Sunday, November 16, 2014

Halfway There: Pregnancy at 20 Weeks


swelling belly selfie at 16 weeks. 

if the next 20 weeks of pregnancy are anything like the last 20 weeks, i’ll be very happy. and now that i’ve put this on the interwebs, i’ll surely wake up with 20 hemorrhoids tomorrow or have a hellish labor or a lousy sleeper or low milk supply or one of the myriad other maternal disasters i’ve been reading about far too much on the internet. (note to self: step away from the internet.)

but really, aside from the recent difficulty i’ve begun experiencing when i try to pop up from a seated position, it’s been lovely being pregnant so far. not that i’d want to remain pregnant for years, but i’m glad i can experience the one thing, aside from menstruation and lower pay for the same work, that is inherent to my gender. it makes me feel incredibly feminine even as it strips me of sex appeal.

but pregnant women can be sexy, you say because you’re supposed to say this. nope, sorry. these things are mutually exclusive. right now, my body is for baby cooking, not flirtation or sexiness. that will return later (hopefully) when i’m not saddled with a gigantic belly that makes the missionary position uncomfortable.


selfie in office bathroom at 17 weeks. 

the best thing about being pregnant is almost the same as the worst thing about being pregnant: the bodily changes. i’ve always had skin issues such as eczema and other allergy-induced rashes before, but pregnancy has kicked them into overdrive, causing intense itchiness that’s only reduced by staying slathered in lotion. there’s also the breast growth, which i know excites most women, but makes my already endowed self and already compromised back ache with discomfort.

the good parts include that whole sustaining life thing, which is pretty damn cool despite it being the most mundane thing on the planet. procreation is a drive in every species experienced by most females so it’s hardly some rare “miracle,” but when it’s happening to you, especially for the first time, it feels like a fucking miracle.


this cream and pants with elastic waistbands are my new best friends. 

easily the most awesome thing about being pregnant, echoed by every formerly pregnant woman i know, is feeling the baby move. i was told it would feel like popcorn popping or a butterfly fluttering inside of me, sensations i never have nor will actually experience so i wasn’t sure what to look for. but when i did feel that telltale pressure from within that felt distinct from gas, it seemed more like a goldfish out of water flopping around furiously while it gasps for air (not that i know what that feels like either).

since that first movement, identified relatively early in the 16th week, he’s been thrashing around steadily, making me suspect i will have a very active baby on my hands in about four months. (please, lord, make him a good sleeper). considering that he was conceived during the world cup, an interest in soccer may be inevitable, which means i’ll be turned into a {shudder} soccer mom.


maternity shopping is a slippery slope toward sweat pants and a minivan. 

reading about motherhood has been confusing, to put it mildly. there are so many different philosophies and products out there, all of which are touted as The Only Way to Go, that it’s shocking anyone born before 2005 survived infancy. the more i read about modern parenting, the more i conclude that the worst thing about becoming a mother will be other mothers. 

of course, i realize they are not all bad, as i know plenty of nice moms, and perhaps i’m reading the wrong stuff, like the comments sections, but there just seems to be a whole lot of hysteria going on. the only piece of advice i plan to take away from the stream of endless advice is to follow my instincts, which are already telling me not to treat parenthood like a religion and my son like a child king who’s capable of making every decision for himself. 


my boy in utero at 18 weeks.

judging by this sonogram, he will have his father’s face, which i predicted in my last post about my pregnancy. it’s a handsome face to have, so i don’t mind looking at two versions of it at home, though i’d like to see a little of myself in him besides just the dark brown eyes and hair his father also has. 


selfie in office bathroom at 18 weeks 

im no psychic but i’ve been receiving a trickle of information that seems to grow as he grows. i’m not sure why or how things are coming to me, or even if they are accurate, but i feel a profound awareness of my body that i have never before known. i’ve been trying to hone this into feeding my intuition with messages about who he is and how he will be.

so far, i’m two for two in predicting that he was a boy before the doctor confirmed gender and that he will look more like Warren. even before i felt him move, i sensed he would be an active child, so that’s almost a third. i’m also suspecting a sizable birth weight, past the 8-pound mark, and a birthday around march 23, a week before my official due date. he’ll be a good eater, too, maybe too good, just like his parents. i’m not yet sure about his sleep or his name, but i hope he’ll tell me soon.


Indy, guardian of the bump. 

of the three dogs, only Indy seems to sense my pregnancy, or perhaps he’s the only one reacting to it. nowadays, Juice is indifferent to most things in her old age and puppy Z is too wrapped up in himself and his chew toys to be interested in anything other than food, but Indy has been conducting a daily sniff inspection of my torso for many months now, always concluding it by draping his head over my belly. 

i imagine this dynamic will be the same when my boy is on the outside, with Indy being his greatest fan while the other two aim for avoidance. though i never would have agreed to two puppies entering the household six months ago if i knew there would be a baby on the way, i am committed to making this new pack work — unless one of them bites my child, in which case he will be quickly shipped off to whatever country they are still eating dogs in.


on the beach in Hawaii and feeling like a whale at 20 weeks.    

in the second half of my pregnancy, my main objective will be getting prepared. this will likely involve some mad scrambling as i have done little to prepare for the arrival of my son beyond starting a Pinterest album for him and rolling my eyes at several internet articles that have informed me of how not to parent.

now i need to evaluate cribs and strollers, plan a shower, figure out the nursery, visit hospitals, understand my maternity leave and handle all the other assorted first-world issues that come with modern motherhood. i wish i felt excited to do them, but what interests me most right now is lying in bed marathoning bad reality television while eating pizza. 

is not a reflection of what kind of mother i’ll be (i hope), but in the interest of enjoying my last few months of freedom and sleep, as everyone has advised me, i’m just not motivated to do all that much right now. and with a holiday season of decadent eating and cold, lazy days approaching, i’m thinking i should just wait until the new year and third trimester to start handling all that official stuff. yep, that’s exactly what i’ll do. thanks for agreeing.  

good talk, internet.