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Hedra's Pregnancy Journal

Seventeen Weeks, 5 Days ~ June 28, 2004
   ~ Nesting? Already?

First, for the important stuff. I've felt more movement, now getting very regular, at least a few times a day every day. YAY! Within days of the last appointment, I got some good pokes in the side from the baby. Now, when I.m hungry, or thirsty, I can count on being REMINDED to go get something to eat... And I.m feeling it at night, and at random times during the day. My cube mate now knows that if I say 'Hi, Baby!' I just got kicked.

Next, for the "hmmm" factor. Gabe has announced that he thinks I'm having twins. A boy and a girl. Now, that would be interesting... in the EEK kind of way, to some degree. He's getting older, and is less prone to speaking from his soul, so I'm not sure whether to trust it this time or not. But I did want to get that out there, just in case. I'd not want people to think I was making it up if he's right.

Also this week, Brendan has announced that he thinks the baby in my tummy is cute, and that when it comes out, he's going to hold it. The gentle cradling motion he makes with his hands when he tells me this, along with the head tucked to one side, looking adoringly down at the pretend baby in his arms, is enough to make me cry from sheer cute.

But the funny thing this week is that nesting is slowly starting to creep up on me. Nesting. You think - oh, she's hot to organize everything, wash everything, clean house! Nope. Not me. My nesting? Shopping. The only form of 'Nesting' I seem to get! Sigh. I am descended from pack rats, apparently.

With Gabe, my sum total of nesting instinct was about 20 minutes of thinking 'hmm, maybe I'll go downstairs and do the laundry'... followed by 'nah, never mind!' (Poor Will, hess the main housekeeper in our family, and he could have used something stronger in the nesting world than that! How about an urge to clean the refrigerator? Or organize the pantry? Clean the cars? Surely one of my pregnancies can come up with something useful on the nesting, can't it?)

With Brendan, I just got desperate to have the bed set up before we brought him home. We were shopping for the last parts when I went into labor with him. So not much out of that one, either. This time, I am getting more of a 'gathering' than a 'cleaning/organizing/preparing' kind of feeling, and I'm getting it WAY early. Not sure what that means. Hopefully it doesn't mean I'll be on bed rest and won't be able to get out to do this later. I did a few days of partial bed rest with Gabe, and did not enjoy it at all. I've never met anyone who DID enjoy bed rest, really.

So, nesting. AKA, shopping. At least that's what I'm blaming the urge to go out and GET stuff on. Everything from a load of mulch for the yard (back a few weeks, when the first signs of it began to show, but I didn't recognize it yet), to (a few) maternity clothes, to pregnancy books, to a single outfit for the baby (because we've got a basement full of hand-me-downs already), to ant killer for the carpenter ant invasion we've been having around here lately (damp weather, happy ants)... It MUST be nesting, because usually I don't get frantic with the need to go shopping. Usually, I can hold off, re-tune to the budget easily, etc. Not now. Now, I get itchy, twitchy, and irritable if I don't get a chance to go GET something, something to finish off some aspect of the yard or house, care for the pregnancy or prepare for the next few months. Funny, I didn't even think about how frantic it was making me until this weekend, when I went hunting for the ant spikes... not finding them made me really uncomfortable, and I just HAD to try another store. I was cataloging other places to try on my way home.

Weird, I thought.

Nesting, I'm thinking now.

And what do I manage to get? Pregnancy books. You'd think I would have enough pregnancy books by now. Between the ones I've had before, and the ones I've since collected for my own book-writing efforts, I've got quite a collection. I even have Soranus' Gynecology (2nd Century AD Greek Obstetrician's manual on obstetrics and gynecology - fascinating what they knew then that we're just now proving to be true, and horrifying what they 'knew' then and have thankfully learned better about.) But there's always the one more I am missing, or the one I loaned out and never saw again and must replace, or the one that just came out and looks like SO much fun...

Under the pressure of the nesting urge, I succumbed to two pregnancy books. One was Belly Laughs, by Jenny McCarthy. The other was the latest version of The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby (by Ann Douglas). The former is new, and I was in need of a laugh. The latter is one I had loaned out to a friend who was in the midst of trying to conceive. I can't bear to ask for it back, as she's had to stop her trying attempt to cope with her husband's cancer diagnosis. Hopefully she'll get a chance to use it, still. He's in remission, but I don't know what their plans are for the future, and I don't think it is my place to pry about it.

I ordered my books online. It didn't take long for my book order to arrive. Ah, the joy of coming home to a package! Hooray! Presents, for me. Every few hours, I'd find myself flipping through one or another of the books, dipping my toes in, enjoying having the new volumes floating around in my house. After a few days, I delved in deeper, even on the book I already knew.

My quickie reviews of the two pregnancy books:

Belly Laughs really is funny. It is what I call 'bathroom reading' - short material, split into many chapters that you can read in any order you like. It is also clearly written by a first-time mom, someone certain of her path, casually unconcerned about implications of some of her choices, and at the same time, frantic about ones that are probably relatively unimportant in the long run. In other words, a normal new mom. Some people might be surprised that the rich and famous are just like everyone else, but I wasn't. I was more surprised, not knowing anything about her before I picked up her book, that she's a good writer. Heck, I don't even know what roles she's played - she's an actress, right? (Laugh away, I can't put actor together with role most of the time. The information just doesn't stick. Ask me what journal published a study on SIDS and bed sharing in the late 90's, though, and I'll tell you British Medical Journal, and hook you up with their website, too!)

