Category Archives: pregnant summer

i don’t know how to insure my child

needless to say, i have been gobbling up the parenting books in the past few months. some are funny, some are helpful, some are just obnoxious. some make me realize how many little things i haven’t even stopped to consider when it comes to this whole parenthood lark. the book i am reading right now (the must-have mom handbook) has an entire chapter on how to educate & protect your kids from sexual predators. it’s all helpful info, & they do an excellent job of explaining that both boy & girl children can be preyed upon by sickos, & may respond differently, & differently-gendered warning signs to keep an eye out for, & even that the sexual abuse of boys by adult men has nothing to do with homosexuality. but…OMG! sexual predators! god, i hadn’t even thought about that!

i am officially five months pregnant now & while i was perusing some fetal development website for milestones, i noted that they recommended i start interviewing potential pediatricians. because, duh, newborn babies are supposed to go see their pediatricians like five days after they are born. on some level, i knew that, but on another level…i thought maybe some god of pediatricians just assigns one to you & you don’t actually have to do any work. but not only do you have to seek out & select a pediatrician before you even meet your baby, you also have to find a way to pay said pediatrician, ie, health insurance.

this isn’t so difficult for normal people with normal health insurance to which they can add a dependent by making a phone call or filling out some basic paperwork. but i’m a medicare recipient thanks to being on disability. medicare obviously doesn’t allow me to add a beneficiary to my plan. jared gets health insurance through the university, because he is employed by them, but for some reason, we assumed he couldn’t add a dependent either. in retrospect, this was kind of a dumb assumption. he has the same health insurance as all the professors & everything, & obviously they have insurance for heir spouses & children. so we were pleased to discover that he could add the baby to his plan. we were less pleased when we discovered that it would only cost $400+ a month! what a bargain, amirite? why, that’s only 20% of our total monthly income!

but, you know, surely there are subsidies that we would qualify for that would bring the costs down a little. jared went up to the university to ask around about this, & that’s when he discovered that his paperwork for this school year had been misfiled & he was classified as a student rather than an employee. not only does that eliminate the option to add a dependent to the plan, even if you are somehow able to afford the cost, but it also means that his own premium skyrockets like ten times in price (& trust me, the employee rate isn’t chump change). it’s fixable–it’s obviously just an HR mistake & they can re-file him properly. but we need to wait for them to take care of that, & then ask about subsidies, & then see if we qualify, blah blah blah. meanwhile, my due date is about 18 weeks away, & jared intends to spend eight of those weeks out of town doing dissertation research. & because this is all HIS insurance, there is nothing i can do while he’s gone to speed the process along. school will also be out of session for winter break for five of the weeks when he is here, & he won’t be able to pursue insurance questions then either because the university will be closed. so that leaves us five weeks until my due date during which we can get to the bottom of his mess. & perhaps i didn’t mention that three of those weeks will be spent with jared preparing for his master’s exams. & one will be spent on a “babymoon” together in boston. so…one week.

oh my god.

so i looked into healthwave, which is kansas’s medcaid program. income-wise, we qualify. on their website, they say they don’t count “social security or SSI income” toward the eligibility requirements. because my disability is the lion’s share of our income…does that mean they won’t count it? in which case we would qualify for the free insurance? or does it count as SSDI because it’s for disability, & therefore they will count it & we will only qualify for the subsidized insurance? it matters because apparently you can’t apply for healthwave on behalf of a newborn until said newborn is born. & obviously there’s a bit of a waiting period while your application is processed & considered. with the free insurance, you have three months of retroactive coverage once it kicks in, which means baby’s first visits to the pediatrician would be retroactively covered. but the subsidized insurance only takes effect upon approval, meaning any medical care the baby requires before the application is approved would be our financial responsibility. & considered that a simple blood draw at our local hospital costs $250 without insurance, this could swiftly break the bank.

