mama's secret pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

Gestational week twelve, from BabyCenter:

2007.01.10. please come home

my army man, happy in his dress uniform, december 16
Yes, the insane schedule. Though Jonathan hasn't been working nights this week, the days he's working are long, far too long. He leaves around 6:30 a.m., he gets home around 6:30 p.m. Normally this might be hard, but now? All I can think from 2 p.m. on is please come home!

I get up groggily, I struggle to find time to make toast, or maybe eat a left-from-Christmas gingerbread cookie. If I can squeeze the time I get the boys dressed, we go to the coffee shop (today, Truman wore jammy pants, me throwing up my arms in defeat).

By 2 p.m. the wave of terrifying exhaustion hits, and if I'm lucky and no one's pinging I take a long shower, wishing with everything in me for a nap. I return to my computer and work inefficiently until 4, when I start planning to go on an errand, any errand. Half the time I realize that I can't; Truman falls asleep, or I can't get Everett to put his socks on and we miss the key bus.

I just want to leave the house for 20 minutes, or an hour, for an errand by myself. I just want to run to the coffee shop when the boys are still sleeping. I just want to take a nap.

But instead, I'm here, mom and chef and housekeeper and full-time employee and baby factory, not able to go to the post office, without enough energy to finish up work late at night, feeling very much on house arrest.

Please come home, daddy, please come home.

2007.01.12. mostly wonderful

good before the loss
Today I woke up, and felt almost like a regular ol' human. I answered all the important emails, I ran to grab coffee, I conference called, I created polls, I actually finished the most important tasks of the day.

We were ready to go, the bus was coming in three minutes according to my trusty transit tracker. I applied hats, I grabbed my bag. And my wallet...

Where was my wallet?

20 minutes later, having missed two buses, I found the wallet, in the paper towel box. Of course. I found another bus route, that would get me at my appointment only 10 minutes late. I called the doctor, they would still see me. And we were on our way, bussing through the brilliantly sunny-but-cold streets of Portland.

Truman was wild with energy, and kept struggling to get out of my arms. I was frustrated, but persevered in a good mood, snapping photos of his crazy joy while we waited to change buses at 42nd and Fremont. Once on the #33, Truman went even crazier, screeching and lurching and, as far as I could tell, trying to launch himself right out the window. Finally I realized he just was hungry and tired, fed him and he was asleep in no time.

As we walked off the bus, Everett dropped a book and Truman's hat fell from my bag. We scrambled to pick everything up and hurried to our appointment.

Once there, all was lovely. Everett played sweetly and Truman slept while we waited. Once we were called to an exam room, Everett busied himself with a blood pressure cuff and Truman snoozed on the exam table as I answered all the usual questions (a rundown of my three previous pregnancies, my medical history, the family biggies -- lung cancer, heart disease -- smoking, drinking, drugs, always finishing off the vices with a query on vitamin supplements, which seems like such a perplexing addendum).

I weighed in, I left a sample in the sterile restroom. And it was time for the big dress-down. A knock on the door.

"Is it ok if I let your husband in?" asked another nurse. Oh my lord yes! I was trying to figure out how Truman and I were both going to fit on that exam table for my pap smear.

As I waited, unattractively clad in my hospital gown-and-lap sheet combo, knitting a sock, I decided it would be the perfect time to take a photo. I grabbed my bag. It seemed... light. I felt it, panicking, pawed through it. No camera.

Nothing on the floor, nothing under my clothes. The camera was gone, left on the bus, most likely. I tried to erase the awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. My new camera, the one Jonathan had bought for Christmas. He spent every single penny he made the day before Christmas Eve, it was the only present he bought anyone. Not to mention my $300 fisheye lens. The unknown value of my un-developed film. Oh, no. I worried that the few riders might not be the charitable, return-to-lost-and-found type.

Dr. Kehoe came in, and I forgot my fear for a while. We chatted, she took samples and checked for overall womanly health. We talked about how Everett was sure this would be a girl, that he wanted to name her "Adillo."

"You should write that down!" she said, giggly over how I'd finally convinced Everett that "Ruth" was a girl name and potentially an appropriate substitute for his out-of-nowhere fave. I do, oh, I do.

"How many weeks is it?" she asked. About 11. "Let's listen to that heart!"

