Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nurse Questions

Is this a good thing?
What was the date you took the test?
What was the first day of your last period?
Your due date September 7.
You are 4.5 weeks along (from conception).
Any abdominal pain longer than three hours?
Any instance of red or pink spotting?
Surgery on fallopian tubes?
Abnormal fallopian tubes?
Any OTC's?
Thyroid problems or medication?
Asthma medication?
Diabetes medication?
Acne medication medication?
Birth control pills?
Depression medication?
Epilepsy medication
Blood pressure medication?
Do you smoke?
Any alcohol?
Recreational drug?
Chicken Pox?
Are you taking prenatal vitamins?
Do you have any cats?
Do you know why I asked that?
The direct line OB/GYN nurses: 651-254-3500 option 2, option 1
M-F 8-4:30
After hours "baby line": 612-333-2229 (BABY)
We'll get you in for a 20 min appointment where you will take an extensive questionnaire. Pat will schedule it.

I finally got this appointment making taken care of, and I managed not to cry. I think those were all the questions that she asked me, and I am still at a loss as to why this all had to be done before they would even schedule the appointment. As it turns out, the first appointment available with a nurse midwife is February 25th, and I will be over 12 weeks.

I managed this by bringing in my laptop, finding a place outside the office with wireless, hoping no one would overhear me, loading my calendars, and calling. I answered all the above questions, many of which I could have cut short by saying "I am not currently taking any medications for any chronic conditions. I have no chronic conditions." They have my chart, anyway. She then transferred me to the appointment lady, and I got her voicemail. She called back while I was in a meeting. I called back again, had to explain again that I had already talked to the nurse. She scheduled the appointment on the 25th, then said she wanted to talk to a nurse about getting me in earlier for a shorter appointment and also getting me an appointment for screening. She transferred me to the nurse, who had no idea why I was there, neither did I. I tried to explain it, and somehow, I had a February 4 appointment with my chosen nurse midwife.

This part has not been enjoyable.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pet Peeves

Today, everyone is stupid, and my husband is a jerk. Of course, everyone is the same as they were yesterday and the day before, and my husband is a lovely and amazing individual, but it's one of Those Days. I did not sleep well (p.s., our cats are jerks, too), and I just don't like today.

Everyone on the bus is dumb, for instance. The pet peeves I always have about bus riding are positively maddening to me now. Students with giant backpacks on their backs, swinging around and hitting people in the head. People standing in the aisle and not moving back when the bus is crowded and more people wand to get on. People yakking away loudly on their cell phones for an entire ride. People sitting in one seat and using their bag to take up the seat next to them when there are people standing. All of them are evil.

I may wind up on the news.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Eight weeks, and it's getting the shapes of fingers and toes on the platypus paddles, and it might be able to flex its wrists. The eyelids start to form, and the ears, lip, and tip of the nose start to take shape. It's 1/2 an inch long, and it still has a tail.

Christine and I and the platypus went to see Juno, but I don't think the platypus got much out of it. We, however, thought it was brilliant, even though I resent the writer because I am jealous, and she is successful. I am also shallow. The movie is about a 16-year-old girl who gets pregnant and decides to give the resulting baby up for adoption. As a reflection of experiencing a pregnancy, it falls short and was not entirely relevant, at least for me, but it was very well written, well cast, and the soundtrack was good.

Of course, now that I am pregnant, everything around me is about pregnancy. It's like I caught it from all the knocked up celebrities.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Health "Care"

The online appointment system for my health insurance company will not let me schedule my initial appointment for pregnancy online. I have to talk to a nurse. I guess I understand, but is the nurse going to be able to tell me things I don't know? I know that the first day of my last period was November 30. My doctor told me to schedule my first appointment between 8-10 weeks, which puts me at, oh, tomorrow through February 8th. Their business hours are the same as my work hours which, as of this past Tuesday, are happening at a new job, with people who are on a need-to-know basis, and they don't need to know. In order to schedule the appointment, I also need to be in front of a computer so I can access my calendars. So I can't do it from my desk, but I need to do it during office hours, which are at my desk.

