We were home Monday on account of the national holiday. I wanted to walk down the main street here to get my exercise. We walked into a rockabilly hipster store to see what they have for cute baby clothes. We are invited to a baptism next weekend, so we need a present.
A couple of teenage kids were hanging out there talking to salespeople. When we walked out of the store and continued on the main street, a group of teens passed by, talking loudly. “Hooligans!” – Said my husband. I countered: “Just wait twelve years.” “Oh, I won’t be around then; I will be doing my reunion tours.” Something like that is always nice to hear…
Then Friday night we went into a neighborhood liquor store to buy him some beer. A group of teenagers walked out as we were walking in. One of them was dressed kind of goth, stripy tights and a short black skirt. “Did you see that?” – he asked. “Super-cute! Just wait twelve years,” – I promised. This future father was unimpressed. “She should be listening to my music!”
Our household is implanting itself firmly in the middle class. First, we bought a house in a nice suburban town. Second, we got married. Third, I got pregnant. Time-line wise the third event might have taken place before the second; it’s hard to tell. Fourth, we bought a subscription to Consumer Report online.
With all these baby products out there we were a bit confused as to what to buy. Then my husband’s co-worker gave us a slightly outdated Consumer Report Guide to Buying Baby Products. We started reading it, and figured that we need to know about the latest car seat and stroller models. My husband suggested that if we will be buying a car – and we will — we would need Consumer Report anyways, so he went ahead and subscribed us.
Our goal was to buy a car seat within weeks so that my husband can install it before he takes off. So we went online and found that infant car seats ratings were taken down awaiting further testing. With a little research my husband found that Consumer Report tested them at 70 mph, not 38, as the government and the manufacturers do. So they had to take their results down.
Now our primary focus is a stroller.
Getting back to the middle class theme, we are also planning on getting a Costco membership. We went to the nearest Costco store, which turned out to be 7 minutes away from us, to check it out and to see what they have for strollers and car seats. They only had one stroller; it was black with a black cover that had a mesh plastic window in it. It looked like an Afghan woman in a burka. We can’t have our daughter starting her life like that!
That pregnant women look beautiful is a lie. Some do, and some look better pregnant. However, by the time most women reach the third trimester the whole beauty issue is out of the window.
To be sure my skin is nearly flawless. Hormones leveled off by now, and too much blood is good for healing the skin. And yet I have no illusions: hormone will come back, and come back soon. With them breakouts will return.
My hair is not looking too shabby either. I am finding fewer hairs in my brush now. But when I look at the total picture, I don’t see much more hair then I used to have. Does it grow less as well? Is it because I’m not getting enough calcium? And most importantly, what is going to happen after I have the baby? Is half of my hair going to fall out?
On a less pleasant side is my stomach. Naked pregnant bellies are rather disgusting. Take a look at a real life pregnant belly gallery. The bellies are hanging, bursting, expanding. Close ups are pierced with stretch marks and gross. I don’t see any stretch marks on my tummy, but the worst is yet to come. Then again, I might have some on the bottom of my tummy where I can’t see them. I had a silly idea of asking my husband to look for them, but it’s unrealistic. I’m not going to get my only husband to seek ugliness in me. Linea negra is a particularly nasty touch. Thankfully my family doesn’t get them. I am particularly biased against popped out belly buttons, and so is my only husband.
Pregnant bellies ore covered by clothes may look much more appealing. In particular, they may balance out larger women. When larger women don’t gain any extra weight – and they shouldn’t — they look pregnant, not big. Tall women with long legs look good because long legs is pretty much the only feature a lady gets to keep for the time of pregnancy. Women never gifted with particularly large breasts gets a perky couple.
I look grotesque. My belly is triangle shaped and way too big for the rest of my body. I look like I’m carrying a watermelon under my dress. My breasts grew, but I didn’t really need them to be larger then they already were.
In short, I’m glad my only husband will be away for a couple of weeks when I’m in my 8th month. He doesn’t need to keep observing the growth of my belly.
My morning Transbay ride takes about a half an hour. The Transbay bus takes me downtown and drops me off at the ever-odorous Greyhound station. Then I walk a couple of blocks to the MUNI station, and ride the MUNI for another 45 minutes.
During the walk to MUNI I need to estimate the fullness of my bladder, and the necessity to use the bathroom.
I refuse to use Greyhound bathrooms. They are disgusting, and the people using them are disgusting. There is a bathroom in Noa’s Bagels, and since I patronize their establishment from time to time, it feels right to use it. However, Noa’s are busy in the morning, and their bathroom is frequently occupied. So the thing to do is to go across the street to Baja Fresh, who have no customers at this hour and keep their facilities clean. I figured that being Hispanic they are also baby-friendly and are understanding of a pregnant lady’s situation.
If I misjudge my needs or the baby is too active and MUNI is delayed I may need to leave the MUNI station to visit a nearby bathroom. I have been using the one at the Hyatt. It’s very close, although not en rout to my Transbay, very clean, and even almost styling.
Several months ago, ahead of time actually, I got by kick count card from my OBGyn. I started filling it out this Monday.
I was so proud of my active kicker and so looking forward to filling it out! And then sometime last week the baby turned around. So I counted my kicks on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was OK, Tuesday – somewhat disappointing. I wasn’t sure about some of her movements. Then came Wednesday. As instructed, I had dinner and tried to relax. Because I was behind on the gallons of water I’m supposed to consume every day, I had two pints with the diner. As a consequence, I had to run to the bathroom every 15 minutes. Then my mom called and asked for granddaughter stories. In short, the whole relaxing thing didn’t worked out as planned. I felt some moves, but it took me a while, 50 minutes to be exact, to count 10. I was not happy. I was actually worried that there is something wrong with my baby. Why is she less active? Did she do her twists and turns a little too diligently? So that she got entangled in the umbilical cord? Perhaps even hanged herself?
