16 weeks, 4 days: The mother of updates

October 15, 2013 § 32 Comments

I’ve been gathering words in my head for you for weeks.

I won’t get to all of it now. I tried, actually. I wrote about twice as much, and it read as manic and tangential, so I had to cut the rest for a future post.

But, before I focus, one other thing. I have exactly 1000 comments on my blog exactly right now. That is incredible. I am humbled beyond belief. Thank you eachofyou for caring about me. Such community there is in this community. Such love. And also, I feel like I should take a picture of it. It’s like how you feel when you happen to look at the clock and it’s 11:11 or 12:34.

Ok, let’s get to it, eh?

October is my favorite month of the year. It holds some of my favorite time-limited sensory experiences – the briskness of cool wind combined with warm sun on my skin, the smells of woodstoves and decaying leaves (gifts from the Earth to our senses), the taste of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, the weight of heavy blankets and sweaters and wool beanies on your body, the knowledge of the year turning on its heels to leave us. And, holy hell, the colors. Oh, the colors.

Since beginning graduate school in 2008, October always seems to turn out to be the busiest month of the year. I typically cozy up during the weekends and work, rarely taking the opportunity to experience the gift of the season.

I’m trying to do it differently this time. However.

October 2013 is the month of madness, and late September was a preparation for October. And this, my friends, is why I seem to have disappeared a bit. I’m still reading and cheering you on, but I realize my comments have been scattered and my own posts sparse. I apologize.

Here’s the thing, though. In the month of October, I will be proposing my dissertation, applying for internships (a much larger undertaking than it sounds), and turning 30. And, if we decide to find out the sexes of these two sweet babes, we may be squeezing that in as well. It is a BIGBIG month. My dissertation proposal is on Thursday (wish me luck, friends), and I have one of the fathers of my field on my committee. I am shaking in my boots even thinking about it. Last night I dreamed that I was eating a bowl of saucy pasta during my presentation, and I kept pausing to slurp up huge bites which then left me unable to answer any of the questions posed to me. And these internship applications? Let me just say that this is the part of my program that is given the highest rank for its ability to induce anxiety. Most people choose not to propose their dissertation and apply for internship in the same month, but I’m a bit of a procrastinator. So here I am. If you know me, you know that I do not get things done quickly, but I get them done very very well.

Anyway. As a result of this monster of a month, I’m going to shoot some pregnancy related bullet points at you. Once things get back to normal, I will return to proper paragraphs and structural soundness. Deal?

1) All of the sudden, I have a belly. Two weekends ago, the Artsy Engineer and one of our closest friends, Fritz, who was visiting from Philadelphia for a wedding, kept teasing me by telling me that I had Who-body. You know, from Whoville? The kind Horton hears?

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I get it. Skinny arms and legs and this little tummy pouch. But I personally think that at the time I actually looked more like another Dr. Suess’ most famous characters. This lovable guy.

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Sir Grinch

But that was two weeks ago. Now, all of the sudden, I no longer look like I’m packing beer gut. I look pregnant. Andandand, my belly button is already nearly flat. Sunday, one of my yoga instructors became the first to ask me if I was pregnant. After class, he pointed at my belly and said (a little uncertainly, because, you know, what if you’re wrong!), “Is that a baby in there?” It melted me. First, I splurge on a membership to a really nice yoga studio, where I fall in love with every single one of my teachers. Everysingleone. Most are women, but this happens to be a man. A young one. He’s probably in his early to mid-20s. His voice during practice is like a calming blanket. And I melt under his hands whenever he makes adjustments to my poses. Second, it was just, well, incredibly special to realize that I am noticeably pregnant. I’ve been diligently taking bump photos every week or two and I’ll eventually be starting an official bump page, but for now, here’s a little unofficial taste taken this past weekend at around 16 weeks.

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16 weeks exactly.

All of the sudden, I am becoming one of those pregnant ladies in the grocery store that I used to smile/scowl at. As warm of a feeling this is, it comes with these little stabs of guilt. I pass couples who aren’t carting kids around and I wonder. Am I making her hurt?

