mama's secret pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

Gestational week seven, from BabyCenter:

The cells that will make up all of your baby's body parts and systems are dividing furiously as her body begins to take shape. Right now she's about the size of a small lentil bean (4 to 5 millimeters across). If you could see through your uterine wall, you'd find an overlarge head and dark spots where her eyes and nostrils are beginning to take shape. Shallow pits on the sides of her head mark her developing ears, and her arms and legs appear as protruding buds. Her hands and feet look like paddles, with thick webbing between the developing digits, but her fingers and toes will soon become more distinct. Below the opening that will later be your baby's mouth, there are small folds where her neck and lower jaw will eventually develop. (Inside, her tongue and vocal cords are just beginning to form.)

Your baby's heart (which is starting to divide into the right and left chambers) is beating about 100 to 130 beats per minute almost twice as fast as yours and blood is beginning to circulate through her body. Her intestines are developing and tiny breathing passages are beginning to appear where her lungs will be. She's also starting to build muscle fibers and, halfway through this week, she'll likely start moving her tiny limbs. Unfortunately, you'll probably have to wait until you're several weeks into your second trimester before you get to enjoy feeling your baby's calisthenics.

2006.12.05. secrets are safe

the angel wings and christmas tree at rockefeller center, december 5
I packed some of my favorite things for my trip to New York, for a ridiculously important strategy meeting. And once I stood looking at myself in the mirror the second day of my trip, there in the bathroom on the 4th floor of 75 Rockefeller, I realized that the things I packed were LOUD and totally figure-revealing. I was keeping no secrets with my bright-as-all-getout paisley explosion turtleneck.

But, at the same time, I was keeping all secrets. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I also realized that my belly, as huge as it appeared to me, was not even a figment of my colleague's imaginations, overwhelmed by both my immediate boss's pregnancy (at 20 weeks, quite definitely obvious) and the overall outrageousness of my attire.

I wanted to tell her, my boss, and waited for that right time alone to do so. I'd be filling in for her sometime in April and May; and in return, she'd have to be filling in for me sometime in July and August. But our lunch alone turned into lunch with the boys and I let her play pregnant woman, happily going for seconds and eating dessert when everyone else went without (I, not because of any lack of hunger, but because I felt a little broke).

It will wait, until after the doctor's appointment, the coldly-monikered "pregnancy confirmation" (after which I can just imagine a nurse patting my head and saying, sorry, sweetie! it's just in your imagination, because, well, that's oh-so-much less chilling than option #3), or (whichever comes first) until someone happens upon my uncleverly-hidden blog. Secrets will keep.

2006.12.06. so. so. tired

starbucks in the newark airport
I woke up at 7 a.m. after only five hours' sleep, showered and packed, ate my apple left over from the night before, checked out of my expensive hotel, took a taxi to Penn Station, bought a doughnut at Krispie Kreme, took a train to Newark Airport, checked in, and got through security. The airport was largely quiet and I was surprised when I walked into the Starbucks on my concourse, which had been packed two weeks prior, to find it utterly empty.

It was probably because of that unexpected stillness that I ordered a tall maple macchiato. And almost choked when the price rung up at $4.04 after tax.

It was good, o.k., too sweet but not awful, and I sipped it as I headed toward gate 132. While I haven't been thoroughly nauseous I've just been feeling generally unsettled, not entirely hungry for anything (except maybe red-rare steak with fresh garlic, kosher salt and butter) and, yet, hungry.

I sat down in my seat, expecting to feel wide awake and eager to knit. Instead I felt nothing but exhausted and fell asleep almost immediately, snoozing uncomfortably in my airplane seat.

I awoke with about 90 minutes left on the six-plus-hour flight, and knitted row after luscious purpley row on my soon-to-be-knitalong wrap. But I couldn't shake the exhaustion.

Once I arrived home around 3 pacific, I didn't want to do anything but snooze on the couch, and Truman was only too happy to join me. The rest of the night I kept guiltily reaching for my laptop only to fall once again onto the couch, cuddled with the boys or with Jonathan, dead tired.

Although I'd worked insanely over the past few days, over 14 hours a day, still the exhaustion was too much, it sent me over the edge, it swept me up in its head-pounding eye-blurring drama. At some point that night I thought weakly to myself that I'd never, no never, feel rested again. Pregnancy or jet lag? I'll never know for sure but I felt vastly better just three weeks ago on very nearly the same schedule.

As it makes me feel just a touch better, I'm going with "pregnancy."

2006.12.08. inconclusive symptoms

pregnant food at friday's, november 16
As I am ambivalent about the pregnancy, on one hand already committing to it (maybe the baby will be born on Everett's birthday, I'll be taking time off in the late summer which is nice, I won't be able to travel in June, I think) and on the other hand wanting to wait, be still, keep it close, not write the weeks on the calendar yet in case something goes wrong... I also feel ambivalent about my pregnancy symptoms. They seem so hard-to-nail-down, so inconclusive.

