twelve weeks, and also thirteen

I am a bit behind on the posting, not because nothing has been happening, but because so much has been happening.

1.  I hit 12 weeks, and had my ob appointment with the man doctor.  Surprisingly, I very much liked the man doctor.  He spent over an hour talking to my wife and me about our various genetic testing options, how the pregnancy was going, and who even knows what else.  So we have decided to stay at our current ob practice, and I am so grateful I can cross this stressor off the to-do list.  The sonogram portion of the nuchal translucency screening put us well into the normal range, which was a relief.  The man-doctor also noted that I have a “very prominent uterus.”  I think this means that it sticks out.  I knew this already, because I could feel it in my tummy, well above my pubic bone, and also, at 12 weeks, and only 4lbs of weight-gain, I looked like this:

12 weeks selfie

Normally I avoid the following: (1) selfies taken in a mirror with an iphone, (2) crappily lit pictures, and (3) pictures that show how messy my room is, but whatever. I look pregnant!  Also extremely tan.  I promise it’s all from an hour here and there on the beach, with sunscreen, and not from unnatural sources.  I just tan sort of naturally.  Anyway, that is the picture I have, so that is the picture you get. My mom tells me her belly was “prominent” early also, which is weird because when I asked her what she remembered about pregnancy, the only thing she could come up with was that her hair was very tangled.  Now that I am actually pregnant, and I mention symptoms or pregnancy goings-on, she always says, “Me too!”  I guess, given that 30 years have elapsed since her last pregnancy, things are a little fuzzy.

2.  On a high from the doctor’s appointment, we decided to break the news to the kids.  They were… not pleased.  Well, at least the Big One was not pleased.  I am sure you can imagine that this is a vast understatement, as thirteen year olds generally manifest displeasure in a rather dramatic fashion.  We’re trying our best to help her work through it, but if you have ever tried to communicate with a teenager about something they don’t. want. to. discuss. you will understand the difficulty we are having.  The Boo is generally silent on these topics anyway (“these topics” being her thoughts about things, or her feelings), and our Boy Child just wanted to know that we were going to ensure it was a boy so he could have a brother.  I am glad that the Boo is headed off to Denmark today, as it will give her some time and space to process how she really feels about the baby with someone she feels safe with, and without her sister trying to convince her it’s horrible and her parents trying to convince her it’s great.  Not that we have been anything but supportive of however she feels, but she’s not stupid. She knows we want her to be happy and excited about the baby, like we are.  Our little boy is just relieved that some of the tension in the house has dissipated, so that he can get back to what really matters:  going to the swimming pool.  It is summertime, after all.  Let’s not ruin it with a lot of stomping around.

I have to say, it’s disappointing that their reaction was so negative.  Pretty much everyone else has been happy-to-ecstatic about the baby, and obviously we are, too.  And yet really, when it comes down to it, the only people whose reaction I care about are these kids.  I hope that they can get used to the idea, and even become a little excited. At least my mother is over the moon. She is actually knitting booties. I didn’t even know babies wore booties anymore, but our little peach will have some, courtesy of grandma.

3.  Week 13 started yesterday, which means that I am officially in the second trimester.  I also got the full results of the nuchal scan from my doctor’s office – everything is fine, and I am considered very low-risk.  With this great news, and the fact that I have needed to wear maternity pants all week, I decided to tell my office that I was pregnant, even though we don’t get our full genetic test results back for a week at least.  My first boss asked a million questions, most of which I thought you weren’t allowed to ask.  Like, whether we used an anonymous donor.  Really!  I wanted to tell him that the donor was David Crosby, but I think he would have actually believed me, and then the joke would have been wasted.  I just answered with as little information as possible, saying that we used an anonymous donor through our doctor’s office, and then he proceeded with his list of questions you are not allowed to ask. Telling my other boss went fine – no inappropriate questions were asked, and the whole thing took about 2 minutes.  And now here I sit, officially Pregnant At Work.  In celebration, I bought a bunch of relatively ugly but work-appropriate maternity clothes at Target.  Okay, not that ugly, but, you know. Not really cute either.

the lime in the coconut

Eleven weeks, today, and the baby’s roughly the size of a lime. Since the uterus is the size of a large grapefruit, or maybe… a small coconut, this makes the baby the lime in the coconut, right? My wife made this clever connection and was singing the song all morning.

