Time is fascinating. This time last year, if you had told me I would be married to Mark Dullanty and just barely pregnant, I would have told you that I have a mohawk and wear pearls and I am not the fondest of Mark Thomas Dullanty. And then possibly punched you somewhere unpleasant. But you would have been right and I would have been wrong and all would be forgiven by this point. Because this Traveling House Rose has changed her last name and is creating life as we speak.
Warning: It's just a warning, heed it.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. There was a era in my life where I had no intention of every getting married, but I would still be a mom. No one was going to stop me. Some of you who know me a little better, know that I have this habit of seeing babies, toddlers, and really any child under the age of 12 and holding my stomach while I say "Babyyyyy." Always good for a laugh, this one. But what I never really gave any merit to was the whole actually being pregnant thing. Oops.
Throwing up a delicious dinner of Italian food (my favourite) and Sangiovese wine after a week of uncomfortable nausea? My husband was right to throw on his jacket and speed to the grocery store. And as he looked down on his purchase - a pregnancy test, peptobismal capsules, and juice - he realized the pregnancy test was probably a moot point. I barely got any pee on the damn thing before that little purple plus appeared. I didn't have to wait three minutes, I didn't have to wait three seconds! Pregnant. A little tatertot crisping inside the Malia Oven.
We were stoked/terrified/stoked/terrified/stoked... honestly I'm not sure which emotion outweighed the other. I was thrilled to be a mom and to get so super fat with a baby in my belly - the only kind of fat person who can't not be adorable. But we live in a studio mother-in-law apartment that is by no means even set up fully yet, much less anything close to baby-safe. However, I am an eternal optimist by nature and rather shitty at worrying, so my worries never overshadow my excitement. My husband on the other hand, well, I married my opposite. He was so excited to be a dad! But...
thebariworkedatjustclosedandi'mnotsurewhenthenewbarwouldbeopeningandthentherewastheissueofisuranceandhowmuchdoesababycostanywayandidon'tknowanythingaboutbabiesorhowtotakecareofthemhowamisupposedtodoanyofthis??? Multiply that stream of worries by 15 and you have a typical minute in the mind of my husband. To say he was ecstatic to be a father would be an understatement, but to say his worries had anything other than the exact same weight on his mind would be a lie.
One week later, standing in the lobby of the lab at Group Health Bellevue, my pregnancy test came back positive! Like, ohmygracious! Yah, they make you take a pregnancy test at the clinic you visit for their records. Couldn't I have just brought in my pee stick and saved you the time and man power? Don't you have something more important you could be doing? No? Oh... Anyway, with Mark basically attaching himself to me because of his fear/hatred of all things hospital related, we made our way to the fourth floor. Pediatrics, Gynecology, Obstetricians & Midwifery. This floor was by far the most welcoming, nothing smelled old or like death, just like overly sanitized door handles and carpet shampoo. We barely waited any time at all before the nurse saw us. She gave us a packet about what to expect with a pregnancy, but there isn't anything in that little pamphlet that you can't Google. We then got to decide whether we wanted a midwife or a doctor. With a midwife? They advocate for what you want, meet with you once a month throughout your pregnancy, and will be with you the entire time you are in the hospital for labor. With a doctor the benefits include a surgical background, but they might not be able to make it to deliver your baby if they have a scheduled surgery and even if you do, you will only see them briefly during the actual delivery, but there are fewer check up appointments... Who in their right mind would choose doctor?!
10 viles of blood and two cups of pee later, we were allowed to leave. Scheduled for an ultrasound Monday and appointment with my first midwife on Wednesday. The weekend wasn't good. Waves of nausea and no appetite whatsoever. Monday I had to drink a Nalgene bottle of water in the hour before my ultrasound appointment. A Nalgene bottle in one hour. By the time we made it to the clinic, I felt like I was leaking water out of my pores. Marko had the opportunity to weigh himself and check his blood pressure, which was like an early Christmas gift to him. It's probably good that my love for him is overwhelming.
So, ultrasound gel? It isn't cold. It's kept in a warmer so it's your body temperature. So Hollywood can knock that right off. Also, when you are barely along? They have an ultrasound thing that they actually stick right up inside you. Awkwarddd. Ladies, you know when you go in for your annual/biannual check up and the doctor tells you it will be cold and might "tickle," but it doesn't? It is cold, kind of hurts, and you really want to punch the bitch getting to third base with you? She didn't even buy you dinner. Cheap. This, is nothing like that. It's like a thin dildo and they actually squeeze some KY Lube onto that sucker. Almost more awkward - until you look at the screen and you realize you can actually see your baby. It's just a little bubble on a blurry looking television, but you know that little bubble is yours. It's your baby. A little clump of cells rapidly multiplying and it has a heartbeat. And you can watch it flicker as it's little heart pumps blood into it's forming body. Mark's hand went limp in mine and he asked the lady if this is why they make the husband sit. She kind of cocks her head at him before he explains "I would have passed the fuck out if I had been standing and you showed me my baby has a heartbeat."