After all, this difficulty getting up before 9 a.m.? I've suffered it before. Like, last week. And two months ago, when I was sure I was pregnant, and let's not forget, when Truman was only six or eight or nine months ... gas pains come and go. I haven't been running or biking at all recently, so that could be contributing to my breathlessness. I haven't really noticed a heightened sense of smell, or bleeding gums, or insomnia, or frequent trips to the potty.

Not that I think I'm not pregnant, mind you. No, but this would fall under another pregnant symptom I've recorded here: general irrationality. You see, if I don't feel enough symptoms, my illogical, emotional brain immediately jumps to "miscarriage."

I think much of it is the presence of two children, one of whom is still (quite hungrily) breastfeeding. They throw everything off. I'm already juiced up with hormones so what does my body know if it's pregnancy or just the general need to get another human fed? And of course I'm always hungry, craving iron and leafy greens and milky creamy deliciousness. I'm doling out a good 500+ calories a day (who knows how much, really, at this point).

Essentially what it goes to show me is that, no matter what's going on in my body, my heart is full of terror. I'm afraid to commit because I know how things can go wrong. Sure, I'll make plans and look at dates and take photos and write paragraph after paragraph here. But I won't fall for this baby, not now, not yet. Not until I'm sure.

And then I remember, you're never sure, the whisper fills my whole body with fear. And I reach around myself to ward off the shivers and go to check on my boys.

2006.12.08. conclusively emotional

shetha's knitting way blanket
I most certainly have one pregnancy symptom, all right. Oh my lord.

It's a really hard time to be newly pregnant, especially if you are (for instance) spending a lot of time in an office. I can't even open a web page with news of James Kim without my eyes welling with tears. Not an easy thing when you work for a company who's realized that ohmigod a lost family is front page gold! and is running the news in the top spot (the one I always check to see if any of my stories have been promoted).

And I can't turn away. When I read, at the very end of the story, that the mom kept the two girls healthy by breastfeeding them both, a four-year-old and seven-month-old? Well, I can't even type it without blurred vision.

While making a promise to myself to never go down a potholey road without a local survival expert aboard! I imagine myself, in a car on the side of the road for nine days, breastfeeding my children while weak from hunger and thirst and I go limp with the impossibility of it all.

It's awful, truly awful. Pregnant women, new mothers, and anyone with a hormonal bent should not be subjected to such stuff.

Whatever else I wonder about, is the nausea a flu virus or a pregnancy symptom? am I tired because I'm lazy, or is it pregnancy?, I know one thing: the hormones have got me, lock, stock and barrel.

2006.12.09. lucky in children

everett and truman, lovely
After spending the day at a craft fair, watching other people and their children, watching precocious interesting teens and over-stimulated three-year-olds and newly pregnant women and hugely pregnant women, I showed up at a lovely holiday party and was almost immediately met by my boys.

Aunt Abby had dressed them up, and it was as if two gigantic yet beautiful children had materialized out of the ether. These were mine? My two, little monstrous-lovable-troublesome-gems, my sons?

Santa came, and Everett was beside himself with pride and excitement. My chest filled with the heat of parenthood as he rushed to Santa's side, so bravely and sweetly filling Santa in on the goings-on.

And then Everett looked around, realized Truman wasn't there with the other awestruck children. He left Santa's feet and ran, picking his little brother up and dragging him as fast as he could to the front of the crowd. "This is my brother, Truman, Santa!" he said, as if this was the most important thing in the world to communicate.

How could I ever make anything so good as this? Can I be lucky in children three times over? Can any mama ever hope for more?

2006.12.11. the throw-up chronicles

stuffed trees in my window
The throw up hit my house with a vengeance. Well, I should take that statement back entirely, as with only one human down so far (and looking to be out of the woods very soon), I can count myself lucky. Others have not been so fortunate.

At Larissa's house, it was two men down, with the women all simply feeling stomach-achey and tired (aha! that could explain why I felt the need to sleep for 14 hours of the 24 in my Sunday). At my house, it's looking like Everett: diarrhea and Truman: a miserable night of throwing up, while mama just feels generally icky and wonders, pregnancy or stomach flu? yet again.

Though Truman is a most trooper-y flu victim, foretelling his coming explosion only by clinginess, then throwing up monstrous amounts of his stomach contents, again, and again, yet still recovering in a matter of 30 minutes to his former ever-happy self.

Watching him is both exhausting (my lord I don't know how much more gross-encrusted-cuddling I can handle while I try to fit in a little work between the encursions) and inspiring (I, too, can recover from illness and forge on to climb on top of a dresser after my mama's noodles!).

Have you ever tried to clean thrown-up soba noodles out of a sleeping toddler's fine, lovely hair? Not so easy.