20 Percent

Shocking developments!

Our little bird

Apparently there is a good reason to have a professional conduct the scan!

...They notice things that the midwife might not!

Busy Day

Ruth emailed me to let me know that yes, they are coming on Saturday. Also, we’re going to the hospital for the Official Ultrasound this afternoon, so hopefully we’ll have photos to clear up any possibility of gender ambiguity. During the office ultrasound, the little bird was moving around like crazy (which I guess is normal for birds in enclosed spaces)—I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in the eyes of an ultrasound technician.

Telling a couple of other family members that the little bird looks like a girl went much better; my sister Kate squealed and told me how excited she was, and my dad not only talked about how happy he was but then sent my husband an email talking about how all kids are great but daughters are special. When I talked to him on the phone, he asked to see ultrasound pictures as soon as we have them. I realize that I haven’t told Tammy yet (we commonly go months without speaking), but Kate posted the news on Facebook, so she probably knows. I’ve been looking at tiny dresses on the internet and wondering about whether it’s hard to crawl in a dress. I’ve got the Sears baby book and one on infant massage in my “to read” queue. Everything feels more real at this point, which is both weird and cool. I’ve been trying to figure out which diapers are good diapers; we got a package of Pampers Swaddlers for Cricket way back when, but they are apparently made with baby-scorching toxic waste now. How much does it matter which diapers you use (toxic waste aside)? There’s a charity here in town that will give us half a dozen diapers if we show up to their open house (once per month), so of course we’re using any and all diapers we can get our grubby hands on, but I’m going to put some diapers on a registry and would like to pick the right ones.

Basically I’m getting to work out a whole baby plan now, and while I know that babies change plans, I like being able to form opinions as starting points for dealing with little bird when she gets here: for example, baby powder or no? Certainly talc is not a good idea, but now I get to take some time and think about this (relatively unimportant) decision.


Before I knew I was pregnant—when I was about three and a half weeks pregnant, or about a week and a half after probable conception—I decided to kill myself. But, I decided, I would wait until I got my period, because on the off chance that I was pregnant, I wouldn’t be able to.

It’s funny; reading what I say on this blog, if it weren’t for my constant reassurance, you’d never guess that I’m pro-choice. I just apparently feel hysterically protective of anything that I’m growing myself—if this were a sitcom, I’d end up with a tapeworm. Hilarity!

Actually finding out that I was pregnant was a huge relief; I got to blame hormones for the way I was feeling, and that black depression is part of why I’ve tended to guess that I’m going to have a girl. I heard somewhere that girls do that. Things got slowly better after that, and I’m thinking about it now because yesterday I started tapering off my antidepressants and looking forward to a hopefully drug-free year or two. When I was pregnant with Cricket, I went off of one drug immediately after figuring out that I was pregnant and going to stay pregnant and the other around seven months. Neither of them is anything like likely to cause any problems, but that 3 percent chance is more than enough to worry me, and I’d rather go ahead and wean before birth so that I don’t suddenly have to cold-turkey in order to breastfeed.

When I was at my appointment, I omitted some information from the form the midwives gave me. I do check the “depression” box, but (for example) when they ask whether I’ve ever been hospitalized for any reason, I say no. I don’t want to be treated like a crazy person, and this is how I handled it last time, although I’m aware that the policy isn’t without its flaws. I really need not to be a high-risk pregnancy, and if I end up with gestational diabetes or some other condition that takes that out of my hands, so be it. But I just want to have a low-key birth where I push out a baby all drug-free and relatively peaceful-like, and I know that I’m capable of that, so why not help my caretakers to believe it?

I recently read Dooce’s memoir about having her first daughter and then having severe post-partum depression. I’ve also watched a few women in an online community I belong to be dragged down by PPD over the past couple of years. Trying to figure out from my experiences after I lost Cricket whether I would have had PPD if I had parented him is probably futile, but I keep flashing back to, e.g., the conversation where I finally told my mom that I was hearing voices—I was careful to qualify that, explaining that they weren’t the kind of voices that tell you to kill, and it took me weeks to realize that my qualifier was just further freaking people out. Live and learn. Ultimately I don’t think that my depression then is a useful indicator for what parenting a newborn will do to my brain, but I hate that I can’t know until I get there what will happen.

My mother freaked out when I told her that I was going off meds—she had been trying to talk me into not going off at all and not breastfeeding, which is huge when you know that she worked as a lactation consultant for several years and still has a drawer full of “Breast Is Best” and “Eat at Mom’s” buttons. She eventually calmed down when I made it clear that I’m open to going back on drugs if it’s clear that I’m coming apart. I will be sort of heartbroken, though, which isn’t a great place to start climbing out of one’s depression. My decision has been to hope for the best in a careful way; we’ll see how that goes.

Sharing the News

Friday morning, I sat in the Wal-Mart parking lot, watching a little bird in an evergreen tree and telling my mother that we are expecting a girl. She said “Oh,” and then told me that the crew that cleaned their carpets hadn’t done a very good job. Only an hour earlier, I had told my husband that I wasn’t going to tell her for awhile, that I really wanted this to be the thing that would get her excited about the grandkid, and that I was worried that even this wouldn’t be enough to get her to emotionally invest.