2) Remember how I decided not to buy a doppler? Well, I panicked one night (less than a week after that post was written) and, without hesitation or much additional thought, bought a doppler. Hunted one down on craigslist and hounded the poor woman until she agreed to let me drive over at 8 o’clock at night and pick it up from her house. I don’t use it very often. Maybe once a week, give or take. It was really easy to find both heart beats at first, because my uterus was low and they were small and I knew exactly where to look. Now it’s a bit harder to find both. And, I know that, so I look for them less often, try to rely on that faith in nature and in my body, and when I do look for them and have trouble finding them, I don’t love it, but I also don’t freak out. I put the doppler away and I try again a few hours later. Easy. (LIES)

3) I had my NT scan. I can’t believe it was three weeks ago. I’m ashamed that it was three weeks ago and I haven’t reported on it. Is it even news? Do you even care anymore? Probably not, but I’ll proceed anyway. First of all, I was terrified (as usual), but not as terrified as I would have been if I had not had my first OB appointment a week before. My OB is of the lovely variety who gives a quickie ultrasound for twins to listen for heart beats, because he wants to be absolutely positive that he is listening to both and not just to one reflected off of a wall or something. Thank my stars for him. But one week later, I’m at the NT scan. It lasted an hour and a half. An hour and a half of laying in a dimly lit room with a big, beautiful flatscreen TV positioned high on the wall in front of me.

And you guys. When the live image popped up on the screen, it was all of Baby B. And Baby B had the hiccups. And then Baby B stretched its little legs out like it was straight chilling. Exactly like I do on road trips when I stretch my legs out on the dash like this. My mom used to get annoyed with me because I would leave toe prints on the inside of the windshield, but now Artsy Engineer just cleans them off without a word. Yup. He loves me. Anyway, when we switched over to Baby A, it had its little arm bent and its five fingers extended. It looked like it was trying to work its tiny little thumb up to its mouth.

And because I’m all about images this week, here are a two of each of the babes. They caught both babies doing the adorable things described above in pictures for me, and I will include them on the Inmates’ page. But for now, here are the babes and their best profile shots.

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Baby B. Heart, bum, knees, toes.

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Baby A was snuggled in and not really up for photos. But the profile. Those lips.

Looking at their faces right now, I want to hold them in my hands. I want to kiss their lips and noses. I want to run my finger lightly over their faces to help them relax like my dad did with me when I was a child. I’ve looked at these pictures at least 25 times in the last three weeks, but typing this right now is the first time they – these two, my Inmates – have brought tears of love to my eyes. I’ll be honest with you guys. I have had a difficult time really connecting with these guys. Yes, I’m 16 and a half weeks and I talk about wanting to meet them and we purchased our first item for the nursery and my body is changing, but up to now, the protective armor has seemed still solidly snapped into place. There are babies in there and their skulls are the size of apricots right now (incredible) and I love those ideas, but have I developed an attachment to these particular children? I don’t know. I think these present tears indicate that I’m getting closer. I cried when I first heard their heart beats, but was that love or was that relief?

And, on that note, I cannot end today’s post without recognizing that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I need to acknowledge the pregnancy that I lost and the ones that many of you have lost. I am so sorry. So so sorry. No one should have to experience this. And especially sorry for those who have lost more than one. Because my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I have spent this new pregnancy in fear that I will be a sufferer of repeat pregnancy loss. Why? Because every one of these women started with one. Despite evidence to the contrary, I still fear this. And I also fear the increased risks of preterm labor and infant mortality that come with multiple gestation. Desperately at times and at times blunt and mildly.

But as I sit here and think of these babies inside of me, I have to keep repeating the words borrowed by a sisterfriend in the blog world: This is its own pregnancy.

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§ 32 Responses to 16 weeks, 4 days: The mother of updates

  • jesselyn6585 says:

    You look beautiful Lentil! And this was a beautifully written post…every part of it.

  • Kimberly says:

    those are two cute babies!!!! thank you for the update! you are looking super thin so i think it is obvious that that is a baby bump! so exciting!

  • Aislinn says:

    Good luck with your dissertation proposal!

    You look beautiful with that baby bump, and those ultrasound shots are beyond adorable.

