Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It starts

These pants weren't this tight across the hips the last time I put them on. I was actually hungry today--hungry without nausea, at least for a while. Maybe I really am in the second trimester.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


It should be noted that Jenny's post is missing the critical aspect of consuite on Saturday nights, which is very boisterous, very silly, and often (but not always) very drunk people. Night-time silliness and weirdness are the best aspects of con. On Friday night, I had my vitals taken by an EMT-in-training for her class project; on Saturday night I spent a chunk of time talking with an 18-year-old first-time con-goer who seemed a bit shy. It reminded me of my first time at 'Fusion almost ten years ago.

Dad makes the geeky announcement

Project Little Evil Overlord is coming soon. You will be conquered... by cuteness.

Project L.E.O. is currently approximately fourteen weeks along. Circulatory and basic neurological functions are established and have been detected. As of yet, doctors have proscribed bionic and nanotechnology systems; the project goes forward nonetheless, and is on track for an expected completion date of 30 July.

The expectant mother is doing well except for occasional bouts of discomfort, and alternating joy and paranoia about her future son or daughter taking over the world. The expectant father is currently working on fortress plans and procuring over-powered but occasionally faulty weaponry with obvious self-destruct mechanisms. Just in case.

Applications for minions are already being accepted! No experience is required, though basic diaper changing and bottle-feeding techniques, ability to make cooing noises, and willingness to be cannon fodder when the "good guys" assault the fortress are a plus.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alas, poor junk food, I knew you well

We went up to Michigan this weekend to attend Confusion, a science fiction convention. We've been going for years (Eric longer than me) and it's always a good time. There are panels on writing, media, science, books, art, and random silliness, which is what I like, and there's a big game room, which is what Eric likes; and we both like the room parties (it's held at a hotel) and the consuite. The consuite is a big suite always open to everyone at the convention where they have seats for people to sit and talk, and free drinks and snacks, and things like magazines to read and a Sunday pancake breakfast. Good stuff. There's also an art show and a dealer's room and a masquerade and a dance and other random stuff that happens when a lot of geeks get together.

We both had fun, though I missed out on some of the usual nighttime things because I was sleeping ten hours a night. I also confirmed that either my body is programmed to behave a lot better when I'm pregnant than when I'm not, or L.E.O. is totally uninterested in junk food. The consuite had a great selection of junk: salsa and chips, Cheetos, brownies, M&Ms; but all I wanted was peanut butter sandwiches and grapes and carrots. I did get a few Skittles--I think those got a pass because they're fruity--but that was it. What a drag this kid is.

Of course, apparently studies show that a fetus exposed to a particular taste (like alcohol or anise) in utero like the smell better after they're born, so maybe avoiding junk food now will mean a kid with healthier eating habits later. But this is my one chance to eat whatever I want and be able to explain it as "Oh, I'm pregnant" to anybody who might otherwise be horrified, and I'm wasting it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The blame game

I've been noticing I'm a lot more teary these days. I'm not any sadder; I'm just closer to tears. The "As Your Baby Grows" magazine I got as part of my first-visit goody bag says this is perfectly normal, probably partly due to hormones, but "a bigger reason" is that it's a momentous transition I'm going through here. Which certainly feels true to me. I don't know all the ways in which my life is going to change in about six months, but I know that it is, and I don't know if I'm ready. I'm definitely not sure I’m ready to be a mother. "I'm blaming you," I told Eric when I was complaining about some oddly bad nausea yesterday.

"How does that work?" he said.

"I figure your genes incompatible with mine and my body's rejecting them and that's why I feel bad."

"But half of the genes are yours."

"So they should be perfectly fine inside my body."

"So your nausea is my fault?"