Shortly after placing Cricket, I showed my mom some patterns for knitted Moses basket linings, and asked her if, when the time came, she would make one for her first raised grandchild—I told her that it was important to me, and she agreed. I brought it up again when I told her that I was pregnant with this little bird, and it’s taken me a few months to realize that it ain’t gonna happen. It’s a silly thing to get hung up on, of course, but a friend recently offered to knit something for the baby and I thought of it again. I had a Moses basket when I was a baby—does anyone do that anymore? Perhaps my mom is just embarrassed by how behind the times I am.

Several people have told me that everyone gets tested for STDs and drugs, and that I should maybe chill out a little. Fair enough: I was, I think, sensitized by a couple of other things that happened at the visit. One is a thing that has happened before—I tell them that I don’t smoke, they are politely skeptical, and then (in this case) the midwife listened to my lungs and said with obvious surprise, “Oh! You don’t smoke!” But the thing that put me most on my guard was a conversation that started when she asked whether I was still breastfeeding my firstborn. My general philosophy on this one is that if they’re going to be jerks about it, I need to know, so I just said “I actually placed my first child for adoption” in a neutral sort of way and waited. It was a bit awkward, but she didn’t seem hostile—just a bit flustered—and she did ask whether it was an open or a closed adoption. Guess I live in a pretty progressive area.

I look seriously pregnant now. I keep thinking about adding one of those dorky Lilypie tickers to the blog—shamefully, I have one on my home page. But at almost eighteen weeks, I definitely look more pregnant that I did at this point last time. I’m also having more back pain that I did last time, but some of that might be circumstantial; we have a futon but no bed, and I have no desk, so I sit or lie on the floor to use my computer. We are hoping to get a bed before the little bird is born, but we’ll have to see how things go.

I Did See

Well, I had the big appointment—blood drawn, apparently drug and STD tests (eyeroll! I get it, I’m a low-income pregnant lady. But wow, holy grim assumptions, Batman), peed in a cup, heard the heartbeat, got some delicious glucose to drink for next time, a referral for an ultrasound at the hospital and . . . a quickie ultrasound in the office. 😀 The midwife says that she’s 80 percent sure it’s a girl, and that “I certainly don’t see any sign of a penis or testicles.” She was also rocking out like crazy in utero, so I’m not nuts–I have been feeling her move. I really wish the Mister had been able to go along on this appointment; I’ve got to be sure to schedule the really official ultrasound for a time when he’s not working. When I was walking out of the office, I thought I’m going to have a daughter, and I was so excited that I started to cry. Then I realized that people might get the wrong impression from seeing a weeping pregnant lady, and I pulled myself together.


Not much today because I’m trying to get out the door to a midwives’ appointment—I just finished a work assignment and am running a bit behind. But I wish that the Mister could come with me, as does he. Before he left for work this morning, my husband asked what will happen at the appointment today. “They’ll draw blood, I’ll get to hear the wah-wah noise, and probably they’ll feel me up.” Good times for sure.

What Are the Odds?

Many thanks to blog reader Gretchen for sending not only three gorgeous wraps but two swaddling blankets that her mother made for her. I can’t wait to explain to the little bird where all of these things came from, their history and the women who sent them.

Well, my husband won the bet (and chose a box of maple cream cookies from Trader Joe’s); I got an email from Ruth. It was thoughtful and careful and I suspect that she’s had a chance to talk to someone at the good agency in between that last email and this one (they’ve kept in touch with their social worker, who is apparently a gem). She mentioned that they might have to cancel the visit because of Nora’s work, and for whatever reason this left me able to genuinely say that we’ll find a time, and they should come when they can. Cricket has apparently started stringing two words together into sensible sentences, which scares the crap out of me—he is a little dude now, and not a baby at all. Maybe we’ll see in a week and a half. Maybe not.

But since they might still be coming (from the way she phrased it, it sounds like they are probably still coming), I need to figure out my connection homework. I am going to make graham crackers shaped like animal crackers and just put them out like bridge mix and let that be whatever it will be (I put out fruit and nuts last time they visited, so this isn’t totally out of nowhere in terms of the way we entertain), but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count—because if it does count, I’m going to be invested in whether he gets to eat one or not, and that’s not a good mental space for me to hang out in. My best idea so far isn’t a great one, but here it is: I pulled a toddler toy out of the hope chest and assembled it, and might try to play with the kid with that. It’s a little Fisher-Price fire station (I removed the batteries as my step one: silent toys, best toys), and it reminds me of a Fisher-Price garage they had at the church nursery where I worked as a kid. I also showed Mr. Book the toddler stuff I’d pulled together to entertain Cricket on the upcoming visit; he told me to tell the blog that he’s been playing with the ball.

In my response to Ruth’s email, I did give a couple of pregnancy updates, and put in a “I can stop this if you don’t want to hear it” kind of disclaimer (less gruff than that, I swear!). I don’t know. I usually chat a bit about whatever’s going on with us, and right now that includes a lot of pregnancy stuff. It’s the same sort of stuff I might put on Facebook: I felt movement, we won’t find out the sex for like a hundred years, we did hear a heartbeat. This is complicated, in part because the only examples I’ve seen of how to do it are either Dawn’s way (super close, crazy awesome, not really feasible here) or, well . . . what I talked about in that post on Sunday.