Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Belly

These (above) are me around Thanksgiving...a little more rotund, but not a lot lot lot. Here's a couple (below) from me this week. Bigger and bigger grows the belly. (And the boobs.)

I don't think I really look as pregnant as I appear in the second one below...I don't know...I look sort of hugely pregnant in this picture, which is pretty exciting...I just don't know if I always look quite this big in real, daily life.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


So, I am a terribly irresponsible correspondent it seems. I have only one excuse. The holidays. Oh, and they whole end of semester grading and finishing of teacherly duties. So, obviously it's not my fault.

Now I will tell you the real reason I haven't written - I have taken some pics of myself looking a bit fatter about the middle and have been too busy (read: lazy and disorganized with my time) to upload them to post them, as a result, I have just NOT posted. I really want to post the pictures, but I don't want to upload them... I mean, it would probably take a whole 2 minutes to be done with it.

So, in the last month, I have definitely gotten a bit more popped out at the center...and my queasiness is subsiding. Though, I still have a sensitive (FUN!) gag reflex. I think pretty consistent heartburn might be taking the place of nausea. Cool.

Also in pregnancy related news, I had crazy chest pain (right under my left clavicle) that woke me up in the middle of the night...and started radiating down my left arm. It was quite painful, and the midwife on call at the birth center told me, without asking any questions, that I should go immediately to the ER. Yay, the ER early early early on Christmas Eve morning. Well, about six hours, one EKG, one chest X-ray and multiple fits of uncomfortable sleep later, I was sure I wasn't having a heart attack, I didn't have pneumonia, a collapsed lung, or fluid in my lungs...and I was pretty certain I didn't have a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) - but the doctor told me to report back to the ER STAT if I felt more pain and shortness of breath. At which time they would do a CT scan and, if they found a clot, they'd put me on a lovely, prenatally fun blood thinner. However, all you with bated breath, the pain decreased (except for heartburn) and I am breathing normally! No clot, I'd say!

Other than that, I have been very well...minus a little crazy gluteal pain...and very much NOT looking forward to going back to work!

(You'll notice no pics yet. That was the deal I had to make with myself to get me to post anything. Oh, the pressure!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You can't always get what you want...

But, it sure is NICE to get what you want. Okay, fine, I'll concede that some of the richest, most valuable experiences come out of times when you don't get what you want...but that's "rich" and "valuable" as in "Oh, wow, I CAN feel joy in the midst of all this deep emotional turmoil, in the mire of my own fear and pain!" Let's just say that's not the same kind of "fun" as "I want a pony" and - bam - you get a pony.

It's not that I believe in destiny or fate, that there are certain lessons I am supposed to learn in my life. I guess I've just finally started to accept that everything that happens can be useful, can be something that enriches my life. I don't mean to say that in practice I actually accept these "lessons" with grace. Sometimes, more than anything, I want to throw myself to the floor, beat my fists and feet against the ground, and shriek about how everything is so unfair.

Ha ha. I wish I were joking.

Yet...yet...I guess I do feel...thankful for the year of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. (That's probably only possible to say because I am now, in fact, pregnant.) I feel that through this my...perspective, my life, really shifted. There are many concepts I understood intellectually before but really only realized with my actual heart, my actual deep unspeaking, feeling self, going through the pain, disappointment and fear of this experience. In a word, I suppose this lesson is "submission" or "acceptance" to the fact that there are many, many, many, many things we do not control.

Now, to clarify, I didn't and don't feel "baby crazy." (Whatever that belittling expression means.) I like kids and know definitively I want children, but it wasn't that every month I didn't get pregnant I was like, "Oh, god, no baby!!! How can I be complete without children?!" It was deeper, scarier than that. It was like, "Okay, I have made this major decision about how I want my life to go, about what I really want to experience. I am willing to take these particular risks, even if they are daunting and I know it will forever change me to do this."...And then, that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what you want, what you hope for, what you're willing to risk. None of it...because you have absolutely zero control and, in these black moments, you realize that a lot of life is like this - outside your control. That, in fact, the deepest, most important things in life are outside your control.

This is probably mainly because the most important aspects of life involve hope, love, and people. People are complicated and inconvenient. Hope is terrifying and love never looks like what you hoped for. Don't get me wrong, life is empty, stupid, and pointless without these's just...they are unwieldy, and truly connecting - really hoping, really loving - is risky and offers no certain outcome.

Therefore, saying, "I'm ready to have kids, to do this crazy, terrifying thing"...and then to realize my will has little to do with anything, was an experience that brought up a lot outside of the specifics of having a baby for me. When you stand, tiny and ridiculous, in the dark, gaping vastness of the universe and say, "I want this," you realize how little you are, how insignificant your desire is in the larger play of forces, that there is no guarantee of anything. Ever. And this experience feels like it will break you, that simply knowing how enormous, unknowable and utterly uncontrollable life is will surely ruin you. Realizing that if happiness doesn't look like what you expected, you are not sure you will recognize it.

So, in the last year, I've really come to believe happiness in life has a lot to do with how we deal with all those things we do NOT control, maybe it's even more important than all those things we do plan, decide, act on, make happen. I think I might have thought this before, but it was only - trying to - let go and move through my sadness, my fear, really opening to it, without resisting that I...I don't know...actually truly realized this.

