Your new resident is nearly an inch long ó barely the size of a grape ó and weighs just a fraction of an ounce, but he's poised for rapid weight gain now that his basic physical structure is in place. He's also starting to look more and more human. His embryonic "tail" is now completely gone and his body parts ó including organs, muscles, and nerves ó are kicking into gear.
His eyelids are fused shut and won't open until 27 weeks. He has earlobes, and by week's end, the inner workings of his ears will be complete. His upper lip is fully formed, too, and his mouth, nose, and nostrils are more distinct. The tips of his fingers are slightly enlarged where his touch pads are developing. All major joints ó his shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles ó are working, enabling your baby to move his limbs. As for his heart, it has divided into four chambers now, and the valves have started to develop. External sex organs are there, but won't be distinguishable as male or female for another few weeks.
2004.10.11. all about daddies
I wrote in Blogging Baby last night about how sensitive daddies can be when their career women start getting pregnant and hormonal.
Itís role-re-reversing, itís a wake-up call, itís the stuff of nightmares. Our sweet husbands who make us herbal tea and rub our shoulders suddenly wonder, s#%!, whatís next? First sheís calling in sick for the first time in years, isnít this the slippery slope to homeschooling our eight barefoot children and keeping hogs in the backyard for food?
I told Jonathan about my topic and he said, "You just have to recognize that's it's going to happen - no matter how much you want to get ready first, no matter whether you've got the best insurance or none at all, it's just going to happen. And you've got to make your peace with that."
It was illuminating, true, and a bit funny all at once. It's taken him so long to go from freaked out daddy-to-be to zen papa. And you know what? He's still really not there. He's still practically jumping out of his skin when I dare to suggest it will be hard for me to get a job, or that I may not one at all, for a while. He completely vetoed my "start my own business" plan. He worries, and he makes sure he gets me worrying, right along with him.
It's not hard for a pregnant mama to worry. Today, I'm wondering if my next baby will let me go to the Bins, or eat at a restaurant, or sit at a coffee shop for a few minutes. I'm worrying that I'll never get my energy back, that my son doesn't sleep so how will my new baby?, and how could I possibly afford to daycare-ize two little ones when my errant career finally comes through. And what if I get a screamer, or a kamikaze, or a colicky little one.
Sometimes I just want to start sobbing, and find a comforting shoulder to tell me that everything's going to be o.k. But it's certainly not my babies' daddy - he's sure to lecture me on how I really need to take this seriously, that no, it's not o.k., that we need to both "buck up and work really hard for a few years while we're young."
Everett's so empathetic, that sometimes I just want to cry it out to him. Of course, that's probably a recipe for future therapy, so mostly I suppress my desires and just cry it out to you. Thanks to my blogdience for letting me sob on your shoulder for a little while.
2004.10.12. getting it wrong, or right?
Being pregnant in front of a wide audience has its downsides. I received a couple of negative comments on my sensitive daddies post. I'd expected that, if anyone, daddies would be a little peeved that we pregnant women are sitting around wondering when they're going to get it together. But it was homeschoolers and stay-at-home moms who really got upset.
They thought my comments were attacking them, that I was branding homeschooling as backward and stay-at-home moms as "weak." I felt terrible - my family has homeschooled, many of my friends are considering it, and I find that, on the contrary, stay-at-home moms are exceedingly strong. In fact, I was branding our husbands as the weak ones. Poor guys.
And it was all comparative, anyway, not meant to be a label, but a commentary on balance in relationships. The pregnant career woman to whom I referred in the blog loved it. So did I get it wrong, or right?
I'm afraid of alienating people with my personal stories, but at the same time, I feel a right to speak from the heart. Part of what I value about my writing is that it gives me a chance to just be honest in a way that social interactions often don't let me. Of course, without comments here, I have a certain protection from the criticism - those who seek me out to chat are mostly people I know, and are nothing but complimentary.
I could do like many brave women who've dealt with complicated issues on their blogs, like Dooce or the grrl behind Chez Miscarriage, and accept comments from abso-fricking-lutely everyone. The good, the bad, the ugly. And boy do they get a lot of ugly.
But why? So I could scroll tearfully through criticism from people who don't even know me, sending my blood pressure through the roof and creating lots of harmful neurotransmitters that will pass over the placenta and affect my poor baby. And my baby doesn't need that.