While we are on the topic of the tropics (limes, coconuts, what have you – it’s all loosely related), I will mention that the kids are in Florida with their father on vacation.  The Big One called a few hours ago in tears asking for me to send her a scan of the insurance card, because she stepped on a shell in the ocean, cutting her foot open, which caused her to fall and twist her ankle, so they were at the urgent care.  Of course, I was nice and pleasant and soothing and motherly when I spoke to her, but in my head I was thinking “Really? The urgent care over a seashell?”  Turns out, it was not a seashell she stepped on, but a sting ray.  She is tough as nails!  Considering she STEPPED on a STING RAY, I would say that just a few tears (really, only a few) qualify her as a pretty tough cookie. She is actually quite pleased with this turn of events, because being stung by a sting ray over your summer vacation makes for an excellent story when you return to school. 

While the kids are gone, the wife and I are heading out to the Hamptons for a night (aren’t we so fancy?).  I have been trying to talk the wifey into doing some maternity clothes shopping while we are out there, and so far she has replied with “Maternity clothes in the Hamptons.  That should be totally affordable.”  Maybe there is one or two things that will be, though?  At least I should be able to talk her into some window-shopping.  I bought the Bella Band online to accommodate the food-baby I seem to have acquired while waiting for the lime-baby to take up residence in my mid-abdomen, and have to say, I don’t know why all women don’t wear their pants unbuttoned with elastic around the waist holding them up.  

9 weeks and the OB

Today I finally met with an OB.  I loved her.  Loved!  I did not expect to.  I really wanted to use a midwife, but was struggling to find one that could deliver at the hospital I wanted to deliver at.  After much hemming and hawing, I finally decided to bite the bullet and schedule an appointment with an OB, thinking that I could always switch to a midwife if the OB didn’t feel right.  But did I mention that I actually loved her?  She gave us a lot of information, the spent time with us, she answered our questions, and she treated us like smart, competent people.  She didn’t stumble over the fact of my wife.

Except (you had to know this was coming) she is leaving the practice in a month, because she is moving.  So, I am back to square one, except that I know now that a friend of ours uses a doctor at this particular Ob/Gyn office as her gynecologist, and really likes her.  So I have hope I will like the other doctors in the group and can stay put.

While we were waiting for the physical part of the appointment (aka the legs in stirrups part), I got hungry. This is not surprising, since I am often hungry.  I ate pretzels.  Apparently, the baby likes pretzels, because a few minutes later, when I was having the sonogram, the baby was dancing up a storm.  Wiggling arms and legs so much that it was hard for the doctor to measure him or her.  And then finally, when she did, she said I measured at 9 weeks, 2 days. Which is exactly what I am.  Congrats, baby, for growing at the precisely average rate.  So far, the baby is all head, but here’s a typically horrible ultrasound picture of our little dancer.  Starting to look very baby-like, don’t you think?  Except proportioned like a gummy bear.

 photo (6)

great-grandparents

This weekend, I was supposed to fly to Michigan for my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  She and my grandfather, who is also pushing 90, are really quite active and well, all things considered.  Then, there was a freak thunderstorm that lasted the exact 30 minute window that my flight was supposed to be taking off.  The flight was cancelled, and I couldn’t get re-booked until the following day, after the 90th birthday party was over.  Needless to say, I declined the opportunity for an 18-hour trip to Michigan, with 6 hours of driving from/to the Detroit airport.

