Half my day is spent connecting Eric with his friends.
Sugar Wags is a black lab.
Dudley is a doxen.
This is exhausting.
Half my day is spent connecting Eric with his friends.
Sugar Wags is a black lab.
Dudley is a doxen.
This is exhausting.
Nutrition has really taken a nosedive around these parts.
After 3 months of indulging my every anxiety, it seems someone is losing his patience.
So Eric found this app that will take a 1-second video of my belly every day, and then, at the end of the pregnancy, we will have a short video of my stomach’s evolution. I was obviously horrified by this idea but, even though Eric rejected my proposal to do the same video for his belly, I reluctantly agreed to it because he has been so wonderful and supportive throughout these past few months, I can’t not throw him a bone on this one. He was just too excited about the idea. And yes, this is a guy who gets excited about puppy butts (just received this photo from him , one of 12 for the day), but still. This felt like excessive excitement, even for him, so I had no choice but to indulge it. Plus, I think he’s still upset that I did not, in fact, surprise him with a corgi for his birthday yesterday, even though I have stated “I am not going to surprise you with a corgi on your birthday,” very calmly and firmly every day for the past year. He has always nodded in what I perceived to be an understanding of my words, but then I received this text when he got home from work yesterday:
So all this is to say, I felt I owed him the courtesy of his belly movie.
I did not, however, agree to make this FUN for anyone.
Every single night, the ritual goes like this:
Eric: “Time to take the photo!”
Me: “Ugggggggh whyyyyyyyyyyyyy ”
Eric: “Come on, it’ll be quick.”
Eric: “If we skipped this whole dramatic whining part, we’d be done already.”
Me: “Ugggh FINNNNNNNNNNNNE. ”
Then we actually take the photo and before, during and after is a series of me moaning some variation of “ew,” “barf,” “gross,” “this is disgusting,” and “how is this even a shape a body can be!?” It should be noted that around this time in pregnancy, babies can actually hear you talking, and while some moms-to-be might worry that the baby is taking in all this negativity, I hope she is taking notes on how she destroyed Mom’s body forever, and therefore owes me her soul. Because THAT’S WHAT A GOOD JEWISH MOM DOES.
It occurred to me today that I typically start to feel better about things once I share them, so instead of continuing to detest this daily process internally, I decided to put it out there for the world to
enjoy experience tolerate unwillingly.
Here’s one of my favorites from the series so far, because I looked at the photo and screamed “Oh my god, do I already have stretch marks?!” But it turns out that no, those were just temporary indentations from my aggressive couch-laying. Aka bed sores.
This one’s also great because, even though I threatened Eric that he better not get my face in any of these photos, the mirror betrayed me and perfectly captured my acute unamusement and contempt.
Now, I’d like to take a moment to reassure all of you (and Eric, who repeatedly asks in a confused tone, “You’ve SEEN a pregnant person before….right?”), I do understand pregnancy makes you gain weight, and I am, in fact, TOTALLY on board with that. I actually look forward to when I have a very obvious baby bump and can sport that sucker around town (town= 2 block radius from my apartment).
But see, there is this weird belly phase during late first trimester/early second trimester, where you are gaining weight but haven’t actually popped, and the result is that you look less like a pregnant person and more like a person who got tired and gave up. I don’t have a “bump” yet, I just have a doughy, amorphous FUPA-tire that does not fit into my pants anymore, but is not yet ready for maternity wear either. And please, spare me the “Every part of pregnancy is beautiful!” nonsense. There are other blogs out there for you
liars people. This isn’t it.
So yeah, I get it. I’m going to gain weight. I’m beyond cool with that, which is odd considering I am a white Jewish girl from the east coast, meaning that body-image issues aren’t something I picked up from society or the media, they are inherent in my DNA. A tale as old as Jewish time. My breed is born with a gene for body (and general) dissatisfaction, so I actually give myself credit for WANTING to get big. I’ve even enlisted Golden Grahams, a daily 2pm pepperoni pizza (being shoved down my pie hole as we speak), and Ben and Jerry’s straight from the carton to help me get there, which just goes to show that I am totally comfortable with getting big AND making terrible decisions for my health, mental well-being and digestive tract. TROPHIES ALL AROUND.
So here’s to the hopefully-near end of the lumpy dough-tire phase and on to the good stuff!