I feel like some religious convert, but one who doesn't believe in god or fate or even some driving force like karma. I believe instead in simply trusting my experience...and, I guess, the good sense of my future self. I mean, I will deal with what is happening now...and I'll trust the future me to deal with whatever happens later. Maybe this sounds lame or simple...but it is hard for me...but also really freeing. To confuse my supposedly non-religious take on this, it's like that gospel song about laying your burden down at Jesus's feet...only I've taken Jesus out of the scenario. I say, ditch the whoever's feet you want. I mean, if Jesus works for you, great. But maybe you can just set it down in some random place - in the woods, on a street corner.

I just know this: I do not want to live my life trying to fix, to control, to manage, to force my life to adhere to some rigid vision I have...and to be disappointed when it doesn't. It's exhausting and there's no time to enjoy the good things that actually happen that way. I don't want to live my life like I'm trying to outrun some fear or some sense of my own mediocrity. I don't want to live my life like I'm trying to prove something. I'd rather just turn around and face those awful, soul-sucking thoughts, I wish I'd finished a book. I wish I were thinner, taller, stronger. I wish I'd moved to that place...etc. etc. etc. I'd rather just see these things, really let myself feel that terror, that insecurity, than be driven by it.

I don't know exactly how you let those things go, I just know you can. I just know that acceptance is giving up any expectation that this moment will be different than what it is. That you let go of your expectations over and over and over. And that that's really the only way to be truly happy. Some things in life are just hard and shitty. Wishing they weren't or trying to fix them...just doesn't really work. That's all.

Anyway, I can say I'm glad I had this experience and, yes, it's probably partly because I did finally get what I wanted. And it IS nice to get what you want. I know I feel deeply happy...and peaceful? Certainly things working out makes me happy, but I think it's bigger than that. I feel such...relief to realize I am not going to break, that sadness, disappointment, loss of control will not destroy me, render me unhappy. That whatever happens - this is it - my life...and it's all I have.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Haven't I Said Enough about Puking???

I am beginning to think that I will always feel queasy. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but I kind of can't remember what it's like to eat food without feeling barfy afterward...or feeling a kind of hunger every hour that rapidly transforms to an uneasy, upset stomach if I don't eat quickly enough. Or knowing that I need to drink so much water...and water makes me feel awful.

I know, I may be complaining...but I realized today that I am T I R E D of this. I feel worn out by it. I guess I can handle this kind of thing for about...five weeks with relatively good humor. Let's just say that my good humor is worn thin by my morning ritual of gagging and heaving up a little stomach acid into the kitchen garbage can each day as I try to make it to the cereal before I puke.

Maybe this is because I've gotten like three headaches in the last four days, one of which included visual distortions...and it lasted all night. Every time I woke to pee (so, like five times), my head was still throbbing. Anyway. I'm tired of this whole first trimester thing. I am grateful I am pregnant, but I am also tired tired tired of these particular symptoms. Oh well.

My head is hurting again. Yikes.

On a positive note, we have a very kind little gift fairy (what other way to describe this?) sending gifties. It makes me happy to have such a sweet, lovely friend. Today we got a baby towel with little monkeys on it that almost made Kiyomi cry. Very sweet. Thank you, Madam L.

I have all these plans - not even elaborate, like "put away the laundry" - but every day when I get home, I just want to lie down. Ho Hum. I guess I'll just go with it. I just may not get those Christmas presents done in time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Lie

So, I've been living a lie for the last 13 weeks. Um, apparently I don't know how to count??? So, the way this pregnancy is counted is by COMPLETED weeks. God in heaven. How am I supposed to learn these things? So, today is called 12.2 - meaning I have completed 12 weeks and two days. Well, today is the second day, so it's not - technically - completed. The funny thing is, I am actually in my 13th week, but does it count? I mean, am I still in my first trimester or what??? (This ends at the end of the 12 week.) So, in actual time my 12th week ended on Thursday...but in pregnancy counting is this my 12 week? I am at a loss. I suppose it doesn't matter much...but I would sort of like to know if I've left the first trimester - just for precision's sake.

To make it complicated, one of my pregnancy books says that the chance of miscarriage takes a major drop at the end of the 12th week. So, I'd think, taking into account the way weeks are counted, maybe next week? However, another one of my books has a nifty little chart where you can look up the date of your last period and it maps out all kinds of things - your due date, when the sex can be determined...and the date where miscarriage drops off radically. That date, for me, was yesterday. Friday the 13th. I am confused.

Fortunately, all of this only matters because my attention to detail is bordering on pathological. I can work on that.

The more obviously exciting news (that some of you may wonder why I didn't lead with - hey, remember my obsession with detail, folks) is that we heard the heartbeat yesterday. It was pretty soft and very fast. The midwife had to take a few minutes to find it. We'd hear it for a second...then Cletus would dash off to the other side of my uterus. The midwife was like, "It's shy."

Back off, lady, let's not start projecting personality traits onto little Cletus, whose bones haven't even calcified yet. I mean he's pretty flexible still - literally.

Ha ha. I'm sort of kidding. I mean, it was an innocent comment...but I kept thinking about it. We think a lot about the baby's sex...but what about shyness? Am I afraid of a shy child? Or an outgoing child? What if our child isn't good at math? Does that matter? What if it's tone deaf...or terribly clumsy? I'm not sure I's just overwhelming to think of all the possibilities. There are so many aspects to each person's character... Some character traits are bound to be challenging for me to deal with. That comes with the territory. I guess each kid is what it is...and you both shape that...and sort of don't have any control over parts of it. I mean, they ARE their own person. C R A Z Y.

