oh man, I’m nesting so hard right now!"
Is there a more obnoxious word? One friend had the audacity to question how this “nesting” was different than my usual obsession with home furnishings, and to her I say “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, CAROL!”
Anyway. I may have bought some things. Not even baby things, just, things for my nest, okay?! I may do a post on them in the near future because that is just part of nesting.
It is so.
On the weekend Adam and I drove down to the big city to pick up one of said things, and after we purchased it we drove around and ended up along a strange little street under a railroad bridge (it was exactly as sketchy as it sounds) and this street was packed, PACKED with vintage stores. One store was crammed to the rafters with old doors and windows. Seriously. Adam had a vice grip on my arm the entire time we were in there as I was unable to speak English and instead just kept emitting guttural moans at all the lovely old doors and leaded window frames. Think of the things you could do with those windows! SO many things!
At one point we entered a store that called itself “Front St. Antiques” and Adam looked at me and said, “Are we antiquing right now?” and I replied, “Yes! Yes I think we are! We’re ANTIQUING!”
So now in addition to telling people that I’m nesting I like to also throw in that Adam and I spent the weekend antiquing.
[Also whilst antiquing: We were drooling over a ridiculously expensive mid-century credenza (I swear we aren’t usually this pompous- I have never before used the word credenza in my life!) and the saleslady helpfully informed us that it would be perfect height for a change table, then glanced meaningfully at my belly. It’s the first time a stranger has noticed the belly and felt confident enough to assume that it was a baby, and not simply a beer belly. Pretty big deal!]
We have decided that Baby G isn’t going to have a nursery, not right now anyway. We have a two-bedroom house and initially I had plans (BIG plans) to transform our guest room into a the baby’s room, but as the months passed and we broke the news to friends and family who in turn began eagerly planning their trips to come visit us post-birth, we realized that having a guest room might come in handy.
(Especially if they plan on bringing food and/or doing laundry, we figured that giving them a place to you know,sleep, might be fair)
This, compounded with the fact that so many friends with babies have told me that the baby didn’t even use their own room for the first six months, has made me decide that we will just put Baby’s bassinet in our room for the first little while (after which time, presumably, we will be moving). This will also have the added bonus of cutting down on useless baby-related furnishings (See: change table; baby-animal themed decor).
I’ll still be doing a bit of baby-related decorating etc. so I’ll post that when I’m done. (Just hold your breath in anticipation, mmmkay?)
Although Adam was able to feel a kick at 18 weeks and I’ve been feeling them consistently every day, he hasn’t been able to feel one since. I’ll be lying in bed reading, feeling like I’m housing a teensy Lord of the Dance within my womb, but when I call Adam over he sits there for what seems like hours, without so much as a twinge.
Sunday however, we lay there and he felt it again, three strong thumps to his hand.
I swear it just never gets old, the smile it brings to his face.