I was weighing myself because I’m pregnant and it was Monday. I lead a very exciting life, I know.
Brian: “I wonder when you’ll weigh as much as me?”
Me: “What? I’ll never weigh as much as you. You’re always going to be fatter than me. Always.”
Brian: “Oh yeah? Let’s see then.”
I write down my new weight for this week. On average, I’ve been gaining about 2 pounds a week for a while now.
Brian then weighed himself. To my horror, it was only about 3 pounds heavier.
Me: “I don’t think so! You didn’t eat enough for dinner! Here, have this muffin.”
Brian: “See?! Only about another week and a half and we’ll be the same!”
Me: “Hang on, let me pee and I’ll weigh myself again. I probably have a few pounds of pee in here.”
Brian: “But now you know how I feel!”
Me: “Please, Brian, tell me how it feels to be you. Because this is so the same.’
Brian: “…it feels awesome?”
Me: “Yes. My swollen hands and feet feel awesome. So does your baby’s head pushing on my cervix. Do you know what that feels like?”
Brian: “…the opposite of awesome?”
Me: “Now get in the kitchen and go eat some muffins. But make sure to save me one. Or ten.”
Fast forward to last night – another Monday night weigh-in.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s happened. Brian and I now weigh the same.
He did an odd sort of happy dance. I got into a sumo stance, pushed him over, and sat on him.
It felt awesome.
I think it’s time to admit it – this pregnancy has turned a corner.
I’ve been getting a little moody.
Usually, I love the heat. I am a California girl, and I had been living in the central valley for the past 5 years. I’m now realizing that what made living there in the heat even remotely bearable was that AC was pretty standard in both public and private dwellings – overused, even – and because I wasn’t pregnant with an exothermic squid.
Recently, it got warmer here in Oregon than it was in my homeland, which doesn’t happen very often. And we don’t have AC in our box-filled second story oven. Result: I get a little moody, drenched in sweat, and exhausted from doing exactly nothing.
I’m starting to not see the point of clothing. Or having to get up to use the bathroom.
The heat has also been causing my normally dainty hands and feet to swell like Johnsonville brats in a beer bath on the 4th of July. In Hell.
I’ve taken to soaking my feet in ice water while doing nothing. It helps on days that end in killmenow.
Speaking of beer baths, there’s this random cooking show that comes on TV in the middle of my day spent waiting for death, and today they were concocting delicious-looking cocktails paired with mouthwatering, listeria-laden deli meats with a side of E Coli-infused hollandiase sauce. I wanted to punch someone and then put the entire contents of the show in my mouth.
In an attempt to stay alive, I’ve been trying to waddle down to our complex’s pool when it’s empty or nearly empty, which is never. The water isn’t heated, but it’s still not cold enough. Maybe next time I’ll bring down a tray of ice cubes to add to the mix.
I must say, being submerged in water feels pretty damn nice. It actually reminds me of what it must feel like to be in the womb – all safe and suspended and weightless. You’d better count your blessings while you can, Little Duck. Cuz if being expelled from my uterus is anything like me having to heave my now heavier-than-ever body out of the pool, you’re in for some hard times, my friend.
I vote for staying in that pool until my due date. It would definitely solve a number of my current issues.
Trying to sleep has been fun. If by fun, you mean setting my feet on fire, mashing my calves in an electric mixer, and pounding a mallet on my bladder. Either that, or by shoving bamboo under my rapidly-growing fingernails. Either one. You know.
The most interesting part is trying to turn my Moby Dick body over in the middle of the night without a) waking my husband, and b) falling out of bed. The process is quite simple, actually. Step one: wake up for the 1000th time to a full bladder, which isn’t really full, it’s just being squeezed down to the size of a raisin. Shove my arms against the mattress in an attempt to right myself. Try again if needed. And a third time. Waddle to bathroom, trip over the cat in the dark. Pee – in the toilet this time. Waddle back. Gently lower myself into bed onto the side of my body whose hip burns the least. Decide this side still hurts like a motherfucker (this word has gained new meaning since getting pregnant, btw), and begin the classic 8-point turn while holding up my belly with one hand, lest its dense weight slosh over before the rest of my abdomen, causing severe pain and discomfort. Lastly, gently punch unborn baby back into a reasonable position that chokes my liver, rather than my bladder. It’s not like I am using it, anyway (the liver, I mean).