This whole parenting thing is going to be very...interesting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Out of the Non-Gay Closet (Except that it is still gay)

First, I don't even know what to call this kind of indigestion. Is it heartburn? It feels like a cross between heartburn and something choking me...from the inside. Hmmm. So, based on my last 24 hours of heartburn, I think anything salty, spicy, or tangy gives me heartburn. So, basically, anything with flavor. Nice.

My friend Shannon outed me to the custodian at work today. She was all, "Well, she's pregnant..." Nice. This may be interesting. Here's why: Alejandra (the custodian) asked me once if I was married a LONG time ago. I think I said, "I'm in a relationship." Well, if memory serves she then asked me about my "boyfriend"...I kind of side stepped that question. I mean, I just didn't feel up to the whole, "I'm with a woman" conversation. Plus, at the time, I didn't really know if she chatted (read: gossiped) with other teachers, and there are definitely some folks at work I like to keep in the D A R K about anything personal. Anyway, now, several years later, I really love Alejandra, but we never talk about real personal, I'm wondering what fun, awkward conversations await me in the coming weeks. This will be amusing.

Shannon felt terrible, needless to say. She was like, "I thought everyone would know." What silliness. No one knows. I told her that I plan to tell people when they look at my big, fat pregnant belly and say, "'re...???" And I will say, "Yup, I'm getting fat. I mean, I'm pregnant!"

Well, I'm going to get back to my full-time indigestion. Fun times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sleep Disturbance and New Age Music

So, I want to talk a little about sleep. I want to say right now that I don't mean this as a complaint. It feels silly complaining about sleep stuff when several of my friends with little tiny babies are getting sanity-threatening levels of sleep, as in very, very little. (I can't wait for that part of this child-rearing experience!)

Still, none of the pregnancy books really talk about this. Here it is: I wake up about 15 times during the night. Then, it is hard to get back to sleep. I wake up and can't fall back to sleep because

-I have to pee
-our insane cat Peeps is clawing at the window
-I am having fantasies about euthanizing our cat Peeps
-I need some water
-I drank water and it made my stomach hurt
-my stomach hurts for some other reason (apparently, I have morning sickness when I sleep)
-one of the other cats is running up and down the house like a tiny wildebeest
-an invisible being in another dimension sneezes...well, really, sometimes I am not sure why I wake. I just do.

It's very odd. The worst part is, in general, my stomach is a little icky at night. Trying to fall back to sleep when you always have some indigestion or stomach pain is...a challenge. So, I'm trying to look at this as an opportunity to practice the mindfulness training I just completed. Hmmm. So, this is what I try to do when I can't sleep:

-just "notice" Kiyomi's loud mouth breathing and let it go
-just "notice" my irritation with her loud mouth breathing and let it go
-let myself just feel the sciatica-like pain in my ass and hip I've been having for 3 weeks now (maybe it's piriformis syndrome) without resisting it
-let myself just feel the stomach pain without resistance
-do progressive relaxation - starting by focusing on my breath
-just "notice" how much I can't breath because of all the mucus
-try to let go of the 1,000 other random thoughts, like what I'm going to do with that boy in my 6th period who is like a monkey on crack and other sundry irritations.

This sounds like a lot of complaining. Actually, I feel pretty positive. And, though it is a challenge at night, I definitely feel that my ability to relax and focus on my breath has gotten better. In fact, I feel downright happy most of the time. (Despite the fact that this week was the pukiest to date - I threw up three times. Okay, two of those times, I didn't have anything in my stomach, but WHEW throwing up nothing but a little stomach acid really takes it out of you!) I just want to document this experience, and this sleep thing is something I hope to forget soon...

Okay, one more negative thing. My mouth has tasted absolutely disgusting all week. Whatever I eat or drink seems to linger in my mouth and create a very yucko aftertaste. Blech. This, in turn, has lead to a LOT of gagging and dry-heaving this week. I've moved more into that dry-heaving phase and away from simply gagging. Nice.

Oh, one other thing I've been wanting to note, so I won't forget. Basically since the start of my pregnancy, I find that I'm kind of winded when I'm talking for more than a few minutes to my classes. I get all out of breath and my heart rate seems high. It's really odd - something that happens fairly consistently...and something that never used to happen. I know my blood pressure is nice and low, so apparently this isn't really a long-term stress reaction. It's just so odd.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been forcing Kiyomi to do yoga with me each night. Lately, I've had some very mild headaches, so the yoga is very mellow - mostly lying down and in seated positions...with a lot of shavasana and a little seated meditation. In the mostly dark of the living room. Basically it's like foreplay for sleep.

Anyway, it's inspired me to create the lamest station on Pandora... I'm trying to JUST get chanting - not Gregorian style. really wants to play a lot of new agey music that I DO NOT want. So, I'm trying to train it...what I'm realizing is that mostly people want actual music stations, even if the music has little twigs breaking in the background and lots of synthesizers, Carlos Nakai on the flute, the sound of water running over rocks, and other super woowoo instrumentation. I mean, apparently people don't just want chanting. I guess I get it, but boy it would be great if I could force Pandora to give me what I want!

