mama's pregnant blog

of bellies and belly-achin'

From BabyCenter: Head to bottom, your baby is approximately 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a large sweet potato) and she weighs almost 7 ounces. She's busy flexing her arms and legs movements that you'll likely start noticing more and more. Her blood vessels are visible through her thin skin and her ears are now in position and stand out from her head. Myelin (a protective covering) is beginning to form around her nerves, a process that will continue for a year after she's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and Fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If your baby is a boy, his genitals are noticeable, though he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.

2004.12.13. do i need a pat on the head?

Larissa told the tale the other day of an older woman who, upon hearing that she planned to work in her studio occasionally after her baby was born, patted her on the head in an, "oh, my dear, you are in for it!" sort of gesture. We agreed that she would be able to find 30 minutes or an hour, here and there, to get away to her garage and giggled at the old wives' faulty wisdom.

Then today, as I sat in the conference room where I once reigned supreme queen of all car dealership marketing strategies, I began to get puffed up with my own baby-ful abilities. I was having a great time, expounding on my vast knowledge of the market tolerance of special finance telemarketing programs versus mail programs, and throwing around numbers and profit margins and strategic insights like they were Mardi Gras beads. I was on top of the world.

And I thought, in my exuberant MBA-ness, about how I'd conquer the world with the baby in my belly and the toddler in my house. How I'd manage, and bestow wisdom, and model, and blog, and knit, and keep the house in relative non-chaos, all while handling a newborn and a three-year-old, in my oh-so-acrobatic of ways.

When I arrived home, ready to do it all at once, Everett had taken apart six boxes of slides and neatly distributed 60 of them, or so, around the edge of the coffee table. The rest, as they weren't needed, were piled haphazardly in the middle of the table. Spongebob was on the TV, peanut butter toast was on my computer table, and dirty clothes and toys were everywhere.

By 8 p.m., after I left the house in a screaming mood because my brother-in-law's psycho girl-boy-friend had called 12 times in a row until he finally answered the phone, forgetting everything I needed, including my money, and been through the most amazing meltdown ever when we couldn't take home the Cowboy Dora I'd promised Everett for being good in the supermarket, I wondered if I, too, needed a pat on the head.

At 10:30, as I ran after Everett in the streets of Ladd's Addition, him screaming to "go for run!", me exhausted and angry from his lack of gratitude for the 1/2 mile run we'd already been on, the neighbors certainly looking up the phone number for child services as I forced him into his carseat, literally, kicking and screaming, I wanted to pat myself with a frying pan on the head and just lie there in the wet street for a while.

One thing I do know: this just isn't possible on my own. I think we mamas can accomplish a lot, multitask and take good care of our children and give all the love in our hearts. We just can't do it alone. We're lucky, we are, that so many of our husbands and parenting partners are unlike the daddies of the generations before us; they pitch in, and more than that, they understand at some basic level what we're going through. They often are the secondary breadwinners and the masters of laundry. With them we can be queens of the art and direct marketing and writing and all the other worlds, without leaving our children in the dust. Without them, we need some serious pats on the head.

2004.12.14. need to know

I had an email conversation today with a friend who's sure she'll wait to find out her baby's gender. As I call Olive "she" in every conversation, and pick out girly knitting patterns for her wardrobe, I wonder, how can I wait another minute?

My ultrasound, scheduled for 10:30 on Monday morning, had to be moved when I was asked to be present at the office for a 9:30 meeting that day. It was going to be a struggle for me, making a 9:30 appointment without going in my pajamas. It's tough for me just to make a 9:30 conference call from the laptop in my living room.

And what did I do? I scheduled that ultrasound for 7:30 a.m. That's in the MORNING. I haven't gotten up that early for...I have no idea how long. That's just how impatient I am. I couldn't imagine waiting until AFTER the long, long meeting to find out the baby's gender. Could I discuss which office computers have proper Microsoft licensing without that knowledge? No, no matter how much it pains me, even if I have to set three alarm clocks and go to bed at (gasp!) 11 p.m. I need to know, man.