So yeah, I’ve been having to waddle for quite some time. I get it now, you guys. My muscles are being stretched in ways they should only be stretched by Gomez Addams during foreplay.
And I know pregnant ladies complain about not being able to see their feet, and I suppose I get that. My abdomen has never stuck out quite this far before, even after eating a few burritos. But you know what concerns me more? I haven’t been able to establish a visual with my ladygarden for far too long. I mean, I can sense her, I know she’s there – but how is she? I can’t tend to her anymore (because god knows I am not even going to attempt to approach with anything sharp with the aid of a mirror – everything being backwards and objects larger than they appear…), and that makes me sad. She’s about to go through her biggest performance to date and she won’t even look her best (leading up to it, anyway).
I’m sorry, my dear friend. You’re on your own now. I’ll see you on the other side.
Psychos, I’ll leave you with a memento of happier times before The Fall. This was taken several weeks ago when my list of ailments was considerably shorter.
Hey, this is Brian.
Yup, the husband-of-a-pregnant-blogger-Melissa Brian.
I’m here to school all the partners of pregnant ladies so that they get through the experience relatively unscathed.
Can you believe Melissa actually let me on here to write my very own post?
Yeah, neither can I…because this is Melissa, and I am writing this from Brian’s point of view with his general oversight and mild approval. Learn from these tales, my friends.
I decided to wait to eat breakfast on this lovely Sunday morning, opting for brunch instead. Of course, Melissa wolfed down two bowls of cereal and about ten lemon poppyseed muffins before I even got out of bed, so I figured she’d be good for a while.
I walk into the room with my beautifully prepared brunch and I see that she’s on her computer. I sit down next to her. She looks up expectantly. “What’s that?”
I paused, realizing my mistake too late. Could I still get away? Maybe I could pretend that I didn’t hear her.
I faced my fate head-on: “Uh…it’s a sandwich. Made with this delicious bagel, pesto, lettuce…and from diseased deli meat and unpasteurized cheese.”
At Melissa’s rageful silence, I got up and backed away slowly, and once I was a safe distance away, I threw another muffin at her for good measure.
The Hangry Plan
Pregnant ladies have gold medals in being hangry, so Melissa and I have learned to try and plan for the worst when we go out shopping or to run some errands. We bring water and snacks, and we also conjure up contingency plans, especially since she’ll be less able to run and defend herself in the event of a zombie apocalypse breaking out mid-outing.
For this particular outing, I wanted to go clothes shopping, and I gave Melissa the option of staying home, but she insisted on getting out of the apartment.
Melissa: “If I get hangry, just drop me at Cinnabon.”
Me: “You mean when you get hangry.”
Me: “And we may have to think of somewhere else, because they went out of business.”
Wide-eyed, panicked Melissa: “What?!”
Me, making sure I was more than an arm’s length away: “Ha, just kidding. You totally believed me!”
Melissa: “You are dead to me.”
The Sperm Whale
We’re at the doctor’s office, and Melissa has some fetal heart monitors strapped to her belly to check some things out. Everything was awesome, and when they took the monitors off, they had made two round impressions on her very pregnant belly.
As Melissa was getting dressed, I giggled.
Me: “Nothing, it’s just that you reminded me of a sperm whale.”
Melissa, her tone of voice flat-lining: “…a whatnow?”
Me, as I point to her belly: “You know, the sperm whale surfaces and the squid has been attacking it, and you can see where the squid’s suction cups were stuck to the whale.”
Melissa: “And that makes me a sperm whale?”
Me: “…a small, cute one!”
Melissa: “You know what else sperm whales can do?”
And without waiting for an answer, she sat on me.
