30 Weeks and Some Change

So as of today I am 30 weeks and four days into my pregnancy. I’ll give you all a moment to let that fact sink in because it sure as hell hasn’t done so for me yet.

You know, I thought there was supposed to be a point where your entire brain would just agree that you’re pregnant and stop fighting it. You know, no more of this, “I don’t know why you’re looking at registry stuff, it’s not like we’re pregnant.” And the rest of my brain is just like, “Uh, actually Jerry, yes we are.” And Jerry just laughs and goes back to his violent video games thinking, “Aw man, can you believe those suckers? Actually thinking we’re gonna have a baby?

Get your shit together Jerry.

Granted it’s getting harder for Jerry to maintain his denial if only because I can feel the baby move so frequently now. I have my system that my doctor gave me for keeping track of movement but I have to admit I’m not religious with it or anything. I only do the sit very still to count thing if it’s been a while since I last noticed a pirouette or choreographed dance fight in there (that’s what it feels like anyway). Otherwise I’m content with just feeling the movements as they happen and boy howdy have they been happening. I have so far described my baby’s movements to people as, “like a cat on crack,” “as if a squirrel and a ferret were having hate sex in there,” and, “there is a small invasion of locust monsters occurring in my uterus and my baby is the only one fighting them off.”

The movement has been the most interesting thing and that, along with a growth ultrasound I had last Monday, has been the most telling thing when it comes to this little one’s in utero personality.

The growth ultrasound happened because at my last ob appointment my doc was concerned with the apparent lack of change in my uterus’s size. Starting around the end of the second trimester they start measuring from the top of your pubic bone to the top of your uterus (called the fundus, which is the best word ever in my opinion) because your uterus’s size in centimeters will roughly equal what number of weeks you’re at. So it’s an easy, non-invasive way for them to make sure your baby is growing on schedule.

So mine looked like it wasn’t really which made my doctor look slightly pensive and worried but surprisingly didn’t shake me as much as I thought it would. Maybe I’m actually starting to believe my doctor when she practically bends over backwards to assure me that these things most commonly turn out to be nothing! And guess what? It was nothing!

At the growth ultrasound the baby was measuring 3lb 5oz which is right on target/maybe a little bit big for the week I was on. (Internet was saying baby’s weight about 2.75 lb at this point and yes, I know that weight measured by u/s can be extremely inaccurate but the point is that my baby was not coming up as an anemic, scrawny little peanut which is all anyone was checking on.)

The tech was trying to get me a good 3D photo of the baby’s face but boy howdy was baby not cooperating. They took refuge from the camera in my left side, keeping their face (and only their face) as pressed against my left hip as was humanly possible and refused to stir for any reason. No matter what position I shifted to or how much the tech poked and mildly assaulted my tummy (I’m glad they always let me pee before an u/s cause otherwise I’m fairly certain all this poking and pushing would make me pee on the table!) the baby stayed with their face firmly encased against my soft, pliable uterus. So the tech took a 3D picture of their butt instead.

When she handed it to me she said, “Make sure to tell them when they’re older that this photo wouldn’t exist if they had just been more cooperating about having their picture taken.”

When I told this story to my mom she laughed and said, “So: stubborn, camera shy and a cuddler. Gee, I wonder who the baby takes after!”

The only other thing of note is that now I can interact with the baby through my womb which is honestly kind of the coolest thing ever. When the baby is starting a kicking jaunt I’ve taken to tapping rhythmically on the outside of my uterus, right over where they kick. Every time I do this there is a little pause and I swear I can almost hear the confusion coming from in there. Then the baby will shift and start kicking somewhere else. So I tap where they kicked again. I sort of end up chasing them all around my tummy, tapping at their toes. Sometimes I’ll tap away from their feet and that’s when they chase me, kicking where I tap.

It’s super cool to know that the baby is big and responsive enough to pay attention to what I’m doing and it really drives home the point that there is a BABY in there and it is MY BABY and oh God, it’s gonna be BORN SOON and holy crap holy crap holy crap holy crap!