"Yes! I'm practicing to be a mother! By blaming the father!"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Twelve weeks and counting

Here I am at twelve weeks:

We'll call that a baseline, since I've gained no weight and my pants still fit (though the tighter ones with inelastic bands are uncomfortable). Onward into the second trimester.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Neurotically Image-Obsessed Pregnancy

My god it's been busy at work this week. We're supposedly working at 88% of budget, but you'd never know it from as many quotes and questions as I've been fielding. I haven't taken a lunch break since Monday. (Which does not mean I haven't eaten. Believe me, I've eaten. It's still crackers, fruit, and toast for the most part, but I can't believe how heavy my bag is in the morning and how light it is by the time I go home.) We had a department meeting today and afterward I sat with Karen, one of my coworkers, for a few minutes to discuss a project we recently worked on, and felt both guilty and relieved for taking the break.

"How are you and your husband doing?" she said, trying to indicate what she meant with her hands without being obscene about it. I mentioned to her several months ago that we were trying. "About trying to have a baby?"

"Twelve weeks along," I said, and she squealed and said, "Really? That's so great! I'm so happy for you! That's really great. Let's see, that puts you in, what--"

"July 30," I supplied.

"July. And you're so skinny, you'll be all baby by then."

I thought that was pretty funny, since I'm not skinny unless compared with someone like, well, Karen. It reminded me of something that irritates me about our pregnancy book (the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy), though. The book has a chapter on what to expect each month, and in the "Weeks 9-12" chapter it says, "In the early months of your pregnancy, you may be preoccupied with the physical changes occurring in your body. Given the emphasis our culture puts on being slim, you may be upset about these changes. Simply put, you may feel fat and unattractive." It goes on to say "You may feel less attractive in general and to your partner in particular. You may be especially bothered by body image concerns if this is your first pregnancy. If you have a negative body image, you may be having trouble enjoying or even wanting to have sex with your partner. You may not be able to imagine why your partner would even want to make love."

So, first, body image shouldn't even be an issue at this point, since according to them I should only have gained a couple of pounds at most anyway. (I've lost about four. Turns out crackers, fruit, and toast aren't as great for gaining weight as you might think. So much for the carbs-make-you-fat theory.) Second, way to assume all women are neurotic about their weight. I realize they're going with the worst case in order to address to those women who are actually having issues with this, but I'm still annoyed. Yes, our culture does put a huge emphasis on being slim. Why not say something comforting, like that emphasis on thinness is overrated and gaining weight is healthy and desirable at this point in your life, rather than affirming "You probably feel awful about this" and leaving it at that? The only comfort they offer after that passage is that women's interest in sex "may decrease a bit [during pregnancy]. This is normal." (They also recommend massage as an alternative or a stepping stone.)

I realize I probably will start to feel unhappy about gaining weight once I actually do, especially if I gain more than the recommended amount. (And if I have to spend a lot of money on new pants.) My weight is not my great strength and I know perfectly well that my metabolism isn't going to help me when it comes to taking it off again. But I do at least understand that I need to gain weight over the next six months, that L.E.O. needs it, that at least at this point in my life, getting heavier is exactly what I am supposed to do. Which makes it a good thing, a good choice, and not something to agonize over the way the book seems to suggest I should. It's a good book otherwise; I recommend it. Just don't let it tell you you're fat.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A meatless pregnancy

I know I'm going to have to write about this sooner or later: my state of being vegetarian while pregnant. So far nobody has voiced an objection; Mom has mentioned it, but only in an "I-can't-feed-you-oxtail-soup-so-we'll-have-to-use-seaweed-instead" sort of way, and Eric's only concern is making sure I get enough protein when all that's been sounding good to me lately is fruit and crackers. (So far, peanut butter toast has been my great friend, plus the occasional oatmeal with Craisins and walnuts or almonds. Cheese is decidedly iffy, but I've had a little bit here and there. When I get my appetite back I'll be able to work my usual beans/lentils/whole grains/nuts/seeds/dairy combinations. Incidentally, multi-grain Wheat Thins taste much better than Saltines and work just as well.) I think they both realize that I've been a vegetarian for thirteen years and I pretty much know what I'm doing by now. I'm not sure how my in-laws feel about it, since they're not used to having a vegetarian around, but presumably they're not violently opposed or I'd have heard about it.