The Jungle Cat
It’s 6 in the morning, and Melissa got up with me because she couldn’t sleep, so she was naturally hungry again.
But also because she loves me madly and couldn’t bear to miss seeing me off to work. As you recall from previous blog posts, it’s my responsibility to feed the meowing, howling cat at this time of day.
After spending a few minutes in the bathroom doing disgusting boy things, I entered the kitchen and threw some kibble in the cat’s bowl. The howling stopped, replaced by sounds of frantic gulping as she turned all of her attention to her food bowl. I looked up and realized that my cat and pregnant wife mirrored each other – each were hunched over their food in intense focus, like jungle cats tearing their fresh prey apart. Melissa even had on adorable cheetah print skivvies.
Foolishly, I reached over and patted Melissa’s bum. “You’re like a cheetah!” I told her. And then I growled for good measure.
Melissa looked up from her peanut butter and jelly topped onion bagel. “Huh?!” she said with her mouth full.
I pointed at her underwear and growled again.
She looked down and then quickly looked back up. “Yeah, I can’t see what underwear I am wearing from this angle. Thanks.”
“Well…it looks fabulous!”
And then I threw another muffin and ran away.
I was up again.
My right hip was on fire, so I slowly rolled over onto my left side, trying not to use my sore, cranky, stretched abdominal muscles.
I stretched my legs out, my feet searching for cooler pockets in the sheets.
Aw, crap. I woke you.
I rubbed my belly just under and to the right of my belly button.
Hey, Little Duck. I love you. Now go back to sleep.
I glanced at the clock. About 5am. I had already been up twice to pee, and Brian gets up for work in an hour.
I probably dozed for a bit before realizing that my bladder was too full to permit sleep. To the bathroom I shuffled, after slowly tipping myself out of bed with my arms. I kicked the cat out of the way. Twice.
I came back, laid back down on my left side, and now realized that I was hungry. Really hungry. The kind of hunger that can’t be ignored.
I got up again.
The cat met me at the door, purring and mewing. Brian usually feeds her when he gets up at 6, and so she’s expecting food from me that she’s not going to get. I ignore her and shuffle to the refrigerator.
Without turning on any lights, I grab my favorite middle-of-the-night-pregnancy snack: mozzarella string cheese and Nut Thins crackers. So salty, so crunchy. Sooooo delicious.
I sat on the couch and tucked into my snack as the first bits of light could be seen outside the windows.
By this time, the cat’s mewing had turned to howling. She saw me eating and couldn’t handle it.
Now, not only am I worried about waking Brian up, I’m worried about annoying our neighbors, who can no doubt hear Sadie’s cries through the very thin walls.
Aside from giving in and feeding her (and risking that she’d get double meals if Brian woke up and fed her again), the only way to shut her up is to pick her up and hold her.
I scooped her up in my left arm and stood there, continuing to feed my face with my right.
After a moment I had a flash of what this looked like. Here I was, waiting for the baby to arrive so that I could be up all night, tending to a cranky, whiny, hungry creature.
By the looks of it, I was already there.
Last Tuesday, Brian and I had our first appointment with our new midwife. We switched because our health insurance switched due to Brian’s job (long story). The short story is that we liked her. Yay!
When we got to the clinic, I was informed to hold my bladder until I was called, but that if I absolutely couldn’t hold it, I should check in with the lady at the desk first. Oh yeah, I thought, no problem. I totally went before we left. Unfortunately, it continues to surprise me at how quickly my bodily conditions can change. Within 15 minutes, I was dying. I waddled to the front desk and asked the ladies what I should do. I felt like I was 5 years old asking Teacher permission to use the potty. They looked at me funny, asked if I was pregnant, and told me to just go and to pee in a cup just in case they needed a sample. I returned to my chair with a little brown bag and told Brian I had a present for him. Crisis averted.
This was mainly just a checkup and most everything looks and feels good with baby. We were sat down to watch a short video about preterm labor, and it scared me for two reasons. One, preterm labor is scary and two, the 80s hairstyles. I think we used the humor of the latter to get through the terror of the former for those 8 minutes.