This is the most frustrating thing I have gone through, so far.

This is boring

I went to bed at 9:00 last night after a bath.
I can't motivate to do anything.
The embryo is getting too much T.V.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Part of cat, out of bag

Yesterday, I spent almost the entire day with the family, and I did not tell them.

This morning, I got into bed and poutily told Pete that I wanted to tell my mom. Unfairly, I expected him to argue, but he was his wonderful self and agreed. I had not anticipated telling everyone at my brother's house, but I figured I would see if there was an opening to tell the parents.

At one point, my father brought up the August family trip to the Boundary Waters, a place I have never been, with my Aunt Connie and Uncle Mike, two of my favorite people. This trip had been a sore spot for me because Pete and I were not included in the planning, and there is only room for nine: Mom, Dad, Connie, Mike, Jim, Ruth, Ashley, and Ryan... and... Me? Without Pete? That's no fun. He makes me look good, and I would not enjoy myself if he were not along.

But this new development pretty much sealed that deal. I will not be trudging through the Boundary Waters, portaging canoes and sleeping on the ground, on August 9th. We will try to make the family retreat at the Caribou Hideaway House (no joke) on the 13th as long as we get a good bed. I think I will deserve that.

All this to say, that it would have been a perfect moment for me to mention, "Yeah, I don't think I will be able to fill that last slot because I will count as two by then." But I had not cleared telling the whole group with Pete, so I didn't say anything.

When Pete went out to the livingroom to tune his mandolin, I followed him, and he asked "Do you want to tell everyone?" He's so good... but there was never another conversational opportunity, which I seem to need. When we were leaving, Pete hugged me and "whispered" "Do you want to tell them?"

"It's a little late," I said.
I mean, that's a conversation, not an announcement.
"I'm pregnant! Gotta go!"

The next morning, I wound up being free for lunch, so I sent Dad a text message, and we arranged for them to pick us up so we could go downtown and meet my brother, Jim. I figured I would have to find a way to bring it up. Pete asked if I wanted an agreement like "if you have not told them after 30 minutes, I'll do it for you," but I declined.

Sitting here now, I don't remember what I said. Maybe my mom can remind me because she was expecting it because she already knew. She was happy that I had written to make a lunch date because she was dying to find out for sure. Now she is just dying for permission to tell her friends, which I can understand. We are still waiting on that one until we have more information.

I feel better now, and it will be good to have my mom to talk to. She's a nurse, and she's also done this before.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mood Swings

The book warns you about the mood swings.
It makes sense: you have hormones washing over you all the time. It's like constant PMS. Not to mention that you are embarking on an unknown, new experience, and emotions can run really high.

That said, Pete really has to get a hold on his.

It seems like I have been the one trying to keep an even keel here, and his mood swings are not even related to the fact that I am pregnant. They are just his normal mood swings. He gets tense and stompy at the end of almost every day, it seems, and worse yet, he does not seem to notice that it has become a trend. I think I might have to keep a log.

On Saturday, we had a birthday party for Mickey, Greta and Steve's son. Greta, Kira, and Liza are my best girlfriends, here in town, from years and years back. I don't want to tell you how long. OK, it's been over twenty years. I wanted to tell them and their lovely men because they are so close to me, and they all have kids themselves. But my thing with telling people is that I have to work it into conversation. I am not one for big announcements, and blurting out "I'm pregnant" seems to me to be a non sequitur of Darth Vadarian proportions (personal joke).

Kira, Tiki, Greta, Steve, Pete, and I had all planned on quitting drinking for the month of January. Pete and I have been doing this the past three years as sort of a beginning of the year purge. After the holidays, we are quite ready for it, and it's easy to do. When we were all talking, they were discussing how it was going. I managed to work in there that my abstinence would be continuing until fall. Tiki looked at me blankly. Kira got it. Greta got it. Tiki was not far behind. Turns out I was right about Kira: she had guessed it and talked to Greta about it. Steve had figured it out, too.

