being pregnant isn’t all bad…except when it is

i keep forgetting to tell funny stories about interactions i have related to my pregnancy because i get all caught up in the obnoxious interactions. okay, so sometime last week i went to the gap because they were having a big 60% off sale. i had a bought a t-shirt there a few weeks before & it’s kind of extra-long & has an adjustable neckline & it is pretty much PERFECT as an early maternity shirt. plus it’s some kind of magical cotton that stays really cool on my skin even when it’s over 100 degrees out. i wanted to pick up another in a larger size, to accommodate more of the time i will be pregnant.

i also found a cute striped hoodie that was a size or two larger than i usually take & especially baggy in the belly area. it was marked down & once you add the 60% off sale, it was like $6. how could i resist? so i brought them up to the register & the clerk was ringing me up & this conversation happened:

clerk: “oh, i love these hoodies. they are so soft & comfortable, aren’t they?”
me: “yeah, i just hope it still fits okay in the fall when the weather cools down.”
clerk: “oh, totally, because hoodies…can…shrink…when the weather gets cooler?”
me: “um, i’m pregnant. i mean i hope i’m not too big for it by the time i can use it.”
clerk: “OH! congratulations!”
me: *stifling guffaws*

& then the other day i went to walgreen’s & bought myself the intelligender test i wrote about recently–the urine test that purports to tell you the sex of your baby weeks earlier than an ultrasound can? yeah. so, i plunked it down at the register & this happened:
clerk: *picking up the box & marveling at it* “oh my god, is this real?”
me: “um, inasmuch as i am buying it, yes.”
clerk: “i mean, does it really work? can it really tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl?”
me: “i guess i’ll find out the hard way, huh?”
clerk: “oh wow, i didn’t know this existed. this is so cool. which one are you hoping for?”
me: “girl.”
clerk: “wow, this is so cool. good luck!”

endless amusement at the walgreen’s clerk being amazed by the merchandise in her own store. i also find it really amazing how often i have been asked if i prefer a boy or a girl. i’ve been asked by other pregnant women, random strangers, even the nurses at my doctor’s office. apparently it’s not taboo to talk about gender preference anymore. when i say something like, “i just hope it’s healthy!” people look kind of disappointed, like they’re talking to an android sent here from 1994 when that was the appropriate response. now everyone wants to gush about their preferences.

i haven’t done the intelligender test yet. i’m supposed to wait until ten days after my last day of progesterone support if i don’t want to risk a false boy result. but of course i will share the results when once they’re in.

yesterday was a not-so-fun day. i told jared that we needed to start making some decisions about prenatal testing because i am rapidly moving out of the window when the nuchal translucency screening (can identify down syndrome risk factors early) can be performed. he was all, “whatever you think, it’s up to you, don’t ask me, whatever makes you comfortable,” etc. i didn’t know what to choose because i don’t know that i would necessarily abort if prenatal testing turned up birth defects. maybe i would, i honestly have no idea & all i want out of life is to not have to make that decision at all because my little fetus looks perfect. but then he started talking about how having a baby with down syndrome would really change things, & it’s already going to be hard to write a dissertation with a baby full stop, but a disabled baby will complicate things even more, & maybe he would have to reconsider his career goals & give up on being a professor & just teach high school instead because it’s less demanding, etc etc etc. so i was like, “it sounds like you would at least like to be pre-warned.” long story short, we decided to do the NT scan.

i needed to schedule a sonogram anyway to follow up on the chorionic bleed incident from a month ago, make sure the placenta is looking good. so i called up my obstetrician’s nurse & she’s all, “oh yeah, we can schedule that for thursday morning, blah blah blah.” i was pleased. but then she said, “let me just pull up your chart…” & then she was like, “oh, we actually can’t do the NT scan until next week, the 11th or the 12th. what would you prefer?”

i was all, “why the hell not, i thought you could do it anytime between eleven & thirteen weeks?” & she was like, “yeah, but you’re only ten weeks.” i said, “no, i’m eleven weeks four days.” she was all, “well, according to your due date of january 23…” & i was like, “yeah. i know. you have my due date wrong.”

see if you can follow this madness: okay. based on the actual date of conception, which i know to within two days because i was doing infertility treatments, my due date is january 17. my first sonogram, to gauge gestational size, put me pretty much on target with a due date of january 19. the follow-up due date two weeks later (to make sure the embryo was growing properly & appeared viable) showed a slightly smaller embryo & my due date was readjusted to january 23. five days later, i had that bleeding incident & was scheduled for an emergency sonogram to check out the placenta. the embryo had grown like gangbusters since the last sonogram & my due date was readjusted again to january 18. needless to say, this shit is far from an exact science, which is fine with me, i get it. but what is NOT fine with me is that the most recent gestational age estimate was apparently never recorded in my charts, so my doctor is working with the wrong due date & is pushing back my NT scan until i’m twelve weeks, six days along–almost out of the window where it’s effective.

it doesn’t REALLY matter in the greater scheme of things, especially because the baby is more than likely perfectly fine. it just makes me wonder what other simple, obvious thing they’re going to get wrong. these are, after all, the same people who turned up a negative pregnancy blood test when i was indeed pregnant. one more dumb mistake & i’m really going to start wondering if they even have a firm grasp on where babies come from. i am SO tempted to switch doctors, maybe go with the birth center in topeka instead. the only thing holding me back is the fact that i’m due in january & i’m reluctant to take the chance on having to drive to topeka in labor, in a blizzard.

but my irritation has a happy-ish ending: i felt that i needed to take a walk to work out my frustration, so i went to the library, & someone from the local paper was there, interviewing people about their reading material for the “person on the street” feature in the local paper. & she asked me while i was paging through a book on how baby clothing & gear has become so stratified along gender lines. i looked totally sweaty & grumpy in the photo (as in life), i am sure, but hey. it’s always fun to be in the paper, as long as it’s not for, you know, something gruesome & weird. i just feel like a complete doofus because when she asked about my job, i said, “growing a baby.” ugh. i mean, i don’t have a job, & i don’t like to advertise the fact that i’m on disability to strangers, but that was such a stepford wife 1954 thing to say.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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