Observations from 28w5d

To pass the inordinate amount of time that being pregnant seems to take, I spend some of my work days not working, but rather making dumb, obvious observations about pregnancy.

1) Some days I feel like I've been pregnant for years. Last Monday I spent half of the day either crying, or a state bordering on tears. I just wanted to get this kid and her hamburger OUT, though I of course realise preterm labour is a bad, bad thing. The horrible thing is, I'm not even at the worst stages of pregnancy yet. I am trying not to think what I will like at at 36 weeks and later. It could be worse though - the Asian elephant has a 645 day gestation period, so I'm getting off light.

2) People love to tell you how fat you're getting. If I hear one more, "Wow. You sure are big. Sure you're not carrying twins?", I will hit the fucker. I heard this four times last week. Do they not realise how insulting this is? Also, it's not so good to say to someone that has severe body image issues that pregnancy is certainly not curing. Actually, Enid is measuring as the smaller side of completely average, as I mentioned in my last post. I can still see my toes, and still (barely) reach down and pick something off the floor with only minimal discomfort. Obviously these comments have driven me to compare my stomach with those belly shot galleries online, and I am proud to say I am completely normal, so fuck those haters.

3) Fetal bladder squeezing. I swear I have a devious fetus inside of me that gets extreme delight out of putting 2000 pounds of pressure on my bladder just to watch me squirm. There are two ways in which this scenario is usually played out - I am sitting down and don't feel as if I need to pee, yet my next trip to the bathroom reveals that though I may not have felt like peeing, I most certainly did. The second way is when I'm walking around, minding my own business, until my bladder feels like it's in a vice and will soon just pop out of my vagina and onto the street. This makes me want to cross my legs and do the "I have to pee" dance like a four year old, which is not, last I checked, an acceptable behaviour for an adult to exhibit in public. When this happened at one point this week, I was walking to get her majesty some little outfits. It seems that buying her stuff is not enough to get her to lay off the bladder so her mother isn't left to pee in the streets.

4) Swollen ankles. This side effect of pregnancy is just pure evil. One of my deepest fears is developing cankles, and damn if pregnancy doesn't start to lead you down this road. I have had this cankle-fear since 4th grade, when my early 30-something teacher, Mrs Wentz, paraded her cankles for all to see during storytime. I distinctly recall sitting on the carpet listening to her read Judy Blume, riveted yet disgusted, as to how this young, attractive woman could have such hideous ankles. Ever since then, the fear of the cankles has haunted me. Pair that with the notion of support hose and I'm headed out the nearest window.

5) Personal space. I work in a university, and on the day that I was particularly hating pregnancy and faced with two fat comments, I was was given at least a 6 foot berth by a passing male student in the corridor. I have yet to decide if he thought pregnancy is a disease, or if he thought my massive stomach would brush him if he got within a few feet. In order to pass me with this amount of distance, the poor kid had to practically hug the wall and slide down the length of the hallway in that manner. This happens elsewhere as well. Walking to work on the sidewalk people often step way aside to let me pass. It does wonders for the self-esteem.

6) The perceived inability to walk without assistance. I know most people are well-intentioned, but I'm pregnant, not disabled. Every single time I say that I'm going to venture into the town or go to get lunch, my co-workers freak out. Statements such as, "Are you sure you can walk that far?" or "I hope you're not walking there!" are often heard. People, I may look as if I have trouble getting around, but for now, the legs still work and are largely unaffected by pregnancy. So much for trying to maintain a sense of normalcy through all of this. I'm one step away from the dreaded pregnancy person parking space at this rate. Kidding!

7) Titty-lookers. I've brought this issue up before, but the bigger my stomach gets, the more I am disturbed by this behaviour. Yes, I have boobs. Yes, they are particularly large at the moment. No, I cannot get a top that isn't so low cut as there seems to be this idea that maternity tops must show off cleavage to the extreme. I happen to be one of those people that is not very pleased with many of her features but my boobs are divine, so no turtlenecks for me. Calm down prudes, I still maintain a bit of modesty. Unfortunately, they are here, and they are here to stay. However, I do find the idea of construction workers and truck drivers staring at them and drooling quite off-putting. I'm gestating a kid in this body, have some respect people.

