Friday, September 29, 2006

Week 13 Update

I've heard that many pregnant women develop little crushes on their obstetricians. Prior to an appointment, they groom, and preen, and shave significantly more surface area than normal, if you catch my drift.

I am not one of them. Don't get me wrong; my obstetrician, thus far, is great. He's kind and smart and sweet, and is perfectly good-looking. I'd be thrilled to be a member of his fan club. It's just that, these days, "grooming" for me consists of brushing my teeth after I throw up (which I still do, although it's not nearly as bad as it was before Week 12) and "preening" consists of locating a pair of pants that I can button at least 90% of the way and that was NOT pulled from the hamper.

However, there is one thing for which I could kiss him, or at least show up for an appointment wearing a little mascara.

On two separate occasions, he has spared me a transvaginal ultrasound.

For the uninitiated, a transvaginal ultrasound is the ultrasound procedure that is favored in early pregnancy.

You know how, in movies, the newly-pregnant heroine delicately lifts up her rose-colored Cynthia Rowley blouse to reveal a perfectly rounded, hairless, lineless, markless baby bump, and the ultrasound technician applies a tiny bit of sparkling-clear gel, complete with animated twinkles, to her navel, and barely touches her skin with the ultrasound wand, and then a flawless image of the adorable baby within appears on a screen? That's about as realistic as her wacky, non-trust-fund-film-student neighbor living solo in a three-bedroom Manhattan apartment furnished by Design Within Reach.

What really happens is quite different. Mignon said it best. I've quoted her before, and I'll quote her again: a transvaginal ultrasound consists of "a huge white rod shoved up your 'gina."

But wait, there' s more! It's not as if they just put it in and leave it alone. They have to jam it in and move it around, pressing it against your ovaries, bladder, etc. It's like they're looking for Jimmy Hoffa in there. You know how unpleasant it is to go to the dentist and get your mouth poked around with a mirror? Oh, honey!

So, when I showed up at the OB a few weeks ago and he said, "We're going to try to see if we can get an image from your stomach first, because you've been through enough," I don't think an embrace would have been entirely out of order.

Today, I entered the ultrasound room, and saw the white paper drape and the rod all condomed and lubed up, and I trembled a little. One of the assistants asked me to take off my clothing from the waist down, that we were going to do a transvaginal, and I trembled a little, and then the OB said, "No, that's ok, we can do it from the stomach."

As indicated in some of my earlier posts, this nice, 'gina-sparing man is not the first doctor who has seen me during this pregnancy. There are all different types of people in the world, and all different types of doctors, and we, as patients, deserve the best we can get. Making this change was one of the best things that I could have done for myself during this sensitive time.

Are you being treated as well as you should be by your doctor, however competent and/or "brilliant" he or she may be? If not, perhaps it's time for an "affair."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Of Torches and Stone Fruit

Because I have been so sick lately, my parents have been coming over a lot to help me do things like wash clothing, cook dinner, carry heavy bags and packages, drive to the store, eat, and walk from one room to another. For the uninitiated, my parents are kindly, loving, generous to a fault, self-sacrificing, and, well, intense. There are no activities that are even colorably dangerous or independent for me when they are around. The irony of their procreating daughter becoming childlike again is not lost on any of us. For me (and I'm sure for them, too), it's a flood of emotions. Gratitude for their overwhelming generosity and very necessary help. Anger that I often suddenly don't feel well enough to fold my own underwear, even when I was rearranging shelves fifteen minutes earlier. Self-doubt, because it didn't even occur to me that my underwear needed to be folded until my mother brought it to my attention. Frustration at trying to excuse myself to perform my daily injection in private while knowing that there are people in the apartment for whom the idea of their baby girl getting stuck by a needle is extremely upsetting, even when she's nearly thirty years old and is sticking the needle in her flesh herself. Guilt at having them rearrange their schedules so that they can help me boil water for tea while I act exasperated. It's hard to be an adult who is dependent on one's parents.

