Monthly Archives: March 2012

Morning sickness Misnomer and other Mysteries

Morning sickness is an evil misnomer. It tricks first time mothers into thinking that there’s some kind of reprieve. And okay, for some there is, but not for me apparently. I thought I was going to be one of those smug women that oh so tactfully says to a friend (whose head is in the toilet bowl), “Morning sickness? I’m in my second trimester now and never experienced it.” Ok, I’d never do that to anyone. That would be horrible… but my character flaws or positive attributes aside, I could never be one of those women anyway because as of last Thursday, morning sickness punched me in the stomach fast and furious. And not just in the morning either. I mean, I always knew it wasn’t a literal term, but I thought it was just bouts of nausea that come and go… well, this bout has now lasted for one entire week. Sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse, but it never goes away. Ever. I spent most of today moaning in bed with saltines and Powerade by my side.

 
Morning sickness (or ALLTHEEFFING-TIMESICKNESS as I have come to call it) does not, however, stop me from wanting to eat my weight in food. During weeks four and five all I wanted in my life was McDonalds. Disgusting, I know. It took all my power to fight the urge (and I admit, I occasionally lost). Now the baby has entirely taken over my taste buds, and let me tell you, he and I have very different taste. My baby thinks he’s a vegetarian Hawaiian. The very thought of meat makes me want to lose my lunch (if I’ve managed to shove anything down my throat, that is) and all he wants is pineapple**. I love pineapple, but I also really love meat.

Griping aside, I’m grateful for my morning sickness and general aversion to all foods that I love. Why? Because on Monday morning I was pretty sure I was losing the baby. A dear friend rushed me to the hospital and stayed with me as long as possible while I was poked and prodded, but mostly just spent my time waiting around for test results and trying not to cry (a feat in which I did not succeed). Three vials of blood, an ultrasound and a pelvic exam later I was told that everything looks fine and normal. The ultrasound detected a small (so small it couldn’t be measured) subchorionic hemorrhage which is really very normal early in the first trimester and tends to rectify itself within a couple of weeks. I see the midwife for the first time next week anyway and I’m sure I’ll have more questions about it then. For now I can take comfort in the fact that the ultrasound also showed a healthy little embryo that measured in size just exactly as it should for its age with a strong heartbeat (the tech was really surprised that she could see everything so clearly via transabdominal ultrasound at such an early stage). So yes, I’m grateful for my morning sickness if it means all is well.

I’m going to bid you adieu now. My Kraft Dinner, one of the few savoury foods the little one lets me eat (note that it’s very much vegetarian), is ready. Don’t look at me like that. It’s whole wheat noodles, OK? Totally healthy! Well, kinda…

**FUN FACT: Although Hawaii is the first place that came to mind when I thought of pineapple, apparently pineapple isn’t even native to Hawaii despite our common association of one with the other (think Hawaiian pizza). It actually originally hails from Brazil and Paraguay, though it is now a major crop in Hawaii.

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Differences of Opinion

It is often said that a mother is made the moment she learns she is pregnant, but a father doesn’t become a father until he first lays eyes on his child after birth. Not that fathers love any less, but that the moment of connection with the child is different. This is understandable. For the woman everything changes with this realization. Lifestyle changes commence immediately. Physical responses to the pregnancy come fast and early. The child’s presence is felt within the woman right from the get go.

Although a woman can go for weeks without knowing she is pregnant, some women just have that “feeling” of pregnancy days before her period is even missed. My experience was the latter. During the last week of February J and I were relaxing in bed on vacation. I was relishing the closeness, because J isn’t much of a cuddler. He’d much rather wrestle and put ice down my shirt than express any kind of mushy gushy affection. While I was nestled into his side, this thought entered my mind: “This is so nice and peaceful. Just the three of us.” WHOA. Three of us? I corrected myself to “two of us” right away, but from that moment on I knew I’d be taking that pregnancy test when I got home. I’m a bit of a hippie. Maybe this was my child making itself known to me (“Hey, I know you’re on an all-inclusive vacation, but maybe lay off the Piña Coladas, Mama!”). Maybe not. Regardless, from the moment I saw those two pink lines on the pregnancy test, I became a mother and since then it’s all about keeping the little one safe.

