Back in the stirrups again

Every once in awhile, James and Maddux persuade me to let them have a “sleepover.” I know I shouldn’t even entertain the idea of any kind of co-sleeping arrangement, and that it will end horribly in the wee hours of the morning, but I allow it anyway — and vow afterward that it will never happen again.

My philosophy regarding childbirth is very similar to my policy on sleepovers. After Thomas, I was certain I was done having kids (and that was only partly because I missed the window for any kind of medication whatsoever).  I was confident in my decision to limit the hooligan squad to three — until March of last year, when, if we’d planned a fourth from the beginning, I would have been due to give birth. It was that month that my birth control failed and I found myself very unhappily pregnant. I cried for a week, and then began planning the nursery, the minivan purchase, the baby blog. A month later, however, I was sitting in the emergency room, learning that the pregnancy had never progressed beyond five weeks. I’d already made an emotional branch on our family tree for Baby No. 4, and now it sat empty. The news was a raw reminder of the three miscarriages that preceded the birth of my little Maddux. My heart was broken, and our family no longer felt complete.

There was another miscarriage in December, and more crying. Chris and I agreed that we would try for a fourth until July (whereupon my chart would be marked “advanced maternal age” despite my obvious youth and hotness).

And here we are, squeaking in three months before the deadline. It started with my gaining two pounds while trying to blast off my subcutaneous fat on the South Beach diet. I grumbled to Chris that low-carb diets were inherently flawed (and only partly because I subsist almost entirely on carbohydrates) and vowed to increase my cardio minutes. Then, because we were planning to drink at the kids’ school fundraiser, I took a pregnancy test just so I could enjoy my cocktails with a clear conscience. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the real reason behind my South Beach weight gain. Because of the two miscarriages last year, I refused to blog until I was convinced the baby was going to remain safely in utero for longer than a fortnight or two. And happily, at my second ultrasound, the technician pointed out an 8-week bean (which my obstetrician later identified as a 7-week 2-day bean) and a strong heartbeat. Based on careful calculation of medical data, my obstetrician gave me an official due date of January 9, and based on careful calculation using my history of early babies and bad timing, I have given myself an unofficial due date of December 24.

I happily quit the South Beach diet, which apparently doesn’t work if you’re pregnant, anyway, and immediately gained another several pounds. No ripped abs for me this summer. I’ve gone off my morning cup of coffee in favor of horrible-tasting but harmless vanilla tea, traded workouts for naps, and gagged down one daily prenatal vitamin and twice-daily doses of synthetic progesterone, which — because pregnancy isn’t tiring enough as it is — bears a heavy-machinery warning on its label.

It’s going to suck, will probably end painfully in the wee hours of the morning, and — thanks to a urology appointment for Chris in the near future — will definitely never happen again. As for the sleepovers, it’s been a few months, so I guess the kids are due. Sigh.

And, because I know you skipped over all the boring writing so you could view the construction of the baby apartment, here are the 10-week belly pics. (No, there are none from before my 8-pound weight gain, because such hubris would have killed the baby immediately.)

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