And then, there's the advice. Naturally, pregnant women receive tons of advice; there is nothing unusual about that. I have been forbidden to attend certain events when it might rain, encouraged to take certain routes and not others as I walk around my neighborhood, and prohibited from eating spinach. Extraordinary quantities of vitamins have been purchased on my behalf, and handed to me. Advice is hard for me to take sometimes, because I'm both stubborn and a know-it-all. But, also, because I generally make good decisions.

I think that, as a parent, I will really need to learn to hold my ground. It won't always be easy. I love my parents more than you can imagine. I love that they are so excited about their grandchildren that they have already procured Old MacDonald Had a Farm finger puppets for their future grandchildren. TWO SETS, EACH ONE WITH DIFFERENT ATTRIBUTES, MADE BY A DIFFERENT MANUFACTURER. BOTH PROCURED BEFORE WE KNEW WE WERE HAVING TWINS. Not to mention multiple bottles of baby detergent. I love that my parents will be there for our children to complain to when they are mad at us, or decide that they hate us. Most importantly, I love that they are competent, nurturing, loving people who will take care of my children if something happens to my husband and me. But I also know that it's okay that I haven't yet decided whether to use a bassinet or a crib or what, and that I haven't yet fully worked out the details of which school the children might attend when they are ready for junior high. I don't have to parent at their pace. I have to parent at mine. And my way is good, too.

Yesterday, my parents stayed later than they normally would so that I could stay later at a meeting and then they could drive me home. As I was getting out of the car, my father announced that they had a present for me, opened the trunk, and looked knowingly at my mother, who smiled. I braced myself for an onslaught of sugar-cube-sized-calcium-with-triple-vitamin-D-and-spinach-free-iron supplements, or a massive piece of baby furniture, or a case of diapers. Instead, he sifted very carefully through a bag until he found what he was looking for. From my vantage point, it looked like he was cradling a baby chick.

When his hands entered my field of vision, I realized what he was holding: a single peach.

"This is an especially delicious peach," he announced.

"It's the best," my mom concurred. "Eat it with a piece of good cheese."

"Share it with your husband."

It was an especially delicious peach. And I did share it with my husband. I sliced it up, the way my mother taught me long ago, and we ate it. Probably just as my parents had shared its companion peaches the night before.

Ultimately, all of their presents are designed to nourish me. And they've done a really good job. I can take their gifts, and, with them, I can nourish myself. And the children within me.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


1. That the children inside me will become bigger than me before they are born.

2. That C.S. will pair up with a Jeffrey Sebelia clone who will dislike me as much as Jeffrey dislikes Angela ("Arabella"? "Angela"? It's not that farfetched).

3. That I will never, ever, ever again find a comfortable pair of non-orthopedic shoes.

4. That my blog is becoming boring because it's been over two months since I've talked about anything but being pregnant or throwing up.

5. That I am doomed always, always, always to pull the last five tissues out of the box all at once.

6. That I will get E. coli from eating spanakopita.

7. That I will get an iron deficiency from not eating enough spanakopita.

8. That my breasts will never get significantly larger than they are right now.

9. That my breasts will get significantly larger than they are right now.

10. That I could have a child who's funny-looking.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Week 12 Update

The first trimester is over!!!!!!!!!

It has been four days since I last puked. I'm sorry I didn't post sooner--I didn't want to jinx it, and, anyway, I was busy eating myself out of house and home to make up for lost time. FOUR. I still can't believe it. Interestingly enough, it has also been about four days since I started showing. I literally went over and looked in the mirror at some point during the day and thought, "Ok, I'm showing now." It was that quick. Ty confirmed this observation, and my pants agreed. I am happy to exchange belly protrusion for nausea. HAPPY. Even though it meant that today I had to surreptitiously unbutton and unzip my jeans in a theater full of skinny, gratification-delaying hipsters who had finally gotten around to seeing Little Miss Sunshine, fearing all the while that some usher with a flashlight would stumble upon my disheveled midsection.

Unfortunately, my pregnant belly is entirely invisible to every single person who rides the subway. On Friday, I tried to grip the support pole while balancing a GapMaternity bag in one hand and a Motherhood Maternity bag in the other, my navel peering out from my non-maternity t-shirt. Now, I recognize that this is a sensitive issue for subway riders--one doesn't want to offer one's seat to someone who's not pregnant, lest she get insulted--but is it strictly necessary for people to sit with their legs wide open enough that they take up three seats when someone is standing there and obviously struggling with packages, pregnant or not? Note to such individuals: in the future, if you're going to be so selfish, you may not want to leave THAT part of your body quite so vulnerable to my wrath.