In terms of lifestyle changes, I have already made many. From the beginning of our relationship J and I have discussed changes that would need to happen should we ever have children together. I think the fact that this has happened so soon has been difficult for J. I’m not going to air our dirty laundry on the internet (to be honest, there really isn’t much to air), but I’ve just been really fascinated by our different reactions to lifestyle changes. For me, it hasn’t even been a question. Changes have to happen, and they have to happen now, whereas for J, in his mind he has until November to make the necessary changes. Since I’ve met him, J has said that fatherhood will definitely change certain lifestyle choices he has made to date. Now, in my mind, fatherhood begins now. This little embryo needs an environment that will allow it to flourish as it works very hard to transform from embryo to fetus to baby. This has been a source of tension and I’m not too sure what to do about it. I can’t make him feel like a father today or tomorrow. All I can do is stress that I’m already a mother and that I will do what I need to do in order to protect my child.

Now, please don’t think that J is a terrible person or horribly insensitive at the very least. It’s not that. He’s been so wonderful, expressing concern for me when I’m having a hard day, and pure excitement at the prospect of fatherhood. He’s going to be a great dad. I’ve just been really interested in our different reactions to the pregnancy and different views on parenthood and when it begins. And although I haven’t quite worked out any answers and things are still a bit messy, I’m going to aim to keep the laundry clean.

SURPRISE!

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Five weeks today. Obviously, it’s early and I really shouldn’t say anything for another seven weeks, but it’s hard to keep it inside, especially when it’s your first I’d assume.

So what’s the story? How did it happen and why? The first myth I will dispel is that this baby was an accident. That is what everyone is going to think because: a) We’re not married; b) J and I haven’t been together that long; and c) I’m still in grad school. It might seem like silly timing to most, but the time is right for us and that’s what matters. Besides, it’s not like we’re 21 year old kids who think they’re grown up when in reality they really haven’t a clue (I was definitely still a kid when I was 21… J arguably still has a tendency to behave like a kid today, but I suppose that’s what my mature woman wisdom is here to temper).

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Whatever the case, that test wasn’t lying. Neither were the next three (*sheepish look*).

Nor was the blood test, the results of which I received this past Friday.**

To those of you who might be worried: Like I said, this wasn’t an accident, and J and I are really really happy, so please, just be happy with us! It’s good for all of our souls, especially that of the little life I’m currently incubating. There’s only one message to send, and that’s one of love. After all, considering the time of year you may have guessed that this is a Valentine’s baby (or you may not have guessed because I said I was five weeks along, but here’s a fact I didn’t know before this: Pregnancy is counted from the first day of the last menstrual cycle, not from the day of conception). TMI? I’m nothing if not blunt.

So now I’m just trying to stay calm and positive. I’m really excited to meet with the midwives in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait for the day we first hear that little heartbeat.

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First Family Pic: Baby on Board

**Now here’s a fun story: Went on Thursday to have all the preliminary blood work done. The doctor tested to confirm the pregnancy, my blood type and my iron levels, amongst other things (5 vials of blood!), but she also insisted on taking an HIV test. Now, there is no reason that I should have ever contracted HIV, but that didn’t stop my heart from dropping into my feet when I received a call from my doctor the following day saying, “Your test result came back positive.” It wasn’t until a full five seconds of silence went by that she tacked on, “for pregnancy.” I’d already gotten so used to the idea of being pregnant that I totally forgot that she did the blood test to confirm it, and all I could think was, “Is she talking about HIV!?” Scary stuff… anyways, I’m definitely HIV free. Great news for Baby, J and me.