So for now, I will rest easy in my protected little world, without comments, and just get feedback from the people who love me. And I'll tone down my language out there, so those who are quick to jump to conclusions about me will (hopefully) find only good things to jump to.
2004.10.13. sinking into the tired abyss
It's days like these that I wonder if I'll ever pass through the dreaded first trimester into energy again. Days when I fall asleep with Everett at 11:30, waking to go to my own bed around 2, waking again at 7 to blog as I should have the night before. I sleep for a few more hours, guiltily awakening at 9:45 and beg for an afternoon nap. It's not enough.
As I blearily blog like my life depended upon it, I wonder if it's my pregnancy, my terrible schedule, or if it's just me. Am I destined for a life of exhaustion and lethargy? I wonder, my mind in a fog. Will I never wake refreshed at 7 a.m. again?
I had a job in high school to which I had to report at 6:30 a.m., many nights after hitting the hay around 3. Not only did I show up on time most days, I was ready to do it again the next day.
And that first job as an investment banker, when I got to work at 7:30 each morning, working through until 7:30 at night. Or when I worked at Merrill, and went days with a few hours of sleep each night. I was energetic then, and rarely felt as if my head would explode as I sat staring at my computer in the mid-afternoon.
But then I start remembering how I would have to walk up and down the stairs at Merrill to keep myself from falling asleep at my desk. And how I couldn't get through a morning at First Union without a toasted bagel, lots of butter and jam, and a huge cup of coffee. How my third year in Charlotte I cheated a little later each morning, until I was rolling into my office barely in time for the 9 a.m. meetings.
Someday, will life re-align itself and give me the ability to sleep uninterrupted from midnight 'til 7 a.m.? Will I ever become the mom who gets up first to make her kids pancakes and orange juice before school? Will I ever break this fog in my head?
I tell myself that I will, that I can be my mom with her complete breakfasts, lunches and dinners, her laundry and her mopping and her endless crafty gifts. But first I have to break myself of this blog habit. Hmmm... Or I could get a maid!
2004.10.16. the magic of birth stories
Today as part of our whirlwind get-Jonathan-shipped-out-right tour, we spent a couple of hours at the bank. It was a lovely branch, with new chairs, TV screens showing CNBC everywhere, reading material, nice young employees.
While we were waiting for our nice young branch manager to get everything typed into a computer with a mind of its own, I saw a little boy with curls far wilder than Everett's. It was stunning, as Everett has colossally wild curls, and Everett thought the boy wearing them looked like fun.
So as Everett played the Pied Piper with little Nino, I started chatting with his mom. In short order we learned that Nino's birthday was only 8 days after Everett's, but Nino was born far past his due date. And the birthing stories ensued.
Before long, we knew that Nino's mom, who was 40, had progressed to seven centimeters before reversing into an emergency c-section; she wanted to have more kids but her husband wasn't so sure; and that I was almost 10 weeks pregnant. We knew that my mom had her last child at 43 and that both Nino and Everett had recently had hair cuts. And that Nino had a strange way of dis-assembling crickets' body parts.
We never knew each other's names, but we were bonded, in those 10 minutes while our children chased all over the bank branch, dropped hard candy out of their mouths into our hands, and dutifully cleaned up the sticky table they had created. It's the power of birth that does it.
Perfect strangers, who would have before coolly observed an interesting hairstyle or a nice pair of shoes, commenting only once in a dozen missed connections, are now friends before the first word is uttered. What birth does to us, these biological urges, bring us together.
Later, at my friend Nicola's house, we sat on the floor in the basement-turned-birthing room, talking about what we'd do to complete the task. Already there was lavendar and soft lights, billowy cotton and a birthing tub, pillows and a long, long list of needed items. I remembered a wonderful home birth story I'd read years ago, when Everett was still just the size of a small fruit.
And all these wonderful births, the one that happened yesterday (I just found out! Noah Harvest Robinson, a baby who looks just like his daddy), the ones that are to come in the next month, and mine, and the other moms who are journeying with me. They make me feel all warm inside, and they make me want to cry. I can't wait for it all to happen, every minute of pain and anguish and heart-stopping emotion and the tiny wrinkled newness of the babies.