Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mama Bean may need to change her name

I was so much more tired with this pregnancy. That was the first sign. I hadn’t regained my period from nursing yet, so there wasn’t a period to miss, and the morning sickness waited to show up, but the exhaustion just sucker punched me. Every day, between 11 am and 4 pm (give or take three hours) I could just collapse at the drop of a hat, and remain blissfully unconscious through crying Beans and husbands for hours. I mean, I’d been generally tired since Bean was born, that’s just the way of mama-things, right? But this was weird. And so I peed on a stick to answer my questions.

My instincts had an inkling, you see, because after months of little (read: zero) interest in together time, suddenly it appeared, and that should have tipped me off (the way falling down the stairs should have tipped me off last time) that something might be up with the ovularious activities, and perhaps trigger some protective strategies against such eventualities. Are you catching my drift? But it didn’t. So here we are. Only two or three months earlier than we planned to be in this way. Which, to me, is an improvement on the six to eight months earlier than we planned for Bean to be. So.

So I was super tired. And when the nausea did appear, it wasn’t so bad, or I was better at dealing with it. I limited vomiting to less than ten incidents altogether (vs. ten incidents per week), almost all in the evening. Basic strategy involved eating a handful of food and calling that a meal, and doing that every three hours or so. Although it has passed, I still can’t eat more than a handful or two at a time. And it’s better to avoid food or beverages after dinner. And I’m still pretty tired, but not for so much of the day, and only slightly more than normal motherhood levels.

I am pretty sure Sprout will be another boy, but Papa Bean is holding out for a girl. There are two shreds of “evidence” he can cling to that something different inhabits my belly. First, my belly itself is different. My abs seem to have bunched up at the top, and it feels hard, while the lower abdomen is like fluffy mashed potatoes and my uterus is still well within the pelvis. Maybe this is just the disorganization that comes with having already pushed one out. Second, my cravings are totally altered. Last time, it was ice cream, all day, every day, yes please now. This time, all I want is steak. And dumplings. Meat and salt and yes please now. Weird, eh? So maybe it’s a girl. But I doubt it. The Y is very strong in PB’s family.

The internal monologue of the pregnancy after a first child is an endless variation on the [x pregnancy-related phenomenon]-is-earlier/later/different-than-last-time theme. I am amazed by the difference in our life circumstances alone. Last time, I was more or less unemployed, home alone with ample time for self-pity during the worst weeks of vomiting, then suddenly the owner of (new debt! and) a Chiropractic business, having spent the previous eight months unsure I even wanted to be a Chiropractor. Having just started attending a new church at that time, I was reflecting that many of my patients and church friends have only ever known me pregnant. In fact, when I get an appointment with one of those once-a-year patients, so many of them only remember me at all because I had a big ol’ belly on me!

This time, Papa Bean is in a new job and taking classes at the same time, on top of church activities, bass playing, hunting, and all his other hobbies. I am happily chiropractoring in my happy clinic with happiness. I picked up a hobby of my own, and will soon be taking guitar lessons. And I have a busy little Bean who keeps me constantly occupied with bottles, meals, naps, diapers, protecting the CD shelf, etc. Plus, I’m awakening to a new, inner urge to Make Home. To be a HomeMaker. Friend K and I were discussing just the other night this new aspect of parenting, and thinking back on the memories of home we carried forward from childhood, and how foundationally important that sense of place becomes; my heart and soul as a mother tell me this is my job, that I am building a nest here for my nestlings, and, as with Everything Else, it’s beyond not-just-about-me anymore, it is deeply and necessarily about them. And soon there will be two! But oh how my (lazy) head (and tired hands) argue with this, and sap my energy to fulfill the urge. However, it’s not going away, so strategies will have to be devised. I fear this little chopped up mid-century house is conspiring against me, but I will push valiantly onward.

Because of the busyness and new circumstances and Bean and all the rest, I don’t have the navel-gazing luxury for this pregnancy to rest anywhere near the forefront of my mind. It mightn’t cross my mind for a whole day. It’s taken weeks just to find enough minutes to write a dang post about it! I certainly don’t have the running commentary of worries and concerns and things-that-aren’t-safe-to-eat-when-you’re-with-child buzzing in my ear, because there’s enough other buzzing going on. It gets saved up for bedtime, when I realize, crap! I ate unheated sandwich meat for lunch. And then I go to sleep, because even if it really is that Big Of A Deal, I can’t keep my eyes conscious any longer. It makes me feel like I’m less excited, somehow, because I’m less obsessive (?) even though I know that’s not true. The excitement is just much calmer and less edged with anxiety and really just much more internal. I didn’t count down the days until the first trimester was over and I could broadcast the news on facebook. I haven’t sent out any sort of email of facebook announcement at all, in fact (talk about failure to update my status! lol) I haven’t been telling every patient in the first thirty seconds of their visit with me. There is no megaphone attached to this pregnancy.

This time, I feel like it’s a bright, fuzzy secret I’m holding behind my hands, deep under the fluffy mashed potatoes of my belly. I feel like I want to keep Sprout all to myself for as long as he (or she) really is all to myself. This is probably partially a byproduct of knowing this will likely be my last pregnancy, as we’re only planning to have two children. he tenor of this pregnancy is quieter and softer and a little bit secret. I’ve got one Bean, outside of me and growing like weeds, and time rushes faster faster; I didn’t know, last time, what it meant for pregnancy to be precious. What it meant that these are the only nine months they are physically joined to you, and then they rip out your heart to carry around with them as time hurtles them further and further away from you. I hope the world won’t begrudge my selfishness. I’m holding this one inside me, a little more quietly, but with no less excitement, and no less love.

Sprout is predicted to arrive mid-March. We’re at 16 weeks. I don’t think I’ll be changing my name to Mama BeanSprout, or anything like that, but the thought crossed my mind. This time, for sure, I am enjoying every minute of pregnancy hair.