naturally i called the helpful healthwave customer service line to inquire. first i asked if they would require proof of name change paperwork for me, since there’s a section on the application for “other names used”. the guy said, “if your name was changed on your birth certificate, then no.” huh? what does that mean? i legally changed my name & no longer use my former name, but i never got a new birth certificate with my new name on it. i have a new social security card & a new state ID, etc etc, but no one even told me it was possible to change your birth certificate, let alone that i should. i asked what proof of identity they would need & he said, “copies of your social security card, birth certificate, & state ID.” but…it’s illegal to photocopy to a state ID. i mean, people do it anyway, but it seems a little crazy for them to request an illegal photocopy to process an application for state-funded health care, right? i asked about the disability thing & he said, “we consider social security to be unearned income.” okay…what does that mean? it counts toward your income eligibility or not? he repeated, “we consider that income unearned.” o…kay…but could you answer the question? i’m also confused because most of my social security income is collected on my dad’s record, & that could be considered a social security pension, because it’s the money he would have collected had he lived to retirement age. i am supposed to classify the income myself on the application (SSI, social security annuity, social security disability), & i honestly don’t even know how to categorize it, let alone how each categorization would affect my eligibility. nor do i know how to find out.

so right now i am kind of hoping that we can just find some subsidies that will make it affordable to add the baby to jared’s insurance, because healthwave seems crazy complicated & confusing. but, as with all obnoxious things that have transpired during this pregnancy, i know it is but a taster of the crazy bureaucratic hoops i will have to jump through constantly on behalf of my child. argh!

bumpwatch terror alert: week 21

this pregnancy is flying by. how am i at 21 weeks already?

i can’t believe i am already over 21 weeks pregnant! though i can kind of believe it because it has gotten rough. last week, jared & i decided to trade sides of the bed. we have lived together for over four years, & i have always preferred to be the one that sleeps closer to the wall while he sleeps closer to the door. i just feel more protected that way. like if a murderer breaks in, they will have to get through jared to kill me. though i am really putting jared at greater risk that way, because unless the murderer can be vanquished via heckling, jared will be the first to be slaughtered. but sleeping next to the wall means i have to wiggle all the way down to the foot of the bed to get up 9000 times a night, as pregnant ladies are wont to do (to stretch their leg muscles, to get a drink, to go to the bathroom). so we traded. we both found it very weird to be sleeping on the other side of the bed (jared more than me, because i always sleep on his side of the bed when he’s out of town; it makes me feel closer to him).

the next day, i was laying around in bed watching “roseanne” episodes on youtube. i rolled over & my expanded pregnant girth bumped the huge glass of milk i’d set on the windowsill, which toppled over & spilled all over me &…jared’s side of the bed, where i was laying. my side was untouched. we had traded sides fewer than 24 hours before & somehow i had already subjected him to a horrifying milk tsunami. so i had to strip off all his blankets & sheets & do some emergency laundry. thank goodness we have a washer & dryer in the basement & i didn’t have to lug everything to the laundromat at like 8:30pm.

when i went to get everything out of the dryer, i somehow wrenched my knee walking down the back porch steps. my knee has been bothering me for a while. the more pregnant i get, the more reluctant it is to support my weight. my left knee feels like a knee; my right knee feels like a pound of raw rotting hamburger–just kind of squishy. but this was agony beyond agony. i couldn’t even bend it, so somehow i was hauling this basket of freshly washed blankets up from the basement on a knee that wouldn’t work right. i was literally screaming in pain with every step. when i got inside, i burst into tears. i have been living with sometimes-severe chronic pain for nearly twenty years; my days of crying because of aches & pains are pretty much behind me, but this was different. it hurt SO MUCH. jared made me sit down in an armchair & he gave me a bag of peas to put on my knee. then he proceeded to remake the bed. i got up to help & he said, “what do you think you’re doing?” i said, “i’m the one that messed up the bed, i should be the one to make it, or at least help,” & he said, “sit back down & keep those peas on your knee.”

that night was rough. my knee feels a little better now, in that i am not sobbing with pain, but it’s still really bothering me a lot. i went to the library today & knelt down to get a book off a low shelf. i then could not get back up again. & it’s not even like i was deep in the stacks, where i had some privacy. i was looking at the new bookshelf, right in the middle of the library, with the info desk on one side, the circulation desk on the other, right where all the patrons have to walk by to get to the electronic card catalogue & the stacks. i had to crawl over to a chair & use it to pull myself back to a standing position. if shit is this rough at 21 weeks, how undignified is it going to be at forty?

