Over the last couple of weeks, I have felt our little one’s kicks, punches, and flips growing stronger and more regular.  This past weekend, my wife was out at the bar dancing with my sister and some friends.  I decided I would rather go to bed than go out dancing (go figure).  I was lying in bed, reading, when I felt the strongest kick yet.  I looked down at my belly, and a little bump popped its way out.  I could actually see it!  From the outside.  This wasn’t a “bubble” or a “flutter” or a “twitch.”  This was a FOOT.  I was so excited, and so sad that my wife had missed it. That was the first kick she could have felt.

It happened again a few times over the next couple of days, always at times she couldn’t feel it.  The more it happened, the more I found myself wanting to ignore my pregnancy apps and read about my baby.  Something about these very real kicks suddenly made the baby itself real.  This is not just a pregnancy, there is actually going to be a baby at the end of it. I know that sounds sort of obvious, but I guess it hadn’t really sunk in, despite the fact that we had talked about names (boy names are hard, y’all), and decided which bedroom would be our baby’s nursery. But I felt my shift focus over the weekend, from bad skin and big boobs and maternity shirts to the actual human baby that I am growing.

My wife did not seem that bothered that she kept missing the kicks.  Last night, she said to me something along the lines of, “I know I don’t seem that excited about the kicks. It will happen when it happens – there will be lots of kicks for me to feel over the next couple of months.”  We curled up to go to sleep, with her arm around me, and just like that, she felt one.  She laughed out loud.  It turns out she is going to have a real live human baby too, and one with a really great sense of timing.

the things that go wrong

My wife and I got married two years ago, next Monday.  Our wedding was beautiful, memorable, and filled with love.  It was also at our house.  On an island that is only reachable by a boat.  This seemed like a great idea at the time, but made for a logistical nightmare, and a lot (LOT) of pre-wedding stress.  

The day of our rehearsal, I finally started to relax and enjoy the event.  Then, we got to the restaurant where we had booked our rehearsal dinner.  More specifically, I had booked our rehearsal dinner.  And they informed me that I had actually booked it for the following evening.  As in, the day of the actual wedding.  Thinking back, I absolutely did do this.  I had said August 25th so many times in the wedding planning, that it did not actually occur to me that I needed to book the rehearsal dinner for August 24th.  They scrambled, and moved people, and made room for our rehearsal dinner, which went just fine.  But we sill laugh about that feeling in the pit of our stomachs when we realized I had, in fact, booked the rehearsal dinner for the day of the wedding.  A million other things went wrong, and they all make the best stories.  A week before the wedding, we still had to order alcohol, and our friend who owned a restaurant organized an impromptu wine tasting party in our kitchen.  Two days before the wedding, we realized we had forgotten about programs, and one dear friend designed them, while another with very nimble fingers tied hundreds of tiny bows so they would look just right.  My mom scrubbed the floor of our house on her hands and knees until her knees actually bled (I did not know this could happen) in the days leading up to the wedding.  These are the things we remember from our wedding — the mistakes that we made, and the hundreds of ways, big and small, that our friends, family, and complete strangers said, “Don’t worry. We got your back. Go get married and don’t worry about it.”  

In the last couple of months, I have backed my car into a parked vehicle (TWICE), bounced our mortgage check, messed up an obstetrician appointment time by an hour, and now, most recently, invited friends to our beach house on our anniversary.

When I backed the car into a parked vehicle the first time, my wife was amused.  When I did it the second time, she was a bit disappointed.  When I bounced the mortgage check, she was irritated.  When I messed up the appointment time (we were an hour early), she was a little mad that she had missed a meeting at work for it.  When I basically forgot our anniversary, she was pretty hurt and angry.  

I don’t know what to say to her. I am messing things up!  It’s hormones, pregnancy brain, whatever you want to call it.  I lack organizational skills right now (and also the ability to turn all the way around and see where I am going while driving backwards, apparently).  I’m sorry, and pregnant.  She is pretty forgiving.  She knows that our anniversary is important to me.  I love anniversaries, and Valentine’s day, and basically any other excuse for us to have a fancy date.  But still, I am annoying as hell to live with right now.  I guess I hope that a few years from now, we will laugh at all of this, and these will be our good memories.  Like, remember when you were pregnant and messed up all the things, right in a row?  Honestly, though, I kind of hope that this “memory making” part is over soon, before there are significant monetary or relationship consequences.

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.


(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.