Well, Friday the 13th is coming - it's the start of my 13th week (fun, eh?) and my next birth center appointment. I think we'll get to hear the heartbeat! Exciting!!! It is also the official end of my first trimester...which I hope means the barfing will subside soon! At least in time for turkey and pie. Incidentally, we waited too long to sign up for centering with our month at the Birth, we're with the June group. My due date's only two days from I guess it's not that big a deal. PLUS, the time is MUCH, MUCH better...maybe this is an auspicious sign?

Time to sign up for other birthing classes, too, I guess. I suppose it's time we decide which method we're interested in...

So, Pandora just played a song called "heysatan"...what???

Friday, October 30, 2009

11 Weeks

(I'm only barely at the 3 month place. Still, I feel like I have gained a little weight...)

So, today is the start of my 11th week. In two weeks from today, we have our second appointment at the Birth Center...hopefully we'll get to hear the heart beat. We also have to decide if we are doing the group prenatal appointments - called "Centering" - or if we are going to do purely individual appointments. The advantage is that Centering is in the I don't have to miss tons of school...which, let's be honest, I don't mind not being at work, but it's kind of a a pain to get coverage for part of a day...and to do sub plans, etc. Still, I would totally do all of that except that I'd like to save up all my days for the end of the year, so I can stop working earlier than the very last day.

It sounds like Centering can be sort of a little sucky, though, if you have a lame group. You are grouped with people with similar due dates. A few of my friends definitely said that the only advantage of Centering was the evening appointments... I know that really irritating people in the group would drive me a bit crazy...and I'm pretty sure it would make Kiyomi downright angry.

Also, we're looking into birthing classes...I mean, it'll still be a while, but I feel like I should get an idea when the classes I want to take are offered...

Woo-hoo for Friday and another swine flu free week!

Now to answer the call of my bladder!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here's My Wormhole

I just watched Donnie Darko...I haven't seen it in several years. God, it's sad. And, I really don't like Drew Barrymore. Maybe it's because I teach literature...but she is NOT a believable English teacher.

Speaking of teaching...tangentially...I've taken to running into the corners of my classroom to gag in private. It's pretty gross. I mean, I gag ALL the time. Is this normal? I've actually barfed only twice. Once last week (hmmmm, stinky kitty kibble that fell in the water dish. God, I'm glad I don't have to eat kitty kibble) in addition to the first time I puked. I don't even dry heave much...just every 15 minutes or so. I guess I sound sort of amusing - sort of cat barf cough sounds, I guess. Kiyomi started making the "gollum gollum" gagging/hack/cough from Lord of the Rings. She thinks it's pretty funny, but it also makes me gag more.

She's also taken to calling the little being dwelling in my uterus, "Cletus" - as in "Cletus the fetus." It's catchy. So, now we talk about little "Cletus." I think of that it from The Simpsons? Cletus, the slack-jawed yokel. What a horrible name. And funny.

Speaking of names - again, only tangentially - I am feeling entirely overwhelmed by the task of naming Cletus. I mean, I don't really feel any pressure to think about this now...we're 1/4 of the way there...only. So, I've got time. However, it's just really unappealing... Ugh. I don't want this job, which is weird. I always thought picking out a name would be pretty rad. Now, I just feel...nothing. Like, I'm supposed to feel this big connection to some it's supposed to capture the very least, my interest. And I just feel meh...about it all.

I sort of feel that in general about this experience. Well, not exactly meh...I mean, it just feels so unreal. I feel like I could be more emotional...excited, etc. I just feel very calm. It's just so unreal, unbelievable. I don't feel afraid - or like something is going to go wrong. I just it's impossible to really GET what is happening. That's okay for now.

It is only the 10th week. My uterus is apparently the size of an orange...but still "tucked away" in my pelvis. Cletus is not quite 2 inches long. Supposedly my queasiness may start decreasing next week. Or not. Who knows?

In other news, I totally ate a tuna fish sandwich...after like 5 years of self-righteously denying it because of the mercury, etc. It was the only thing that sounded at all appetizing one afternoon. My strongly held convictions are no match for Cletus.

AND, less interesting, perhaps, I watched and actually enjoyed the movie TWILIGHT. God, how did that happen? I had a student who begged me to read the books a few year ago - I couldn't even actually read all of them. I skimmed large portions of the books out at the time. I mean, I was interested enough to want to know what happened...just not interested enough to actually read the quite horrific prose.

So, imagine my astonishment when last week, on a lark, I picked up the movie and found it to be superior to the book. How often does that happen? Well, that's sad for the book...but the movie was totally a guilty, RIDICULOUS pleasure for me. Whereas the books were like...wanting something to be a guilty pleasure but then just...a feeling of guilty disgustedness? I don't know if I've ever really believed that a movie IMPROVED a book, but this cut out so much flat-footed, self-indulgent exposition. Weird. It's nice to get lost in the silly love story of a ridiculously handsome vampire...I can't even complete that sentence. It's know. But that vampire is really fucking hot.

Also, Kiyomi is wrapping up the last of her trips this week. I am relieved...I know it makes me sound like a big baby, but I really can't even imagine feeding myself right now. I mean, it's interesting under normal circumstances...but when I'm's downright absurd.

Let's pray for less gagging.

And no cold or flu. Blah.

