Sunday, June 1, 2008

Science Experiment of One

So, I've been a little distracted. Getting pregnant will do that for you. Yup, pregnant. I'm just as surprised as you, even though this was, of course, planned and right on schedule. You think my Type A self would allow for anything else?

Sorry if you actually know me and you're finding out on my blog that I'm knocked up. I tried to tell everyone, but there are a damn lot of you to tell, and you're all over the world, literally. I think we did cover the high points - mothers, fathers, siblings, best friends, bosses - and I'm really depending on the Power of Gossip to spread the word to all the far-flung branches of our network of friends, acquaintances and co-workers. If you're just hearing now, I maintain that it's not my fault. People have clearly been gossiping inadequately, slackers.

The technical data: I'm 16 weeks pregnant, due November 21. It's a girl. (We know the sex because we chose to do CVS testing.)

In the infinite wisdom of my 16 weeks of pregnancy so far, I have come to the conclusion that this gestation deal is one weird-ass science experiment.

It all starts with the getting pregnant in the first place. For most of the past 35 years, I've made all kinds of efforts to avoid getting pregnant at all costs. Then one day, bam! You've got to turn around and reverse all of that, pull all the goalies (so to speak), and try to get pregnant, and you don't even know if you can, and you're of "advanced maternal age" (what they call us old ladies of 35 and over), and by god, you want to get pregnant right now and get this show on the road.

As my wise (and also 6.5 months pregnant!) friend Maya said "We get pregnant the way we live." For those of us must-get-it-done-right-now-on-this-schedule-Type-A-girls, this means that we need Gadgets. Eff all of that hokey temperature taking and mucus charting to try to figure out when you ovulate. I'm a modern woman - I want science! And gadgets!

So I went with the Clear Blue Easy Fertility Monitor, otherwise known as the Cadillac of Ovulation Monitors. Pricey, but it sure seemed a lot more certain than the other methods. A few days of use teaches you that getting pregnant involves a lot of Peeing On Sticks.

I was also entertained by the packaging for the monitor. The results of using this device? Babies.

Look! Babies! IN THIS BOX.

A couple months after being slave to ovulation pee-sticks, I was sure that I wasn't pregnant. The bad thing was that I wasn't pregnant RIGHT NOW, because, well, when I decide to do something I want it to be done RIGHT NOW. The good thing was that I'd be able to go to my 10-year law school reunion in New Orleans and carouse and drink like a fish!

Then, after a weekend full of wine-soaked happy hours, margaritas, Brie, sushi and late nights, I had a Sunday afternoon where I just didn't feel right. I thought maybe I was just hung over. Then I took a 4-hour nap. Which I never do. And had some heartburn. Which I never have. And some mild crampiness in my abdomen. I thought, well, I never did actually take a pregnancy test this month and rule it out. I'll just take one now, and it will be negative. I went in the bathroom, did the obligatory pee-stick thing, and just about passed out when it was positive in about five seconds flat.

I went downstairs, carrying the stick. I told Seth, "Now, don't get too excited yet, but this stick says I am pregnant. There can be false positives, you know." Seth said, "Yeah, maybe you should re-test in the morning with another stick." Neither of us slept well that night. I woke up Monday, took another test, with a different brand. Again, CLEARLY POSITIVE in 5 seconds flat. Holy shit. So much for the Abita and Pimm's Cups in New Orleans. And so the Science Experiment of One began.

It's just crazy, because pregnancy is different for every person. There are long lists and litanies of symptoms and feelings and no one has any idea which they will have, or to what degree, or in what combinations. And it can be completely different for the same person with two pregnancies.

I've probably been about average. I was fortunately not puking every hour like some poor, unfortunate women; in fact there was no barfing involved for me. Just constant nausea for a few weeks, random heartburn, and paralyzing exhaustion. That is all pretty much done - I feel almost normal most days now. I do have random heartburn that does not seem tied to what I eat, but it's fairly manageable. I have the feeling that my digestive system won't be the same until after this little creature is out of my body, and the hormones wane. I haven't been able to stand spicy food, which is a total reversal for me. I'm usually the queen of spicy - the hotter the better, and bring it on. Now, a slight overdose of even black pepper will make me spit something out. Sigh. Depressing. Almost as depressing as the no-alcohol thing. I have sips of Seth's beverages occasionally, and the weird thing is that wine tastes awful. All wine - the $6 bottles and the $40 ones. Beer, on the other hand, still tastes delicious, so I savor my occasional sip. (Side note - I never, ever want to go to New Orleans again when I can't drink. Terrible.) Plus the Superpower Sense of Smell. I mean, I could smell from the front door when Seth hadn't thoroughly washed out the garlic press. And minty toothpaste is the devil's handiwork - of all things, that is what makes me dry heave. Unfortunately, almost all toothpaste ever made is minty in some way. I gagged just reading labels in the grocery store yesterday, looking in vain for another flavor. My dental hygienist took pity on me the other day at a cleaning, and was able to give me some nice grape-flavored tooth polish, normally reserved for the under-10 set.

I was in total denial that my body would begin to grow outward, my waist thicken. It didn't do a whole lot for awhile, and I've been able to get by with my regular clothes until now. Then, last week, pants suddenly stopped zipping. Whoa. Time to enter Giant Elastic Waistband Land. Maternity clothes are a heck of a lot better than they used to be, but the transition to them is still a little shocking, and I'm not quite big enough for a lot of them yet. I am starting to feel like my belly eclipses my feet, but most people can't tell that I'm pregnant. Only good friends can immediately see the belly pooch.

Now, without further ado, and since I know most of you just came here for the belly photos, here they are:

This is the belly (or relative lack thereof) at about eight weeks:

And here's the belly at about 15 weeks.
See? It's there!

It's beginning to be more real. We've seen the blurry black and white ultrasound images, and heard the heartbeat, but it's hard to connect them to something being in there. Crazy talk. I swear that this past week I could feel my uterus growing; I just suddenly felt more aware of it somehow. My belly gets bigger, seemingly by the day. In the next few weeks, I should be able to feel movement. Everyone can tell you what to expect, but you still don't know what's going to happen tomorrow and how it's actually going to feel. The science experiment goes on.


dcpeg said...

Congratulations! I hope you continue enjoying the pregnancy experience.

Just had to let you know that Aquafresh has an orange-flavored toothpaste. Maybe that won't cause the heaves -- nothing worse!!

Ken and Belly said...

Congratulations! You're too right about the type A pre-pregnancy experience. ;)

connie said...

Just thinking about the beautiful plates you and Seth picked out for your wedding and thinking how weird (I before E except in Weird) it is going to be for you to have plastic plates. Do they make tasteful ones? I am currently shopping around for "subdued" sippy cups. Love, C