So we are eight weeks and three days today. My pregnancy symptoms are, in some ways, all over the place. I seem to be able to run the gamut from actively vomiting to being convinced that something is wrong because I feel (mostly) normal, all within a twenty-four hour span. I’m fatigued and easily winded most of the time. My breast soreness seems to come and go (they always seem a bit larger, but I think even that is starting to normalize). I have learned over the last several weeks how to keep the Sick at bay (most of the time). Within ten minutes of waking up, I have as high-protein a meal as I can possibly assemble. This morning’s breakfast had twenty-four grams of protein (egg, high protein bread, full-fat cottage cheese). As long as I stick to food that doesn’t sound abhorrent during the rest of the day, the queasy seems to just float around like bad muzak in my stomach. If I eat the wrong thing, though, or too much of the right thing, or if I take the wrong sequence of vitamins at the wrong moment in the day, then it’s often all over. Then I’m either actively throwing up or wishing that I were.
I do have a funny story about the Sick, though. So a big trigger for my nausea has been smell aversions. Some of these are pretty obvious (alcohol, smoke, trash, kitty litter (which I’m not changing), rotten food), though sometimes it’s less obvious stuff (the vitamin cabinet, any and all green food, the cat’s breath, my wife’s hairspray). Whatever the culprit, I usually wind up retching about for a few minutes until I can evacuate the area. I’ve never actually thrown up from this, but it’s still not very pleasant. So cut to last Saturday. Our small Midwestern city had its annual Pride festival. We’ve gone now for the last three years, but every year we get there and remember how tiny and pitiful it is. Don’t get me wrong, its heart is in the right place, and I think it’s probably a wonderful event for the youth and newly-out of our LGBT population, but having done Pride in major cities like DC and Atlanta, it’s not exactly the social event of the year. But, like every Pride, the queers sure like their booze, so each year there is a significant line from the beer trucks, and this year was no exception. I would say that I spent the better part of this Pride walking around and mumbling judgments about other people’s smoking and drinking. R and I decided to cut our Pride-stay short and go see a movie instead (the new Woody Allen flick, “Midnight in Paris” – highly recommended). As we were walking back to our car, I got a whiff of the most disgusting dumpster that I have ever smelled in my ENTIRE life. It smelled so strong to me, I felt like I’d crawled inside of it.
So the uncontrollable retching began. And the worst part was that the dumpster was right next to our car, so the only way out was through. I looked like the drunkest lesbian lush leaving Pride: step-step-retch-keel over-make really sour face-step-step-run toward car-retch-cry out. It wasn’t pretty. And to make matters worse, there was a whole line of folks sitting behind their place of business watching all the crazy gays come and go. It was a walk of shame of a very different variety than I’ve ever walked ;-) R, though very sweet with me in the moment, thought it was completely hilarious and burst out laughing once we were safely ensconced in the car. Blech.
In other news, my anxiety level seems to be gently increasing. Though there haven’t been any complications to this point (knock on wood), I think that I’m having a hard time adjusting to the cavernous abyss that is the unknown. We have our first real Midwife appointment this Thursday morning. I’m hopeful that a) we’ll hit it off, and that b) she will help us to see/hear the baby’s heartbeat, which I’m sure is there given my symptoms, but which would be nice to have medical confirmation of. I was talking to R about the nature of these fears yesterday. I don’t have acute fears about the health and well-being of Rabbit River. I actually feel strangely optimistic that all will be well. I do, however, feel out of control. The analogy is this: I think that when we got pregnant with Emmett, R and I got into a car together. R was driving and I was co-piloting and we were heading toward destination Emmett Ever. When things got really difficult, and beautiful, and sad, and traumatic, we both felt like we were careening out of control on this crazy ride. We didn’t know how it would end, or when or if we would all get out of it alive. It was very unnerving. Now, I feel like we’ve gotten a brand new car. And we’ve switched seats. And we’re heading toward a brand-new unknown destination. So regression to the means says that this will be a much more normal, safe trip. But having only ever been on the one really out-of-control baby-making trip, I’m scared. I feel like I can’t imagine myself big and pregnant, which of course makes me worry. And I cull to mind every scary birth/pregnancy story I can, even though I’ve known hundreds of women throughout my lifetime to have safe, healthy pregnancies and births. So I suppose it’s just a matter of recognizing the narrative I have that says that this ride is dangerous and life-threatening. Then, I need to work to deconstruct it and build up a new narrative that says we don’t know now what this particular trip will look like, but, in all likelihood, it will be a good and safe trip and will result in a child that we can bring into our home to parent. Which is the whole point of this journey after all…