Eighteen Weeks and All Is Well

Last week I had wicked AT&T problems — the phone, and thus the DSL, were out because of bad lines in the neighborhood — and then Fug Madness started, and well, it was murder on my updating habits. Not to mention that one fun side effect of being knocked up is that I can't sit at my desk, or on my couch at a table, and work without getting a horrible pain in the middle-left part of my back. Usually I make it about half the day before it drives me to complete distraction. It's been GREAT for my productivity.

I'm definitely popping out. My belly button has gotten all shallow, my pants are tighter and harder to keep zipped despite my efforts to rig the button closed with various things made of elastic, and The Belly has gotten to the point where no sweater or shirt can conceal its presence. Good thing I'm not hiding this pregnancy from anyone. It's such a relief not being on a soap opera sometimes. SOMETIMES.

And I am LOVING The Belly. I pat it all the time, sometimes just gently, sometimes with a circular rubbing motion. It's so much fun to let it all hang out, you know? And the more I touch it, the more I imagine it's like cuddling my little beans. It's the best I can do while they're still gestating. Kevin likes to schedule belly time in the evenings, too, where he can pat it and give it stern lectures if the boys are giving me problems like bad heartburn. Of course, someday, I will reminisce wistfully about the heartburn problems when they have taken to giving us REAL headaches, like coming home sick because they ate sand on a dare or fed potato chips to the class goldfish. I assume boys do those things. I assume this because I did not do those things.

The heartburn has been a treat, though — feeling like my rib cage just caught fire and is shooting flames out my boobs. I've had it before, of course, as has anyone, but not with this kind of random regularity, without any particular trigger other than my body's ennui with feeling normal. It would be tolerable if I actually DID shoot boob fire. Other than very itchy skin, it's the pregnancy symptom I have experienced the most heartily (we're not at the part yet where my ankles swell to the size of melons); the other night I was doing great until Kevin made me laugh just as we were going to bed, and BOOM, my chest exploded and I spent an hour pacing and gnawing alternately on Tums and almonds while he slept peacefully. Pregnancy is so hard on the men, poor dears. Their wives rend garments in agony and freak out every time there's a twinge for longer than five seconds, and it can be really distracting when a dude needs a nap.

I'm kidding. Well, I'm not, but Kevin has been amazing. He is not one of the douchey husbands you read about in, like, The Girlfriends' Guide To Pregnancy, which I would say is the pregnancy-book equivalent to any commercial where the wife is a stereotypical nag and the husband is a stereotypical schlub who just wants to watch The Big Game. Seriously, that book is all about how pregnancy is icky and you will feel huge and gross and you will throw sharp and heavy objects at your thoughtless husband's head, while he tries to avoid contact with the lunatic whale that now shares his bed and terrifies him with its hormonal hugeness. It is enough to give any girl a complex. There apparently is no humor in NICE husbands, so the whole book takes the easy path of making them sound, as a species, like idiot asshats while also reminding you helpfully that you will hate yourself for the entire nine-month period and possibly a few months more, so SADDLE UP for some MISERY, ladies! Ugh.

ANYWAY: Kevin takes really good care of me. He runs to the store when I can't, even if that means doing it on his way home at 9 p.m. He shoulders a lot of the cooking load. He rubs my aching back and puts lotion on it because it's dry. He came home early from work when I needed him the other day and went with me to the doctor the next morning (more on that in a second) because he didn't want me to be there alone. He is not averse to attending a breastfeeding how-to class with me, so that he can help out when I'm learning because he knows it's going to be really hard (although I might not make him do that, the offer was rather lovely). And he takes pains every day to make sure I know that he thinks I look totally beautiful pregnant and that any extra lump and bump on my body is his new favorite thing about me. I lucked out. Clearly he hasn't read The Girlfriends' Guide To Pregnancy or else he'd know that he's supposed to be a) cowering in fear, or b) asking me for really freaky sex.

I did have a minor scare the other day that turned out to be nothing,
but I spent about 15 hours really upset until I went into my doctor the
next morning and he confirmed that, yes, everything is sealed up
tightly and the babies are moving merrily. Turns out I have a low-lying
placenta, which can lead to what I will term "unfortunate leakages"
that scare the crap out of pregnant ladies but are in fact not always
signs of doom. And I was freaked. At one point while I was shaking and holding the phone, waiting for a return call from the doctor (bless him, he got back to me in two minutes), my eye fell on a pile of ultrasound photos on a table spanning our entire pregnancy, and I just thought to myself how far we've come and how I just could not imagine going back to square one because we are way too in love with the idea of our matched pair of boys. Needless to say, I'm so happy it turned out to be nothing immediately terrible. It's just something to monitor to make sure it doesn't
stay low or get lower, and in the meantime, I have to "take it easier." It's
tough to say where else on the "easy" scale I can go without slipping into an actual coma.
I guess it rules out our light weekend walks. And that two-hour trip to
Babies R Us probably didn't help, but how ELSE am I supposed to pick
out bedding that doesn't feel horrible?

