Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Anna, Carrie, Melissa, Mishana, Skyla, & Vikki

I haven't forgotten about organic food (by the time I actually post my thoughts on that subject all of you will be buzzing with tense anticipation. Well, that's the hope), but I've been thinking about pregnancy lately. Not because I have any plans to get knocked up myself, but because so many of my friends apparently got together nine to twelve months ago and planned to start making babies. Which is funny, because most of them don't know each other. Anyhow it's clear they are all in the same secret league, since there's no way I could have zero pregnant friends in the latest few seasons (ZERO) and then all of a sudden have six at the same time.

We've had a mercilessly crappy summer in Boston so far with bayou-type humidity and unrelenting temperatures, and it makes me wonder how it feels to be pregnant in the summer. Since I already feel bloated, sluggish, crappy, and miserable in this weather as a non-baby-carrying individual, I have to think weather like this is sheer hell on the pregnant set. Of course, they probably have air conditioners, which I do not. (Thanks, Mr. Rufo.)

Which brings me to a larger point. The actual nature of pregnancy itself. On "The L Word," cutting-edge lesbians Bette and Tina are having a bi-racial baby together. ("That's a whole lot of otherness to put on one child," says Tina. "Shut up bitch," says Bette. I'm paraphrasing.) Tina, the lucky recipient of the donor sperm, is going through a whole array of body idiosyncrasies and issues. In fact, in the last episode she was unable to get on a plane to New York for an important event because she felt so crappy. I believe this is true to life. Why? Because on "Sex and the City," my other mainstay of medical information, pregnant Miranda feels like shit, has weird gastrointestinal issues and swollen fingers, and has to buy new shoes because her feet have grown a size. (I'm not even mentioning the most horrific of pregnancy and birth side effects in the interest of not scaring my readers, especially the men.)

These two shows do not jive with the perky, perfectly skinny women (except for cute bump) that compose most representations of pregnancy on screen. These actresses of course are not actually expecting. The question is, if the majority of shows represented pregnancy is all of its true gory glory, would women line up just as quickly to go through with it?

Of course they would. After all, scads of prospective mothers eagerly watch such horrors as real-life "Maternity Ward" on TLC with regularity. I doubt, if you really want to have a baby, that any of these spectres of gloom dampen your enthusiasm. I suppose that's another good sign that I'm in fact not ready to have a baby. Because I feel serious dampening. Fascination and interest, yes (I did read the "The Baby Whisperer" in the course of one night while staying at my pregnant friend's house and, incidentally, highly recommend it), but not excitement to jumpstart my body into a year (or more) of massive and unfamiliar changes.

But, since I have at present such an extensive network of women I know who have decided to do this very thing, I need to ask (if you can squeeze in the time to answer) what your experience has been so far: i.e. more Tina/Miranda, or more Rachel from "Friends"? (whose only notable side-effects from pregnancy were corn-chip cravings and extreme horniness for Ross. I just can't think this is accurate. But my mind is willing to be changed.)

In the meantime, I have to sincerely commend all of you that have decided to go through with this amazing and unsettling process, and that are doing so even at this very moment. May the heat wave pass!

Update, 10 am, June 29: Congratulations on your baby girl, John and Carrie! When will Charlotte be old enough to become a loyal blog reader like her dad?

Update, 12 pm, June 30: Believe it or not, Anna and Casson just had their baby girl, Sammie, this afternoon. Apparently all I have to do to induce labor is write about the subject... Congratulations to you both!


At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Carries proxy I post my comments.

Women are amazing - their ability to change their bodies – to shoulder the pain and to provide such care for their children is just amazing.

Carrie has been having contractions every 7-10 mins for the last 12 hours, can’t sleep and has at least another few hours before she might be eligible for some relief. I am telling you - AMAZING!

I’ll keep you posted. JQ

At 1:04 AM, Blogger scs said...

Yeah. This is what I'm talking about. Of course your impending life-event (impending as in TOMORROW) was on my mind when I posted this entry. Good luck to both of you on what is most likely your last day on earth without children. :) Wild times ahead!

