This week marks the beginning of the embryonic period. From now until ten weeks, all of your baby's organs will begin to develop and function. As a result, this is the time when she'll be the most vulnerable to anything that might interfere with her development.
Right now your baby-to-be is an embryo consisting of two layers: the epiblast and the hypoblast, from which all her organs and body parts will develop. The primitive placenta is also made up of two layers at this point. Its cells are tunneling into the lining of your uterus, creating spaces for your blood to flow into so that the developed placenta can provide nutrients and oxygen to your growing baby when it starts to function at the end of this week.
Also present now are the amniotic sac that will house your baby, the amniotic fluid that will cushion her as she grows, and the yolk sac that produces your baby's red blood cells and helps deliver nutrients to her until the placenta is ready to take over this duty.
2004.09.06. miracles and truths discovered
I was going to wait until tomorrow to take the test. But I wanted to know, so badly, and there was no hint of a period, NONE. I wait all afternoon to use the bathroom, I want to give those hormones - if they do exist - the maximum time to accumulate in my urine. (no, it's not always pretty stuff, but you're wanted to hear all about pregnancy, right?)
I took the test, and I put the cap on it, and I sat there, staring at the plastic opening, leaning it this way and that, imagining a line in the results window. I stared so hard that I began to think I had created for myself an optical illusion. I realized the line I was imagining was a shadow. I moved, but there it was, faint, beyond faint.
I ran into the other room, where there was bright sunlight. And there it was, no mistake. It was a little pale pink line, positive.
I ran all the way downstairs, Jonathan was on the phone. I jumped up and down behind him, I asked him to get off. I picked up the receiver and asked him to get off, I needed to talk to him!
Of course, it would have been his mom. He thought I was upset about something, but I wasn't, I was happy. He saw the test and ... was happy, too, but immediately worried. It was not his right time. He wanted to have another baby, but he struggles so with my position as head breadwinner.
He kissed me, wanted to be ecstatic, but wasn't, quite. My mama friends were happy, concerned, downright scared for me. They all said congratulations, but everyone had to ask...is this o.k.? How do I really feel about it all?
You try losing your job exactly one week before learning that you are pregnant with the child you so desperately hoped for, the child that was separated from you by many months of grief. Do you care about your financial situation? Sure, but that has nothing to do with your overwhelming happiness that you are pregnant.
And I say it again, I see my pregnant friends and other pregnant women, and I have that glow coming up from inside. I drink my passion tea and I devour my three-course meal. I suffer through the immediate, terrible gas pains that come with pregnancy, now. And I rejoice.
2004.09.08. it all comes flooding back
Today I helped my sister-in-law with her promotional video for a post-natal doula service she's about to begin marketing. I was the new mom, my baby was Nehalem, I was in my element.
I over-did the calm exhaustion of that first month, and it was wonderful. I made Nehalem gurgle and smile and wave her little arms in glee. She put her thumb in her mouth and I said for the camera, "look, she just learned to suck her thumb!"
And when she was fussy, I put her to sleep, rocking her with my arm holding her stomach. She was so calm and so heavy on my arm, and it started coming back to me, how your arm falls asleep and you want to move but you can't, you must preserve this lovely quiet, the peace the baby has finally found.
I went up the stairs and was out of breath by the end of flight one. Yep, I'm pregnant, all right.
Hours later I look down at my belly and see the clear outline of the grapefruit uterus. Could it be? It has so far to go. But I try not to push out anything, and it's so definitely there, way more pronounced than it was three weeks ago. More pronounced than two days ago. I can't wait for the certainly track-star-like growth, so everyone will know that I have rejoined the club.
And now as I write this I can see Everett, his big brother routine by then rapturously anticipated all those months, when the new baby falls asleep in my arms. I can see him sitting on the "chouch" as he calls it, holding his tiny sibling in his strong almost-three-year-old arms, looking up at me with pride at his accomplishment.
And now I am in love, with this big brother, with this family, and I cannot wait to make it mine.
2004.09.10. oh, the pain of it all
Every pregnancy is different, with special pains and symptoms you never imagined were possible. It's like the universe's strange grab bag of unusual complaints. You're always kept guessing.
For me, this time, it's stress-induced muscle pain. I start an argument with my husband - shooting pains in my lower back. I get too tired - dull, aches all over from my shoulders to my hips. Stinky diaper to change when I'm busy writing - sharp, sudden pain in the back of my neck. Thinking about financial woes - monster headache for next five minutes.
My body is telling me, to relax, to bring peace to my relationship, to slow down, to eat, to sleep. And this time - I have to listen, now.
It's not fun but it sure is effective. And as these pains in my back are telling me: go to bed, mama!
2004.09.11. birthday girl
Today was my birthday, and it was a bad day to be pregnant. I stayed up late weeping over 9/11 shows - the night before my birthday. Thank heavens I wasn't pregnant during the tragedy, I'm sure my poor unborn child would have suffered terribly from all the stress transmitted over that sensitive placenta.
I did, however, have a happy day. I went to my favorite restaurant for a filling breakfast of bacon, pancakes, eggs and coffee - and Everett was a good kid. We went to the harvest festival on Sauvie's Island and I basked in the happy hippie beauty of it all. Everett painted a pumpkin and, as I watched him, I was imagining all my future fuzzy good crafty times with my passel of kids. I bought a quilt raffle ticket and imagined the colorful centerpiece in their room. I rode on the hay wagon with a friend and planned out years of harvest festivals to come.
Then came the dreaded shortcut. My adorable adventuresome husband decided to take a way he'd never been to get to my parents' house, as I knitted my mom's birthday present furiously. I got monsterly nauseous, oh, not as bad as some, I'm sure, but for my taste, it was unaccountably uncomfortable.
Although I devoured Jenny's arroz con pollo once I arrived (couldn't touch the super-sweet plantanas in sugary cinnamon syrup), I still felt ill all the way home, so much so that I authorized a stop at McDonald's for french fries and hot tea. I went to bed jittery and stressed with the demands of the coming day, and slept fitfully.