In all seriousness, I’ve had two people close to me comment on how either they were born or birthed a child right around where I’m at now in my pregnancy (26 weeks), and that both terrifies and amazes me. Terrifies because I look at where I’m at now and how much more growing Little Duck has to do, and it seems impossible, unthinkable that such a little squirmy worm could live outside me at this point. At the same time, both of those babies lived and are very healthy and I am amazed at what modern medicine can do for us. Looking at it this way, it gives me some comfort knowing that amazing things are possible if my Little Duck decides to make an early appearance.
I decided to do the glucose test at this doctor’s appointment, and my midwife ordered some other blood tests to be done at the same time. Let the record show that there were no snacks (the glucose most definitely does not count) provided at this blood draw. For some reason, I’d heard vague horror stories about the glucose test over the years, and I can’t remember specifically why. For those who don’t know, they give you a 10 oz super sweet, syrupy drink that you have to drink within 5 minutes, then you wait an hour and get your blood drawn to test for gestational diabetes (pronounced a la Wilford Brimley). Now, I have a hard time drinking any substantial quantity very quickly, save from water. I could never guzzle, and forget kegstands. Needless to say, it took me the full 5 minutes to drink this stuff. The first few gulps were ok, but it had this ghastly lime aftertaste that just got worse and worse the more I drank. And then I started to burp and it was all downhill from there. At least I didn’t have any adverse reactions after drinking it, and hey, I passed the test. I hope Little Duck thoroughly enjoyed that sugar rush, cuz I ain’t doing it again.
Remember how I talked about body issues from my last post? Well, my midwife basically said that I’m not gaining weight fast enough. I responded by saying that I just eat when I’m hungry, even if that means it’s 3:30am, and I’ll continue to do so. My reasoning is that my body knows what it’s doing. The other note to take away from the visit was that my vitamin D levels are a bit low. I blame the Northwestern cloudcover; California would never have selfishly deprived me of my year-round sunny D. The recommendation was to either take a supplement, eat more dairy, or get some more sunshine.
Basically, putting all these recommendations together in my head, I picture myself in full sun on the beach in a bikini, hugely pregnant, belly hanging over, wearing a floppy hat and ginormous round sunglasses and eating the biggest ice cream sundae you’ve ever seen.
On Tuesday, we got to see our little fetus again! I had been looking forward to this visit for several weeks, which is awesome and crazy because it’s only the second time I’ve ever actually looked forward to having an ultrasound.
B and I got to the doctor’s office right on time, and I was gulping water in the car on the way. I’ve been able to perfect the art of making sure my bladder is juuust full enough by the time I’m called in for the procedure. If I’m too full too early, then I have to pee or risk soaking my socks. If I’m not full enough (not usually my problem) then they yell at me and make me wait. And I don’t like to be yelled at.
We sat down in the waiting room and one of my first thoughts was: Yessss! No blood draws today!
Which was quickly followed by: Frick! No blood draws means no snacks!
I turned to Brian. “Do you think they’ll give us snacks if we ask?”
“Somehow I doubt it.”
“Well, they really should provide snacks. Maybe I’ll write it on a comment card.”
“You do that.”
The ultrasound tech came out to get us and brought us into the exam room.
“Hi, my name is Li-”
“WE DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE SEX!” I blurted out. I was terrified that the surprise would be spoiled for us.
She laughed. “Well ok then, I’ll tell you when to close your eyes. You sure you don’t want it in an envelope for one of those gender reveal parties?”
“NO! NO SEX!” …and it’s impossible for our baby to have a gender identity at this point in development. Yarg. I cringe when I hear people use the term gender when they really mean sex, especially when it’s a medical professional. I bit my tongue.
