mama's secret pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

Gestational week thirteen, from BabyCenter:

2007.01.16. in the midst of snowstorm, the camera returns, and the child loses himself

This morning I awoke to quiet, steady snow. And my husband, calling again and again.

"Can you check the bus schedule?" he asked. He'd left two hours earlier, on the #75, right as the snow began to fall. By the time he reached North Portland, where he'd change to the #6 and get to the Army base in Vancouver, Washington, the snow had gotten bad enough that buses were sliding and sticking everywhere. He'd been waiting for 90 minutes to no avail.

I got up, happy in the snow despite my husband's plight, and tried to help him find a bus. One never came -- after he'd given up on going north, the buses going south had stopped, too -- and he ended up walking a few miles before finding working public transportation.

I was thrilled, really, to have him home. After all, I'd been mentally begging for it every day for the past two weeks. And despite the lovely lovely weather, I was stuck on the computer -- a big negative of working with people on the other coast is that they aren't at all affected by your snowstorms.

I worked, staring at the loveliness outside, until Jonathan fell asleep, and then quietly called Tri-Met's lost and found. After what seemed like hours on hold a woman answered. "Oh, yes, we have a camera here!" she said. "A peen..." "Pentax?" I shrieked, barely able to believe my good fortune. "I'll be right down!"

An hour later, as Jonathan and Truman slept and the East Coast waited, I was on the still-running #17, heading the mile to the Tri-Met main office. I was too thrilled to care that the 17 didn't seem to be running back east, toward my house, and walked the whole way, giddily snapping photos as fast as I could.

Despite my overall pregnant exhaustion, the snow and my camera had me energized. I worked for an hour more and then bundled the boys up for a trip to the park. Everett was so excited and we kept making snowballs in the copious, perfect snow, chatting with neighbors and slipping and sliding with glee. As soon as we got to the corner where the park was, Everett took off in the wrong direction -- on the sidewalk along the busy street instead of into the park. "Wait!" I yelled, to no avail. "Everett! Come this way!"

I thought I saw him dart close enough to the bushes bordering the park that he'd run through, to the path just inside of the park's edge. So I headed that way, holding Truman's hand and shouting through the white, echoey trees. "Everett! Everett!!!"

I started to panic. I'd walked the length of the path. I had a baby, it was snowy, I had no cell phone. I couldn't move very fast, I couldn't go all the possible places where Everett might be fast enough. I walked to the sidewalk, where I'd last seen Everett headed, and saw the flashing lights. A police car, pulled over, with someone hovering near the passenger door.

No. Oh no.

Even worse than losing your child for a few minutes? Losing him with a government paper trail. So this is the second time I've had a policeman bring back a child to me, I thought, I wonder how many times I'll have in the future? Sure enough, it was Everett, who'd been spotted running alone along the busy street. I tried to express in my scolding that I was a good mom who'd just lost hold of her child's hand, and, I think, failed miserably.

We went on to play in the snow, and reminded Everett of our address later. Jonathan met us and carried Truman home in the backpack while I made snowballs for Everett to throw at him. And all the while I thought, heavy with guilt, how will I ever handle three children when I can't even handle two?.

Later in the evening, I had the worst nausea ever, so bad that I cried, holding my stomach in bed, before finally falling asleep. I wonder if it's from the fear, and not just the baby.

2007.01.17. second trimester indicator

Remember last night? How I worried my second trimester might never come, and I'd just skip from exhaustion-and-nausea to exhaustion-and-contractions and never get the brilliant second-trimester feelings of vim and vigor?

Well, there's a funny story about that. You see, I've been reading this book I got from the library, thinking it would give me a fix for my late infatuation with mommy lit. (I'll digress quickly to say that I don't recommend it. It's a book with its own audience, and that audience is not at all me.) At some point in the first few chapters the protagonist, who has a baby and a two-year-old, mentions that she sees post-baby sex the same way she sees exercise; you may not want to do it, but if you put on the uniform and just start anyway, you'll feel better afterward.

Let's just say that her description of sex with her husband, and her fantasies during said sex, and her constant desires to have sex (offering her husband a blowjob in the cab to escape a "parents night out" cocktail party at one point) do not at all reflect her stated beliefs. This is a mommy who can't get enough, and can't write about it in dirty enough language. After two, I finally just started skipping over the sex scenes. Enough is enough.

Anyway. Despite my prudishness and late-night nausea, I found myself doing exactly what I'd just been accusing Ellie of hypocrisy for, this morning. A clear second-trimester indicator! Could it be?

(I'd just like to point out that, unlike Ellie in The Playgroup, when I have those second-trimester fantasy-like dreams, the star is my husband, not George Cloonie, not Rob Lowe, and certainly not another mom from my playgroup. Just for the record.)

