Friday, March 28, 2008

17 Weeks

My fetus is getting fat!

And so am I.

The past week has made for rapid changes in my waistline, meaning that I am rapidly losing any semblance of a waistline. It comes with the territory, of course, but American women are so constantly bombarded with skinny perfection everywhere we look (except for the food court at the mall), that it is hard to deal with on a superficial level.

Every time a piece of clothing does not fit, it's one more step away from the life that I used to lead, and one more step into this brand-new, unknown one.

Not to mention that Squirmy McFidgetoes seems to think that I sit down too much, and is letting me know more often.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

These Jeans

I mostly wore skirts last week because they are quite comfortable. Also, as my waist begins to leave me, a fear if pants is taking its place. I get them out of the wash basket, hold them up in front of me, and hold my breath while I step into them, one leg at a time, just like everybody else.

So far, my favorite pants, a brown pair of cargo type pants from Prana, still fit, for which I am thankful, and this morning, I attempted my day-to-day blue jeans.

Well, they are on.

They are not comfortable.

This will be their last time out for awhile.

Now that I think about it, those brown pants and a few pairs of work trousers (slacks? Almost all words for pants, including "pants," are funny) are about all that do fit me. There's one thing to be said for being pregnant over the warm months: draw string skirts and not having to layer.

That's two things.

Catching Up

In addition to the current stuff being posted on gadabout while we are in Hawaii, I am playing a bit of babywhumpus catch-up. This means that there will be some new but backdated posts from March 22-25. There are only a couple, but if I am going to be up at 4:00 in the morning, local time, I may as well get something done. Since I can't turn on the lights because Pete is still sleeping, I am writing.

I guess that means I should update the Urban Ecosystem blog as well... I'll let you know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


For this week, I would like to divert you to babywhumpus' little sister, gadabout. It's a super special guest star week straight from Maui.

And Maui itself tells me that it's the "Best Island in the World," and, aside from all the stealing from parked cars, I guess I have to trust it...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fondue, just like Jesus used to have

Ham is a normal easter meal.

I am not entirely sure why, though now I want to look it up, but it does not really matter; we have never been huge on ham in a familial way, so it was just fine with me when my sister-in-law, Ruth, suggested that we fondue.

It's not just for the 70's anymore. I figure that if a fledgling religion can commandeer a pagan festival and try to convince us that eggs and bunnies have something to do with Jesus' death on the cross and supposed subsequent resurrection, then we can cook meat on metal sticks in a small cauldron of steaming broth.

Because I am picky, a bit of a food snob, a control freak, and, oh yeah, pregnant, I kind of took over. I finally have energy again, and I may not have it for long. Also, it's nice to feel like a grown up and be able to do things for my family as they had to help me out a lot in my twenties. It's one of the only ways I want to be a grown-up, in fact. That and paying my bills, being a responsible worker, and being self-reliant so that I can be of benefit to society. But THAT'S IT!

Ruth gave me a list of what she wanted, and boy, was it an extensive list. It was good, though, because it gave me a little more direction and a couple of challenges. Mushroom-rubbed steak? OK. I don't know where to find mushrooms affectionate enough to want to do such a thing, but now that you bring it up as a possibility, I feel that I must succeed.

I procured supplies at the co-op and began the preparations on Friday afternoon and evening, preparing the broth, marinating the teriyaki steak, rubbing the mushrooms on the steak (they would not do it themselves), and making sauces. I also made a butter pound cake and brownies. Then I watched Star Trek and went to bed. In the morning, I finished up a few more sauces and cut up the chicken. I figured I could get Mom and Ruth to help with the rest.

The meal consisted of two cheese fondues (Traditional Swiss and Mexican) with bread, apples, tortilla chips, and assorted veggies. Then the broth with three kinds of steak, chicken, shrimp, ravioli, and... I feel like I am missing something...

We finished with a double chocolate fondue (next time with some hazelnut, I think) with various fruit and the brownies and pound cake.

There was a lot of food.

Fondue is an interesting meal. It's very labor intensive though technically, people cook it themselves. I cut up pounds of meat, Mom deveined and shelled a pound of shrimp, Ruth and Mom cut up veggies and fruit, I baked, and I made steak, bbq, mushroom, lemon cream, teriyaki, sour cream curry, california, and... and... I feel like I am missing something.

(That happens a lot now, by the way. The Missing Something Feeling.)

Fondue is also a slow meal. We ate from 1:15 until 7:00 with small breaks to transition to the next course as well as a longer break between meat and sweet in which we colored Jesus's eggs with authentic Hinkle's Dye from Columbia, PA (it's the only way to do it), hid them, and the kids found them and their Easter baskets. You also eat in bites of food. You have 8 forks in the little pot, cooking 8 pieces of the meat of choice. At the end, you did not have a steak or a chicken breast, you had 25 bites of assorted foods.

The warring fondue forks also make fondue a rather tragic meal. Things fall off, things fall apart, and the action stops. Jim was the lifeguard. The pool was cleared, and the victim retrieved. I would have just let the little sucker drown.

