Your fig-sized baby is now fully formed — measuring 1 1/2 inches long and weighing in at a quarter of an ounce. His skin is still transparent, allowing many of his blood vessels to show through. Some of his bones are beginning to harden, and tiny toothbuds are starting to appear under his gums. His fingers and toes have separated, and he may soon be able to open and close his fists. He's already busy kicking and stretching, and his tiny movements are so fluid they look like water ballet. These movements will increase as his body grows and becomes more developed and functional. As his diaphragm develops, your tiny tenant may also start to get the hiccups. Because he's still so small, though, you won't feel any of his workouts or intrauterine gulps until sometime between weeks 16 and 20.
2004.10.25. waving, kicking, heart-beating, pure joy
Oh, wonder of amazing wonders. If you haven't already heard, or figured it out from my title, the appointment - that terribly frightening time - went well. I woke up in a daze, early, having dreamt quite clearly about feeling my baby moving. In my dream, I was so very worried - after all, I shouldn't be able to feel it move at 11 weeks. Something must be terribly wrong!
Of course, we were late to the appointment - so late, in fact, they almost didn't see me (note to procrastinators and chronic late-ys like me: they've never made good on their threat, not yet anyway). Of course, my insurance doesn't cover ultrasounds in "low-risk" pregnancies (ack! I wanted to say. It's high-risk! Just take my blood pressure!)
But my blood pressure, as always, was cool as a cucumber. I'm such an even-keeled gal - and I haven't been to yoga in three weeks. My nurse was nice and efficient, and didn't seem to ask as many cold questions as back in May ("number of live births?" "number of pregnancies?" "any STDs?" "family members dying this week?" - no - that last one was made up). And as we were left alone in the ultrasound room, Everett was so sweet. He was giggling, telling me he loved me, kissing me.
Amazingly still in good spirits when Laurel Lee came in (love her name, hmmm?), he didn't seem to notice as she checked my cervix and announced that I could do an abdominal ultrasound. Yay! No cold condom-covered thingy for me! She let Everett come up and sit next to me on the examining table and squirted gel on my belly. "Bubbles!" said Everett, asking for bubbles on his tummy, too.
And as quick as I could explain that he didn't need any bubbles on his belly, right now, there was the baby. The little one kicked, and waved, and exuberantly said to me, "I'm alive! I'm so happy to see you! Love you mama!" You might say that a nine-week-old fetus can't understand the concept of love, let alone say it through sonar. But I felt it, that instant. And I, too, was in love.
In what seemed like less than a minute, the baby was measured, photographed, and pronounced good. I was sad not to be able to see the little one for longer. But then the surprise - photographs. You'll want to see...
I couldn't be happier, more relieved, more excited. I so wish I could call Jonathan, and tell him the good news. Of course, he knew it all along.
2004.10.26. of gas, and names
So, you knew my complete lack of worry wouldn't last long. Last night as I was surfing the web I found a quote by a woman who said she couldn't bond with the baby until after amniocentesis because of worry. So there's something else to worry about now that miscarriage danger zone has almost passed - genetic problems.
Of course, that's really not what I'm worrying about. Last night I suddenly felt crampy. Cramps: first sign of miscarriage. (when I think about it now, it seems that the baby would have had to have been already rejected by my body for cramping to have started, making the timeline all wrong, but worry doesn't reason.) As the night wore on the cramping got worse.
Tonight, the cramping returns. And while I know, in my brain, that they are terrible gas cramps, that doesn't keep me from wondering. What if...?
It's terrible, really. It seems that night-time gas pains is just my new thing. They're awful, really, and are worse the longer I lay awake in bed at night. Eventually, after paining me on all sides of my uterus (which has pushed my poor intestines out of whack, I know, it's normal), slowly, ever so slowly, the tiniest poof of gas comes out. I swear it takes 30 minutes for about one...umm...teaspoon, let's say, of gas. And that entire 30 minutes is torture.
I'll deal with this eventually. Right this instant? I'm sunk back in utter terror. Check with me tomorrow morning and I'll be back to happy-go-lucky showing-off-her-ultrasound-photo mama.
In the meantime, I have an idea. What do you all think about "olive"? To call the baby. Despite the fact that he-or-she is already the size of a fig, according to the authority, it seems that week eight-or-nine sizes are the favored ones for naming your baby-to-be. Peanut. Bean. Jellybean. Megapixel. Sprout. Nope, those just don't sound like me.
I suggested "Picholine" to Kate and my public, but no one bit. "Olive" seems nice, and a little easier to explain. Hmmm...
2004.10.27. daddy doesn't know
As I sat at my computer tonight, catching up on pregnancy blogging, it all flashed before my eyes. You see, my loving sweet missing-me husband called today. I had just arrived home from gallivanting about with his grandma and one of my best mama friends. I had just finished reading his letters, in which he said how much he missed me, but that I didn't sound on the phone like I missed him (trying to make a mama cry, are you?). Waves of guilt had passed over me and I knew that, no matter what, he had to know I missed him.
So there was lots of military news to discuss. He'll be coming home a little earlier, but basic training won't be quite over. I'll be getting way more money than we thought (yes, I say "I" because "I" pay the bills no matter who earns the money ;), because of a "separation" allowance for married men and a housing allowances for homeowners. Check, check, and I can give up my $10 a day limit! (ok, guilty mama, hadn't been keeping to it AT ALL).
I was so happy to tell him how much I missed him, and talk about what we'd do with the extra time (I have a dream about going into the woods and cutting down a Christmas tree) that when he asked, "is there any other news?" I COMPLETELY forgot to tell him about the MOST IMPORTANT THING. The baby.