not to mention, having an ever-expanding baby living in my ever-expanding uterus is no picnic either. i have been having a lot of pain that i guess is probably a mix of round ligament pain (ligaments hold up the uterus & they can stretch in uncomfortable ways as the weight of the uterus increases during pregnancy) & muscle pain (from the muscles supporting the uterus & having to contort in new ways as my center of gravity changes). it’s not as horrifying as the knee issue, but it’s surprisingly uncomfortable, & i can only imagine that it will get worse as i get bigger. i was so focused on how my body would handle the pregnancy as far as arthritis & mobility issues went, i didn’t even stop to consider the general aches & pains that are par for the course. that’s probably all this is, but i live in terror of pre-term labor.

i think i am really worried about pre-term labor because the baby isn’t considered viable until 24 weeks. if it was born at 24 weeks, it would still have a major uphill battle to fight health-wise, & it could still face permanent health conditions like cerebral palsy, just from being born too soon. but if the baby was born now, it probably wouldn’t live at all. i think being so close to viability but not quite there yet is making me really anxious. even though obviously i would prefer to keep the baby in until, you know, more like forty weeks. at least 37. i am not really at risk for pre-term labor, but that’s the magic of pregnancy: who knows what the fuck is going to happen, or when, or how it will all turn out? all you can do is keep plugging along & hope for the best.

but hey, we got our crib set up.

sorry so few lulz this time.

the great baby gender reveal question

i subscribe to “bitch” magazine. the latest issue showed up a week or two ago & i left it laying around on the coffee table while i finished reading library books with looming due dates. jared was flipping through it one night & he pointed out that there was a point/counterpoint feature on gender reveal parties.

i just heard of gender reveal parties recently, like right around the time when i got pregnant. the “new york times” had a feature of the newest trend: having the ultrasound tech or doctor write the baby’s sex on a piece of paper & sealing it in an envelope. the expecting mom then goes to her local bakery, hands over the card, & requests a cake that is chocolate or vanilla or whatever on the outside, & dyed pink or blue or filled with pink or blue frosting on the inside. at her baby shower or specific gender reveal party, she can cut the cake & be surprised along with all of her friends & family.

another variation that seems to be popular is giving the sealed envelope to someone who prepares a large box filled with helium balloons that are either pink or blue. at the party, the mom or couple opens the box & everyone gets to ooh & ahh over the big news.

the point/counterpoint in “bitch” was…honestly, pretty silly. the writer that was opposed to the gender reveal trend got up on her high horse & made a great big stink about how these kinds of events gender children before they are even born, & leave no room for the possibility of intersex or trans babies. (to which i say, not to be a jerk, but don’t you have to have some concept of your sex or gender before you can come to the realization that your body isn’t matching up with your self-perception? babies don’t even know they have genitalia, let alone that their genitalia is incorrect for their self-identity. they don’t even have a self-identity. i’m all for supporting trans people, but i am very dubious that there are any trans newborns out there.) it was your typical gender polemic, & the counterpoint made the good point that gender reveal parties are actually kind of cool because the guests, by definition, have to bring gender-neutral gifts. so you don’t have that whole icky dynamic of all the guests being forced to wear tiaras to “welcome the little princess” or being pressed into a touch football game in order to celebrate the “little man” on the way. “plus,” she added, “you get to eat cake.” yeah, pretty much.

there is a metric assload of stuff about baby gendering that bugs the crap out of me. i HATE it when people learn they are having a little girl & they constantly refer to her as “a princess,” “the little princess,” “our princess,” etc etc. i also hate it when people seem to struggle with buying their baby gear because they fear that a lot of the flowery/pastel stuff out there is not “masculine” enough for their baby boys. i recently witnessed a woman cooing over a really pretty yellow floral crib sheet, & then talking herself out of buying it because she didn’t know her baby’s sex yet & didn’t want to risk buying something so “feminine” if she was having a boy. i tried to tell her that a baby doesn’t care what color his sheets are. babies can’t even see color right away! a baby doesn’t know what a flower is, & there is really nothing intrinsically feminine about a flower. i tried to encourage her to just buy what she likes, because she’ll be the one washing the sheets, making up the crib, looking at them everyday & having feelings about them. but her attitude is really more the norm, at least in the united states. & that makes me sad.

