Yesterday Bryan and I went our first childbirth education class…and the resounding takeaway I had from it was…this is really getting REAL. But my pregnancy itself has been a series of reality checks.
Back in late September, when I had been full-on lifestyle cleansing, green juicing, meditating, Couch-to-5King and feeling more energetic and phenomenal than I had in a very long time, I woke one morning and felt in a word, shitty. I thought…What is this? I’m sick again? Mind you, I had myself convinced that conceiving a baby was going to take a while, so it didn’t immediately occur to me I was with child. But there was a chance, so on a trip to the bathroom, I took a home pregnancy test, glanced at the pink line appear in the “negative” control window, placed it back it its foil wrapper, and trudged back to sleep for another couple of hours. Waking up late for work and dragging myself up for the day, I called my husband. At the very moment he asked me, “What’s wrong?” I looked back at the pregnancy test. And there was additional very light line in the “positive” window. ”I think I’m pregnant”, I replied. Whoa.
So I went immediately to my Gyn’s office for a blood test to confirm and waited for the results. Intellectually, I knew I was pregnant, since false positives on home prego tests, no matter how faint the line, are rare since they are detecting the pregnancy hormone (hCG). But it certainly didn’t seem real. And after two positive blood tests and 4 more positive home tests, it still wasn’t totally sinking in. But my baby’s first trimester had started.
And for the next couple of months, the notion that I was incubating a small human was still somewhat tough to acknowledge, since it felt more like a 10-week flu than anything beautiful. Green juice turned my stomach, the thought of kale made me shudder, epic fatigue eroded my fitness plan, and I preferred sleep to getting up early to meditate. I was all carbs, all the time…breadsticks, rice cakes, ginger chews and Preggie Pops. Invitations to social gatherings were tearfully declined. My sweet husband unreservedly drove me into work. I commiserated with my sister-in-law, whose due date is just 10 days after mine; “I’m so over this”, she said. I wondered how in the world women have more than one baby. One sunny Sunday as I was descending my apartment building’s staircase after sleeping for three straight days, I promptly stumbled over the last step, twisted my ankle and sadly returned to the couch.
At 9 weeks pregnant, I went in to see my midwife (the lovely and amazing Cara Muhlhahn, whom fellow crunchy mamas might remember from The Business of Being Born) for bloodwork. Even though it was long shot, Cara suggested we’d try to hear the baby’s heartbeat, cautioning that we might not be able to pick it up with her Doppler listening device, since that usually happened at 12 weeks. But I was eager to try, so I hiked up my shirt and laid back on her exam table, while she moved the wand across my tummy. And oh so faintly, there it was, that rapid pulsating underneath the sound of my own heartbeat. My baby! Cara was prepared with a tissue as I dabbed my eyes, and I whipped out my phone so I could record the sound for the hubby.
A couple of weeks later, Bryan joined me for the first ultrasound. And there was the baby, front and center. I immediately emailed out the picture of Baby Blade to the friends and family who were in the know.
What a clear image! Sonogram pictures I’d seen before were blobby and if you looked carefully you could make out a body part or two, or you just lied and said, “Yeah, I see!”. Another thing that’s amazing is the baby was only two inches big at that point.
But even after hearing the heartbeat and seeing the baby, there was still an unreal quality; I was holding off until my second trimester before going fully public with the news, since there was still a chance of miscarriage.
Then as I entered my second trimester, the change in my quality of life in terms of how I felt was incredible; it was as if a light switch had gone off, and gone was the nausea and the extreme fatigue. The miscarriage risk significantly decreased. And I started to show! The bump progression was incredible, where I went from looking like I’d had too many Dun-Well Donuts to a pregnant lady within days.
Here I am at Thanksgiving…
And here I am about a week later with the bump popping out…
Right around this time we went “public” with the news. I put that in quotes since while some people found out about the pregnancy at this time, many people already knew…keeping my personal life to myself isn’t a strength of mine. In case this blog hadn’t already given that away.
My second trimester wellness was fortunately timed; I was able to enjoy our trip to Costa Rica for sightseeing and Abby and Michael’s wedding…
And from that point forward, I’ve been feeling mostly OK. My belly has been popping, how profoundly our lives will be changing has been steadily sinking in, and the excitement has been building.
15 weeks…headed to Lewis’s holiday party.
19 weeks, 4 days…my company’s anniversary party.
22 weeks…headed for a double date with Nick and Susanne at Hangawi.
And 26 weeks yesterday…walking around Carroll Gardens after our childbirth education class. We need to return to By Brooklyn to get this onesie.
The baby registry is pretty much done, we’re talking about paint colors, and we’re learning about labor coping techniques. Yesterday I saw what may have been an elbow jut out of my abdomen. I am just under 2 weeks away from my third trimester.
Parenthood is almost here; this is real!