Next verse, same as the first:

All the cool kids are having boys for their firstborn. Now I can get me some of that action.

The ultrasound was fun. We saw little fists waving and feet kicking. Very satisfying. She took lots of measurements, and next to each measurement a pregnancy weeks estimate popped up. Zod’s head is apparently a bit further along than the rest of him, prompting Kevin to crow about how the baby was going to have a big head, just like him. He also spent some time showing everybody the gender shot. I think he confused the nurses, who kept responding to him as if he were a serious concerned father.

He did ask the RNP (who we saw because our doctor was out delivering three different babies) about my sickness, and she wasn’t terribly helpful. I don’t really like her much, to be honest, but I don’t MIND her because, well, the appointments are so very simple right now. Anyhow, she asked me if I could keep down dairy and I admitted that I loved cheese. She started out with, “Oh, cheese is so very fattening…” and burbled on a bit about eating healthy yogurt and stuff instead, and then midstream apparently what was written on my chart caught up with her (I’d lost two pounds since my last weigh-in) and switched to telling me cheese was just fine. I was actually kind of annoyed by the whole thing, although I can’t quite figure out why. Maybe it’s just my dislike of being bossed around.

Anyhow, after the appointment, Kevin decided to skip work for the rest of the day and we went to look at baby stuff and just sort of think about the baby. At Macy’s, we actually convinced ourselves to buy a couple of outfits– pretty much the first baby things we’ve acquired. Kevin is astonishingly excited. Sometime this week, we should probably put together a timeline of what needs to get done and in what order so that we can be a little bit organized.

it might not be that bad

In the beginning, I was careful to not let myself get too attached to an embryo. It was important to me to not be too attached. Not all seeds sprout, after all. And I’d rather live in uncertainty than fear.

I have this anxiety problem, see. When it flares up, I can’t help but pair positive and negative emotions. Wild happiness is always tainted by the dread that it’s too good to be true. Deep love is twinned with a horrific and inescapable fear of loss. I don’t mean passively; I mean anytime I feel a good and strong emotion, I immediately start getting the butterflies of a dramatic anxiety attack. So I encouraged the uncertainty of early pregnancy to blockade the progress of a greater and more debilitating fear. It made sense to me. If I’d gotten attached to anything, it would have only been the idea of being pregnant, of being a mom in eight months. I didn’t want to get attached to that.

But that couldn’t go on forever. Some seeds sprout.

Or rather, it could go on forever, if I kept pushing the ideas away. It’s something I’m very good at. The core emotional center of me is well shielded from big impacts (though the little ones can leach through–song-sized sentimentality). A baby’s a pretty big impact, and an absolute magnet for anxiety. But letting an avoidant fear of a crippling fear control me would be as much of a tragedy as anything more biological.

I’ve talked about this with Kevin. And I’m getting closer accepting a baby person in my life. I can see the looming iceberg* of the most crippling fear I’ve ever felt on the horizon. But today, feeling little whooshes inside, I will not let it sink me. ‘Cause suddenly I really know that a baby person is cooler than fear is frightening.

*The iceberg of fear is an illusion. It’s not there if we can’t see it. Most of the time, disaster is a submarine, not an iceberg. I’ve been telling myself that for eight years or so, and I don’t know that it’s worked much when push comes to shove, but I didn’t have medication then.

Flip a switch

I wonder what it is I do to signal to my body “hey I’m done eating so now is the time to evacuate the system and undo all that work”.

Edited to add: Ooh, ooh! Remember how I said I didn’t think I felt nausea before the daily adventures? Well, now I can confirm that because I am back to feeling nausea. I really hope it’s a swiftly-passing event.

I’m ready for some positive aspect of pregnancy now.

Given that I’m well past my first trimester, I think that I don’t have much hope of the ‘vomiting all over myself’ part ending anytime soon. I’m really ready for a constant indicator that there’s a new human life growing inside of me and that I don’t just have a disease. It’s hard to have any affection for a disease.

I don’t even remember what feeling nauseous feels like, right now. Maybe it’s hormones, like the ones that let you forget the pain of labor. Maybe I don’t even get nausea anymore– just the sensation of my gorge suddenly rising, and wondering if I can hold it back long enough to position myself in front of something with a basin and a drain.

You know what’s tragically funny? I was just reading about high fructose corn syrup and all the ways it’s bad for you. And yet I’m pretty sure the only stuff I can keep down reliably is just full of it. Sweet stuff. I love the sweet stuff and so does my stomach.