in my internet due date club, the vast majority of women chose to learn the sex of their babies, & most said they were doing it so they could “plan & prepare.” by which they meant, come up with a gender-appropriate nursery theme, buy gender-specific baby clothing, etc. a few women who were either choosing not to find out or, like me, wanted to find out but weren’t planning to do the whole gender-specific shopping spree thing, tried to point out that you can “plan & prepare” with gender-neutral pieces, or even buy what you like, pink or blue, & use it with baby regardless of sex. that’s pretty much what i did. i found some kimono-style newborn tees at a consignment sale for fifty cents each & i bought them, even though they were specifically labeled “boy colors” (blue, orange, red, yellow). at the same sale, i found a newborn booster for a convertible car seat. i bought it, even though it’s hot pink. at the time, i didn’t know if my baby was a boy or a girl. either way, it will need some tees & an infant booster may be useful if its car seat is a little too big when it’s a newborn. i sincerely doubt the baby will care about the colors.

but i will also say that being pregnant for real & thinking about what you would do if you were pregnant are two very different things. i never expected to have as powerful of a gender preference as i did, & i never expected to be overwhelmed by intuition about my baby’s gender (which only added to the preference problem). i still think the idea of a gender reveal party is kind of silly & definitely not for me, but i now have an intimate perspective on how weird pregnancy can make a person feel. there’s a real sense of powerlessness. sure, you can try to take care of your health & you can hope for the best, but there’s no way to control everything. there’s no way to tell if your pregnancy will be easy or horrible, if labor will be brief or interminable, if the birth will go as planned or completely off the rails, if the baby will be an easy sleeper & natural feeder or a colicky all-night screamer, if the child will grow up to be kind & smart or a big stupid jerk. learning the sex can give a pregnant lady some tiny sense of knowledge or control–even if she acknowledges that it doesn’t really tell her anything about who her child will really become. while i don’t advocate taking that info & rushing right out to enroll baby in peewee ice hockey or ballet, i understand the impulse to want to know SOMETHING, & then to share that tiny shred of knowledge with all the people you hope will be invested in your baby’s life & well-being. hollering about how it reinforces the gender binary & marginalizes the gender-non-conforming among us misses the point & is needlessly divisive, in my opinion.

(standard caveat: in this post, i use the terms “sex” & “gender” more or less interchangeably, not because i don’t know the difference, but because i am usually using the most popular terms when i talk about “gender reveal parties” & “gender-appropriate clothing,” etc. most people prefer to use the term “gender” when talking about babies, because they don’t know there’s a difference between sex & gender, they are intentionally conflating sex & gender because they’re kind of jerky that way, or because they just don’t like using the words “sex” & “baby” in the same sentence.)

bumpwatch terror alert: week 20

this baby is officially halfway cooked! give or take, you know, a few days…or weeks…

i hit 20 weeks yesterday! what a milestone. i celebrated by buying a new pair of maternity jeans (pro-tip: full-panel maternity jeans from target may actually fit better than full-panel maternity jeans from the gap, & they cost half as much) & going out for a turkey sandwich & a chocolate chip cookie before passing out with my snoogle.

i had my second trimester anatomy scan on friday. that’s where they measure everything they can & check out how all the organs & limbs & everything are developing. i got to see the heart, with all four chambers pumping away, the perfect little spine, the kidneys, the bladder, the brain, both arms & hands & all ten fingers, both legs & feet & all ten toes…the tech even got a few good shots of the baby’s face. it kept opening & closing its mouth, like a goldfish. it was probably practicing swallowing. it’s been swallowing amniotic fluid for weeks now. a completely corny part of me also thinks maybe it was saying, “hi, mom! i love you, even though i spend most of my waking hours head-butting you in the cervix!”

baby’s face! for those of you who have trouble with these things, the face is horizontal, with the forehead toward the right & chin toward the left.

i was amazed looking at the baby’s face. i think it looks just like jared. i know that’s kind of a crazy thing to say, because it’s a blurry, grainy, black & white blob, but i feel like i see his chin, his mouth, his nose…& of course i am hopeful that the baby will inherit his huge beautiful eyes. supposedly newborns tend to look like their fathers for evolutionary reasons (or so the theory goes)–so the dude will see himself in the baby & therefore be motivated by his lizard brain to care for it. maybe my own lizard brain is making me think the baby looks like him. the ultrasound tech gave me a 3D image of the baby’s face (which i find really creepy–i didn’t ask for any 3D imaging specifically because i hate it; fetuses in 3D always look like they’re made out of play-doh & it’s just not cute at all, i don’t know why people are willing to spend so much money on 3D ultrasound packages). i spliced it together with my favorite photo of jared & asked him if i could put it on facebook. he said no because “it’s really scary, no one wants to see that.” so i’ll put it here instead, because it’s funny.

