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.
2004.09.19. the scare
Today was the dreaded scare. The one that I know will likely be repeated - in inconsequential or devastating ways - over the next six weeks. Today was awful, nerve-wracking, sad, sad, sad. I'll tell you how it happened.
It all started in such a wonderful way. I awoke with the alarm at 6:30 a.m. I dressed, hydrated, and left the house, rushing downtown in the cool morning air for the Race for the Cure. I met my friends on time, I got off to an easy start, I ran a good pace and chatted the whole 3.1 miles. When I saw the finish line, I thought, this already? and finished under 30 minutes (my pregnant goal). I was so proud, it felt really great.
I chuckled when a local news anchor finished a few minutes after me. I ate a banana and stopped for my favorite breakfast - a croissant with swiss cheese and tomato chutney, and coffee, from Grand Central. I took a shower, I went to church with Everett, I stayed, chatting with other mamas and knitting, until a poopy diaper called.
I gave Everett lunch and then...blood. Bright red scary blood, not gushing, but streaking out in good amounts. It continued, for an hour. I knew, knew it was a miscarriage. It seemed certain. I told Everett I wasn't feeling good and took a bath, filling it until my belly was immersed, praying, begging that it wasn't true.
It stopped, and then started again. I felt that cramping pain and got in bed, knitting, praying, sadly. Everett joined me, sweetly, and Jonathan brought me food and tea, let me sleep for hours.
By the end of the evening it had passed, I still ached, but no more blood. Jonathan says he knows everything is o.k. That's what I want to believe, but I can't. It's a bona fide scare. If I go two days without more...the scare will have passed. If it happens again...I don't care how much I can't afford, I'm going in for an ultrasound. I can't stand to not know. I can't stand to lose this baby.
2004.09.21. leaving you in the lurch
I shouldn't have left you like that, dear reader, should I have? My scare has, indeed, passed. No blood trickled, leaked, or otherwise escaped from my body after Sunday evening and I am now certain that it was, just as Jonathan said, my body reacting to an unusually hormone-filled pounding. The question now: should I run again? My logic says yes, my heart says no.
And in place of my major miscarriage scare, that scourge of all pregnant symptoms, nausea sets in. Nausea, exhaustion, the whole bit. I know, I crowed to you and to thousands about my lack of these pesty ailments. And to what should my wondering tummy appear but woosh...waves of nausea and bonk! head-filling tiredness.
So, I napped, and woke, head still dull, stomach still groaning under the pressure. Hours later my stomach still cries out for relief - nothing looks good to me, I forced myself to eat dozens of pear tomatoes with spinach dip for the folate and vitamin C. I made myself a delicious and healthful pork, apple and onion stew with rice. I still felt ill. Tomorrow, it is food food food from dawn 'til dusk!
2004.09.22. my (secret) public
Famouser and famouser, that's what I'm getting, I tell you ;) Before long I'll have the entire pregnant world converted to my regime of occasional glasses of wine, endless varieties of hot herbal remedies, eating soft cheese and avoiding tuna fish. No wired pregnant lady will ever wear a poncho again. And I'll have them all knitting, and blogging, and sharing their pain with you.
If you've read my not-so-secret blog, you know that I'm stricken with one of those nasty deep-in-the-throat cold threats. I'm not sniffly, or headachey, or coughing...yet. But I can tell those things are trying to squirm their way into my already mixed-up head.
I'm fighting it, heroically, with hot water, citrus, honey. Soon I will bring out the big guns: garlic! ginger! spinach! Take that, mean cold. I will defeat you. I will prevail to blog again another day! Oh, and knit, too.
I'm knitting baby socks for one pregnant friend and a baby hat with earflaps for my niece. I'm working on my first sweater, for Everett, and will start tomorrow on a cute little rucksack for a birthday girl. I'm glad I'm pregnant...these hormones come in handy when I have lots of domestic projects to complete. If I could only transfer my energies to the organization of my bedroom...I would have one happy husband on my hands.