Oh, and I just read some blather on the internet about how the ham-eating tradition started in England hundreds of years ago and is somehow related to the fact that Germans supposedly believe that pigs are good luck, though I don't see how being so unfortunate as to be eaten could possibly be lucky.

And I forgot about the potatoes and the green goddess sauce.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


It's something that we take for granted.

I had never really thought about it much until Pete came along, actually. Girls, in general, don't keep track of this sort of thing. We do it, it happens, and we move on.

It seems like a big deal for boys, though. They are more aware of its comings and goings, and if it is absent for what they deem an unreasonable amount of time, it causes them distress. I have not conducted any ranked surveys or statistically sound polls; this is all anecdotal observation. Boys going through potty training get the whole peeing-in-the-toilet thing pretty easily, but when it comes to the pooping, there seems to be a bit of separation anxiety. I don't know what else to call it. They want their diapers back on; that's where it must be deposited, and it can be a serious undertaking. I have heard the stories from more than one mother. If this fetus turns out to be a boy, I will be most interested to see what happens at that point.

I have not surveyed any of the men I know, and boys at potty training time are not necessarily a mine of relevant sociological data: "How do you feel about your bowel movements?" I can really only rely on Pete, and the memories that are sparked. I know that when I have asked girlfriends "When was the last time you pooped?" they have usually shrugged and said "I don't know... yesterday sometime?" It's just not an event that has a memory marker.

Pete would know if you asked him.

Luckily, I think that no one but me would ever ask him. And now, maybe a bunch of people to whom I am exposing his personal habits.

I can get away with this because I am pregnant. And I am about to talk about me.

Pregnancy has changed my attitude about my body and my relationship to it. I now know about my pooping. It does not cause me anguish, it is just interesting. Pregnancy takes a lot out of you, literally and figuratively. Actually, figuratively, it adds a lot to you....

It can be mentally taxing.

The demands put upon all your major systems are no small matter, no matter how small the fetus. Or embryo. Or blastocyst. Or zygote. My digestive system has slowed down so that I can squeeze every last drop out of the food I eat. It's slower going down, it stays in there longer, and it's slower coming out. Yet another reason to stay away from crap food. How long do you really want a Big Mac to be inside you?

This slow down means that heartburn and constipation are more common. I poop less. Much less. But you know? I would not call it constipation because I am not really uncomfortable and, it's a natural and necessary part of being pregnant. I consider constipation to be a departure from the norm. It can be two days between B.M.'s, as my grandmother used to call them (The other grandmother called it "make a pile." Truly gag-worthy. I hope to never say such things to my future child). The heartburn is more uncomfortable than the infrequency of poopage, though. It's in my throat; it's right there--I can taste it, and I can't really stop it once it starts. Were the poop doing something like that, I would most certainly object.

They keys are fiber, water, and smaller, more frequent meals. That's good advice in general for non-pregnant people, too, so one side effect of all this is that I could develop better habits.

Not giving up spicy food, though. This fetus will have to tough it out and get used to it.
I like my curry.

Friday, March 21, 2008

16 weeks

Is it just an American thing, this obsession with babies and pregnancy? I have never thought of anything happening in my uterus as a community event, but apparently, my uterus has become a sort of Commons.

Of course, I am writing all about this experience, so I am inviting scrutiny, but I am also writing this mainly for me and simply to keep me writing. A secondary reason is because I would hope that sometimes I bring up things that other pregnant women will be able to relate to, if they were to stumble across these pages. It's not socially acceptable or expected to be less than saturated with joy due to pregnancy, and that is enough to make more than just pregnant-little-old me feel a bit alone in the world, I would guess.

Some people find it odd, for instance that I refer to what is inside me soley as a fetus (or McFetus) and refer to the future with words and phrases like "hopefully" and "if all goes as expected." This goes along with my intention not to find out the sex and not to decorate a room before the arrival of the eventual and hoped-for baby. Part of this is semantics, yes, in that I do not believe that the word "baby" actually defines what is in there (It can move, including the muscles in its face, but it's still making bones. If it's female, it's making eggs, and no matter which sex, its eyes are sensitive to light. It can get the hiccups, but its respiratory system is filled with liquid. It's about4-5 inches long and weighs less than three ounces. It's not a baby).

The other reason is simply pragmatic; a lot can happen between now and September. I am not a mother, because there is not a baby. I am a pregnant woman. If Pete and I were to start referring to ourselves as Mama and Papa, giving ourselves titles that we do not yet have, what does that mean if something bad were to happen? I don't have that identity until I have that baby.

It’s a strange dichotomy. This experience, at its core and especially while it is happening in me, should be all about me, but I don’t like attention and fussing. Never have. I don’t care for help; I don’t like solicitous behavior—even compliments make me uncomfortable. And yet, this is about me. It’s about what I want because if I am feeling stress or pressure being placed upon me from outside sources, it’s bad for my physiology and therefore bad for the fetus.

