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Cirque de Soleil: Gravida

December 21, 2010

I think I know why I am so nauseated all the time. It’s not morning sickness; it’s motion sickness.

We had our first official OB/GYN appointment, and it made me tear up, being in the friendly confines of my longtime gynecologist, who helped lead me to this eggless point when he kindly removed two ovarian cysts in 2003 (I kid, he was doing his job). I never thought I’d see a male gynecologist, but I love this guy. Thick shock of white hair, riddled with sarcasm, curses liberally — just the kind of person I want peering into my nether regions. I almost hugged him. It felt like I had graduated, from Perilous Fertility Treatment to Regular If Slightly Decrepit Pregnant Lady. The nurse even mentioned she had her last kid (of eight!) at 43. It was nice to hear.

While there, we had our 11-week ultrasound there, a snazzy 3D/4D variety of the type you can get at your local Intrauterine Glamour Shots. I’m so pregnant, they even were able to do a belly ultrasound. It felt weird going to the doctor and not being violated six ways from an S&M club.

There, on the super high-tech machine that looked like a Fisher-Price toys, was Guillermo, acting like he/she was auditioning for Cirque de Soleil. Back flips, pirouettes, somersaults — I was half expecting the kid to use the umbilical cord as fabric to hang from the ceiling of my uterus.

Eleven weeks old, and the kid is already more athletic than either of its parents. Does this mean I’m going to have to learn how to catch a ball?

In other news, My Young Man liked it so much he put a ring on it Saturday night. The wedding itself is a long, long way off — I can’t imagine planning anything more than eating and sleeping right now, and despite all the ways I’ve thrown tradition out the window, I still want my wedding, dammit. I really, really do. I just want to make my own ring bearer first.

The proposal itself was super sweet and very creative. That night, he took me to dinner, where three-quarters of the way through I realized this engagement celebration would have gone better without the churning guts. Then we came home and I fell asleep.

Once again: Reasons to Get Married First. Learn from my mistakes, children.

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Oh, Rhett! Please, don’t go! You can’t leave me! Please! I’ll never forgive you!…Leave me alone!

December 19, 2010

I get it now why people get married before getting pregnant. It has nothing to do with morality. It’s about survival.

When you’re married, hopefully you’ve already made a commitment that will stand you in good stead through the havoc wreaked by the first trimester.

(There are those of you who will say, “That’s nothing, wait until you actually have a newborn.” To you, I say, get your own fucking blog.)

The hormones: They are kicking my ass. They’ve led to the occasional rage in the past few weeks, which has fortunately been directed not to My Kind, Patient Young Man, but to my inept and lazy co-worker, who deserved a little rage.

They’ve led to a few sobbing fits, some caused by insomnia, some by real-life situations, most assuaged through a big hand gently circling the small of my back.

They’ve led to a level of nausea that leads me to say things to the owner of that big hand, things like, “Don’t touch me! I need not to be touched right now!”

My Young Man isn’t going anywhere right now, ring or no ring. But I can see why it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to have a legal document before one starts raging toward the heavens.

The winner and still champeen

December 8, 2010

Last Thursday, I received one of the most blessed e-mails in human history, from my friend Lauren, who has one child and is 8/9 of the way to her second.

It read:

Hey, lady-
Just wanted to check in to see how you’re feeling these days! My guess is you’re feeling pretty lousy, in which case I wanted to offer some love and empathy. Please let me know when it might be a good time for me to swing by to drop off a little care package of comfort items for you….

I nearly wept from feeling that someone out there knew! I was in a pretty low place at that point, because I didn’t just feel sick, but the combination of sick and exhausted had also led me to utterly isolate myself for a few weeks.

The next day, Lauren showed up at my work with the weirdest goodie bag I ever gratefully accepted. Among its treasures were raw ginger root, seasickness wristbands, a funny book about pregnancy that is nevertheless scaring the shit out of me, and a precious little mini tin of mini Altoids.

Lauren, I remembered the Altoids tonight. My tongue, still safely ensconced in my mouth, thanks you for them. More importantly, thanks for thinking of me when I felt like the most inept, whiny, pregnant person ever.

Of course, I still hold that title. They were going to give me the championship belt, but it doesn’t fit anymore.

Good news!

December 6, 2010

I feel pukey again!

Fetus, don’t fail me now

December 6, 2010

I didn’t write. Because I couldn’t find a way to make the activities of the past two weeks interesting:

Wake up one to two hours before the alarm, struggle to fall back asleep. Fail.

Go to work. Struggle to stay awake. Struggle not to faint. Sit down at inappropriate moments. Convince self not to hurl in front of impressionable children.

