Friday, February 17, 2012

Dear Baby: February 17, 2012

Dear Baby,

Acne and pills, pills, pills.

My chin has exploded. It's sort of the same zit-look I sported in my eighth grade yearbook picture. I'd post the picture if I had my old yearbooks here in Texas. But women always want to look younger than they are, right? So I can't complain.

One of the most difficult things for me to accept about pregnancy, psychologically, is medicine. I'm really not a fan of taking pills. Not that I can't. I have no problem swallowing pills, whatever their size. I mean, I'm the type of person who has to whine about a headache for two or three hours before someone around me says, "Just take something already!" I'm afraid of acclimating to a medication or, heaven forbid, becoming dependent on it. But in an average day, I take a prenatal vitamin, 1-2 ondansetron, 1-3 stool softeners (lovely, I know, but they've become completely essential if I'm going to take the ondansetron), and 2 Tylenol. I organize my pills every morning with my bowl of Kix, and drink them down with the residual milk.

The prenatal vitamins aren't going anywhere. And they're good for us both, or so I'm told, so I'll leave them alone. I've gotten myself down to one ondansetron these days. Yesterday, I didn't even take one until around 5 pm. I can tell that we're moving out of the first trimester (we hit 13 weeks yesterday) because I have so much more energy, so much more appetite, so much more pleasure in being conscious. While your dad was in class last night, I scrubbed down the kitchen, did the dishes, swept the floor, made dinner, and folded a few loads of laundry (your dad has done about seven loads of laundry in the past two days, what a champ). It's amazing how excited I feel about being able to sit in the kitchen and not feel like I'm going to pass out. And to have two helpings of my famous Mexican enchilada casserolish thingy.

The Tylenol usage has become more frequent because I can feel you growing! I'm no OB, but I think I'm experiencing round ligament pain. It only started this last week. It must be strange for your dad to observe; I'll be sitting on the couch with my laptop resting on my lap, then suddenly my hip bones and the sides of my belly feel twangy and I sort of wig out with overly dramatic flailings. My tailbone and lower back have started to ache, like I fell down hard and bruised them. Hence, the Tylenol.

We go in to see the doctor next week. I'm excited to learn more about you and check up on your progress. I'm already showing in a major way (constipation and bloating are no help, I assure you). I've already whittled down my wardrobe to the few things that still fit. Well, the few bottom things that still fit: 1 pair of jeans, two pairs of pants, and two stretchy skirts. I have a few other dressier skirts that I can still pull off for a while now, and most of my shirts aren't so tight that they don't still fit. I shall postpone shopping for maternity clothes for a while yet.


Your mom

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dear Baby: February 9, 2012

Dear Baby,

Twelve weeks! We've almost cleared the first trimester! It's been a little hairy. Well, for me, anyway. Hopefully you're busily, blissfully building organs and such, without a care in the world.

I hope the second trimester will be as easy as everyone says it is.

Two days ago, I finally called the doctor to ask for a different medicine. Not that the suppository wasn't working; it was, just not all the time. I was back to throwing up about once a day and feeling weak. Plus, you know, suppository. Enough said. So the lovely nurses at the OB's office made the necessary calls to get me ondansetron, a fast-dissolving wonderpill that tastes like strawberries and instantly erases my nausea. (My OB put me on the suppository first because ondansetron is expensive, and insurance companies often balk at the price tag and reject the request. That happened to us, too, but the nurses worked their magic, and now I have this miracle medicine! Hooray!)

So although your mom's a little constipated (thanks to the wonderpill), she's generally doing well and feeling much happier about being pregnant.

Your dad even remarked a few hours after my first dose of ondasetron, "Pre-pregnancy Hilary's back again!" I'm afraid I've been something of a nightmare to live with. Your poor dad. It's been a lonely 12 weeks living with a pukey, cranky wife.

I attended a friend's baby shower this week, and can I just say, F-U-N. Maybe it was the ondansetron talking, or maybe my motherly instincts were kicking in, but with every mention of butt cream and onesies I found myself tearing up a bit. I'm excited for you to come, little baby. I'm excited for the tiny socks and the baby lotion and the pacifiers. But mostly, I'm excited for you.


Your mom

Friday, February 3, 2012

Dear Baby: February 2, 2012

Dear Baby,

Here are some new words for you to learn: break down, and suppository.

Last Friday, I was too ill to leave the house, what with my having to deal with week five of persistent, violent vomiting. (I've lost 15 lbs. Under normal conditions, this would rock. Under pregnancy conditions, this isn't good.) So your dad left to go to a poetry reading, all by his lonesome, poor man. Initially, I was glad I stayed in, because I was so incredibly sick, and it's easier to run a few steps to my own toilet than to wander the halls of a strange building desperately searching for any receptacle that could hold a half-gallon or so of my puke.

