Monday, February 28, 2011

Times, They Are A-Changing

When it comes to food, there are three types of people in this world: sweet-toothed people, salt-addicted people and pregnant women.

For the past 32 years, I have been an avowed salt addict. Dessert never interested me much, but a plate of nachos could leave me in a puddle of drool. I was the odd child who turned her nose up at cookies in favor of pickles. Every time.

During the summers, I went to day camp. Each day a kid was chosen to help the counselors pick out the daily snacks. Everyone dreaded when it was my turn. "Hey guys! Look what I got us! Watered down Kool-Aid and pretzel rods. Great, right?? Look, I know the other kids got fudge pops today, but who would want those when there are dry, salty pretzels to be had!?!?!"

I'm sure you can see where this post is going already...

About a month ago, I began to notice it. It started innocently enough. A cookie once in awhile or a sudden hankering for pie.

So I channeled this new-found desire into a positive outlet. I started eating yogurt with strawberries and began to devour bowls of cereal (things I passed up previously because you never knew when cheese and crackers or a salt lick might suddenly be available).

This was working...until the alien-child within started controlling my brain. Yes, she's not even born and I'm blaming her for everything.

Here's what happens:

*I* want a little piece of chocolate to satiate the itsy, bitsy, ever-so-tiny desire for a little something sweet.

The Bean hijacks my brain and says, "We should probably get some chocolate ice cream, with a little hot fudge on top and maybe put some chocolate chunks in it. While we're at it, why not add some peanuts, whipped cream, strawberry sauce and...what else do they have at this place...we'll take that too."

And it certainly doesn't help that Michael, notorious sweet-tooth, echoes The Bean's sentiments, but out loud. "You never want anything sweet. You should just treat yourself," all while writing out his detailed sundae order for me.

Little did he know, encouraging this only makes it worse.

You'd be surprised how conniving one can be when they don't want their indiscretions uncovered. For instance, last week Michael ordered a strawberry shortcake dessert, but then decided he was going to take it home and have it the next night.

This meant the strawberry shortcake would be spending the entire day with me at home. Alone. Unguarded.

Luckily, I was very good at geometry in school. A half inch from one side, then the next side, then the final two...and voila! Strawberry shortcake nearly imperceptibly smaller than the night before.

Finally, a real-world application of math I can get behind.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meet Your Daughter

You're never fully prepared for the first sight of your little one to be a full-on straight shot of their vagina. I imagine this would be particularly upsetting if your bean is a boy.

The 20-week (or in my case 21-week because my doctor had the nerve to take a vacation while I'm all busy growing people) prenatal appointment is THE doctor's appointment.

This is the appointment where many moms-to-be get the first good look at the person rearranging all their internal organs. This is where all sorts of measurements are taken to make sure the alien-child is growing at the right speed and has all (and no extra) body parts. And this is where you can choose to find out if your life's savings will be spent on new shoes or car insurance.

Since I was convinced I had killed our bean after the great poop debacle of 2011, I was particularly anxious to just make sure the heart was still going.

I had heard a lot about this milestone appointment from many mothers. The ultrasound takes 20-30 minutes. The tech will start at the baby's head and work their way down the body taking all the appropriate measurements to see if your kid will qualify for the Coney Island Freak Show (which sadly, I do not believe is in existence anymore). Finally, as they are wrapping up their review and you are agonizing with anticipation, you can choose to learn the gender of your baby before you go meet with the doctor to get the all-clear.

Naturally, our appointment went nothing like that. At all.

The tech has me lay down on the table where I roll down the top of my jeans (because you can do that in maternity jeans!!!) and she gets the wand. [As a side note: I'm pleased to report at this stage in the pregnancy the ultrasounds are entirely external.]

She flips on the machine, puts the wand on my stomach and WHAM-O. There she is; legs wide open, showcasing her goods for all who might be interested. That's our little girl.

Guess, we got that out of the way.

Within 10 seconds, Michael is busy texting the world while I wait to make sure little things like the heart, legs and a head happens to be attached to the floating girl parts on the screen. They were.

The tech does her business and I'll spare you details of how cute little baby feet look, even when they are inside your stomach, and how much relief you feel when you see 4 chambers of a heart beating. But that stuff is totally true.

As we're wrapping up, Michael is yammering on about what a relief it is to see everything in working order. Because I'm conniving and have no patience to wait for the doctor to interpret the tech's ultrasound photos, I see my opportunity...

Me: [knowing full well the tech legally cannot tell me if something is wrong with the ultrasounds, but also knowing the tech KNOWS] Well, Michael...don't get too excited yet. I mean, we don't know what's really going on in there. We need to meet with the doctor still [cue dramatic pauses and tension-building music] to make sure everything is OK in there. I mean, the only thing we know is that it's a girl and apparently the heart is still beating. So maybe you should stop texting everyone till will get the all clear [I was really finding my groove now]. We just don't know!!!!

