Viewing posts for the category all knocked up

the kindness of strangers

Friday, jun. 12, 2009   |   0 comments

Many, many years ago, I formulated the Cortina Principle, which is my humble theory about how the world is packed with people who desperately want to talk to each other, they just need a ready topic to give them an excuse. Any vaguely out-of-the-ordinary accessory will do — a cute dog, an eccentric pair of shoes, a moderately rare vintage car.

And a visibly be-babied stomach? Is the mother of all conversation starters. Tidbits that strangers have shared with me since my front first exploded onto the scene include:

  • The restorative qualities of carrying, at all times, a backpack loaded with 15 pounds of dead weight. Supposedly this counterbalances the baby and makes your back feel fantastic? However, since walking up a scant flight of stairs currently leaves me feeling like I’ve just summited some horrible, oxygen-thin witch mountain, the idea of adding 15 pounds to the mix sounds like a recipe for non-stop weeping. So I guess my lower back will just have to suck it.

  • The location of the nearest public swimming pool, along with a very concerned and motherly, “It might help” — and I was actually looking pretty chipper that day.

  • The fact that, should my baby prove to be female, I ought not be afraid when her wee vagina fills with blood three days after delivery. (Apparently this actually happens? Yay?)

  • The news that the woman in front of me in line at Walgreen’s is obsessed with watching the weather report each and every morning, but no matter what they say, she always brings an umbrella, even though her daughter tells her she’s crazy, something that I, too, will be hearing first-hand soon enough.

  • Multiple “Congratulations!”

  • Multiple declarations that it’s clearly going to be a girl.

  • Multiple declarations that it’s clearly going to be a boy.

  • One very unwelcome “Twins?” And thank you, sir, for making me feel extra XL…and for triggering my fears that I’ll soon be having an abnormally huge baby passing through my Personal Canal.

  • And finally, my all-time favorite, from the homeless man who pointed at his stomach and yelled, “Hey!”

    I looked down at my stomach, and nodded encouragingly. Yes! The miracle of life! It is true!

    “How old,” he asked incredulously, “ARE you?”

    Me, shaking my head: “Pretty old!”

    PRET-ty old.

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knock, knock

Friday, mar. 27, 2009   |   0 comments

On VH1’s 100 Greatest Hard Rock Songs, which Marco and I accidentally watched almost all of recently, Dee Snider describes how his still-touring band, Twisted Sister, now looks like a bunch of old drag queens. “But luckily,” he adds, “we always looked like a bunch of old drag queens.”

About two weeks ago, my body turned some kind of baby-making corner, I think “popped” is the preferred term, and I am now officially, identifiably pregnant. Coworkers have begun to comment on my “waddle,” this being something that people, it turns out, get to say to you when you catch pregnant. And my stomachs are now also starting to get fondled. People can’t seem to help it, their hands just go right to my belly. The second they realize what they’re doing they pull away, hot potato!, and start apologizing. I guess lots of pregnant ladies hate to have their bellies fondled? Maybe, as things progress, I’ll develop an aversion to having my midsection groped, too, but for now I’m totally fine with it. (Ask me about the time in college I got very drunk and invited a boatload of people to rub my tummy “for good luck.”)

Also clothes are beginning to fit me strangely. My shirts ride way up, and dresses now strain in interesting new ways around my business in the front and party in the rear. But so far, I haven’t had to buy too many new items. I invested in a pair of crazy stretch-band maternity jeans (they don’t even have a zipper, you just pull them on!) and some longer shirts, all bought on super sale at Old Navy. I also picked up a pair of cotton stretch leggings at the very weird Pea and the Pod — they try to get you to sit down and sip water with them in there? Thoughtful Maggie also bought me some maternity tights. And that’s it!

It turns out the bulk of my wardrobe, my shirts and dresses and sweaters, still work more or less okay, despite the fact that I am now more or less huge. (I made a group of formerly pregnant friends laugh last week by declaring I’m about as large as I want to go right now.)

My secret? Is also Dee Snider’s secret: Always dress like you’re pregnant.

2008 and not pregnant

today's zany "please don't pick me for jury duty" outfit

2009 and pregnant

today's "hello, doctor" outfit

today's "one hot tomato" outfittoday's "that is one pregnant tomato" outfit
today's "in search of toast" outfittoday's "smocktoberfest" outfit

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real life

Tuesday, feb. 3, 2009   |   0 comments

The evidence continues to mount that I have small something living and growing inside my lady parts.

When I got the first sonogram at week eleven, I wasn’t really convinced. I watched the doctor launch the probe up inside me, and on queue the familiar grainy baby-shaped visual appeared on the monitor, just as it had on every baby-having movie or televised drama I’ve ever seen. But it still felt fake somehow, like my own personal staged lunar landing.

this appears to still be happening?
See? What is that? It’s like a stamp carved out of a potato by a fourth grader. That could be anyone/thing!

