mama's secret pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

Gestational week six, 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.

2006.11.28. week six, takes my breath away

everett, blurry, at bus stop
It's the beginning of week six, officially. So naturally there are new symptoms to report.

Historically my pregnancy has experienced a very traditional path in the first two trimesters, with symptoms occurring like clockwork. Week Six, day one: nausea. Loss of breath. Heightened sense of smell. Over. Whelming. Tired. n . e . s . ssssss....

Truman and Everett and I took a bus ride today. The bus, as often happens, was at the next-nearest bus stop when we got to the street, meaning we'd have to run to the stop two blocks north.

I'm always coming out of the door in the nick of time, so we make this dash a lot. It usually works, because the bus often gets stopped at the light and we have that long to catch the bus, make sure the driver sees us running for it, and then cross the street and high-tail once the light changes.

But I ran out of breath. Fast. And a block-and-a-half had me walking toward the red light, bus in front of me. Fortunately the driver took pity and waited at the stop for us to get on. I was huffing and puffing... struggling to overcome a three-block not-quite-run.

I think... I think... [puff puff] [*sigh] I *am* pregnant!

2006.11.29. the ones i've got

holding hands with my baby
I worry about Everett and Truman. Mostly, Truman. Truman doesn't talk.

It's not so much the lack of language I'm worried about ... it's that he's missing something because I'm getting pregnant so soon. He'll be only two years and three months when the baby's born (if, indeed, I take this pregnancy to term). I know he's brilliant, of course! He's my son and he takes his bottle to the kitchen when I ask him to.

But I wonder if he'll even be talking yet, then. And somehow having a baby who doesn't talk when another baby is born seems like the unkindest cut.

I want most of all to let each child develop in his own right (oh, I'm not under any illusions, they'll all be boys). And I worry that barely more than two years isn't enough for Truman.

Also, there's the breastfeeding... when is he going to stop!?! I'd always just assumed that tandem nursing was an impossibility for me. But clearly, it's not, as Mr. Hungry Pants breastfeeds while I type...

It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

2006.11.30. achin' bones

train yard from US-30 bridge, overlooking nw industrial district
In my last pregnancy, I suffered from "coccydinia," a malaise often affecting pregnant women and which basically means, your bones in your bottom ache like the dickens. For a week it was hard to even walk but I soon learned to (a) not sit on hard chairs for long periods of time and (b) shift my weight often. It sucked a bit, but luckily didn't last past the pregnancy.

I sit a lot. I work from home, and despite the amazing wonderfulness of this, it means 12 hours a day plus of sitting. Sure, I can occasionally opt for the comfort of my cushy couch, or take a break in a coffee shop, but nonetheless: sitting. Lots.

So I wasn't entirely happy when I realized my bones are already starting to feel the "weight" of my new pregnancy. I don't know if I've even gained a pound yet (although I sure have been eating like crazy), but my ligaments are stretching, my bones softening, my muscles moving aside...

As with many pregnant complaints in the first trimester, I'm ambivalent. (a) is that they aren't exactly fun. But (b) is that they indicate a probability of a positive outcome with this pregnancy.

I've been changing chairs a lot in my office, and that's been helping. But I am starting to wonder if I can find a few yoga poses that might work to relieve some of this pain. Could I find the time and budget to return to yoga classes?? Maybe I'll have to find a way.

2006.12.02. variabellity

not! my pregnant belly! it's shetha's
This morning I got up and started packing for my next trip to New York, I'll be leaving tomorrow night late on the redeye. Once I get there, I'll be preparing for a major strategy meeting for my entire job for 2007, essentially, this will be probably the most important meeting of my life for the next several months.

As it's only in the sixth week, naturally I don't want to show off my impending motherhood until things are more certain. And my immediate boss is pregnant, also with her third child; I think there would be some major freaking out if anyone learned that we both were pregnant (our maternity leaves, if everything goes well, won't overlap -- so that's something to be thankful for).