  • julieb79 says:

    Aw yay, look at you! The first time a stranger asks you when you’re due is the best – more reassuring that you look pregnant and not just chunking up. : )

    I used to not understand how people could say they fell in love with ultrasound images when they are so often alien-looking and unrecognizable, and I was feeling really disconnected from the pregnancy as well. Then we had the 20 wk scan where at that point he not only looked more human baby-like but the 4D view of his face showed features I recognized from myself and my own artsy engineer. It was like a preview of that first moment you meet each other after birth. That triggered the waterworks and every time I look at that picture I feel true love for this little guy I don’t know yet, and now can’t wait to meet!

    • Yup. There was a stage there for about two weeks when I swear my whole middle was just getting wider. Then, all of the sudden, it decided to go outward instead of everyward. Thank goodness.

      Amazing that you could pick out features of you and your artsy engineer. Your mention of waterworks is triggering my own. I find myself trying to do a little bit of that with these images. Something about the bottom lip reminds me of my own, especially in one or two of the shots I have where the little mouth is open. I can’t believe your so close to (or in??) the third trimester!!

  • J o s e y says:

    Awh – you are SO cutely and obviously pregnant now!
    I hear ya on the tears at the first ultrasound – I’d say mine were definitely tears of relief, not love. It wasn’t until I felt the baby moving that I started to think…whoa…that’s a tiny human – MY tiny human – inside of me.

    Good to read an update from you – I was hoping all was well in your world.

    • 🙂 Here’s the thing. I think that may be what it is. The ultrasound was part of it, but I’ve started to feel tiny touches and pops over the last week or so. It’s making the pictures seem like mine and not some random ultrasound photos I googled. It’s like, there they are on the screen, but really here they are inside of me. Incredible.

  • Amber says:

    I love this post so much! You are one busy woman, I tell ya! Good luck with the dissertation and internship applications.

    I canNOT believe you are 16 weeks already! Didn’t you JUST get pregnant? It is amazing how quickly, yet slow, this all seems to go by. You look absolutely beautiful with that adorable baby bump. The profile pictures look fantastic. My Baby A is a little camera shy as well, and we don’t get as good of pictures as we do of Baby B. I’m soooo glad that everything seems to be going well. I totally relate to the disconnect. Even at 23 weeks, I still feel not quite as connected as I probably should. It’s just so hard, when you fear that something could go wrong at any time. I’m so happy for you!

    I know you are busy, and probably don’t have time at all to participate, but I wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the Sunshine Award. You can read my post with the nomination at http://oldladynobaby.blogspot.com/2013/10/sunshine-award-part-i.html

    • Aw, thanks for the nomination, friend! I’m glad I add joy to your day in that way (and you certainly add it to mine). I will get to this once I am on the other side of Helltober, my favorite month of the year. I can’t believe I’m 16 weeks either (heck, 17 as of Friday!). I feel like I JUST got pregnant, too.

      Glad I’m not the only one feeling the disconnect. It makes absolute sense, but you feel guilty about it at the same time.

  • Sadie says:

    I’m glad that mantra is helping you too!

    You are one gorgeous pregnant lady!

  • This is such a beautiful post. I am so happy for you! Your belly is so cute too. I just told my husband the other day that I was going to make a shirt for myself when I’m pregnant that says, “Little brother/sister to 3 siblings in heaven. Please don’t be jealous of my mommy’s belly.” 🙂 I was kidding, but I also don’t want to be the one others resent not knowing my story. I wouldn’t want to break someone’s heart either. Wishing you the best! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG! you look so beautiful!!

  • Amanda says:

    You look NOTHING like the Grinch, my dear. You are BEAUTIFUL and your bump is precious!

  • Steph Mignon says:

    I am officially jealous of your beautiful bump! I am still in the weird Dr. Seuss character stage, if that. Enjoy October, your birthday, and your growing babies my dear! I am so thrilled for you that things continue to go well. Oh and as we speak I’m waiting for my doppler to arrive. I just think it will help me worry at little less.

  • Megan says:

    Wow, you you are so tiny and then BOOM- a baby belly!!! Awesome bump you have going so far, and the babies are adorable:) glad things are progressing well!!