And, while we're at it, a perfectly healthy tiny little baby.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action

So, this morning we went to Dr. Hutchison's office. Just being in that office makes me kind of nervous...all those IUIs that didn't work. It was easy to picture him not finding the baby...or there being some horrible problem. Today, fortunately, was great news. We didn't get to HEAR the heartbeat, we got to see it. It was like a little hummingbird...extremely rapid. We saw the little arm and leg buds moving too. It's pretty crazy. Apparently the spine looks good! Woo-hoo folic acid!!! Anyway, it was totally a little gray blob with kind of little blobs attached - the head and the arm and legs...but at the center was the fast little heart beat! Right on! The heart is beating! It is NOT an ectopic pregnancy!

So, the ultrasound uses Doppler to create the little motion/sound waves of the heartbeat. Dr. Hutchison kept saying, "This looks great!" That was nice. Of course, he also used to exclaim that my eggs or uterine lining looked wonderful. And my cervix. I guess you gotta love your job, whatever it is! Anyway, here's the heartbeat rendered as waves. This doesn't look like a lot to me, but the heartbeat was quite clear on the ultrasound, on the little blob-baby itself, so that's awesome.

Kiyomi keeps calling it a turtle. I don't really like that...but it's better than Baby Sequoia, which is what she was calling it for a while, much to my disgust! I guess it looks sort of turtle shaped. I just don't like turtles enough to want one in my uterus, you know.

Yay, heartbeat!!! I guess the chance of miscarriage now drops to the single digits. That's nice. I'm not really so worried, but I also am not quite crazy excited. It is all still so abstract. I mean, I'm soooooo happy that there was a heartbeat...and I liked seeing the little movement of the little alien...but it's still kind of...hard to believe (?) that I have another human forming inside me. Crazy!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baby and Baby Pictures

Let's add water to the list of things that makes me feel like throwing up. Really - water. I have to sip it...and when you're supposed to be drinking like 80 ounces of water a day...that's a shit load of sipping. I really am a gulper. I need to drink a lot of water in a few sittings to get it all in. That's hard enough to remember to do for me when I'm at work. Now, I have to remember about 120 times a day to take a little sip.

This baby better be really cute.

I had an amazing morning on Friday. I felt normal. It was cool. I thought I was leaving this barfy phase. I guess not. How is possible to be both needing to eat and completely disgusted by food...all the time. It's pretty phenomenal.

I uploaded about a gazillion photos to my flickr account today. There are some pretty hilarious pictures of my mother, my bro and myself all as little kids. One of my favorites is this sand one of my mom. It's so funny. She seems very much a little, carefree kid. It's crazy to think we were all weird microscopic bundles of cells to start out with...then curious, crazy babies. It's really hard to SEE that when you look at fully formed, grown up humans.

I also love a few pictures of my brother...where he looks like Michael C. a toddler. Freaky.

Then there's the "White Trash Baby Margaret" series. Nice. It's fun...and a goddamn pain in the ass organizing photos. I hope to get a lot of these old pictures of our family scanned. It'd be nice...for everybody, I think.

Here's to more distractions from pukiness. (I've still actually only puked once...but boy do I gag and dry heave a few times each day! Woo-hoo!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Midwife and a Psychic

So, we had our first prenatal appointment yesterday. The highlight was the hour of paperwork. Really - a full hour. Actually, it was fine. I discovered that Kiyomi's phone has tetris on it, so I was happy.

The midwife Susan was pleasant and very thorough going over basic info. They look at your eating habits, etc. - nothing terribly exciting. I really feel I'm not eating enough...but I've been feeling so barfy, I guess I should just focus on the fact that the food I've eaten has stayed down. Woo-hoo! Victory!

Anyway, they listen for the heart and do a vaginal exam next time - at 12 weeks, so that's when the real excitement happens! Today they just made me pee in a cup and drained several vials worth of blood out of my arm. I've had blood drawn three times in the last few weeks. Fun. Other than the exceedingly irritating people in the waiting room - god, yes, your baby is cute (I'm a Scrooge, I know.) - it was a good appointment. Kiyomi wanted to kill this loud woman whose ring tone was a particularly holy version of AMAZING GRACE.

Monday is Dr. Hutchison - and, I think, a heartbeat. If there is one!!!! God, let's not think about that!

Kiyomi saw a woman she works with at the Birth Center when we were there - it was awkward as both she and I are extremely early in our pregnancies. Oh well. That woman might just assume Kiyomi was there for a regular hoo-hoo check up. Who knows? I have wanted to tell a few other people, but I am refraining. I had one extremely weird experience with my friend Colby who I used to work with and is in my writing group. I was in Antigone's (bookstore where she still works) and she looked directly at me and asked if I was pregnant. I was probably just 6 weeks pregnant at the time and completely flabbergasted. I am really not good at straight-up, unprepared untruths. I just stared at her for a minute. She said that I just had "a look" about me. Then I said, "Uh, talk to me later...we're trying." I guess I hoped that she assumed we'd tried and I didn't know. Freaky, though! Fortunately not everyone is psychically perceptive like Colby.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Acne as the Diviner

So, this is from some website called "Pregnant TV." Hmmm. This is approximately what the thing (girl? boy? martian?) growing inside me looks like right now. It's pretty tiny...a little less than one inch long. I'm trying to not hold all this horrible pukiness against this creature.