i like to think that they’re both frowning because the red sox are doing so badly this season.

the tech also told me the baby’s sex. so yeah, now i know if i am having a little boy or a little girl. i can now think of the baby by name. but i can’t tell anyone because jared wants to be surprised at the birth & i don’t want to risk telling a few people & somehow having the news get back to him.

finding out the sex was a lot different than i expected it to be. i gave a lot of thought to whether i wanted to know at all, & i ultimately decided that knowing might help me bond with the baby a little bit more, & i could start wrapping my head around whatever gut reactions i have to the info. but i had a much larger reaction than i expected. people warned me that i would lose my shit & start crying from happiness the first time i heard my baby’s heartbeat, but i had almost no reaction at all. i was relieved that it HAD a heartbeat, but other than that…no big whoop. but when the tech said, “it’s a (fill in sex here),” i LOST it. not in a bad way. it was just a much more emotional moment for me than i had ever expected. i think it really made the baby seem real for the first time, even though obviously my body is changing in huge ways & i’ve been feeling the baby kicking in there for several weeks. obviously, knowing if the baby’s plumbing is indoor or outdoor tells me nothing about what its interests will be, what its positive & negative qualities will be, what our relationship will be like, etc. it just gives me some idea if it’s going to be peeing more toward the front or the back of the diaper. but when i am trying to sleep & the baby starts kicking me in the cervix, somehow thinking, “that’s my little (boy/girl) in there,” makes the whole thing more tolerable…even kind of cute.

of course, while i was in the bathroom at the hospital, wiping ultrasound goo off my belly, i totally found myself thinking, “we need to have another kid so we can have one of the other sex too.” i certainly never expected to be thinking like that! i mean, let’s just let this one hatch & see how parenthood suits us before we upgrade to a four-bedroom house.

anyway, the baby looks great, it’s measuring three days ahead & weighs twelve ounces. i’m still nice & healthy. my blood pressure was just a touch high, maybe because i was still fighting back sniffles from the whole gender reveal situation. the baby is head down & wedged behind my pubic bone. i mean, it can move all it wants, that’s just where it likes to hang out, & it is wicked uncomfortable for me. being able to pick stuff up off the floor is now a dream of the past. it’s actually fairly painful just to walk. but it’s tolerable for now. i’ll probably be singing a different tune when the baby expands to seven pounds. but the first twenty weeks have flown by; hopefully the next twenty will as well!

bumpwatch terror alert: week 19

remember when i had boobs that weren’t just part of an undifferentiated mass of torso? that was pretty cool.

front view:

when i showed jared this photo, he said, “look at that thing! i’m really starting to think that there will be two of you at the end of this whole mess.”

i’m almost to the halfway point! only a week to go! word on the street is that i now look “unmistakably pregnant”. that’s a quote from my therapist. it was cool to hear, but it was also kind of like, “oh, i really did maybe just look questionably fat before.” not that there’s anything wrong with that. it’s just kind of like when you haven’t seen someone in a while & you’ve lost 75 pounds in that time & when they see you, they are like, “wow, you look AMAZING!” thanks, but i guess i didn’t look amazing before? because i was a fatty fatty two by four, right? not that that’s ever happened to me. i’m more the type to GAIN 75 pounds & then see someone again. & they’re like, “oh, wow, i bet elastic waist pants are really comfortable.” okay, no one has ever said that to me. but they are comfortable, just for the record.

i had my first prenatal water aerobics class yesterday. here’s a little tidbit about pregnancy that i didn’t really know going in: it makes you really hot. temperature-wise. it’s because your body is producing way more progesterone than usual & progesterone makes you feel warm. i force jared to sleep with the air conditioning on every night because i am always way warmer than he is. so, there’s a bunch of ladies in various stages of pregnancy gathered together for this water aerobics class. the most pregnant woman is due in late october & the most newly-pregnant is due in early march. & i had forgotten because i’ve been going to the outdoor pool all summer, but they keep the indoor aquatic center really warm all the time, i guess for all the oldsters & small children that use the pools & have trouble regulating their body temperatures when they’re all wet. i asked which pool the class was happening in & was directed to a pool i’ve never been to before. i’ve taken two previous water aerobics classes. one was in the shallow end of the regular lap pool, & one was in the deep end of the olympic-sized pool. this time i was directed to the “three-lane warm water pool”. yeah, they had a bunch of over-heated pregnant ladies splashing around in artificially heated water! i guess it’ll be nice if i stick with the class until i’m due, but the combo of hot aquatic center/warm water/pregnant/august was a bit much.

