asphodellium

Archive for September 2011

Munchkin looks like a peanut! A squirmy peanut, with miraculous little fingers that don’t show up too well on the sonogram.

Lately I can’t see a pregnant lady without wondering what her baby will look like. Or an elderly person without wondering what he looked like when he was young. Or a young person without wondering what she’ll look like when she’s old. I have no idea whether those are even related.

 

Weeks 13 and 14, respectively. I’m even wearing the same top. That was unplanned. If I were into planning, maybe the angles would be consistent! Week 13 almost looks bigger. But yesterday I had one person tell me that I’m finally starting to look pregnant …

(I only drank three cups of water. And was exercising bladder control for the better part of an hour. Like I said, cruel.)

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“Let’s see where your uterus is,” the midwife says. Poke poke poke. “Right there.”

(Whoa, how can you tell? Can I do that?)

Then she presses the doppler against my belly. There are some static-y swishing sounds, then a pulse: whomp. whomp. whomp. All leisurely-like. “That’s yours.”

She moves the doppler around, trying to locate baby. It takes just long enough that for an instant I start to think about panicking – AH THERE’S NO HEARTBEAT! But wait, there it is!

whomp-whomp-whomp.

And it’s so trippy and cute and I feel all ticklish even though nothing is tickling me that I can’t help but laugh. Which messes up the signal, but I can’t help it! It tickles! So we only got a few seconds of munchkin heartbeat, oops.

Tomorrow … ultrasound.

I feel like I’m constantly debunking the “eating for two” myth. It’s only an extra 300 calories per day, people, not double portions of everything! That’s like, what, an extra granola bar?

I was telling my brother that I’ve been wanting to eat less in one sitting. I’m actually not comfortable when I feel “full.” But I tend to get hungry again in record time. It’s like my stomach capacity has shrunk but digestion has sped up.

He says, “Baby is sitting on your stomach and stealing your food. That … is a CRIME.”

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When Kevin’s sister-in-law was pregnant, they wouldn’t tell her whether she was carrying a boy or a girl. Kevin’s brother said something about there being an extra charge for gender determination, so they opted to forgo it.

I was half-skeptical and half-incredulous, because I definitely want to know the sex of my baby ahead of time. If the ultrasound tech won’t tell me, I thought, I’ll go find another one! And can’t you figure it out yourself from the sonograms?

That was some time ago. Recently I found this on the resources page of my midwifery clinic:

In BC, if discovered by ultrasound, the sex of the baby will not be disclosed until after 20 weeks. If you would like to know the sex of your baby but are still less than 20 weeks pregnant, you can request that the information is recorded on the ultrasound report given to your care provider, who will then tell you after 22 weeks.

That sounds more like it! I mean, why wouldn’t they tell you?

Kevin wants a boy first. He says, tongue-in-cheek, that too many firstborn girls end up bossy and domineering. He insists he isn’t thinking specifically of me, though I am functionally a firstborn girl. (I had an older brother who died in infancy before I was born.)

I believe him, because I know who he is thinking of, haha. Besides, I’m only bossy and domineering when I lead band practice …

Personally, I don’t have strong opinions one way or the other. I wouldn’t mind a boy first, since as a child I remember wanting an older brother. Ideally, I’d have a boy, then twin girls. Because that’s like two birds with one stone.

Or three with two stones.

Whatever.

Traditional Chinese medicine has a whole whackload of random beliefs about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care.

Okay, maybe “random” is unfair. I can trace most of it to the belief that pregnancy is a “hot” condition, whereas at birth all the “heat” leaves with the baby, so the postpartum period is a “cold” condition. All the superstitions are meant to address that imbalance.

Ultimately everything traces back to the philosophy of yin and yang. I don’t believe in yin and yang, so does that mean I summarily reject all of traditional Chinese medicine?

I would, actually. Except this stuff is deeply engrained, passed down from generation to generation. Every east Asian I know abides by it to some degree or another. My mother-in-law is Taiwanese and quite traditional. She was wary of me eating ice cream during my period, and she’ll probably want me not to leave the house for a month after munchkin is born. My own mother is, I would say, more conservative than traditional, but even she’s dropped some tidbits on me. In past weeks I’ve received all kinds of unsolicited advice, including:

  • “Don’t wear heels.”
  • “Don’t wear flip flops.”
  • “Don’t wear jeans.”
  • “Don’t walk too quickly.”
  • “Careful when you squat or bend over.”
  • “Don’t jump!”
  • “Don’t have sex in the first trimester.”
  • “Don’t have cold drinks.”

I know everyone means well, so I honestly don’t mind too much. Mostly I just do the polite (albeit insincere) smile-and-nod. Besides, once I put on ten or twenty pounds I doubt I’ll want to wear heels!

But haven’t women been giving birth for thousands of years? I find it hard to believe that babies – or pregnant women – are that fragile.

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I don’t really like my doctor.

Granted, I’ve only seen her twice. And prior to that I hadn’t been to see any doctor for about ten years, so my idea of appropriate bedside manner is probably tenuous.

But I dislike how she completely disappears after an appointment, making it impossible for me to ask her any last-minute questions … or even to confirm whether the appointment is over. Actually, I don’t feel comfortable asking her questions at all. When Kevin did, she scoffed at him!

I dislike how I walked into the second appointment not knowing what to expect. Namely, a pelvic exam. So awkward. And she didn’t tell me what she was doing, or what it was for. I’m a genetics and cell bio major, alright? I’ll understand if you explain. Then she gave me forms for booking an ultrasound and blood test, but didn’t explain those either. I had to read the fine print on the forms to figure out what they were about.

It doesn’t help that the receptionists seem to give off this belligerent I-don’t-want-to-be-here vibe.

Basically, this clinic makes me feel like a patient. I resent feeling like a patient. I’d prefer to feel like a person.

So! I recently attended a friend’s baby shower, and several mothers there suggested having a midwife instead of a doctor. They even recommended a particular clinic. So I called, and already they’re so much more friendly and informative. And I have an appointment next week.

Goodbye, doctor. I hardly knew ye.

Twelve weeks! So far I have one pair of jeans that don’t button comfortably anymore. I’ve been looping a small elastic band around the buttonhole for an extra inch of give. The most immediate problem, though, is my bras. They’re all cutting off my circulation. Yet I feel it’s too early to size up or buy maternity.

Frankly, I’m kind of looking forward to showing more. Right now it’s not too obvious that I’m pregnant. I never consciously “suck in” … but I sing, so my abs are used to, well, holding things in place. To the innocent observer I could just be fat, HAHA.

Pregnancy hunger is nothing like pre-pregnancy hunger. Before, I’d feel hungry for, say, ten minutes. Then it would pass and I’d forget. Hunger pangs were easy to ignore, which is why in university I’d sometimes forget to eat. Pregnancy hunger, though, is almost panic-inducing. It’s all MUST. EAT. SOMETHING. NOW.

Pregnancy sleepiness is different too. It’s much harder to fight. Kevin wants to insist that I sleep early, but really, it hardly matters. Because now my body knocks me over the head when it’s tired. And the old protest, “But I’m busy! I’m in the middle of something!” doesn’t work anymore.

Anyway, here’s munchkin at eleven weeks! I’m due for my first ultrasound, but the clinic hasn’t called.

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