Incidentally, one of my pregnancy books says, "You may notice an improvement in your skin; this is due to pregnancy hormones." Then, in some other place, written small, it essentially says, "Oh, or your skin is totally breaking out, especially if you are someone who breaks out around her period." Apparently that "pregnancy glow" is just a really greasy face. Those of us who already have some greasy spots on our face go from a little greasy to having a slight pimpled topographic landscape raised on our foreheads. Oh, and I am getting zits places I NEVER get them. Like in my smile lines. What? When it comes to breakouts, I'm really a forehead and chin girl...sometimes on my nose. That's it.

I think people try to determine the sex from these kinds of things. Boy babies make you want to eat protein and you carry them lower...and, get this, girl babies make you nauseated, want to eat carbs, and break out. Also, if you're having a girl, not only do you get fat, but your partner does too. Um, self-hatred much, ladies? One site explained all the negative things girl baby's due as result of the girl baby, "stealing the mother's beauty." Gag. Seriously, what is this ridiculousness?

These are all things I've heard - but I went looking this morning for something that is super negative that you experience when you carry a boy baby. Well, I didn't really find anything. However, one site felt it necessary to inform women, "It's important to remember the only scientific way to verify the baby's sex is through an ultra sound, CVS testing or amnio." Thanks, guys, I was going to go with the acne as the determiner.

Amusingly, I'm really certain I'm having a boy. (Well, "certain" at moments.) But, here I am with pimples, nausea, and loving carbs...I guess we'll just have to see if Kiyomi gets fat.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Exalted Jupiter

So, I can't believe how much I hate morning sickness...that lasts all fucking day. It's like being hungry and nauseated all at once. All the time. How stupid is that? I guess I kind of pictured it feeling more like the stomach flu...which is actually worse pain...but it comes in waves. I just feel like I could barf all the time. This is like a higher pitched irritation...buzzing up through my digestive system and lungs into my mouth in the form of saliva...and this constant feeling that I just might, out of the blue, puke. It's weird. And, did I mention, unpleasant? Yeah, I was foolish to say that I can handle the physical pain better than the psychological. Really, I'm terrible at both.

Kiyomi and I were out running errands yesterday. I decided I really had to eat. I wanted New England clam chowder, of all things. After we tried picking something to eat up at Whole Foods with no luck, I landed on the idea of a buffet. So, I forced Kiyomi to go to Sweet Tomatoes. This is not a terrible eating establishment. It is a bit cheesy, I suppose...but mostly it was knowing we'd be hanging with the post-church Sunday lunch crowd. I was truly impressed by the fact that Kiyomi managed to cast aspersions on only a few people. However, I could see the constant, silent judgment in her eyes. She's such a lovable tyrant.

Anyway, a buffet is great. If I can get over the food I will waste, it's kind of amazing. I take a bit of this and that, casting aside the rest of my serving, before finding something that isn't revolting. It was Caesar salad, mac and cheese, potato soup, and a roll. This tarragon mustard tuna pasta salad looked and smelled delicious. I haven't had tuna in years. Still, I put some on my plate. Well, the tyrant scooped it off my plate! I was pretty amused and also thought about aiming a kick at her shins. I guess she thinks she should have some kind of say over what happens to this alien growing inside me.

On a note unrelated to barfy feelings, I had a Vedic astrological chart reading done for me yesterday by my wonderful, lovely yoga and meditation teacher, Natasha. It was totally and completely fun and fascinating. It's different than Western astrology. I guess Vedic astrology is where the planets ACTUALLY were etc. as opposed to some complicated whatever configuring done in other astrologies. This is less interesting than the fact that I have FIVE planets in Capricorn. Interesting. There were a few things that were totally fun and right on. Nothing seemed really wrong, but a few things were sweetly on target.

Today I've been thinking about how much I love SOOO many people in my life. You know, how lucky I feel to be able to find people who are so lovely in the world. I have always believed I've been graced with some really deep capacity to connect with, trust, and really love people. I don't feel like this is because I'm awesome...or that it's related to anything I've done through conscious action. No, I've always felt that it was something that I was lucky to be born with, something that is just a part of my make up, like blue eyes.

I think this with some regularity, but my chart gave me a little explanation of this. So, I guess I have two exalted planets - which means the planets are in the place on the chart that makes them the most potent version of themselves. One of them is Jupiter. It's in Cancer, where it loves to be, apparently. This is supposed to make me very blessed in love, relationships, relating to people, social networking. It feels very true. And, it deepens my belief that it's some kind of grace, not merit, that gives me this quality in my life. I am constantly amazed at the people that I suddenly find in my life who are generous, helpful, and just make me constantly see things in a new light. (God, it's like I'm drunk.) So, I am trying, in my barfy state, to remember how lovely and connected I feel to so many, many wonderful people.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

My new hip hop name is "Sacks of Pain"

I can't believe how terrible I feel at night...I mean, in the middle of the night, when I wake up 17 times to pee. When I get out of bed, I have to hold my breasts so they don't move even the smallest amount. They are like giant sacks of pain affixed to my chest in a not really secure fashion, so they seem to jostle at the slightest movement feels like I've been stabbed. I've tried wearing a bra...but the constriction bothers my chest and stomach. Weird, I know. I've tried different bras... Once I'm upright for the day, it's really much better (plus I can wear a bra)'s like at night, my boobs are in some kind of pregnancy pain overdrive.