But when your dad came home, he told me there had been a special guest at the reading: Sandra Cisneros. You heard me, Sandra freaking Cisneros.

Since we moved to San Antonio, I secretly fantasized that she and I would become BFF writing pals, which would require Sandra to somehow take an interest in me, a girl with no writing clout or chicana heritage. In other words, it would require a miracle or an extreme twist of fate. Obviously. But it was a dream. I've loved Sandra's writing since middle school, when I first read The House on Mango Street. Imagine my distress, then, my little offspring, when I learned a few weeks ago that Ms. Cisneros was closing the San Antonio chapter of her life and relocating to her native Chicago. Imagine my further distress when I realized that this poetry reading might have been my last chance in this, my mortal life, to rub shoulders with one of my literary heroes.

After a few minutes of fighting back tears, I went into the bedroom and had a good sob.

Now, this break down was probably 2% Sandra Cisneros related disappointment, 3% hormones, and 95% exhaustion/dehydration. Still, I was devastated. Through my drooling and hiccups (I'm a really ugly crier) I told your dad that I've felt less than thrilled to be pregnant lately. My body feels so beat up. I've started fainting whenever I stand in one place for more than a minute or so. We don't have a room to call a nursery. We don't even have a corner to call a nursery. We're poor, poorer than I feel comfortable describing on this blog. I thought pregnancy would be more about glowing and nesting and less about feeling depressed and listless and riddled with anxiety. My strongest desire is to isolate myself and curl up in bed for the duration of this pregnancy. Can't I hibernate?

The whole time I was at residency in Vermont, I found myself feeling angry towards you, my unborn child, for making it so difficult for me to fully participate in my education, something that is very important to me. And I was really mad at you for making me miss meeting Sandra Cisneros. Don't worry, I'm over it now. I'm pretty sure you have no control over the effect you have on my body. (Pretty close to 100% sure.)

The point of all this is, it was (and continues to be) disturbing for me to confront these emotions. I wanted to get pregnant. I wanted to be a parent. But what sort of mother will I be, if I already harbor resentment towards my child for limiting what I can do? That's a reality of parenthood, isn't it? Setting aside goals and dreams in favor of the present physical and emotional needs of your children? Am I really prepared for this? I'm still trying to sort all this out in my mind and in my heart.

On a lighter note, I finally gave in and called my doctor once the fainting started to become more frequent. Since I can't keep much down orally, he gave me a prescription for a suppository that helps with nausea. Baby, that is a whole other battle. And it makes me sick in its own special way. But I will say I've stopped vomiting. It's nice to actually eat food and digest it. It's nice to have bowel movements again.

Alright, we've passed into TMI territory. Signing off now...


Your mom

Dear Baby: January 25, 2012

Dear Baby,

Yesterday we experienced an exciting milestone. Your pops and I went to the doctor for our first prenatal appointment. After a full gyno exam (yuck for me to experience, yuck for your dad to watch), we were delighted to learn that you are as healthy as can be determined at this time.

And, we got to hear your heartbeat! Whoosha whoosha whoosha... Your dad wondered if you were running laps in there, you little prune-sized shrimp, you. I'm wondering if your athletic antics are the reason I'm still sick as a dog.

I'm tired of losing so much  food every day. I've lost a total seven pounds since becoming pregnant. Which is hard to believe since I can't button up any of my pants anymore. I've come to terms with living in sweats and skirts for the next little while. I already have a nice padding of tummy fat and a hard baby bump, presumably my expanding uterus.

The doctor was very pleased with your, uh, progress. I said, "But my pants are getting so tight on me!" He just smiled and said, "Hey, mine too!"

I long ago kissed goodbye dreams of being one of those women who doesn't "show" until 25 weeks. It looks like I'm gonna need some maternity garb in the next few weeks.

By the way, your official due date: August 24.


Your mom

Dear Baby: January 18, 2012

Dear Baby,

Enjoy your last day as a raspberry, because tomorrow you graduate to nine weeks. You're officially leaving behind your embryo phase. Welcome to fetus-dom, little one. Apparently that makes you the size of an olive. Awww, so cute.

What shocks me more is that by eleven weeks, you'll be the size of a lime. That's some serious growing, baby!

I have my first prenatal visit on Monday. Will we hear your heartbeat, I wonder? Will we hear two? Your dad's still feeling like there's two of you in there. I'm thinking just one. But hey, what do I know.

Well, get your beauty sleep. We have a lot of cross-country travel tomorrow. I'm pretty well stocked on gum, trail mix, ginger cookies, and granola bars. Hopefully I won't throw up on the flights. At least, not too many times.


Your mom

Dear Baby: January 13, 2012

Dear Baby,

I've been at residency for my first semester at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and I have to say, I've been blessed with a semi-reprieve from the vomiting. I've still upchucked a few times this week, but still not as many times as I used to barf in one day.