But instead, what I feel is an erasure of me in favor of the outcome of this experience: the baby that will hopefully result. I am being steamrolled by expectations and preparations for a future that barely includes me aside from my role as the incubator of a fetus and then the mother of a baby. I resent it. This pregnancy is happening in me and with me. It’s only happening to others via extension and even then, mainly just to Pete who has to deal with me all the time. He’s the one who helped create this after all.

The excitement that baffles me most is the selfish excitement that is not mitigated by the desires of the object of the excitement. But in this case, the object of the excitement is a five-inch long fetus that won’t be a person until next fall. My wishes are not taken into account. I am again erased.

I do not want fuss. In general, when I want help, I will ask for it. I don’t like assumptive or presumptive behavior that supposedly has “help” at its core. I find that sort of thing to actually be about the helper rather than the helpee. If it were truly meant as help or support, the wishes of the object would be first consulted and then observed. It’s like my experience is being hijacked by other people’s wish fulfillment.

The thing is, I am not a different person now. Aside from the fact that I have side effects from a biological process as well as a few emotional issues due to the aforementioned erasure, I have not changed in essentials. It's the external behaviors and perceptions that have changed; those swirling bits and pieces just outside the eye of the hurricane.


Babywhumpus has received its first gift, but until he or she gets here, it's mine, and that means it's not the cats'. Christine brought over a beautiful little baby blanket that looks like it should belong to a baby mermaid, which is kind of what I have in there right now, anyway. Isn't it Beautiful?

I just finished one baby blanket, I have another started, and my mom has been commissioned to crochet her special rainbow blanket that my niece and nephew both have and that I want. It might be one of the main reasons I am having a baby--to get that blanket. I have always been a sucker for arranging colors into rainbows.

I also have a little sweater and booties in the knitting queue, along the rainbow lines. The sweater and booties are both stripey, which is another favorite thing of mine.

Beyond that, I bought a monkey just before we got married. It's a stuffed monkey; I am not insane. I saw it at Whole Foods and could not resist. It's organic cotton and so adorable. Another reason to have a baby. If I don't, I am just a 37 year old woman with a stuffed monkey.

Oh, there's also our basement which is full of Rubbermaid bins courtesy of Aunt Cindy and Uncle Steve. I suppose I should start looking through those and organizing them. The family has been passing around baby things since 1980, I think, when my cousin Mary was born, and it has all been on hold with Ruth who had the last girl (my niece, Ashley) and Cindy and Steve, who have the soon-to-be-no-longer-the-youngest, Christopher (he's very pleased about this fact, by the way). When Cindy and Steve were moving to Boston, they shipped it up here rather than take it with them, which made sense.

Hand-mades, hand-me-downs, and second-hand items are spectacular and preferred in my world. I am all about the "hands." Given that we are already surrounded by the detritus of twenty-eight years of other people's child-rearing, we are already overwhelmed with stuff, and we don't want anything unnecessary. I am going to be pretty specific about new things that we need because they will have to be created from sustainable, healthy materials. Luckily, we have a number of shops here in the Twin Cities for such things, and I have collected a number of other resources as well. I am already dreading the grotesque horror of a Baby Shower because I find the whole idea to be repellent. Sitting around in broad daylight opening gifts while people watch you sounds like my idea of a tiny nightmare. The fact that they are usually all women is a further travesty. It's the sort of thing I would normally have to be drunk for, and as that's not an option anymore, it poses a conundrum. I'll have to do some thinking about how I want something like that to be, if I want something like that at all.

I am so difficult.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


There's something about being the pregnant one that is disconcerting. I am at the center of a whirl of expectations and excitement, but I am standing still (Or, laying on the couch, in the bath, or in bed). Everything is happening around me. I am telling people that I am pregnant so they will understand why I am not up to doing much, so I don't have to pretend to be a recovering alcoholic when I turn down drinks, and because it's a good thing for certain people to know. I am not making announcements so that I can be lavished with questions, attention, and praise. I find the whole thing to be very interesting.

Clearly, I don't mind talking about it, and that is why I have this outlet. It's like a steam vent or the paint pots at Yellowstone. Things bubble up, I spew them out. I write about it, so I don't have to answer questions. As far as attention goes, I don't care for too much of it in general. It makes me self conscious and nervous if there is too much. And praise is just a weird concept in connection with a natural occurrence.

I am not luxuriating in the Miracle of Life. It's not a miracle. Far from it:

1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs
: an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

It certainly is not number one because I don't believe in such things and even if I did, it still would not qualify; as far as number 2 goes, I don't expect an award or plaque for effectively participating in the continuation of the species; it's neither outstanding or unusual.
I would deserve attention for an accomplishment like writing a really good book or creating a beautiful piece of artwork, but this is not quite the same thing.

I don't remember ever being a Monica ("Friends" reference). I don't think of myself as someone who always wanted babies or who was baby crazy or had baby fever in any way. I don't see people's babies and want to hold them. I am not naturally attracted to all children. Having a baby seemed something I should do because I could do it, and after a point, I would not be able to recreate the experience because it would be too late; but if I never got around to it, I don't know that I would have felt a hole in my life.