i was chatting with one my classmates about pregnancy stuff & i said something about how much i love maternity jeans. mine are kind of annoying because i guess i have actually lost weight everywhere except for my bump in the last few months. they are a little too big & i have to hike them up a lot. i am probably going to buy a pair of maternity corduroys too, one size smaller. but it’s still such a stroke of genius to do away with the waistband & instead harness the power of a large belly to hold up one’s pants. anyway, this lady was like, “you know what’s even better? seriously, save your money & get yourself some full-panel black maternity yoga pants. you can wear them out, you can wear them to bed, no one will know the difference & they are so comfortable.”

i do in fact have a pair of soft maternity pajama pants that resemble yoga pants, & they are very comfortable. & i do wear them as much as humanly possible. but i have not yet gone so far as to, like, wear them to the bank. i’m willing to accept that my boundaries around wearing pajamas pants beyond the confines of my porch might change as i become even more pregnant, but this was a lightning bolt moment for me. i’ve never met ANYONE who was more into finding a way around wearing real clothes than i am. jared had to sit me down last year & give me a little talk that went like this: “to me, you’re always beautiful. but maybe if you dressed less like a hobo…?” i actually made it an item on my daily to-do list to get dressed every day. sometimes it didn’t happen until 8pm, but as long as there was a bra & maybe some pants with buttons donned at SOME point during the day, i felt like i was making the effort to blend in with humanity.

i hit another baby consignment sale this weekend & picked up a clip-on high chair for only $15! usually those bad boys are like $50. it’s in great shape & fits perfectly on our table. i knew i wanted a clip-on high chair, even though the baby obviously will not be needing it for quite a while, because our house is small & we don’t have anywhere to stash a whole massive regular high chair, even if it folds up. this guy folds down small enough that it can just go in the closet with all the other baby stuff.

& the diaper covers i ordered from rockabye booty arrived as well.

OMG 2 cute 2 B 4gotten

we have been planning to use diaper covers & prefolds when the baby is really little because it can be hard to find a pocket diaper that will fit a newborn. & young babies aren’t mobile yet so you don’t need to worry so much about their diapers being really trim. but i am starting to have a change of heart now these covers are actually in my possession. maybe i’ll use prefolds until potty training just to keep these babies in the rotation. our baby will have the cutest diapers in the county!

i wouldn’t force this pregnancy stuff on my worst enemy

despite all my clever jokes, the pregnancy is definitely taking a turn for the uncomfortable & potentially worrisome. on sunday, i hit the pool hardcore while jared stayed home & did research. i usually try to do sixty laps at the pool, but my last session had been truncated by lightning, so i decided to try to make it up by doing one hundred laps. the other people at the pool kept me entertained as i water-trudged back & forth, back & forth. i saw another pregnant lady at the pool with her partner. she looked more pregnant than me. i kind of wanted to jump out of the water & say, “i’m pregnant too! want to come over for dinner sometime?” that is always my reaction when i see other pregnant ladies. i start daydreaming about how our babies will become best friends & we’ll watch each other’s kids so we can have date nights with our partners & we’ll hit the baby consignment sales together, etc etc. but i’m too scared to say anything because i still worry that i just look fat, not pregnant, or that they are pregnant with their seventh baby & are already all stocked up on mom friends, or that they’ll just have really different parenting philosophies & we’ll hate each other or something.

there was also a dad at the pool with two little girls. one was maybe six years old & the other was a baby, probably under a year. the baby was in a little baby innertube with holes for the legs so she could sit in there & be safe. he put the little girls in the lane next to me & did a few laps while they watched. the baby gnawed on her innertube & the older girl patted the baby’s head with water. i guess they were getting bored though, so he let the older girl ride piggyback while he pushed the innertube back & forth across the pool. so cute. i hope jared does stuff like that with our kid.

