Posted by: mindyourknitting | August 30, 2010

Halfway

I’m now 20 weeks pregnant  – 20 weeks and 5 days to be exact.  I can’t believe this pregnancy is half-done.  It seems to have passed much more quickly than the first one.  So far it has been blessedly “normal”, with no scares or concerns.  The 20-week ultrasound last Monday went a long way to allaying the phantom, persistent fears that have lurked on the edges of my brain since the home pregnancy test turned up two lines – the fears that say there will be something wrong with the baby, or that my previously uncooperative body will again try to expel this baby before enough time has passed.  But everything looked wonderfully normal, and the little peanut (now much bigger than a peanut) put on quite a show for us, kicking and waving and flipping around.   The baby was incredibly active, which I already guessed from the fact that I’m feeling a lot of movement already, even discernible kicks, weeks before I felt much of anything when I was pregnant with Abigail.

I was so looking forward to having another baby, even to being pregnant again, that I forgot what a stress it puts on your body, even during those “normal” pregnancies when all that happens is the expected aches and pains and side effects.  When people joke that men have no idea what giving birth to a child is like, I always want to point out that they also have no idea what it’s like to create and shelter a life with your body for nine months, give birth, then recover from that process.  The duration of pregnancy takes a toll on even the healthiest body, and I find myself already falling prey to the sneaky aches and pains that I had half-forgotten accompany pregnancy.  As I said, this pregnancy has been routine in the sense that it has been perfectly healthy so far, but of course it has included a smattering of every pregnancy symptom imaginable – “morning sickness”, also known as all-day nausea; crazy food aversions and cravings; sore boobs; fatigue; memory loss (or as I like to call it, placenta brain); various unpleasant stretching sensations/soreness in the belly and groin area which my doctor tells me is likely ligament pain or possibly sometimes the result of an overfull bladder (as if I could possibly forget to pee at this point); frequent urination;  foot swelling; low hemoglobin which led to having to take an iron supplement which led to constipation; and, as a bonus, apparently a touch of incontinence (see point about making sure to pee frequently).  Consider this your PSA for those of you who think that pregnancy is glamorous and your biggest concern will be stretch marks.  All that being said, I wouldn’t trade this pregnancy or this baby for anything, I just felt the need to point out that pregnancy is kind of a pain in the my ass sometimes.  One of my favourite comments from my first pregnancy was when my mom told me that she just didn’t understand why women today were so wimpy about pregnancy (those weren’t her exact words, but that was the sentiment – I believe we were talking about the existence of preggers parking spots, which I use liberally thankyouvery much), and all I could think was that she had a baby at 17 and I had my first one at 33.  I would bet good money that a 17-year old body copes better with the physical strains of pregnancy than a body in its thirties.   Shit, my 17-year old body could do a lot of things my 35-year old one can’t anymore.  I do agree that being pregnant shouldn’t turn you into a delicate flower requiring constant tending, and  just because it’s a bit harder doesn’t mean it is not totally worth it, I just think it’s okay to acknowledge that the most desired pregnancy in the world comes with its annoyances – we’re not all glowy creatures that float around on our awesome pregnancy hormones all day (and if you are, I don’t want to hear about it).  Even good pregnancies are cumbersome; pregnancy binds you to the earth in your achy, awkward body and forces you to acquaint yourself with the physical limits of this new, rounder belly. 

Hands down, the hardest thing for me this time around has been the fatigue.  Weight gain hasn’t really been an issue (yet), and the aches and pains and middle-of-the-night screaming jump-out-of-bed-oh-my-god-oh-my-god leg and toe cramps are kind of expected, but I’ve been more bone-tired in the last few months than at any time before in my life.  It has alleviated somewhat in the second trimester and with the end of morning sickness, but there are still days that bedrest sounds like a fabulous holiday.  That is, until I remember I have a two-year old, and “rest” really isn’t an option.  So I suck it up and get on with my day, but to say my energy has been flagging is an understatement.  I’m kind of waiting for that second trimester energy boost…seriously, anytime now…

In addition to seeing our future olympic swimmer in action, the big reveal at the ultrasound was finding out we’re having a boy.  I had figured out the gender even before the  ultrasound technician told us to shop for blue this time, as  I detected the presence of a third ‘appendage’ on his lower half that was kind of unmistakable.  Unless the baby has a vestigial tail, in which case I don’t want to know.  And I must admit that since I realized we were going to have a son, I have had a few “holy crap” moments.  See, I know how to be a mom to a girl.  I know girls, and girly things.  My closest friends are fabulous, strong women.  I know what I want to teach my daughter about being a strong girl and a capable woman.  But a boy?  I’m feeling a little out of my depth and I think in some weird part of my brain I just expected to only have girls.  Don’t think I don’t know that doesn’t make a lick of rational sense. But there it is, and I kind of wanted Abigail to have a sister because I thought sisters would be closer than a brother and sister (although I’m an only child, so admittedly I have no idea what I’m talking about here).  I  worried that for some reason I won’t be able to be as close and affectionate with my son as I am with Abigail and her “big kisses” and “big hugs” and now much she needs her mama, because people keep telling me boys are different and are more rambunctious and energetic and less affectionate and prefer their dads and mom is kind of superfluous after a certain age…but I’m hoping that’s not true either.  

