Monday, October 20, 2008

The Slide Continues

After all my protestations that I would not yet even look at maternity clothes, I broke down on Saturday and went to the Gap. The truth is, a sister just couldn't breathe anymore. The whole rig with the rubber band (and I mean a straight up rubber band whose previous job had been holding my mail together) and belly band was becoming pathetic. I was beginning to resemble a sausage, like one of those college girls newly introduced to a diet of beer and chicken wings. My jeans were even too tight on my chicken legs.

Anyway, I went to the Gap with no expectation that the pants would fit but I picked up a few and headed for the dressing room. I never, ever try clothes on and undoing the aforementioned rig was a pain but I had to do it. Low and behold, the damn things fit. The comfort was fabulous because it's not just the physics of jamming 10 pounds of flour in a 5 pound sack, putting so much pressure on an area that just feels weird all day is not comfortable.

The other surprise is that they look like regular pants. I was expecting giant elastic panels and no pockets but these have very discreet stretchy parts of the waistband that aren't even noticeable; and they have pockets and belt loops and everything.

Of course it was not the most practical purchase of my life, considering I spent $150 on 3 pairs of pants that won't fit me for more than 3 months, but the comfort makes it well worth it. I'm also told they'll be good to wear right after delivery. I'm secretly going to wear them on fat days too I think.

It's another strange moment for the girl who wasn't ready, though. One more indicator that all of this is really happening. Now added to my daily thoughts of "holy crap I'm pregnant" is "holy crap I'm wearing maternity pants". Weird.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joy in Mudville

Taking a break from all this baby talk and complaining, my Philadelphia Phillies clinched the National League Pennant last night, beating the stinkin' Los Angeles Dodgers and the insufferable Manny Ramirez in 5 games, in their own ballpark!

Frank and I stayed up for the whole game which was pretty good for us since it lasted until almost 11:30. Where we come from, it's tradition to go out on your front step and bang pots and pans and holler and carry on after a win like that. Unfortunately, we live in a yuppie neighborhood now where people don't do that. So we just cheered inside our apartment.

But oh, the joy of it! The Phillies haven't been to the World Series since I was 16 years old. No Philadelphia team has won a championship in 25 years. The last time the Phillies won - the only time the Phillies won - I was 3 years old. There have been 100 losing seasons of professional sports in my town. We are due for a victory.

The last time the Phillies were in the Series, Frank and I were in high school and actually had just started dating. He was a senior and I was a junior and we were together at a friend's 16th birthday party that fateful game 6 night when the Phillies lost the Series to Toronto. Here we are, 15 years later, together again, rooting for the Phils in the World Series.

Hopefully the outcome will be different this time and I can tell my kid he was there when the Phillies won it all. The way sports go in this city, it may be the only one we get in my lifetime or his.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

12 Weeks

We hit 12 weeks today and there aren't many developments to report. Chicken Dinner is growing and developing a lot and by our next ultrasound in 4 weeks we should see an actual person on the screen.

The hormones are turning me into a raving lunatic. I'm living in a constant state of rage these days; rage that only subsides when something makes me cry. That something could be a glass of water. My dog made me cry the other day because I thought she was looking at me with a sad face. I'm hiding the anger and craziness pretty well though. Luckily I get a lot of practice at controlling myself at my job, where human emotion isn't tolerated and my boss doesn't know anything yet. I did snap on poor Frank last night. He came home and I was already asleep so he woke me up to talk to me for a little while. We hadn't seen much of each other the past few days because of work. I was not happy about being woken up and I refused to participate in conversation and I think I may have bit his head off a little. Sorry Fish. I'm not much fun right now but I'm told it goes away soon.

My tailbone and hips have really started to hurt. They feel all loose and disconnected. I've always been bony in the hip area and now it feels like it. It especially hurts when I walk or drive. I tend to slouch on my tailbone when I sit and that really hurts. I've been trying to sit up straighter. Maybe my posture will improve.

It may be time to move up a size in the bra department but I think it may be a larger band size that I need, at least I hope so. What is the next size after DDD, anyway?