Back to Jenny and her new-mom-ness. I remember that. I remember being worried about things I now think were silly, compared to some of the things that I didn't consider important at all back then and now know are far more important, at least to me. After all, what I knew about pregnancy was (of course) TRUE, and anything 'other people' said was important was just them and their weird ideas. I never considered whether there might be reasons for ME to try out the same things another person considered valuable. That was them, this was me, never the twain shall meet. I see the same reflected in Jenny's attitude about childbirth classes and natural birth, an attitude I also started out with regarding midwifery. Why would one want to bother, when the world had grown and changed so much 'since then'? No question, no doubt - absolute certainty that my ideas were perfect for me, and while other ideas might be perfect for other people, I need not bother considering anything but what I already 'knew' I wanted. A touch arrogant, a touch naive, a touch overconfident, and stuffed to the brim with the awareness that I was carrying in my belly the most precious thing ever to grace this earth. My child. Of course I knew everything about how to approach this!

Live and learn - sometimes the things we think are 'not us' are more than relevant to what we want. It was only when I was scared by an experience with an OB that I bothered to think outside my perfect little box. Only then did I challenge my assumptions and examine what I thought was true to see if it was, indeed, true - for me or for anyone. Challenging my assumptions was not a new path in my life, but certainly a new one in pregnancy. I'm still on that particular journey, and I don't foresee an end. Every few months, I learn that something else is either mis-represented in the 'common wisdom' or so conditional that it doesn't relate to me the way I thought it should. Part of that is the fact that science is always changing what we know. Part of that is the fact that I just don't know as much as I like to think I do.

Jenny, in her book, isn't at the 'hey, maybe there's more to the other ideas that are worth looking at?' stage, but as much as I winced at her blissful ignorance and her frantic panics, I laughed hard at her portrayal of the craziness of pregnancy, as well. I've been there. For many of the chapters, if you are pregnant, you have been or you will be right there with her. She's blazingly honest about the physical grossness involved in pregnancy, and her writing is easy to read, and easy to relate to. Her birth story is funny and heart-wrenching and charming, and exhibits that power that all moms learn, about how humbling and miraculous this experience can be. Her book is not informational in the 'REFERENCE MANUAL' kind of way, but informational in the 'oh my gosh, did you dream that you'd ever experience ...' whisper between friends kind of way.

The other book I bought, The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby, is my favorite pregnancy book, revised and re-released recently. I have one disclaimer: I'm in it. I was one of the panel of moms who contributed to the book, though the only benefit I get is my name in the front. I have done that for other books on pregnancy and parenting (three total in print, one in editing), with varying degrees of liking the book afterwards. This one, I love. It isn't perfect, but it was everything I hoped it would be when I was just emailing answers to questions to Ann Douglas, week after week. It covers a lot of ground, including much ground not covered in most pregnancy books, real issues like pregnancy after sexual abuse, or with an abusive partner, as well as some less common but equally important experiences and conditions.

This one is a reference book, definitely. There are LOADS of tables, details, questions and answers. At the same time, it isn't all heavy geek stuff, and I managed to easily flip through it in a short period of time. It is the book I'd have written if she hadn't written it. If I could.

Another thing I like about it is the attitude. Or lack thereof, really. She starts with the assumption that 'you're smart, here's information, you can decide how to proceed from there'. Not preachy, but informative, covering a lot of range. Home birth, Birth Center birth, Hospital birth, all covered. Natural and medical pain interventions. A wide variety of childbirth classes. The list of what she covers is huge, and so is the range in which she covers it.

Is it perfect? Nope. There are parts I'd have expanded, like I'd have included HypnoBirthing or hypnotherapy in the 'childbirth classes' section. I'd have included more clinical detail in the drugs-and-side-effects section, though perhaps most people don't want that level of clinical detail, or would mis-read it (I'm used to evaluating medical information). Regardless, she relies on evidence-based medicine where that information is valuable and solid, and is not opposed to pointing out where common practice diverges from advisory statements from groups like ACOG (American College of Obstetricians). I really like that. Most of the reference-type books are either too light in content, or too slanted in 'what you should do' for my taste. This one covers a lot of ground, giving a broader picture of what is possible, available, and functional.

That does it for my reviews.

This week, I have also brought out my maternity clothes for real, and was given a few by my sister-in-law as well. That cut down on my shopping requirements, for which our budget is grateful. I still want a few more shirts, something not white or striped would be good. And short sleeves. I'm still shy of short-sleeved shirts.

JC Penney has nice maternity stuff. Maybe I can try Sears, too. I've already checked Kohl's, Motherhood Maternity, Gap Maternity, Old Navy, and Lands' End (I love their pants). Hmm, where else can I look? Most of the colors are awful this year. Oh, well, keep looking.

Shopping calls... No, I'll call it nesting. I can just see Will giving me that 'wow, are YOU pregnant' look (the bemused one) when I beg for a few hours to go check out the mall... nesting, love, call it nesting. Maybe, if he's lucky, I'll end up wanting to do laundry for more than 20 minutes this time.

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