Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear Baby: When I Was Pregnant with You...

As my due date creeps ever closer (now one day away), I've been thinking back on my pregnancy, and feel there are a few things our little guy should know about this very special time in our lives.

You, Baby, should know that:

1.  If I had it to do all over again, I would tell people you were actually due two weeks later than the date the doctor told me. Having people ask, "are you still pregnant?" stopped being a novelty around week 38.

2.  There was a direct correlation between how close I was to my due date and the number of exclamation points your maternal grandmother used in her emails.

3.  Your father always set out my vitamins for me, read all the good childbirth books, went to tons of classes and built baby furniture like a superhero. Plus, he took the dog out first thing every morning so you and I could keep sleeping.

4.  I found myself watching "Days of our Lives" more often than I care to admit. In fact, it is on the TV as I type this post. You will never watch this show. Nor will you ever watch "Game of Thrones."  Ever.

5.  You moved around ALL THE TIME, which I loved, because you were telling me you were healthy and happy. Your dad and I liked to watch you make ripples across my belly when you moved, especially closer to our due date. At 3:00 a.m., however, I loved it a tiny bit less.

6.  We decided to keep your name a secret until you were born. That way, people wouldn't have a chance to complain, ask why we chose it or suggest other options. Also, it was kind of fun to watch your grandparents squirm.

7.  I went to lots of prenatal yoga classes, because they not only made me feel more stretchy, but everyone there was at least as big as me. And that felt good in a different way. I think the Germans call it schadenfreude.

There are lots more things you should know, not just about the time I spent pregnant with you, but also about how we live here in NYC. You'll learn them pretty quickly, but for starters, you should know that as a family, we recycle. We make and attend theatre. One of our cats has repeatedly threatened to suck the breath out of you, but she's a known liar, so don't worry about her. The British lady with the visor down the street isn't as mean as she seems. Your godparents are amazing people.

And we cannot wait for your arrival.

We love you already.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Acid Reflux and Other Uninvited Guests

My doula thinks I'm crazy. I thought I might be dying.

A few nights ago, I was sleeping soundly (a rare thing these days), when I was awoken by the sour taste of vomit in my mouth. It was fairly surprising, as A) I typically don't vomit in my sleep, and B) David Duchovny and I were just having an interesting conversation about how much it cost to make each episode of The X-Files. (A mere $3,000, according to this dream.)

Convinced I'd developed one of the diseases described in those worst-case-scenario-guaranteed-to-give-you-a-nightmare baby books, I texted my doula and described my mysterious symptoms. Her reply was simple: "Have you ever had acid reflux?"

No, I'd never had acid reflux, but I wasn't asking about that. I was asking about the rare sleep-vomiting disease I'd contracted, probably from that sticky grocery basket at Fairway. Surely, my baby was in danger and we would have to have an emergency c-section.

Turns out it wasn't anything dramatic after all. It was just boring old acid reflux. And every friend who's ever been pregnant has welcomed me to the club. It's a club that pops little purple pills and sleeps sitting up. It's a club whose members eschew nachos in favor of oatmeal and baked potatoes. I do not want to be in this club.

As luck would have it, acid reflux isn't my only new, uninvited guest. Pregnancy is the gift that keeps on giving, and the gifts get increasingly disgusting as we near the end of our 40 weeks together. It's like pregnancy is a house guest who stays too long and rearranges your apartment when you're not looking.

Pregnancy has also taught me that Preparation H isn't just for under-eye puffiness, as models would like us to believe. It's actually used to treat something so horrible, so embarrassing, I dare not describe it in detail here. But l will share this: I used to think I was having contractions, until I REALLY had a contraction. Let's just say I used to think I might be getting a hemorrhoid. Now I understand those old commercials with the flames and I secretly wonder how it would feel to sit on a donut.

If those two developments weren't enough, pregnancy has dealt me one more blow, this one visibly humiliating: My feet are unrecognizable. They have fold lines at the base of my toes and where my ankles used to be. They have swollen so hideously beyond their former shapes that the only shoes I am able to wear now are Croc flip flops, which I purposefully went into a store and purchased with actual American dollars, in an attempt to walk in some sort of comfort. (This, after two years of passing the Croc store on Columbus Avenue and making disparaging comments about their clientele and the smell of toxic plastics.) Yes, it has come to Crocs, and unlike my other two ailments, this one is out there for all the world to see.

Yes, pregnancy just keeps giving, but it's really more like pregnancy is just re-gifting that crappy tchotchke that no one in the family really wants but we smile and accept it because it's the holiday season.