And so the more the idea sits with me (and my rational brain gradually wins the fight with my insecure maternal brain), the more excited I am at the prospect of having my son.  It will bring different challenges, but so many rewards.  Abigail will be an amazing big sister to him.  And I think that, where I might flail around in the role-model department, my husband will make up for it tenfold and show him what being a man is all about – being kind, caring, responsible, strong, and unselfish.  And I can mother him in a way that teaches him to respect women and to know that being a man doesn’t mean being chauvinistic, or being afraid to express emotions, or any of that other boy-stereotype hoooey.  And together Erik and I can show our kids what a good, happy (but real) marriage looks like from the inside.  I know that most of my fears will disappear the moment I hold our baby boy in my arms, and the rest of it will work itself out, just as it did when we had Abigail.

And because “having a boy” is only an abstract notion for me at the moment, I’m eager to get his nursery ready, to have some sort of physical reality, a space just for him, to make it real.  I guess I’m already feeling the urge to “nest” (god I hate that term, what are we, chickens?), and our current tasks are to make ready the spare room for Abigail’s move into her ‘Big Girl Bed’ and to de-girlify the nursery.  This has somehow morphed into buying new furniture, changing light fixtures, and rearranging the basement, and Erik doesn’t know it yet, but we’ll he’ll  be painting over the lovely lavender walls in the nursery since apparently they’re not as unisex as I had convinced myself when I picked the colour.  Since Abigail’s bedding is black and white toile with satin bows, I suppose the baby will need some new crib bedding, and it’s shockingly hard to find unisex/boy bedding with any purple in it (any suggestions?  you’ll be saving Erik some hard labour).  Even though I’m pretty open minded about these things, I think I’ll spare my son a room that was clearly designed for a girl but adapted for a boy as an afterthought.  It should be all his. But apparently if I want to go with traditional boy bedding my options are fire truck, construction vehicles, airplanes, or sailboats.  What the hell?  Has no one ever heard of a stripe or polka dot?  Anyway, we’ll also have to buy baby clothes, since EVERYTHING Abigail has ever owned is pink (I didn’t think it was that bad until I opened the storage bins holding her baby clothes and was assaulted by the overwhelming pink colour in every shade imaginable), but this baby will have to make do with her hand-me-down pink stroller, car seat, playmat, and playpen.  I just keep telling myself we’re terribly enlightened parents, that’s all, but the reality is it’s nonsense to replace perfectly good, expensive items like that.

Now we’re working on boy names, but compared to girl names they’re just so…meh.  As with Abigail we’d like something kind of traditional but not terribly common and not completely wackadoo either (although that backfired with Abigail Charlotte since both names are now climbing the “popular baby names” charts).  I just don’t want my kid to be one of seven Jasons or Michaels or Roberts in his kindergarten class.  I know from what I speak – there were four Jennifers in my Grade 7 class, and they were labelled Jenny B., Jennie C., Jen, and Jennifer.  And it sucked for them.

Speaking of choosing names, I’ve discovered one unanticipated consequence of being pregnant with a boy.  There is one boy name I’ve always liked and have been lobbying for it pretty hard, even though my husband seems ambivalent at the moment (don’t worry, he’ll come around.  Or else).  He recently proposed a compromise: “Beloved baby name” followed by the middle name “Skywalker.”  I now have to convince my husband that giving our son the middle name “Skywalker” is a stupid idea of epic proportions.  Unfortunately every man he mentions this to thinks it’s the best idea ever, so he refuses to let it die.  If I want my favourite baby name, he insists on his choice of middle names.  His other suggestions have included “Cannonball” and “Dangerous,” so you can see how well our name discussions have gone.  I am now soliciting suggestions.  Please, please help me.  Otherwise, I’ll be sending out birth announcements for our beloved, darling boy, Skywalker Dangerous Cannonball.

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Responses

  1. Middle name, schmiddle name. I’d say, few to no people know our boys middle names. Give him the middle name so you get the first you want. No offences to any Andrews out there, but I settled on that middle name to get the first name I wanted. And I bet Godmother you had forgotten it entirely 🙂 Plus I’m with Erik on this, Skywalker is a bit cool. I can make these outrageous statements since D now sports the sports model 🙂

  2. Boys names-

    Luke
    James
    Joshua
    Grant
    Henry
    Jack
    Peter

    Whatever you do, don’t pick Aidan. Millions of them out there nowadays! 🙂 And don’t worry, when you hold the little one in your arms, Erik will cave to whatever you want. And don’t worry about differences between boys and girls- everyone told me boys are MORE cuddly and loving than girls, and take longer to become independent- “I can do it MYSELF!”… and I have found it to be true! Boys are fun! And I know what you mean about the unisex room features… I had convinced myself the jungle-themed bedding set bought for Jack was unisex… until I had Amy and noticed the striking lack of purple and pink in the pattern…

  3. LL – do I need to point out that your compromise middle name was “Andrew”, whereas mine would be “SKYWALKER” ?!? SKY. WALKER.

    Lindsay – thanks for the suggestions! I really did think that the wall colour would be ‘unisex’ but there’s almost no way that it’s not going to look like a girls’ room, so I guess we’re going to paint it, even though I wish there was an easier solution (like options for boys bedding that didn’t focus around modes of transportation!)


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