Tech: [beautifully sensing her cue in the soap opera I've now initiated] It all looks great. I don't see anything to suggest otherwise here.

Score 1 for already becoming the manipulating mother type.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Big Questions

Pregnancy has an amazing ability to transform people you once believed had a brain and were not raised by wolves into regressed turkeys with zero social filter. I mean that in the nicest way possible.

I expected a certain level of curiosity and forward questions to come along with being pregnant.

"Are you going to find out the gender?"
Yes. I will have enough surprises the day of labor; I don't need the gender to be another one. Happily at our doctor's appointment this morning they fixed the antenna on the ultrasound machine and we saw an actual baby inside me and not cheese enchiladas as Michael suspected.

We are growing a little girl. Look! Here she is, aged 21 weeks and weighing in at a whopping 13 ozs.!!!



"So what are you going to name her?"
We're superstitious and will not be sharing the names with everyone. Everyone has an opinion on names and we, quite frankly, don't care about those opinions. We will have a group of names and pick one that strikes us the day she's born. So most likely it will be GetItOut, LizardFace or NowCanIHaveWine.

"So how much weight have you gained?"
Shockingly, this one doesn't bother me. Probably because I've only gained 3 lbs. so far and have discovered the joys and wonders of maternity pants. I will gladly gain 50 lbs. because the new jeans I just bought from 'A Pea in a Pod' will STILL fit. I may never buy regular jeans again.

However, I was ready for these questions. It's the more well-intentioned, yet slightly off-putting questions I was not prepared to answer. Here are just a handful that we've collectively gotten.

"Did you even want kids?"
No. But we're telling everyone about the pregnancy because we're hoping someone might offer to buy her from us.

"Oh, a girl...how is Michael taking it?"
We all know men only love boys; so he's pretty pissed off. See above regarding sale of said child.
[Michael and I are both thrilled that we have a healthy baby growing. Gender did not matter to us. That said, he is currently installing a machine gun turret on top of the house and he added La Femme Nikita to the list of potential names.]

"Are you planning on breastfeeding/co-sleeping/getting a nanny/etc."
Last I checked, this was none of your damn business (barring close friends and family who will be helping to raise this child) and quite frankly your thoughts on child-rearing mean absolutely nothing to me. What did your parents do? I'll make sure to do the opposite.

With the halfway point passed, the bean is back to continually making her presence known. Instead of the perpetual morning sickness of the first trimester, we have constant heartburn. Granted, I should probably lay off the hot sauce (but it's so damn good) and invest in some Tums (but it causes constipation--so, no thank you).

We're eagerly awaiting her kicks and thumps, but for now there are just hints of "was that a kick," "is that a gas bubble" and "is it time for bed yet?"

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Note: Chivalry is Still Dead

Since my trip to Boston this week was so traumatic, I made it a point to head to the grocery store as soon as I got home. I stocked up on big leafy greens, quinoa, apples, dried apricots and other assorted poop-blasting fiber foods. Damned if I'm going to get clogged up again.

And boy, was I pleased as punch with my shopping experience.

People were stepping aside for me, helping me grab the heavier items off the shelves, unloading my cart for me. Come on...you know it's nice to feel special now and again.

I ran home to tell Michael how pleasant my shopping experience was. And how nice it is to have people finally be able to see I'm pregnant and not just a potato chip junkie.

Here's how that conversation panned out:

Me: Wow. What a great trip. Pregnant ladies do get all the perks. I had guys rushing to help me left and right. It was really sweet.

Michael: [Being the ever-skeptical man...] Was it all guys or both women and men?

Me: Well, now that I think of it, it was all men. But whatever. They were very nice. [Does a little swirl in the new cute dress which I believe shows off my barely there baby bump.] And all because I'm pregnant.

Michael: [Eye-balling dress which he realizes shows off my ridiculously gargantuan boobs and doesn't even register the baby bump.] I don't think it had anything to do with you being pregnant...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Retraction

Editor's note: I'm going to try as best I can, but this post will likely be gross, disgusting and way too much information. Mom, you may not want to have Grandma read this one...

I thought I knew, but I had no idea. I'm sure I'll say that a lot throughout this pregnancy and whole raising a child thing.

We're going to approach this episode with a positive outlook. I know, it's a new thing for me too.
  1. I didn't die.
  2. I have a pretty good idea what labor is going to feel like (before you jump down my throat, I have confirmed this with three women who have actually gone through the birth process. So bite me.)
  3. I didn't die.
This past week I was traveling. With traveling comes: dehydration from flying, eating foods you don't normally eat, lack of sleep and energy. These same activities also happen to be the perfect formula for the big c-word.

Constipation.

Every now and again in this here blog, I make mention of one's difficulty with pooping due to pregnancy. I. DIDN'T. KNOW. ANYTHING. I had it so good. I should've kept my mouth shut and not tempted the gods.

Since this is clearly a disgusting situation, we'll keep it high level.