It took three tries, 10 seconds of absolute panic, and then... loud and confident... bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum, 160 beats a minute. Perfect. "You're doing great, Ruth!" Dr. Kehoe said brightly. A clean bill of health for mama and baby.

We picked up and dropped off photos, we got Burgerville, we headed home. As soon as Jonathan was clearly gone for work (again), I called Tri-Met's lost and found line, noting that it was a whole three hours since my loss. Plenty of time for the bus driver to have found it and dropped it off on his way past 17th and Center.

"No, we haven't had a camera today. We haven't even had a call!" said the voice on the phone. "I sure hope no one stole it!"

I don't know what I'll do. I bid on a replacement body on eBay, as much as I could possibly afford, thinking I'd use my 75-300 lens until I could squirrel away enough money to replace the fisheye. But I was quickly outbid, ironically seconds after I set up an im notification of outbidding. Damn. I couldn't really afford my maximum bid, anyway, so playing bidding war would only send me to overdraft land.

I made an offer for a bit less on a somewhat-less-than-identical body, but one that looked just like it.

I pray that, on Monday, Tri-Met will call with good news. I pray that I'll have to go back and sell the camera to some other poor soul, or keep it as backup for next time. I pray that I'll somehow start keeping track of my stuff. How will I? I'm only going to get worse as time marches on and children multiply.

Can I just insure myself?

Despite my $500-and-then-some loss, I realized once home that I felt fine, energized and wide awake. Though we'd been busy and I'd done everything I usually do and then some, no 2 p.m. wave of sleepiness, no 6 p.m. loss of all ability to think, no 8 p.m. desire to stay in one spot and never move again. I emailed, I blogged, I fixed typos, I cooked, I bathed, I cleaned the kitchen.

So, in the end, it was a mostly wonderful day.

And then, late at night, as I sat on my couch watching Psych reruns and typing, I felt another little movement, right there, just to the right of my belly button, right where Dr. Kehoe finally found the baby's heartbeat earlier today. Magic.

And the boys ran in from the kitchen, where they were creating havoc, screeching with joy, grabbing my knee, shaking my concentration. And the moment was lost. We stayed up late, me wondering whether the movements I felt were baby or gas, boys running and dancing, me typing. And at midnight none of us were cranky, we had juice and a relatively-clean living room and hundreds and hundreds of words of memories.

2007.01.13. all about nausea

tea at clark lewis
"What are you doing about the nausea?" asked Dr. Kehoe yesterday. Ummm... eating all the time? That, and copious amounts of Irish Breakfast tea from Trader Joe's (which always seems to hit the spot no matter what the source of my stomach-y discomfort). Neither remedy has been great, and (as you may have noticed) I've been spending lots of time holding my stomach on the couch and feeling sorry for myself while the children jump on me and I screech about how mommy doesn't feel well and they really need to settle down NOW!!!.

She suggested candied ginger (yep, she suggested it last pregnancy, and I never tried it... now could be a good time?), just nibbles, and a new one: hot Jell-O.

Yep. You read that right. Hot Jell-O. The idea: you mix up Jell-O according to package directions, but drink it hot instead of sticking it in the fridge to set into jiggly sparkly goodness. Dr. Kehoe theorized it had something to do with the gelatin-and-heat combo. But really, who knows why these things work?

Saturday afternoon once again brought with it some pretty devilish nausea, so as soon as practicable as Truman's nap drew to a close, I headed to Walgreens and bought some store brand Jell-O, orange, lime and cherry, just for good measure. Trader Joe's had a surprise for me: a cute jar of "Ginger Spread" (ingredients: ginger, sugar) for only $1.49, meant to be served with cheese for fancy first courses. I bought a jar and went home to grab a spoon.

I turned on the hot water and cut open the package of orange gelatin, deciding to portion it out into two containers; half to drink, half to jell. Immediately I discovered that the package directions don't make for much in the way of "hot," more like "barely warm," so I added more hot water. It was still only a tick hotter than lukewarm, and pretty chemical-tasting. I drank a good cupful to no noticeable affect on the nausea, and stuck the rest in the fridge. (Later, I'd remember how good Jell-O and whipped cream is together. Yum!)

