mama's secret pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

Gestational week eighteen, from BabyCenter:

2007.02.20. debauchery

taking time to read moo baa lalala
As the baby cares not for the typical sorts of debauchery, today for Mardi Gras I went out for breakfast (my usual, one of Stumptown's better brews and a chocolate-orange scone, which today tasted like heaven itself); I worked all day, taking time out to read books to Truman and sort Everett's toys; I took a long, bubbly bath; I made myself chicken parmesan with simple spaghetti and roasted asparagus for dinner; I ate ice cream; and I stayed up really, really late.

Debauchery at its finest. I'm thinking about giving up alcohol for Lent. Either that, or buying yarn. Hmmm....

2007.02.21. body: lovely. mind: not working

focusing at the rose quarter transit center
Despite my occasional bursts of desperate fear (I'm having an abruption! or my stress level will stunt the poor child!), my pregnancy has been going well these past weeks. I can lift things without strain, I can stay up late without much ill effect, I can exert myself without any major repercussions. Today, Everett and I went on a few errands together and he wanted to run between bus stop and destination, so we did, holding hands and going FAST (too fast, if you must know, for me). I was worn out quickly but never felt pained or concerned for my belly. We bought a gallon of paint at Miller's and ended up walking nearly a mile to the most convenient bus stop. I was utterly, completely, fine.

This is all, of course, lovely, and I couldn't be more thrilled. On the other hand, my brain? It's not really working. I'm perfectly smart, and I'm not forgetting important things or losing my way home. I simply can't focus.

My lack of focus means I have a million things just started and never finished, that I end up jumping from blog to Jyte to flickr while looking for a quote on Whole Foods (my stock pick for the day) or an answer to one of my writers' questions. I leave lunch in the oven 'til about five minutes past its prime, I can't imagine myself staying put long enough to clean the bathroom, I get distracted in my quest to organize toys. I'm just not getting much done.

And now. I sit here, mesmerized by rain dripping off a tree, by the sounds of cars rushing by on the wet pavement, my the sounds of my fingers on the keyboard.

A shout from Everett, a short shriek from Truman. Their show has ended. And I know nothing will get done, yet again.

2007.02.22. mamas group night

pizza and ken
pizza and ken
It was a mama's group night, but I scheduled at the last minute (Ken's Artisan Pizza) and no one was sure she could come. No matter. I've never minded (much) eating alone and suddenly was ready for the quiet of myself, out, solitary in the noise of people cooking, serving, eating delicious food together. YES.

Still, when I arrived, another pregnant woman (seven months, I'd guess) with a little girl, with friends, was in the waiting area with me. Everyone was with people (of course), thrilled at the chance to eat such storied food, bubbling over with importance or impatience or appetite but together.

I wished, then, for someone else to come. But no one did, and it was ok. I sat down at the bar and still another belly poked out at me. "Hi mama," I thought. She looked uncomfortable, impatient for a table, and me, with this yawning open stool between me and the rest of the bar (conveniently set in pairs).

The bartender got me a menu, and I read it eagerly, slowly, glancing up from time to time at the large "drinking alcohol while pregnant has been shown to cause birth defects" sign. At once, shamed and piqued. I resisted, though, as I didn't really want to spend the money and I still hadn't decided whether I was giving up alcohol for Lent (more on that later).

A man, bespectacled, slender and understated, was standing near me behind the bar, and he looked happy to have me there. So I brazenly snapped photos of the restaurant and ordered a Pizza Margherita from him, staring too hungrily at my neighbor's bruschetta with speck, 20-year-old balsamic, housemade apple butter. It looked amazing (and, later, he'd tell the bartender it was).

The thing about eating alone is that you are a part of nothing, but yet you can observe everything. It's almost as if the restaurant is the play and you, you are the audience. It's how I feel being pregnant sometimes, as if I exist in something that's delineated from the world of players, my only fellow audience members the other pregnant women. Perhaps that's why I feel such immediate kin with anyone sporting a belly, perhaps it's why they look at me so strangely as I grin atrociously at them.

My pizza came, and it was beautiful. The man behind the bar offered me sea salt and red peppers and, though the pizza didn't need salt, its addition was sparkling and beautiful. I ate all but one piece.

I started to wonder who the man was when I saw him take a sip of a glass of what could only be beer. Which meant he could really only be one man. "Ken, what's for dinner tonight?" asked the bartender casually. Ken Forkish, the owner. He probably thought I was a food writer. I am a food writer, I suppose. No wonder he was so solicitous. But also, I think he was just kind, to a somewhat red-faced pregnant woman, eating his world-famous pizza alone in the middle of so much togetherness.