So my sweet loving husband starts basic training tomorrow (he "ships out" to across the base). And he doesn't know that his baby is alive and kicking. In other news, I did say that I missed him a lot. And I did say that I loved him. Ummm... points for that?
2004.10.28. daddy is filled in ... a little
Jonathan called this morning, twice - a rare and probably never-again-to-happen occurence. They were "shipping out" across the base to basic training. In the mayhem he managed to borrow a friend's cell phone and call.
As soon as I could get a word in edgewise I told him that the baby was o.k. He didn't even really hear me, I had to tell him again (it was 6 a.m. our time, I was in bed) and when I finally got it through to him he wondered, "so, do we know what it is?"
Jonathan is such an involved daddy. He really knows what's going on with my pregnancy. I don't know how many times I've told him that the earliest you can detect gender on an ultrasound is 16-18 weeks. But still, he doesn't remember.
His schedule has been changed somewhat and he'll be home December 18. As that will be around week 19, I'm going to try to schedule an ultrasound while he's here. That way, the big unveiling can be done together - and that will be as it should.
As impatient as I am to learn the baby's gender, combining that excitement with the much longed-for husband's return will make it an amazingly special time. Don't you think?
We keep NPR on in our bedroom all the time. Late at night, when I finally get to bed, BBC is on and I listen deep into the night. It makes me think. It makes me worry. It gives me nightmares.
But I keep it on, because it's interesting, because it reminds me of my sweetie. It's not really stuff for a pregnant woman's imagination. I've been thinking about pregnant dreams, which are particularly intense for me.
Last night it was real, intense, and utterly disturbing. I dreamt that Jonathan came home from basic training, just for a night, only he wasn't exactly Jonathan, but my ex-boyfriend. He was leaving me - all alone, no money, no love, just leaving with barely an explanation.
It was partly because I hadn't missed him enough. It was partly because he was this half-Jonathan, half ex-boyfriend creation, full of righteousness and devoid of compassion. He was leaving, and that was that.
Although I awoke from time-to-time to hear the news announcers talking to their guests - Pink Martini, and someone from Iraq, and undecided voters - I knew it wasn't real. Yet I sunk into the dream again, now going to basic training myself to chase this husband-ex-boyfriend down, in the trenches, wondering idly who was watching Everett as I ran and got uniforms and ate in the mess hall.
I couldn't shake it when I woke up. I hugged Everett close and tried to focus on the radio. We snoozed, but even at 10 when we finally got up I felt hazy and lost.
2004.10.30. oh yes, the pregnancy march continues
I haven't yet recapped my very fun evening this Thursday, when I got together with a bunch of mamas, including all the pregnant ladies from the group, Tanya with her sweet two-week-old Noah, and two new visitors, both of whom were pregnant. It was really awesome, and it warmed my heart to think that my dreams about adopting pregnant women could be realized.
OK, you've heard my community, mamas, helping each other, warm and generous, yada yada before. But it's really rewarding to be stuck in the life cycle of pregnancies, so to speak, in an actualized way.
Even more amazing was that the "other" new mama turned out to be, not just any Stephanie, but Stephanie M, someone I knew from high school. Whose daughter Everett had painted pumpkins with just last weekend. She, too, was pregnant, expecting her son and second child the same date that I would have had a child had I not miscarried.
In high school, we were barely friends, and ran in decidedly different crowds (though we were both good friends with my husband). But now, with our bellies and our babes and the dimly lit aura of motherhood around us, we were real friends.
I just really love hanging out with other mamas, even those who aren't pregnant. Tonight was a party of another flavor altogether, a housewarming in the stunning North Portland home of another mama friend. Everett wouldn't sleep and she generously let us stay until midnight, I helped her clean up, she fed me Brie in pastry (heated through! I promise!). Her husband's friend played ball with Everett for hours.
As tired as we get, as underwater as we feel just making it through an afternoon, these evenings of just being around one another rejuvenate us, help us realize that it's all normal, even the truly bizarre bits. That we're there for one another. And that's how mamas keep from slipping over the edge. It's the only way.
Halloween was loving and lonely, in fits and starts.
Church is almost always lovely. Everett has been converted into a bonafide nursery aficionado. He can play there for hours - literally. He is so good in communion. He's as happy as can be. And I'm happy, too, that I'm involved, and baking, and helping make financial decisions. In three years, I've gone from an Episcopalian newbie, to perhaps a position on the vestry - and you can say, you knew me when.
But the high didn't last, as I drove Everett to sleep through Eastmoreland, that vaunted gallery of amazing homes with perfectly decorated lawns. One had a Halloween display so outlandish, I was mentally calculating the price tag into the five figures. As should be imagined, the woman who defer her student loans - again - was getting house envy.
At home, lonely, in my un-renovated living room sewing on my pile-of-junk thrift store desk, with not even a trick-or-treating partner to call my own, I sunk into sadness. It was so, so quiet there, with my sleeping son and my candy-less pumpkin jar and my empty email inbox.
But, as I was about to just take a hot bath and call it a day, my sister-in-law called. They were coming to trick-or-treat with me. And a minute later Jonathan called, excited that Everett was dressing up and eager to see pictures. And then Everett was up, we ran to buy candy, we cleaned up the kitchen.
It was fun to trick-or-treat in my saucy belly-dancing costume, little belly and big-but-adorable monkey leading the way. We got treats galore. I ate them and was absolutely miserably ill. I made organic pear-and-pasteurized blue cheese salad, tomato soup, black beans, and ate the salad and not much more. My houseguests were grateful and kept me company as long as they could. Everett gorged himself and stayed up 'til midnight again.
In the end, Halloween was a rousing success. But every day is tinged with these deep valleys of loneliness, made worse by my hormones and the nausea. Only one more week of the trimester. But - will the yuckiness end?