  • Aramis says:

    Love every single picture in this post, from you to the babes. I’m glad all has been going well and I’m wishing you the best of luck with all that you have on your plate this month!

  • Yay, you’re back, and you brought pictures! I love the side view, and the ultrasound pictures, of course. Also so glad you bought a doppler to have that piece of mind when you need it. But you’re at gender scan already?! Where does the time go?

    Seriously, adorable. Just think of how much better you’ll feel after Thursday…that’s my favorite part of any stressful situation, the day that I wake up and I know it’s all over (job interviews, wedding days, you get the picture). And then you get to prep for BABIES! AHHHH!

  • It’s a lovely post Lentil, very pleased for you and Artsy Engineer!

  • Daryl says:

    You certainly have a lot going on these days! Good luck with the dissertation proposal and internship applications! You and the babies look absolutely adorable!

  • Amanda says:

    Oh wow, you look so beautiful! I am 20 weeks pregnant and you barely see it . You can definitely feel it, and there is a hint of a beer belly growing into something rounder, but if you don’t know me you wouldn’t tell.

    Those ultrasound pictures are so perfect.

    Good luck with your dissertation. I am so happy everything is going well!

  • Mrs B says:

    You look totally amazeballs!

  • Love this post! You look fantastic!!

  • JustMe says:

    I don’t even know where to start commenting here….first of all, you look great! How tall are you? You look so statuesque and elegant. Gorgeous. Also, I’m so glad the NT scans went well! So much fun to see them looking like real babies, huh?

    Finally, holy shit girl…good luck this month! When is your proposal? Just remember, the faculty feel obligated somehow to chime in something deep and meaningful. Don’t let it freak you out that they’re trying to redesign your study, mostly they’re just trying to sound smart. I remember during one of mine (thesis or dissertation can’t remember?) where I was freaking out that I would have to redo my entire design and finally the faculty member said something like “Oh, don’t worry…I’m just playing with ideas. The way you have it is totally fine.” Great.

    Also, applications. AGH. But I remember those being more fun and I was more motivated to work on those because it’s about planning my future (I know, I’m a dork). Create a spreadsheet….it will help. Have tons of people review your Appi, especially the essays. And don’t freak about the numbers, usually when we review apps we are just looking to get a general idea about testing hours, assessment hours, how many WISCs/WAIS/Neurotests, etc and if you’ve actually seen some diversity in your caseload. The personal statements and essays are the most important part.

    Wow, now I wrote an essay. Anyhow, you will get through this!! Good luck!! Remember to do lots of self-care, because self-care is actually baby-care right now.

  • bustedoven says:

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. This one was worth the wait, girl!

    First of all, GOOD FREAKING LUCK with everything you have going on!

    And I am so right there with you on so many things — 1) October is THE BEST. I love it with all my heart for all the reasons you mention, even though it is generally super busy. 2) I am also very slow about things, but dammit, I do a great job, too!

    Furthermore, you have the bump that every pregnant lady dreams of. You are ALL BABIES, girl! It’s adorable.

    Loved this post, and sending lots of love to you and those babes!

  • sarah says:

    You make a beautiful pregnant lady! (great dress, too). I totally remember that moment when the first quasi-stranger pointed out that I was pregnant – it was surreal. Good luck with all the craziness! (and how on earth did you get to 16 weeks?!)

  • Meredith says:

    You look beautiful! Congratulations! I can’t wait to have a big bump. Right now it just looks like a beer belly 🙂

  • You look fantastic! Good luck with the rest of the month. Pretty soon you are going to start feeling those babies move around in your belly and it is AWESOME!!

  • JenS says:

    First of all, you look adorable with your bump.
    Second, I had that same disconnect with my pregnancy. Maybe that’s why I couldn’t commit to names before they were born? I definitely was keeping up a wall to protect myself. Though, I think I started to feel a little more connected towards the end when they moved around a lot and they were big movements. When it started to feel like there were actual babies in there. I was always too afraid to blog about it or even talk about it, but I am so glad you did because it makes me feel a lot better to know others feel the same way.
    Good luck with everything this month!

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