Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Month Four

The Pregnant Hunger: it is here. I woke up this "morning" at 4:30, starving. I went down to the kitchen, zapped a hot dog in a tortilla, and ate it along with a bunch of grapes, in about three minutes. On my way back to bed, I passed my husband, just getting up. SeƱor Stalwart is getting up at 5 these days, partly so we can go to bed at the same ridiculously early hour. Thinking of calling us after 8:30 in the evening? Think again.

The wee-hours-snack is now a pretty firmly established part of my routine, and the house is cold at three and four in the morning. You'd think I could just keep crackers on the nightstand, wouldn't you? Nope, has to be cereal and milk these days. I'm thinking about keeping a little thermos of milk by the bed, next to a bowl of dry cereal. Or maybe I'll make up a little bedroll in the kitchen by the fridge.

I still have a hard time eating a full meal, or even wanting to eat sometimes. I feel hungry, I know I should eat, but nothing that I think of seems appetizing. Although sometimes I'll see a picture or hear a description of food and develop an instant craving for about half a cup of it. I really need to make myself a little Heathy Foods picture book to browse. I'm up six pounds now, though, so it seems like I'm getting enough.

Along with a nice round little belly, I've developed off-and-on cramps in my sides. Stabby, stabby cramps. Apparently they're caused by stretching ligaments, which makes sense given all the abdominal renovations going on. Lying down helps, so I spent a few hours in bed yesterday afternoon. It was warm, comfortable, stab-free heaven.

What with the lying down during the day and lying awake at night post-snack, I've been reading an awful lot. So far, the almost complete works of Terry Pratchett and Jane Austen, alternately. Witty prose, appealing characters, eventful plots, and happy endings. Perfection. What other authors exist in the same Venn-diagram space as Austen and Pratchett? I'm running out of books.

Imagine getting a big, energetic new goldfish at the pet store. It comes in a plastic bag of water, right? Now imagine that taut bag of fish and water nestled in your pelvis. Feel the fish flipping around in there? Yeah, me too. I felt the first flips a few weeks ago, and I wasn't sure if they were The Goldfish That Is Our Child or The Goldfish That Was Last Night's Dinner, but now I'm sure. I feel it several times a day, especially in the evening, when the baby and I are draped on the couch and the man of the house is making us dinner. When I make dinner, there's not quite as much flippy action, which could be taken a couple of ways. My preferred interpretation is, "The baby loves it when you make dinner. I wouldn't mind cooking, but think of the child!"

Feeling movement has been a strange new part of being pregnant. It creeped me out a little at first, but now I'm used to it, and my instinctive, worried response is to wonder if the baby is doing a jolly little dance or if it's kicking at the walls in annoyance. This pointless level of concern for my baby's happiness does not bode well for my future as a mother. I can see it now: every room filled with discarded plastic toys, half-eaten candy and new puppies, all because I couldn't bear to see the little angel's lower lip tremble. I'm going to be awesome.

Two things I heard this week:
"Wow, you're really big for only four and a half months along!"
"You're the cutest pregnant lady I've ever seen."
The only thing I believed? The former. The only thing I want to hear again? The latter.

As a woman currently living through Things People Feel They Should Say To A Pregnant Woman, let me share some advice. Unless you have a well-established tradition of affectionate mutual taunting with the pregnant woman before you, any observation about her appearance that doesn't include the words glowing, wonderful or gorgeous should be kept to yourself, bub. Especially things that include words like tired, huge, whale-like or spotty. You can safely bet that she's aware of the novelty of her appearance, and doesn't need you to point it out. Because of this, a loving, supportive and patently false compliment is likely to be very welcome indeed.

Being pregnant is like trading in your old, dependable body for a new model that, while it has lots of exciting new features, is buggy, unpredictable, and crashes at inconvenient moments. It's true that there's lots of tech support out there, but most of it tends to fall into two not-very-helpful categories: Impending Doom (also known as You're Doing It Wrong) and Fluffy Rainbow Kitties (also known as Don't Worry Your Pretty Little Head About It).

1 comment:

Nev said...

Did somebody really tell you that you were "really big"? Was that somebody raised by wolves? Does that somebody know you have an ass-kicking sister-in-law with a fiercely protective instinct towards pregnant women? You should come up with a snotty retort, like "Wow, so are you. Oh wait, you're not pregnant? So what's your excuse!"

Rest assured that I would tell you how glowing and wonderful you look, if only you would SEND ME A FREAKIN' PICTURE.