So I tried on a bunch of things, deciding upon a group of nice pants that all fit me perfectly, still, and a couple of slim sweaters. I checked and doublechecked but my belly seemed nearly invisible; optical illusion the other day? I wondered.

My bag packed, my snazzy duds selected, I went about my day. Sometime around 6 p.m. I happened to look in the mirror and was shocked to see my belly having expanded again so it looked about four months pregnant. Larissa was over crafting and I asked her what she thought.

"When I came over, you looked pregnant!" she said cheerfully, and suggested a long and bulky scarf.

I don't think I'm familiar with "variabellity." And, frankly, I'm a little terrified. I hope I can only find an assortment of appropriately bulky scarves... some loud jewelry perhaps?

2006.12.04. personal space

on another flight, with the same needles and vastly more space
I sat down in seat 20C, the aisle seat. A pregnant woman needs an aisle seat. The plane was chock-full of people flying home to New York City and I felt a stranger in their midst.

Across the aisle from me was a man dressed in head-to-toe Carhart, the choice of men who lift and hammer and drill. Next to me in 20B was a man whose hair was closecut and whose wire-rimmed glasses would have made him look elegant and bookish if it hadn't been for their color, not-quite-jewel-toned and not-quite-forest-toned, an unhappy medium. He was reading Good to Great, the cliched tome for wanna-be CEOs, and I noticed that he had highlighted many of the passages on the open page. He looked smart, but too aspirational; attractive, but without fashion sense.

Not seeing any possibilities for interesting conversation, I took up my knitting. I was using big chunky plastic circular needles. My goal was to make a scarf that could hide whatever belly was poking out above my fancy Armani pants.

"Are those digital?" asked the Carhart man, indicating my needles. His accent was Jamaican, but more Jamaica-Queens than Jamaica-the island. I couldn't tell if he had a speech impediment or just a strange lisp in his accent.

Knitting needles digital? "No," I said, confused.

"But, don't you just set them and they do it for you?"

"No, it's mechanical. I have to do it," I said as clearly as possible.

"So, how long will it take you to finish?"

I was happy when the stewardess came by, closing bins and effectively ending our conversation. It was late, and a fearsome redeye getting in at 5:55 a.m. -- most of the passengers would sleep the whole time. I'd set a goal of finishing at least half of the scarf before sleeping, figuring the rest would be completed on the train to the city from Newark.

Just as I was beginning my sprint toward half-done, feeling exhausted from the late night and the ways of the first trimester, Carhart piped up. "Teach me to do this," he said, grabbing my knitting. I looked at his fingers and they were thick, too thick, reminding me, creepily, of Lenny Of Mice and Men. I started to get freaked out. He was so close to me!

"I can't teach knitting," I said firmly. "I do, but I can't teach." And tried to pull my knitting away.

He laid his hand on my arm. And then reached again for my knitting, fingering it. The stewardess was coming up behind him, wanting to get by, and it took her several tries to get him to move his arm. After she passed, amazingly, he picked up my knitting again, and I tried to shrink away from him. I was panicking.

The plane was entirely full. We were only a half-hour into the flight. What could I do? If the man wouldn't leave me alone, I would have no recourse but to (a) confront him verbally or (b) involve the stewardess. And what could she do? She couldn't even communicate enough with him to take his drink order. Would he freak out? In these close quarters? Would they have to do an emergency landing? And where? We were over the mountains!

Somehow, the pregnancy made me even more angry, helpless and afraid. He got up to use the restroom and I shrunk into my knitting, going as fast as I could possibly go, determined to knit this protective barrier between my belly and the scary world.

When he returned, I turned my light off and slept, and wonderfully, he left me alone. But the sense of helpless fear stayed with me through the airport, onto the train, into Penn Station. Then as I walked into New York, it all dissipated and I was safe, there, on the ground, around millions of strangers, all of whom left me alone.