We joke that a writer's job is defined by navel contemplation. Hilariously, my navel is now a constant source of distraction from writing. These days there is a teeny something (Foot? Hand?) under it that kicks and punches at it all the time. Ironically, this bellybutton-tastic activity has sort of derailed my writing impulses. Instead of thinking, "I should really chronicle more of my pregnancy on my LiveJournal", I find myself obsessing about the weirdness of my bellybutton's new talents, which include its ability to physically shift off center depending on where the baby's head is resting, stretch to inhuman capacities, and gradually turn itself inside out.
My intellectual assessment of this phenomenon more or less sounds like this:
"Dude... my innie is turning into an outie! Ewwwwwwww..."
For your entertainment (and, someday, my son's): Maternity Musings - Part Two.
Prenatal Observations #11-20
11. Nothing derails a work presentation like a baby's first kick. I was in Georgia in April for my organization's major conference when I started to feel the "quickening" (baby moving around). At this stage, it felt more like a fluttery muscle spasm and less like an episode of "Highlander". As a result, I spent the entire first morning of the conference fumbling for words. I had to start off all my trainings with the disclaimer that, if I appeared less than engaged, it was because my baby was clearly not interested in the discourse on the importance of social media in strategic communications, preferring instead to dance on my internal organs. Which is pretty darn cool.
12. Good GOD, what is up with the itching?? I hear this bizarre symptom of pregnancy will rear its ugly head again somewhere during this last trimester when my skin starts seriously stretching. But I really hope not, because for a good month or so it felt like my entire body was one giant pulsating mosquito bite. Once again, why does that kind of freaky information NOT make it into the pregnancy books?
13. Baby wants sugar. All the time. Preferably in chocolate form. I've heard all sorts of explanations and excuses for why I can't pass by a Starbucks without wanting to breathlessly claw my way to the front of the line to beg for a Venti Decaf Mocha Cookie Crumble (um, have you TASTED that chocolate whipped cream??). Clearly, my body has become host to a voracious cocoa candy gremlin.
14. No one actually knows what a pregnant woman is supposed to look like. Stupid Hollywood has given everyone the impression that women don't actually get bigger after the second trimester. Like we carry around this petite little bump for nine months before we spontaneously burp out an 8-pound infant. As a result, a normal post-5 month pregnant woman gets assailed with ignorant, hurtful comments about how enormous she is, how she MUST be caring twins, etc., etc. Well, News Flash: A SMALL HUMAN THE SIZE OF A WATERMELON HAS TO FIT INSIDE ME. If you really think at 6 months I'm large enough to be growing twins, maybe you should examine your own gut next time you order Chipotle (you ignorant *bleep*).
15. There is a cognitive disconnect between looking in the mirror, seeing yourself get bigger and heavier, and squaring with the idea that this is SUPPOSED to happen. The second half of my pregnancy has really forced me to confront some body issues I didn't realize I had, and it's been suprisingly tough. Suddenly my size is all anyone can talk or joke about, and it takes a heckuvalot of mental energy to convince myself that the needle on the scale is supposed to go up in spite of everyone else's cruel sense of humor. I hate that their voices compete with my baby's health for my attention. It's one of many signs that there is something seriously wrong with how the Western world treats motherhood. And while we're on the topic...
16. Obstetrics is still in the dark ages. Which is why we've decided to give birth at home under the care of two extremely skilled midwives. Contrary to what the OB/GYN industry tells us, women's bodies intrinsically know how to deliver a baby naturally, and unless there are factors that absolutely require intervention, I'm going to rely on my body to do what it must. It is my personal choice - one that isn't for everyone, I know - but it's one that I believe more women would choose if their healthcare professionals were truly upfront and honest about the dangerous risks that routine interventions pose to women and their babies. One day, I'll write a separate post about it, because it's truly world-altering information. Note: If you are interested in knowing more on this topic, read Birthing From Within. It will blow your mind.
17. Morning sickness gives way... to leg cramps. You'd think I was running a marathon every day with how often I get woken up by leg cramps at night. We're talking painful knots the size of a golf ball that feel like they're going to tear the muscle right off the bone! I've tried everything - more water, more potassium/calcium/magnesium, LESS potassium/calcium/magnesium, stretching, you name it. I think I just need to accept that my calves and I are officially at war.
18. Breathing doesn't come so easily these days. My lungs and my uterus are competing for space. The result: I'm a huffing, puffing, heaving mess when a)it's hot, b)the pollen count is high, or c)I eat/drink anything larger than my fist. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that I've only just begun to feel the effects of having zero lung capacity and have three months of being even MORE breathless ahead of me...
19. I am a furnace. Apparently, all the action happening under my navel produces an environment that's a couple of degrees higher than my normal body temperature. This is somewhat difficult to explain to colleagues when I find myself red faced and stripping off layers of clothing in the middle of staff meetings.
20. We love this baby so much it hurts. Baby loves waking up at 9PM, at which point Mike and I entertain ourselves with feeling him kick. We've discovered he's a music fan, who kicks up a storm whenever Mommy or Daddy sings (or when I play mainstream radio in the car. He LOVES Usher's stuff.). It's been beyond rewarding to have this little guy with me every second of the day, teaching me about himself - and myself. We just can't wait to meet him. :)
That's all she wrote for now. I really do want to be back on here soon, albeit Baby Brain has been making that a bigger challenge than I anticipated. I will consult with the Teddy Graham (i.e. baby) and keep you posted. And lastly, to the Daddies (and Daddies-to-be) out there, I hope you have a Happy Father's Day!