I was lying very still — the instinctive response to being impaled on a seeing-eye pole — so the visual was completely, suspiciously static. “Is it alive?” I asked. The doctor laughed and pointed to the middle section of the baby shape and said, “See? There’s the heart.” I squinted and craned, and finally was able to see a teeny gnat flutter that I guess could pass as the first beginnings of a human heart, but it still had a very “low budget animation” feel, like when Conan does the thing with the talking-mouth video in the cutout of a static photo of a celebrity.

There was no evidence that this was my baby, inside my uterus. They could be flashing any old sonogram up there, what would I know?

But then! A couple weeks later they sent me to some other medical facility for the genetic counseling that they recommend for all dusty-wombed women over the age of 35. After chatting for a solid hour about the horrifically high chances of the baby having a number of different life-threatening and depressing defects, it was time to decide whether we wanted to move forward with the scary CVS test, a test which can rule out with 99% certainty a whole selection of sad outcomes, but which comes with its own not-great 1-in-600 risk of miscarriage. And really, is there anything more hilarious than trying to choose between two different statistical chances of various baby deaths and horrors? Also fun: the insane 5-inch needle they use to take the test, poking it right on through the stomach.

Ultimately, based on our need to not spend the rest of the pregnancy what-if-ing ourselves into a frenzy, Marco and I decided to go ahead with the test. Before the doctor arrived, a nice nurse with a pretty Russian accent set me up for the sonogram element of the procedure, which helps the doctor get a visual on what’s getting speared with the giant needle. The nurse forewent the dildo camera and instead lubed up the outsides of my belly and took a few swirling passes at me with a nubby massager looking thing. The familiar deep-sea image popped up on the monitor, and the baby already seemed much more developed, with actual individual fingers and everything. (Possibly the passage of time? Or maybe just a fancier monitor?) But, just like last time, the baby wasn’t doing much — just lying there, looking very “generic fetus everyman.”

The nurse left to go get the doctor, leaving the sonogram wand sitting in its holster…right there within easy reach of my curiosity fingers! Furtively I grabbed it and started massaging my belly, and again the monitor filled with baby-like shapes. I sat up a bit for a better look, and I could see the mild crunch squishing the baby’s living room. And in that instant the baby … squiggled, it’s little arms fluttering like flippers on a poked tadpole. I moved and it moved! Irrefutable evidence that what I was seeing was real and inside my me! I laughed and my stomach shook and it squiggled again.


I was just starting to process that huge thought when the doctor bustled in and quick like a quick thing I returned the wand to its home and turned to face the wall, my face innocent whistling mask of nothing to see here.

And then suddenly, just seconds after finally getting that this baby was maybe real, the whole needle thing was happening and the risks we were taking truly sunk in. I was horrified, and felt like fainting and barfing all at once, renaissance-style. But it was all over in a merciful few minutes, and there the doctor was, proudly showing me the vials of fluid and humanity that he’d managed to extract, whee. Then it was a mere matter of lying terrified and motionless on the couch for 24 hours, and then waiting another excruciating week-to-ten-days for the results. All very relaxing.

I was slip-sliding away at Sundance when the test-results woman finally called and very nicely came right out and trilled “Good news!” It seems that, to the best of science’s knowledge, the baby does not have any of the unhappy things (for example Downs Syndrome) that they are able to test for at this early stage.

I was of course hugely, gigantically relieved by the news, but there was also a new undercurrent of fear. This thing really is real. Mighty real. It turns out.

more words on: all knocked up

rear view

Wednesday, dec. 24, 2008   |   0 comments

You know those pregnant ladies who, when approached from their rear, show no indication that they are with child? That is already not me. Today, when I go to touch my ass, something I do a lot this being the Christmas season, my hand arrives at its padded destination a full second earlier than it once did, back in the golden days of two months ago. And my pants don’t fit so hot, and all my tights feel like they’re trying to kill me. Also I’m still throwing up with unhappy regularity. And still no booze! Despite last night’s long, delightful dinner with my galfriends over at Beretta, a restaurant specially known for its delicious, frothy mixed drinks, grr!

Okay, off to El Paso to meet Marco’s entire family now for the first time ever! Light a candle for me.

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the risks of riskiness

Tuesday, dec. 16, 2008   |   0 comments

According to the internet, me and my dusty, wizened, 38-year-old eggs are approximately 689,295,271,239 times more likely to produce an autistic down syndrome baby with pattern baldness and a tail, as opposed to the dewy, fancy-free eggs of certain 33-or-younger someones.

Unfortunately there seems to be no data about the risks of reading depressing online statistics, though I’d wager they’re worse than smoking, boozing, and groping raw poultry combined.

Living in Pregatory Update — Stats for Week 9
Number of barf scares: 37
Number of legitimate barfing spells: 2
Number of times I’ve eyed someone’s glass of red wine longingly: 3
Number of secret naps under my desk at work: 3
Number of sleepless nights spent freaking out about the future: 3.5

more words on: all knocked up