I was in labor for 10 hours with a poop baby. Throughout these 10 hours, I went through the 5 stages of grief:
  • Denial (This can't be happening to me. Maybe I'm being shy because I'm out in public. I'm sure after I get back to the hotel, this will sort itself out.)
  • Anger (Are you even kidding me? This is ridiculous. Everyone poops. There's a book on it. This should not be this difficult!)
  • Bargaining (I swear, if you let me poop I will only eat spinach and apples for the rest of this pregnancy. I will not even look at a piece of cheese.)
  • Depression (I am never going to be able to poop again. I am going to be the first person who dies from not being able to poop. Maybe I should just end it all now before I die on the toilet bowl fruitlessly pushing.)
  • Acceptance (No one has died from lack of pooping. You will live, even if you have to call an ambulance to come save you--I didn't.)

Needless to say, I survived. Also needless to say, this sucked really big time.

So a few helpful hints for the future:

  1. Never travel without Colace (the only approved stool softener for pregnant women)
  2. Don't skip your prenatal vitamins--it may be the only fiber you get when traveling and eating out a lot (though a salad wouldn't kill you either...)
  3. Lay off the cheese--no matter how temptingly delicious it is
  4. Stay hydrated with water, Gatorade, Kool-Aid, whatever it takes...
  5. Just remember: At some point, you will poop. It may hurt. It may take 10 hours. But it will come. Be patient and try to relax.

And that. Is that.

In less stinky (hah) news, I've officially hit the halfway point in the pregnancy. We're 20 weeks along...only 20 more to go! Our next appointment is the biggie...stay tuned for pictures and more...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How I Know I'm Ready to Be a Mother

At some point in your pregnancy, you inevitably hear "Oh, just you wait for motherhood...it's a whole different ballgame."

Oh yeah? I'm pretty sure I'm ready.

In my teens and 20s, I was convinced one was ready to be a mother if she could make Saran Wrap work properly (which I've mastered in case you were wondering). And while I still stand by that defining marker, I realize there may be one or two additional skills you might need.

Turns out, I have accumulated lots of skills I believe are immediately transferable to mothering.

Shall we...
  • Clean cat vomit at least twice a week

  • Pick up poop from three dogs, twice a day (and one is a Great Pyrenees...so he counts as four dogs by himself)

  • Am woken up at least three times a night by said Great Pyrenees "guarding" the house--hey, you never know when that garbage can that's been outside the window for 3 years may suddenly decide to get cheeky

  • Woken up at least five times a night by the cat who wants to lay in between my legs, then on my stomach, then by my head, then under my arms, then...

  • Wrestle wriggling animals in an attempt to clean their feet, faces and, unfortunately, even their asses

  • Break apart fights over food, toys, treats and who gets to cuddle mama

  • Clean the entire house. Every day. Because it's trashed each and every day with mud, slobber, puke, and, well I don't know what that is, but it shouldn't be on the floor

  • Take care of three dogs all day, every day, who leave me flat the second Daddy gets home

So, yeah...I think I've a got a pretty good idea what it takes to be a mother.

And because you stuck through this whole post, you get a prize! The first belly bump photo!!! Michael finally convinced me that I was moving out of the "just bloated" stage into the actual bump stage.

19 Weeks:


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bored

280 days. TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY.
  • Time it takes to walk from New York to California. And back...and then back to California again.
  • Roughly 2 college semesters
  • 200 hundred days longer than it takes to go around the world by train and boat (according to the book)
  • The number of days from conception to birth

I am one of precisely 7 pregnant woman in the world...ever...who is not utterly enthralled and amazed with every second of being pregnant.

Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of "This is pretty neat" and "Holy crap, I'm pregnant," but most of the time the running sentiments are "Yep, still pregnant" or "I wonder what I should have for lunch today."

Look, you try maintaining unbridled excitement and positive thinking for 280 days straight and tell me how that works out for you.

Here's where I went wrong. I went to some of those mommy-to-be e-board/forum discussions and immediately felt a return of the morning sickness dry heaves. It is page after page of "OMG pregnancy is so amazing and wondrous," "Hooray! We finished the nursery" and "Rate my baby name choices"--and this is only from the women who are due in July.

While, I'm far outnumbered...I'm still convinced they are the crazy ones.

Sure; pregnancy is amazing. I'm still amazed I threw up for 3 months straight and am still alive. I am also amazed that my body is fine with not pooping for weeks on end. And it is definitely amazing that I am able to stand upright after my boobs quadrupled in size.

I get it. It's a new experience for us first-time moms-to-be and you still can't tell the difference between gas and the baby moving (you're in week 8; you are cooing over gas bubbles), but I'd be totally willing to bypass the whole pregnancy thing and just get to the having a kid part. Mainly because I'd be able to have wine, sushi and blue cheese again.

And don't start in with the "enjoy it while you can" advice...but that rant is a post for another sleepless night.