8) Bloated tick syndrome. Though not yet an official disorder, I think it should be. Bloated tick syndrome is exhibited when the pregnant woman attempts to get up from a prone position, and finds herself unable to do so without much arm swinging and unattractive writhing. It is attempted by said pregnant woman to do this when the partner is not around so as not to encourage hysterical laughter.

9) The lure of maternity leave. This is one of the things that keeps me going. Some days it seems unattainable, and on others it's my saving grace. On particularly rough days I try to focus on the fact that in a couple of months, I'm done with this working gig for one full year. Me and my hopefully cankleless legs will be free to spend entire days at home with the chunky-labia'd one. Bliss. In theory.

10) Maintaining the self. At the moment, I feel like I have to keep stressing to my friends that I will not change, at least not noticeably. I received a surprise email from a male former co-worker the other day, and as I had not heard from him for a couple of years he obviously did not know of my knocked upedness. I didn't know how to bring it up, because he and I hit it off due to our mutual cynicism, sarcasm and rather pessimistic world view. I think it is perceived, and at times rightfully so, that as soon as we become parents, we are pod people. If we used to be cynics, we now see at least a little good in everything. I do feel as if that will be me if I'm not careful. Everyone with kids tells you how much you will change, and it scares the shit out of me. I like me! The Dude likes himself, and me, as we are. What if we succumb to the pod person mentality unknowingly? Please bloggers, alert me if in the next year I start to get a little too Bree Van De Kamp.

Cupcakes, anyone?


I'll take "chunky labia" for 200, Alex

An unusual title for a blog post to be sure, but it reveals oh so much, as young Enid is in fact an Enid. Nope, no penis between those two legs that kick me mercilessly at 3am. One might wonder, and rightfully so, why the words "chunky labia" must be used. This I shall reveal, as well as other fascinating details about this being growing inside of me. It was an informative night at the ultrasound clinic, that much is for certain.

The ultrasound commenced with the rapid proclamation that young Enid had half of her head tucked behind my hipbone. No matter really, as I could still see her beating heart, her spine, and the occasional swipe of an arm or well-formed leg. The ultrasound tech said that Enid would most likely move her head at some stage, thus enabling a better view of her face and giving the tech a chance to get an accurate measure of her head. Not so. Surely this woman was aware that any child The Dude and I would produce is going to be the most stubborn little beast to ever cross her path. There was much jostling and tapping on my stomach by the tech, with Enid on the screen refusing to move her head, yet punching my uterus in fury as if to say, "Fuck off! Stop tapping me bitch!" To see her little fists moving in reaction to the shaking was more funny to me rather than the awakening of any maternal obligation to protect her. Instead, I was thinking to myself "That's my girl!", believing that was the first sign that this child is going to be one outspoken little madam. By the end of the night, the tech awarded Enid her first accolade: Most Stubborn Fetus of the Day.

In one of the breaks from attempts at head-dislodging and internal organ gazing, the tech pulled a Seacrest from two weeks ago when Chris was kicked off and was all, "It's a girl!" No lead up to the sexual organs, no telling us to brace ourselves for the announcement - she just came out with it. The Dude grinned like a simpleton, and I made the profound statement of "Girl". I meant to just think it, but it popped out nonetheless. I wasn't questioning her, just mulling over the verdict in my head. The tech proceeded to point out why it was labia we were looking at rather than testicles, and passed on the ultrasound tech wisdom that in their circles, they call it the hamburger. Yes, the hamburger. It seems that in profile on an ultrasound, labia resemble the outline of a hamburger. I think it seems like a cheesy euphemism, like those people who use cutesy words like "hoo hoo" or "bajingo" for vagina. I could picture myself telling Enid in later years, "Now honey, don't let anyone touch your hamburger. Those are your private parts and not for strangers!" or "Stop touching your hamburger!"

