Archives for the month of: April, 2014

The big news this week is that we had our anatomy scan and found out the sex of the baby.

I had a lot of feelings going into the ultrasound. I am a feminist, and don’t believe that sex determines the rest of your life in essentialist kinds of ways. I think of the wide variety of women I have known in my life–with different ways of being, hugely different personalities, different things they loved, and whose love and partnerships have looked very different. In the same way with men, there are so many different ways of being a man in this world that are valid and worthy. And not even bringing into the question whether this biological sex will end up being the gender the child identifies with as they grow!

And so going into this, knowing that we would find out more about anatomy than personhood… I was trying to put into words why this was mattering to me as much as it was. One of the answers I came to is that with the words “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl,” it would dramatically affect how they will be treated in their life–what their struggles will be, what their joys or expectations, what my role might be shaped by in supporting them throughout their life. I would hope to give them the same opportunities to explore and discover more about this incredible world and to find their interests and loves. But they will encounter a world that treats them differently based on sex. And a girl’s experience, although different based on who they are, would have more pressures in common with my path and a boy’s would be more like my husband’s in some ways. The experience of being a parent would be different for me–although there are so many variable still to discover that will dramatically affect what it will be to be their parent.

I have thinking as well about this “gender reveal party” phenomenon too (and entertaining myself that it should be called a “sex reveal party” but that then people might be a bit more wary to come ;-)). We’re not having one, but here’s what I love about it: you invite the important people in your life and it is taken as a given that whether you have pink or blue revealed–everyone cheers. This is actually a really revolutionary thing. It hasn’t been that long that “having a boy” and “having a girl” were considered equally good things to happen. And here you have this whole crowd of people gathering, knowing that difference is possible, and who have made the choice that no matter what, you cheer and say “congratulations!”

Because honestly, this is what I want for the wee-whippersnapper: that when they go through life and come to realizations about who they are and who they have been made to be, I want them to encounter a community that cheers no matter what. Gay or straight, male or female, “I want to play baseball” or “I love to paint,” active, quiet, all the varieties of personhood–I want them to know a community that is prepared to cheer no matter what.

And at the very least, I want that to be their experience of us as parents.

But enough with the awkward “their” pronouns (I called someone up to ask about daycare, and they mistakenly thought I was having twins).

We had the anatomy scan, and everything is healthy, all the organs are growing well, there were hiccups that made me laugh, and a beautiful profile. And it’s a girl. We are having a girl.

And the very sentence of “I’m having a daughter” still makes me tear up. Hi wee one, what a joy to get to know you.

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Like so many said, the second trimester ushered in a time of near pregnant bliss. Nausea–gone. Fatigue–vanished. Energy–returned. Palate–normalized. It felt almost too good to be true. When I went in for my 14 week appointment, I waited with bated breath to hear the peanut’s heartbeat. I thought, I’ve felt so non-pregnant, could it be that something happened since my last prenatal visit? I felt relief when I heard that whooshing sound again.

I spent the last four days at a conference where I was on my feet all day, doing interviews, leading workshops, and eating really, really crappy food. I came home exhausted and ready for a recovery day. Then I woke up with a splitting headache and, much to my dismay, full on nausea. Like, intense morning sickness nausea. After a few saltines, it went away temporarily, but I ended up with my head in the toilet an hour later. God, let this be an isolated event.

The unpredictability of pregnancy has been one of the toughest parts for me to accept. Never knowing when I’m going to have a headache, or when a sneeze will cause searing pain around my uterus, or when I’m going to have to run for the bathroom to puke has left me feeling so depressed. I’m someone who thrives in sticking to a routine, and it’s been months since I’ve been able to stick to one for more than a few days.

I know what most people would say. “This is just preparing you for life with a baby.” To that I said, “F*** off.” Now go get me some crackers.

It’s official, we’re at the halfway point of pregnancy. Ahhhh!

I can’t decide if this seems unbelievable because there is a) so much time before the baby comes or b) so little time before the baby comes.

On the “really–there’s how much more to go?” side, I’ve been feeling a bit ungainly. I’ve been running my stomach into ill positioned counters, not knowing where my edges are, or finding tops that I thought were loose at some point in time, now having that awkward “too tight gaping.” But on the other hand, I realize that gaining another 20 lbs above where I am now is very possible, even likely and healthy. And it just feels crazy! Really, after all the changes so far, they are just a drop in the bucket of what’s coming…. really? I feel like we’ve been through a lot to get here, (ugh first trimester), but there is just as much to go which seems hard to believe.

And yet on the other hand, I feel completely unprepared. I had a dream last night that I had had the baby early. Babies actually–in my dream it was twin boys, but we had brought them home without the most basic of necessities like “any extra diapers.” And so the rest of the dream was spent trying to deal with reality that we were completely unprepared. I feel like there was a subtle hint from my subconscious in there somewhere 😉

Which brings me to today, and my great purging/reorganization of the apartment. We live in a two bedroom place, that is remarkably affordable for the area and ideally positioned to reduce our commuting, so the current plan is to stay here until we absolutely have to move. But because it is a small place, it also means that anything that comes into the apartment needs to be balanced with something that leaves. After living here a few years, we have accumulated things and filled up our few storage spaces. And on the bigger scale, if we are going to have room for a crib, or potentially move the office stuff into our bedroom, then some furniture and bookshelves (and *sigh* some of the books that fill them) must go.

So here’s the hope for a remarkably productive day of “getting rid of the unnecessary to make space for baby.” Because we are in the second half folks–it’s about to get real.

(Headaches still continue, but seem to be a bit better with extreme hydration and drinking more water when I get up in the middle of the night. We will see!)