That said, I don't think I'll be returning for the July residency. I'm not sure yet, but my heart says I'll probably take a semester off. I'm puzzled by the logistics of actually getting to Vermont while 34 weeks pregnant; I don't think I want to get on a plane at that point, but it's a three-day drive... And I'd like to make sure that I give birth with my doctor present at my hospital. You know.

I daydream about those first days, weeks, and months with you. I already told your dad that I don't think I'll be able to share with anyone else when you're brand new, except him. Maybe. And I definitely don't want to share myself with packet deadlines and critical theses.

You come first, little raspberry. Apparently, that's how big you are at this point. Your dad called you our raspberry lemonade.

Anyway, your gestation will be the phase of my first taste of graduate work. So far, it is going swimmingly. Thanks for being my little good luck charm.


Your mom

Dear Baby: January 6, 2012

Dear Baby,

The first week of the year of your birth continues in the same pattern: vomit. Exhaustion. More vomit.

There's been some anxiety, too. Anxiety about things that don't make sense or aren't pertinent. Anxiety about things that do make sense and are extremely pertinent, but are out of my control.

I don't know why, but the single event that has made me the most excited to be a mom was when a new friend of mine, whom I respect like an older sister (which is a new sensation for me since I'm the oldest), confided last night that she too is expecting. Her baby's due date? The day after yours!

So, I have an experienced comrade showing me the way. She had some great tips for working with my wonky hormone levels (read: vomiting) and it was nice to have someone excited with me for the exact same reason, give or take 24 hours.


Your mom

Dear Baby: December 31, 2011

Dear Baby,

When did Angry Birds get so dern hard?

Your mom

PS - See you next year! Waka waka...

Dear Baby: December 30, 2011

Dear Baby,

My burps taste like throw-up.

Anyway. How are you? Do you have little flipper arms yet? Your head still looks like a shrimp, I'm sure. But I'm positive you'll be a beautiful little masterpiece when our nine months are up. I mean, look at your parents. You won't be anything less than gorgemous, right? Errr...

I hope you're healthy. Feeling sick during these early weeks of pregnancy makes me even more anxious that you never feel unnecessary pain or discomfort. I took a long nap this afternoon--I'm really tired these days--and thought about how trapped I suddenly feel in my body. I can't regulate my nausea or my aches. I don't quite know how to calm myself down or make myself comfortable. I don't even know how to describe how I feel, or at least why I don't feel well.

Basically, I'm being schooled in dealing with a fussy baby. Yes. I'm a big ol' fussy baby.

And, uh, just to give you a head's up, we sort of have a baby already. The dog. Sammy. He pretty much rules the roost. So you better come outta the womb swinging. You're going to need all the moxie our genes can possibly give you. Once you're big enough, though, I think you'll be friends. At least, Sammy used to chew on my sister Mary Jane's hair with great affection. So you should be fine.

Your mom

PS - I did not, repeat, did NOT barf today. Hoo hah! [10 minutes later: I'd like to retract that last statement. Ugh.]

Dear Baby: December 29, 2011

Dear Baby,

First of all, I love you. Let's get my love out there, in the open. Because I love you already, you little pea-sized larva looking thing inside of me.

But you should know: you make me sick. And I mean that in the most affectionate, everything-I-do-I-do-it-for-you sort of way. But really.

This is how I found out I was pregnant with you:
1. Missed period. No brainer. But I'm a born skeptic and I've seen one too many negative pregnancy tests, so I didn't jump to any conclusions. And then I had...
2. Cramps. Horrible cramps. Like crippling, mind-bending, aliens-are-trying-to-rip-through-my-organs cramps. Ouch.
3. Nausea.
4. Aches.
5. Then, on Tuesday, December 20, 2011, I took a pregnancy test.

I took the pregnancy test only after barfing my brains out several times the night before. (How does one barf all of one's brains out multiple times? Don't ask me.) We had arrived the day before in San Jose, California, where your grandparents Watkins are serving as mission president and companion. Your grandma watched me double over with the pukes and went out first thing the next morning in search of those wonderful urine tests.

And 'twas confirmed: a bun in the oven.

I even took another test on Thursday. Just to be sure. Although with my face in the toilet the whole week, I wasn't that skeptical anymore.

And so today marks six weeks. Congrats, kid. 200-something days to go!

Your mom

PS - Your dad is a champ. I'm really cranky and really sensitive to smells these days. When your poor pop tried to eat a meatball sub tonight, I gagged and had to cover my face. I even tell him he smells bad. Often. And then he rubs my feet because he's just that wonderful. I'm sure I'm unpleasant to live with right now.

PPS - I quit Diet Coke for you. I don't want to hold that over your head all your life, but I might if you push me to it. But you're worth it. It was time to quit anyway.