The experience of this ultrasound was pretty awe-inspiring. I especially loved getting to see the interaction between me and the baby – when the baby pushed on my bladder, I could both feel it (very much so) and see the corresponding movement on the screen. And when the tech pushed on my tummy and we saw my baby get jostled around and get all annoyed – precious. This isn’t the first time you’re going to get annoyed by me, Little Duck. I’m still trying to wrap my brain and emotions around the concept (that I understand intellectually just fine) that I am growing an independent being – something that moves of free will and can affect me, and me fe. Blows my mindgrapes.
I was also fascinated by the physical development of my little duck. We got to see all four chambers of the heart in motion, and when the tech zoomed in and slowed the picture, we could see the freaking valves! I never knew heart valves could be so freaking cute!! We saw the aorta, the stomach filled with fluid, all the little toe bones, and individual structures in the brain. All this made me want to go and take an anatomy class, or at the very least, to look up brain development in my old psych books, which was the part I struggled through in my undergraduate career.
Overall, the human body amazes me.
Everything looked normal (and cute). The only thing of note is that my placenta seems to be attached very close to my birth canal – to the tune of within 1cm. I’m told that, as my uterus grows, that the placenta will creep farther away from the birth canal, hopefully enough so that I can plan on a vaginal birth. Looks like I’ll have to have another ultrasound later on to check on the status of this situation.
After the ultrasound adventure, I wiped off all the goo as best I could (it never all really comes off entirely), and we went to see our midwife.
Where are all the snacks?!
She ignored my unvoiced thoughts and confirmed that everything looks normal and we got to hear the lovely whoosh, whoosh of my baby’s four chamber heart, complete with valves. I expressed random concerns, mostly about being uncomfortable because I’m pregnant. As before, her responses were varied versions of take Tylenol, power through it, nothing we can do.
Again – awesome.
“So, did you find out what you’re having?!” My midwife asked.
Uh…a baby! Is what I wish I had said, because I cringe at that question, as if a penis or a vagina is the single most defining factor of what makes up a human being.
Deep breath. “No, we don’t want to know the sex.”
“Oh, ok! Well I might go and peek at the gender after you leave.”
Cringe. Bite tongue.
The end of the visit was a bit sad – we had to say goodbye to our midwife because our medical insurance is set to change on April 1 (if everything goes well….please, everything go well). At least we knew from the beginning that this would be happening, so we were well prepared for it.
So, I’m glad I got to see you again, Little Duck. Feel free to keep kicking, but please aim clear of my bladder.
Brian is reading off the crock pot box about all its bells and whistles. We’re about to open it – finally, as it was a wedding gift – in an effort to help get us through this colder-than-expected Oregon winter.
The following is a dramatic reenactment, based on true events.
B: “Wow! It says 6 quarts, 7 people! This is going to be great!”
Me: “Wait, what? It can hold 6 quarts or 7 people? Is this marketed to serial killers?!”
B: “Uh, I think it means 6 quarts will feed 7 people.”
Me: “But it didn’t say that, did it? See here, it just says ‘7 people.’ It says nothing about feeding. I bet there are instructions in there on how to cut the people up properly so they all fit inside.”
B: “I seriously doubt that.”
Me: “Remember, I’ve never used a crock pot before. I’ve also never killed anyone, but you’ve got to admit, this sounds like an interesting way to finish the job. Is it at least marketed to the growing cannibal population?”
B: “I’m going to ignore that last comment.”
Me: “I hope you brought home some Chianti.”
Today is my birthday, and it’s right around what will be my baby’s half birthday (WHAT?!).
I am 14 weeks today!
What a difference a year makes. Last year, if you recall, I had some fun drinking adult beverages and then attempting to throw a very heavy ball down a hallway, all whilst dressed up in the clothes of the time of my origin.
A lot has changed since then, and I imagine a whole lot will also change in the coming year. I’ll look back on this time and wonder where all my freedom went, where all my time went, where all my sleep went. But I imagine I’ll also wonder how I ever got by without a drooling, pooping, screaming angel strapped to me. Weird.
I’d like to take this opportunity and do a little recap of my first trimester, since it came and went in a whirlwind of leaving jobs, packing, the holidays, the flu, and moving.