( Accurate because once I get there, I too will refuse to wear pants)
This post is intended to serve as both a PSA to those of you who do NOT want to get pregnant and perhaps a reassuring bit of news for those of you 35-and-ups who hope to have kids (or MORE kids) at some point and have underlying anxiety about the non-stop, aggressive warnings from the medical community that it is much harder to conceive after age 34.
Now, I’m not here to argue with science. Clearly, there is medically researched backing to the idea that conception becomes more difficult as you get older. I’m just here to make you aware of the less-talked-about phenomenon that occurs in your mid-30s, but is just as real* (*have no scientific backing for this claim, based solely on personal experience and, you know, “what I’ve heard”)– it’s called Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome** (**not a real syndrome. Don’t quote this to people without a sense of humor– they won’t get it, and then they’ll research it, find out it’s fake and report me to Snopes).
Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome is when your geriatric*** uterus (***not my term– actual medical term for when you are 35+ and trying to have a child) overperforms. See, thanks to your 17+ years of popping birth control pills like tic tacs and/or using other means to impede its life work, your uterus hasn’t been given any opportunity to fulfill what it believes to be its life’s purpose (I am not saying this IS its life’s purpose, I’m just saying that’s what your UTERUS thinks. I fully support a woman’s choice to never have kids, and in fact encourage that choice. Trust me, I’m a teacher– I’ve met far too many parents who probably shouldn’t be parents.)
And so when your Guterius (celebrity couple name for geriatric + uterus) DOES get that one opportunity to shine, it gets so fucking excited that it dusts off the cobwebs, sprouts 27 limbs, and slips a catcher’s mitt on each of them. Then it does everything in its power to catch one of those incoming suckers because it knows this might be its only opportunity. This “last chance” mentality also causes your Yogi Berra uterus to text-alert your ovaries, encouraging them to release every available egg from their dark, abandoned storage room, which is why twins are more likely**** as you get older, even without the assistance of IVF (****statistic based on what my 35-year-old friend who just had twins told me. But she claims her doctor told her that, and I believe her because it sounds legit, and also this friend is a general knower of stuff and we used to share custody of a bunny when we were teenagers, so let’s just say I trust her. Yes, we ended up giving that bunny away because it was too much work and not as much fun as we thought it’d be, but that’s a story for another time and hopefully not at all reflective of our parenting abilities).
Needless to say, Eric and I did not know about Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome when we headed off to our 2-week South Africa/Seychelles honeymoon in late November. Like most people with a Guterus, I assumed that making a baby would take about 6 months if we were lucky, a few years with medical assistance if we were less lucky, or just wouldn’t happen at all. In fact, as proof of the absolute and utter uselessness of anxiety (my therapist would be so proud right now), I have spent the past 8 years worrying that when the time came for me to start a family, I would be unable to. This fear was based on absolutely nothing other than the knowledge that I would probably not get married until my mid-30s (because when you’re having a mental breakdown, living at home, and sleeping in your parents’ bed at age 27, you can safely assume marriage isn’t happening for a while).
Eight years of worrying I’d miss my chance, only to conceive on the first try. Anxiety, you deceptive bitch! Don’t get me wrong, I am EXTREMELY grateful that it turns out you’re nothing but a lying whore– I’d just like those 8 years of wasted energy back. It was exhausting.
So before we left for the honeymoon, I looked at my handy dandy ovulation app and noted that my “fertile days” would begin and last right through our 5 days in the Seychelles, at the end of our trip. Smack in the middle of paradise seemed like as good a time as any to get started!
Well, in true-to-me fashion I managed to contract a stomach bug of death during our last day in South Africa, which had me projectile vomiting through 2 countries, 3 airports, and 2 aircrafts (one of them a 20-seater so again, fellow passengers and unamused flight attendant who aggressively tried to block my path to the toilet during taxi, I’M SORRY.)
We finally arrived in the Seychelles, where I threw myself dramatically onto the sweet salvation of the bed and, with this exact level of energy and enthusiasm , turned to Eric and said “Sooo….I’m ovulating…”
I still had dried throw up on my chin.
“Alright, well….maybe not tonight,” he replied gently, from the furthest corner of the room he could find. Because even Eric has his limits.
While I did stop puking that night, I never fully recovered from my illness in the time we were there, but we still put in some minimal baby-making effort because it just felt irresponsible not to.