Granted, this game is not without its “risks.” I say this having accidentally grabbed my baby’s foot through my skin the other day. I was just making little pinchy motions on my tummy cause I was itchy and the baby pushed their feet up right as I did so and I sort of grabbed the foot and felt that it was a foot through my skin and oh God I’m pretty sure I traumatized us both.

So those are the fun parts of 30 weeks. I could go on about the unfun things like the acid reflux or the inability to pick things up anymore of the uncomfortable hugeness but I can save it for another time. I’m too busy poking at this awesome little person-to-be inside of me and wondering what it’ll be like when I finally get to meet them face to face.

Foxy Button Baby Poncho

I FINISHED A THING YOU GUYS! Also, hi! I know I’ve been MIA for the last few weeks and I’m chalking that up to a freshly unemployed husband who has thrown a wrench in my usual computer-using time schedule. He’s been playing Stardew Valley in between job search related things so it’s been harder than usual to carve out time to actually write.

Aaaaaand I’ve been knitting! Like, bunches actually. And I am pleased to announce that I finally finished the first baby related project I started, this little Pom Pom Poncho from Heirloom Baby Knits by Deborah Newton. (It’s a super pretentious book title, I know, but the patterns in it are SO CUTE I couldn’t resist.)

poncho photo1

poncho photo2

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I actually would have had this finished last week except I fucked up on my preparation stage and RAN OUT OF YARN! I still don’t understand how this happened. Normally I am a Paranoid Patty about my yarn for this very reason and I always try to get at least one skein more than what the pattern asks for in the off chance that I knit way more loosely than the author of the pattern does. I don’t know what went wrong here but I obviously had a problem. I still had the neckline to knit and the pom poms and cords to make and I was down to maybe a whole six inch long piece of my Rowan Lima yarn. And of course this happened at ten o’clock at night when all potential yarn stores that maybe just might have the yarn you need are closed. So I turned to my omnipresent friend the internet and ordered another skein off of Craftsy.

Fortunately, the shipping went quickly and my final skein came in the morning of my knitting group so I got to finish the poncho yesterday and immediately show it off to everyone. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I made sure to make it in a pretty big size because, yeah, I’m having a July baby and unless I want to bake them like a potato they won’t be wearing this for quite a few months and I wanted it to be able to fit at least ONCE on the off chance I have a giant monster baby as opposed to a little tiny peanut. And if they are a little tiny peanut then that means they may be able to wear it for a while before inevitably growing out of it like Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk.

Of course I’ve already bought yarn for the next baby thing I want to make and while most mothers would probably be smarter than me and make things like hats or socks, things that are small, fast and take a relatively short amount of time, I am going to foolishly charge into another large project because SHUT UP IT’S CUTE.

I will say it added a lot to the knitting process knowing I was making this for my own baby. I kept imagining what they might look like in it and being glad the yarn I used was so dang soft. Unlike other baby patterns I’ve seen Deborah Newton fully encourages you to use the same high quality yarn that you would choose for yourself for your baby’s stuff. I definitely agree that you should always use yarn that you want to use and if acrylic isn’t your bag than why put it on your kid? Plus I bet I’ll feel really awesome the first time my kid pukes on this thing. No regrets whatsoever.

(Deborah Newton DOES include basic washing instructions for fancier yarned knit wear for your baby and she points out that it’s not the end of the world or all that difficult to do. Though far be it from me to judge anyone who decides they’d rather be able to throw all of the baby’s clothes in the washer. I may end up in that camp myself; only time will tell.)

I’m gonna try to post a more baby-related general update soon now that I’m at 30 weeks (WHAT THE WHAT) so hopefully I’ll be able to get that done before my barnacle of a husband takes over the computer again. Wish me luck! (I do have a crowbar just in case.)