Oddly enough, Enid of the immovable head seemed to revel in touching her hamburger, even at this early stage of her life. What a proud moment. Twice the tech said, "Oh, her hand is between her legs", much to The Dude's enjoyment. In fact, the first time this was said, he laughed loudly and I was utterly humiliated at his response. We would have expected this of any son of his, but a daughter? Sort it out girl and leave your hamburger alone.

With further explanation of the sexual organs came the infinite statement that will definitely be told to Enid when she is older and able to handle its significance without acute embarrassment. Apparently the tech could tell Enid was a she because of a) the pronounced hamburgerness and b) the immense chunkiness of my baby's labia. Believe it or not, the words "chunky labia" were repeated at least twice by the tech with no hint of humour. I have no idea where Enid gets it from, as I think my labia are quite normal. Perhaps I have some sort of labia mutant growing inside of me, I don't know. I also hope her chunky labia doesn't manifest itself once she gets older, because who needs that predisposition to extreme camel toe?

Other lessons learned were:

1) Freddo has large, wide feet. Thanks for that one Dude. Poor kid will have to make her way in the world as a Yeti with chunky labia. Looks like that "sometimes life just isn't fair" speech will have to come to this one quite early.

2) Little wisps of hair could be seen on the back of her head, floating like diaphanous silk in the amniotic fluid. I am pleased that this would hint at her lack of complete baldness at birth.

3) She is measuring at average size for this stage (27w1d at ultrasound), hovering at the lower end of average. I was relieved that this would indicate that perhaps GD is not present, and it put the kernel of doubt in The Dude's mind that I am now not eating enough. Two weeks ago I was a fucking pig when I ate half a tub of Cherry Garcia, now I'm bloody malnourished. He does not make a trip to the kitchen now without offering to prepare some food for me.

The ultrasound concluded with Enid moving every part of her body regularly with the exception of her head, two CDs of her activities, and about 12 photos. I sometimes like to look at the photos when I'm alone, revelling at the little body parts on show. I cannot fathom that this tiny creature is still inside me and will make her appearance in about 12 short weeks if all goes to plan. To think that these are photographs of my daughter, my little girl...it's...well, nothing short of amazing. I often wonder how long it will take after her birth to say "my daughter" without feeling as if I'm lying, making up a life that isn't mine.

Enid had her first concert last night - Morrissey - and I spent most of the night juxtaposing the me that is a huge Morrissey fan with the idea of me as a mother who is proud of herself for exposing her child to his music in utero. I know it seems so lame to have these moments of faux enlightenment at a concert, but when the band started playing "How Soon Is Now" with the strobe lights creating a sort of unreal setting, I did get quite emotional. As I was listening to the music that had such a profound effect to my 14 year old self, locked in my room burning patchouli incense, reading poetry and wondering why no boy would ever like me, I find myself now on the cusp of being someone's mother. I was that 14 year old just yesterday, and now I am close to being the mother of a daughter. Jesus.



Sorry I've been absent so long children. Granted, I've not been as lax as some people who wait nearly a damn calendar month between posts, or others who manage to stretch the silence nearly three whole months. I do have quite a bit to say, I'm just too lazy to say it. I occasionally look at the computer with mild disdain, think of poor, languishing BarrenAlbion with its readers slowly dropping off due to boredom and for a moment I pause, believing I should post. Eventually common sense prevails, I grab a little B&J's and resettle on the PruDent in the sofa.

I have shunned the B&J's today, and here I am. I do have a lot to say with not much coherency, so I'm just going to resort to bullet points. Segues be damned!

1) Gestational diabetes: guess who might have it? At my midwife appointment last Thursday they detected some naughty stuff in my urine, so I had a blood test on Friday to test my levels. I have yet to get the results, and knowing my absent-minded, scatterbrained-as-fuck midwife, I'll maybe find out once my 15 pound baby is born if I had gd.

