Let me rain on your parade

Let me rain on your parade

Two days ago was my first ultrasound. When you watch TLC’s “A Baby Story,” this always seems like a joyous thing, with the mom-to-be, lying comfortable on the table, glowing angelically and perhaps shedding a tear of joy. In real life, ultrasounds go like this: You follow the directions on your requisition to a “T,” drinking the requisite 40 gallons of water and holding your pee for five hours before the test. You glow — because you are literally about to explode from the pain of filling your bladder to three times its capacity. The tears you shed are probably ones of severe pain from the devastation the 40 gallons of water are wreaking on your tiny bladder.

If one were to hypothetically break the rules and sneak into one of the hospital’s bathrooms and pee a little to relieve the gut-splitting agony of a threatened bladder rupture, even THAT would not be quite enough to allow one to comfortably rise from the standard doubled-over-with-horrible-discomfort pose one is forced to adapt when one is in a position to personally turn the high desert of the inland Pacific Northwest into a lush marshland in approximately 90 seconds.

And just imagine this horror of being in such waterlogged discomfort, the blood flowing to the muscles holding together your frail bladder to the exclusion of your brain, which, in its blood-deprived state, may be rationalizing the brutal homicide of the cheerful technician who not only refuses to let you pee, but then stretches you (and your screaming bladder, which may I remind you does not like it when you deviate from the almost-bearable doubled-over position) out on a table and then FIRMLY PRESSES A HARD DEVICE against that very organ whose control you are trying with all your might to retain.

In a cruel twist of fate, when I told her about my extreme discomfort, the ultrasound technician asked how much I’d drunk and when. When I told her (verbatim from the requisition), she said “Oh, you should probably only drink HALF that much next time.” That didn’t really help with the murderous thoughts.

Of course, when I saw the baby’s heartbeat, confirming once and for all that my drinking water wasn’t merely laced with hCG, all of my homicidal urges vanished, and I forgot about my bladder to the point that I almost peed myself. Fortunately, the only leakage that occurred was from my eyes. (And later my nose, since apparently pregnant women not only see a huge increase in blood volume, but in snot volume as well.) In fact, if the “Baby Story” people had been there, I would have done them proud. If they’d managed to survive that initial homicidal phase.

With Chris out of town on business, I was rather glad we’d told his mom, as a pelvic ultrasound complete with teensy heartbeat would be a bit hard to explain otherwise, and the alternative would have been trying to find the right department in a hospital a few towns over while operating on a painfully full bladder. And apparently the baby wasn’t too worried about her knowing, as it was obviously still there and alive.

All before and during the ultrasound, I was burning up. I thought it was some kind of side effect from having too much water in my bladder. Perhaps my hyperthermia was all in my head, comorbid to my criminal insanity. Later in the evening, while sorting files in the basement, I realized that I was still feeling deathly hot. I went upstairs and took my temperature, which turned out to be 99.9. So at least part of my incredible discomfort was probably attributable to the fact that I have the flu.

Over the past few days, I’ve taken cold showers, swaddled myself in ice packs, guzzled vast quantities of water (despite my recent traumatic experience with aforementioned beverage), slept 16 hours a day (waking up nearly hourly to frantically take my temperature) and subsisted on bread and oranges. (Hey, you try having morning sickness and a flu at the same time and we’ll see how healthy your diet is. At least I gagged down my prenatals and progesterone pills!)

So far my temperature has stayed around 98.6 during the day when I’m icing and drinking, hasn’t gotten higher than 99.5 even in the dead of night, and according to my books, it’s only something to worry about if your temperature goes 1.5 degrees above normal.

I may have to worry about the baby sticking. I may have to worry about getting decent nutrition when even that old antinausea standby, ginger, makes me sick. I may have to worry about peeing my pants, killing people and overheating. But on the bright side, at least we know I’m getting enough water.

Stick with me, baby

Chris and I went to our first prenatal appointment today, but unfortunately Dr. Goncalves had an emergency, so we had to wait an extra half-hour and got squeezed in in the 15-minute period before his 5:00 meeting. After making him late with our numerous questions, we guiltily left his office with still more questions, plans for an ultrasound appointment, and a prescription for Prometrium (to keep that potentially skittish embryo stuck safely to the walls of my uterus until such time as it understands English and has a well-developed sense of respect and obedience).

