Good fences.

Though Sea and I live in a city, we’ve been realizing more and more how much our neighborhood functions like a small town. 

When I was 20 weeks pregnant, we told our closest neighbours that we were having a baby.  Within a couple of weeks, other neighbors– people we had never spoken to– were congratulating us and fishing for details.  I went from being able to count on one hand the number of people on our street that I knew by name to recognizing people from halfway down the block.  And each person seems to come with their own set of invasive assumptions or questions.  

There was the neighbor who chastized Sea for mowing the lawn, assuming that she was pregnant.  A couple of neighbors have asked about our birth plan and told us about their birth experiences (often as their wide-eyed children looked on).  Last week the older woman who lives a few houses down instructed us to have the baby on her birthday (we didn’t).  So it was no surprise today when another neighbor stopped us as we walked home with the words, “Can I ask you something personal?” 

Based on the questions that we get asked most commonly, we assumed that she would follow this with “Boy or girl?”, “How did you do it?”, “Known or unknown donor?”, or “Birth plan?”  Instead, she asked, “Are you both planning on breastfeeding?”

Well, neighbor whose name I didn’t know until about a month ago, who I’ve only spoken to a handful of time, whose previous interactions with me consisted of “Hello!” and “Good morning!”, that is quite a personal question.  Too surprised to be coy or clever, Sea simply answered “Uh, no.”  We then stood awkwardly, shifting from foot to foot in synchrony, as the neighbor told us about her breastfeeding experiences.

They say good fences make good neighbors.  Clearly we need a taller one.

 

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Magic baby.

No, we don’t have a baby yet.

My lack of update following our impromptu appointment with the OB/GYN on Tuesday is purely a result of my computer having experienced an utter collapse a week ago.  Though the computer has not yet been repaired, I’ve come to the decision that blogging from work is an excellent use of my lunch hour.  (Food is optional at 37ish weeks pregnant, right?)

So, Tuesday.

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A visit to Clinic One.

I woke up to the sound of our alarm clock, early enough on a fall morning that our room was still completely in the dark.  I squinted as I rooted through the laundry basket of clean, unfolded clothes: hoping desperately that the clothes I grabbed would both fit and vaguely match.  Then I stepped out into the cold and headed downtown to Clinic One.

Yes, this was this morning.

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Adventures in invisible pregnancy.

When I look at myself sideways in the mirror, I look pregnant.  My stomach extends well beyond my chest, Sea accidentally elbows me on a daily basis, I’ve twice been offered seats on the bus.  Still, more often than not, people don’t expect to see me pregnant– and so they don’t.

Take, for instance, a conversation with an acquaintance earlier this morning.  I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months, since before announcing Bingo’s impending arrival.  After congratulating me and asking about parental leave, she asked: “So, how are you doing it?”  “Sorry?”  I responded, confused.  Doing what, I wondered?  Taking time off from work?  It had been the last thing we had been talking about… “How are you doing it?  Having a baby?  Are you adopting?”  “No,” I replied: “I’m 7 months pregnant.”  This conversation, resulting in said flustered acquaintance offering repeated awkward congratulations before making a hasty exit, is one that has been repeated several times over the past months.  Hearing that we’re going to become parents, the acquaintance or stranger will look from me, to Sea, back again, only to ask if we’re using a surrogate, adopting, etc.

Then there’s the woman who cuts my hair.  She’s been cutting my hair for years now, complaining bitterly about her husband and son, doting over her poodle, and always asking about “my girl”.  A couple of months ago, I told her that Sea and I were having a baby.  She immediately assumed that Sea was the one who was pregnant, asking how Sea was feeling, if her mother was going to come for the birth, and so on.  I was too awkward to contradict this assumption, so instead gave half answers: Sea was feeling fine, her mother would not be coming for the birth.

Since then, Sea and I have both been avoiding getting our hair cut.  Sea’s hair is considerably longer than mine, so avoidance is a strategy that could feasibly work until after November.  My shortly cropped hair, however, quickly goes from schoolboy to shaggy dog. Today, when the acquaintance asking about adoption made her hasty exit, I realized it was time.  I crossed the street to the hair salon, and resigned myself to an awkward conversation as the woman cutting my hair realized that I was the one pregnant.  Except it didn’t happen.

She sat me down, tucked a towel around my neck, and immediately asked how “my pregnant girl” was feeling.  Having been too awkward to contradict her two months ago, I certainly wasn’t going to do it now:

“Oh, she’s fine…  We’re both feeling fine.”

“And she’s not feeling sick?”

“No, no, she’s not feeling sick.”

“And when will she labor?”

“The baby is due in November.”

I continued to deflect her questions, desperately trying to move on to other topics of conversation, Bingo kicking as the razor buzzed against my neck.  As I waited for the appointment to end, I wondered how hard it would be to cut my own hair and just how bad it would be if I don’t get another haircut until December.

I may have underestimated Herbal Tea.

After taking my blood pressure, measuring fundal height, and listening to Bingo’s heartbeat, Herbal Tea asked me if I had been watching Orange is the New Black.  She’s totally hooked, she explained.

I may have underestimated her.

(And, yes, Sea and I have been watching it.  We may not talk to Bingo a lot, read to Bingo, or play Bingo music… but gosh darn it, that kid is going to get an early exposure to lesbian prison drama.)

A conversation with two ten year olds.

Kid 1: Wait, you’re pregnant?

Me: Yes.

Kid 1: How?

Me:  I just am.

Kid 1: What did you get pregnant with?

Me: A baby, I hope.

Kid 1: No, with what man?  What man did you get pregnant with?

Me: I didn’t get pregnant with any man.

Kid 2:  (leaping up, in great excitement) I know!  I know!  She got pregnant with insemination!  That’s how my sister and I were made!  With insemination!