It wasn't until I fell in love with Pete that the idea took on any sort of patina. Then the thought of a family that included a child of ours was appealing. I was concerned that we would have trouble conceiving. There was no basis for this feeling; perhaps I was just readying myself for possible disappointment. Pete said we could adopt were this the case, but that was sort of missing the point of making something from scratch: I can buy granola in the store, but the granola I made last week is preferable, and I got to say what went in it... like local, organic oats.

I wanted to make one of our own, with red curly hair, that would look like the two of us. I didn't just want a child; I wanted our child. I didn't have a strong desire to reproduce before Pete, and now it's because of use that I want one. It's not like I met Pete and thought "Now I want to go get a baby."

Still, there's that nagging knowledge in the back of my mind... the four years we had together by ourselves are no more, and if this pregnancy works out and ends in the hoped for finished product, then everything is different.

I just can't stir up excitement at the levels that I get back. It's a welcome occurrence, I am happy, but I am not going to be quivering with joy or leaping about with glee at this point. It's not magic. It's not a gift. In six months, if all goes well, it will be a baby, and life will change. The clouds will not part, the president won't call (thank goodness), and time won't stop. Life will, literally, go on, as is the point, and we will have something of ours to name and love.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Expectant Shopping

We have a wedding to attend in Maui on March 29th, and I needed something to wear. As of last Wednesday morning, I have started to manifest outward pregnancy signs; meaning, I am showing if you know I am pregnant, and were you suspecting I might be pregnant, you could start to wonder. Like if I were famous. My stomach has turned hard, my waist is expanding, and my boobs are not getting any smaller. I tried on the dress I wore to Kira's 20 year high school reunion, and it miraculously still fits over those large boobs, but I needed to get a large bra to go with it. The utilitarian and extremely comfortable organic cotton sports-style bras that I wear every day just aren't going to cut it. I figured I should also get something for the rehearsal dinner and perhaps a few things for lounging comfortably and being generally beachy.

I decided to measure myself using the ridiculous computations they use to determine a woman's bra size. I have never understood why men get to have actual measurements for clothes shopping when most of them barely care, and women get numbers that correspond to nothing. The bra sizing is stupid. Measure around your rib cage then add 5. Then measure around the fullest part of your rack; the difference between this and your band size is the cup size. I came up with 31 (plus 5 = 36) and 38 (difference = 2 = B cup). According to the measurement instructions from two websites, I should be shopping for a 36B bra.

Excuse me for a second....


Ok. I am better now.

Who are they kidding? First of all, I already wear a 34C when I am not pregnant, which is most of the time. Secondly, my breasts are now entering the realm where they could be described using the nomenclature of my least favorite fruits: melons. A 36 B would be comical on me at this point, like using a doily for a tablecloth. I figured I was probably a 36 D.

Christine volunteered to help me on Saturday with the dress shopping. We were also going to visit a yarn outlet, which is the knitter's equivalent to a crackhouse. The outlet was smaller than I would have hoped, but definitely something worth checking out periodically when I am in the neighborhood. I didn't get anything because I managed to practice restraint: if it wasn't stunningly gorgeous or matched something in my queue of projects, I did not need it. After the yarn, we went to "Hot Mama", a boutique-style small chain of maternity shops. I figured I could look for a dress that I would be able to cutely wear now, later when more pregnant, and even later after pregnant.

To their credit, they have really cute clothes. Unfortunately, they also have cute salesgirls who really REALLY want to help. I don't like help. A young woman came up to me by the clearance dresses introducing herself and apologizing for the delay in getting to me. I did not tell her that she could have been delayed for a week doing mountain rescues on Denali, and I would not have cared--I am capable of shopping without assistance. I told her that I was just looking for a dress for a wedding in Maui, and she grabbed one of everything, ignoring that I had two in my hand from clearance and was not looking at regularly priced items. After checking the price on an adorable shirt and finding it to be 120 dollars, I figured out that the only reasonable prices would be in clearance. Very few shirts are $120 worth of adorable. The baby itself will be $120 dollars worth of adorable, I hope, but I would not even buy it a piece of apparel so pricey. I want to be attractive while I am pregnant, but I don't need to be irrational to do so.

I tried on the three dresses I had chosen from clearance and ignored her choices. Christine and I agreed on one, a cute black and white print halter number, and I bought it and escaped. Why everyone also needs all your personal information to buy a dress is beyond me. I acquiesced to this request because I was so eager to get out of there. Now I know I don't need to go back, at least.

As we were leaving, Christine said that she told them that I was more likely to buy something if they left me alone, and they still could not resist.

Yesterday, I went looking for bras. For you-know-whats and giggles, I looked at a 36 B, and it actually did make me giggle a little bit. There was no way in my world or even in the wizarding world that I was going to get a boob into a B cup. I grabbed a 36 D in two styles that I already own and liked back when I wore cute normal bras, and chose one of those.

I managed to come out of my first maternity shopping experience with a Bella Band, a pair of silver sandals for the wedding, a white wrap around shirt, black knit skirt, lacy bra, and cute dress for a total of $162.28. Not bad, I thought. It's a lot of money, but that works out to 27 dollars an item, which is pretty good for what I got.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Skin? Just now?