I'll try again with a higher hot water: cold water ratio (the package calls for 1:1, I think more like 3:1 would make sense) and different flavors. Cherry sounds nausea-reducing to me. But I'm not thoroughly hopeful. It's interesting to note that I've had quite a craving for Jell-O pudding, and have been eating butterscotch pudding (the cook-and-serve kind is way better than instant, in my opinion) hot off the stove for weeks now. I wonder... same principle here? If so, this way is more fun -- and hey, milk is good for you, right?

The ginger spread was delicious, and seemed to keep the nausea at bay a little better. It's definitely not a panacea, but I'd spring the $1.49 again in a heartbeat. The 12.8-ounce jar seems it will last me for several pregnancies (not that I'm planning several mind you...)

In the end, the best weapon against the scourge of nausea that I've found is lots, and lots, and lots of very well-toasted rich whole grain bread. With lots of butter (although I think butter doesn't help the nausea much, it makes the toast way yummier). Drinking plenty of water seems to keep the stomach monsters quelled, too.

I keep wondering, when will this first trimester stuff be over? The worst part is that I seem to be acquiring second-trimester stuff like middle-of-the-night trips to the bathroom, bouts of insomnia, and ravenous hunger, without having reduced the nausea or exhaustion much. I am coping o.k. with my terrific lack of sleep, something to be thankful for, but it is the weekend. Thank the Lord in heaven for Martin Luther King (Jr.) Day.

2007.01.14. up all night

open all night long
I'm not sure whether it's the pregnancy, or just my husband's awful schedule. But I'm finding myself up later and later this week, oftentimes waking in the middle of the night for brief periods of seemingly intense insomnia. It's now 4 a.m. and it's the second night in a row I've been up at this hour (last night, awfully, I was up from morning 'til pre-dawn, while tonight at least I fell asleep in the boys' bed around 11:30 before being awoken by my returning husband).

I think it's mostly the hunger that has me awake, and while last night I was begging Jonathan to bring home chicken sandwiches (breaded) and sweet-and-sour sauce, tonight I was comforted with blueberry french toast sticks. Yum. This late-night noshing wreaks havoc on my digestive tract, only prolonging the sleeplessness.

On the plus side: up late means time for blogging and catching up on work. Maybe I'll feel like absolute dreck tomorrow, but at the very least I won't be tossing and turning because I never quite finished that...

2007.01.15. second trimester brainstorm

my brainstormy friends
I was in the shower when it hit me. A magazine! A parenting magazine, staffed by me and my amazing friends. So many people I know are blessed with some combination of funny, great writing skills; photography talent; adorable children; and serious publishing experience. Most important, I told myself, they all shared a healthy disrespect for mainstream parenting media and the shock-and-awe parenting advice found in magazines sharing the letters "Parent" in their names. We'd be brilliant. I'd composed an email in my head, asking that we start thinking about a project, starting some 18 months from now. (Julie? Amey? Larissa? Aliza? Maura? Niki? Shall we start chatting now?)

Best of all, this magazine would be free from condescending advertising. We'd refuse to accept money from that company that makes educational video games ("I have to know your secret. Do you bribe or beg your children to practice?" Wipe that idiotic not-convincing-anyone smile off your face woman! You're a terrible actress and I NEVER WANT YOU IN MY HOME FOR A FRICKIN' VIDEO PLAYDATE!) ahem. We wouldn't promote cute snacks you can make if you spend two hours a night cutting vegetables into fun shapes. We wouldn't spend an inch of glossy real estate discussing mom's makeup tips or advising on how to get babies to sleep through the night (they're not going to unless they're wired to, in my final analysis, and there are a zillion books on the topic) or how to get daddy more involved in baby's life (I'm far more interested in how not to scream at one another over discipline than whether or not daddy's changing my eight-week-old first baby's diaper -- sorry, priorities).

But the point here is that it's baldly improbable I'll ever get beyond my razor-sharp and brilliant vision here, or in any of the other fantastic ideas I've had while pregnant. I always do this in my second and third trimesters, when I'm not exhausted I'm churning the most perfect and bankable ideas, and then flaking on 95% of them. While it's certainly not efficient I wish I could harness it somehow, offer up consulting services to businesses who wanted to connect to the mommy market. I'd be the most sought-after mind in the industry. For five months every 2.5-some years, that is, until I stop having children.

See? Another brilliant idea by the mind of the second-trimester woman.