And now I am sitting here, a few blocks away at an uncrowded wine bar. There is guitar and too-eager service. There is tea and too-rich chocolate torte. And there is me, finally, with time to myself. And I am still for a moment, waiting to feel the baby.

2007.02.23. everything's coming up pregnant

my sister hannah with her step-kids
My sister Hannah called last night, while I was out at my solo mama's group, and I forgot to listen to her message until late afternoon. I was thinking about our family, and how we used to have "Sunday dinner" together (sometimes on Saturday), all the siblings and spouses and children, with my parents. When my parents moved away from Portland (they're about an hour's drive away), it became less frequent, and when we stopped driving our car and Daniel moved to California, almost non-existent. I was thinking, we should restart family dinner, and so I listened to her message.

Hannah is four years younger than I am, although she looks at least a dozen. She teaches junior high and high school (she's a physics major, and brainy as can be), and is often mistaken for one of the students. This photo is of her and her two step-children, Sarah and Jordan, who are 12 and 13. Even though she looks like their sibling, she's really a great step-mom. In fact, when I was a kid, I often wondered if Hannah would be the first among us to have children, even though she's the middle child. Fate got in the way, though -- her husband wasn't ready to have babies again, yet, and we started having kids in proper age order, me first, then my brother.

Hannah had left a message that went something like this (in her typically reserved, quiet voice): "Hi, Sarah, I'm sure mom's told me I'm pregnant. [I'm sure she hasn't. My mom is a lovely person but may be the single worst gossip spreader in the entire earth.] I just had some questions for you..."

I called her back that instant, but of course she wasn't home from work yet. I was so excited I started IM-ing random BloggingStocks writers who were online. "My sister's pregnant!" I'd type enthusiastically. Like good internet buddies, they responded in kind.

She's due sometime in late October, about three months after me. If you've been keeping track my brother's wife and favorite doula, Destiny, is due a few weeks before me; and my husband's sister, Betsy, had her first baby in January. Now, if my sister Jenny can only get pregnant (she has a few weeks to make it into 2007... go Jenny go!) then, well, that will be pretty fun. I'll be knitting a LOT of little tiny hats.

I couldn't imagine a better possible fate.

Oh, and by the way, there IS one more sister, Abby, the youngest. She is absolutely not going to get pregnant this year. No, really. She'd better not anyway or we'll have to find a new babysitter.

2007.02.26. ode to exhaustion

knitting in the denver airport
I spent the day -- seriously, the last 20-some hours -- flying across the country. I was scheduled on a redeye last night, through Chicago, and evidently there was a little snow there. Instead of having meetings all day, I flew. And though I'm utterly exhausted (and wired, it's nearly 2 a.m. and I can't seem to sleep), I had FUN.

As I'm too tired to write it all down right now, I'll just give you some snippets.

Smells. At 5:32 a.m., the door to the Blue Line Max slides open and I breathe in an ugly human smell, sulphurous, and the cloying perfume of someone's hair product. At 5:46 a.m., another rider gets on, and I am hit with a wave of unshowered, since yesterday. In the jetway to Denver, airplane fuel stuns me, nauseous after a turbulent landing. As I wait, hours, I become hungry and yet am floored by the smells of pizza, fries, beer.

Friends who knit. I carry my knitting with me everywhere, in line at the ticket counter (I can't be put on standby for the direct flight), as I wait to board, at takeoff and landing, at breakfast and lunch, as I sit on the concourse floor charging my laptop computer. Everywhere my knitting makes me friends, a grandmother who knits for her grandkids, a dad-to-be whose mom makes gigantic socks, a woman whose second knitting project ever is a complicated intarsia (five colors, at once) and she doesn't even KNOW the word intarsia, a man in his late 40s? early 50s? who is a civil engineer and whose eyes light up when he talks about his work, a woman also named Sarah, also a mom, also a writer, who I find sitting next to me at lunch. We talk about journalism and blogging and real estate and Mommy Wars (which she has on her table) and food and, yes, knitting, I love her. Everyone shares in my project, and I happily find a way to tell them all about the baby in my huge (but still not oh-when-are-you-due huge) belly.

Vibration. I swear the baby is vibrating. Several times, I feel what seems to be a cell phone vibrating against my belly, though the phone is never near (and never rings).

Deep breaths. It's all that gets me through a particularly ugly landing in Denver. I mentally coach the civil engineer next to me, who reported feeling sickly that day.

Good mood. Being in a good mood greatly helps one's general outlook on life when one is delayed by some 13 hours from one's destination.

Sleep. I need it. And so, good night!