Thursday, December 10, 2009


J and I heard the heartbeat at the OB yesterday! Last time I couldn’t distinguish the heartbeat from the surrounding static—this time it was unmistakable, loud and clear, strong and sure! The rest of the visit went fine; the doc did show a little concern over my weight (it is still holding steady, although there is no denying that I have developed a little bulge that simply cannot be sucked in.) Just in time for the season of over-indulgence in all things rich and decadent I was encouraged to incorporate more ice cream into my diet.

However, it seems from the wonderful comments that I received last week that slow and little weight gain is fairly common for a first pregnancy, so I have ceased to waste my energies obsessing on that. Not that I am experiencing a shortage; "What to Expect" told me to expect more pep in my step this trimester and undeniably I am feeling peppier these days than I’ve felt in years!

This newfound source of power and drive is quite naturally making me a creature of twin desires: self-care and nesting. I have much to say about both but lets begin with:


During the three years that I’ve lived here I was The Half-hearted Homemaker. I had come to feel nothing more positive than an occasional fond appreciation for this house. My engagement in home improvement projects was often lackluster. My commitment to the house (and, to be honest, my life here more generally) was scattered, conflicted, and disorganized.

For more than a thousand days I flit from project to project. I immersed myself in gardening and cooking but could sustain interest in little else. I had some ideas about how to further transform this house into our home but I couldn’t bring myself to really commit to them. Now I feel curiously ready to move forward. Or maybe what I feel is more like: “ready or not, here I come!”

I began really feeling my oats last Sunday. Armed with a plan and a deadline I have set to work with surprisingly eager determination. This week I still have re-potting a few plants, painting the third floor hallway, setting up the fish tank, and, most importantly, finishing the living room drapes on my agenda. Despite being somewhat impeded by a number of daytime appointments, I have thus far sewn the curtain for the third floor bath (sort of a warm-up for the living room since I’m not using a pattern), and with J’s help, the hallway is already primed and ready for painting.

In preparation for a holiday party we are hosting on the 19th, I have sent out evites to our friends in the area, and delivered handwritten, personalized invitations for each of our neighbors. I planned the menu, compiled the recipes, made up the shopping lists, and made a schedule for prep work and cooking next week.

I have started on my Christmas Card list, have allotted the homemade gifts and begun wrapping them, have decided on gifts for five of my family members, and have given out my Christmas wishes list. ;)

The best part is—I am having so much fun! One of my neighbors commented on how it was late in the season and awfully short notice and probably not many of our neighbors would come to my party. I said to her, “that doesn’t really matter,” and I genuinely meant it. I don’t care if is only a party of two and J & I have to eat my lovely Chocolate-Malt Stump de Noël, with it’s adorable little meringue mushrooms, all by ourselves!

In past years some holidays have passed in this house barely observed. This year we will have a tree, candles, and twinkling lights. We will have garlands and wreaths and ribbons. We will celebrate! Our festively decorated home will chase away the dreary winter chill of this cold, wet city for me and J and our little palm-sized princess! (Or prince.) I am driven to create a warm, welcoming environment; a place of comfort and pleasure; for myself and my partner and this unknown new person. I feel impelled to reach out and strengthen my net of family and friends; I want to draw everyone into our celebration. I feel like the birds of spring that call out with delight as they gather twig and grass to make a home.

With fierce determination and joy in my heart I have begun to build my nest.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Weighty Matters

Yes Dinah, what a difference a day makes! Or rather, what a difference ten days make. First there was the outpouring of support, publicly and privately, from all of you! Thank you so much, it was both sorely needed and much appreciated. Why is it that we hold this taboo on disclosing a pregnancy before the second trimester when it seems that those first fourteen weeks are so filled with new physical and emotional changes? Why do we insist that women keep all their confusion, apprehension, fear, and elation to themselves during those first three months of impending motherhood when we as potential mothers, and the delicate life just taking root within, are so very vulnerable and so in need of support? The argument that the very fragility of that new life (that as many as one in six new pregnancies may result in miscarriage) should both temper one’s hopes and still one’s tongue seems counter intuitive to me. What is the message here? If life is lost then that pain should be kept within; that women who have had such heartbreak are not deserving of our support and understanding? I find that logic both bizarre and tragic.

Thankfully, those sad and lonely days are now past for me and this child, and oh woman, does it ever feel good. Being able to share my “condition” with friends and family has been not only a welcome relief (I have never particularly liked holding secrets) but it has also helped to bring the reality of the whole situation into sharper focus. I am going to be a mother! Hooray! There is a real, honest-to-goodness, (very tiny) baby inside of me! The wonder of it is astounding, breathtaking, heart-stopping! I feel like a miracle worker, for who can deny that it is a miracle that as I go about my day-to-day business I am, nearly unconsciously, creating a brand-new, totally unique human being inside my body!

I was blessed to spend Thanksgiving with my family in Virginia (well, most of my family—we missed you Gerka!) and as soon as I walked in the door of my mother’s house, she remarked that I looked pregnant. My sister wondered over how strange it was to see me with full breasts and a little belly bulge. Even my brother said my stomach looked cute. Perhaps strangely, perhaps not, these comments made me feel proud.

I want to look pregnant; I’m excited about it. My first trimester saw the rather sudden and painful expansion of my bosom, but little else. In fact, the little monitoring of my weight that I did do only documented a rather slow and steady decline in total poundage. To be fair, I was heavier this spring than I have ever been, weighing in at one point at nearly a whopping 138. Not that I minded. I have always had more difficulty putting weight on than taking it off, and personally I prefer my limbs a little rounder and my figure a little fuller. It was marvelously exciting to really have an ass for a change. What to Expect, my pregnancy bible, said that weight loss during the first trimester is nothing to worry about, so although I was a little annoyed, I was not unduly concerned.

However, starting at 12 weeks I began weekly weigh-ins and waist measurements. What to Expect said I should expect to gain about a pound and an inch a week for the next twenty or so weeks with a few weeks of leveling out towards the end of the last trimester. Well, things are not going as expected.

The changing shape of my body is a delight to me—I have most definitely begun to develop a little pooch below my belly button—but the total diameter of my midsection is growing, or not growing, at a maddeningly slow pace. I actually lost more than two pounds and half an inch from my waist during this past week! Over Thanksgiving week of all times! I try not to let this bother me. Reason says that at some point during this experience I will probably wish I were carrying less weight, not more, but right now I am frustrated. And those of you who know me best know that it is in my nature to brood. Over everything.

I am not freaking out (yet), but since I am sharing my thoughts with all of you through this blog: this week I am preoccupied with weight. I have this weird vision of myself growing skinnier and skinnier as my belly expands until I resemble a malnourished child whose stomach has begun to bloat. Ridiculous, I know, but it is so hard not to feel concerned that I am somehow abnormal with so little to go by except an outline in a book. So, all stories illustrating how foolish it is to believe that any book can describe the “proper course” that a woman’s body should take through this experience are most welcome. As are, of course, admonitions to stop being so silly and just enjoy this special time. I need those sometimes.