Thursday, January 19, 2012


"Still" is sort of my word of the moment.

Not that I'm good at BEING still, especially with all the work that needs I want to get done in the next 11 weeks, but I find myself saying it frequently.

I'm still pregnant. I'm mostly joking when I say that, but I know enough premie babies that I really am thankful. The "produce of the week" e-mail tells me that this baby is the size of a butternut squash, which is much better than the PUMPKIN pictured over there to the right. Every ache, pain, symptom, complaint, scare, bother, or worry that I've had for the past 6.5 months can all be modified with "mild" and that is something for which I am incredibly grateful. Not that I want to brag that I'm such a pro at being pregnant. I'm not. I'm whiny and nervous and drive my patient, sweet, thoughtful husband right round the bend because there's pretty much nothing to be whiny and nervous about. Except, you know, birth and then caring for an infant. I don't know how to do those things. I took a class. I think I'm a little more nervous now, because I have a better idea of just how much I don't know.

I'm still thinking about natural childbirth. I hesitate to say that on the internet, because everyone has OPINIONS and I thought I was always a "drugs now, yes please!" kind of girl. This isn't something I ever THOUGHT I'd be considering, and yet... here I am. I'm not scared of unnecessary medical intervention. I'm doing this whole thing in a hospital, with a doctor I trust not to cut me in anyway unless it really is necessary, and who is sympathetic, understanding, and willing to listen to me--which might be a little crazy, because I feel like I know NOTHING, but I hope that I'll know what I want when I get there. I'm not afraid of epidurals (except the thought of a needle in my spine, but from what I hear, since you can't see it, it's not that big a deal) or pain medication. I just don't know how I'm going to react and respond to labor. I've never done it before. I'm not really sure what my pain-tolerance is like.  I'm taking a Lamaze class, which really surprises me, because I kinda mocked the whole breathing thing for a long time. I mean, my dad thinks that giving birth without pain medication (initially typed "paid" which, while also true and possibly a Freudian slip, isn't what I meant) is akin to going back to the dark ages... but he's a pharmacist, so drugs are sort of his thing. He also had to watch my mom give birth to me without any pain medication, and it made a lasting impression on him. Of course, it made a lasting impression on her, too, and she's all for doing without the drugs if you can. IF YOU CAN. No stigma, shame, guilt, or other bad feelings if you can't, or don't want to. She is (awesome? yes!) totally supportive either way. So, since I know that birth isn't something you can plan (unless you're MBFJC and having a scheduled c-section), I have... preferences. #1-I'd like a live, external baby at the end of it. #2- I can change my mind at any time, except once it's too late to get the drugs in me and then I just have to suck it up and have the baby. That's what I've got. I won't feel bad if I decide to get drugs in any form (well, the LEGAL kind, at the hospital, from my doctor). I won't feel smug if I do this without, because... dude, there is no judging birth. Every BODY is different & you gotta do what is best for you and so do I.
I still have two bellies. I always sort of assumed that pregnancy would be the time when my bellies would unite.* So there's that assumption, which makes an ass out of you and mption, but it's there. What I didn't realize was that the ACTUAL assumption I had was that through the miracle of life going on in my innards, I would magically start to look like women in the advertisements. (I'll give you time to laugh, because, yes, it's laughable). Because all pregnant woman look the same! At least, all the pregnant women I'd ever known all looked the same. They looked like themselves, with this big, round belly that just sort of showed up. Well, I've got "big"** but not really "round." It's causing me to shy away from things I always thought I would want--like a maternity photo shoot. While I do want some record that this kid was actually inside me***, I can't really look at the examples out there of "maternity photos" and picture myself in them. First of all, there will be no naked belly. Nope. Not happening. Not this belly... these bellies, whatever. Secondly, if there's no big round belly to hold, then the pictures just don't seem right. I'm still trying to remind myself to focus on the fact that everything is going REALLY WELL. I'm healthy. The baby is healthy. Everything is WONDERFUL.

I'm still cleaning out every closet, drawer and cabinet in the house, throwing away, giving away, and getting rid of anything we don't actually use RIGHT NOW (except the gifted baby stuff, of course). This is cathartic and wonderful, but being stuck in the in-between part is sometimes disheartening. Things look worse when I'm only halfway done than they did before I started, so I have to keep reminding myself that we really are making progress. The fact that I have a dedicated linen closet is proof! All my table linens are stored in the hutch that goes with our dining room table, along with our wedding china. That's such a grown-up feeling accomplishment. My next task is to get my jewelry organized. The makeup purge/organization was so successful that I feel I can tackle the endless piles of earrings that may or may not have mates.

I guess the real point is that there isn't a whole lot of new stuff going on. New year and all... same old us.

*There's still time for that to happen. Now that I'm in the "growing an inch & a pound per week" phase, that might be the next big development, but so far the Union of my Fat Belly remains high & lofty, while the Confederate States of my Fat Belly remain right where they've always been, and the Mason-Dixon line of my belly button is as deep and cavernous as ever. Will it pop out and form a belly-truce? Only time will tell.
**I understand that what I think of as big now is laughable when compared to the end result, but it is still the biggest I've ever been, so we'll go with that for now
***I have several photos taken with my cellphone, so I'm not bereft of proof, but... to me, they just look like fat pictures, not pregnant pictures. My eyes are crazy and my brain isn't too sane either


Julie Short said...

I am still in purging mod as well. It feels great. Now I just to determine what to do with everything I am purging: sell or donate.

Stephanie said...

I really hope you get to come to Phoenix so I can see the baby belly. Oh, and you too of course. ;)

Swistle said...

I used to curve my arm across the Lower Tummy, as if lovingly supporting the Upper Tummy. THEN I'd take the picture. I'm glad I took all my mirror snapshots, despite toothpaste-speckled mirror and blurry weirdness. And a lot of them, at the time I thought I didn't even look pregnant, but LATER, looking BACK, I'm like OMG. Especially the twin-pregnancy ones.

I like your birth attitude. I think it's the one that leads to the happiest feelings afterward.

Elsha said...

I still want to see some belly pictures! Good luck with the natural childbirth. I really wanted that with Kalena, so having to have a c-section really threw me for a loop. Then when Will came along all I wanted was a VBAC, however I could manage. (And I did, with an epidural by the way.)

Also, although I like to do my weekly pictures, I have never been tempted to do a maternity shoot. The belly under the clothes? Not pretty. My sister has one of those bellies that looks air brushed and her maternity shots look great. That is definitely not me!

Erica Huff said...

I had two really good experiences with medication-free childbirth if you ever have questions about it. I dealt with a lot of condescension/skepticism before the first one (combined with condescension/skepticism about cloth diapers) but I wouldn't change anything we did. I definitely don't judge anyone with a different strategy, it's just what worked for me.

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