One of the things I was looking forward to this weekend, though, was telling my grandmother I am pregnant.  Partly, I was looking forward to this because it would mean I had actually succeeded in telling my grandma before my mom blurted it out.  But partly because my grandma is fantastic, and I wanted to tell her in person.  Since this was not to be, I called my grandma to personally say I was sorry for missing her birthday party, and to deliver the big news.  It went something like this:

Me: Grandma, I have some news to tell you.  We’re expecting a baby!
Grandma: WHAT? [she doesn’t hear well over the phone, or maybe just could not believe what I had said]
Me:  I’M PREGNANT.
Grandma:  Well well, how’d you two manage THAT?
Me:  We had an anonymous donor, and had a procedure at the doctor’s office.
Grandpa, in the background:  WHAT’S GOING ON? [he doesn’t hear well at all, regardless of whether there is a phone involved]
Grandma:  (to Grandpa, and basically everyone else in a 3-mile radius) SHE’S PREGNANT. (to me) Well, honey, that’s just lovely!  How exciting!

My sister was there later in the day, and apparently my grandmother kept saying how excited she was, and how much she loved babies.  After one of these exclamations, my grandfather said to her, “You know, the only thing that would be more surprising is if you were pregnant.”  Good point, Grandpa.  That would indeed be more surprising.

working while pregnant

The first trimester is seriously difficult at work.  This is the time that you feel like crap, you’re exhausted, you can’t remember anything, and you spend your meetings trying not to vomit on a conference room table.  If it’s summer, and you work at a law firm, you also have to attend approximately 40 drinking events in a 12-week period.  It’s also the time that you don’t tell your boss you’re pregnant.

A good friend of mine, who I work with, recently had a baby.  I knew that she was pregnant from about five weeks on, and I think it made it much easier when I realized that if it was 8:30 pm, she was probably at home, fast asleep, and I could cover for her.  Unfortunately, she is now on maternity leave, so I am here, faking like a responsible employee, while sneaking out to buy hard candies in between meetings and sleeping each way on the train to and from work.

Lifesavers

(currently working my way through this bag)

When my friend finally announced her pregnancy, our (male) bosses were reasonably accommodating, and tried not to overload her.  Of course, by then she was comfortably into the second trimester and past the puking/exhausted phase, and could much more easily have increased her workload, had it been necessary.

I used to think that if I were in charge, I could make periods a lot more convenient (like – why can’t you hold the blood in until a convenient time, the way you can with pee?).  So, I would like to point out that if I were in charge, I could also make pregnancy more convenient.  Like – your physical appearance should bear a proportional relationship to how you actually feel, on the inside.  That way if you are green with nausea, want ice cream for dinner, and fall asleep while people are talking to you, they can look right at you and think “Oh yes.  She is harboring new life, no wonder she’s behaving strangely.”  Instead of thinking, “She used to be a good employee, but today she called me three times to ask me the same question, even though I saw her write down the answer on her notepad.  Maybe she’s off her game.” And then only three months later realize in retrospect  that its because you were busy making a placenta at the time, and your attention was elsewhere.

nausea and the fetal heartbeat

We had a doctor’s appointment this morning, and saw our little fetus’s heartbeat.  This was such a relief, for both my wife and me, because (1) there was only one baby in there (relief for wife), and (2) it is in fact growing as it should, so all of this exhaustion and nausea has some sort of point to it (relief for both of us, but mostly me).  I couldn’t stand the thought that I felt this horrible for no particular reason.

Our doctor cheerfully informed me that the nausea usually eases up around week 12, so “only” about five more weeks of it to go. Ha.  And to think, not that long ago, I was feeling all left out for my lack of symptoms.  I have not actually thrown up yet, but that does not make me feel any better considering that I have felt like I could throw up, at any minute, for days.  I have had some conference calls lately where I spent the better portion of them just purely focusing on not vomiting on the floor of my boss’s office.  It makes it kind of hard to take notes, actually.

Here are the things that are helping me, on the nausea:

(1) Getting more sleep.  If I rest, I feel better all around. Sunday night I slept miserably, and felt horrible all day yesterday.  Last night I slept better, and feel better in general today. This did not stop me from passing out the entire Long Island Railroad ride into work after my doctor’s appointment today, but I really do feel much more human with a solid 8 or so hours of sleep under my belt.

