The First 20 Weeks
I haven't been here in awhile. I could make all kinds of excuses but here's the truth: I don't like writing negative things, and my experience with pregnancy up until this past week has been mostly full of negative things.
I'm going to stop right there and tell you that the baby and I are both very healthy, very low-risk for any complications, and by empirical health standards, this pregnancy has been "smooth sailing." There was a little spotting once (not even bright red) and one really bad run-in with dehydration (that was very much my own fault). Beyond that I've had what many women who are staring down serious health concerns would call "an ideal pregnancy." Except.
Except. I had 19.5 weeks of morning sickness, varying from the mild nausea you get if you happen to find yourself downwind from a dumpster in the Meat Packing District on a sticky August day to that one (several) time(s) I managed to eat nothing but one saltine cracker in two days (and then immediately threw it right back up). I'm not trying to be a hero here. I went to the doctor and got medicine to help my stomach, because nothing is more important than being able to eat a cheeseburg-- er, I mean, making sure the baby gets the nutrients it needs.
Here's the rub. When you spend most of your days on your side on the bathroom floor swearing up and down to practice safe sex from now on, and to clean the bathroom better, and wondering if this is it, if this is how you're going to finally die, in your tatty bathrobe with two dogs trying to kiss your face to make you feel better while your body forcefully and repeatedly tries to eject everything you ever thought about eating in your whole entire life... you find yourself running out of nice things to say. In general, but also on your blog.
Even after the violent illness left, the food aversions stayed. The main thing I could not stand to be around was raw cookie dough. Super convenient, as I had just established a boutique cookie company, that has been sitting around quietly, waiting for me to pull myself together and get the ovens going. There was nothing on Heaven or Earth that could get me into a room with that sweet smell of buttery, sugary, vanilla-y, eggy dough. My kitchen had become a mine field, my body was betraying me, I no longer slept through the night, and everything I did manage to eat was immediately converted into methane or heartburn. Do not pass go, do not collect your $200, and do not take me out to dinner when I'm between 1 and 20 weeks pregnant. That's our big takeaway from this little adventure so far.
I survived, but some days (when I'm sitting at my laptop working and then suddenly I snap awake and it's 2 hours later and oh my god I'm a narcolept) it feels like just barely. I'll never tell another pregnant woman to "Buck up!" or "Look on the bright side!" or "It'll pass." (It will, of course, probably, even if it takes half the pregnancy, but I completely understand the hopeless feeling that you're going to be a bathroom floor-crawling, saltine-hating, tea-sipping, gas-making monster for the rest of your short days on earth. And it's not my place to tell you to feel otherwise.)
I give every woman out there suffering through the early stages of pregnancy permission to just be odiously miserable. Be open to good days when they come, but don't try to force yourself into a happier state of mind when you really just feel like you're being pelted with lemons. Some days, you can't make lemonade. Some days lemonade just makes you want to vomit.
That's why I haven't written. I haven't really had anything nice to say. Now I'm back, and I'm feeling pretty good, and I'm getting back on top of work, and on top of the cookie company, and in 20 short weeks (or sooner! or maybe later, but I hope this kid is on time) I'll have a little baby monster of my own to share. And I do plan to share her, because let's be honest... after carrying her around for 40 weeks it'll be someone else's turn for a little while.