From BabyCenter: Your baby is no longer an embryo! Though she's barely the size of a kumquat — just an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, she now has completed the most critical portion of her development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in her body rapidly grow and mature. Her vital organs — the liver, kidney, intestines, brain, and lungs — are now in place and starting to function (although they'll continue to develop throughout your pregnancy). Her liver continues to make blood cells, and the yolk sac, which previously supplied these cells, is no longer needed and begins to disappear.
During the next three weeks, your baby's length will more than double to nearly 3 inches. Her head is proportionately smaller now than it was a few weeks ago, but it's still almost half the length of her entire body. Her forehead temporarily bulges with her developing brain and sits high on her head; it will later recede to give her a more human appearance. Each day, more minute details — including tiny fingernails, toenails, and peach-fuzz hair — start to appear on her body. Her fingers are now completely separated; her arms bend at the elbow and curve slightly; her hands are flexed at the wrist and meet over her heart; her legs are lengthening; and her feet may be long enough to meet in front of her body. She is busily swallowing amniotic fluid and kicking her legs.
If you could take a peek at your baby this week, you'd be able to clearly see the outline of her spine through her parchment-thin skin. Spinal nerves are beginning to stretch out from her spinal cord.
2004.10.18. the other women
I keep reading stories about "other" pregnant military wives, the ones with husbands in Iraq, for a year or more, like the one who got pregnant a day or so before her husband shipped out. He watched the birth on his laptop. Other moms are sending their husbands "Fetal Fotos" (what an unfortunate name for a business!) so they can "be part of the bonding experience."
The bonding experience. I, myself, am not yet part of the bonding experience, as I've been too afraid of the potential outcome of the pregnancy (and that would be, the bad one) to bond. I've even been putting off making my appointment, partly because it means selecting an obstetrician and that's too much of a commitment for me right now.
So Jonathan will miss the many doctor's visits, the ultrasounds, will miss hearing the heartbeat, and won't be there when I find out the baby's gender. I probably won't even be able to call him - he'll just have to find out when he calls from the airport on his way home to me.
I'll be alone when I find out if the fetus is "viable" or not. If anything goes wrong - this is what I'm most afraid of - he won't be there to be a calm strong presence while I freak out. I know I have lots of strong friends, but nothing is quite the same as having a husband there, the daddy, the provider of saneness.
If I let myself be afraid, that's what I fear. The thing that goes wrong, and no one there to help me absorb the news, no one else to ask questions, or review the possibilities when the technician leaves the room. That's the worst kind of worry.
2004.10.19. it's lonely time
Tonight is my first night without Jonathan, and I'll only see him for a few hours tomorrow, and a few minutes Thursday morning, before he leaves. Everett and I can't sleep, I'm blogging with him stuffed into the chair beside me now. I'm nauseous and gassy. I'm incapable of sleeping.
I don't know what to think, yet, except that when he left our house today I was incredibly sad - not because I was missing him already, but because, if I was leaving our house for a very long time, I would miss it so. I was sad for him, being sad, being lonely.
I think he wishes I would cry, I would show how sad I am. Instead I argue with him. We fight because he says how disappointed he'll be if he comes home and I haven't kept the house clean (usually his job). I tell him how insensitive it is for him to come at me from that angle - he should just say he'd be happy if it was clean, and leave it at that - and he argues back, of course, saying that he's not the bad guy, I'm the one who never cleans.
Finally he sees it from my perspective, a little, and I drop him off for processing, to meet him later at the hotel. As is typical, his recruiter has given him the wrong information. There is no Doubletree at the Portland airport. I drive around and around Airport Way, feeling suddenly so lost and alone and single.
Then as I'm about to give up, go home and wait for his call, I see a Doubletree van in front of me, right there, no more than 20 feet away. I follow them for miles and they arrive at the hotel where Jonathan is staying. I'm not so alone, anymore, and I have chocolate chip walnut cookies.