When we got home, I threw up. I went to work the next day and threw up. 3-4 times a day I found myself bent over the toilet throwing up any and everything that went into my body. Wednesday we had our first appointment with a midwife, I lost 15 pounds in less than a week. Go pregnancy? The midwife asked us about a million questions and allowed Mark his million and five questions. She then explained the way having a midwife works. You don't get one, you get six. You have the opportunity to meet each of them over the course of your pregnancy and whichever is on-call when your water breaks and you go into the hospital, that's the one who will deliver your baby. So, I actually get 6 women vying for what I want and fighting the mean surgery doctors who - as I know from Grey's - only want me if there is a complication. Also, I have a plethora of birthing suite options. Yah, I get to have my baby in a birthing suite, not a hospital room. What up new age health care?! Want to have your baby standing? You can do that. Want to have an epidural? You can do that. Want to have a water birth? You can fucking do that. Do I want any of those things? No. I want to lay in whatever way is most comfortable and then cry like a little bitch while I endure massive amounts of pain bringing a baby into the world. Standing is for psychos, epidurals are for pansies, and water births freak me out. I am almost sure the crazies of this world have discovered more options, but I'm not interested in knowing. You people scare me. The only option that isn't optional? Is a c-section. They will do it if it is necessary, but you cannot choose it. Which, I think I like. but that's just me.
More vomiting and making sure my pee is clear as a gauge of hydration, life became a game. Throw up, try to eat something and down pills so they have a chance to dissolve before you throw up - and you will throw up - again. Funny story about "morning sickness." It doesn't just happen in the morning, it hits you all day every day. And all the nausea and vomiting in the world won't stop the cravings for food. You just have to hope that whatever you're craving is easy to throw back up. Google cures, try them all. Your best bet is to be ahead of the nausea and snack all day long. Crackers, cheese, water, pretzels, water, scrambled eggs, m&m's, water, peanut butter, just eat. All the time. Even when you don't want to, even when the thought of food makes you want to tear out your hair. And sip, don't gulp, water. Constantly. But you have to make sure you're eating salt so you can absorb the water, otherwise you're shit outta luck. Try ginger, try bands around your wrists, try every homemade and pharmaceutical cure you can. Because if you don't? And sometimes, even if you do, you'll end up in Urgent Care on Christmas Eve. Okay, maybe not on Christmas Eve, but I did!
Two bags of fluid and several dissolvable pills later? I felt awesome. Cold, but awesome. IV's are kept at room temperature, but your blood is much hotter than room temperature so when you get an IV you get chills. Fun hospital fact! But they have heated blankets they give you, which are the best thing since toast. Also, everyone has pregnancy advice for you. Including people who have never been pregnant. Thanks guys, but I'd really like this fountain of knowledge to come from the source. Your $3.15 bottled information is nice, but nothing beats fresh spring water. Nothing. My doctor that night informed me that, as weird as it seems, the sicker I am? The healthier my baby is - and the more likely it is that it will be a girl. Knew it. The girl part, not the healthy part. He also let me know that coming for an IV isn't a bad thing and I should always just come in if I have a feeling I'm dehydrated. Better to come in than end up sicker. He also let me know that it is entirely possible for "morning sickness" to last the entire pregnancy, not just the first trimester. And here's why...
Morning sickness? Is not your baby moving around and kicking at your stomach to make you regurgitate everything as a sick joke. Morning sickness occurs because your body's hormone levels are doubling every 48 hours and producing more vitamins and nutrients for the baby than you usually would for your lonely self, but the baby isn't really even quite big enough to absorb all the vitamins and nutrients or to grow with the rate of your hormones. So your body reacts to all this extra crap by trying to get rid of the extra - vomiting. Cool, right? Except you can't vomit hormones, so it's a terrible cycle of awful. This is why secondary, tertiary, etc pregnancies are usually easier on mom. Her body understands what's happening to it.
Basically, go apologize to your mother right now. Go on, I'll wait.
Thank you. So Mark and I rang in our first Christmas in Urgent Care. And, finally, at some point between 1:00-1:15am, we passed out cold. Waking up early on Christmas is almost a rite of passage, but we both slept pretty well until after 9, thank God. We sat on the sofa and admired our pleasant little Christmas Tree tacked to the ceiling and tilted by towels in it's Folger's coffee can so it could remain upright with our First Christmas Decorations on the floor around the tree, it being too weak to hold any actual ornaments or lights. And we exchanged gifts. A big beautiful Interlinear Bible with Hebrew and Greek literal translations and English in the sidebars for me - oh yah, my husband got lucky on Christmas - and a "Green Handbook" for Marko so he can save the world. He'll do it you know, I really believe it. We then did the Christmas at each parent's house. Next year? Next year we will be having Christmas just the 3 of us. No negotiating.