That was good for me. Less fanfare, got it all over with, so we could get on to talking about practicalities, and I could feel better knowing that they understood that I was not hiding, I was pregnant and exhausted. They were all excited, and Kira pointed out that I was a cliche, pregnant and sitting there knitting.

I brought up Pete's mood swings and wanting to tell my mother, and the girls reminded me that it's all about me now, and he just has to suck it up. That's hard for me to embrace, but I guess it is true. Really, he has been great, and I have nothing to complain about. He's pumping the gas and cleaning the catboxes; he's trying to keep up with dishes and get me things when I don't want to get off the couch. It's hard for me to cede control and ask people to do things for me, and it's good that he often offers so I don't have to work up the nerve to ask. I just can't ask him, or even feel like I can be tired or grumpy when he is a little black rain cloud.

My niece suggested that I carry a granola bar in my purse at all times, in case he starts to get cranky, and it's a good idea. It's also good practice for the future, when I will be carrying all sorts of crap along with me at all times.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Alien Paddle Mouse

It's week seven, and it's still an embryo. There's a visible umbilical cord now, and it has a transparent skull. It's a third of an inch long. This is when it most looks like a bean to me.

Still no puking, just queasy. It's like I need to eat something every thirty minutes. There are crackers everywhere in my world now, stashed here and there. I am a Cracker Hoarder.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Big Bras

On the way home from my dentist appointment this morning, I stopped at Birch Clothing, a locally owned, sustainable clothing retailer and bought two new bras because I am out of my regular bras. Not in that I ran out of them, but I am out of them. Out; can't fit in. I think I will wear these new ones all the time. If it made sense to bathe in them, I think I would, I am so uncomfortable.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Pete seems to be operating from the "remodeling is off" angle because I can't be pregnant and around many of the phases. Even though we are planning a "green" or "sustainable" remodel, there would be times when I would have to be out of the house. On the other hand, if we don't do it now, it will never get done. Well, not never, but it will be easier to move one pregnant lady for a week or so at a time than to move a lady and a baby.

We decided to go ahead with the plans and let our architects and builder know the new circumstances. I will have to make arrangements for the times when I can't be at home; I have no idea what that will entail at this point.

Pete met with the architects and we have a few more plans to go over, and then I think they will finalize and get the plans to the builder.

They say that moving, having a baby, and changing jobs are three of the most stressful things a human can do. And I think they meant doing those things one at a time. I am doing them all at once!

note: the remodeling project is being chronicled, along with other things, here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sandwich Bomb

It's not just a sandwich anymore. It's a brew of bacteria and threats to your "baby." Little thing won't let me have deli meats and cheeses. It's like a snarky diva with a list of demands for its dressing room. Except for the rider on this one is an entire library.

Pregnancy is a list of do's and don'ts. The world becomes a minefield. Western society has made life so complicated and unnatural that it's a threat to the continuation of the species and it must be stripped down in order for life to survive.

OK, I am exaggerating a bit, but I'm pregnant, so you'll have to let it slide.

There's the stuff I knew... some of the things I love like a nice Malbec and a pint of Guinness, and then there's the list I had not thought of: a rare steak, soft scrambled eggs, brie... the world is a raging storm of bacteria, apparently out to get my embryo.

Maggot Pony

Pete does not want me to call it a maggot, but that's what the actual size picture looks like to me. Anyway, it's only for a week, and it's not sucking the life out of him, so I don't see what he gets to say about it. It can't hear me, it's still an embryo, and it will be quite some time before it begins to interpret sounds into meaning and meaning into emotion. I think we are OK.

It's week 6, and the book says it's starting to show basic facial features. Basic facial features of what, I am not certain, but if that's what they want to believe, I'll let them. I think that they are referring to the internal formation of the canals that will make up the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. It's an eight of an inch long, and it has a tail! I think we can leave facial features to the future.