It's all worth it, though — every freakout and back twinge and scorched chest — and especially when I think I can feel them moving. Every
night when I lie down, or if I'm curled up on the couch, my insides
practically shift with me — like I imagine it would feel if you took
out my internal organs and turned the empty cavity into a lava lamp (a procedure I may have done once I'm finished bearing womb-fruit).
Pangs and twinges now might be little baby hands and feet knocking on my belly, although it's way too early to tell that for sure. It's exciting to think we're inching closer to the part where Kevin can feel them, too. I do mean "inching" — I suspect we're at least a month away — but hey, that's a month closer than I've ever been in my life. Good times.

14 responses to “Eighteen Weeks and All Is Well

  1. Smart husbands rock — way to go Kevin! Mine also took on the aforementioned cooking and back-lotioning. Also, yeah, scares suck; for awhile I was totally convinced that I had pre-eclampsia, until I went, literally sobbing, to my OB-GYN, who told me it was okay to have one cup of coffee in the morning — and the pre-eclampsia magically disappeared. Just don’t be afraid of crying wolf. Every decent doctor I’ve ever heard of would rather a pregnant woman have dozens of false alarms checked out, than not want to “bother” anyone. But, unlikely! You are healthy, your husband is healthy, your boys are healthy, it’s all good. I know: who thought rubbing your belly would be so much fun?

  2. Stay FAR away from “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Surviving the First Year of Motherhood” as well. Same ridiculous, alarmist B.S., different title.

  3. The way I survived heartburn was to keep cherry-flavored Maalox in the fridge and drink a swig before bedtime every night. Keep in mind that I cannot do tums or any chewy antacid and had never had Maalox before (or after) pregnancy. (The fridge is key to kill the taste and instantly provide relief).

  4. When my best friend was preggers, she read ‘I’m Pregnant!: A week-by-week guide from conception to birth’ by Lesley Regan. I read bits of it too, and it was a great week by week guide of the heck is going on in your body and how to deal. It might be a good guide….
    She hated that girlfriends guide, and threatened to find them and eat them. All the advice from that book sounded really impractical.
    If theres two things I learned, it would be ‘Dont piss off the pregnant woman’ and always have granola bars for the pregnant woman. I had a lot of fun hanging out with her, and hearing the crazy things that were happening. Enjoy it, cuz the craziness is about come.
    I’m happy the beans are doing well!!

  5. I can still hide the belly sometimes, but then I just look fat, so belly it is! Sometimes I forget about it though and wonder why people on the street are looking at my midsection. Then I panic and wonder if my fly is down before remembering, no! I don’t have a fly anymore! God love maternity pants.

  6. As the resident GERD aficionado, I suggest having a large tub of vanilla yogurt on hand for flares. When I’ve reached the limit of medication I can take, I sit on the kitchen floor, take deep breaths to calm down (aspirating on your own stomach acid tends to produce anxiety), and eat thick yogurt until it pushes the acid back down and finally quells the burning in my esophagus. It’s about the only thing that works. I am aware that they say milk products are bad for acid, but those people are filthy liars.
    Also, if you haven’t started sleeping upright/on an elevated surface yet, you probably should. If it gets super out of control eventually, you can borrow my wedge. It’s uncomfortable, but it helps.

  7. It’s pretty common to have a low-lying placenta at your point in the pregnancy (or previa, like I did). It usually resolves itself within a couple of months (like mine did). Spotting sucks (like mine did) but your boys will be fine (like mine is). And check out “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” – even if you’re not into the natural childbirth thing, it’s got lots of awesome positive firsthand stories. It really helped me get ready.

  8. I, too, had a low-lying placenta, and all it required of me was to have another ultrasound (albeit one vaginally) closer to delivery to make sure it had raised up. It did, and I delivered just fine.
    And sweet Jebus above, the heartburn did blow. I had never had reflux before, and I felt like I had a bubble of fire in my throat at all times.
    Another thing to prepare for is Braxton-Hicks. I was not the type of pregnant woman who notoriously read all the books and instead, just went with the flow. Wow. Really wish someone had told me about those. I thought for sure my son was trying to exit my body straight through my stomach a la Alien….or I guess Renesmee from Breaking Dawn. Then 30 minutes later, I was golden. So yeah, just a heads up.
    Seriously so excited for you. So – cyberhugs from Indiana.

  9. I didn’t read the Girlfriend’s Guide; I started to read the Skinny Bitch pregnancy book, but had to stop because I was worried I would never eat again for the rest of my life if I didn’t. I’ve been lucky with no heartburn so far (sixteen and a half weeks), but the itchy skin is MURDER. My sister bought me this great Aveeno shower oil that you can either use in the shower or the bath and it has made a huge difference.

  10. Ditto on the Ina May Gaskin book–she is awesome!
    I was amazed at how much all the new father advice I read seemed to boil down simply to “Don’t be a ragingly selfish asshole.” I asked my husband once if he was jealous of the attention I gave to our son, and he said, “I can wipe my own butt, so no.”

  11. Completely non-baby related and I’m sure someone’s already sent you this link, but these are brilliant!

  12. oh and btw, fug madness right now is the wind beneath my wings. You girls have tapped into sheer genius over there. well done.

  13. I am just ahead of you (20 weeks pregnant with one boy) and I had that heartburn you describe. My OB prescribed something (prilosec maybe? prevacid) and now…no heartburn! Maybe worth looking into?