mama's pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

From BabyCenter: At 4 1/2 inches long (head to bottom) and 3 1/2 ounces, your baby is about the size of an avocado. In the next three weeks, she'll go through a tremendous growth spurt, though, doubling her weight and adding inches to her length. Her lower limbs are much more developed now. Her head is more erect than it has been, and her eyes have moved toward the front of her head. Your baby's ears are close to their final position, too. Some of her more advanced body systems are working, including her circulatory system and urinary tract. Her heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day. (By the end of your pregnancy, this will increase to about 1,900 quarts.) The patterning of her scalp has begun, though her hair isn't recognizable yet. Although closed, her eyes are moving (slowly), and she's even started growing toenails.

2004.11.30. caffeine confession

Anyone who's been following my pregnancy closely will know that I'm hooked on plain black tea (the current choice is the big cheap box of Irish Breakfast from Trader Joe's). Tonight was a real low. I got a headache, a big fat splitting one, around 11 p.m.

I tried to analyze. I'd had a fair amount of water, eliminating dehydration. I'd eaten plenty, eliminating starvation. I wasn't that tired. I hit upon it finally - I hadn't had any caffeine since 4 p.m.

Two big cups of tea later I was right as rain and stayed up until 1:30 a.m. (note to readers: caffeine has very little effect on my sleep routine due to my high tolerance for the drug). This can only indicate one thing: I'm addicted. I've been drinking so much tea in the evenings, I can't do without it. Is this something I should confess to my midwife? Or should I keep that close to the maternity top, as it were?

I even confessed my half-glass of wine to her, my sprinting after Everett, my heavy lifting. All she accepted with barely a raised eyebrow. After Larissa told me her doctor forbid her from drinking more than a cup of tea a day, I'm afraid to confess my sins. Just how much can you reveal, after all, of your deepest, darkest vices? Isn't there a Chinese wall of some sort that your midwife can't cross?

2004.12.01. sixteen weeks already?

Wow. Suddenly I feel huge and SO FAR ALONG. I just read my weekly stats...I could actually be officially feeling the baby now! Though I'm sure I've been feeling Olive for weeks now (I know right where she is, just an inch to the right of my belly button, right where she was found using the doppler), now it could truly be recognized by the medical establishment.

A measurement of my belly today found me at 35.5 inches. If anyone's counting, that's roughly 8.5 inches up from my typical skinny-mama waist measurement. That's BIG. And I made the odd move of trying on a pair of pants I found at the Bins, which I knew wouldn't fit until after the pregnancy. Yet still, I tried to button them around my HUGE waist. Ummmm...not happenin', sister.

Lately I've had to adjust my usual laptop position, which is: curled up in my plush green chair, knees angled over the left arm of the chair, belly pressed up against my thighs, often with a little 37-pound ball of cuddles wedged into the space between my right hip and the outside edge of the chair (or, as the case may be, perched with one foot on my shoulder, the other on the arm of the chair, reaching for his DVDs, which I finally moved down two shelves). My belly's just too big to squeeze into my thighs.

I get to go to yoga Friday night, and I'm sure I'll have to modify the reverse angles so that my belly is angled away from my legs, as my instructor warned I'd have to do soon. (is that a reverse-reverse angle?)

Still, though, you really have to look to know I'm pregnant. This is such an awkward stage of pregnancy - your belly is too big to fit into anything resembling stylish pants, and your maternity shirts are still voluminous. Yet, your normal shirts show your belly button in a non-trendy way, and since you're wearing sweats and bulky sweaters, you don't look pregnant, just fat and frumpy.

I told Larissa I should get the two of us some t-shirts and iron-on the belly the message, "fyi: baby, not beer!"

2004.12.02. disconnected

Tonight was mama's group, all pregnant or with infant but one. It was fun, a real warm and fuzzy estrogen-filled evening, as usual, and I had so, so much to eat.

Halfway through the night the topic of conversation turned to one of our constantly recurring themes - the shamefully insensitive things our husbands are doing. You know, the one where the daddy of a new baby gets off work early so decides to go to the bar for a few hours... And the one where the mama is the only one to get up with the kids when they throw up at night. Those kind of stories.

I didn't have any stories. Not only did I not have any whiny stories about the things my husband does that drive me crazy, I couldn't think of any stories to tell about him. Not one thing. Sure, he's done silly stuff like that before...months ago. I hardly would gain any joy from telling those old stories, again. And I could hardly pipe up and say, "my husband's great! he's just working away, doing pushups 300 times a day, going without alcohol, tylenol, or free time, for four months, for me."