I've been having some pain in my lower abdomen/pelvic area which I'm guessing is just more stuff stretching and spreading out and making room for the Chicken. I'm getting the sense this is going to be a big baby and I am going to be a big(ger) girl.

I'm really looking forward to getting past the next two weeks and officially into the second trimester. Frank is looking forward to it as well so that maybe he'll have his easy going wife back for a little while.

Here's what's happening with the Chicken:

The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. Baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements. In fact, if I prod my abdomen, the baby will squirm in response (Frank spent a lot of time poking around my belly tonight so maybe baby got some exercise), although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder. Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in the baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, the baby is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


This whole first trimester experience is absolutely for jerks. Aside from the joys of numbing exhaustion, unpredictable nausea, the emotional fortitude of a toddler, and gassiness that would make a frat boy proud, the whole pants thing is a damned indignity.

My pants don't fit. No pants fit. My regular pants are a joke. I'm certainly getting Lora's money's worth out of the belly band she got me and I've given up all attempts at buttoning or even zipping my jeans in the morning. It's not just the belly, either. My hips are becoming another obstacle the pants can't surmount. I've always been about as narrow from the hips down as a person with a huge rack can be without tipping over so having hips at all is an interesting development. If I get a respectable set of hips and a slightly larger ass out of this I'll take back all complaints.

It's not just the fit. Having a waistband held together with a rubber band screaming for relief that's cutting into the gas that will not shift does not feel good on the belly. Chicken dinner may be deformed because there's no room in there for him.

I won't even look at maternity pants because I know they'll be too big. My belly still only looks like the recipient of too many french fries and there's no way I'm buying maternity clothes in size XS. I don't think there's going to be anything XS about me in the coming months and at this point XS will be too big.

( I know, boo effing hoo Hope, your size fours are too tight for you these days. What a crying shame. Shut up.)

I tried just wearing a bigger size in regular pants but that was not better. While there was a comfortable fit at the waist, they were like parachute pants everywhere else. I was very comfy but I'm sure I looked all slouchy and ridiculous. At work.

So seriously, what's a girl to do? The struggle to squeeze myself into my regular old pants is making me start the day feeling pissed off and disgusted. Can I just give up and start wearing stretchy pants? Not sweatpants necessarily. Don't they make pants out of some kind of stretchy material that a girl can wear to work? I know these pants exist. I see women wearing them. Do I have to go somewhere like Rainbow Shop of Dress Barn to find them?

When I was in college, the trendy thing to wear was black pants that were cut like jeans and made out of some stretchy polyester blend. We called them S.I.P.s for Sorority Issue Pants because all of the sorors wore them on the weekends. I wish I had those pants now. They probably wouldn't be in style anymore but I wouldn't care.

There's a LuLu Lemon yoga store near my house. Maybe I'll get some cute yoga pants. That might not be so bad.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Gag Rule

My parents raised me without an ounce of superstition. My Irish father and Spanish mother, who themselves were raised with all kinds of old world hocus pocus and Catholic idolatry, brooked none of that nonsense in our house. We didn't even bother with horoscopes or astrological signs. Instead, they raised us to know all of that stuff was crap. As a result, I've never avoided walking under a ladder or thrown salt over my shoulder or worried that a salamander was going to spit on my head and make me go bald. Ask my mom about that one.

(I will say that I was scared to death of Banshees when I was a kid, but that was more about watching a movie that featured the scariest.Banshee.ever. than my dad relating lunatic stories to me. Even now a clouded over, full moon can give me the heebiest of jeebies)

I fear all that sensible upbringing was for naught because here I sit at 31 years old, superstitious as all get out.

I can't even make my mouth form the words "I'm pregnant". When I do have to say it, to doctors or nurses or friends who try to give me beer, it feels strange and untrue. I feel sheepish, as if I'm telling the biggest lie of my life. Like if I say it out loud, something terrible will happen and it'll stop being true.

I gave my parents one of the pictures from my first ultrasound and my dad asked if they could put it on their fridge. My answer of course was hell no! Then somebody might ask who that is and then people would know. My dad's response was, "Of course they will. That's the point of putting the picture up there". No way Dad, it's way too early. You can't tell yet. My mom totally backed me up.