2004.09.24. hack hack, cough cough, oh what a pain it is...
I suppose I needed something to get my mind off the impending "anniversary," or whatever you would call it. I'm about three days away from the point in my last pregnancy where my little bean's heart stopped beating.
I'm feeling completely different than I was three-and-a-half months ago. My chief complaint then was shooting pains in my abdomen as my uterus expanded. This time I'm mostly free from shooting pains, but they've been replaced by nausea and this terrible cold.
Everything, of course, you see as a sign. It's awful. I wish I could get an ultrasound every day from now 'til November 1. Or, I wish I could just go into a (healthful peaceful) deep sleep until after Halloween. Something, anything, to avoid the not knowing.
Anyhow, what's taking my mind off my belly is my hacking bronchial cough, sore throat, and general feeling that my head's full of slime. Heavy foggy slime. No one else has it - I've been sleeping nose-to-nose with Everett and swapping plenty of spit with his daddy, too, and they're just fine. I'm usually the one who's just fine while everyone else moans and groans.
Jonathan tells me that it's the pregnancy that's compromised my immune system, and while I look for an article to corroborate that (for blogging purposes, you know) I come across an article discussing how a protein in the fetus prevents a woman's immune system from attacking it. No protein, and you have frequent miscarriages. Not what I needed to think about.
I'm supposed to be worrying, I guess, who wouldn't? But I'm in this strange kind of denial worrying. I haven't even cracked my pregnancy books - I know what's going on inside. I haven't thought about making a doctor's appointment. I've just been clenching my teeth and hoping, praying, taking my vitamins and eating lots of spinach and tomatoes and beans. Here's to your health, little one. This cup of tea's for you.
2004.09.26. could it be?
As you may have seen in my public blog, today I was acquainted with the possibility that yes, nausea is a good sign. Ninety percent of women who experienced nausea or other pregnancy symptoms starting in their sixth week, went on to have successful pregnancies.
As I see it that puts my odds at pretty darn good. So I'll embrace this nausea, I will, I'll put up with my aversions to - well - everything but plain black tea and ummm...ok, everything.
I'm eating, don't get me wrong, you'll never catch this mama going hungry. I've been eating more than normal, managing to finish a slice of pizza with blue cheese dressing (my husband's slightly white-trash influence), crudites and grapes at Philly's birthday party in the a.m., then heading straight to Tanya's baby shower for some tea sandwiches and pea-sour cream-lettuce-cheese salad (also slightly white-trash, but delicious). But everything I eat starts to feel wrong quickly. I can't bear to throw away what I'm sure is good food so I leave a trail everywhere of half-finished plates.
I went to an open house today, walked through the carefully staged "home" with wonder. It was so grown up. So couple-oriented. The owners, who had lived in the house for seven years while fixing it to the tastes of entertaining adults. There was a small deck for a back yard, with a hot tub. There was a sumptous loft bed looking out onto the greenery behind. There was a huge heavy dining table and a beautiful antique stove. And there was a nursery - but there was no room for kids in this house.
It was built for "entertaining." And I think of my home, which entertains almost daily - kids, family, friends. But it is so, so not ready to entertain. And I don't know where I'm going with this, but it made me realize that I'm in such a strange place in my life. I'm finally overflowing with friends and family but when they come over I'm so cranky that they always have to serve themselves whatever delicious and random food I've cooked up. My house is never clean but always open. I'm over-educated and vastly under-employed. I have so much of what I always wanted, and so little. But I'm generally happy, and yet deeply in a funk.
I'm going to stop here, in this pregnant fog. What I think I'm saying is that I'm so, so happy with the choices I've made and the wonderful blessings in my life. But everything is so scary. The chances of miscarriage, the money woes, the sick feeling I feel (and not just in my stomach) when I awake so late in the morning with blogging to do and creditors ring-ring-ringing. But I'm lucky, really I am. I'm lucky to have so many people to share it with. And I just wish that God would give me more time and energy to share.