An awkward number of pictures of me mixed with brutal honesty will be found below. Actually, it's technically me and the boy, so that would be the Royal We.
Well, now that I'm 35 weeks minus-one-day pregnant (!!!) (to my male, non-father readers: pregnancies generally last 40 weeks), I thought I'd update you all on the aspect of my life that has dominated this year thus far. I fell pregnant--I adore that ridiculous, ancient phrase--anyway, I fell pregnant almost as soon as we moved into our new house, which turned out to not be my favorite thing ever. I know that women around the world do all sorts of amazing things while pregnant, but I strongly prefer to do nothing at all. I felt like death warmed over for 4 months, wanted to ralph most of the time but only managed to about twice, and then my second trimester lasted for approximately 3 weeks. And then people started telling me that my belly was so gigantic, I must be due so soon!! [Post coming soon about why you never need to tell a pregnant woman that.]
But going back to the first trimester, I need to state for the record that I am extremely grateful to have been in Okinawa instead of Italy this time. Always being able to order delicious plain white rice and light, brothy soups at restaurants (when my own kitchen is nauseous)? Priceless. I felt a lot sicker this time than with Eva (something I didn't think was possible) but I had a lot more food options, including a wide variety of restaurants, for which I am grateful.
Little did I know that people would start to thoroughly inform me when it was actually so huge.
Face is disappearing behind uncut hair and overgrown malar fat pads.
(I also felt the need to include this picture since I publicized it rather well that my birthday dinner happened in the BX food court, as Eva reminds me every time we go in there...but that's not all that happened that day! Not pictured: the pink roses that Eva insisted that I *also* needed.)
This pregnancy, like Eva's, has been completely uneventful--and by that I mean normal...for the record, normal pregnancy often includes varicose veins, charley horses, inability to sleep at appropriate times, inability to stay awake at inappropriate times, nearly fainting from hunger, sensitive hearing, supersmelling, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, nausea, acid reflux, sudden crying, inability to stand the sound of chalk on sidewalk, swollen extremities, muscle pain, ligament pain, joint pain, the embarassment of living in the fog of baby brain, claustrophobia in your own body, paralyzing fear over trying to name the child, and above all--the horror!--possessing a healthy glow despite the fact that I was trying so hard to look miserable and get pity. Don't get me wrong--I am so, so grateful for this baby and to be pregnant. But for the sake of edification of the [male] general public I thought I'd share a taste of what goes on besides gaining a bit of weight around the middle.
Hmm, come to think of it, during pregnancy the baby experiences: insane cellular replication, major organs forming and heart beginning to beat, eye development, hearing development and having to listen to someone's internal organs functioning at the decibel level of a vacuum cleaner, fingernail development (wouldn't that be weird?),being 100% dependent on someone else for your feeding and hydration, and above all the sensation of being more and more tightly packed into this very crowded, dark, watery space and what are these stomach and bladder things that keep getting in my way??
Because of my autoimmunity issues mixed with the lack of high-level health care on island, we've been treated as "complicated" by the OB clinic here. At first I was frustrated and annoyed at this, stomping my mental foot and being ungrateful. (I was treated as normal with Eva's pregnancy.) But I've come to be glad for all the extra baby pictures we've gotten, the now weekly non-stress tests, and all the extra times I've gotten to go to the doctor and be told all is well. It's hard to describe how nice that is for a pregnant woman to hear. Pro tip: If you want to know exactly why you're receiving extra monitoring, brace yourself before you ask your doctor. Because she might bust out with, "Well, besides the preeclampsia...You're at increased risk of abruption, low birth weight, and if you have a flare, sudden fetal death."
Yes, I did snort a little at the low birth weight thing--Eva was 9 lbs 1 oz--but the rest was a little shocking. It's hard not to be paranoid, especially because every time a typhoon blows in I do have a flare. So I've done my part by unabashedly couch-lying, cleaning-lady-employing, and trusting this baby's life is in God's hands just as much as everything else that it's so much easier to trust Him with. This body, which He made to seemingly fail in several ways, He made to be quite capable of doing this pregnancy thing, and for that I am so grateful.
Where we stand now: The non-stress tests have been fine, as is the amniotic fluid--which the Japanese nurse called "your beautiful waters". Decent Braxton Hicks contractions several times a day, and every time I see said NST nurse she does an ultrasound then stares at my face in awe, more or less asking whether I'm aware that I have a human head wedged between my hips. I suspect he may have dropped, but that can't be confirmed til next week at the earliest.
The beautiful, crazy, amazing, totally weird journey continues. With Eva at this stage I was totally terrified, though looking forward to meeting her. Now that I know what it's like to hold my own newborn, I find that my arms are lonely for him already.