Sunday, September 18, 2011

I'm Pregnant!!

Yes, I said it, and it's true! I'm pregnant! I suppose I could have thought up a clever post in which I gradually built up to the announcement that I'm pregnant, but after almost twelve weeks of knowing about my pregnancy and thinking about it constantly but not wanting to say anything here, I think I can be forgiven for just blurting it out now that I am into the second trimester.
Truthfully, this is the last place I've shared the news, and I can't imagine I'm sharing it with many who didn't already know from my Facebook announcement last week or from personal interactions anyway, but there it is. If all goes well I'll be having a baby in March. Well, hopefully in March. My due date is early enough in the month that there's a possibility that it could be a February baby, but I've already had many conversations with the fetus about how s/he needs to stay in there until his/her due date because I have a dissertation to finish and defend before I give birth.
I think I've been having all of the normal reactions. I'm 80% thrilled and excited and happy as can be. This was a very planned pregnancy, so I can't say that I'm shocked or surprised. Since it's a planned pregnancy, Penn and I talked a lot about parenting before we even started trying to conceive, and I feel like I got a lot of fears and worries out of my system before I went off the Pill, which is a very good thing since there is a distinct feeling that there is no turning back now! I am about 15% worried that something could still go wrong with the pregnancy or the baby and 5% anxious about all of the changes that I know are coming our way, but mostly I'm just really, really happy. I have wanted to be a mother for such a long time, and I'm grateful to be having this experience.

Pregnancy has already been such an adventure, and I'm only 15 weeks into the trip. Here are some things that they (meaning everyone I know who has ever experienced a pregnancy) did not make clear enough about pregnancy, and therefore I learned for myself only after I got pregnant:

1) That phrase "a bun in the oven" is not just figurative. I feel like I am literally baking this baby. I learned from charting my basal body temperature while trying to get pregnant that my normal body temperature upon waking is in the reptilian 96.8-97.2 degree range. During the second half of the cycle when my progesterone is up, it's around 97.6. Now that I'm pregnant, it's not unusual for me to wake up with a temperature of 98.4 freaking degrees (and yes, I'm supposed to stop temping now that I'm pregnant and I mostly have, but it was kind of addictive for me). A temperature rise of a degree and a half may not seem like much, but let me tell you, it is noticeable. It is noticeable to me, it is noticeable to my poor husband as I thrash around in bed all night and flail my arms around trying to cool off, and it is noticeable to the cat, who has now decided he prefers my chest to Penn's. I'm just grateful that it's the early part of my pregnancy that coincided with summer heat waves, because I can't imagine how unbearable summer+increased body temperature+30 extra pounds would be.

2) Morning sickness is not just a morning thing, which, to be fair, I did know before getting pregnant, but why do we as a culture persist in referring to it as morning sickness when that is so inaccurate? Yes, I wake up queasy some mornings, but the worst time for me is almost always the afternoon and sometimes late at night. And there's sort of a general icky feeling that persists all day. I'm one of the lucky ones and haven't actually thrown up yet*, but my body has now developed a pleasant habit: one minute I'm standing in the kitchen pulling out some eggs to hard boil and the next I'm dry heaving my way into our pink bathroom. The sensation that I am going to vomit comes out of nowhere, is what I'm saying. I'm used to having several minutes of, "Oh god, this is going to be bad," and plenty of time to find a bathroom or pull over or whatever before I actually start retching, but not in pregnancy. Now its like, "Let me just hit send on this e-mail OH LORD WAIT, GONNA YACK." I hope this stays as dry heaving and not actual puking, or I am going to be in trouble.**
*Not true anymore. I started a draft of this post during week 6. Week 6 I was queasy all the damn time. Week 7 I felt awesome, barely even remembered that I was pregnant. Week 8 the queasiness returned with a vengeance and I actually threw up twice. Penn was proud that our embryo is strong enough to make me sick. I told him that was not the proper reaction.
**And then things changed again. Sometime during my 10th week the not-so-morning sickness went away pretty much entirely and I've been feeling great ever since. Lucky me!

3) It's entirely possible, even likely, that you will want to take a nap at 1:00 in the afternoon, even if you didn't get out of bed until 9:30. I'm not quite as tired now that I'm into the second trimester, but I still need a nap a few times a week.

4) One of the things the body does the instant it becomes pregnant is slow down the digestive works. Apparently my body now wants food to sit in my intestines for as long as possible in order to suck out every single nutrient to benefit the little parasite in my uterus. All that food just sitting there (GROSS) develops a lot of gas. This means that for the first time ever in my life I can burp! Seriously, I was never much of a burper before, and if I did manage to eke one out it was all tiny and pathetic. But now I can practically out-belch my husband! This is the one pregnancy symptom I actually enjoy, because for years now Penn has been leaning in toward my ear and whispering, "Guess what?" and then belching loudly, and I was never able to reciprocate. But now I can! Muahahahahahaha.