I am now pretty firmly in the grip of morning sickness, but even before this last week of nausea, I felt queasy and yucky only in the middle of the night. What is this about? Is this a common thing - to feel really shitty at night and okay during the day? It's odd and a little unfortunate because it's hard to get back to sleep after my frequent bathroom visits. Hmmmm...such an interesting experience.

Kiyomi is back from her field work, so she can help feed me. I know, that's kind of pathetic, but yesterday when I felt so barfy, it was really hard to even look at, it's nice to have someone do that preparation part done and then...I can eat...and try not to puke.

On the upside, yesterday when I was lying down most of the afternoon incapable of much of anything, I got to see what VH1 believes is the best hip-hop song of all time (woo-hoo!)...and, you know, some of the other top trillion hip hop numbers...or whatever ridiculous number they count down from. It was Public Enemy's "Fight the Power." In case you were dying of curiosity. Surprisingly, all that bitches and hoes talk didn't make me even sicker. Actually, I was totally interested by it...I mean, once I got past the fact that for every 3 minutes of the program there were 2 minutes of commercials.

I do have to say this, hip-hop may be the most self-reflexive genre ever. I mean, every few years, some rap group's big hit is all about how the industry has gone to shit and no one is making TRUE rap music anymore. It's so fascinating. I mean, I think other musical genres have individuals who talk about this...but not so many songs purely about what the genre is, whether others are truly living up to its tenets, or the characteristics that make specific groups TRUE MCs...I mean, it's pretty unique...and sort of bizarre. I am trying to imagine other musical genres having so many songs that are lyrically so completely comprised of claims of, "I'm the best guitarist, I can play some crazy-ass riffs..." or "I sing the prettiest, yeah, my range is three octaves, you that"...I don't know...I can't see it.

Don't get me wrong - I in no way believe this correlates to rap stars having the hugest egos (well, except in the case of that insane egomaniac Kanye West). I have no doubt that mega stars of all musical genres can potentially have huge egos...even if only certain types of musicians spend so many lines singing about how awesome they are. I guess this is why hip hop stars have 17 times more often than anyone else. It's all about being the image in a really direct way. (Let's face it, it's all about the image for any commercial musician...just more overtly in hip hop?) Anyway, it was an interesting program. And, I still have to say, LL Cool J and 50 Cent are pretty fucking attractive...well, physically. It's less fun hearing 50 Cent talk, though LL Cool J's attractive doesn't diminish quite so much when he talks. Plus, he was fricking hilarious on 30 Rock. So, you know...there's that distraction when you feel like puking!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Looking up? Throwing up? More on feeling like barfing.

Something I didn't expect: I'm really growing up to be an optimist. I know that there is a dark, worried wrinkle in my soul – a part of me that believes the worst can and DOES happen. I'm not really my goal to flatten that's just, in the recent months, I actually trust the universe, my future self, circumstances, whatever, more. I find myself saying the kinds of things that make people want to roll their eyes and making gagging sounds. For instance, I really am believing now that a lot of what happens in life is pretty good. That those things that aren't so great are usually much less terrible than I make them out to be before hand, and that even the small number of truly awful things that happen to me, I must simply find a way through, that no amount of anticipatory or preparatory suffering helps. Somethings are simply difficult and no amount of understanding, fixing, rejecting will change that.

Yesterday, on my way to work, I thought, today I'm just going to try and accept everything that happens to me without rejecting it. I mean, if it's something dangerous or harmful I can change, I need to address it. However, what lies at the heart of this is this dawning realization I've been having for some months that the vast, vast, vast majority of things are NOT in my control. If I can really see that in each moment, I can change what I need to...and try to accept and just move through the rest. As I did this, I realized the fear and dread I've been carrying around about swine flu has really shifted. I've been really queasy all week, but that was much easier for me to deal with than the mental/emotional suffering I was working with last week in the form of swine flu fear. Yet, I really think, just being present with that fear, really letting myself simply feel it – not get carried away by it, but not reject it – I think something shifted finally. Deb reminded me of something the Buddhist therapist and meditation teacher Tara Brach says, which helped. She talks about locating the suffering in your body and, without trying to fix it or do anything with it at all, you just send a stream of the word “yes, yes, yes, yes” towards it. This was surprisingly helfpul. It's actually kind of weird how it sort of made me feel different right away. Everything wasn't fixed, but I just felt more...relaxed?

At any rate, this week's barftasticness was much more manageable than the week of grappling with mental vomitousness. (How many ways can you name puke?) That's not to say that I'm not feeling any frustration or aversion around this. It's interesting how much this feeling ties me to my physical needs. I mean, I can be in the middle of something and...I just have to address my hunger, or bad, bad feelings will begin. This is a little irritating...let's just say, I can see my resistance to just having to be present with my body, to address it's need first, before anything else. (Ha ha! What is having a baby going to be like, I wonder!? )

So, it's a little touch and go with the whole food thing. Nothing is appealing. Really nothing at all...but I feel hungry. Weird. Very weird. I'm sort of a little irritated by this – I'm both nauseated by food and sort of constantly hungry. Such a funny and disconcerting mix. Oh, well. I guess I'll just keep eating...and not barfing it little bite at a time! Wait, maybe I want some kind of cheesy pasta Alfredo...ugh...yet hmmmmmmmm. Oh, no, my mouth is watering...that either means I'm appetized or I am on the verge of really, really wanting to puke. This is SOOO fascinating and weird.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Puke-er and Cry-er

My acupuncturist mentioned about year before I was pregnant that she thought I would be a “puke-er and cry-er” when I was pregnant. My mother experienced some nausea, but didn’t really throw up. I was incredulous. As one who does not like like to be told what to do in any form, I obviously wanted to disprove her.