I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

I am a huge fan of the humor writer Dave Barry. I have been for as long as I can remember. I have dim, dusty memories of being a wee little Katie of only 9 or 10, laughing my ass off at some cleverly written column of his or any of his many books. As I got older I became more appreciative of his work because if you think what he does is easy than you obviously have never tried to write a purposefully funny piece before.

His books that are basically collections of his columns tend to be my favorites and if you go through and do a general word count on these things and see just how many jokes he manages to artfully cram into those few words you will get a better sense of his skill and ability. His sense of humor definitely helped to shape what kind of person I became (for better or for worse) and I continue to be a die hard fan to this day.

I bring up Dave Barry to specifically mention this book right here.

Dave Barry

I’ve had this book for AGES, since I was about 13 or so and I’ve made sure I held onto it for all this time. One of the columns in it that made me laugh hysterically when I was younger is titled, “Today’s Baby Showers Require an Ark to Haul Home the Loot.” I always thought it was funny when I was younger but I recently reread it again and my god I was in stitches. Dave Barry talking about pregnancy and the different little pratfalls involved in trying to register for a baby shower is freaking HILARIOUS.

I wanted to write about my own misadventures and misgivings about trying to register baby things but I only thought it was fair to bring up Dave Barry as an example of someone much more skilled at their craft than I am, essentially writing me under the table. So go, get some Dave Barry books and laugh.

(They are honestly great for pregnancy brain because each column is just short enough to hold your attention span without you losing focus in the middle and running off to do something else. Plus they’re funny and laughing a lot in pregnancy beats a lot of the alternatives.)

ANYWAYS, so I dunno if other first time mothers-to-be find registering for baby stuff as intimidating as I do but HOLY FUCKING SHIT Y’ALL. It is intimidating as fuck to try and figure out what all you need to get started on this whole, having a baby thing. The days of bare bones baby accessories this ain’t.

I know the internet is supposed to be a resource that allows people to reach out and help one another, answering questions, sharing opinions and posting videos of cats but the helpfulness of it all tends to wax and wane with the tide. Having millions of people sharing their pregnancy stories can be both a blessing and a hindrance.

I found the blessing at the very beginning when my first ultrasound turned up a totally empty looking uterus. My doctor had recommended a second ultrasound about a week later just to give everything time to grow just in case I was not as far along as my LMP suggested. My anxiety hit me hard and low then and I had to wait a full week before I could get any answers.

That’s when I found comfort in the sea of voices. My mom sent me links to multiple chat rooms filled to the brim with women who had similar stories to mine but they all worked out okay in the end. Woman after woman talking about their fear at that empty first ultrasound and being told by their doctors that they would miscarry soon only to prove their doctors wrong as they went on to carry and have healthy babies. It was a soothing balm that helped me to quiet the scared, panicked voices in the back of my head.

But now that I’m trying to figure out what sort of things to purchase for this baby? Oh god, the plethora of voices and opinions on the internet are frightening and overwhelming.

Every item, no matter what it is, has the same set of reviews under it. There will be roughly 5,000 women who love the product, talk about how it helped cure their baby’s terminal illness, got the baby accepted into Harvard Law at the prestigious age of 9 months, and was crucial in the defeat of their lifelong arch enemy, allowing them to experience a sort of peaceful euphoria otherwise unknown to mankind in general.

Mixed in with the reviews that are genuflecting to the product and worshipping it as a new god are the 5,000 women who are acting as the sandwich board wearing, bell-ringing, prophets explaining how this product not only killed the family pet and set the house on fire, but is actually the secret Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse and only exists to usher in the End Times.

This would all somehow be okay if one type of review outnumbered the other but that is rarely ever the case. You can scroll through all the comments left by people under the product, tallying up the praise-singing hallelujah reviews and stack them against the crypt-keeper style, “Beware ye mothers who dare purchase this product!” ones and the numbers will always even out. An additional layer of unhelpfulness would be that the women who love the product and the women who hate the product feel the way they feel for the exact same reasons.

