Friday, November 28, 2014

¡Qué Sorpresa!

Surprise, surprise. Pregnancy comes with surprises.

Of course there's big stuff like feeling the baby move for the first time. I had no idea what to expect that to feel like so it was such a surprise to feel what seemed like polite gas bubbles were baby kicks. Especially magical was watching the baby on the ultrasound as she punched and feeling them at the same time. It's, like, there's something real in there. She's really alive!

Perhaps not surprising to previously pregnant people is that my taste buds have changed completely. I haven't had a sweet tooth in years, and since I started Bikram yoga years ago I totally lost the taste for diet soda. Now, though, I crave sweets like nobody's business: tea breads, pastry, dried fruit, juice. And if I allow myself a diet Coke it tastes like heaven's nectar. 

Another weird thing is that I think want beer and wine, but if I allow myself a petite glass I don't even want to finish it. Hmm. Maybe someone else is calling the shots.

Probably my biggest change is just a shift in thought. Up until about 12 or 14 weeks, I was just not into it. I complained a lot. I had some morning sickness, so a little of that is understandable. But I remember eating brunch with a friend who asked me what pregnancy had been like so far. I probably spent a good 15 minutes about how awful it was. But after one weekend with my girlfriends there was this huge shift in thought. Somehow I got the sense that the rough parts were temporary, and I could almost enjoy them as an aspect of pregnancy. Nausea? Surges of progesterone made to help the baby. Weight gain? Fluid, baby weight and some temporary fat stores, that's all. And whatever yucky side effect I may be feeling, it's all temporary. It will resolve itself, likely sooner rather than later.

And with the attitude shift comes this sense that there's just something kind of wonderful about being pregnant. Because I'd never really planned on having kids, I hadn't given much thought to what it means to be pregnant or what it does besides affect your body physically. Though I never thought women who were into reproduction were status quo or super femme, I figured it was just a means to an end. But it's a pretty empowering process.  I mean, you're growing a baby. And at the same time, you have your classes and your papers and the cats to feed and Thanksgiving dinner to make, and there are VAMP showcases to attend and meanwhile your little cord is sending vital nutrients to this living being who will one day tug at your earrings and crack your nipples with nursing.  

Maybe the attitude toward pregnancy shift is part of a biological process. There is a significant risk of miscarriage early on, and maybe the body knows to let things kind of ride for a while as it adjusts to the little being inside. And then, obviously, you've gotta take care of yourself and make little adjustments to your life before the baby comes, so feeling good about a future child is necessary. Those hormones, I tell you...
Today, baby, we saw your face on the ultrasound, and for the first time you looked like a real human, with pinched little lips and a chin. You're no longer just a generic cartoony sonogram baby! It's so exciting! You like lying horizontally with your head in the right side of my uterus--you were there a few weeks ago, too--and again you were holding your arms up in the "Hands up, don't shoot!" pattern. I think you're trying to show solidarity with Michael Brown.

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