(2) Eating McDonald’s.  Really!  It’s the only thing that sounds good to me, which is weird, since I haven’t really eaten McDonald’s more than a handful of times in about 10 years, but let me tell you, there is nothing like one of those skinny little cheeseburgers right now.  I have eaten McDonald’s three times in less than 2 weeks.  I figure, as long as I eat some sort of real food in between the McDonald’s trips, it can’t be so bad, if it’s the only thing that doesn’t make me want to barf.  Really the moral here is, I think, to eat what your body is asking for if it is trying to reject everything else.

(3) Eating more in the morning and less at night.  I used to eat the other way around – a light breakfast, a mid-sized lunch, and a relatively big dinner.  Today I had eaten a bagel with cream cheese, a Nutri-grain bar, a breakfast egg wrap, and 2 large glasses of water before 11 am.

(4) I also finally switched out my normal prenatal vitamin for a Flintstones chewable.  They seem easier on the stomach, and I had not been that great about taking the prenatals since they upset my stomach so much.  Once the morning sickness eases up a bit, I will switch back, but I figured a Flintstones vitamin is better than no vitamin at all, if it’s all I can stomach.

The nurse at my appointment today recommended ginger, so maybe I will try that.  I have also heard that hard candy helps, as does drinking food instead of eating it (like smoothies and soups).  We shall see.

six weeks

So here I sit, at six weeks (and one day).  Mostly, I don’t “feel” pregnant. Mostly, I just feel like me, only a slightly more tired version of me.  My stomach is a little touchy, I guess.  But I don’t have the stabbing pain in the boobs or the gut-wrenching nausea or any other torture I was promised.  My mom said that for two of her pregnancies, she had barely any symptoms.  For me, she tossed her cookies daily.  I am hoping that I will fall into the former camp, rather than the latter, although I must admit, I feel a little excluded from all the whinging on the message boards.

The most noticeable thing is the absence of the anxiety I had for almost all of the ten months we were trying to get pregnant.  I know I am supposed to be all mood-swingy, but the last real mood swing I had was the day before I found out I was pregnant.  Now that I know, I feel so much more relaxed, it’s incredible. I barely know myself!  In a good way.

I am so relaxed that I actually purposely failed to make my doctor’s appointment for this week.  I am supposed to come in for weekly ultrasounds, I guess because if you conceive through a reproductive endocrinologist the consider you high-risk even if you aren’t.  After the first of these, where there was literally nothing to see because I was barely four weeks pregnant, and the second, where there was a small white dot but nothing more, I decided not to go back until I was fairly confident we would see a heartbeat.  Which means next week, when I am 6 weeks and 6 days.  It just seemed invasive, all those sound waves poking around in my uterus, you know?  Somebody is in there, busy trying to grow from the size of a blueberry to a raspberry, without a lot of disturbance.

In other news, today is Boo’s birthday, and last night I stayed up late making her a birthday cake and decorating cookies for her to take to school.  She is the least-demanding of our kids, which makes it a little harder to make her birthday special, because she doesn’t really want anything. She shares a birthday with another girl in her class, who dibs-ed (is that a word?) the cupcake thing, so after laughing over the idea of her bringing fruit in for the class, she was ready to shrug it off.  But I was not having any of it.  I put her initials and an 11 on the top of 25 chocolate chip cookies with green icing (her favorite color) and sent her on her way. It’s hard to imagine any 5th grader not wanting a cookie because they already had a cupcake, right?  I was impressed with myself for getting it all done, but slightly less impressed with myself when I woke up 6 1/2 hours later to go to work and wanted to cry because I was so tired.

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine that 11 years ago, my wife was heavily pregnant, sitting in the nursery in the early morning hours after her water broke, waiting for the contractions to get close enough together to justify going to the hospital.  It is slightly harder to imagine that in about 8 months, that will be me.

birthdays

Today is my birthday. I’m 33, now. As I mentioned before, it’s also my wife’s birthday. It’s really, actually pretty fun sharing a birthday, like we have our own special club, that no one except my wife, me, and my wife’s college roommate are in.

And yet, after finally getting our positive pregnancy test this week, it’s hard to focus on anyone’s birthday except our little one’s, which we are hoping to be celebrating some time around the end of January. I never thought celebrating a birthday sans champagne would be so much fun.