So, skin has been forming this week.

It seems odd to me that you would design and form all the contents before you made the container, but I didn't draw up these plans. It had never occurred to me that all the organ development, bone making, and muscle flexing would be happening without skin.

What's holding it together?

Along with the skin, hair is starting to form, and I am pretty interested in seeing how that turns out. We have a lot of people pulling for red afro; I am one of them.

I had a lunch conundrum yesterday, and it did not turn out well. We had a work event that involved a catered lunch. I had chosen the caterer and was well aware of the menu. They were delicious sandwiches, none of which I could eat, but it never occurred to me until I was there in front of them. One was tuna, and that's out (mercury content). The middle was hummus and feta (no soft cheeses). And the third was chicken and bleu cheese. Again with the soft cheeses! I have not run across a soft cheese in three months, and here I was, surrounded. I opted for the chicken and bleu cheese, and it was yummy. It was also very rich and unlike anything I have eaten lately.

About five hours later, I was regretting it. I felt sick to my stomach. I went to yoga anyway, but after the ab work, I was feeling decidedly nauseous. I had trouble with the rest of the class, and when I got home, I took a prone position on the couch and watched reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Chain of Command, Parts One and Two; thanks, Ruth). I feel better today, but not willing to venture into the land of soft cheeses for at least five months.

Just writing about it is giving me a headache.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Private Show

I am now at the point in my pregnancy where, were I a celebrity, the gossip columns and the paparazzi would be speculating on whether or not I am pregnant and conducting a frenzied baby bump search. I would be ducking into my doctor's office wearing gigantic sunglasses and nondescript black clothing. As I am not a celebrity, only an administrator at a large, land-grant university, interest in my reproductive state is not a public matter; it is much more localized.

If you know I am pregnant, you could probably tell if I showed you my stomach, but I am not "showing" quite yet. This morning, I was laying on my back and put my hand on my stomach and the consistency has changed--it feels hard. Pete could feel the difference as well. At my appointment this morning, Edie confirmed this. And just walking around, I notice a difference in my midsection. Edie said I will be able to feel movement this month, but it will be slight, and I won't be sure, which is how I felt at the Steve Earle show and a couple of times since then. Pete won't be able to notice movement until around week 20. Today's appointment was just chatting and heartbeat. Oh, and they took blood. They just can't resist that.

Edie told me about an invention called a "belly band" that will allow me to continue wearing pants that I can't zip up, thus saving me from shopping and spending money for a little while. This is good, as I just added three pairs of pants to the pile of retired clothing. Well, hopefully, they are just benched because of injury and will be back into play sometime in the late-fall season.

I was thinking that I might have gained 8 pounds since my last appointment from all the Girl Scout cookies I have been eating since Sunday, but I only went up one pound to 155, which was nice to see (and entirely because of Cookies). Now I am regretting not bringing any Girl Scout cookies with me to work. I am feeling fidgety, like an addict, wishing I had some.

Or some french fries.

Yeah. French fries would be good.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Our First Child

I was a single, teen mother. When I was 19, I adopted a three-month old. I knew that it would be tough because I was in college and on my own for the first time, but I felt lonely and I wanted something to love.

I didn't choose him; he chose me, his fuzzy grey little arms reaching through the cage every time I passed by. When I got him out, he sat on my shoulder comfortably. I didn't want a boy; I thought I wanted a girl, but I didn't have a choice in the matter, and I brought him home.

It's 18 years later, and he's spoiled and loud and refuses to get a job. He doesn't care about the election; he's not interested in saving the world. He doesn't listen (because he can't hear anymore), but he still has a lot to say, especially around dinner time and whenever Pete comes home. He has adopted Pete and now could care less about me, but I figure that just adds to his happiness and therefore to the length of his life.
Oh, and he likes to be held like a baby.

Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine!

I wish.

I wish vitamins tasted like Ovaltine.

Do you remember when I was complaining about prenatal vitamins? I am sure that it was more than once.

I ordered a liquid supplement and was trying to fill in the blanks with children's chewables, but even those were getting irritating as I still had remember to chew up five a day. They didn't taste terrible, but they were a bit chalky, and walking around with a pocketful of tiger- and bear-shaped pink pills was a bit odd for a grown up trying to be at least a little professional for eight hours a day.

The new vitamins finally arrived at the co-op, and I picked them up Saturday after the convention. They came in a set-up up that rather reminded me of milk delivery: a narrow box with three compartments and three bottles nestled comfortably within.

How do pregnant women get anything done? Aside from the stupidity and the exhaustion, all they ever seem to be doing in pictures is holding their bellies and gazing at them wistfully. I hope I don't get too much like that. It's bad enough that my ability to be functional has been so impeded by the aforementioned Stupid and Tired. I would rather not suffer the indignity of descending into cliche.