When I drive home, it's not the pregnancy aloneness I'm thinking of anymore, it's of him, and how he'll enjoy the experience. How Everett will miss him. How I'll be having dinner with my mama friends and going to yoga and managing.
I'm still not crying. But I will. I just have to deal with it before I can cry about it.
2004.10.20. last supper
I'm so happy that Jonathan is doing this. It's a little crazy, and a lot scary, and leaves some things in our fate up to the whims of our commander-in-chief-to-be. But, he's already a better person for it. When I saw him today he was much, much changed from the man I knew three days ago.
Jonathan's a fantastic daddy in many ways - he's energetic, silly, loving and he does laundry. What's not to like? But he's been majorly in a funk for the past year and his waistline is showing it. As is our bank account.
It shows, too, in his face, in his energy, in his interactions with Everett. He's short-fused, impatient with crankiness common in toddlers, he can't sleep at night and keeps me up with his History Channel, only dragging himself out of bed when it's absolutely necessary the next day.
But tonight? He was subtly and majorly different. When Everett freaked out from lack of sleep at the restaurant, instead of being angry he just took him outside and asked that we go, saying that Everett couldn't help it. His face is different, more confident, more hopeful.
And he ordered vegan chicken-fried "steak" with mashed root vegetables and loved it. He talked about how the vitamins were hitting his bloodstream. This is my husband, of the "please can I go out and get a Mexican Pizza at 11:30 p.m.?" and the memorization of McDonald's value menu.
I, too, loved my vegetarian dish (mine was chanterelle ravioli, with cheese, pesto and marinara sauce), and Everett ate his brown rice and tofu with gusto. Everett fell asleep on the way home for a little love break and didn't wake again until 10.
My husband went on his way with his packet full of the paperwork for not one, but five soldiers - he's in charge of four 18-year-olds, none of whom have flown on an airplane before. He's hoping to be squad commander by the end of basic training, and no one will be prouder than me.
This nine week tour will be hard, I don't doubt it. But it's worth missing yoga and going through the fear and agony of my first doctor's visit without him if he's going to return a more confident, more supportive, happier, and more fit man. I have my friends, and my blogging, and my letters to him to keep me busy. He can read about all my innermost thoughts, here, when he returns.
So honey, thanks for doing this for us. And God keep you safe. I may cry a lot, but the loneliness will be tempered with hope for our future as a happy, healthy family of four.
2004.10.21. denial woman
My day was spent in wild swings of mood, health and comfort. I woke up easily at 5:15 a.m., with less than four hours of sleep under my belt. I drank a glass of water and put Everett's shoes on and was off, slowly in the bare light of dawn.
We arrived at the airport and I, discombobulated, went to the wrong security area to wait. By the time I figured it out a few minutes later, Everett had become enamored of the play structure. By the time we got to the "C" gates entrance, the army contingent had already passed through, Everett's diaper was leaking, and I was starving.
Finally I tore him away from his blocks and got a croissant and a ginger peach tea. Finally he ran to the car and settled down in his seat. $6 in parking later, we were on our way. And I was suddenly cut off, disconnected from my husband, with no way of knowing whether his charges had boarded the plane or gone AWOL. I worried.
So, I shopped. We hit the bins, Everett and I, and for two hours we scored in big ways and small ways. The first find was a complete set of alphabet puzzle mats, the ones I'd been eyeing for at least a year. There were Woody toys galore, and Sesame Street trains, and Fisher Price little people of various and sundry occupations and sizes. There was the backpack that I knew he would one day love to pieces. Then, it was Everett who saw it. The holy grail of my Bins outings. A complete Thomas the Tank Engine set. Everett was in love, and I was so happy for him, and amazed at his sharp eyes. He's my Bins companion from now on.
We got lots, lots more, groovy 70s clothes I can be pregnant in, baby stuff, toys, clothes, books, records, things I needed and didn't. A cheap-but-cute digital camera, for one.
