Wednesday, February 22, 2006


This is the stage of pregnancy where I start to think of the baby as not just a possibility inside me, but a person. And since that's happening, it's made me think about lots of things in a new way.

I'm thrilled that the Pad is going to be a girl. Of course, I'd have been happy either way. But this is such a strange feeling of deja vu, as well. As I start to get to know her as a person -- as I start to know what her little kicks and pokes feel like, as I learn when during the day I'm most likely to feel her moving, as I start to imagine what she'll look like -- I remember this same getting-to-know-you period with Joseph. And I feel sad, thinking that I only got to know him for such a short time, on the inside.

I'm afraid to be happy, and I'm afraid not to be.

A few days after the ultrasound I went into the room we'd decorated as a nursery. (I started to say "Joseph's nursery." And that's just what I'm about to say here anyway - is it ever not going to be Joseph's nursery for me?) Not being a pink-ruffles or blue-with-trucks person anyway, I insisted on doing the nursery in as gender-neutral a manner as possible. The room has pale yellow walls, white and pine furniture, and bedding in bright primary colors - a patchwork quilt and bumper in reds, yellows, light and dark blues, and a bit of light green. I used pale blue as a major accent color - curtains, etc. Overall I love how it came out - it's bright and cheery and it doesn't scream "boy!" or "girl!"

I always envisioned being able to use the room for any siblings Joseph would have. But of course, things are a little different now. I looked around the room, and the idea of keeping everything the same somehow seemed...unfair. Like I'd be trying to squeeze this little girl into a spot prepared for Joseph, as though I'd just be expecting her to magically take his place.

I don't feel that way about the baby gifts we got at my shower - the activity gyms and car seats and strollers. Most of that is still in boxes - it has no significance that's specifically about Joseph. But somehow, the room does.

I don't want to redo everything - it's never even been used. But I feel like I need something to make this a space of her own, something just for her, something she won't have to share with the ghost of her brother. How can I do that? I thought about putting away the Curious George pictures I had framed on the walls - I don't think of them as boy-specific, since I loved Curious George myself. But I did find these, and I love them, especially since Alice is one of the names we're considering.

Part of me feels shallow, like maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to do foofy baby things. But even that - maybe I am, in a way. Maybe I think this baby deserves some anticipatory foofiness. There's nothing we need to do to get ready for this baby, since we did it all with Joseph. And before we were pregnant, we swore we wouldn't do anything that implied we expected to take a baby home. But now that doesn't feel realistic - I don't think I'm capable of that level of detachment anymore - and in a way it also doesn't feel fair. I know she won't know or care what I did/felt while I was pregnant with her, but I would know. I want to be able to look at her and know that she was joyfully anticipated.

I don't think I'm making much sense. I'll bet it isn't obvious that I write for a living, is it?

One thing we HAVE been able to do that has given me some of that sense of anticipation is talk about names. Neither of us wants to pick the One True Name ahead of time, since a) personally I find it creepy to talk about a baby by his/her name while still in utero and b) we want to see what she looks like. We'd rather have a short list and go in with that. So, after many hours of discussion and a few arguments (can I just say my husband is impossible when it comes to this?) we have our short list:

* Alice, with either Margaret, Virginia, or Eleanor for a middle name. (Margaret = my mom's name and his mom's middle name; Virginia = his maternal grandmother)
* Iris as a first name, with the same choice of three middle names
* Susannah Gayle (for my maternal and his paternal grandmother)

(Morbid thought I just had - every time I try to type "Alice" it comes out as "Alive.")

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Finally back

Our vacation was great, but we were supposed to return on Sunday evening - the same night that a blizzard hit the East Coast. Our flight got canceled. Luckily we had driven from the Keys up to Fort Lauderdale to catch our plane, so we ended up going to my dad's new house in West Palm Beach - he happened to be there for the week, so we had a place to stay. The airline couldn't get us on a plane until this morning. I was so nervous that I'd miss my ultrasound appointment, but I went to the hospital directly from the airport and made it with some time to spare. The only really disappointing thing was that it didn't make sense for Andy to come, since we'd have had to drag the luggage with us. I had called yesterday about rescheduling, but there were NO open appointments in the next few weeks, so we had to do it this way. My best friend ended up getting out of work a little early, so she met me there - it was nice not to be all alone, and she got a kick out of seeing the Pad.

