Thursday, August 26, 2010

I passed! I passed!

As a result of [just barely] failing a standard glucose screening at an ob/gyn appointment last week, I spent this morning taking the extended screening at the doctor's office. Failing this one would have meant that I'd somehow developed gestational diabetes, despite not having a single one of the risk factors. Apparently this type of diabetes goes away after pregnancy, but for the remainder of your nine months you have to do all of the testing and pricking and monitoring and dieting associated with the non-gestational variety of diabetes. Obviously, I was really, really hoping to avoid this.

So I'm relieved and happy that I scraped by, but I have to complain a teeny bit... because I think it's pretty cruel not to let a pregnant lady eat anything for fifteen hours,* and then make her give blood four times in three hours (from the same vein, in my case!). If you're pregnant and you haven't been experiencing quite enough nausea, light-headedness, and unbearable, gnawing hunger -- then the extended glucose test is for you, my lady friend!**

* Fasting when pregnant just doesn't seem right. Baby's hungry! Would you starve a baby for the better part of a day?
** Also, get out your tiny, invisible violin, because I had to sit in a hard wooden chair for three hours and watch multiple episodes of something on Nickelodeon called "iCarly." That's right, had to.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Not itsy-bitsy

Today I finally spent an afternoon at our town's amazing outdoor swimming pool. I loved it! The water was gloriously cool, and there were plenty of lounge chairs, and they have a climbing wall... when you fall off, you fall into the pool! There were about a billion kids loving the heck out of that climbing wall.

Mostly, I floated. I had read that being in the water is nice for pregnant ladies because, during the heavenly half hour or whatever you spend in the pool, you feel relatively weightless. I'd been going about feeling very weighted indeed, so that was a nice sensation. I floated and floated, when I wasn't being smacked by the flailing limbs of local children (I'm used to the flailing limbs of our unborn daughter, but that's a different sensation). As I floated, buoyant in spirit and body, I imagined our baby, floating in her little space as I floated in the pool. We both wiggled, suspended, and I wondered if her floating-within-floating felt any different to her, or if floating, at some point, is just floating. If you're already floating, can you be any more floating?

I haven't posted many belly photos here, and above is one that might make you glad I've spared you until now. I figure since this swimsuit is basically a pair of loose shorts & a modest tank top, I can feel free to post pictures ALL OVER THE INTERNET! Don't worry, in public it covers my belly. But that makes for a boring photo.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Take my dog, please

Our dog is the sweetest, best dog in the world. Everyone who meets her loves her. She is loving, gentle, and friendly.

But ever since I became pregnant six months ago, I can't stand the dog! Her obsessive, repetitive paw-licking drives me totally freaking bonkers, for example. She's been neurotically licking this one spot on her paw for the last four and a half years, and nothing we've tried can deter her from her task -- but now that I'm pregnant, I lose my mind when I hear her licking that goddamned paw.

And she probably doesn't smell any worse than she did before I was pregnant, but now her terrible odor, including her offensive breath (which you can smell as soon as she ambles into a room), has actually brought me close to puking. And speaking of puking, I seriously cannot deal with cleaning up the vomit that results from the dog eating any sort of crap/carcass she finds in the yard or (this is her fabulous new stunt) in the trash can. (The trash can even has a lid that she has figured out how to remove, a maneuver that might have impressed and entertained me six months ago, but now seems like an act of deliberate malice designed to afflict me in particular.) If we're lucky, she eats something that's actually sort of a food, like moldy rye bread from the trash can, but more often it's something indigestible like a dirty sponge (I know, you've been hearing an awful lot about this sponge). I don't know if you've ever cleaned up dog puke after your animal companion has eaten a Pinesol-soaked scrubby sponge, but it won't make you feel any closer to your dog.

Now that she is fourteen years old, the dog can't control her bladder. The fact that she pisses all over everything is one that used to annoy me, but I shrugged and thought, "well, she can't help it. We'll all get old one day." Now, when she pisses on my floor, I think, "I hate you, dog."

I can't help it. I don't know why everything she does infuriates me now that I'm pregnant -- the desperate licking of her empty food bowl for ten minutes after she has scarfed down its contents, the ubiquitous string of drool* that hangs from her mouth (it's like a quarter inch in diameter, I swear to god), all the times she whines to go outside at 4 AM and then just stands in the driveway staring a you, the single "let me in the house" bark she issues after being in the yard for like 20 seconds.