Sometimes sudden sweet flavor rushes can avert it, or make a purging bout shorter and less painful. Lollipops help. There’s a sugared bubble gum with liquid centers that’s almost perfect. I hate chewing sugared gum but I hate studying the meal I ate a second time even more.

I’m also reaching a point where it’s getting a touch uncomfortable to sleep on my stomach, but it’s nearly impossible to sleep on my side. I try to prop myself up everywhere but the point where the pressure bothers me. But my clothes still fit (for which I’m actually grateful) and there’s nothing really to feel with my fingers.

And I’m getting really tired of this fucking rain. We’re now an inch and a half over the March average. We get a flood warning every week or so. I’m just so tired of it. I keep watching the 10 day forecasts and there are half-day respites sometimes, when the ground dries out a bit and the sun tries to come out but I feel like it’s all a gambit by the weather to avoid making any more long-streak-of-rain records. February was also 2 inches over the average. Stop trying to drown me!

I continue to be really glad I’m not working at Microsoft, even though that makes money tight. I started to see a little forward motion on positive projects this week but I don’t want to jinx it so you don’t get to know.

EtA: One of the reasons I want the rain to end is that our backyard is flooding and rotting in places. This means whenever the dogs come in, they smell really really really bad. We have to clean their feet off most of the time, and we do, but the smell of disgusting mud lingers. And encourages heaves! I can’t really manage taking them for walks simultaneously anymore, even if it weren’t wet wet wet wet all the damn fucking time. I feel that wrangling two dogs who average out to a bit over 100 lbs and are prone to sudden spurts of racing ahead would definitely violate the ‘heavy lifting’ ban, in spirit if not in actuality. So they HAVE to go into the backyard. I bought them booties for such occasions as this but they cause Hannah to have a nervous breakdown while Dante tries to take everybody’s shoes off.

Update on General Zod

The sad news is, I didn’t get to hear a heartbeat today.

The good news is, Kevin, Michelle and the doctor all saw General Zod squirming on the portable ultrasound machine the doctor dug out when she decided General Zod was hiding too well to show up on a doppler. She said she thought everything looked good, and that my very minor cramps were just the uterus stretching (which is basically what I’d hoped).

I think the next step is to call my aunts. This weekend, though, since my long distance is so crummy.

Hm, do I have more to say? I was definitely ready for more concrete evidence of General Zod’s continued growth; a tiny bit of spotting on Friday (after heavy lifting on Thursday) plus the stretchy cramps made me, well, happy for evidence. When she couldn’t find the heartbeat I thought ‘I knew it!’ but without any panic or worry. I think that was because the doctor was so calm about it.

The doctor ordered the quad screen blood test, which is a blood analysis that looks for four different substances in the blood. The levels of those substances combined with other risk factors lets the doctor decide if they should order additional screening for stuff like neural tube defects and Down Syndrome. The phlebotomist couldn’t get blood from the first arm so she had to stick me a second time, which I’d never personally experienced before.

Kevin said he wanted a portable ultrasound machine of his own, but if he had one, he wouldn’t leave me alone.

The IntarWeb says that the baby’s probably around 4 inches long now. My God. No wonder I feel sore and crowded inside. Presumably it’s kicking organs out of the way to make room, since it isn’t rising up or sticking out any. Stop it! Stop, Zod! Stop kicking me! Come to the front, there’s PLENTY of room up top. Nothing there but cushion.

The most annoying little change to ME as a result of General Zod is that I make tiny little noises now sometimes when falling asleep. When I’m exhaling, my voicebox will randomly engage, causing a tiny little ‘mmm’ noise– just loud enough to wake me up. That’s really a general theme, though– all my various output systems have become linked and looser. V. irritating.

I mean, part of it is anatomy.

It’s easy not to think of babies much yet. I’m clinically obese. This means there’s not much to indicate I’m pregnant. My breasts are bigger, and that’s about it. I’ve gained a bit of weight but I gain and lose amounts less than 10 lbs so easily that it doesn’t really seem significant. We haven’t heard a heartbeat yet, ’cause again, I’m obese. I assume I’m still pregnant with a living fetus, because there’s been no cramps, no blood, lots of sneezing and the continuing attacks of nausea. Every so often I have to refer to a web calculator to find out how far along I am– right now, I’m at about 13 weeks (as measured from last menstrual period). Well, technically, 12 and 6/7 weeks. My next doctor’s appointment is currently scheduled for March 18 (I think) and I guess I’ll be at 15 weeks? Hopefully they’ll be able to doppler a heartbeat by then. And the doctor said something about another ultrasound at my April appointment, which I suppose will be at around 20 weeks.