If you haven't already, please head over and congratulate my friend Mrs. Harridan on her own much-anticipated good news!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You Still There?


Thanks for bearing with all the puke.

Now that I'm a Cranky Pregnant Lady, I have formed opinions on a number of topics. Most of these topics are connected to things that I have lately seen on television, while spending three hours attempting to down two ounces of soup that were lovingly heated up for me by my husband (who even removed the potatoes because he knew they wouldn't appeal to me).

And, because you're still here, I get to inflict my opinions on you.

1. Adrien Brody is a jerk for grabbing Halle Berry and kissing her like that at the Oscars in front of millions of people. Unless it was planned in advance and she gave her consent, there is no excuse for that sort of behavior.

2. I have yet to see cosmetic lip inflation that looks remotely natural.

3. I CANNOT BELIEVE that Jeffrey from Project Runway won the couture gown challenge for that yellow monstrosity. Ugh. Uli's dress in the same challenge was beautiful, hip, contemporary, wearable, and flattering, and she got nothing. What is wrong with fashion right now [said the pregnant woman wearing the "Bride" T-shirt with mismatched pajama bottoms and athletic socks]??? I'm Team Laura (and not only because she deserves props for doing the whole thing while pregnant, although I personally would not get within 100 feet of a luxury fabric these days and think she's very brave.)

4. I wonder if Brad really won't marry Angelina until "everybody else can get married" (something that didn't seem to concern him the first time around), or whether it's just that Angelina won't marry him. On a related note, in spite of all the do-gooder stuff he's doing now, I just can't ever think of Brad as a swell guy, what with him having left his wife for another woman. Charity begins at home.

5. Jessica (Simpson), I'm sorry, but we can all see where your real hair begins and ends. It's totally obvious. And, well.....a little matronly.

Monday, September 18, 2006

So much for Friday's update

Did you know that, if you vomit violently enough, you can get really bad whiplash that will require you to spend the entire weekend lying down, with ice packs, and not moving your neck, lest the pain become so unbearable that you just want to cry?

Well, it's true.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Week 11 Update

I must be feeling better.

I say this because I went to bed at 10 and got up at 1, starving and having to pee. After eating a quarter of a peach, a third of a Kashi GoLean bar, and watching assorted commercials for singles phone lines costing only 49 cents per minute, I was full. I went back to bed and woke up around 8, starving and having to pee.

Nowhere during this time frame did I 1) puke; or, 2) think about puking. This may very well be the greatest thing ever. Eating and peeing around the clock I can tolerate. Puking I cannot.

That said, I think the time when I'm "not sick but not yet uncomfortably big" is going to be pretty short. My midsection is already feeling, well, crowded. If I sit on the floor, it's more difficult than usual to get back up. Frankly, I wouldn't mind a little more tummy pooch in the near future, and all the accompanying politeness and ability to score a seat on the subway.

I've got to run now, because I'm starving and I have to pee. Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 14, 2006


I suspect that I am carrying at least one boy. Because I am more likely to think about stuff that will happen six months or twenty years from now than what I will eat for breakfast, I've recently started thinking about the whole circumcision debate.

I have friends and family that stand militantly on both sides of the issue. And I understand them all.

For most of my life (well, for the period of time that I was cognizant of circumcision and had any meaningful thoughts about it), I was generally in favor of someday having my theoretical son circumcised. It was the generally accepted practice, but even if it wasn't, it had been shown to reduce a man's risk of contracting HIV. That was enough for me.

I went through my teenage years in the 1990's. At that time, at least in New York (and possibly also Colorado, as there is a great South Park episode on this subject), school health education seemed primarily designed to terrify us about AIDS. We were told to assume that everyone has it, that we should really avoid "deep" kissing, and that we should wear rubber gloves if there was a possibility of handling semen or vaginal fluids during our primitive groping sessions. I heard a statistic that I really hope I'm remembering wrong (though I don't think I am!) because, in retrospect, it was so utterly ridiculous: "By your tenth high school reunion, 25% of you will be dead from AIDS. Make sure you're not in that 25%!"