anyway, while i was walking home, i noticed that i felt weird. there was a strange, painful pressure around my pubic bone. i have heard of this weird condition that afflicts some women in later pregnancy, where their pubic bone actually separates because of the relaxin. apparently it’s incredibly painful. i started worrying that maybe this was the start of something awful. i asked about it in my due date club on the internet. one woman said it had happened to her during her last pregnancy & she was confined to a wheelchair until after the birth. another woman said that her first symptom of something being amiss was when her hip suddenly dislocated & she fell down on the ground screaming in agony. & these are women who chose to get pregnant again! holy shit! having a kid must be AWESOME to make someone risk their bodies like that more than once.

the pain i had was nowhere near that bad, but of course i woke up in the middle of the night worrying about it anyway. i called my doctor’s office & the nurse said that usually the dislocation thing is WAY more painful than what i was describing & it was more likely that the baby was just wedged up against my pubic bone in an uncomfortable way. she recommended stretches & liberal dosing with extra-strength tylenol (i have not told my doctor’s office that they really need to stop giving me the okay to take pills–the reason i’ve never experimented with hard drugs or heavy drinking is because i know i’m an addict at heart, as manifested by my grand love affair with over-the-counter sleeping pills). the baby moved the next day & now my pubic bone feels fine. though my ego is a bit wounded by the fact that jared’s response to this whole area of concern was, “haha. you said ‘pubic’.” that guy is going to paragon of maturity in the delivery room.

& then yesterday, jared & i decided to check out the new grocery store in east lawrence. it’s not technically new–just refurbished. it’s the closest grocery store to our house & used to be known as the “dirty dillon’s”. they tore it down last summer & completely made it over. this is why jared & i got a car, actually. this grocery store was close enough to walk to, but the other stores require a car, & we had to use the other stores while the dirty dillon’s was being transformed into what the local newspaper is calling the “dapper dillon’s”. it had its grand opening on sunday & it IS pretty dapper. there are now bulk bins, a “cafe,” a starbucks, an expanded bakery section, skylights, new carts that don’t have sticky wheels, way more express & self-check lanes…the produce is all displayed in a really arty way. we needed garlic, but it is now located in a faux roman pedestal bowl on top of a large display of various onions & endives. i almost couldn’t reach it with my big pregnancy belly getting in the way.

about halfway through our shopping trip, i started feeling crampy, clammy, & shaky. it got worse & worse & i noticed the crampy feelings were coming in waves. i actually had to stop & breathe through them. i haven’t felt anything like this all pregnancy. i bailed on jared when we got to the check-out & went & laid down in the car. sitting down immediately made me feel better, & by the time we got home, i was 100% back to normal. i assume this was braxton hicks contractions? it seemed too early, but i looked it up online & i guess it’s not uncommon for women to start feeling them this early. some women say they don’t hurt, some women say they do. i say THEY DO. it was probably nothing compared to labor, but the anxiety of experiencing a contraction at only 18 & a half weeks pregnant (baby won’t be viable until 24 weeks) definitely added to the pain.

of course the internet is of two minds. half the respondents in my due date club say, “same thing happened to me last pregnancy, don’t worry about it. just make sure to stay hydrated.” half say, “this happened to me last pregnancy, i ignored it, & then i went into preterm labor at 23 weeks & delivered at 26 weeks. call your doctor ASAP!” plus i’m still getting headaches, my feet are starting to swell (slightly) & i am scared of getting elephant feet, my hands feel swollen but don’t really look different (though i don’t wear jewelery, so it’s hard to judge), i’m congested all the time, i’m way too hot all the time…i’m just uncomfortable. already. & i still have 18 & a half weeks to get through before i am considered officially full-term (37 weeks). wish me luck, guys. on the plus side, i finished the top of my baby quilt:

it’s kind of messed up in places, but the baby will probably be messed up in places too. they’ll be a matched set!

bumpwatch terror alert: week 18

i have been incommunicado because i have finally been experiencing the much ballyhooed second trimester energy boost! & it only took until i was like 18 weeks pregnant. i’ve been taking care of a bunch of other responsibilities that completely fell by the wayside once i got pregnant. for instance, i have been keeping a daily log of my daily highlights & low points for about four years. every day, i write about 200 words about notable happenings of the day. & i pretty much stopped doing it once i got pregnant, because i just couldn’t muster up the energy. whenever i don’t get to my log for the day, i take notes so i can go back & recreate the entry later. so i had four months worth of notes to sort through & write up, day by day. i also like to write up reviews of all the books i read, but i was so wiped out during the first trimester, i only had energy to read & not to review. so i now have a backlog of around forty reviews to write. i started catching up on that last week as well.