This stuff is "tropical flavored," and they even say you can mix it with your favorite drinks it's so delicious. Well, I would not go as far to say that I would order it at a bar, but it does taste pretty good, considering what it is. But I was not expecting something called "tropical" to be the color of lawn:
Being a fan of wheatgrass, this is not repellent to me because that stuff is an even more vibrant green and does rather taste a bit like lawn. This does not taste the way it looks. It is clear to me that pregnant people did not make up the marketing campaign because the term "Liquilicious" is revolting and gag-worthy.

I'll have to ignore it, though, because I have 90 ounces of this in the house now, and I am going to be drinking it aaaaaaaaaalll. Luckily, it's only a capful, once a day, and I think I can handle that.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Fetus' Night Out

It was an exciting weekend for the fetus.

Well, really, it was an exciting weekend for me because the fetus is not capable of emotions like excitement. It's too busy making skin.

But my mother was a nurse at the auditorium at Indiana University while she was pregnant with me, so I was fetally present at some pretty good shows, and I find that interesting. This fetus is also going to be present at some pretty good shows, and they started this weekend. I figure I should keep track.

I have not been out in public at night in months. We went to dinner with my brother and family a couple of weeks ago, but we had to do it at 5:00, and on the way home at 8:00, I was practically falling asleep in the car. I seem to have a bit more energy now, but I made a point of staying up until 10:00 (gasp!) Thursday and Friday so I would be more acclimated to nocturnal hours. I planned to go and hear Pete's Irish group Saturday night at The Dubliner, and Sunday night, we had tickets to hear Steve Earle at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.

Saturday was a bit of a long day. Pete did not get home from The Dubliner until almost 4:00 in the morning, which... well, it irked me just a bit, and I had to go to the DFL Senate District Convention at 11:00 in the morning. Brilliantly, I left the house without food for myself and wound up not eating until 5:30 in the afternoon, but I survived without a medical emergency, did my civic duty, and then had Chinese food.

I made my way over the The Dubliner at 9:00 and met Christine, Jenny, and Doug. It was fascinating to be back in the bar. It's our favorite bar, our local bar, the bar where we met in person and had our first date, and it's a familiar and comfortable place. I have not been there in months, and I found myself just looking at all the people, scanning for any familiar faces, and just marveling at all the strangers in the world, socializing and having fun. I've been rather isolated, methinks.

I had two club-soda-cranberry-juices and felt sober enough to drive home at around 11:30. I figured that once I started yawning every five minutes, I should probably get to bed.

Sunday morning was Spring Ahead and breakfast at Trotter's. Pete and I needed to catch up after all the busy-ness of the past few days, and I have been feeling hormonal. I think I had a new surge in the past week because I am edgy and irritable; quick to jump from rational to unreasonably annoyed.

At the concert, a confused usher tried to sit us in the wrong seats, then had to move the people she had mistakenly placed in our seats, and we bothered people who were listening to the warm-up act. That made me tense and nervous; I don't like getting in people's way and really don't like to be late for things, so I was scolding myself. We should either have arrived and been seated in time for her set to start or we should have waited until the break. I don't know what I was thinking.

Most of the concert was Steve Earle acoustic, but he had a DJ guy come in at one point and spin backing tracks. It was rather amusing to see this big, bald, white guy with headphones jamming behind the decks, but after I got over the novelty, I found myself wishing that it were just Steve and his guitar/banjo/mandolin/mandola. It seemed that McFetus might have wished the same thing. Or maybe it was enjoying it. Or perhaps I was sitting too crunched up. Or maybe I had gas. Who knows? There is a lot going on down there. But the book tells me that it can move now, and that it's possible to start feeling things during the fourth month, and it didn't feel like gas or anything otherwise intestinal. It felt like an irregular heartbeat , like muffled rutsching.

Could be, and maybe not. Like I said, there's just a lot happening down there, and it's hard to distinguish. This just felt different from the other sensations so far.

I'll be monitoring the situation closely. It won't be able to hear until week 18, but I'll be interested to see if I have those same feelings during the week. I will be especially interested to see how Bruce Springsteen goes over on Sunday.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Spring? Please?

This is one lucky fetus. While I am chattering and shivering at the bus stop in the minus 4 air on the squeaky snow, McFetus is swimming in an environment carefully regulated for its comfort. I don't resent it, but I am envious. Perhaps this is why I have been taking so many baths; I am trying to duplicate the experience. In that respect, I am better off because I can read while I bathe. Plus, I can read. Then again, I also have to do things like go to work, wash dishes, and... and... ok, I can't really think of another unpleasant task because my life is pretty good.

It is cold right now, however, and it's disappointing. Things like this always seem to happen when you feel like you should be in the homestretch of a lengthy and uncomfortable endeavor: there's a set back or a delay, and it's all the more agonizing because you thought it was almost over. I reckon this is similar to how I will feel when September 14 rolls around, and I am still pregnant, one week after my due date. But that is six months away. Right now, it's March 7, it's negative 4 degrees outside, and it's disheartening.

It's also the end of week 14, such a short time into this experience. The whole thing is vaguely unreal. I know that it is happening and that it's in there, but because I have not felt it move, and I am not showing, it still feels like it is happening to me not in me. I guess its little hormones are ramping up; that means the prostate gland is developing if it's male, and the ovaries are moving from the abdomen into the pelvis if it's female. It's making meconium, and the roof of its mouth should be completely formed.

