We’ll be singing

I wrote a Persephone myth yesterday.

My tummy keeps getting in my way, despite being only barely visible as a pregnant belly. It’s hard to reach things I used to be able reach while sitting, and standing up is harder.

Also, almost daily, there is thumping from Zod. This is an improvement over bubbles. It feels like painless muscle twitches. Kevin talks to my belly regularly. Usually, what he says is, “Wake up, baby! I want to hassle you!”

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.

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.

Cough cough sneeze sneeze blow

I suppose I shouldn’t beat myself up for being so low-function, since as far as web research can tell me, my pregnancy rhinitis is more severe than the congestion most pregnant women experience. I mean, maybe not and maybe I’m just a weakling. I do doubt this is worse than what anybody with allergies goes through on a seasonal basis. Sneeze sneeze cough cough hack gag blow! It’s not the worst cold I’ve ever experienced, thank God, but it’s definitely the sort of thing I might have taken a sickday for, in order to head off the worst cold I’ve ever experienced. Well, at least in terms of nasal suffering, it’s not the worst. I’m not sure I’ve ever sneezed this much before. And just think, six more months of it!

Story not finished yet but Hah Hah

I finally feel comfortable explaining why.

I’m pregnant! Today we had an ultrasound that placed me 9 1/2 weeks pregnant, due September 11 (just as I expected), a little over 1 inch long and a heartbeat of 166 beats per minute.

Oh yes, lots of symptoms. Exhaustion. Morning sickness since, oh, four weeks? Nearly constant morning sickness. Luckily I’m very attuned to what I feel like eating and careful listening has allowed me to neither gain nor lose any weight. Cheese is the very best.

Also, sniffly sneezing coughing so you can’t sleep thingie. Basically, a constant cold. And I sleep in 4-5 hour stints, twice a day, with a 2 hour nap sometime in there, usually.

My story is about 3/5 done, in terms of major events? It shall definitely be done by next Friday, and maybe even by Wednesday. Oddly, I’d been beating myself up about not finishing it until just now, when I planned out the sentence: babies are on an unpredictable schedule and thus so am I!

It’s been really hard not sharing the utter misery of the past month and a half with the world. But a heartbeat has been confirmed, and so now I’m ready to share the ups and downs with every stranger who happens by.

The developing embryo has been named General Zod. It dwells, of course, in the Phantom Zone. Blame Michelle.

Me and the Phantom Zone

For three weeks, I’ve been either nauseas or starving or both. In addition, I’ve been sneezing like crazy, coughing and mildly congested. The cramps have mostly faded although I’ve noticed that when I sneeze and I’m standing it seems to make strange muscles convulse on either side of my pelvis. My diaphragm hurts from all the coughing.

These reasons are why I haven’t been writing much! Not much to say except ‘I feel miserable!’. And I don’t want to worry people so I haven’t been saying that.

I have extra-restless legs some nights, which make it hard to sleep, but otherwise, I do a lot of sleeping. Not quite as much as a few weeks ago, at the moment. At the moment it seems like some of the more life-ruining symptoms are slooowly tapering off. I think I’m somewhere between 7 and 9 weeks along. (Kevin keeps track of the details.) I have an appointment with a registered nurse on Friday.

I had my first pregnancy-related dream last night. Kevin and I were going to the French countryside for a two-week vacation but I was having trouble packing, and then I realized we hadn’t bought plane tickets either. Kevin was pretty calm about it all although he simply refused to help me pack (which is very unusual).

I think this pretty accurately sums up the current situation. There’s something kind of nice on the horizon, even though it features a language we don’t speak. We’ve both been in the vicinity before and rather liked it, anyhow. I have to stuff everything I need for this experience into a smallish package, it’s making me miserable and there’s not much Kevin can do to help. And we don’t even know if we’re going to make it there, so maybe all this misery has been pointless. Oh, and we managed to plan everything (at least vaguely) but the date of departure.

I like how my brain produces these dreams. One part of it says ‘this is an abstracted description of your situation’ and another part, the flaky part, goes searching until it comes up with a parallel situation. And I think it honestly creates a parallel situation because it’s a dork. Seriously. I’m the person who (as a child), when given a locket saying ‘CFT’ on it, decided it must stand for ‘Conley Fall Tzavelas’, my family’s last names. Rather than ‘Chrysoula Fidelia Tzavelas’, my name.

Anyhow, the best part is that I don’t usually see the metaphor until I describe the dream to somebody else, and notice what details are important enough for me to put into words.