When I got home, there was no phone call, no message. I waited, and waited, I showered and bathed. I was so exhausted and Everett was so unredeemably riled up - I was starving, aching, tired and worried. I laid down on Everett's bed and waited for him to come to sleep. He asked if he could "go see daddy." "No, daddy flew on an airplane to go to the Army, sweetie."
"Everett go to army. Mama go to Army," he said, logically, and this time I didn't argue. Eventually he came to lie down with me and we slept until 2:30, when the phone call came. Jonathan was in Oklahoma City, everyone had shown up, he was excited and tired and happy and scared. He said he'd try to call again. But he didn't.
I blogged, and ate lunch, and put some toys away, put the clothes in the wash, and blogged some more. When Everett woke up it was almost time for mama's group, and he and I went. He had a blast. I was giddy for a while, happy about my Bins finds, happy to be with mamas. But then I crashed without knowing it, worried about the appointment I'd just made with the doctor, and sunk back into deepest nausea. I'm sure I wasn't exactly friendly to everyone. I was suddenly hurt.
I'm terrified, really, of the appointment. It seems too soon - I'll be just 11 weeks on Monday when I go in - and hardest of all, it's with the midwife/nurse practictioner who discovered my miscarriage. I love her, she's sweet and understanding. But it's too much like the last time. And I'm too scared to know anything's wrong.
So until Monday, then, I'll live in alternating giddy hungry energy and scared silly nausea lethargy. And now, to bed.
2004.10.22. no. more. veggies.
No, I don't mean that. But I'm certain that my new "evening sickness" is attributed to my habit of consuming vegetables only in the evening.
Let's see. I've gone through the most key folic acid stage already - and I still had the appetite for greens, then (it's the two weeks before and two weeks after conception that's the most delicate for the baby). I'm now taking my prenatals and my fish oil tablets. And now that I've eaten salad, and pesto, and avocados, oh my! for the past three days - surely, I deserve a break.
I'm completely serious. I think veggies are making me nauseous and I'm not eating them any more. No! I just won't have it. At least not until Sunday, when I've been promised a mouth-watering Iraqi soup with tomatoes, dumplings of some sort, and greens.
And for the record? After the salad disaster, my midnight snack consisted of two, that's right, two bowls of organic peanut butter panda puffs with half and half. Fatty peanut buttery bland goodness.
I finally made the appointment on Thursday. THE appointment. The "Confirmation."
It terrifies me, from the bottom of my little feet to the tippy-top of my head. Worst of all, it will be the wonderful nurse-midwife who so gently and earnestly tried to find the heartbeat last time. It will be conducted with the brand-new ultrasound machine that was being tested when I went in to be checked to make sure my uterus had expelled all its blood.
Oh, that's disheartening, isn't it? I really wanted to find a new obstetrician, maybe a midwife, someone crunchy and warm and entirely far away from Emanuel Hospital. Not because I don't like the hospital, mind you (I've never seen their maternity wards, but their children's garden is quite lovely), but because it's associated with - you know.
But it's ok. I'm in denial. I'm not thinking about it, at all. I was thinking about asking a friend to watch Everett during the appointment. But that? That would mean acknowledging my fear. And I'm not about to do that.
I even made the most entirely half-hearted attempt to get my insurance group number - calling late Friday to the Fort Vancouver "Unit Administrator" who is evidently Jonathan's equivalent of an HR generalist. Her name is "Kinikia" and at the end of her Hawaiian-accented message, she says, "mahalo!" in the most calm, cheerful possible way.
But I always end up with the "easy" decision. For someone with five blogs, I'm sure not that overachieving when it comes to health care providers. Oh well. Someday I'll make so much money with my writing, I'll be able to afford my very own personal assistant who will do all that for me. Then I'll just be a writing head-in-the-sand mama. Mmmm, sounds lovely.