It was only on our last day in the Seychelles that we decided to actually consult a calendar and calculate when this baby would actually be born, should we conceive. To our horror, we realized that it would be during our annual 2-week trip to the Outer Banks, the family vacation to end all family vacations– and, more importantly, the one that is fully financed by Big Steve. My siblings and I literally spend the year counting the days until this trip, and it’s pretty much what gets us through life. Eric has grown to love the Outer Banks as much as I do, so the idea of not going was unacceptable to us both.
Me: “Alright, well, we only tried once. Luckily the chances of getting pregnant on the first try when you’re 35 are zero*****.” (*****Again, all quoted statistics are based on NOTHING.)
Well, you know how this story ends– I never felt fully recovered from that stomach bug and by our second week back in the US, I decided that I definitely contracted an African parasite. Shortly thereafter, we confirmed (via 4 separate home pregnancy tests, because reading lines is hard), I DID have a parasite, but technically it was of Seychellian (Seychellese? Seychellite?) origin, and that parasite was going to turn into a human.
So, of course, we’d like to thank Catcher’s Mitt Syndrome for this blessing that is our daughter-to-be, but we also wish we had known about this phenomenon ahead of time, as we would have scheduled accordingly.
“Yeah, but your parents will just switch the vacation dates, right?” many of you have queried.
Oh, you sweet, naive people from normal families.
Here’s how the conversation with my mother went:
Me (right after taking pregnancy test): “So…we’re pregnant! The only issue here is that the due date is August 26, literally smack in the middle of the Outer Banks vacation…”
Mom: “Well, we don’t know that’s the due date.”
Me: “Ok. We do, though.”
Mom: “Let’s see what the doctor says.”
Me: “The doctor is going to say that’s the due date, because I used the exact same calculation method a doctor uses.”
Mom: “Em, let’s just see what he says, ok?”
(after going to doctor)
Me: “The doctor says the due date is August 26.”
Mom: “Ok, well let’s just see what happens.”
So no. No one is switching anything.
The takeaway from all this? It’s six-fold:
His birthday is on Thursday.
Two hours later….
When a man loves a sandwich:
“I found this app where we can take a 1-second photo of your belly every day for the entire pregnancy, and then at the end it makes a little movie of all the photos!”
— Me, to Eric
Our first OB appointment was at 8 weeks (Jan 16th), and it is an understatement to say we went in pretty clueless.
When the doctor approached me with a HUGE dildo-looking instrument to perform the transvaginal (re: up-the-hooha) ultrasound, we did not realize that was a thing (doctor-dildos OR transvaginal ultrasounds). Movies always show the ultrasound with goo on the belly, and it’s safe to say that everything we know about the medical side of pregnancy comes from movies. (But like, well-researched movies such as Knocked Up.)
When the doctor asked me to scoot down and spread my legs wide, Eric, who had been standing near my belly, quickly scurried toward the safety of my head like a frightened crab.
Everything in that gif is on point because I swear the sonogram tool was the size of that truck (and from what I hear, my vagina, at the end of all this, will resemble that tire).
Me: “I just have one request– please please only find ONE baby in there.”
Eric: “And I’ll take a Bitcoin if you see one!”
So yeah our doctor hates us.
We’re pregnant! With a girl! (Which is great, as long as she is nothing like me).
We’re definitely starting to feel the excitement now that we are entering the second trimester and I no longer want to Linda Blair vomit all over town and have stopped drooling like Homer Simpson at a pig roast (oh, you didn’t know involuntary drooling was a pregnancy symptom? Well, neither did I until I got up to pee for the 47th time one night and essentially slipped in a pool of my own saliva).
So on that note, hey, here’s something no one tells you: the first trimester fucking blows. No, I’m kidding. Tons of people DO tell you that, minus those goddess-moms who feel great and glowy from day 1, but let’s be real, I’m not friends with those people. Because ew.
So yeah, most people say the first trimester is tough but guess who sort of secretly thought she’d be different, based on absolutely zero evidence?
In fact, not only did I have zippity do dah ZILCH reason to think I’d have an easy first trimester, every thing I’ve experienced in life up to this point perfectly illustrated that I would be literally THE WORST. My run-of-the-mill non-pregnant existence– like, a day I’d describe as “feeling pretty good”– is essentially already a mild version of pregnancy (exhaustion, stomach issues, headaches, irritability, anxiety, moodiness, profuse sweating, overactive bladder….). So I told myself, based on whatever the opposite of logic is, that because I feel pregnant NORMALLY, when I actually AM pregnant I will feel BETTER. It’s similar to the kind of logic one uses when they’ve had 18 too many tequila shots or are Forrest Gump.