Next week, Skin!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Pregnancy Makes You Stupid

Well, I should not say that. You could be pregnant and entirely in control of your mental faculties. You could be functioning at full capacity, you lucky bastard. That does not seem to be the case for me.

For instance, trying to log into this blog tonight to jot this down, I put in what I was convinced was my email and password. It denied me. I did it again the same way, convinced I was right. Denied. Again. Denied. I looked closely at the email it was telling me did not exist and believed the computer systems to be all wrong because I had it right.

I had spelled it wrong.

I caught that on the fourth time.

Earlier this evening, I got ready for yoga, even though I was feeling tired and strange from the previous night of barfing and not sleeping. I had to cancel last week because of a screaming headache, and I did not want to cancel again. I got myself dressed and out the door with my gear made my way over to Kira's. On Portland Avenue just before Lake Street, my phone rang. It was Pete's ring. But I have my phone on vibrate because the ringing makes me angry. Then I realized that it was, indeed, Pete's ring. On Pete's phone. In my pocket. He had been trying to arrange a gear exchange for his gig tonight, and his buddy, Chris, was calling him back. I figured I could just call Pete and tell him to ring Chris back. Then I checked my other pocket and found my phone.


Four blocks and four minutes away from yoga class, I had to turn around and drive back home to St. Paul to give Pete his phone back. I was mad at myself, feeling bad for canceling, and in disbelief at my dumbassity.

I managed to knit my way out of the bad mood, but it took awhile. I can't help but feel that being pregnant has rendered me practically useless for anything but being pregnant.

I Lost My Poor Meatball

It's all about food this week. I did not plan on having a theme week, and I don't think I will be doing any promotions or dressing up as a hot dog (mmm.... hot dog...), but the topic keeps coming up.

I had leftover meat from the cheeseburgers and the sarma, so I decided to make Swedish Meatballs. I was browning them when Christine came over. With a Filet-o-Fish. Joy! All the pleasure, none of the guilt, as TCBY used to say (I am old. See: Elderly Pregnancy). It was as good and bad as I hoped it would be.

We knitted and watched America's Next Top Model, cleansing our brains of rationality, sane judgment, and deep thought for the space of an hour (Allison's GONE! Our wish came true!). Christine is knitting on a lovely pair of fingerless mittens, which we are crazy about in general, and I decided to get out a baby blanket I am working on very slowly. It's made of organic, undyed cotton, and it's gorgeous. I find myself petting it between almost every row. If the baby is nice, it can have the blanket. If not, it's mine. After ANTM, we watched Friends and chit chatted about this and that. It was a lovely evening.

I have noticed that the simplest, tiniest thing can completely change my mood. After Christine left, Pete and I ate some meatballs with noodles, which was very good, and we were just sitting on the couch. When Hazel jumped up on the stove and jumped down with a mouthful of noodles, that was it. Mood ruined. Time for bed.

I read until I was sleepy, as is the usual routine, and turned out the light. At about midnight, I woke up feeling sick, but tried to deny it in my sleepy state. My stomach was upset, my bowels were hurting; it was bad on both ends. I got up about twenty minutes later and headed for the bathroom. I started running a bath when I realized that the meatballs were coming back up, and it was not going to be pretty.

They did. It wasn't.

It's been a long time since I have thrown up. I have been very lucky with the pregnancy so far, and nausea has not had active expression. Even this was not related to being pregnant, I think. For as long as I can remember, and indeed, for as long as my mom can remember, I have periodically woken up in the middle of the night, barfed, and went back to bed. It has not happened in awhile, and I had been hoping I was over it.

It doesn't really matter what caused it, though. The meatballs are over. Now Pete has to eat a kettle of sarma and a pile of meatballs all by himself. I hope he's up to the task.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sarma Chameleon

Last night, I made food I could not eat.

It was not my intention. The recipe looked really good, and Pete said that the end product was really good as well (he ate a lot of it), but I could not do it.

The recipe was stuffed cabbage rolls, also called "sarma." I found it in this great little cookbook I have that collects recipes from the Upper Midwest region and which I can't name, of course, being the unhelpful soul that I am. I think I would have been fine with just the cabbage roll part of it, but when the cabbage rolls went on top of a layer of sauerkraut, onions, and fennel, and under a can of crushed tomatoes, it lost me. The smell was too much like the Harvest of Horror when my mother planted nine hundred tomato plants and had to can the resulting 175 thousand tomatoes. The house smelled like stewed tomatoes for an eternity (Mom says I was three years old), and that period of time has a lot to do with my life-long aversion to raw tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, or tomatoes in any form that is too close to their original tomatoey state. I can't even watch people eat raw tomatoes, a fact which Pete used to find overly amusing.

Pete's going to have to eat the whole thing, I think. I might be able to salvage a cabbage roll or two out of the melange, but we'll see. I am not hopeful.

