Clothes are hard.

Clothes are hard.  They’re hard when you’re gender non-conforming.  They’re hard when you’re fat.  They’re hard when you’re eight months pregnant.  They’re hard when you’re required to be a little bit fancy.  They’re especially hard when you’re gender non-conforming, fat, eight months pregnant, and invited to a wedding where you have to be a little bit fancy.

But, thanks to a trip to the thrift store, some creative belt coverage, and a long tie to hide the gaps between buttons, I managed to dress myself with only a few small wardrobe crises.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my pants off and not put them back on for at least another month.

 

 

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#bumpday

I usually bike to work, even/especially when I’m pregnant.  Recently though, a stolen bike and a heatwave have landed me on the subway more often than not.  And as I stand, crammed in a too-hot subway car, belly jolting and jiggling between stations, I’m reminded that I’ll never be the right kind of pregnant.

Nobody looks in my direction, let alone offers me a seat. People accidentally elbow my belly as they get off the subway, but never ask when I’m due. I don’t have a round belly, fashionably covered by a cute maternity shirt. People who know me offer an occasional congratulations, cautious in case they’re wrong, but that’s it.  The only comment from a stranger came a couple of weeks ago, when a homeless man gestured at my stomach and announced, “It’s a boy!”  I still frequently get mistaken for being a boy.  Nobody reaches out to touch the bump.

I get it.  I’ll never be cute pregnant.  I’m too fat, too masculine, too awkward in this changing body.  My belly is long, stretched from chest to pelvis.  I wear the same rotation of five oversized polo shirts, and spend most of my day hitching up the maternity pants that are somehow always falling down.

I’m a different kind of pregnant, and that’s okay.

The type of pregnant I am is strong.  I bike, hoist my daughter on to my shoulders, carry my own groceries.

The type of pregnant I am is calm.  Mostly.  I still worry about kick counts, iron levels, the impending reality of having to get a baby from inside to out.  Of course I do.  But I also don’t question everything I eat, worry about every twinge, or Google worst case scenarios.  I trust that my body is doing what it’s supposed to.

The type of pregnant I am is healthy. I’ve grown one strong person and am, as far as anybody can tell, growing another. I read about first trimester sickness, second trimester exhaustion, third trimester aches with interest but not much understanding.  I’ve made it through sixteen months of pregnancies almost vomit-free. I feel mostly the same as I did seven months ago.  I’m grateful beyond measure for my body’s ability to conceive and gestate with relative ease.

Even if the type of pregnant I am was none of these things, it would still be okay.  Good, even.

Today I’m done comparing my bump to an imagined one that (I’m fairly sure) doesn’t  exist.  I’m recognizing that I’m not the only self-conscious pregnant person out there, or the only one to feel far from the ideal.  I’m probably not even the only one on the subway car.  I’m accepting that every body, every bump, every pregnancy is its own. I’m taking the first intentional picture of this pregnancy, and celebrating my body exactly as it is.

Happy #bumpday, everybody.

Year in review.

This morning I received an e-mail from WordPress, directing me to my year in review. I read, with some interest, the statistics summarizing the number of visitors to my blog, most popular posts, most common search terms (“lesbian pregnancy” was the winner, in case you’re curious). Really though, this summary of posts written and read isn’t my year captured- my year is captured more by the stories the posts tell and, of course, by the small person currently lying stretched across my lap.

My year, in review:

January brought the disappointment of a third failed IUI and the last attempt with our first donor. February was the month that worked, March was the month where we learned that it had. In the middle months of the year, my belly slowly grew as did the number of people anticipating Bingo’s arrival. As I sweated through the late summer, we went Facebook public. We learned Bingo’s sex: a badly kept secret until she was born. In the fall we worried about about our maybe-breech baby. In October we anticipated her early arrival (ha!) then I lay inverted on an ironing board and she flipped. In November I left work and waited. On November 22nd Bingo was born- though I did not give birth. She came into the world almost two weeks late, after almost two days of induction and labor (story still owed). The rest of November was spent in flux, split between the physical and emotional exhaustion of post-birth/early parenthood and the wonder of learning and falling in love with our daughter. December has brought increasing stability, as Sea and I have learned a little more about who Bingo is and who we are as parents. It has been a month filled with amazement, frustration, spit up, dirty diapers, uncertainty, sleep deprivation and love.

2013 has been a terribly hard year for many of the people I care about the most. For me it has just been a year of much change and growth- both literal and figurative. There have been many moments- over the past five and a half weeks in particular- that have left me feeling raw. This is no bad thing: it comes with the potential for more change and growth. I have no resolutions for 2014, but I am full of hope and anticipation. Part of that hope is for those people I care about- including all of you. I hope that 2014 brings only good things, and finds you and your family exactly where you need to be.

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Induction, Part 2 (or not).

Once again, as captured at the time.

7:59pm: We arrive back at the hospital, which is much less crowded than earlier.  The receptionist working the evening shift directs all of her questions towards Sea.  When she asks for insurance information and I hand her mine, she says “Oh, it’s you?”