“X, Y, and Z were such amazing features of this product! They all really made life worth living again and made me feel like a whole and complete woman for the first time in my life.”

“This product is secretly the spawn of Satan. The fact that it has X, Y, and Z is what made it so outright terrible for me. It was as if this product were forged in the very hate-fires that exist in the hearts of my Adversaries.”

This is why everyone who has asked me where I’m registered or if they can buy something nice for the baby is met by a blank, panicked stare on my face as I make empty gestures and struggle to find words I can say that sound more mature than, “I have no idea what I want or what to get. Halp.” I’m sure everyone in my life is feeling very confident that I’m gonna handle this whole, “Being a Mom,” thing perfectly considering how inept I am being at the getting prepared stage.

And I know that companies and baby stores and the internet all have huge lists of MUST HAVE items that are considered THE BEST things for babies but again, the numbers work against each other. Each store emphasizes different products. Every list is different. Some lists will have items under a heading like, “You Can Totally Wait To Get This, It’s Not Crucial.” While other lists have those exact same items under the heading, “You Need To Buy This Right Now Or You Obviously Don’t Really Love Your Baby And Are Going To Be A Terrible Mother.”

So I dunno, add to all of this the creamy, uncertainty-flavored frosting that is our whole living/work situation right now and you’ve got yourself a big slice of What the Shit Am I Supposed to Do? Cake. Take your time on being born, baby. You’ve still got like 12 more weeks of cooking to do and hopefully somewhere in that time I’ll actually get my shit together and figure out what you need to not die of neglect instantly once you’re outside my womb. Maybe I’ll get a Ouija board to help me decide.

Several near misses and a critque on shape; Pregnancy Stories

Life is still on truckin’ over here. I don’t want to really say a lot more about this right at the moment, other than to say that Red, Matt and I have all agreed that this is how we are currently handling things at the moment:

dog fire

(Original source for the comic is here.)

So rather than dwell on things I can’t change and have no control over, here are a few random little pregnancy vignettes. Stories that are worth telling but not really long enough to stand on their own.

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So I almost wet myself on the way to therapy the other day. Emphasis on almost. I managed to make it to the office’s bathroom without having an accident but it was the first time I can remember being genuinely concerned that I would not make it to a toilet in time.

Like most people, I’m going to blame the internet for this one. I had been enjoying my leisurely morning before heading out when I noticed that my heart seemed to be beating really, really fast. Like, scary fast. Like, you would need a very fancy tricked out European race car to match the pace of my heart in mph.

I ran a quick Google search on “fast resting heartbeat pregnant” and scrolled through the results. The consensus, like all medical questions on the internet, seemed to either be, “Oh you’re fine, you big baby,” or, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING ON THE INTERNET WHEN YOU’RE ABOUT TO DIE?!?!?!!1!!”

Sifting through these opinions was like trying to find gold in a river of paranoid sand but I managed to find some legit-ish information that said, “Well, you’re probably either anemic or dehydrated.” Since my blood work for the glucose test had also included an anemia screening (which I had passed with flying colors. Woo! No additional iron supplements for me!) I decided to try drinking a shit ton of water and waiting a little bit before calling my doctor.

Fortunately, two water bottles later my heart rate had dropped down to a much more reasonable number (you get one point in your favor for this, internet!). Noticing I was late, I grabbed my things and hurriedly left the house for my appointment.

It’s about a 20-30 minute drive depending on traffic and I was maybe 7 minutes from home when I realized just how badly I needed to pee. My body was all, “Hey, don’t want to worry you or anything but we are so full in here that if you don’t find a bathroom we will make wherever you are into a bathroom, if you catch my drift.”

I was too late to pull over or turn around to run home. Optimism ever being the opiate of the fools I decided to push on, thinking I could totally make it to the office in time before I completely lost all dignity.