My husband spent the evening at his band practice, and when he returned said, but you said that babies become less active at about this time!
I went to bed with an uneasy feeling. When I woke up early in the morning, I began to consider going to the hospital when my husband wakes up. I was lying in bed and faulting myself for being a bad mom, and not rushing to the hospital as soon as my husband returned. And then my daughter woke up, and woke up with the vengeance.
I did something different both Thursday and Friday. Because my daughter was lively all day, and because my mom wanted to hear about her explorations of my uterus, and because I actually wanted to relax, and wanted to go out for a nice dinner, I just marked my kick counting card. I know she kicked, so why wait for her to kick some more?
With all the discomforts of pregnancy to choose from, I have to say that intensified sensitivity to smells is among the most annoying. MUNI rides are getting to be a disaster. Half the time there is a homeless person onboard, and this homeless person often stinks of urine or whatever else the homeless feel like stinking, that includes the special homeless cleaning solution. The cleaning solution is the least offensive being the least intrusive. I can smell the homeless from another end of the car.
I now notice that old people emit a particular old person stench, and so I try to sit a seat away from them. It helps, for now.
Then there is a blond [Eastern] European guy on the Transbay bus. People on the Transbay bus are clean, but some, like that blond guy, use cologne, which is incredibly obnoxious. Don’t they know that there might be a pregnant girl aboard? On the other hand, my husband said that he couldn’t smell any cologne. We also have some perfumed FOB clients at work stopping by to see their social workers. I can smell them on another floor.
I recently discovered that some men carry a certain laundry odor on them. Maybe they get their shirts done for c.99, maybe they use a cheap detergent. I think it’s the former.
My sister-in-law in Chicago said that she kept a part of her extra-keen smell sensations once she had her kids. I used to think that my newly found olfactory perceptions would be great for wine testing later on, but now I’m forced to consider a number of drawbacks…
She’s getting heavy. Now that I’m in the third trimester she’s gaining a half a pound every week, and she’s growing too. Her head is now humongous. I can feel her other body parts – legs, arms, torso. I can feel her heads and feet too, but these are still small.
From time to time she goes at my bladder. Actually, she kind of sits on it continuously. So I feel like going to the bathroom continuously, more or less. Usually I don’t really need to go. So I kind of need to use my brain and think about how much I had to drink. But I do go a lot, just in case. It’s all getting to be very time-consuming.
The most uncomfortable is when she decides to go at my bladder. Then I feel a deep urge to pee, but only for a second or two, or until she kicks me again.
She kept me awake from 6 to 9 am this morning banging on my bladder. At 9 I gave up and so now I’m sitting here and typing my baby notes.
I ca only imagine my tribulations in the coming two and a half months.
So a while ago I learned that the weird sensation often described as snakes under water is not my baby being up to something, maybe turning. It’s my uterus expanding. This sensation might be rather uncomfortable, especially when I’m standing or walking.
It feels less uncomfortable, but quite strange nevertheless when I’m lying down, especially as my baby is doing her acrobatics.
I was laying down the other night, watching my stomach change shapes when the snakes moved in. I could feel them crawl in my bed. I could feel the sheets rub against my skin in a swirly motion. Strange indeed.
She can get frightened, too! I long ago suspected that my baby is not deaf. She reacted to my husband voice, for instance. Long ago when we were driving back from LA she reacted to Saint-Séance’s Swan. BUT all of these hearing instances were a bit too sappy for my tastes. I am the kind of girl who mistrusts sentimentality.
We went to Barnes and Noble the other day to cash in my husband’s gift certificate. Gift certificates are really big now that they can be purchased at grocery stores. He got a whole bunch of them for his Birthday. The main problem with them is that stores like Barnes and Noble are more expensive then the Amazon and the selection they offer is not quite as good. So we had problems cashing them in. I saw a book there about teaching your hearing kid the sign language. I read elsewhere that it’s a good idea to teach your kid to sign because it can understand language much earlier then it has the ability to control it’s vocal cords and it gets frustrated if it can’t express itself.
Anyhow just seeing that book made me think about my baby’s hearing abilities. Gosh, I will be an awful mom!
Thankfully right after our largely futile Barnes and Noble excursion we went to Trader Joe’s. I was standing in line a few steps away from a register when the cashier rang one of their huge bells that they ring when they need assistance. My baby who was sleeping peacefully in her own little (not that little, really) uterus awoke and shook so hard that my whole stomach went up and down. Then she went back to sleep.
Now I know she can hear.
I have to mention something about my husband’s co-worker from whom we are borrowing the baby product-buying book. He’s gay, and he and his partner wanted to have a child that would be their child. The two of them. So the idea was to get the sperm from one of them, harvest an egg from a female relative of another, fertilize the egg and put it in a second woman. Needless to say something like that would coast a fortune. Needless to say so many things can go wrong with that plan that it eventually fell through.
Me and my husband on the other hand – we just had sex. And now we are borrowing their baby books.
So on one hand, there is no country in this world that’s completely free of homophobia. On the other – things are just simpler when you are straight and no amount of legislature or public service announcements will ever fix it.