8:57pm: I’m hooked up to the monitor again. I’m still cramping, muscles gripping in a way that reads (slightly) on the printed traces. The nurses are talking about food poisoning and heart attacks.

9:13pm: The nurse comes and reads the monitor’s printouts.  She tells us that the regular cramps are, in fact, contractions.  She’s pleased with this, but less pleased with the fact that Bingo seems to be sleeping.  She leaves and comes back with a styrofoam cup of too-sweet orange juice, which I drink/spill inelegantly down my front.

9:38pm: The doctor, the same doctor as before, comes to check my progress.  He looks at the recorded contractions, before doing a very uncomfortable, thorough internal exam.  I’m now apparently a fingertip dialated.  Contractions + dialation = enough progress to result in the cancellation of gel, round 2.  He summarizes: “Things are progressing… slowly.”  Sea and I are told to go home and come back either when labor picks up or at 10:30am, whichever comes first.

9:45pm: Sea and I are worried about the cancelling of gel, round 2.  On our way out we ask the doctor if he thinks labor will stop or progress overnight.  He tells us that he’s “impressed” with my progress, that earlier he had been sure more than one round of gel would be necessary, that labor could stop but that it’s more likely that it won’t.  Way to impress the doctor, Bingo!

So now we hurry up and wait, once again.  Our support people are on standby, and we’re home to try to sleep.  Contractions are coming frequently but not intensely.  We’ll see how much of the next 24 hours I can blog, but I expect they’re going to be big ones!

Induction, Part 1.

Yup, still no baby.  We’re briefly home between rounds 1 and 2 of gel. 

Round 1, as written from the hospital:

2:29pm: As Diet Coke pointed out at yesterday’s appointment, inductions are a lot of “hurry up and wait”. Though Sea and I were shuffled through the waiting room pretty quickly, past the crowd of bored looking pregnant women, I’ve been lying hooked up to fetal monitors for a pre-induction check for over an hour now. The paper tracking heart rate now stretches across the floor. I’m pretty sure the nurses have forgotten about us.
 
3:00pm: There’s no privacy here.  We’ve been listening to a schizophrenic woman behind the next curtain explain how her baby has probably died and her uterus is filled with worms since we arrived.  A medical resident has been left to convince her otherwise, but isn’t succeeding. The doctor finally appears. He’s friendly, but rushed in the way that medical professionals tend to be.  He checks my cervix and mutters, “I think she’s going to need more than one dose”.  He tells me to come back at 7:00am the next morning.
 
3:16pm: hooked up to the monitors again, this time for at least an hour. The gel burns and I’m feeling slightly crampy, but that might just be because four people have had their fingers in my cervix in the past week.

4:15pm: Sea and I are now the only people left in triage.  A nurse, who has been asking every single person who comes in whether they’ve had lunch comes to release me from the monitors.  She tells me to return at 8:00pm, which contradicts what the doctor had said earlier but confirms what Diet Coke had said yesterday.  The next 15 minutes are spent with the nurse trying to track down the doctor to determine who said what.  She finally reaches him, “The patient thinks she doesn’t have to come back.”  He sticks his head into the room and laughs at me, telling me that my cervix is still closed and that I’m just trying to avoid him.  8:00pm for round 2 it is.

4:25pm: Sea and I walk back from the hospital.  She asks how I’m feeling.  “Fine.”, I reply.  She presses for more details, so I explain that it feels like somebody just shoved a jalepeno pepper in my vagina.  She doesn’t request more information.

It’s 2.5 hours later now, and I feel slightly crampy but fine.  Sea is packing up our bag of distractions again, preparing for a romantic evening in triage.  “Alright, let’s go have a baby.”, she says. 

Alright, let’s.

Eviction notice.

While we were eating breakfast this morning, I turned to Sea and said: “I think Bingo has inherited my time management skills”.  You see, I’m perpetually late.  Ten minutes before I need to be somewhere twenty minutes away, I’ll be running around trying to find my keys and my right shoe.  I imagine that’s what Bingo is doing now: turning circles in my uterus, looking anxiously at a small watch, saying “I just need to…”

You see, Bingo is now eight days past due.  In addition to this, Bingo hasn’t yet dropped fully into my pelvis.  In addition to this, a biophysical profile done on Monday shows an… *ahem* hefty fetus, at an estimated 9 pounds.  Based on these facts, induction has been scheduled to begin tomorrow.  Sea updated her personal blog with the details of today’s midwife appointment, which I’m copying and pasting here in lieu of my own play by play.

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Bingo’s horoscope.

No, no Bingo yet.  No sign of Bingo yet, either.

After work, Sea came home with a copy of the free local paper.  “Read Bingo’s horoscope!”, she told me.  Today’s Scorpio horoscope:

“An issue you have been avoiding has now to be faced.  You have just four days to get your act together and resolve the situation- after that the matter will be taken out of your hands.” 

Ha!