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Normative camouflage

March 27, 2011

It’s unsettling. Not the part where you have a baby inside you when you know you’re infertile, but how quickly your brain can adjust from being infertile to thinking of yourself as fertile. Sometimes I have to catch myself when looking at friends’ babies and thinking, “Oh, yeah, mine will be a steady sleeper, because I was.” Not only is prediction a rather faulty exercise, but, oh yeah, I forgot — we don’t share any genetic material, other than what she may be scraping off my uterus with the heel of her tiny, tiny foot.

I also forget how old I am. I see other pregnant women and I think, “Oho! I’m pregnant, they’re pregnant, we’re all going through the same thing.” And then I catch myself, and imagine their thoughts: “Jesus, that wrinkly woman is so fat she looks pregnant.”

So it’s a weird, floaty place to live, going to the doctor for your six-month checkup, hearing everything is copacetic, and later remembering just what it took to get to this state. Last week I threw out my remaining estrogen patches. They had sat next to my toilet for the past six months, not enough to donate to anyone but still of some value, particularly of the superstitious variety. If I didn’t throw them out, after all, I wouldn’t need them again, right?

Apparently these are the stages of going from total infertility to childbirth. 1) Stress, fear and exhaustion over getting pregnant; 2) Stress, fear and exhaustion over not losing said pregnancy; 3) Stress, fear and exhaustion over keeping said pregnancy safe inside until medical science has come up with a pain-free method of infant extraction.

It’s also unsettling to me how much I enjoy feeling like a “normie.” Not unusual, not alternative, but going through the same thing so many do and thinking the same cliched thoughts — and enjoying their very banality.

Among my newly beloved tropes:

The suckitude of maternity clothes. Thus far I have bought one pair of pants, a sweater and a skirt. The skirt was a particularly practical yet unfortunate choice. It’s denim — I never owned a denim skirt before, it seemed kind of granola and useful — and below the knees. And now I like to play a game with strangers: Am I pregnant or Modern Orthodox? The game works better with the visual, in which I pull my top up and down to expose my belly — something you seldom see Yeshiva University alumnae doing.

Heartburn. There is nothing like waking from a sound sleep because an eruption of carbolic acid has hit the back of your tongue. Except for falling back asleep and waking up 10 minutes later to the same sensation.

Making my boyfriend rub my feet, and reminding him it truly is the least he could do.

Fitting in: No wonder most of the world does it.

On the other hand, there are some clear signs that I am not yet a fully blended Frappucino. For one, I cannot bring myself to muster any interest in strollers, breast bumps and baby cages (think your swings, your pack-and-plays, your cribs — every one a cage of some sort). It requires some level of graduate study to parse out what one should buy, and yet, it is singularly intellectually unstimulating. This is why there are friends who have gone first, who will ever so kindly point to what I need to buy and I will fork over the credit card, grateful to put my brain power back to important things, like the perfect way to paint Eloise on a bedroom wall — and whether or not a cupcake today will trigger gestational diabetes at next month’s exam.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 9:41 pm

    i have heartburn advice if you’re wanting it….

    • March 29, 2011 9:42 pm

      Bring it ON.

      • March 29, 2011 9:58 pm

        🙂 up until yesterday i only used tums and restricting what i eat to control heartburn / reflux. i’ve whittled away acidic foods, including all fruit, most dairy, beef, and high fat foods. oh, and spices. and most beverages except water, some ginger ale and a glass of iced tea every day. definitely not fun but it helped a lot.

        it got a lot worse about a week or so ago. i was miserable most of the day every day, so i asked about using an acid reducer and the doc told me to go ahead and try pepcid or zantac. i started pepcid last night and it’s too early to say for sure but so far it seems to help a lot and i kind of wish i’d asked about it earlier.

        if it’s waking you up at night, try putting the head of your bed up on bricks. i’ve had this suggested to me a couple of times but i don’t really have nighttime problems so i haven’t tried it.

        for me, laying on my left side is the magic panacea – not so much for heartburn but for the constant acidy stomachaches.

        a friend who just had her baby was taking four tums before sleep every night. she was having pretty bad reflux. one thing i learned was that when i feel heartburn coming on is to take three tums all at once, don’t namby pamby around with one at a time.

        the doc told me this week that the calcium in tums can be a stomach irritant, which explains why they sometimes just make me feel bad in a different way.

        that’s kind of a mish-mash but maybe there’s some helpful stuff in there.

  2. neutron permalink
    April 4, 2011 11:47 am

    If you’re going to take chewable antacids, don’t mess around with Tums. They’re worthless little chalk discs. If you’re serious about it, get either the tablet or liquid Gaviscon. It costs more than Tums because it is BETTER. Due to that whole quitting our jobs and following our dreams thing, S and I have become experts on quelling anxiety-induced acid attacks. Trust me. GAVISCON.

    • April 10, 2011 8:10 pm

      I shall check that out — man, I am starting to feel like a pharmaceutical warehouse.

  3. May 10, 2011 7:24 am

    You don’t need most of the baby gadgetry. You’ll know what you need when you need it.:-)

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