I've been looking online for stories from other women, other pregnant vegetarians. There are a couple, but not many. There are stories about vegetarians who craved meat during pregnancy (so far looking very unlikely for me) and stories about non-vegetarians who couldn't stomach meat during pregnancy. There's lots of advice, mainly: it's perfectly healthy IF you're careful and plan your meals meticulously...notwithstanding that meat does not automatically equal healthy and many non-vegetarian women, I suspect, could benefit from meal planning as well.

I considered talking to my doctor about it, but from what she said during my first visit to her I don't think she knows any more, or even as much, about a vegetarian diet than I do. I told her we were going to start trying for a baby and asked how she felt about my being vegetarian during it; she said, "You eat cheese and eggs, right?" I nodded, and she said, "Then it's fine."

The thing is, it's perfectly possible to have a healthy vegan (no dairy or eggs) pregnancy. (Ask the ADA.) I'm not going to unless L.E.O. forces me (perhaps he/she will inflict a vegan diet on the masses in the first days of world conquest to instill fear in his/her followers?), but I wouldn't be afraid of it either, just watchful about vitamin B-12. I can get that, protein, iron, calcium, DHA/omega-3 fats, zinc, and all the other things the general public fears are missing from a vegetarian diet, and I can get them in sufficient quantities to keep both me and my parasite going. (And of course I take a supplement.) I'm perfectly well aware that I need a balanced diet, possibly more so than some non-vegetarian women, and I know enough about nutrition to get it.

I'm waiting to see whether anybody wants to argue with me about it. Bracing for it, marshaling my arguments. I'm almost hoping for it, so I can prove I know what I'm doing...but if people just assume it, that's fine too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Week 11 heartbeat visit

"This will be cold," warned Dr. Mason as she squirted blue gel on me. It was. She rubbed it around a little and placed a little metal widget against my skin. "Tell me if I'm pressing too hard," she said, and, "It's still early for the heartbeat," as if the two were connected.

She moved the widget back and forth, and we listened to static. Apparently my womb is just like the airspace on a freeway. I tried to discern some sort of actual sound. Any kind of actual sound.

"There's you," said Dr. Mason after a minute, and after a few seconds I could hear it too: a stately WHUMP...WHUMP...WHUMP behind the static. She tried a few more positions and pressed a little harder, then stopped. "There! Do you hear it?" I did, a steady WHUMP-WHUMP-WHUMP-WHUMP. "About a hundred and sixty," Dr. Mason noted, while I grinned like an idiot and realized: Ohmigod, there's actually something in there!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A little scared

Happy New Year! We had a party December 31, which went well except for only about half the people showing up who said they would, and slept very late January 1. We visited the mothers, where Eric discovered a newfound love for Rock Band, and I ended up eating dinner late because (as usual) I knew I needed to eat but didn’t want to face food again.

But eventually hunger won, and as I devoured my dinner it occurred to me how very long it's going to be before I'm back to normal (assuming all goes well). Even my appetite will be abnormal for at least another year--once I get over the combined food aversion/ravening hunger that I'm currently experiencing, I'm told to expect just plain ravening hunger for the rest of the nine months, and after that I'll be eating some extra 500 calories a day or so to compensate for breastfeeding.

Then there are the obvious bodily changes, some temporary, some permanent; and then of course there will be the whole being-a-parent thing (and, in this case, expecting to be killed early on when our offspring decides he/she must break free from the parental nest in order to complete his/her conquest of the world), which means I'll never be the same again. This is daunting. Throw in the physical discomfort, and I'm not always 100% sure this was a good idea. I mean, I am, but I'm a little scared.

(But don't think that pregnancy is all bad. This not-bleeding-for-nine-months thing is awesome.)