Good news! We got the blood work results back and everything looks healthy and normal. We also found out that we're having a baby girl! This came as a bit of a shock since we were convinced it was a boy, but we really should have known based on the evening we had spent discussing names. We talked for about 30 minutes about boys' names and couldn't come close to an agreement, after months of casual name-dropping as it were. Frustrated, I said, "Well what about girls' names?" even though at the time we both thought there would be no need for that. Within 30 seconds we had agreed on her name. We're keeping it close to our hearts until we meet her to make sure it "sticks," but until then we've started calling her Mae, which are her initials.
Everyone told me that as soon as I hit 12 weeks I'd feel great, and they weren't lying. In fact, I felt a little TOO great - all my symptoms disappeared and I became paranoid that something had gone wrong. How could I go from being exhausted all the time with constant heartburn, sore boobs, and sharp cramps, to feeling, well, normal? My belly hadn't popped (it still hasn't) and I was peeing a lot only because of the insane amount of water my midwives have implored me to drink. But I trusted that Mae was growing right along and started to enjoy my newfound sense of well-being, and then halfway through week 12 the heartburn and cramps came back and I was oddly comforted by them.
In addition to the water, I was also advised to consume what feels like a bodybuilder's level of protein intake, 60-80 grams/day. (According to the bodybuilder calculator I just did for myself I would actually be striving for closer to 120 grams/day, which is mind boggling.) I am a good eater: lots of local meat, eggs, and dairy, plus nuts and bone broth most days, not to mention a healthy amount of fruit and veggies (and if I'm being honest, crackers and popcorn and pretzels...). But after tracking my food intake for a few days I realized I wasn't getting anywhere close, so I added a new element to my morning routine: protein smoothies. Mmmm, chalky. Thank goodness fruit is starting to come into season.
I’m officially “out” and we’ve been having fun telling people. I’m not into big elaborate announcements and I like efficiency, so I’ve mostly just been walking up to groups of people, waiting for a pause, and then saying, “Guess what, I’m pregnant!” I love watching people’s startled expressions. Here are a few of my favorite deliveries so far:
• On Saturday at the farmers market where Carson and I sell honey, as all the vendors were setting up in the relative quiet of the morning, I walked into the middle of the market and yelled (literally yelled), “Hey everyone, I’m pregnant!” It was hilarious.
• At a staff meeting when someone mentioned that a raccoon who frequents our courtyard had babies, I said “Speaking of babies, I’m pregnant.”
• At a gathering of my husband’s side of the family when a cousin teased that our new house has enough bedrooms for kids, I said, “Good thing I’m knocked up!”
Also at the farmers market, I found out that a woman I don’t know very well but have always liked is due just 6 days after me, and I was giddy with excitement. “We’re a cohort!” I exclaimed, which made her laugh. She invited me to prenatal yoga, and described it as “Not so much yoga but more a lot of waving your arms around,” which made ME laugh. I also steered her toward the incomparable book “Expecting Better” and blew her mind when I told her that I have not given up sushi. We exchanged numbers and she texted me the following: “I’m so excited about sushi and I’m glad we’re a cohort!” Ditto.
What I’ve found most interesting in the week since we’ve been sharing the news is that the questions I’m getting are not the questions I prepared myself for. I would say 90% of them – other than the ubiquitous “How do you feel?” (to which in my lesser moments I respond, “I feel sick of that question”) – relate to my post-baby work plan. Will I go back to work? How long will my maternity leave be? What kind of childcare options are available to me? Do I want to be a stay-at-home mom? Can I work from home? Can I work part-time? The very first time it happened there were three woman asking these questions in rapid-fire succession and my reaction was like something from a movie: I put my hands to my ears, started shaking my head, and semi-yelled, “Please stop!” Because, although I have thought about ALL of those questions, there is no way to know what will happen. Mae could be a dream and I can take her to work with me (because my boss is awesome), or she could be fussy which would make that situation untenable. I could be feeling brain atrophy and be desperate to get back to work after a few months; I could feel massive anxiety about leaving her and decide to stay home. The fact that I have the privilege to consider all these options is not lost on me. Although it would be a financial hardship if I quit working, it wouldn’t be impossible. So now I am prepared for this range of questions, and the answer is simple: I don’t know, but I know we’ll figure out what’s right for us.
Photo caption: Not quite a bump, but here’s a picture at 13 weeks which will give a comparison for later weeks. (Pictured with our dog Bee.)