What is this bizarre superstition - chiefly among women I would say, since Frank has been telling everyone on Earth and my dad's new favorite expression is "Hope's pregnant!"- about waiting until the first trimester passes before we admit to being pregnant? I know the belief is we wait until after the first trimester is over "in case something happens". But why do we want to keep any of it a secret?

Why do we insulate ourselves from the support of everyone we know at a time when we need it the most? My experience so far is specific to me of course, but all I can think about all day long is holy crap I'm pregnant. From the time I wake up till the time I go to sleep (which is a relatively short span of time these days), my thoughts are consumed with the person I'm growing inside me. Why is it logical to not talk about the only thing I feel like talking about? Is there some kind of shame in miscarriage? Some have argued that if you tell everyone and the baby is lost, then you have to tell everyone you miscarried and wouldn't that be terrible. I would think that if I were to miscarry - I can't believe I can even type those words considering the terror they cause me - I would want and need the support of everyone I know to help me get through it. If I don't tell anyone and that does happen, then I'm alone in my grief, which can only make it worse.

For these reasons and probably better ones that escape me, I'm calling bullshit on this theory and on myself for espousing it. I've found so far that it's kind of a lonely and scary thing to be pregnant. No matter how many of your friends have been there already, or how many websites/books you read, or how many bloggers you stalk until you become internet friends; no matter how understanding and supportive your partner is, it still feels like you're the only person in the world having this experience. I feel this way and I live in the same town as my parents, in-laws, and extended family. I can't even begin to imagine the loneliness my sister felt all the way over in London with no family around.

So Mom, Dad, put that ultrasound picture on your fridge. Call the Aunts and let them know. Tell anyone and everyone. I'll be doing the same.

The only person I'm not telling is my boss. That's about me being a chicken and I'll explain it later.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Reading Material

I'm looking for a few good books on pregnancy and childbirth and all that stuff. I'm not a fan of the books that use excessive exclamation marks or a bunch of cloying crap about the wonder and miracle of it all. On my travels through the internet I've heard that The Girlfriend's Guide to Pregnancy is a good one.

Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Temporary Sanity

Yesterday we went for my first ultrasound and first appointment with a real doctor. Both experiences were very positive and I no longer feel compelled to burn down Pennsylvania Hospital's OB department. The ladies at the front desk, the ultrasound tech, and the doctor who came in to interpret the results were all friendly, cheerful, and even funny. I was extremely nervous about the ultrasound, terrified that something was going to be wrong. It was a comfort to be taken care of by such nice people.

The ultrasound was an emotional experience. It's been kind of surreal to know that I'm pregnant without any outward evidence to support it. To see that tiny gummy bear looking thing wiggle on the screen and know that it's inside me was incredible. The technician told us I was exactly 10 weeks along and gave us a due date of April 29. So nice to have some scientific facts this time. We go back for another ultrasound in 6 weeks and then another 4 weeks after that.

The visit to the doctor was equally positive. The doctor was warm, friendly, and had the bedside manner of a totally normal guy. I didn't even feel funny about him poking around because he was just so nice, he made me very comfortable. He engaged Frank in the conversation and answered every question I had before I could ask it. He also is very committed to his patients. He made sure to tell me that he'd most likely be there to deliver the baby but if he wasn't on call, it would be his partner who I could certainly meet beforehand if I wanted. He found the baby's heartbeat, which was a wonder, and did another ultrasound, which I could stare at all day. My favorite part of the visit was when he told me to eat whatever I want - aside from raw fish or meat - and if I gain 40 pounds, it's ok. Holler at your fatgirl! I have no intention of gaining anywhere close to 40 pounds but it was nice to hear a doctor be so laid back about things, rather than giving me a long list of don'ts. This doctor is my new best friend. I'm actually looking forward to my next visit in 4 weeks. I've never looked forward to a doctor's apppointment in my entire life.

Am I letting go of some anxiety? Not really. I'm still a basket case but seeing the baby has helped. I'm trying to take it one day at a time.