Pete's already thinking about daycare and early childhood education. He's looked into our parental leave here at the University of Minnesota, where we both work, and he's thinking about getting the house ready. It's funny, but it's good. I am basically biological; I am brewing. If he wants to think about actual baby and what to do with it, that's great because I can't. I have to focus on my body, which is still mine, but it has been put into service, making what will hopefully, eventually, be a person. Clearly, I want it because I notice every little twinge and fear something could go wrong. The rational side of my brain tells me that if I miscarry, there is a biological reason, and it's better that way. But as recent presidential elections in American have shown, humans are not first a rational species. We react to emotional input more readily than intellectual input.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Character Actress

I can't help but remind myself of Miranda from Sex and the City. Her pregnancy was unplanned and unwelcome, she's rich, and she's a character on TV, but her reactions are similar. She faked interest and joy in her sonogram, when she found out she was having a boy, she resented the drain on her energy and spirit, and she rejected the Cult of Mommy. She did not want a shower and only acquiesced for the sake of the gifts and her friendship with Charlotte. I don't think I would acquiesce for either.

While I am not looking forward to the gushing, I do want some people to know. It would be nice for people to understand why I am tired at 8:30. It feels like I am wandering alone through a big secret. On the bus to our work conference up north, one of the girls asked me "Are you pregnant?" I had another one of those can't think of anything to say, can't lie moments, and I answered "yes." It was actually a relief.

I am not sure how I am going to break it to Pete that I want to tell my mom, and, therefore, my dad, sooner rather than later but not tell the rest of the families until later in February. I worry he may think it's not fair, that he may not grasp the difference: me pregnant, my mom, my mom nurse, me pregnant.

A girl wants to talk to her mother.

Books of the Living Dead

Apparently, there's a Cult of Mommy, and I would argue that there is also a Cult of Pregnancy. Like all cults, there is inductive reading material involved. For the Mommy Cult, everyone seems to get a copy of the sick little tome "Love You Forever." Have you read this piece of supposedly charming propaganda? It's like a stalker manual as well as a recipe for how to raise creepy kids who will definitely need intensive therapy. It's terrifying, and it makes me feel tainted and uncomfortable.

Now I will probably get three hundred copies of it.
Please, think of the trees. We can file this book away with "Dianetics."

The Pregnancy Cult appears to involve "What to Expect When You Are Expecting." This book is everywhere, and everyone has read it. When you go to the parenting section of the bookstore, there are many copies of it, faced out and ready for the purchasing.

I want nothing to do with it.
I did not know why, aside from an aversion to the ubiquitous nature of the book and terrible cover art, but after talking to a couple of friends who had babies and found it to be horrible, I don't think I need more evidence for my initial aversion. Please don't get me one.

Last summer, I bought a copy of "The Complete Organic Pregnancy," and recently, I bought "The Mayo Clinic's Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy," from which the weekly development scans come. I also picked up "Raising Baby Green," which could sound like St. Patrick's Guide to Child Care, but is, of course, for treehuggers like me. I know that a lot of my reading will be pregnancy and baby reading, but I don't want overload. The Mayo Clinic book is informational and smart, and I trust the brand. I guess that they can't write things like "At this point, your blasotcyst..." because most women won't respond positively to that, but all the references to "my baby" are annoying. At this point, I have no baby. I have a blasotcycst that is fast becoming an embryo, and I am the host. I don't resent having to give up alcohol and more closely watch what I put into and onto my body because I am used to that, and it's good for me anyway. Many of them lead me further down the sustainability path and will be good habits to form (the Guinness will be back, though). I am not, however, looking forward to the squealy, squishy, gushy, gurgly congratulations that will come with telling people. It will be too much focused attention on me and too much focused attention on a happenstance which, let's face it, was not all that difficult to accomplish. Fun, but not difficult.