They were fun to make, though, and it's nice to cook again--I feel like I have not done much of it lately. I may regret this one, though; they are a mixture of pork sausage, ground beef, and spices wrapped in blanched cabbage leaves, on top of the aforementioned sauerkraut and onion mixture, so they may as well be called "Fart Rolls." Surprisingly, we slept well, and I was not smoked out of the bedroom, so maybe it's Pete's coworkers who have to worry.

More Dreams

Somehow, Brad Pitt was our ex-inlaw, even though he was not married to anyone in my family, and Jennifer Aniston was not related to us. But he was over at my parents' house, picking up some of his stuff and talking about computers with my brother. He was a pretty nice guy.

Last night in my dream--I don't know what the context was--I drank about half a Guinness and then felt panicky and did not know why I had done it. I know that there was more going on there, but I don't remember anything else. It's odd because I don't miss it or crave it, but it probably has something to do with Pete's gig at The Dubliner this weekend and my brave plans to attend on Saturday.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Soup Miasma

I knew it was bad, but by the time we came home from work, the situation had degenerated further.

On the walk home from the bus, I had decided that I would run to the co-op and get a few necessary ingredients for dinner recipes, and Pete would feed the cats. Then we had a thousand dishes to do, which I said I would take care of, as long as Pete disposed of the old soup.

I knew that I would not be able to handle it.

I opened the fridge to check on supplies, and the malodorous stench washed over me. It filled the kitchen, and I could even detect it in the living room. Pete could not. I guess I will rely on myself to search out all forms of evil in the house in the future. I already had a pretty acute sense of smell before the onset of pregnancy, and now it's like a super power. It was a good thing I had a plan and the energy to leave because I could not stand to be in the house.

I have developed an interesting relationship with leftovers. I should restate that as "an interesting and indiscriminate intolerance." I can only stand them for a couple of days, and then I find myself repulsed by them, in general. Some I cannot abide at all. They are fine the first time around, and then they are done. I think it is related to the smell issue, and my senses are trying to protect me and the fetus in some way. It goes against my sensibilities to throw away food and, try as he might, Pete can't eat everything. The soup lost all attraction for me, and Pete grew tired of it, so it sat on the bottom shelf of the fridge and festered in the bitterness of rejection.

Let that be a lesson. When you fester in the bitterness of rejection, you get flushed down the toilet.

The sausage and beans are next.


Today, I have nine containers of foodstuffs plus a bottle of salad dressing and a bundle of string cheese.

Yup. I am pregnant.

It might not all be for today, but I need to be prepared.

I made granola last night (and cheeseburgers, but those were for dinner), and had yogurt and granola for breakfast. Then at about 10:00, I ate my second breakfast--a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At 11:30 I realized that I could not eat more yogurt and granola without my utensils, which live in my purse, which I left at home. So I kind of missed elevenses.

I just ate the remaining third of a breakfast burrito from Saturday morning, and now I am going to have some granola and strawberry yogurt because I located some temporary utensils. I feel mildly shameful digging through my canvas bag of containers, but it's pretty much the only naughty thing I do any more, aside from cooking my cheeseburger to "medium well" and not "well" yesterday.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Once, I got to view the baby I would be having. He was in a box on the wall like an art display, and he was armless. I was upset because that meant he would not be able to play the guitar.

After The Scare, I had a few bleeding dreams. I was always relieved when I woke up and was not bleeding. It's very much the opposite of how I felt in my 20's. Heck, and most of my 30's until I met Pete and knew that it would be OK to not be bleeding.

Sometimes, there are weird sexy dreams, and I don't particularly want to discuss them here because it's not fair to the children.

I dream a lot about work. People are giving me receipts, and I am working on budgets. It's very exciting. It seems like a waste of dream time, but I guess I have to organize that information sometime, and I might as well do it when I am asleep. They are not stressful dreams, they are just... there.

Last week, I dreamed about McDonald's Filet-o-Fish. Heaping piles of free McDonald's food. It made me really, really want a Filet-o-Fish. I did not have one. I almost forgot about this dream; now I remember. And I want one again. Thank goodness there is no McDonald's near my work. When my parents picked me up so I could drop them off at the airport on Friday, they had McDonald's bags in the car from their ride up. After they got out of the car, I actually looked in them. There was nothing left. I drove around in a cloud of McDonald's thinking "I could just stop..." I didn't. It was torture. The kind of torture that middle class Americans endure, which is not torture. It's not even mild discomfort, but we do like to indulge in hyperbole.

The last time I went to bed with a headache, I dreamed about treating my headache. I was at a strange pharmacy in a health care complex that was more like a cross between a shopping mall food court and an airport. They gave me a gritty, thick, chocolate-esque concoction to drink. It was not good. I woke up with a headache.

Last night, I was dreaming in a time before Pete and a time before pregnancy, about old friends. That switched to a bike ride with current girlfriends. This ride covered a good chunk of the West, from north in the Montana Rockies to south in New Mexico. We were stopped in New Mexico and still had half of the loop to finish. But my girlfriends were putting on their spikey boots and getting ready to go to the bar. They were giving up, and I was ready to keep going. I plotted a new course east for myself.