I am now at 19 weeks, which is remarkably close to the halfway point of pregnancy. For some reason, things have been seeming more real to me this week, as I realize that there is a limited time in this pregnancy and as I have been feeling the baby move more.

And so I had a wee freak out.

I am going to blame it on watching too many Mad Men episodes in anticipation of the new season starting up. If there is one thing that you can take away from Mad Men, it is that Don and Betty are crappy parents. Really. They are pretty incapable of doing the basic things that these kids need, have very little sense that their children are people with emotions, frequently make decisions based on pettiness, and really, probably shouldn’t have had kids in the first place. 

For some reason, combined an article on Practical Wedding about this person’s spouse who she thought would just play with the kids when he felt like it, the idea that we are actually having a child and that decision is pretty irreversible was temporarily terrifying. Because sometimes I could be petty! Sometimes I stay at work too long and am inconsiderate! On the “excit-o-meter” of parenting, I’m a bit higher than the fella and what if that means that he broods in resentment! I would be kind of a slob without him, and now there will be more of us making a mess! Panic!

And so we had a talk, where it became clear that we are not Betty and Don Draper. And that we show up when we say we will, and care about people’s emotions. And that we are a team, and will figure out how we tackle things together. And that this is a good thing. And I felt better.

And then this morning, I had slept in due to pregnancy-fatigue. When I got up, I found out how the fella had been training our dog along with the stroller this morning, which struck me as a remarkably sweet thing. I’m feeling pretty lucky to be able to be on a team with him. 

Can someone explain to me WHY people are so freaking interested in when you had sex to conceive your baby?! One family member said, “Oh, it must have been on your vacation to Mexico!” Another said, “It was New Year’s Eve.” WRONG. All of your math is wrong.

And also, WHY DO YOU CARE SO MUCH? Do you really want to picture us having sex? Do you want to imagine the exact location, position, etc? I. Do. Not. Get. It.

If it matters so much to you, world, here’s the scoop. I ovulated on January 26th, and we had sex the day before on a normal Saturday–not a holiday, not a vacation, just ordinary Saturday morning sex. How’s that for an exciting conception story?

Sheesh.

I shouldn’t be whining. I promised not to whine after the first trimester was done. But my head hurts. And the doctor says keep drinking water, which I swear I do (the 6 cups of tea yesterday on top of water and juice, led to many a trip to the potty). But I think the flying messed with my head/hydration/sinuses. And now my head hurts. And all of my lots of water/head compress/reasonable amounts of tylenol are not cutting it man. 

So since I’m having trouble making other thoughts for the day, there’s my update! You’re thrilled, I know.

Anyone have a brilliant headache remedy to share?

I celebrated the completion of 12 weeks of pregnancy with a return of full-blown nausea this morning. Yay. Every time I think it’s over, I get a little reminder that I’m still in the first trimester.

But despite feeling crappy, my husband and I went today to meet with a doula in our area who also teaches Hynobabies. I’ve done a bit of self-hypnosis in the past for anxiety and stress, and it has worked well. I figured it would be great to take the class and even better, to have the teacher of the class serve as our doula.

We weren’t prepared with a bunch of questions, so instead I asked her what her whole approach to being a doula was like. She shared that she’s more of a quiet spirit and not one to cheer enthusiastically at a woman in labor, “Ok, now let’s do try this instead!” She said she prefers to suggest things gently and trusts the woman to know if something is right for her. Or, if the woman in labor appears to need a bit of encouragement to even do the thing she’s suggesting, she can offer that support–emotional, psychological, or even physical–to get her there. I really liked the way she phrased this.

What made me almost tear up (damn hormones) was how she talked about focusing on making sure the woman’s partner is supported, so that he (or she) can be the primary support in the room. She said, “This is a really special moment that can bring you two closer together. I don’t want to get in the middle of that.” She’s more apt to be running around, getting things to help the woman in labor, so that the parter is free to be with her instead of searching for a cold washcloth or a birthing ball. That way after the birth, the woman remembers the partner being the one to magically have the thing she needed in the moment, not the doula. In my mind, I had pictured the doula kind of taking over and the partner hanging back, but the picture she was painting was much more in alignment with what we both would want.

She really encouraged us to interview some other doulas, but honestly we felt so good about our interaction and probably will go with our gut on this one. I also really liked that she only takes two clients a month, and that she has a team of seven back-up doulas in case of emergency on her end. This was all really reassuring.

Have you all considered hiring a doula or had experience with one? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

So it’s been a while since I have checked in. And I blame this on feeling good. And therefore filling lots of my time with my overambitious March schedule followed by an educational trip to Ohio. But look! I’m pregnant! and making things happen! Boom!

So my short bullet point updates:

  • Umm is something weird happening to my skeleton? I swear my hips were funky a few weeks ago and now my butt hurts. That’s weird right? I’m guessing that these are the kinds of things that happen when you are growing a person that is taking up increasing amounts of size, but still odd.
  • I finally bought some maternity stuff. Blue jeans that I plan on wearing constantly, a couple of bone fide maternity tops and some big cardigans that I figure will keep serving me for a while. I’m still getting used to this bump thing, that is incredibly obvious to me, and not to anyone who hasn’t known me or for some reason doesn’t stare at my midsection.
  • Ok, way to bury the lead, but I think somethings moving in there. Or at least twitching. I feel repeated twitching, like a little mini muscle spasm. I’m still not completely convinced this is the growing fetus, but also thinking it might be. I will remain vigilant and report back.

So that’s where I am at. Think well of me during my next week in Ohio. If there is an upside, there is pie here.