Speaking of the Pad, everything looks great - no problems that they could see. Size right on track, heart OK, brain OK. And...'s a GIRL!!

The ultrasound tech (and then the doctor, who came in and looked too) said that they never say with 100% certainty what the gender is, but the Pad's legs were wide open, and they showed me the three little horizontal lines that generally mean girl parts and said they're 90% certain.

Wow. A daughter. I can't get my head around it. I hadn't had a feeling one way or the other about what gender the Pad was, but I was so used to all those months of knowing I was having a boy, and in some ways this has felt like a continuation of the last pregnancy. That's one good thing about having a girl - it will make it easier to separate this pregnancy emotionally from my pregnancy with Joseph.

She's very active and was waving her arms and legs all around on the ultrasound. We got one great picture just after she kicked both legs way up over her head, almost like she was about to do a somersault. I wish I had a scanner - I'd post it if I could. It's adorable.

My daughter. I can't believe it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

whoosh whoosh whoosh

I will go on the record right now as saying that the BabyBeat is the best invention ever. It arrived yesterday and as soon as we got home, I tried it out. By some stroke of luck, I picked up the heartbeat the instant the probe touched my skin - nice and loud and we estimated it at about 144 bpm. I also thought I felt the Pad kick the probe, just gently. So cool.

Even Andy was enthralled, although this morning he was making fun of the flyer that came with the doppler. "Listen to the amazing sounds of pregnancy!" he read aloud, and then proceeded to make farting and hurling noises.

So, life is good right now. We leave early in the morning for Florida - I can't wait.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Another one from the weird dream files

This one wasn't disturbing - it had nothing to do with the baby at all. I dreamed I was at a bar with friends - I wasn't pregnant in this dream and I may actually have been back in college. In the dream, I'd had a couple of fruity alcoholic drinks (which I don't drink in real life) and then ordered another one from the bartender, only to have her hand me a FIVE-GALLON monstrosity of a drink. I tried to give it back but she made me pay for it. So I was walking around the bar with this five-gallon drink, wondering what to do with it. I knew I could drink a little bit more without getting sick, but I was afraid that I wouldn't know when to stop on such a big drink.

The weirdest part? I woke up with a recurrence of first-trimester morning sickness. The kind that lasts all day. The kind I haven't had in weeks. It felt exactly like...a hangover.


According to the tracking feature on DHL's website, my BabyBeat arrived today. I can't wait to try it out, although I think I felt some more pokes this weekend, so I'm feeling more optimistic about what I'll hear.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bad Dreams

I hate pregnancy-induced vivid dreams. Usually they're just weird to mildly disturbing, like on Sunday night when I dreamed that hit men came after me and Andy because he wouldn't stop illegally downloading music. (I think the trigger for that one was having gone to see "Munich" earlier that evening.)

But last night I dreamed that I went for my 18-week scan and found that the baby was dead. The dream didn't focus on the actual moment I learned this, but on my thoughts about having to start all over and about how, since I am now showing, the whole world would have to know what had happened...again. I woke up practically in tears.

I would have chalked this up to one disturbing dream if I hadn't had that horrible dream about Joseph dying...three days before he actually was born and died. I don't REALLY believe in prophetic dreams, but after that experience, I can't stop thinking about last night's nightmare.

I've been pretty calm throughout this pregnancy so much calmer than I ever expected to be. I feel like that ended today. Even though I haven't been feeling movement with anything approaching consistency, I found myself obsessively waiting to feel it today to prove to myself that the Pad is still alive. Of course, I haven't felt anything yet, which I KNOW is normal since I don't feel it every day and it's so light and quick when I do that it would be easy to miss it.

So I rented a doppler. It should be here in a few days. I hope it helps. And I hope I don't have any more scary dreams.