2007.01.19. bathtime, oooh woo-aa-ooh bathtime

on the tub
Ahh, how I love the bathtub. Despite its current state of grime and partial demolition (Jonathan's meaning to fix the wall so shower water doesn't drip to the kitchen below, as soon as he gets the laundry caught up and a couple of extra dollars for water-resistant paint -- a perfect storm which has not, yet, occurred), I spend a LOT of time in it while pregnant. It's the only place where I can get away. The only way to take a real break in the afternoon without napping (if I nap, it's two-and-a-half hours, and I don't have that much time to steal). Today (although it may not seem obvious at first) was all about the bath tub.

This morning, as I got the boys ready for Truman's evaluation, I checked the bank account. Jonathan had been paid by the Army! And a lot, far more than I was expecting this week; I thought we'd be waiting until early February to get the bulk of his pay.

Hallelujah, I thought to myself, and headed off, debit card in hand.

I want to write in-depth about our visit (which was, to complete the details circle, an early intervention evaluation and screening with MESD Early Childhood Special Education department to have Truman evaluated for his speech delays) but I'll just leave with a few impressions-from-pregnancy. When I arrived, the boys were both in lovely moods, and the woman who led us to the evaluation room (a playroom with a table-and-chairs for adults to chat or watch the action, sort of a mix between preschool and doctor's office) was sweet, charming, and charmed by the boys. The other woman who particpated in the evaluation was more of the same, and the boys set to work playing immediately. I was struck by how much Truman reflects my concerns -- he grunts, he screeches, he's smart and active and absolutely adorable. But he doesn't say a single word.

Everett, on the other hand, is a sweet-but-easily frustrated fountain of conversation, full of imaginative story-telling and narration of the world. He's my success story (with a twist). Everett had hundreds of words by age two; Truman will be lucky to have 15. But I haven't done anything majorly different. I have (as the "teachers" explained to me would happen in any therapy done pre-age two) narrated what I was doing as I do it with Truman, telling him about his diaper, his shoes, his bottle of milk, his toys; trying to read to him and engage with sounds and descriptions; playing with him and making truck noises (which he does), naming colors, describing the feel and the smell and the look of things. I do all that, have done that, have tried to read books to Truman.

I'm digressing. But the important thing is what I described to the teachers: I'm doing this because I want to get my two boys straight before I have another child, I want to make sure they're headed in the right direction before I start directing number three. I don't feel the least bit guilty, now, for not spending "bonding" time with hand on tummy, talking to baby. No. I have much more important things to do with my time.

Instead of doing important things, of course, I'm bathing. As we walked to the #75 from the MESD office at the old Edwards School, along trendy Hawthorne, we came across the Lotions-and-Oils store, the one-stop shop for bath essentials. I decided to brave it, picked up a squirming Truman, and spent the next happy frantic 10 minutes finding just the right bubble bath (their house brand with "Tranquility" scented oil) and soap (Pre de Provence tangerine, which Truman later tried to eat).

As soon as practical after we got home, I sank into the bath. I should be spending Truman's naptime catching up on work, cleaning the playroom, preparing healthful food for the family. Or maybe even cleaning the bathtub. But instead, it's a long long soak in the delicious tub.

One more note for a really long blog entry: I ended my bath by throwing The Playgroup across the bathroom, when Ellie fell to peer presssure at a New Year's party while her husband was at home with the flu; got stoned (which wouldn't of itself have caused me to toss the book); and, just past midnight, had a lesbian affair with her East-side playgroup buddy. Sorry sweetie, I never really related to you, and now? I can't stomach you. Maybe if I wasn't pregnant.

So, I'm in search of new reading material. Hmmm... maybe it's back to The Yarn Harlot for bathtime enjoyment.

2007.01.22. the great tell

Today, I called to tell my boss I was pregnant. And he seemed, a bit thrilled, a bit worried. But not that I would leave oh-so-much work by the wayside. No, he's worried that I'll be sent to the hospital on bedrest in month six and will want to take my laptop with me! He's worried about me working too hard.

I told my dotted-line boss on IM a few minutes later. His response? "So what is AOL's maternity leave policy like?" I explained, and he grumbled a bit about the policies (you get one week of 100% pay for every year's tenure you have -- it'll be one for me -- up to six, and then the short-term disability leave policy takes over, paying 70% of your pay for the rest of six weeks or eight weeks, depending on how difficult your birth was. I'm assuming doctor-ordered bedrest would extend this by quite a bit).

Thank you, God, for giving me such great, wonderful people for which to work.