The rumours are true.
Every Wednesday from now on will be about the baby (aka Mini-Me) until he/she is old enough to need some privacy (it’s quite likely I’ll mention breasts, breastfeeding, and maybe periods – but that’s as gross/adult as it will get). I’ve also prepped literally dozens of blog entries in advance – awesomenesses, pregnancy thoughts, and book reviews – to make sure I don’t let you guys down.
I was irrationally terrified CJ and I would be infertile, but it turns out we’re quite the opposite. We had one month of just trying, one month with a chemical pregnancy, and now we’re pregnant for real. Most people take 6-12 months to conceive – not three.
What’s a chemical pregnancy? It’s an extremely early miscarriage – within the first five weeks, and often before the first period (I only know about it because I used Forelife brand pregnancy tests, which turned out to be MORE sensitive than the urine tests at the doctor). Chemical pregnancies happen when the baby is malformed somehow. Which means that if our second-month pregnancy had come to term, it might have looked a little like this:
But THIS pregancy will probably end up looking a little like these samples my associates prepared earlier (especially the first, my niece):
When are you due? January 18 (although that may change as doctors learn more about the baby’s size – and it’s likely I’ll be up to two weeks late, like my mum). As of today, I am at six weeks.
Observant readers will notice that January is always an eventful month in my life – CJ and I married in Janury 2009 (I had in fact told him the previous August that we HAD to marry in January, and my mum and sister and I had discussed it in detail for over a year), went to China and Indonesia in January 2010, and had a second honeymoon in January 2011. For me, Christmas holidays are a dark, empty period of no tutoring income for two months (and the excess of free time doesn’t help things at all). We timed our conception attempts deliberately to (hopefully) hit the Christmas holidays. . . and we actually did it. So the timing is GREAT. Plus, my sister will be here – awesome.
Are you concerned about miscarriage? Mildly. I know the chances of miscarriage are relatively high in the next seven weeks, but I come from strong baby-making stock so I’ll almost certainly be fine.
Do you want a girl or a boy? Yes.
Before I was married, I wanted girls (because girls mostly make sense to me, and boys mostly don’t). The more I get to know CJ, the more I want a boy. But then again, girls have smaller heads.
How’s CJ coping? I love change and CJ hates it – but he’s also naturally VERY calm (any calmer and he’d be dead), and surprisingly good at adapting when change happens. He’s quietly excited about becoming a father, but to a certain extent he’s not convinced Mini-Me is real (which is fair enough, as well as being handy for coping with the thought of the epic journey ahead of us). The first few days after we found out were probably the only time in our lives that I was calmer than him. I enjoyed that.
How are you feeling physically? Pretty normal, with a host of minor side effects so far – stomach cramps, pain, nausea, gastro, stomach-muscles twinging if I lift something heavy or reach for something high. Back pain. Sore breasts (I’ve already gone up a cup size, yay!), flatulence (yes, CJ, that was me – not the cat), dry skin, bigger belly (yes, already – to be fair, it was big to start off with), fatigue, emotional sensitivity (in every direction – exactly like PMS), and a cold. It’s fascinating how much pregnancy screws with everything in one’s entire body – but so far, it’s all extremely minor. Oh, I’m also extra unco and extra forgetful – no surprises there.
Since writing the above a few days ago, proper nausea has kicked in – particularly in the evenings. It’s just like being seasick, which means I have a pretty good idea where the increasing nausea is inevitably heading. Yo ho. . .
Actually, the most annoying thing so far is that on the steam train day I had another side effect: thirty mosquito bites all over my ankles and legs. Not a single other person I spoke to had any bites whatsoever. So remember, next time you go camping, to save yourself from insect attack all you need to do is pack a pregnant woman.
Here’s hoping my blood isn’t as delicious to vampires. Note to self: carry a stake (and/or exacto knife).
I also had a wacky pregnancy dream that I was a man (a sailor, incidentally – talk about foreshadowing) whose fiance gave birth to a large potato. After a careful discussion about whether smaller offspring would be bullied by the other children, we cut the potato in half – making it into twins.
Evidently, my subconscious skipped out on sex ed classes.
Have you thought at all about, ya know, having a baby – and how you’ll deal with that? Having a baby (child, teenager, adult offspring) is pretty much the point of the exercise, and it’s something I’ve thought about carefully for several years. I know it’s what I want to do with my life, and I also know it’ll be harder than I can imagine. There’s no way I’d have attempted this without CJ (quite apart from the difficulty of conception without his assistance), and I also know my mum’s obsession with grandchildren is the greatest thing in the world. Hello, free babysitting.
How’s that mental illness coming along? Very well, thank you. Oh, you mean How is someone with an anxiety disorder going to cope with pregnancy, and a real live baby?
Pregnancy is a lot like mental illness, but with physical illness on top. My tutoring workload is rather low at the moment – so I’m leaving it where it is until further notice (resisting the urge to earn more money while I still can). I’ve been madly stocking up on frozen meals – consciously planning for around six weeks of bleaugh and lolling around the house (I observed my sister’s pregnancy closely, and she was basically fine except for the second half of the first trimester – so I’m right on schedule). The good thing about my anxiety disorder is that I am very familiar with my own limits, and extremely aware of danger signs. I am not trying to be superwoman, and I’m certainly not going to attempt to be a supermum.
I’m already napping every day, doing less writing (I’m two months ahead on my quota anyway – did I mention I planned this?), and eating WAY more vegetables, milk, and protein. I’m also eating 30-100 grams of chocolate each day so that if I snap and have a binge it’s not a huge shock to the system (caffeine can harm an unborn baby, but since I don’t drink coffee I’m okay so long as I stick to my preference for milk rather than dark chocolate). My no-no foods are soft cheese, soft serve ice cream, raw food (unless it’s peeled and/or washed in hot water and detergent, ugh), paté, and processed cold meat. And (obviously) alcohol.
Most of the same prioritise-the-baby-and-be-good-to-myself principles apply to a new baby experience, except with way more assistance from CJ (who gets parental leave), my Mum, and everyone else I’ve ever met. My expectations are: emotional collapse on day 3, extreme exhaustion and sleep deprivation for several months, lots of poo and vomit and screaming for several years – and joy and sorrow for the rest of my life.
I also honestly believe I can handle it (with all that help, of course) as well or better than the average new mum.
When something is meaningful, I can handle it. When it’s not – I can’t. I can’t work in a shop (unless it’s a bookshop), but I can look after a newborn. The difficulty actually makes it easier for me mentally, because it makes me feel my life has purpose (yes, I’m weird, I know).
I also spend a lot of time with babies and kids, and always have. CJ and I each have an excellent set of parents, which gives us a huge advantage in knowing how it’s done. Most of all, I know my strength is limited – which is, in my opinion, the single most useful piece of self-knowledge for a mum to have.
Are you scared about labor? Not really. Firstly because it’s not until next year, and I figure I can save that fear for later. Secondly because the pain will likely last around thirty hours – and then end (pain with a purpose AND a specific timeframe is the best kind). I tend to deal with crisis fairly well (unlike ordinary life, which terrifies me), and labor definitely counts as a heroic endeavour (and an AWESOME writing experience).
Frankly, I’m looking forward to labor – it means Mini-Me is about to arrive.
Here’s to January 2012!