Friday, February 24, 2006

Center

Jeff is sleeping next to me, breathing in and out. His face, at rest, looks so young. His eyelashes make a shadow-fringe on his cheekbones. It is the middle of the afternoon and we are home from work, and so tired.

His daughter is quiet inside of me for now; she has been feeling her cage all day, fretfully knocking her knees and elbows against the walls, trying to assert herself. But now she is gentle: a flutter, a brush.

There is this peace between us three for a moment. And I am torn, in some ungrateful way, because I know that it is transient. There will be no quiet afternoons, dreaming silently together of a shapeshifting child who could be anything, watching my husband sleep and remembering how I came to love him so much, how I love him with this single-minded fervor that he returns to me so generously.

I hope that our reserves of love are nearly infinite, expanding and merging and embracing, but there is a part of me that fears this new sun, this new center to our lives, this new love.

I know that she will change us; I fear that she will consume us. It is a cowardly thought, wanting to keep this oneness with Jeff just as it is, knowing that it cannot be. We will love her, we will expand, we will deepen, we will change, we will adjust. We will still love each other, and maybe even more. But it will be different. In ways we cannot imagine, it will be different.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In my best Brando voice, "The horror, the horror."

What does it mean when your fetus's ultrasound scan at 34 weeks bears a remarkable resemblance to a noseless Jack Nicholson as The Joker? Or Tim Burton's Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas? And how about if she looks like one of the melting people at the end of Raiders, when the lid to the Lost Ark of the Covenant is oh-so-unwisely removed?

Do as the good man says, Marion, and close your eyes.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Self-piteous me

I've been extremely lucky. In most ways, I've had it pretty easy these last few months. I wouldn't trade this pregnancy for anything and would bite the hot, hairy balls off of anyone who tried to take it away from me, but all of a sudden I'm finding it hard. Really fucking hard.

There's the none-too-surprising Willendorfian body transformation (oh god, the tapioca-like carnage of my thighs) and the inability to maintain a train of thought; any train of thought. There's the limping lurch that succeeds every attempt to rise from a sitting position; the unstoppable stream of pee that sneaks out when I sneeze; the pain between my shoulder blades that turns working at a computer into a form of ingeniously slow torture. Uncomfortable, but mostly expected.

But a couple of weeks ago, the endocrinologist who looks after my thyroid noticed that I had a heart murmur. I haven't had a detectable heart murmur for about sixteen years--not since the summer of my dilettante eating disorder. It's not serious, but it scares me to know that it has returned. Next, the doctor on call at my OB's office found, to my enormous surprise, that my long-dormant asthma has made a strong comeback, where I just assumed I was supposed to feel out of breath at this stage of the game. Though not sixteen, it's been at least nine years since I needed an inhaler. While there, I was simultaneously diagnosed with sinus and bronchial infections, given prescriptions for antibiotics and an albuterol inhaler and told to "go home, lie in bed, take Tylenol every four hours, drink hot fluids and don't get up till next week."

So, I can't walk very well, can't breathe through my nose, my lungs are indulging in little airless spasms and I've coughed up so much orange goo that I strained what might once have been an oblique muscle. And I've missed three crucial days of work.

But I am glowing.

If only it weren't from a low-grade fever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Our weekend in pictures


The beach cottage


Dusk, Point Reyes National Seashore


Succulent?


The fog left in time for sunset



Spanish broom? Something yellow, anyway.


Jeff looking for whales from our cottage window. (Lots of surfers, no whales.)


Breakfast, plus flowers, minus the cheese



Happy cows, the source of our cheese



Tule elk


Keeeeeeeering red tail


Harbor seals in Bolinas Lagoon



The flower of happiness

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Such a cliffhanger

Apologies for failing to complete The Great Shower Saga. To be honest, there wasn't all that much of interest to report on the frou-frou front: my sister unabashedly hosted the event in a rose-colored cocktail dress, pale green pashmina and four-inch glittery sandals; most of the invitees were gracious enough to comply with her ridiculous request to dress in the color scheme (which apparently extended to the actual invitations--I wouldn't have known as I didn't receive one myself); she made bags of nougat and jars of strawberry jam, all bedecked in fans and bags of the pale-green-and-rose wrapping paper that also housed her gift to us. The setting was lovely, if sickeningly sweet, and some of my oldest friends came. An us-centric anagram game was forced upon the group just as people were starting to get lubricated and loquacious after the second round of mimosas, at which point all conversation and laughter came to a screeching halt. We received a number of useful and charming presents--some of which choked me right up--and only one real dud (a sizable dud, my friends--framed and expensive and something I have made fun of for the last fifteen years). Did I mention that the husbands were refused invitation and ended up doing what society expected of them, i.e. playing golf?

So, enough about the shower. After the shower, we had our treat. I have not spoken with the ladies in attendance about writing up the visit, so I will not mention them by name. But let it be known that both Jeff and I enjoyed exceptional food and even better company in the presence of not one, not two but three of the smartest, funniest and most interesting infertile women in Blogland. (That description does not do justice, but I cannot think of appropriate superlatives.) Not to mention two of the husbands, who are--not surprisingly--equally smart and funny and interesting and superlative-y. Go figure. And these lovely women are also kind of heart, not minding my obnoxiously pregnant belly and offering me chairs and tea and such. If it weren't for the Unfortunate Incident of the Skunk in the Nighttime, I don't think I could have been pried from their presence with a crowbar--I was enjoying myself that much.

So, on to shower #2, hosted last weekend by a Bay Area friend who normally likes to emulate Martha but asked what I wanted and rolled with it. Ahhhhhh. Relaxed. Unisex. Friendly food, unpretentiously presented. Everyone laughing and talking and comfortable. The friend's neighbor with her adoped Chinese daughter, giving advice on what to eat in Guangzhou province when your match has been delayed. A friend carefully acknowledging our early losses in her thoughtful, moving card. We felt so richly supported, and so glad to have this friend-family already involved in our little one's life.

After the NST tomorrow, we work for a few hours and then take off for the special, just-us weekend I wrote about a while back. The one where I won't yet be too large or sedentary. Except, embarrassingly enough, that I am. I mean, I can't even get up from a chair without putting a hand to my back and staggering like a drunken pirate. So much for hiking the narrow cliff trails, I suppose, not to mention any chance of, like, romance. I'm really in it for the Cowgirl Creamery cheese and the Bovine Bakery sourdough boule anyway, so it isn't much of a loss.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The strange land of "normal" at 32 weeks

We had the first of our twice-a-week monitoring sessions at the hospital today. While I was frankly terrified, she was a natural--kicking and rolling around, her heartbeat racing with the movement and then falling back to baseline, just as we were told it should. She has also managed to house herself in just the right amount of amniotic fluid--12.8--and even turned her head-down face in a classic three-quarters profile for our viewing pleasure. I lived up to one of my early-childhood nicknames, "The Laugh-Cryer".

I am amazed, and grateful, and full of wonder.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Please

A visit to Jen's site this morning brought me to tears for Mudbug and Steph. Please send your love.