2004.12.15. busy, busy, busy

She's been a-kickin', when I'm driving in the car, when I'm sitting on the couch with Everett, when I'm in the shower, when I'm working at my laptop. She's just so busy! I can't fathom how a child could be any more busy than my son, and I never remember this constant movement in the early stages of my pregnancy with Everett. Even accounting for my increased sensitivity.

I remember clearly, though, that in Everett's ultrasound he wouldn't stay still for an instant, darting around the womb like, well, a two-year-old running away from his mama. I can't wait to see if she's even more zippy on Monday morning.

And there's nothing bad, at this point in the pregnancy, with constant reminders that little Olive is doing great. That will give me one less thing to worry about, which is always a good thing.

2004.12.17. in which she sobs because of something she knows isn't true

Someone was being funny. During my craziness trying to get ready for Jonathan's imminent arrival tomorrow, Matt got a phone call. The caller, who identified himself as Sergeant something, said that Jonathan would be a few days late. He and a couple of friends had been caught drinking and they were being punished. Some noise followed, which could have been laughing, and the offending party hung up.

I knew it couldn't possibly be true...could it? Firstly, the behavior seemed a little strange, what with the hanging up and the whole problem of the fact that the Army didn't book their tickets so they can hardly get involved in changing flights. And I knew he wouldn't do it, wouldn't screw up a chance to see me when waiting just a little longer would afford him all the beer and wine his little heart desired. I mean, he won't even eat Fritos for the possibility of getting in trouble.

It had to be a joke. But in my fragile state, I wondered wildly, who could be so utterly cruel and entirely unfeeling as to foist such a worry on me, the mama who has lost it already six times in the last three days? After thinking about it for a bit, and getting some acting up from Everett, I just started sobbing.

I cried on the couch for a good 10 minutes and then got into the tub, still crying, mostly sorry for myself because someone cared so little for me that they would risk sending me off the deep end for a few laughs. Then I got deeper into my sorry-for-myself state, wishing that someone would have taken Everett off my hands for a few hours so I could clean, wishing that I wasn't so incapable of dealing, wishing that he would just be a sweet docile little boy who never made messes and never acted up.

Taking that cue, he asked to get in the tub with me, and lay there with me, looking up at our moldy ceiling (the mold that made it past my limp attempt to scrub, that is), and talking about water and bubbles and fishes. Olive was turning and whirling and reaching, reminding me that everything might just be o.k. And Everett and I got out of the tub, and he helped me clean the wall, and his potty, and we started laundry and, in a little while, everything was o.k.

At 1 a.m. Jonathan called, having safely arrived at the Oklahoma City airport, in absolutely no trouble and eager to be home. By 3 a.m. I was asleep, house half clean, semi-at-peace.

2004.12.18. get some sleep

I slept about five hours, give or take, last night; three the night before; and I'm looking at another five-hour night tonight. Of course, this week is a bit unusual, what with my extreme excitement and stress at Jonathan's arrival home. But I'm afraid my sleep schedule, even in a good week, will only get more erratic as the baby's arrival approaches.

So I read with a mix of fear, guilt and out-and-out anger the recent study on sleep and Ceasarean births. Evidently those women (like me) who get less than six hours of sleep each night late in their pregnancy have a 4.5x greater chance of delivering via c-section.

I'm certain that my sleep in Everett's third trimester was, at best, six and change each night. This time? It could be far worse, what with my toddler, my blogging, my occasional single parent-hood, my new job.

As I struggle to avoid another c-section, as I sit on my ergonomic chair and (plan to) change my diet considerably and do lots of yoga and squatting and all that good stuff, I wonder: is this all for naught? Has my destiny already been set because of my (gulp) work-a-holic-ness?

There are yoga classes, books to help me stay away from high-glycemic-index foods, and lots of vitamins to keep my body limber and my baby healthy. There isn't, however, a prescription for kicking the night owl habit. It's just not part of your typical midwife's repertoire. I don't think I'm really capable of giving up and going to bed at 10 each night.

At least, though, it's not my "fault." I inherited my drive to stay up late and finish the task from my daddy. Somehow that doesn't make me feel any better.

The really odd part? Since reading that study I've noticed that my c-section scar hurts more when I'm very, very tired. Perhaps it's my body telling me in not-so-subtle ways to go to bed. And so, goodnight. OK, well, maybe one more post...