5) Feeling the baby begin to move is almost indescribable and utterly amazing. I wasn't expecting to be able to feel movement until 18-20 weeks because everything I read in my pregnancy books and online said first time moms don't usually recognize the fetal movements until they start to get obvious. But last week at the end of my 13th week I was lying in bed reading and I felt a tiny "pop." It felt a bit like a popcorn kernel popping in my abdomen: brief, tiny, over as soon as I noticed it. From then on I felt that popcorn feeling once or twice a day. After several days of this I stopped thinking that I was crazy and told Penn that I thought I was feeling the baby. A few nights ago we tried an experiment. I read that the baby can "hear" in a primitive way right now by sensing vibrations, so Penn decided to play his drums to see if he could get a reaction. He sat down and started playing and I stood in the room with him, and as he played I felt the baby flutter several times very distinctly. That's when I became positive I really was feeling the baby. Now that I know what I'm looking for, the movement is becoming obvious. I feel him/her several times a day now, sometimes for just a split second, sometimes for a few minutes at a time. Earlier this evening there was a ten minute period during which I felt the tiny ripples almost constantly. It tickles! I can't wait until the ripples and pops begin to feel like actual kicks and I can have that daily reassurance that s/he is okay. I really want Penn to be able to feel the baby move, too.

6) Watching your own baby on an ultrasound is the most fascinating thing in the world. There is just nothing like it. Every little movement you see is fascinating. At my first ultrasound the baby was just a tiny flickering heartbeat and I couldn't really see much, just enough to know that the baby was alive and in the right place. At the second ultrasound, though, my baby looked like an actual baby and was upside down slowly waving his/her little arms. The doctor said, "Oh, the baby is waving at you. Hi mom!" and I suddenly teared up and couldn't do anything but smile. The third ultrasound was the big first trimester screening and it was a glorious half hour at a special facility with a big flat screen TV mounted on the wall above the exam table so I could easily watch the baby fist pumping and arching his/her back and curling away from the ultrasound probe. I suddenly understand why people want to talk about their kids 24/7. As it turns out, it's apparently human nature to be completely obsessed with your own offspring. I know my baby isn't doing anything particularly remarkable or fascinating, but it feels that way to me. I'm still scared to get completely attached to this little one, but s/he is starting to feel very real.

I've always been curious about what it would feel like to be pregnant. So far, it is even more intense and exciting than I imagined it would be, and yet more natural than I ever thought it could feel, too. I can only hope that I will be lucky enough to sustain this pregnancy until it results in a healthy baby to bring home, and that parenting will feel just as intense and natural.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Actual Conversation I Just Had With a Bank Representative

This is copied and pasted from a conversation I just had with a representative from my bank (that will not be named, because she DID eventually solve my problem). SO ABSURD:

R: Hello. Thank you for being a valued customer. My name is R and I'm delighted to assist you with your online access. To begin with, may I have your full name and zip code please?
You: Full Name and zipcode
R: Thank you, A
R: How may I assist you today?
You: I'd like to log in to view my credit card account but I can't remember my username
R: I understand that you are trying to access your credit card online and forgot the user name.
R: I would be happy to assist you with your Online Banking after a successful verification.
R: Please give me some time to locate your profile.
You: okay, thanks
R: You're Welcome!
R: A, thank you for your patience.
R: Could you please provide the last four digits of the card that you are trying to view ?
You: there are two of them
You: [number]
You: the other is [number]
R: Thank you.
R: Could you please provide me the exact name as printed on the card?
You: [Full name]
R: I have tried with that name and could not locate your profile.
R: Is there any other zip code for you?
You: i used to be [maiden name]
You: and the zip used to be [old zip]
You: but on both of these cards now it's [married name], and the zip should be [current zip]
R: Thank you for the information.
R: To protect the security of your accounts may I please ask you a few questions to verify?
You: yes
R: Thank you for giving me the permission to verify you.
R: Could you please confirm the credit limit on your credit card ending with ####?
You: i don't know it off the top of my head
R: That's alright! I can ask you another question.
R: Could you please confirm the current balance on the card ####?
You: it should be really low
You: under $50
R: Please provide the exact amount.
You: i don't know
You: that's why i am trying to log in online
You: so i can see how much is currently charged on each card
R: That's alright! I can ask you another question.
R: Could you please confirm the date and the amount of your last payment on your credit card ####?
You: probably about six months ago
You: i hadn't used it in a long time until i just used it the other day
You: hence why i have forgotten my login name to be able to view the information about it online
R: That's alright! I can ask you another question.
R: Please provide the last charge transaction on your credit card ####? please provide the amount and date.
You: you don't understand, i can't answer any of these questions because i don't have a billing statement right now
You: and i can't log in to my account online
You: i'd be happy to answer any of my security questions
You: mother's maiden name, stuff like that
You: but i don't know any details of the card right now, that's exactly why i am trying to log in
R: I can understand your situation. However, we do not have access to your security questions as they are confidential.
You: is there anything you can ask me to verify that doesn't have to do with amounts charged or paid on the card?
You: as i said, i haven't used it in a really long time
You: not since february of 20111
R: Could you please provide the credit card number and zip code?

At that point I was like "YES!" and she finally started asking me questions I could actually answer about the credit card number and expiration date and stuff like that. Seriously, was that a ridiculous conversation or what? If I'm trying to log in and view information about my account online, doesn't it make sense that I wouldn't know the information off the top of my head?!


Well, that was a fun detour this morning. Back to the dissertation.