But pregnancy and I both know that in about 10 days, she'll come back with my REAL gift, and all will be forgiven.

But I'll still hang on to the Preparation H. You know, for my eyes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pregnancy Brain

Today I locked myself out of my apartment.


It happened exactly the same way as the last time, which was less than a week ago.  After dutifully packing my bag full of things a pregnant lady may need for a few hours away from home (snacks, water, sun block, a book, more snacks), I left my keys hanging on the hook by the door.  You know, right where I would see them and not forget them.

It's worth noting this never, ever happened to me before I was pregnant.  Before Pregnancy (BP), I also never put half and half in the cabinet with the soup, and never emptied the dog's water bowl into the trash can.

As it turns out, these feeble-minded acts are, by some, attributed to something called "Pregnancy Brain."  All the pregnancy books mention it, though they call it something adorable like "Momnesia" or "Mommy Brain."  I call it Temporary.

The truth is, being pregnant takes up every brain cell I've got, and no one is as surprised by that as me.  I wake up with ideas for what to pack in my hospital "go bag."  My day is filled with newly important tasks like rearranging the baby's clothes in his dresser and compiling lists of who to call/text/email once he arrives (and who can just read about it on Facebook.)  Evenings are spent negotiating the newest aches and pains that have settled in by day's end, and what would normally be considered prime sleeping time has become a sort of contest with myself to see how many times I'll get up to pee in the night.  My record is six.

I have forgotten what I thought about, what I talked to other adults about, before I got pregnant.  I know I was damn funny at one point (anyone remember who won Funniest Person in Billings, Montana in 2001?)  I used to be able to carry on conversations about theatre and education and I sat on the boards of some kick-ass arts organizations back home in South Carolina.  People valued my opinions and experience. It was nice to feel needed by grownups.

But now, that lady is on a hiatus.  She has traded adorable footwear for the hiking shoes in the back of the closet, because they provide excellent and much needed arch support.  She is the slowest one on the stairs heading out of the subway, when she used to take the steps two at a time.  And instead of jogging through the park to a killer Scissor Sisters track, she is stopping every few minutes to rest on a bench next to the elderly pigeon feeders.

And it's OK.

It's OK because deep down, I know all of this is temporary.  I know that before long, I will return to my former active, funny self, with actual grown up friends and a grown up lady purse that will hold my keys in a special pocket.  I will interact once again with adults, and talk about very important topics like Miley Cyrus' engagement or whatever Ira Glass just said on NPR.

And until that time comes, I'll carry an extra set of keys in my wallet.  Because a pregnant lady can only be away from a bathroom for so long.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Best One

I think I've stopped weeping long enough to write this down.

I married the Best One.

Dean and I have had a lot of emotions in recent months- some hormonally induced (mine), some situational.  We've laughed for no reason, cried for no reason a bit more often, and have found ourselves laughing and crying simultaneously, unable to pinpoint exactly what has driven us to that strange combination of feelings.

It's safe to say that most of these emotional highs and lows have been brought on by how drastically our life together is changing.  How we are going from a two-person partnership to a three-person family.

We've had ample time to prepare our home, a fair amount of time to wrap our brains around this enormous change, and too much time to imagine/ worry about/ rethink our futures.

One big change that will come with the baby's arrival is finding time for Dean to write, so we both make an effort to carve out pockets of uninterrupted time when Dean can have some space and time to himself to think and write and work.  More often than not, this involves me having brunch with a friend, getting a pedicure, and seeing a chick flick (or another movie Dean is happy to miss.)

Today, on this gorgeous Saturday, I had brunch with my also-pregnant friend, came home for a few minutes, and then left to see "What to Expect."  (Surprisingly, I think I was the only pregnant woman in the audience.)  Dean was staying home to work on his projects and kindly wait for our new glider to be delivered.

I came home awhile ago to find that while I was gone, Dean assembled our new glider and set it up in the bedroom for me.  He used tools to put a ton of pieces together to make a comfortable place for us to rock our son.  He built a chair that actually supports our weight and glides, just like the name says.

Here I was watching a movie several blocks away, feeling proud of myself for providing Dean with this time to himself, and all the while, Dean is using his rare time alone to do something to make me happy.  Me.

And he took the laundry to the cleaners, too.

I burst into tears, as I often do, but this time was different.  This time it wasn't because I was overwhelmed or scared of giving birth, or frustrated that my shirt isn't covering my whole belly.

I burst into tears because I am so lucky, and so loved.

And so is this baby.

We both got the Best One.