Drive home as fast as possible. Get takeout or order in, because any food preparation of even consideration of more than 30 seconds is no longer an option.

Eat.

Regret eating.

Crawl into bed. Read fashion sites on the Internet, dreaming about clothes that will not fit and cannot afford. Struggle not to hurl in front of impressionable boyfriend.

Sleep.

It’s not very interesting to live through — it’s gotta be worse to read.

We had the eight-week ultrasound last week, and everything was great. Strong heartbeat. My blood pressure was fine. Little baby-shape appendages beginning to appear.

Blood test Thursday showed great hormonal levels, which means I am quickly being tapered off all the hormone supplements. Can’t wait to be done.

I’ve even been transferred to a real, live, grown-up OB. I am, to some degree, now a normal pregnancy, although I am officially “high risk” because of my age. I don’t feel worried about the age, thing, though, as the eggs were always the only lousy stats in my workup. I look forward to feeling normal, and a little scared out of being pushed out of the complicated but familiar nest of the Fancy Shmancy Fertility Clinic.

All signs point to Baby.

Except … the violent, wretched morning sickness that has plagued me from 11 a.m. to sleep every day for the past two weeks? Today, it has almost entirely disappeared. And I’m not greeting this turn of events with the appropriate joy. Rather, it has me terrified. And I have two weeks to go before my first OB appointment.

Are you in there, little fetus?

Don Draper doesn’t live here anymore

November 21, 2010

Dear pregnancy books,

Bite me.

During my fairly regular insomnia bout last night and this morning, I did some light reading at the back of my Mayo Clinic guide to pregnancy. I enjoyed seeing what agonies would soon befall me (sunspots turning darker? joy!) and what symptoms I hadn’t realized were symptoms and therefore was missing a priceless opportunity to bitch and moan.

Kindly, this pregnancy guide (and the ones online, and the other books) are full of “self care,” i.e., how to deal with this crap without driving your doctors insane. Not once in the self care sections did I see Vicodin suggested. Selfish bastards. Instead, just stuff like “Have your partner give you a massage” (it’s 4 a.m. and he would like to sleep), or “take a warm bath” (my tub is dirty and while I cannot sleep, I am far too tired to clean it right now). To combat constipation or the dehydration from diarrhea (it’s a thunderstorm of riches), you should drink more water. To avoid getting up in the night and causing sleepus interruptus, you should drink less water.

If infertility doesn’t make you insane, the cure will.

My favorite parts of the self care advisories, though, are the frequent suggestions to “take it easy,” a compendium of advice that serves as a slap in the face to those of us who were foolish enough to get pregnant without being rich. And if I, who dropped $30,000 on a pregnancy, don’t count as rich, who the hell does?

Don’t stand on your feet too much during the day. A great piece of advice for those of who labor as teachers, as Wal-mart employees, as drive-thru servers and waitresses.

Don’t sit too long. Thereby insulting every working woman who did not fit into the above category.

And to combat fatigue: Take frequent naps throughout the day.

I tried doing that on Friday, but 20 kids kept waking me up, saying things like, “Isn’t it time for us to learn to read?”

Apparently, medical science has advanced greatly in the past 50 years, but socially, the pregnancy guides think we’re all Betty Draper, quitting our modeling careers before conception so we can spend nine months sipping cocktails, smoking unfiltered cigarettes and nurturing the fetus within.

Me, I gotta go to work.

Ready for its closeup

November 16, 2010

I am the mother of a beautiful grain of rice.

We had our first ultrasound Monday. I managed to put it out of my mind for most of the weekend because I knew the choice was between denial and terror. At this point, any baby was purely theoretical, something a nurse and the good folks at EPT insisted was true. Even though my swollen breasts agreed, I was unconvinced.

Not to mention how perilous the first weeks of pregnancy are. All we ever hear are horror stories, and we start to wonder how the human race could possibly continue when no one is allowed to procreate.

But there we were, in our Ross and Rachel moment, my feet in stirrups, My Young Man standing at my shoulders. “Hey, I get my own screen,” he said. I pointed out that we would be sharing that screen, seeing as it was my freaking uterus in the starring role.

The very smart, very kind ultrasound tech pointed to the picture. There it was. One beautiful black hole in my uterus. Never has a seemingly empty space been so welcome. We had just one embryo, just one gestational sac. Twins would have been nice as far as the insta-family goes, but a single baby meant a safer pregnancy and a more affordable life.

I actually had a little moment of teariness that this was actually happening, that there was actually some sort of life taking hold inside my body. Even if that life was only the size of a grain of rice.

Not surprisingly, I left the doctor’s office with a craving for sushi. For now, it would have to be the cooked variety.