Monday, November 19, 2007

To sleep, perchance to dream some really messed-up shit

If you've never been pregnant, you probably have no idea what happens in the subconscious mind of the impending mother-to-be.

... Frankly, neither do I -- but I can tell you this: it does make for some pretty fucked-up dreams.

Last week, for example, I had a dream in which I relived the entire 2 1/2-hour final episode of M*A*S*H, which I haven't seen since it first aired in 1982. (Okay, so I'm dating myself.)

I woke up sobbing into my tear-soaked pillow, silently crying, "But it WASN'T a chicken, Hawkeye! It was a BAAAY-BEE!"


And then last night, I dreamed I was Cordelia -- the spurned daughter in Shakespeare's tragedy, "The Madness of King Lear." (Speaking of "pretty fucked up," that describes King Lear in a nutshell.)

In the real play, Cordelia gets banished because she doesn't want to compete with her two evil sisters in a contest to describe how much she loves her father the king, who plans to give the choicest parcel of his kingdom to the daughter who claims to love him most.

(Cordelia thinks the contest demeans the love she really feels for him. Stickler. Whereas her harridan sisters, who feel no love for the king at all, suffer from no such compunction.)

And so because Cordelia refrains from waxing poetic, her self-absorbed daddy kicks her out of the kingdom in a huge huff -- and then gets punished for his hubris as his two remaining daughters plot and scheme to de-throne him, destroying his sanity in the process.

(Amazing how a king can be taken in by a smooth line as easily as a teenaged girl. "But... but... you said you loved me!" )

In my dream version of the play, Cordelia got banished because her sisters set her up to make it seem that some small deceit on her part resulted in the death of a man. Lear didn't care about the man who died -- he just wanted to get me (Cordelia) to admit my guilt. And when I refused to, he accused me of lying and got so pissed off he booted me out of the kingdom, while my two evil sisters looked on, smirking and giggling behind hands held over their mouths.

Again I woke up sobbing into a tear-soaked pillow, my protestations of innocence falling on deaf imaginary ears.

Then I spent the next two hours trying unsuccessfully to get back to sleep, because I couldn't stop myself from plotting elaborate revenge fantasies against the two evil sisters who set me up.


When I finally DID fall back asleep, I ended up having a dream in which I had to interrupt a couples massage two of my ex-boyfriends were getting, in order to extend a lunch invitation to the one I still considered a friend -- but that's a tale for a different day.

(Pregnancy: Time to bring out the crazy!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The glass is 99% full, dammit

So I went to see my very nice (and very male) family doctor a couple of weeks ago to tell him I was pregnant.

(I will be continuing my prenatal care with a midwife, but as Milo was due to visit the doctor for his much-belated two-year-old check-up, I thought I may as well get the ol' stethoscope treatment, as well.)

After congratulating me, the first thing to come out of the doctor's mouth was, "So I guess you'll be wanting me to get you started on your tests, then?"

Oh. Right. The tests. The not-so-joyous part of being pregnant.

Thanks to the wonders of western medicine, doctors are now able to test for certain birth defects while the baby is still in the earliest stages of development, so excited young mothers- and fathers-to-be can discover within weeks of conception whether their child to be is going to be stricken with a chromosonal abnormality such as Down's Syndrome.

The risk factor for such chromosonal abnormalities increases dramatically once a woman passes the age of 35.

I'm 37. And I'll be 38 when this baby is born.

Which is why my doctor quite strenuously advocated that I undergo all possible testing. Just "in case."

Never mind that I do yoga and ride my bike to work four times a week (a 13-km round-trip journey). Even given my state of optimal health, my ability to pass on healthy chromosones is apparently decaying with each passing day.

Meanwhile, merely contemplating the remote possibility that something might be wrong with my baby is enough to make me wrap my arms around my burgeoning belly and run to the hills, to find a nice dark cave to hide in for the next seven and a half months or so.

Yet despite my doctor's well-intentioned fear mongering (backed up with statements like, "Well, my wife and I just had a new baby daughter two months ago and we had the testing done." -- Yeah, dude, but you spend ALL DAY considering all the myriad things that can go wrong with the human body! Me, I'd rather not), I keep reminding myself that the "dramatic increase" caused by my age means going from a 1 in 178 chance (for women who are 35 years old) to a 1 in 100 chance of having a baby with birth defects (for women who are 38).

Which means there's still a 99% chance I will give birth to a perfectly "normal" healthy baby. Those are the odds I'd prefer to put my money on -- not the 1% long shot.

But even if I do go ahead and get all the testing done -- and the results come back and confirm my worst fears have been realized -- what then?

What does one DO with that kind of information?

Is it better to know ahead of time -- so I can spend the next seven months resenting the malformed child growing inside me?

(WOULD I resent the child, in such a case? Or would I research the malady and prepare myself so I could be a loving and welcoming mother once the baby had been born? Could I ever be that much of a saint? That's something I honestly don't know.)

Or is it better to go through my pregnancy, cheerfully anticipating the arrival of a perfect newborn -- and then be crushed when the baby doesn't meet my expectations?

(WOULD I be totally crushed? Or would I learn to love the baby no matter what, once I held it in my arms? Again, it's impossible to say.)

When faced with such unanswerable questions, all I want to do is close my eyes, plug my finger into my ears, and scream, "LA! LA! LA!" at the top of my lungs.

Ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Holy crap, here we go again

I'm pregnant.

Yes, once again, after a grand total of one, count 'em, *1* time of officially "trying," the Dread Pirate and I have managed to hit the jackpot.

And once again, I knew I was pregnant within roughly 30 seconds of conception.

The only difference THIS time around was that whenever I said, "I think I'm pregnant" during those two long weeks between conception and being able to take a home pregnancy test, instead of rolling his eyes and saying, "Don't be ridiculous -- we only tried once!" or "How could you possibly KNOW that?" the Pirate's response was, "Of course you are." -- accompanied with the occasional deep sigh or rolling of the eyes.

(He's now convinced that I'm able to impregnate myself on demand, with a little help from him and his wee "pals," of course.)

And so here I am, sitting in front of a computer at work, biting back yawns and pretending to work while surreptitiously Googling "cloth diapers" to see what new and wonderful hemp-fleece-pockety creations have appeared online in the past couple of years.

It's going to be a long 30 weeks, I tell you.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the opportunity to become reacquainted with some long-lost friends... my boobs.

Nice to have you back, girls!!!

This is me in May 2005, when I was about 8 months
pregnant with Milo...
I'm currently only at 10 weeks
and already my belly feels bigger than that. Whee!