I think it’s interesting that nausea and vomiting are the only acceptable pregnancy symptoms that people seem to be allowed to ask about. Or interested in. And that those symptoms really weren’t a major issue for me, so conversations beginning with those kinds of questions are pretty much nonstarters.
I remember sneaking a copy of What To Expect at the shelter where I used to work before we started to try to get pregnant, and it was horrifying. While I knew on some level that pregnancy affected the whole body, I had no idea about the sheer range of potential side effects. Face skin turning colors?! Anal bleeding?! Eyes frickin changing shape?!
How come nobody asks me about my eyes and how they are doing, hmm?
I feel like my pregnancy symptoms started happening before the pregnancy. As soon as I went off birth control (that I had been on for the entirety of my adult life), I felt like a 13 year old kid all over again. My skin became greasy and broke out everywhere. Like, all the places. I usually shower every other day, but I quickly started having to shower every day to keep from feeling so hormonally gross.
Which reminds me – I watched the movie of What To Expect because it was on netflix instant view and I was bored and full of pregnancy hormones, and thank goodness for Elizabeth Banks’ character’s storyline. She struggled to get pregnant, felt horrible during pregnancy, and actually uttered the wonderfully descriptive term ‘bac-ne.’ (How does one spell that? It’s like ‘acne’ and ‘back’ had a baby, only this baby aint cute.) It felt validating to see a pregnancy experience that wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and that I could partially relate to.
Once my pregnancy train left the station, I started feeling heartburn for the first time. It prevented me from eating a donut at work for about an hour, but I eventually prevailed. Soon after, I became so exhausted that I couldn’t make it through some days without taking a nap. I remember the first day the movers were packing up our stuff, all I did was stand there and watch, and at 3pm when they left, I felt like I had done all the work. An hour nap, and I still had no problem getting to sleep at night.
At that point, the flu struck and I couldn’t tell what was flu and what was pregnantness – I just felt like a zombie in pajamas. I only wanted comfort foods like ramen and PB&J. I slept all the time. Interestingly enough, still no vomit.
Once I was feeling fairly normal again, the completely random food aversions hit. Our first night in Portland, we were exhausted from driving all day (and being pregnant) and so we ordered pizza. I demanded no meat because that sounded pukey. Nevertheless, the veggie pizza arrived and, while it looked amazing, it smelled and tasted like barf. I forced a slice down and then passed out. A few days later, Brian cooked us up some veggie burgers and I thought I’d have to run outside to escape the stench. For the first time, their look matched their smell. Ralph.
What confused me through all these food aversions (that only happened at dinnertime) was that I couldn’t tell – was I hungry or was I pukey? The answer was yes, all of the above. I hated that this babe was ruining mealtime for me, and I am thankful that the phase didn’t last very long.
Heartburn continued, although it hasn’t been predictable or consistent like the bloating and constipation. Funny that people love to talk about food coming back up and out, but in the absence of an exit, it’s suddenly gross. I am no stranger to GI issues, as some of you know, but this was/is by far the worst batch of symptoms for me.
It was also weirding me out. Am I full even though I only took two bites of my cheesey blasters? Nope, it’s just gas. Am I starting to show? Uh-uh, it’s just gas. Did I just feel the baby?! Nope – gas.
I think the only other major symptom left is the constant peeing. Twice, sometimes three times a night. Like clockwork, too. And forget trying to laugh or sneeze and stay dry. My belly had better grow bigger faster, because now that I actually want to eat a horse, there’s no room for it with all that pee, poop, gas, and the reason we’re having this party in the first place.
I forgot to mention the one good side effect of all this – since getting knocked up, my migraines have all but disappeared. Thank you, first trimester gods, there is a silver lining.
As I already alluded to, the second trimester is treating me well so far. I’m told I need to enjoy it before the third, and I definitely plan to – starting by stuffing my face with a huge birthday dinner in a few hours and demanding that the bartender mix me up a mocktail so good that I am convinced it’s the real deal.