what else to expect when you're expecting (the band goes marching on)

On May 16, we had the detailed ultrasound. This would be the second and last time we would get to spy on the kid before it came out, and I was of course, wildly overly nervous. The technician, to her credit, did warn me that she had a lengthy checklist of things to look for, so she would remain quiet and poker-faced for quite some time. Still, after she spent about ten minutes, deeply running and pressing that mouse all over my stomach, to the point where I felt nauseous and then was SURE I would have bruises afterwards, I had to bite my tongue from screaming out, “Is it OKAY? Does it have whiskers or seven brains? WHY AREN’T YOU TALKING TO US?”

Turns out, everything was present and accounted for, including a jaw so pronounced it cast a shadow, arms raised and punching, a wee head and neck stretching and arching back, little feet dancing all over the place, and all this happening without me feeling a thing. Turns out my placenta is anterior, at the front of my gut, so it padded me from feeling the Cirque de Soleil maneuvers playing themselves out on the screen. The kid was also still head up, butt down so the light being shone in via my bellybutton (who knew that could happen??) was blocking the technician’s view of the head and brain. Gentle (aka brutal) persuasion from the gelled mouse got the kid to move enough for her to be satisfied with what she saw.

After taking snapshots for us to take home, she asked if we had any other questions. The one we both had hung in the room heavily – were we going to break and ask the sex? With a deep exhale, I said "no." Somehow I thought maybe a teeny wiener would wave itself around during the ultrasound so we would be forced to know, but no such luck. We left with our pictures and the harsh reality that we were going to stay strong and still have to make two lists for names.

ULTRASOUND LEGEND

1. Threatening punch (the fuzzy orb above nose is a fist)
2. View of feet from underneath (please please please don't have my stumpy toes) 
3. The classic profile shot
4. The bonus shot where it looks like Orson Welles 

People were curious if I had food cravings. I didn’t have any weird desires, but there were, and still are, foods I wanted and ate almost every day. Strawberries, mangoes, blue corn chips, rice cereal with orange juice, creamsicles, and vanilla yogurt. And my nesting tendencies manifested themselves as cooking. I was suddenly interested in making stuff! Homemade granola, gluten free muffins, meatballs, candied pecans, artichoke dip - I was a freakin’ recipe hunter. On the givin' a shit/healthy front, I took extra Vitamin C every day, and when my app warned about UTI’s, I drank cranberry juice every day and glared menacingly down at my crotch, all DON’T YOU EVEN DARE.


Late May I couldn’t bend straight down to the ground, but I could, with great pride, still prop up each leg almost to waist height, to shave in the shower. It’s the small victories here, folks.

My feet would randomly heat up, just along the bottoms, like I hit a Hell patch of the flooring.

Emotions were, as expected, always in full dramatic mode. The end of 'Lost' meant great gasping tears. I tried watching the beginning of 'Up' again, even took the laptop into the bedroom predicting I would lose it, and lost it I did. Kleenex being readily available in every room wasn’t just decorative now, it was crucial.

Every night before I went to bed, the MOST nightmarish scenario would run through my head – losing Nuv, the kid being hit by a rolling truck, me dying during childbirth, and then the subsequent dreams I would have were further nightmarish ideas and situations. Even now, I have not had one positive or lovely dream. My brain was just always looking for the worst thing ever to freak me out. I’ve lost count how many times I had to out loud talk myself out of panicking and running to throw my arms and legs around a very confused Nuv in the other room.

This may very well jinx it, but due either to genetics, luck I’ve never had before, or the twice daily slathering of Body Shop cocoa butter on my stomach, I didn’t have any stretch marks. Yet. This only further lead to the illusion that I was just an old dude in Florida with a big gut. In the mirror there was nothing “fetus on board” about my stomach. I’d had grand ambitions about when I was pregnant of taking a picture every day in profile so that I could then make a flip book. (Confession: flip books are one of my favourite things ever.) But when I got pregnant, I already had a small gut. There was no starting from flat, then progressing to curve. So my flipbook dreams were dashed, and if I’m not careful, there will no photo documentation of this pregnancy. I do need some ammo to show the kid in 17 years as in, “Look here. Look HARD. I didn’t look like this and grunt and strain and pray for diarrhea for ten months to have you NOT GO TO COLLEGE.”

Next instalment: Stress manifests itself in fun and itchy ways