Well, last night I wept inconsolably. Sure, I had a genuine reason to be upset, but I was really, really crying, just really feeling it. This morning I threw up. It was odd. I was brushing my teeth and thought, “Something about this toothpaste does not agree with me,” and, the next thing I knew, I had thrown up.

I am not sure if this throwing up thing is going to be a recurring event, but the sheer amount of saliva in my mouth sometimes makes me want to hurl. What a weird side-effect: extra saliva.

The queasiness has definitely increased these last few days…most food is unappetizing, but very odd, specific items sound really good. I was longing for a hot dog. Kiyomi very sweetly bought me some hot dogs to eat yesterday. There were vegetarian, which was kind of not the point, but I was surprised they were okay. I want a meaty brat next time, though. Some extremely Germanic and ridiculous meat.

Right this moment I want a sub sandwich with cheese and lettuce and pepperocinis and oil and vinegar and French fries…I think from Eegee’s. I guess I’d take a chicken sandwich and fries from The Cup. God, how am I going to make it through the rest of the day with these stupid almonds and a pear? Oh, and carrot sticks! All the protein in our house seemed exceedingly disgusting this morning.

What if all I crave is junkish food? WHAT TO EAT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING, that extremely fascist tome, definitely warns against “inefficient eating” where you fill up on empty or sugary or fatty calories. I eat kale or broccoli everyday…and some fruit…and the goddamn carrot sticks…don’t I deserve some fries??? I think yes. And a hot dog. A real one. And a sandwich. Maybe a cookie? Hmmmm……hopefully my appetite lasts until the end of the school day.


H1N1 is all over the news. I can’t listen to it or read the papers. I haven’t decided if I should experiment on the alien growing inside me by getting the vaccination. All the doctors say it’s safe…but what else would they say? The reality is, for the populace as a whole, it’s better if more people get it…so what if a few individuals experience bizarre and negative side effects?

I really haven’t thought of myself as someone who is fearful. I’m beginning to reconsider that. I feel gripped by this. It tugs and pinches at my heart. I’m trying to simply be present with this feeling. I want so desperately to reject this feeling. Or to fix it.

On the upside, I seem to be trusting of my actual body. I have had a few days of worried thoughts about ectopic pregnancy or, more recently, whether there will be a heartbeat when they listen in a week or so. But, I can really see those fears, feel them, and let them go. It’s like I actually just trust what’s happening. It’s surprising and nice. I sort of think trying to get pregnant for a year and struggling with trying to simply let go and accept my complete powerlessness over all the crazy bodily processes that I do not control, which is most as it turns out, might have had some lasting impact. Yay! I CAN learn!

This, though, is outside me. I’m facing potential constant exposure to some virus that even the newscasters talking about it seem to feel barely controlled panic about it at times. At moments it brings on almost epic paranoia for me. I can almost see the germs flying from the children’s mouths as they simply sit in class exhaling. I want to gag them all. Or wear one of those crazy, airtight oxygen masks. Maybe just a whole biohazard contamination jumpsuit!

I have already been less than kind when asking sniffling students why they came to school. It’s pretty clear from my indignant tone my first concern isn’t necessarily them. I took this Tibetan heart yoga workshop. According to this, whatever I want, I’m supposed to work toward somebody else having it. You see the connections to others, you work together to satisfy all your needs, blah blah blah. I am pretending the vat of hand sanitizer I force them to use and the open windows that refresh their germy air is for them as well. I mean, it could be, right?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fear and Barfing

So, the best reason for keeping your pregnancy a secret as long as possible is the horrifying shit people tell an effort to be helpful, I guess. Even some of my closest friends who know better have been hosing me down with fear. Last weekend at a dinner with friends, the conversation turned to swine flu. I was considering NOT getting the vaccination...because it's kind of scary to inject mysterious things into your body when you are growing a hopefully non-mutant little human in your belly. I mean, I would even consider getting it...but it's not even available at this point. I've got a whole month of potential swine flu expose that I can do absolutely NOTHING about...why work me up about this?

So, I've gotten to work with fear this weekend. Fun. I've made all my students (yes, I work with little walking disease vectors everyday) cough into their hands, wash hands, sanitize hands, etc. I'm prone to anxiety but not usually fear. Well, I guess I could consider this a great opportunity to work through fear. Weeee. I've been wracked with visions of me having the flu and then a horribly unhealthy, deformed baby. Or having to choose to terminate the pregnancy because I am almost dying. Yay.

I really wanted to enjoy this pregnancy. I am reminding myself that enjoying an experience doesn't mean it conforms to some previous notion of what I want the experience to means accepting and finding ways to learn from/enjoy the actual experience I am having. Still. Fear? Ugh, it's awful.

On a less psychological note, I am definitely dragging a little. I'm not super exhausted, but I feel much more tired than usual in the mornings and afternoons than I normally do. Also, I have definite feelings of queasiness. Not intense, just something vaguely uneasy and unsettled about my stomach, especially after I eat. I guess this goes hand in hand with not really having much of an appetite...nothing sounds really appealing, except particular odd things. The last two nights I've really wanted a hot dog.

We'll see.