Even though I had no sex of any kind in high school, I still lived in perpetual fear of AIDS. I would literally lie awake at night, wondering whether I was already doomed by virtue of having had a nursery-school teacher who died of AIDS and had probably handled staples or push-pins in my presence, or whether the stray, used Band-Aid I had accidentally touched while lifting my bag off the floor was going to kill me.

I don't want to undermine the importance of AIDS education and prevention--it is extremely, extremely important--but the scare tactics used on us high school kids were outrageous. And school officials wonder why they have so little credibility with teenagers!

So, fast-forward to my twenties (with more than 75% of my graduating class still alive and bitching), after I realize that the best way for a man to prevent HIV infection is simply to use condoms unless the man is sure of his partner's negative HIV status. It's the same common-sense approach for the cut and the uncut. Suddenly, circumcision for HIV prevention is far less relevant.

There is evidence that the female partners of circumcised men have fewer yeast and bacterial vaginal infections. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best argument in favor of circumcision.

Another argument in favor of circumcision is that most men in the U.S. have circumcised penises, and I want my son to feel comfortable with the way he looks. I want him to be comfortable around women and other men. Will he be if he looks different?

On the other side of the debate, it's painful. There are risks. Circumcision removes something that nature put in place. I'm opposed to female circumcision--correspondingly, shouldn't I be opposed to male circumcision? (I know the two aren't fully analogous, but they're certainly close enough to consider.) I don't want my son to grow up feeling like he's missing something.

Religiously, we have no requirements one way or the other.

So, readers, what would you do?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mysteries of the universe that have recently come to my attention

1. Why would AMC run the film Milk Money on Sunday afternoon, and then run Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on a Tuesday morning?

2. Why would AMC ("American Movie Classics") run the film Milk Money repeatedly?

3. Why would AMC run the film Milk Money at all?

4. Why would I watch it?

5. Why do commercials for those work-at-home websites always show people sipping cocktails by a waterfall, boating, skimming their pools, or doing anything besides actually working at home? They could make the working-at-home environment all nice, with a big mug of coffee and comfortable socks and a warm pet lounging on the person's lap as she types, but NO. They think that their websites will be better represented by people at luaus, playing with toucans.

6. Why do vitamins have to be so frickin' big?

7. Why would my so-called neighbors hire a man to use a jackhammer before 8 am on a Sunday?

8. Why is my sense of smell suddenly 300x stronger?

9. Why, when I felt pretty good yesterday, is today the official opening day of the new pastry shop in my area, and now I'm feeling nauseous?

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Trattoria Breve is closed today in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Week 10 Update

I'm going to say something I never thought I would say:

I hate being pregnant.

I really do. I feel tired and cranky and pukey and pimply and shaky and weak and unattractive. I hate not being able to walk to a store myself to buy a trashy magazine, let alone not being able to exercise. I hate that all cooking smells make me either vomit or feel like I'm going to vomit. I hate having to sit down and rest THREE (3) times in the course of a single shower. I don't feel the slightest bit creative or "empowered." Naturally, I feel guilty for feeling this way, but it's honestly how I feel.

Yes, it has its ups and downs. There are "good" days, which are basically defined as days that I don't feel that my life is over and I don't wish that someone would repeatedly hit me over the head with a golf club. These tend to be the days where I can work for three hours straight, consume some food, and keep it down. That's what passes for "good."

The problem with these days is that I may start to feel too good, and that means I may actually engage in rational thought about what is happening in my life and the tremendous changes I will face. That's when I start thinking about all the stuff I'll need to buy, how many diapers I'll be changing (approximately 24 a day for two newborns), how I'm going to nurse both babies at the same time (every three hours), and what will become of my body and soul. It's times like these that I start Googling "black market value of a kidney." You know what? The black market value of a kidney isn't even enough to pay for a year of New York City private school for both children.