Now here’s the sticky part. Chris’ mom was likely to have this very medication on hand for much cheaper (read: free) than the local highway robbers pharmacy. However, she was also likely to wonder (and rightly so) why I’d need something to keep my uterine lining from heading for the nearest exit. So I made a concession. We would tell Chris’ mom about the baby. After all, personal superstition aside, lack of progesterone is much more likely to cause an embryo to detach from the uterus than is the act of telling one extra person. Right?

So, doing a few Kegels on the ride to the parents’, just to scare the baby away from even approaching the cervix, I agreed that telling Jan would probably not kill the wee one. (Now, whether I agreed to spread the good tidings to Chris’ brothers, accountant and a few additional friends is another story altogether. If I had it my way, the obstetrician would keep ME in the dark until we were out of the woods.)

So, the cat is out of the bag now. But at least the baby’s still in! And, thanks to my big bottle of Prometrium (which, hilariously, Jan didn’t have and also didn’t know was used to keep intractable embryos in their place), the baby is gonna stay right where it is.

Mum’s the word

Now there are some, like my dear naive sweetie Chris, who want to shout it from the rooftops before the winning sperm has even finished gnawing its way through the zona pellucida. Then there are others (like me) who are afraid that if they even think about the baby during the first trimester, it will dart madly from the womb like a frightened horse. We don’t take prenatals for the baby, whose existence we are afraid to acknowledge. We’re taking them “just in case.” We don’t quit drinking for the baby. We’re just not in the mood for alcoholic refreshments, thank you.

And we definitely, never EVER commit the ultimate pregnancy jinx — telling everyone we’re pregnant before we’re safely out of the first trimester (which isn’t likely to happen, because there are so many other reasons that stick might have turned pink. Like perhaps someone stuck me with a needle full of Profasi when I was asleep. Or maybe it’s just a really, really dark evaporation line).

Now, when one has just had one’s very first positive pregnancy test that didn’t immediately result in the aforementioned flight of the poor, frightened zygote, it is difficult not to tell everyone the good news, even if you are, like me, in a state of combined giddy disbelief and paranoid denial. So imagine the difficulty of keeping such a huge secret and magnify it x10 by putting me in a situation in which I am crammed in a cabin with a bunch of women and surrounded by alcoholic beverages and snacks of dubious nutritional quantity, and must slyly take my prenatals twice a day and avoid said beverages and snacks.

Such was the Wild Women’s Weekend, which I attended with Chris’ mom (and longtime Wild Woman) Jan. It was exceedingly difficult not to tell anyone, especially when I moved my chair and my newly ginormous and extremely painful boobs bounced so hard that I cried out in bitter agony.

But more powerful than the horrible pain radiating from my new Dolly Parton decolettage, more tempting than the lure of an easy explanation for not drinking wine spritzers or snarfing Doritos, more overwhelming than my hatred for keeping secrets, was my crippling fear of jinxing the pregnancy.

Heather: 1, Wild Women’s Weekend: 0.

I’d pinch myself, but I don’t want to hurt the baby

Well, it’s happened. I’m finally pregnant, and I’m not past 30!

My period was about 10 days late as of tonight, and who was I to question my good fortune at not having that torturous monthly visit? But for whatever reason, Chris thought it would be a good idea to take a pregnancy test. Just to see.

Now, I have peed on many a stick in my time, and only once has one turned any color other than yellow (and even then, it was but 24 hours before the joyous event turned tragic). So while I wanted to share Chris’ enthusiasm, I was rather skeptical regarding the chances that two pink lines would appear on the stick, and that Chris and I would gaze with wonderment into the little window, then into each other’s eyes, then be catapulted into each other’s arms by a swell of violin music, and then the camera would cut to a scene where, clad in overalls or perhaps an oversize sports jersey and a messy but adorable ponytail, I’d be helping Chris paint the new baby’s room, oblivious to the hazards posed by exposure to toxic fumes. But, putting my cynicism aside, I peed on the stick to placate my poor, sweet Chris and his naive fantasies about me getting pregnant.

After the requisite five-minute wait, we went into the bathroom and looked at the test. “Oh well!” I sighed after a cursory glance in the test’s direction failed to conjure up a large neon sign saying “Congratulations, your gametes have hit it off!” “Not pregnant,” I said dismissively.

“Yes you are!” Chris said. And there, underneath the first pink line, was another, lighter pink line. Guess it doesn’t hurt to look at the test.

So here we are, 5 weeks pregnant, according to Storknet’s due date calculator.

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