Friday, July 11, 2008

Science Experiment of One - 20 Weeks

[Note: to skip pregnancy blabber and get to the pictures, just scroll down. No one will know.]

I've reached the 20-week mark, which by the craziness of Pregnancy Math, means I'm halfway there (and could people quit reminding me that November is close? It's really not. That's late fall, practically Christmas, and we are in the throes of high summer. Lots and lots of time, people). And wow, how 'bout that second trimester? It almost makes you forget the misery of the first, because you feel, well, just normal. I knew I was back in the saddle when I ate Indian food a few weeks ago, and it tasted good, and I had no digestive after-effects. Blissful. Even without beer.

Part of feeling better means I can exercise practically like normal again. I'm doing spin and prenatal yoga classes once or twice a week, and trying to get some weight training and running/lumbering like a rhino in as well. I'd been told that my cardio would get better again in the 2nd trimester after it felt really laborious for awhile in the first, and dang, it's true! I've got to take advantage before the baby squishes my lungs into oblivion in a few more months. Folks seem really impressed that I still work out, but some of my friends have set pretty high standards - one friend from my relay team ran at least 30 minutes 3x per week just about up to her last week of pregnancy, but she's a ridiculous athletic Energizer bunny, and can't be considered a reasonable standard by any means. I've definitely had to dial down the intensity, and am fine with it most days. Except the ones where I am certain that pregnancy is nothing but a cellulite manufacturing process, all of which has settled on my legs.

I think everyone (including me) expects the belly to be bigger at this stage. My good friend Janine (mother of three) took one look at me and said, "Little belly. Big boobs," which is about right. I swear half the weight I gained earlier on was in my chest, dear god, which really didn't need to be any larger. I've definitely moved on to the Ugliest Bras Known to Mankind, but wow, are they comfortable. (Comfort -1, Dignity - 0. I hear this trend continues.) When I step on the scale at the doctor's office, alarmingly high numbers pop up, never seen before. Alarming to me, anyhow. Doctors, nurses, midwives, a zillion pregnancy books, the internets, all assure me that I am perfectly normal.

Toothpaste has, thankfully, lost its gag-inducing horror. I still have to occasionally obsessively, compulsively, rinse out every last trace of mintiness with gallons of water but most of the time it's just fine.

20 week ultrasound, more surreal black and white blurry images on a TV screen, hands waving ("tiny jazz hands" as blogger Amalah says), all measurements and organs reassuringly normal, normal, normal.

I was told I had a couple of uterine fibroids, heretofore unknown to anyone, which is good, because they've been utterly asymptomatic. Despite the doctor's nonchalance in relaying the factual fibroid information to me, and her total lack of further concern, comment or action, I still had to spend a few frantic hours Googling everything in sight. To find out, of course, that practically everyone has a fibroid or two, and it's only in quite rare instances that they cause any problems. Lots of fibroid problems are related to conception, and clearly, we had no issues there. It was really the first panicked, all-out anxious must-Google-everything moment I've had, so I think I'm doing pretty well.

I definitely feel the baby doing her acrobatics in there now. I started feeling it a few weeks ago. Some people have all these romantic descriptions of what it feels like: bubbles popping, butterfly wings, hands moving through water. My friend Bonnie said, "It feels like a muscle spasm." Yup. That's what it feels like to me. And you could definitely mistake it for gas. Nothing so delicately lovely as butterflies and bubbles. And the day after my doctor said I should be feeling the movements more distinctly soon, I felt the first ones from the outside, thump thump thump against my hand as I was lying in bed. I actually yanked my hand away and exclaimed "holy shit!" Then I yelled for Seth to come upstairs right now because he might feel the baby. He didn't feel anything that night (in part because he didn't fully understand my blabbering from downstairs and took his time ambling upstairs), but got to feel a surreal little gentle thump a few nights later. It's aliiiiive in there! I'd better enjoy these little flickering kicks because I understand the I'm-out-to-get-your-liver kicks are next. And of course, we now spend an inordinate amount of time poking my uterus to bother the baby and get her to perform again. Yeah, get used to it, kid. We are so going to bother you for the rest of your life.

Without further ado, the latest belly photos. Generally, I just feel fat and thick, and think I look like I just visited the Las Vegas buffet a few too many times. Still, people who don't know me are unlikely to guess that I'm pregnant. But, compare to the earlier photos. Something is definitely afoot in there.

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