It was just hopeful optimism– something I don’t usually partake in, so I’m not sure why I chose THIS particular circumstance to start lying to myself.
Here’s the logical conclusion that a rational person would come to, and perhaps then wisely prepare herself for– If you feel sort of physically crappy in your day-to-day regular life, in no circumstance are you going to feel LESS crappy when you add a nutrient-sucking fetus into that equation (and by “into that equation” I mean “into YOUR UTERUS.” The uterus that is INSIDE YOUR BODY, GUYS! I will never get over this. The “What’s Happening to My Body Book For Girls” Mom gave me at age 14 did NOT adequately prepare me for understanding how this is a thing humans can and should be doing. It’s fucking Animal Planet over here, except I have to go to a job every day and politely respond to people without vomiting on their face).
So anyway, yeah: “Feel Semi-Crappy Normally + Fetus Monster in Belly = Feel Crappier” is not exactly as obvious, concrete and indisputable as “1 +1 =2” but it’s pretty damn close, Forrest.
So weeks 5-12 were miserable. And I don’t say that to sound ungrateful, because believe me, I know how lucky Eric and I are that this happened for us, and happened so easily (more on that in a future post entitled “My Geriatric Uterus is Wearing a Catcher’s Mitt”). We are of course thankful for that, this is something we very much wanted, and we are both beyond looking forward to being parents (in that terrified-excited kind of way you look forward to riding a super-rickety, still-in-the-test-phase roller coaster that you heard many people have died on).
But I’m not going to sit here and say this early part is magical. If you’re looking for that sentiment, I’m not entirely sure why you read this blog. Maybe this is your first time here and you know nothing about me, so if that’s the case, let me catch you up: My name is Emily. I don’t do whimsy.
So that leads us to the texts below. I was too tired, nauseous, and, quite frankly, sad to do any real writing these past two months, but I did somehow find the time to annoy/harass/alarm/frighten/disgust Eric with every single feeling I experienced as I experienced it. There was no emergency-bathroom situation that he was not a part of because A) THAT’S HOW LOVE WORKS and B) the late Steve Jobs definitely invented iMessage for the purpose of toilet updates in real time, so what am I going to do, NOT honor him?
So below is a chronicle of highlights (and I use that term VERY loosely, because I know of no society that would list “violent dry heave” as a highlight) of the first trimester, through text.
I’ll admit that reading through these was hard because, now that I am in a better place, my assessment is that I sound pretty damn whiny in a lot of these exchanges (and by “exchanges,” I mean me texting novels of complaints and Eric not knowing what to say because there is literally nothing TO say, but I just needed someone to listen and also not divorce me after listening. God bless his soul).
I imagine his face while reading was a mix of this , this and this , but he never let me know it, and that’s all that counts. 90% of marriage is knowing how to swallow your feelings and lie convincingly when your partner needs you to.
I actually ended up removing the majority of the sad, exasperated texts because they were just far too frequent, don’t make for great reading, and I think you can get the gist of my mental state by just perusing a few. And the texts aren’t ALL misery– there’s humor sprinkled throughout, because I’ve done my best to try to laugh when I can, which is SUPER hard when you feel like death, but becomes possible when you have a partner with the temperament, light-heartedness and excitability of a newborn corgi.
But bottom line– this shit is hard. For ANYONE. Is it harder for someone with mental health issues? I’m honestly not sure. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t had some seriously depressive thoughts these past couple months, but I think early pregnancy can do that to anyone– veteran mental-health-sufferer or not– because the hormone surges are nothing short of batshit insanity. Sprinkle in some isolation (not sharing this HUGE thing going on in your life straight up sucks), the removal of your usual get-through-the-day crutches (coffee, wine, Advil, vigorous exercise, writing, openly venting to anyone who will listen including the internet) and add some persistent anxiety over not having that possible miscarriage that Google (and every Jew) loves to warn you about, and you have a perfect shitstorm for needing emotional life support. I legit don’t know how anyone keeps it together in the first few months (but if you’re one of those people, no judgement at ALL. Just a lot of jealousy and maybe also a touch of spiteful resentment and hatred).
And so if one struggling woman reads this and can relate and feel a bit better about the fact that her early pregnancy is/was no walk in the park either, then I’ve done the job I always set out to do– reach someone with the ugly, vomit-ridden truth.
So here’s what you missed– enjoy!….?
(note: Days refer to when we found out– so Day 2 is the 2nd day we knew we were pregnant)