After my trip to Urgent Care, I stayed on top of eating and sipping and finally tried the last Google cure I hadn't already - lemons. Sniffing them and occasionally having a small nibble. It works. It is the only cure other than fun dissolve under your tongue pills that seems to do anything for me. I still have bad days, really really bad days. But sometimes it's almost like I am a normal functioning member of society. Hormones doubling every 48 hours means I cry more than usual, but that isn't exactly a difficult task. I'm not a crier. But I saw a preview for The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock? And I wept like a little girl. A preview! Other than that though, I haven't been too bad. To be honest, Mark is much worse than I am. He can't watch anything with small children in it without having a mini-meltdown, bless his heart. I think becoming a dad is a bigger adjustment than becoming a mom. For the most part? Women are wired for it, men become wired for it once they have a baby in their arms.
My insides feel like a door the dog scratches at to be let out, not in pain exactly but definitely uncomfortable. I am currently sucking on a lemon and I seem to eat more popsicles than real food these days, but I don't have enough energy to do anything so I feel like the laziest human in existence. And fat. Damn being pregnant. You don't just magically become "cute fat" where you can where baby doll clothes and look like the most adorable creature on the earth. It's a slow process where your stomach becomes hard, almost like abs but not. Then all the sudden all the fat in your body starts migrating towards your middle to protect baby. You can almost watch it happening, like armies moving. "Right thigh! Prepare to move to the tummy! We must protect the baby!" So yah, you feel fat. Because literally all your chub is gathering in one place, but you're not quite big enough to wear tight fitting t-shirts and show of the bump. Awkward. However, your husband will notice that your shoulders stick out and your ribs show and your legs feel skinnier, which makes you happy. And he'll probably shower you with compliments anyway because he's afraid you'll turn into one of those raging hormonal women from the television.
Then there are your boobs. Whether you like it or not, you've suddenly got two more cup sizes to deal with. Without milk! And if you're like me and already hate Victoria Secret for not believing in small ribcages and large cup sizes? You do not want any more to rock in the chest department. Doesn't matter though. It happens and it happens fast. You're throwing up half of the things you eat and your boobs are literally defying laws by continuing to blossom out of your shirt - outlaws. And you sigh with frustration because you don't know of a bra that isn't a $90+ special order that will come in whatever size your boobs have decided to grow to today. And you flat out refuse to wear anything beige or "nude" and unflattering. Until... your HuffPo obsessed husband finds an article on parenthood from the sister online news source of Jezebel. The article is funny and this sister news source is alright, by women for women, but you don't find new age feminism anything more than a pathetic hypocrisy so many of the articles are a bit angry for your taste. But the ad for a product line called HotMilk? Click. Not pregnancy porn, which there is a surprising and disturbing amount of, but Designer Maternity Lingerie. What Up?! All nursing friendly and a 32 all the way up to a GG regularly and even H & I on some bras. You small chested ladies are lucky enough that you will never have to understand what I'm talking about, but I am so excited! Back massages every night are awesome, but I'd really just like for some part of my body to be cooperating at this point and, hello? Sexy bras in my size for under $75 is a flat out miracle. $49.95? I could faint from the joy.
(This paragraph is the definition of TMI) I read an article that said pregnant sex is the best sex ever. I would have to agree that it is pretty awesome, but honestly I am struggling with an upset stomach more often than not these days so it's kind of difficult to get in the mood. And not just for me, but Mark too. Having bigger boobs is only so much of an incentive before he starts worrying about how I'm feeling and how the baby is doing and his normal stream of other worries. Whoever said men think about sex more than women was a flat out liar, we objectify just as often - if not more - than men. There are just those handful of chauvinistic asshats who appear to be the majority. They aren't. Way to ruin it for the rest of your gender, dudes. Girls are just sneakier about it. Never underestimate a woman, most of the time we get what we want. But, seriously, pregnant sex. You've got all these hormones running through you and you stop thinking about what you're doing and just start doing what is comfortable because you're too uncomfortable every day to fuss with being uncomfortable during sex - so it leads to some different things. That's all you get on that subject - pervs.
I am due the 11th of August. Mark and I are excited because that means in the future we will have the opportunity to take the little rascal places for it's birthday! Plus, we live in Washington and August is like the only decent month of the year. I am nauseous all the time, but they say it's like a light switch when you hit your second trimester. I pray to God that's true. Nausea hit's your arms and legs. It makes your head feel woozy and your chest feel heavy. It makes food feel alien and every time you throw up? You feel like you have somehow lost a point to the morning sickness monster. It's like having the permanent flu, except you still have to function in everyday life. I'm going to publish my blog and retire so I can feel nauseous in peace. I feel like the whole world would appreciate my smart sarcastic wit, don't you? Okay, maybe not. But it was worth a shot. More updates on the awkward awesome that is pregnancy life soon. Cheers, kids. Have fun while you can.
Because eventually you will be married and pregnant and having even more fun than that! Suck it.