April 8, 2008 (20 weeks):
Halfway there! We've just come back from a week in New York visiting my parents and Aunt Mary, and they insisted on buying me more maternity clothes than I clearly need. I did need a couple nice outfits, though, since the main reason for the trip to New York was that Marnie and I were presenting on three separate days of the annual TESOL conference, but I don't at all see that I need two pairs of maternity jeans, two pairs of maternity shorts, special maternity sweatpants, khakis, etc. My mother insisted on getting the pants shortened, since they were clearly too long and would have been cuffed up a bunch (I'm getting wider at the waist, but oddly, I'm still short, I guess). It's nice not to worry about clothes for a little while, though, and honestly the sweatpants are remarkably comfortable--far more comfortable in their elastic than the pair of regular sweatpants/yoga pants I'd been wearing nonstop around the house before this.
At right is a picture of me after presenting at the conference, outside the Sheraton in the city (actually, it's outside of a mock-up of a Tudor building that Showtime constructed around part of the Sheraton to advertise their series). I'm wearing one of the maternity dresses from Aunt Mary. I am shocked at how thick and sturdy my legs look.
I've definitely been feeling the baby move by now: the first time I was sure was on Good Friday, and then on Easter, and then I was busy all week and didn't really notice anything again until last Monday, when we were on our way to New York. All day Tuesday at the conference I actually kept getting distracted from whoever was talking and just feeling this amazing sensation of movement and closeness. It's very nearly indescribable: it's bubbles and popping and a pulsing/fluttering and things moving inside, but not cramps, not a stomach ache, not hunger pains, not anything like those. This is close to the surface and feels almost as though it's always there, if only I relax and tune into it. The best I can come to getting the sensation across is to say that it's like being in a room with faint background music that you really like--when you calm down and just focus and listen you can hear it, but when you forget to concentrate on it, the music fades into the background and you don't notice it again until the next time when you're quiet and thinking about it.
I started organizing all my baby lists and bookmarks and potential items-to-buy this week, in odd spare moments, and I even ordered the first baby items from drugstore.com since I saw some things go on sale.
On Tuesday at the conference there was a huge mass of people in a registration line--really a disorganized mob--and after standing on the line for half an hour we were told to move to another line and stand over there. At that point, the woman in front of me offered to hold my place if I wanted to leave the line and find a seat somewhere in the lobby (we were in the Hilton in midtown, along with the other thousand people trying to pick up our registration materials). I was extremely startled--a stranger recognized that I was pregnant? Wow! I stood my ground, though, and stood in line--I don't want any special treatment! Marnie and Maria and other people keep asking if I'm okay holding bags or climbing stairs or whatever, but yes, I'm fine. I hate the acne on my back and shoulders, I find the constant congested nose annoying, but I feel happy and hearty and just really well overall.
April 18, 2008 (21 weeks, 4 days):
Excitement abounds! Today I feel my first actual kick today, a few inches below my (now spreading) belly button. I was sitting at the dining room table at my computer when I felt it. It was absolutely like someone poking you on the arm to get your attention--just from the inside rather than out. A very weird sensation, and, although it's a cliche, one that truly is hard to describe yet you know without a doubt when you actually do feel it. There were a few more kicks before I got up and walked around a little to settle him/her down.
At left you see a picture of a little cardigan sweater I crocheted for "The Baby" (as my parents and Aunt Mary call him/her--they say you can hear the capital letters). I made it in three hours one evening while Robert was playing Warcraft and we had a movie on. The pattern said it would fit about a six-month-old, but Robert thought it looked absurdly small, so I pulled out a stuffed cow to model it.
I'm still feeling great (and people at work keep telling me I'm glowing and complimenting my "glossy hair"--whatever), but in the last two weeks I've definitely noticed that some things are just getting harder to do. Walking from my office to class or back is a little more exhausting, and I'm short of breath more often when climbing steps in the subway or schlepping books and things back and forth across town. It's sort of startling, actually, to be able to notice a difference and feel just sort of older.
On Wednesday some of my (ESL) students asked me what classes I was teaching in the fall, as we were discussing their fall schedules before class started. I figured this was as good a time as any, so I just said, "None, actually--I'll be out on maternity leave. But you're in luck, because there are more WR 100 sections offered in the fall than in any other semester." They nodded, and we moved on, while I mentally patted myself on the back for how smoothly I handled that. Today, though, one of the (same) students, again as we're standing outside the door before class, asked me why my name wasn't in the course catalogue for the fall. "I'm not teaching in the fall," I said. "I'll be on maternity leave." She nodded, and the other students standing around did too. I suddenly realized they didn't get it at all--they may or may not have understood the word "leave" in this context, but they clearly didn't understand the modifier in front of it. "I'm having a baby in August," I said. "So I'm not teaching in September, but I'll be back in January." Three students were standing around me as I said this--six eyes opened very wide. Two of the students grinned and congratulated me. The third wanted to confirm this yet again. "You--you're--pregnant?" she asked. "Yes," I said. "Oh my!" she exclaimed. Thankfully, at that point the class in the room before us left and we could at last enter the room. When a few more students arrived, the woman who had triple-checked my status in the hall began a small buzz of Korean to them, and suddenly I was surrounded by three beaming Korean women, nodding at my stomach. Yes, I handled that well.
April 30, 2008 (23 weeks, 2 days):
I saw Kelley, my midwife, again on Saturday--everything checked out normal, and it was a good chatty appointment. My fundal height is measuring a little small for dates (19 cm), but she said she'd just keep an eye on it and look for any steady increase as we go along. After the next appointment, we move onto an every-two-weeks schedule, during the third trimester--which, strange to think, is really starting to get close!
Above right is a picture of me on Greek Easter, marinating the legs of lamb. Robert has been teasing me about taking pregnant pictures of me, saying the only way I seem to let him do it is if he pretends it's really a picture of food. Whatever--you can see I'm expanding around the middle, at least.
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