i asked jared what i could do to look more pregnant & he said, “maybe some nice horizontal stripes?” i must say, they’re really doing the trick.

this photo is from saturday. pardon the messy hair, even though there’s really no excuse for it. sometimes a lady is just hanging around her house, intermittently napping & quietly panicking about the remote possibility of being put on bed rest, which forces her partner to abandon his dissertation research, which causes him to fail to complete his dissertation, which means he can’t get a job, & before you know it, that lady, her partner, & their baby are living under an overpass somewhere, & thinking about this seems slightly more important than running a comb through her hair. who hasn’t been there?

my anxiety is off the charts at this point. i’ve always been an anxious person, but i really long for the days when it was mostly contained to my to-do lists, where making a slightly more detailed to-do list could alleviate the worst of the symptoms. i also miss being able to get out of a chair without assistance, as long as we’re on the subject. jared had to help me out of the pool yesterday & it seriously took us over five minutes to haul me to a standing position. & the baby isn’t even halfway cooked…who knows what horrors the next 22 weeks have in store?

last friday, jared & i went to a seasonal kid stuff consignment sale. i was kind of skeptical, but we found all kinds of good stuff! i got two halo swaddler sleep sacks, which retail online for $30 each, for only $4. a set of four dr. brown’s bottles (usually $15 for three) for a total for two bucks. a chicco soft-structure front-pack baby carrier, which sells new for $50, for only $15. i could go on. jared busied himself sorting through the crates of kids’ books & choosing a nice stack of board books about baby faces, animals, baby signs, etc. i complimented him later on his choices & he said, “yeah, they had a lot of sesame street books, & i remember liking sesame street when i was little, so i thought…maybe. but sesame street now is so different than it was when we were kids. even though the books were supposedly educational, about numbers & colors & stuff, i worried that we’d just be starting the kid on a slippery slope to wanting more stuff with ernie or big bird on it, stuff that isn’t so educational. there are better way to teach a kid numbers & colors.”

i actually shed a tear because i was so happy to hear this. it’s EXACTLY how i feel! i’m so glad we’re both on the same page with this stuff & we don’t have to argue over it. i know jared like the care bears when he was little, i was a huge rainbow brite fan, another friend was telling us how much he loved rowlf from “the muppets”. the difference is that in the late 70s/early 80s, maybe you could get, like, a lunchbox with your favorite character on it. or possibly some stickers if you’re really lucky. but they didn’t have rainbow brite-themed band-aids, rowlf-themed pampers, care bears crib bedding sets with matching wall decals, rainbow brite shilling alphabet soup, rowlf-approved graham cracker bites, care bears light-up sneakers. i know we won’t be able to shelter our kid forever from the kiddo industrial complex of thomas the tank engine & dora the explorer, but if we can at least stave it off until the kid is old enough to interact & play with other kids in a meaningful way (like around age two), i’m happy. i just don’t see the point in bringing all that branding into the house before the kid is even born. why wean them on it before they have any tastes or interests of their own?

after the consignment sale, we went to buy buy baby in overland park. it blows my mind that that place is even allowed to exist with such an unspeakably horrible name. but i must say, if given a choice between babies r’ us & buy buy baby, i’ll pick buy buy baby every time. better selection, better layout, cleaner, more helpful salespeople, better prices…we decided to buy a 4-in-one convertible crib, assemble it to the daybed setting, & sidecar it to our mattress to function as a co-sleeper. unlike a “real” co-sleeper, the baby can stay in it until it’s ready to upgrade to a toddler bed in its own room. & we can use the same crib for that function, & eventually convert it into a full-size bed that will see the kid through to adulthood & be a decent guest room bed for us in our dotage. if we’re going to drop $200 on a place for the kid to sleep anyway, might as well make it something we can use for the next thirty years, as opposed to six months, right? i did have one thousand heart attacks about spending $200 on anything though. & jared is having a lot of feelings about the baby having a nicer bed than we do (as we have no bed frame at all–just a mattress & box springs on the floor).