Gestational week twenty, from BabyCenter:
2007.03.06. boys and girls
I'm sorry: I can't promise you a girl from my own loins. As I said to Larissa in the darkened room in Emanuel's basement: I read somewhere that the mom "decides," chemically somehow, whether the embryo will be a boy or a girl, when it implants in the uterine wall. And evidently -- we think -- I am really, really sure that I like to raise little boys.
The ultrasound technician was uber-focused, and barely heard any of our questions and comments. Sometime around when he was looking at the spine, or measure the arm, or something, Larissa and I both saw what seemed to be an unmistakeable boy part. I was, really, pleased. I love boys, after all. Larissa and I commenced discussing this obvious boy, and after all, the technician was inches from my belly. He must have heard. Right?
We discussed names, and why you can only see bones, and how big the brain was and how cute it was that the little boy was waving at us, and other things. Everett didn't seem terribly upset to have lost his much-hoped-for sister. He proceeded to start running out the door and doing laps around the room (which had two doors). The ultrasound technician kept plugging away, measuring things and checking the heart and scrolling through his roster of great pics.
It seemed like he must be almost done, and Larissa was chasing Truman and Everett around the hall outside. "So, it's definitely a boy then?" I asked him. His response was, basically, "huh?" and he looked at the bottom of the little creature for about five minutes.
"Sorry, the legs seem to be together," he said. "You're done."
"Is there a photo?" I said. "No, they're too small," he replied, dismissively, and started typing in his report.
Too small? Huh? Anyway, while the technician is entirely unsure, I am sure that it's a boy. And if it's not, we'll always have "Ruth."
We'll also, as I discovered as soon as I got home and started emailing my fave people, have another girl in the family. And another boy. Wow! Destiny, my sister-in-law and doula, is pregnant with twins! A boy and a girl. She'll have three children *before* I even do. The sneaker. She totally caught up to me.
I'm thrilled that we'll have girls, and boys, a-plenty this summer -- plenty of little things to knit all kinds of lovely hats and blankets and little sweaters for. The knitting cafes of Portland, the hands of Grandma Gilbert, they will be busy this spring. With boys and girls.
I wonder if it's that my sense of smell is more heightened than usual during this pregnancy, or if it's just my presence in this pregnancy that brings it to a heightened significance. But the smells of everyday life have invaded my world in a particularly outstanding way.
Whether good or bad, a scent seems to interact with me in the same manner. At first, when a new passenger boards the bus, or I walk past a neighbor, or a pizza is taken out of the oven, or someone in another floor of the house dons cologne, I am only tickled by an essence of the scent. It's just enough for identification, sharp but brief, a whiff.
A few moments later the scent overpowers me, attacks my brain with its unusual strength. I can think of nothing but the smell, I am mad to avoid it. I consider jumping off at the next stop, or opening every window in the house, or breaking into a run. It is too much, I cannot possibly bear it. I want to cover my nose but I know it is too late, the smell is everywhere, it will haunt me always.
In a minute or two, my desperation subsides, and the smell becomes a bothersome, high-powered backdrop. No longer do I consider jumping, or running, but I am peevish and angry. How dare this person, with his day-without-showering, her musky cologne, his anchovies, really think it is ok to go into the world, into my space, with this assault?
Often, the smell remains for as long as I'm in its space. At times I even come upon something days later -- the DVD from my husband's sister's apartment, saturated with stale cigarette smoke -- that sparks a renewed cycle of smells. I cannot bear it, for a minute, for two.
Although most of my experience with scents are unwanted, at times I find smells that are so amazing I want to hold them always. The "exfoliating tea bar" from the Residence Inn is this smell, and its heady refreshment is such that I shower whenever I can, longing for its smell to envelop me again.
It's curious and startling, this heightened relationship to my senses.
2007.03.07. emotional while pregnant, even from afar
Tonight (a night I handled with entirely zero grace, I'm afraid, due to two far-too-energetic boys and a passel of work still to be done), while I cooked dinner and chased crazy children around the kitchen and re-categorized "Bausch & Lomb" and "Abercrombie & Fitch" and 300-some other companies, all I could think about was another pregnant woman, one far to the north of me on an island in Canada. She was having an ultrasound, with baby #4, and there was some small concern. So all night, I worried about this far-away woman who I've only really "met" on flickr.
Other people, I know, are worrying about me from far and not-so-far away, from Lubbock and the upper east side and England and Mt. Tabor. And I'm worrying about my boss, and my favorite PR person, and my sister, and my sister-in-law, and my other sister who's just trying to get pregnant. I worry about a friend who had a miscarriage at 8 weeks (she would have been due the same week as me), and a blog reader who emailed me to say she had a miscarriage, too.
Something heightens our concern, about friends, relatives and relative strangers, when there are zygotes and HCG hormones and little tiny femurs that must be measured in centimeters. Our blood pumps hot and our hearts race, and we occupy ourselves utterly with the wishes for the little humans-to-be.
Leave your political concerns about populations explosions and your worries about the overcrowding of the earth elsewhere. Right here, we can only think about those little lives we long to bring to fruition, those little bodies so impossibly fragile they can only thrive in the warm watery world of a woman's belly.
Let all those thoughts and prayers and constant worries around the world hold these babies, in my belly, in the bellies of those I love and those I watch from afar, hold them safe, carry them through these months. Let the months be as long as they should, let the little ones sleep and kick and hiccup in warmth and peace and good health, let everything be o.k.
2007.03.09. doctor kehoe
This was going to be a post about my visit today with Dr. Kehoe, but it never materialized. I do love Dr. Kehoe.