Initially I cried. I know, I'm such a wuss. Who cries when they discover they may have gd? It wasn't so much that I felt as if having gestational diabetes was the end of the world, but I have reached the end of my tether with PCOS. I hate the bitch. I wish she would just fuck off and harass some deserving person for awhile. Pregnancy was supposed to be the one time in the past 10 years that I've felt like a normal woman, yet it seems a hiatus from being a reproductive freakshow was not meant to be. PCOS was all, "Shit. Bitch got pregnant. Hmm...what can we do now to remind her that I will be here for eternity?"

I blame PCOS because, well, why not? I haven't gained much weight in this pregnancy, I have been disciplined with my sugar intake, and I have gotten more exercise than I ever did not pregnant. Yet, take a look at the information online about gd and it's all about the fat and/or old people. No mention of those of us who just may have been shortchanged in the endocrinology department. Just like infertility, it's all simplified to say that it's just the fat and old with the problems. Bah.

2) The in-laws: Yes, so I bought a doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat. No, I know you didn't feel the need to do that, but then again, my attempts to get pregnant involved a little more than a drunken shag after a curry. I'm just sayin'. Also, I don't care that you don't see the sense in us paying for a private ultrasound next week. I want to see my Enid, and if I want to see my Enid and use my money to see my Enid, I will.

Seriously, these people roll their eyes and cluck at us each time we tell them what we're doing regarding Enid. I know they think I'm the domineering puppetmaster behind it all, and I want The Dude to tell them that he is a willing participant in this. Just you wait until I go back to work - some riveting blog posts will surely result from that. Let us just say that the family is not exactly in favour of the working mother. To them, my kid will be on the fast track to Cracktown in no time once I start working again.

3) Fertile-type behaviour in yours truly: A few weeks ago a woman glanced at my stomach, then made eye contact with me. She looked pained, and I could tell exactly what she was thinking. I wanted to make some sort of Club of the Infertile gesture, like simulating a catheter being shoved up my cooter, or wrapping my hand around an invisible Puregon Pen and stabbing my stomach with a massive smile plastered on my face. Unfortunately, no such universal gestures are widely accepted. Pity.

The tragedy in this situation, aside from this woman's obvious anguish, was that up to that point it had never occurred to me that other infertile women might be looking at me in my current state the way I used to look at pregnant women. I have been existing in my happy little "infertile makes good" bubble that I haven't thought about the fact that other women might be secretly hating me. I think they do what I always did when I saw a young, pregnant woman - I assumed it came easy for her. This, despite the fact that I am young and still had to do IVF to end up here. The next time I notice a woman looking at me in this way, I shall say, "This youthful face belies the truth! I too know of endless cooter pokings and hormonal rampages! I too have endured weeks of waxiness due to pussaries! I am a sister, not the enemy!"

4) Speaking of cooter pokings, a dear friend in blogging will be facing her first appointment today with her male RE. Said friend was worried about the awkwardness caused by her husband's presence when another male has his hands all up in her business. I read her comment and laughed, but the laughter soon turned to a feeling of resigned shame when I realised that I wouldn't even consider that an uncomfortable situation. In fact, the last time I was probed by a medical professional it was by the fingers of a male doctor during my transfer. Oh, and there was more than one male there getting in on the action. I was laying on the table like an old pro, legs splayed, with a lamp containing a 500,000 watt bulb poised over my vagina. Gloved hands belonging to a few people were in and out of the snatch, along with numerous catheters and cold metal instruments. The Dude sat to my left, completely nonplussed. He was probably singing a Sugababes song to himself or something, he was so casual about it all.

5) Again with the laziness: I was eating a pretzel the other day, and a piece of one fell into my cavernous cleavage. I glanced down at it, nestled on the top of the underwire of my bra, decided that I would call too much attention to myself were I to dig it out, and arrived at the conclusion that a lot of energy would also be expended trying to retrieve it. So yeah...I left it there. Well, until I next went to the bathroom and could dig it out in private.

I'll leave it at that. I will try to post next week, as I am having an ultrasound next Wednesday to find out if Enid is an Enid, or a slow Bertrand after all. I should also, airheaded midwife willing, have the results of my gestational diabetes blood test. If it's positive, believe me, I will have enough bile to unleash and turn into a blog post. No one will want to read it, but hey...I'll feel better!