I'll be leaving to go to the doctor in a few minutes. The nice doctor. I will be taking a designated bag with me in case I need to barf into it on the way. I really, really, really, really, really hope that I get to see at least one of the babies moving around on the sonogram, and that it's enough to snap me out of this frame of mind for the weekend. Or, at least until I make the 17,651 calls that I have to make to concerned family members to update them about the latest doctor visit, before coming home and reviewing an important contract.

But I'm sure everything will be easier when the babies finally arrive.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

100 More Things About Me, Part III

31. I used to be a big martyr when I was younger, but, now, I have no use for needless suffering. Bring on the help folding laundry, pain relief, and the convenience of dry-cleaning delivery: I'll take it all.

32. Dim lighting upsets me. It reminds me of a sickroom from the olden days.

33. I think tea is amazing and curative. It is one of the few things I almost always want.

34. I am glad that vitamin manufacturers have gotten creative in how they package the calcium. Chocolate disks and chewy caramels agree with me much better than great big horse pills--especially while I'm all pukey.

35. I wish my blogfriends lived closer to me, or that we could violate the laws of physics to see each other in person more often.

36. I will always, always, always laugh at I Love Lucy.

37. I hate public bathrooms.

38. I have, in an emergency, gone in the men's room after making sure it was empty. All right, it was more than once. They don't give out awards for straining your kidneys, you know. See #31, above, about needless suffering.

39. I worry about maneuvering a double stroller.

40. Thinking about baby equipment gets me anxious--I don't even really know what an ExerSaucer is. Then, I calm myself down by thinking about children's books that I loved when I was little and can't wait to read to my own children.

41. It pisses me off that there's so much crap in print and that so many wonderful books are out of print and very difficult to find.

42. I buy toilet paper that comes in rolls that are too fat for the space in the wall that consists of my bathroom toilet paper holder, so I have to use them a little before they'll fit in there. I could switch brands, but I don't want to, because if there's one thing I hate, it's a too-thin roll of toilet paper.

43. I don't really miss abstaining from alcohol during this pregnancy, but I do miss sushi. A lot.

44. Last night, I dreamed that I was shopping in a supermarket, and there was a charcuterie counter there that was labeled "Trattoria Breve."

45. When (and if) I feel better, one of the first things that I will do will be to bake.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Week 9 Update

This week was something of a turning point. I am now getting some breaks from the nausea and vomiting. At times, I still feel like stabbing myself in the eye with a sharp stick (while vomiting up Tater Tots, for example), but, at other times, I feel almost human again. Complete with laughter.

I had been really scared, because I've lost a few pounds with all the vomiting and not being able to eat, but we learned this week that the kids are both a good size for their gestational age. A kindly nurse even pointed out to me where one of them was moving on the sonogram, doing a little dance. I really needed to see that. Until that moment, the pregnancy had honestly seemed like a very abstract and sick-making endeavor. It hadn't yet sunk in that by enduring all of this shit, I will wind up with babies. Cute, cuddly, moving little babies.

I am finally rid of the micromanagement of the fear-mongering specialist I wrote about in yesterday's post. Apparently, my body is past the point at which it might spontaneously combust and suck entire neighborhoods full of daisies and schoolbuses and puppies into the black void of its explosion. That, or else there's a whole fresh crop of cooter waiting to be prodded, and I'm old news. Either way, I'm thrilled.

My days of the hateful progesterone suppositories are numbered, too--I will soon have non-oily underwear again! While I have to keep doing the stomach injections, I honestly don't mind them nearly as much as I used to. Ty and I have gotten them down to a science, and they hardly even hurt anymore, let alone bruise.

Speaking of Ty, this pregnancy is really cementing how much I love him. He expresses sympathy, not disgust, when I emerge from the Retching Chamber. He doesn't skeeve my less-than-glamorous appearance. He fixes me elaborate meals according to my strange pregnancy whims, and then whisks them away and brings Jell-O when I find that I'm unable to eat them, after all. He segues into the conversation like a champ when he arrives home from work to find multiple generations of my family folding his socks or sitting around the kitchen table. I never, ever expected to marry this amazing a man. Not even in my wildest dreams. In fact, he's a constant smiling, calming presence; a reminder that, in spite of everything, this is a really happy time.

He's right.