Monday, January 19, 2015

Two Down, One to Go: Pregnancy After Two Trimesters


less than a year from now, i'll be holding a 9-month-old around a christmas tree. weirdsies!

having finished with the anxiety of the first trimester and pleasant yet draggy steadiness of the second, i've finally landed in the third and final trimester of my pregnancy. if its early days are any indication, this trimester will be characterized by impatience and a general feeling of grossness as my body swells to shamu proportions.

i know this is unavoidable as i can already feel the water pooling under my skin and have heard from countless women that they were ready to perform their own C-sections during their final weeks of pregnancy so i don't expect a different outcome for myself. at this point, my goal is to just accept the grossness as temporary and live through it with a minimum of whining, which i know would make Warren happy as he's been hearing the maximum. 


the grandmas keeping my belly warm over Thanksgiving. my mom's on the right, Warren's on the left. they couldn't be more ecstatic to welcome a new grandchild this year, and i couldn't be more ecstatic to find TWO trusty babysitters. 

a lot of curious things have happened since i last posted about my pregnancy. first among them is the new risk of wetting my pants whenever i sneeze with a full bladder. (these days, a full bladder equates to a thimble of urine.) there's also my overworked heart, pumping double my usual blood supply, that gets revved up with the slightest exertion, like climbing one flight of stairs or putting on my boots.

but perhaps the most curious was a trip to urgent care to get a boil on my shoulder drained. i'm embarrassed to admit the need for this visit, as it was hardly life-threatening, but i couldn't get a regular appointment with a dermatologist quickly and the thing grew rapidly -- from a marble to golf ball size in a week -- so my doc insisted i get it handled quickly. so i handled it, it was gross and continued leaking for week before finally closing up and leaving a scar. thanks, pregnancy hormones!

truly, the hormones and their cruel games have been relentless (and creative) in their efforts to annoy me. my skin is still a mess, with chronic rashes and itchiness that no amount of lotions can cure. and contrary to how great it's supposed to look, the skin on my face isn't any clearer, which makes every person who tells me i'm "glowing" a filthy liar. (seriously, do people realize what a back-handed compliment the whole "glowing" remark is? so the best i'll ever look is during my limited time being pregnant and the rest of the time i'm just a homeless meth addict? COME ON, PEOPLE.)


these belly touchers are my best friend (on the left), Jon-David, and his husband, Cesar. they will be my boy's fairy godfathers.

those same "glowing" remarkers have still been giving me all sorts of unsolicited advice and i'm still dismissing most of it, not because i know better, but because it's so cliche. there is a tendency to talk to pregnant women as though they've lost half their IQ and need shepherding when all we really need is more food and to be left alone with pillows and the remote.

even "expert" advice i heed loosely, figuring that i'll figure it out like the cave-dwelling baby makers did before me with a bit of help from my mom and my gut. i took a breastfeeding class the other week that seemed full of painstaking detail about ounces, feedings, timing, pumping and supply, and the whole time i kept thinking, "i'll just feed my baby when he's hungry."

it's not that i think it will be so easy, thanks to every single outlet reminding me how SUPER DUPER HARD AND THANKLESS every part of motherhood is, it's just that i don't want to get wrapped up in that hysteria. and i do plan to nurse, but if i run into issues, i won't regard formula as toxic sludge that will kill my child's chances of getting into Harvard. i read about a mom who endured numerous bouts of mastitis, thrush and kidney infections that landed her in the hospital with an IV just to continue breastfeeding and concluded that she was insane. i'm not interested in such martyrdom. what's good for mom is good for baby.


ready to nurse my smiling, plastic baby. easy peasy, right?   

among the more squishy, feel-good sensations i've experienced during the second trimester, besides my thicker hair, have involved the actual baby thing happening inside of me. after months of regarding my pregnancy as some abstract concept to be figured out later, i've finally begun embracing the idea of parenthood -- and all the sordid, assorted changes that this will entail.

this surge of maternal feelings (also known as hormones) came as a relief because, quite frankly, i don't love children. i don't hate them either, i'm lukewarm on the matter -- and more likely to stop to pet your dog than coo at your baby. it's not that i doubted i would love my own child, but i did wonder how that love could co-exist with my general dispassion for other people's children. i see now that they are mutually exclusive and co-exist just fine.

i may never be the type of person who wants to teach preschool and i still haven't met many toddlers i like, but i know i'll do the best i can for my son. the personal changes i've already experienced being pregnant have been profound, yet also private, which is why it's hard for me to express them here. and i'm sure they'll only intensify once he's on the outside.

as ready as i am for him to exist on the outside, i almost never want him to because the nature of my love is protective, and i like to keep my loved ones close enough to shield in case of hard times. this is borne of my overblown belief that i'm tough enough to endure their pain for them. (or maybe it's the way i convince myself that i'm needed.) of course, i don't want to be one of those helicopter smothering mothers who cuts food for her son into adulthood, and i don't think i will be, i just want him to know that he can always rely on me.


24-week ultrasound showing the 10 fingers i will soon be munching on.

in my 6th month, i finally began having dreams about my son, some of them nutty, like the one in which he drained my breast during nursing as though he were sucking through a straw, filling up my own mouth with milk in the process. there was another dream when he vomited all over me after nursing and yet another when he ended up being born a girl. my boy gets pretty active at night, so i've convinced myself we're sharing dreams.

my cravings have still been minimal, a true disappointment as i had hoped to experience the unique flavor of dipped pickles in ice cream. the one thing i'm achy for consistently is chocolate, but that's not unusual for me and probably more a result of my needing a caffeine kick to get through the days. this can backfire when i overdo the amount and my boy begins bouncing on my organs like a pogo stick.


at the six-month mark and wondering whether my innie will become an outie (so far, it hasn't)

at this point, i should probably say i'm going to savor every day of the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy, and perhaps i'll try, but the truth is i'll be glad when it's over. i want to meet my son. i want drop this extra weight that is causing my back to ache and heartburn to flare. i'd like to stop waddling when i walk and sleep on my stomach again. and i'd like to be out on maternity leave already so my body can catch up with my brain, which has long since checked out of work (sorry, boss).

i'm sure this time will move quickly and i have much to keep myself distracted, as the pre-baby tasks to be completed loom large and plentiful. beyond finishing the nursery, finding a pediatrician, getting legally married, having a baby shower, installing a car seat, deep cleaning the house and building a fence in the backyard to keep the dogs secure, there are freezer meals to prepare, daycare to figure out, a labor playlist to create and hospital bag to pack.

at least i finished creating the registry, easily the funnest task on my list and the only time i enjoyed window shopping. if you are a long-time or even new reader of this blog and want to get my son an $8 Dr. Seuss book or $330 toddler car seat (or something in between), i would be most grateful:

at the seven-month mark and counting down the days until i can drink vodka again