I feel a certain ambivalence to this new change. I am starting a new job. We were going to remodel in the Spring. What about all the places we want to visit? What about us? I love being with Pete. I love the two of us. We won't have that anymore. Pete reminded both of us that we are really good together, and now we are adding to the group, which is true, but everything is going to change. I don't want to be part of the Cult of Mommy.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

That Girl

We already try to live sustainably. I make the majority of our cleaning products; we eat and shop local and organic as much as possible; we live within our means; we reduce, reuse, and recycle, among other things. Now, I am trying to be extra careful about my diet and surroundings. I went through my makeup awhile back and got rid of things that are harmful, for instance. But I can't control everything, and I don't want to be That Person, you know... the smug one who is filled with disdain for all things considered normal. I mean, I am That Person, and I am smug and filled with disdain for people who don't know any better, but they don't need to know that.

For instance, I can't insist, at other people's houses, that they provide me with only organic produce and meat and that they remove all the brie and canned fish from the premises. I really can't even insist that they don't smoke, though I probably will be that person. In instances where I really feel that my choices are limited and I don't want to eat something provided, I'll just have to figure something else out. I don't want to be irritating or have people rolling their eyes at me. Just so long as they don't mind that I might show up with my own snacks, because it seems that I need to eat every thirty minutes.

Friday, January 4, 2008

5 Weeks

Everything changes. I start a new job on the 22nd of January, we planned to start remodeling in the spring, I should have enjoyed that last pint of Guinness more. And once it's in there, barring any mishaps, there are only two ways to get it out, and neither of them are wildly appealing.

So far, I have had some very mild nausea but no puking, a strange gassy, intestinal feeling that I can't quite describe, and one headache that needed Tylenol. My boobs are hurty and huge, and I am tired and unmotivated, which is extremely boring.

Pilling the Pregnant Lady


Why do prenatal vitamins have to be so big? I know that there is a lot packed in there, but aren't we always hearing how modern science can fit things on the head of a pin? If I can carry a few gigabytes in my pocket, I think I should be able to take a few thousand milligrams without fear of death by choking.

Yes, I scanned the actual vitamins.
The top one is the original pill that I bought, and I won't take them when I am by myself. (See above: death by choking.) That seems to be the general size of the pills I have looked at, and the dose is 6 per day. That's six times a day that you take the health of your respiratory system into your own hands.

The second image is a quarter, of course.

The bottom image is the pill I am currently taking 6 times a day, and it's still large, but not when I compare it to the original pill. Still, I think I might rather take the quarter.

And it's not just the size... the vitamin smell is enough to make me gag at this point. I am like a child when it comes to these. I need to take them, but I put it off and put it off. I would stomp and cry if I thought it would do me any good, throw myself sideways on the couch and put a pillow over my head while whining. It won't change anything.

And I thought pilling a cat was difficult.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

No Champagne Toast

5 weeks and we have an embryo, people! 21-22 days after conception, the heartbeat appears, just like all those roadside billboard babies who were lucky enough not to be aborted will tell you! The circulatory system is indeed the first organ system to form, and the embryo is 1/17th of an inch long.

Adorable, isn't it?

We have decided not to tell anyone until three months have passed and, along with them, the greatest chance of miscarriage. Some people are so excited about the idea of Pete and I having children that I don't think I could stand their disappointment on top of my own were something to go wrong. Being pregnant is already going to provide me with way too much focused attention, and the longer I can avoid the brunt of that, the better.

On New Year's Eve, we went to Liza's for her birthday party. I was sure that the cat would get out of the bag because everyone would notice that I was not drinking. But everyone was busy, and there was too much going on for them to spare a thought to my spontaneous sobriety. It was both a relief and a disappointment. At one point, Kira asked me if I had tried the wine that her boss had given her; I looked at the wine, and could not think of a single lie like, oh, I don't know... "Yes," or "No, thanks." I said "I... I can't." On the other side of me, Tiki asked a question. I turned and could see Kira looking at me, and I could tell she was figuring it out. She knew.

At the end of the night, which for me had actually come at 11:20 when I was so exhausted I could barely stay awake talking to interesting people, Pete made excuses that he needed to leave, and covered up for me. Luckily, everyone was well on their way to obliterated, and we did not have to make a big exit. No one really noticed the absence of Pete, me, and our embryo.