Becoming pregnant and then hating your dog(s) seems to be a very common phenomenon. I don't feel good about suddenly hating the dog, and my guilt impelled me to do a Google search ("I'm pregnant and I hate my dog") that revealed HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of stories from pregnant women who used to love their canine "babies" and now can't stand the sight/smell/sound of them! Many of them are really, really funny. One woman said, "I take a shower three times a day just to get away from the dog." SO FUNNY!

This blog post in particular made me shake with laughter, tears streaming down my face. Laughing about it, and realizing that what I'm experiencing is an actual thing,** made me feel better -- although I am still livid over the giant puddle of piss I found on our bath mat this afternoon (why was the dog even IN the bathroom? I swear to Christ she deliberately peed on that rug!).

There are a few Internet theories about why so many pregnant women start detesting their pets out of the blue. For example:

#1 Our heightened sense of smell might make us extra-sensitive to how f-ing foul dogs smell.
#2 Hormones are making us all-around more irritable.
#3 The dog senses an impending change and is acting out (i.e. behaving like a real a-hole).

For me personally, I don't believe it's #2. Honestly, I don't think I'm irritable with anyone or anything else, just the dog. There might be something to #1 and #3, I don't even know any more. I'm inclined to think there are biological and evolutionary factors. Regardless, I can think of a couple of things that seem true -- first, the idea of my newborn baby having to breath air that smells like dog urine into her tiny, new lungs makes me freaking flip out. The dog has already peed and vomited on the carpet in our baby's future nursery, a fact that seriously makes my head explode. And if this dog is still alive when our baby becomes mobile, our floors cannot be coated in drool, scented with urine, or dotted with eight-inch balls of shedded fur. Would you want your baby crawling around in that germy muck? Like I'm really going to have time to clean and disinfect every inch of my house every day! Which brings me to number two: I won't have the time or energy to deal with dog-related stressors, or this dog's ultra-neediness, when the baby arrives. This week alone I've cleaned up vast puddles of dog piss at least once a day, almost every day -- a task I am certain to resent even more monumentally with a new baby. Oh, and as a freelance illustrator, I work from home (which is awesome and a privilege), which means that I never -- will never -- get a break from the dog, until the sad day she leaves this world and I'm left feeling guilty as all hell for having felt constantly and intensely annoyed with her.

Some women say that they start liking their dog again after the baby arrives, but most seem to believe that, if anything, the resentment deepens once the baby is outside of the womb. I really, really hope that I come back around to liking the dog, because... well, because it doesn't feel good to experience feelings of hostility toward a creature who loves you so devotedly. I know I love the dog -- I vividly remember loving the dog -- but for the last six months I've wanted a vacation from her smelliness, whininess, and general grossness.

Although her mere presence exasperates me, I promise, I'm never, ever mean to the dog and she lives really well. She eats and drinks like a happy hog, sleeps on a fifty-dollar bed, gets at least two walks a day, enjoys the run of a big plot of land, eats lots of treats (in addition to what she snorfs out of the garbage), occasionally works up the vigor required to chase a squirrel, and is lovingly petted (albeit not by me). Despite the current friction, she does have a loving home.***

P.S. I can't believe I forgot to mention the farting! Oh my god, the farting!

* for some reason that rope of drool makes me mental, oh my god.
** documented by a bazillion anecdotes, which isn't nothing.
*** even though the majority of that love is currently provided by Ben.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Not a thing in the world...

to complain about. Although the unpacking is going slowly because I'm huge and sleepy, I now have time to do it and can even (sort of) enjoy the process of putting things in their new places.

And... we have a hammock! Two perfect hammock-hangin' trees stand at the front edge of our green and ample backyard, and yesterday Ben hung up my new favorite place to luxuriate:

The dog, who seems to have a new lease on life since we moved out of the city, likes to sleep underneath the hammock while I'm in it, which is not what I expected. (If ever I fall out of the hammock, neither of us will be happy.) I knew Bella would appreciate having company outside, but... directly beneath the low-hanging* hammock? She is really insistent on staying close. Although this dog has moved many, many times in her long life, she is still responding to our recent change of locale with some uneasiness. We good-naturedly assume that it is in fact the stress of moving that caused her to eat that kitchen sponge the other day.

In other news, Ben and I signed up for childbirth classes at the local hospital. The reality of my situation of affairs begins to sink in: I actually have to give birth to our baby! Nobody else can do it! Only me! Based on the materials I've received beforehand, the terrific reputation of our hospital and its doctors, the thoughtful and thorough needs assessment I filled out this morning, and the unmitigated niceness of every person I've talked to at the new hospital, I think our class will be a good one that will tell me more or less how I'm supposed to do this thing. And I don't want to get my hopes up too much, but maybe we'll even meet some other couples we like. We need friends in our new town!