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 29 weeks pregnant (and counting), I would have to say that my experience thus far has been better than expected based on my hours of reading, surfing the net, and of course, watching baby shows on cable that detail all the horrible pregnancy side effects. I've had no episodes of morning sickness or extreme food cravings that are so often discussed, but exagerrated moodiness, an overwhelming need for sleep, and indigestion/heartburn that is triggered by a mere sip of water are my most common "challenges". I didn't believe the shoe size increase was for real, but sure enough, I've had to go shopping again to expand my footwear collection (damn the luck!). As for the heat, I spent about 10 hours this past Saturday at a party in 95 degrees plus humidity - it wasn't pretty. Besides looking like a drowned rat, I was tired and cranky, eventually yelling at my husband in front of everyone, "We are either leaving RIGHT NOW or you can hitch a ride home!" Ahh, motherhood...

At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Skyla said...

Congrats to all the other pregnant ladies mentioned here - it's true most of us don't know each other (as a wife of a Westmont alum my ties extend only as far as Anna and Sara). Or at least that's what we tell you to hide our secret planning sessions on how to get knocked up. Here's a hint for my as of yet non-pregnant friends: When the package insert on your birth control says that you'll be fine if you take two pills after missing a day, they're LYING.

Six months ago, I would have definitely put myself and Benji in the category of "Not Ready to Have Children". Of course, Mother Nature had a different idea in mind. And here we are, preparing for that life-changing event while at times enjoying, and at times lamenting, the path that will four months from now get us there.
While definitely not among the worst of pregnancy experiences possible, my journey thus far has definitely NOT been corn chips and horniness. First of all, there's the joys of "morning" sickness that lasts all day. While I only actually puked twice, I spent a solid two months being constantly nauseas and consuming vast quantities of Saltines. This is accompanied by all TYPES of GI problems, stemming from the fact that your digestive system slows down to a crawl so that the baby can absorb as many nutrients as possible. The bad news for the pregnant one (and her partner) is that your first three months are spent on a rollercoaster of diarrhea, constipation, and flatulence. The good news is it usually goes away by the end of the third trimester...only to be replaced by even better symptoms.

My second trimester experiences so far have mostly been psychological or behavioral. Meaning I'm freaking out a bit about the new frightening numbers the scale keeps spitting out at me, the upcoming functional changes in body parts (breasts suddenly aren't so sexy anymore), the awkwardness of movement due to a change in your center of gravity, the coming-to-terms with the possibility of developing "cankles" and my mother's vericose veins (those are *super* sexy), and of course the fear of the impending delivery. All this is of course aggravated by the fact that people feel compelled to share with you every horror story they know involving either themselves or some pregnant person they know having such-and-such terrible thing happen to either them or their baby during their 57 hour labor. As if THAT'S what I need to hear.

On the other hand, there's a whole host of amazing and wonderful things that only pregnant women can experience. Like seeing the baby on the ultrasound screen, or hearing the heartbeat for the first time, and of course, feeling that first little kick. If you can get through the first few unsettling months (and you CAN), at some point the experience of pregnancy will change dramatically. In the beginning, I felt like I had a parasite - which technically, a baby is (I know the term is horrible, but hear me out). The growing baby takes EVERYTHING from you - your body shifts all priority from keeping you alive and healthy to growing a new human, often at your expense. You're constantly tired, endlessly hungry, and the gastrointestinal issues seem to control everything you can do. But eventually, your mind follows suit. At some point, it kicks in that you're not just getting fat. That there's a BABY that you are growing - that needs you, and will love you more than anything ever could. Suddenly the bloating and clumsiness and constipation and skin breakouts and weight gain and feet swelling doesn't matter. Suddenly you realize that you're about to be blessed with the most amazing gift of life that anyone could ever experience. Suddenly every kick isn't just a kick. It's a little secret message between you and your child, like a "Thanks, Mom" - long before those words are ever formed (if you're lucky enough that they ever do!).

Although I haven't had the Rachel fake-pregnancy experience so far, it seems inconsequential. I think Sara hit the nail on the head when she said most women would line up in droves to go through all of the gory horrible stuff you see on TLC and more - for the experience of having a child. I know I would, and hope to a few times over the course of my child-bearing years. Of course, I haven't gone through labor yet...so better check back with me in four months to see if I'm singing the same tune.


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