I suppose at some point after that I should do whatever arcane maneuvers my insurance requires so that I can give birth in a hospital without incurring random expenses.

I’m a little sad that most of my friends-and-acquaintance detailed pregnancy blogs are by slender women. I haven’t been able to find a lot of first-hand experiences (complete with occasional pictures– I wonder a lot when, if ever, I’ll ‘show’, and if I’ll ever actually NEED maternity clothes) of being pregnant while also being 80 lbs overweight. There’s lots of simplistic advice to lose weight before getting pregnant, and there’s one website that makes an attempt at being a resource for large, pregnant women– but most of the advice and experiences seem aimed at women far larger than me. and the material they do have is very limited. According to my doctor I’m tiny compared to some mothers she’s worked with, which was nice to hear. But it’s the same way I’ve always felt when bra shopping– too big for the normal stuff, too small for the big sized stuff (my breasts are pretty small compared to my hips and chest. Well, they were.)

Anyhow, mostly what I find is a chart of how much weight I should gain, and lists of all the complications that might come along with being obese. They irritate me, to be honest. I don’t feel like I’m starting out disabled. But it’s hard to really feel connected to stories where the protagonist can see the difference five pounds makes on her body, who notices some pudge and longs for the day when she starts to get a bump so people know she’s pregnant instead of out of shape. I don’t even know if that day will come. Those pictures of those glorious beautiful pregnant women, shining, radiant, barely padded except for protruding tummies, those aren’t me. Even when I see larger, very pregnant women, I find myself whispering, “But what did she look like at my stage? And how much did she weigh?”

Which is just an extension of body questions I’ve always had. I don’t know if it’s objectively true (there have been some comments to support it but who can trust them?) but subjectively I’ve always had trouble finding other women who seemed to be built like me. I weigh a great deal more than some women who (to me) seem much more cushioned. My boobs never kept up with the rest of me. I’m pretty darn flexible (don’t ask me to do backbends, though). I say I’m eighty pounds overweight but there are healthy women literally half my weight (which has, admittedly, gone up since moving).

I’d gotten used to feeling kind of like a wuzzle. But this stage of pregnancy is so much about anticipation and anxiety. I’ve opted out of as much of the anxiety as I can (which includes opting out on some of the more intense anticipations of tasty little toes; I literally can’t go there without, in quick succession, anxiety attacks: nothing is guaranteed— followed by autonomous anxiety shutdown procedures: only work with data you actually have), so what’s left is anticipating the pregnancy itself: the bump. The heartbeat. The movement. The things that will enable anticipation of all the rest. And I just don’t know what I’ll get or when I’ll get it. So… I just check on my new seedlings and wait for germination of the other seeds. It’s only 7-10 days and the seeding medium is absolutely, positively standard and within all the normal parameters.

How am I?

All right. Still sick sometimes, but not quite as much. I’m afraid I’m thinking more about my future garden than my future child at this point. It should occupy the entire third trimester! I need to call some of my aunts and let them know. And mail my cellphone number out like I promised….

I spent the weekend reading Ilium and Olympos, by Dan Simmons. I liked Ilium much more than Olympos, but since I only finished reading Olympos today (it took up most of the day, embarrassing as that is to admit), I’m going to resist having too much of an opinion until it all passes out of my immediate focus. I’ve always had a sort of love-hate relationship with Dan Simmons’ writing; his stories wander back and forth over a boundary between fascinating science fiction and grim horror.

Still behind on Heroes, unlikely to catch up soon, although Raymond is caught up on American Idol so maybe the two of us can shanghai Kevin.

I made some fantastic chili on Friday.

Today is Kevin’s birthday. I think we’re going to do some kind of little celebration but I think the entire household is kind of out of it, each in their own ways.

I think I’d like a book called ‘Sippy Cups Are Not For Chardonnay, a collection of humorous essays about new motherhood. I put it on my wishlist so I wouldn’t forget. Most of the pregnancy reading I’ve done has been indirect, based on perusing the pertinent blog entries of friends and acquaintances. I occasionally read random pregnancy/baby websites but I try to keep that to a minimum so I don’t get too angry at the world. Kevin and I have been discussing lately how incredibly anti-authoritarian I am. I’d not really thought of myself as such previously; if asked I would have pointed Kevin out as somebody who doesn’t like authority. But he’s perfectly happy to listen to authority he respects; I get cranky when anybody tells me what to do. Well, almost anybody. And there are certain ways of bossing me around that just instantly redline me and make me determined to do my own thing. Sometimes it’s quite a struggle overcoming that instinctive reaction to actually consider options.