Monday, December 31, 2007

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Things they tell you about pregnancy BEFORE you get pregnant:
  • "It's magical."
  • "It's the best experience you'll ever have."
  • "It will change your life forever."
  • "Everyone loves a pregnant woman."
  • "Yeah, you'll get bigger, but you won't mind when you realize what's happening within you."

Things they admit about pregnancy AFTER you get pregnant:

  • "Yeah, there are parts of it that actually suck."
  • "Truthfully, your body's never the same again."
  • "Someone was hurt or jealous when you told them you were pregnant? There's usually one person like that, for every pregnant woman."
  • "Oh, your feet have gone up a shoe size? Yeah. That's permanent. Hope you didn't like your shoe collection, 'cause you'll need all new ones."

Things they never tell you at all:

  • That the moment you become pregnant, you develop an immediate and nearly fathomless capacity for fear. Basically, take the "floor" of your fear capacity and drop it into darkness. The idea of what can happen to your child, your spouse, your little family -- it can paralyze you if you let it. So you can't. You just have to think it, experience the terror or paranoia for a minute, and then put it away. It's the only way to stay sane.

  • That sleeplessness starts long before the baby arrives. I haven't had a good night's sleep since about week 9. It was the peeing-every-hour thing at first. Then it was the can't-seem-to-stay-asleep thing. Now it's both. Oh, AND the there's-absolutely-no-comfortable-way-to-lie thing, not to mention the severely-messed-up-natural-sleep-cycle thing. Fun.

  • That waddling is not a result of weight gain. It's the result of intense pain. Look up "pubic symphysis dysfunction." Then have the nerve to joke about it to a pregnant woman.

  • That, towards the end, it actually hurts when the baby moves around. It's still fun and reassuring, but the kid gets strong, and large. And somehow very pointy.

  • That, even if you haven't been moody before, the end of pregnancy brings all sorts of delightful hormonal shifts. Last night I cried because the kitchen trash bag had fallen into the container and collapsed on itself. I really cried. Hard.

  • That morning sickness comes back at the end. (Welcome back, old friend. I'd forgotten how delightful you were the first four and a half months. You didn't wear out your welcome *then*, or anything.)

  • That despite all of this misery, you can look forward and imagine that after the baby arrives, you might actually miss the sensation of carrying your child within you.

  • That an understanding, loving and patient husband is to be cherished and nurtured, and as much as possible, protected from your mindless blow-ups. He's now seen me truly at my worst to date. And amazingly, he still not only loves me, but takes care of me every time I fall apart, no matter what time of night or day. Plus, even though I don't believe him when he tells me I'm beautiful, I can see he actually means it. And that's phenomenal to me. So even when I'm irrational or half-crazed with hormones, I try very hard not to take it out on him. He's my lifeline.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A letter to "Thumper"

Dear baby,

Your mommy and daddy are delighted that you are growing strong and getting ready to join us in a few more weeks. As you get stronger and more active, we've got a few things we wanted to take up with you.
  • Mommy's ribs are not a jungle gym. Feeling you move is so much fun! But when you stick your toes between mommy's ribs, and kick really hard, it hurts. Seriously. Mommy's not kidding.
  • Likewise, mommy's bladder is not a trampoline. No doubt it's fun to jump on it and bounce to your little heart's content! But sometimes that causes mommy to make embarrassingly frequent and pained dashes for the ladies' room. Please -- no more jumping.
  • We're not sure how you know it, but you've become very good at STOPPING your wiggles when daddy puts his hand on mommy's belly to feel you. While your devilishness is clever and impressive, it would be really nice if you let daddy feel you wiggle sometimes. You're making mommy look like a very chubby liar.
  • Your head is very, very hard. Impressively so, as a matter of fact. We've had doctors tell us that your skull bones are softer right now so that you can be born easier, but we think they're wrong. When you press that head really firmly against mommy's muscle wall, she can definitely feel your hard head! We love knowing where you are, but a gentle push would be fine with us, too.
  • Speaking of mommy's muscle wall, she's definitely getting a bulge on her right side, where you seem to like to curl up. Again, we love knowing where you're lying, but it's ok to hang out on mommy's left side, too. You're going to make her look like she's got a lopsided basketball under her shirts.
  • Mommy has always loved chocolate, and it seems you may, too, since she wants to eat so much of it lately. We just thought we'd let you know that it gives her ferocious and relentless heartburn now, in a way that she finds a personal betrayal. If you have anything to do with how often she wants to eat it, maybe you could let up a little.
  • Where did you find the razors you're currently employing as elbows and knees, you resourceful imp? Please take it easy on mommy's tummy. We're not sure if you're incising graffiti in there for your future brothers or sisters, or if you just like to feel mommy jump. But you might want to lay off a bit.

It's amazing to think you'll be here in just seven or eight more weeks! Somehow, we're pretty sure that you're easier to take care of NOW than you will be then. Keep cooking, and we'll see you soon.

Mommy and daddy