* At least, low-hanging when there's a pregnant lady napping in it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thunderbolts and lightning

When we lived in Seattle, I did miss the spectacular thunderstorms of the Midwest. It rains in Seattle, of course, but there's almost never a true thunderstorm -- instead, it just kind of drizzles a bit every day for nine months, and that's how the Pacific Northwest gets its reputation for raininess. In actuality, Seattle doesn't get any more rainfall than, say, Cleveland (another former home of mine).

Tonight we're having one of those dazzling thunderstorms here in our prairie town. Honestly, I've never seen such lightning! I'm awake in the middle of the night, partly because of the storm,* and the lightning illuminates every room of the house with its quick white flashes. The land here is so flat, and the sky so dark (without the streetlights and tall buildings found in cities), that the lightning becomes really breathtaking. I walk through our still-bare rooms that continue to be filled with boxes, and our as-yet uncurtained windows light up -- at 4:30 AM! -- with impressive flashes. And the thunder, and the wind -- they're pretty awe-inspiring, too. The trees are shaking, somewhat terrifyingly. I found myself lying in bed, wide-eyed, certain that our house would be crushed by the fall of one of our mighty oaks or pines.

I gave up on sleep around 4 AM, having been lying in bed, wide-eyed, for a couple of hours (see * below). I was feeling kind of nauseated anyway, a phenomenon that has returned with a grand vengeance in my third trimester. Otherwise, the pregnancy is still going remarkably smoothly. I'm happy, healthy, and getting good and fat! Plus, I'm done with school, I love our new town, Ben has a job he likes, I just finished a great freelance illustration job, and we're homeowners. All is bright!

* and partly because I am haunted by the sound of the dog vomiting all over the carpet at 2 AM. Apparently I'll have to get better at predicting which inedible objects our 14-year-old dog will decide to eat next (for example, a sponge used to wash the insides of all of our kitchen cabinets).

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Boxes, curry, tired

We are slowly unpacking. I'm working on a freelance illustration at the same time, which means the unpacking doesn't have my full attention, plus Ben and I are both still exhausted from the move. It's not like when we were in our 20s and felt up to moving every year or so; we have more stuff now, and we are certainly in less awesome physical condition than we were as 20-somethings, so moving is now a grueling enterprise.

But we're getting there, and someday soonish our lives will start to feel more normal again (just in time for our baby to be born, I'm sure!). Tonight I look forward to making a breathtaking curry for dinner... Ben and I have been preparing less elaborate dinners lately, as we try to survive this move. But today I unpacked a jar of curry powder and a favorite rice pot, so all systems are go and we will feast on curry instead of angel hair and jarred pasta sauce with pixie dust.

I know I said I'd blog about our lovely new town and home, but I'm too tired to do anything but what comes easily right now -- namely, complaining about how I can't find anything, and about how sure I am that The Boxes Shall Never Get Unpacked, and about how tired Ben and I are. But, I promise, sometime soon: plum trees and country roads. There are so many wonderful things to describe, and I'll do it soon.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The big move

Ben and I moved into our new house this weekend. The move was fairly harrowing, as big moves generally are, and we're both exhausted -- despite having the extremely generous truck-loanding and -unloading help of many friends (THANK YOU, Leah, Eric, Evan, Ben, Tom, and Finn). Many of our helpers even loaded our crap in their own cars and drove an hour into the Minnesota countryside to put the crap in our new house!

Being six months pregnant, I didn't do any of the heavy lifting. Awkwardly trying to be useful, I fetched bagels and coffee, walked our whiny dog to get her out of everyone's way, and attempted to express encouragement and gratitude while others carried all of my stuff, much of which was heavy, to a moving truck. Always uneasy in the role of expert, I avoided acting in any sort of supervisory or directorial capacity. Then, when everyone left, I stayed in the old place and cleaned the hell out of it, finishing up just before Ben returned to fetch me. I spent those spare 20 minutes or so passed out in exhaustion* on a camping mat covered with a not-too-dirty fitted sheet. Ah, moving day.

But, we're in our new house. Our sweet little house. I love it! Next time I'll tell you about our small town, the house, and our FRUIT TREES!

* exhaustion, and I didn't even load any boxes! But that's pregnancy for you.