There’s nothing quite like trying to get somewhere in a hurry without actually speeding. I really didn’t want to speed for two fairly obvious reasons: 1) I didn’t want to endanger my or anyone else’s lives by driving like a total idiot just because I needed to pee. 2) I have the worst luck in the world and I knew that if I sped I would get pulled over by a cop who would ask me what all the rush is and I would tell him I needed to pee and he wouldn’t believe me and I would be so far gone I’d end up accidentally peeing all over myself and he would either feel so guilty he’d let me go or he’d be so disgusted I’d be ticketed anyway.

By the time I reached the therapy office I was at that point where you have to pee so badly you almost feel like barfing but I managed to skitter my way inside, sign in and fast-waddle to the bathroom. (Yes I have officially started doing the pregnancy waddle. It gets worse with each passing week.) I officially never want to be that hard pressed to find a toilet EVER AGAIN.

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I managed to prove the old adage of, “You will never look exactly as pregnant as people think you should look. Be prepared for a lot of comments about how huge or tiny you are for how far along you are.”

I had sent my family the pictures of my baby bump that I shared on here and my brother sent me a text saying he was certain I was going to have a 15 lb baby because I “looked so outrageously huge” and I was just approaching the third trimester. I know little brothers are supposed to be annoying, by law, but it was still a pretty rude thing to hear. He was just lucky he said it in a text and not in person or he would have the honor of saying he got beat up by a pregnant woman.

But apparently I don’t look too huge because at that first knitting group meeting I got to experience the other end of the judgment spectrum. When someone asked what I was making and I showed them the baby-poncho-in-progress they asked how old the kid was. I put my hands on my belly and said, “Well, they’re still in utero.”

All the ladies were congratulatory and asked how far along I was and when I told them one of them said, “No offense or anything hon, but I never would have guessed because you are the skinniest pregnant woman I have ever seen!” The conversation at the table then briefly dipped into the foray of how I needed to eat more and not be so concerned about being too fat (I like how that was automatically assumed about my character; I must be one of those women who are more concerned with vanity than being healthy. It’s the only logical explanation!) and how it was very important for the baby for the mom to put on some weight and I just sort of sat there and took it until the conversation shifted.

I honestly didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t want to tell these women I had just met about how it had been so hard for me to gain any weight whatsoever at the beginning of this pregnancy and how much that had worried me and how I had only now started to feel better about my current weight gain. I didn’t want to outline the various nutritionist meetings and the calorie counting (to make sure I was eating enough) and the weigh ins and the sighs of worry from my doctor. I know they only meant the best but it was still so frustrating how presumptuous the whole thing is.

I know I am far from the first (or best) to write about the subject of being judgmental towards a pregnant woman’s shape. The truth is you have no idea what is going on with that woman’s life and no one outside of her own personal health care providers is in any position to tell her what shape or size her body “should” be in.

I think it’s funny that I can look “outrageously huge” to some people and still be the “skinniest pregnant woman.” I don’t know how I’m going to handle well intentioned but totally inappropriate comments from strangers in the future.

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THE SCENE:

We open on a typical, small apartment bathroom late in the evening. KATIE enters the bathroom, ready to brush her teeth before bed.

She quickly picks up her TOOTHBRUSH with her left hand and reaches over with her right hand and grabs HAIR STYLING PRODUCT.

Balancing the HAIR STYLING PRODUCT on its side, KATIE opens the container and begins to try to shake out its contents onto her TOOTHBRUSH. Suddenly, she stops. Something about the situation feels off somehow.

KATIE: “Hey, wait a minute…”

KATIE stares at both her TOOTHBRUSH and the HAIR STYLING PRODUCT for some time. Her head swivels back and forth between the two objects as if she were watching a tennis match. After an embarrassingly long amount of time she puts the HAIR STYLING PRODUCT down.

KATIE: “Well that was almost a disaster.”

KATIE then accidentally drops her toothbrush into the bathroom garbage can where it remains.

FIN.