And, I felt lonely and sad. I felt left out. I knew now how it must feel to join a mama's group as a single parent. Mine wasn't even that bad...it's just that I only know good things about my husband, right now, he can't do anything to annoy me as he's so far away, doing good things, me just missing him, him just missing me.

It's simultaneously alienating and wonderful. I think that we really are growing close though far apart - we don't have time to argue, or room to be annoyed. Only the good things are present when we're far away from one another.

But it's darn lonely. I have a good feeling that we'll come out of this in March a better husband and wife. It will just be tough getting there, and probably even tougher, come spring, adjusting to life where we can have petty annoyances about one another, again.

2004.12.03. yoga noises

Now I understand the appeal of a prenatal yoga class, even for those of us who already have plenty of pregnant friends.

Tonight's yoga class was focusing on our hips. Great...a hip workout is ideal for a pregnant lady. I only had to modify a few poses, and those were mostly the modifications suggested for all of the class participants.

But. You knew there was going to be a but. On the first major pose, once I moved my left leg out I felt an opening in my cervix, and a whoosh of air going in. We continued to work on lots of hip-opening poses, and my flexibility was amazing. I felt strong, centered, and wide, wide open. My hips felt great. My you-know-what? Felt a little exposed.

And then. We sat down. Crosslegged. And the most amazing buh-buh-BuH! sound came out of me. I wanted to giggle, but didn't. We changed sides. BUH-BUH-BUH-BUUUHHH! the air whooshes out in little farting sounds, again, loud. Clearly audible throughout the quiet, darkened room.

So THIS is why pregnant women go to prenatal-only yoga classes. 'cause in that class, I could have just done my giggling, while everyone else shared in my pain. In this case - I'd bet there was maybe one other person in the class who'd given birth and had any idea that my noise was decidedly not a fart. Well, my instructor probably knew, she's done a lot of yoga classes and she's seen everything. Or, well, heard it.

On the bright side, it was the one time I wasn't so embarrassed about the loud cracking sounds my knees always make!

2004.12.04. the brother-in-law

So this one is about the brother-in-law who's engaged, who lives a few blocks away, the by far most annoying of the husband's brothers.

He arrived back from Las Vegas today, where he'd been visiting grandma and mom and planning for his upcoming wedding. They'll have it in Vegas so mom, who is within months of death from cancer, can attend.

As Jonathan returns from basic training for good at the end of February, and the baby is due May 15, the idea was to have the wedding in March sometime.

Let's be clear: I don't want to go. I hate Las Vegas, especially when hugely pregnant, and we're largely broke so I'm not eager to spend money for three plane tickets for the family to travel down there. I don't care for Everett to see his grandma - she looks like a corpse, and after the things she's done to her poor kids, I have no idea why any of them even speak to her anymore. I don't want Everett's only memory of his paternal Grandma to be, frankly, terrifying. I know the BIL's fiancee will do innumerable things to piss me off during the wedding and I'd rather, in that advanced stage of hormonality, to not deal with her at all for fear I might let some of the bottled-up frustration break through my calm, patient exterior.

So the cotton-headed ninny muggins (is that the word for it?) planned the wedding for April 23rd. That would be roughly three weeks before my due date. That would also be in the RED ZONE where travel is completely prohibited by my doctor and all available airlines. What's more, as Everett's to be the ring bearer, they thought it would be "cute" if I was the...get this...FLOWER GIRL.

It was all I could do to keep from breaking into gasping laughter. So you want a married woman, who's comfortably over 30, 9 months pregnant and, in all likelihood, having contractions (if not in actual active labor), weighing in somewhere around 170, walking down the aisle with her almost three-year-old son, as the flower girl. Can you imagine? What lovely wedding photos those would make, especially if I lost my mucus plug along with the flower petals on the way down the aisle. (I know that's not really likely, but it makes an especially disgusting visual...no?)

If it were anyone else, I would have been insulted. As it is, I can't believe my good luck. I won't have to go to the wedding, I'll have a veritable doctor's note excusing me. I can feign sorrow and send my husband and son away on their lonesome. And...if I'm truly, truly fortunate...I'll go into labor on April 20th and they'll have to stay home, too.

Of course, I want my brother-in-law to have a nice wedding, and it was sweet of him to plan around Jonathan's training, and it's something that a perfect son would do. I'm just confused as to why he picked that particular mom to be perfect towards. And why his fiancee, who has two children and should understand these things, didn't pick up on the whole travel restriction part of my pregnancy.

I will eagerly await the wedding photos from my labor & delivery room, for sure.