Thursday, December 4, 2008

Miss Conception

All seems to be fine on the baby-making front, everything (everything) rounding out as it should. I seem to have entered the 'nesting' stage, a phenomenon seen throughout the animal kingdom as gravid mammals prepare the nest for their offspring. We are opting for a crib instead of a nest, but the preparations continue nonetheless.

I'm at mother nature's mercy, powerless against this cruel taskmistress's drive to clean and organize. I've cleaned the skeletons out of my closets, dusted the insides of all my envelopes and even done the laundry. It is doubly grueling work for me, because my new OCD doesn't stay confined to the house. At my clinic I'm cleaning just as frenetically, straightening up and straightening spines, and I find I cannot stand to let a patient leave with a single vertebra out of alignment - my baby simply must be born in a state of order.

As I obsessively and cleanly come to the end of my gestation, I've had time to reflect on this procreative era, and while I think I've mastered Pregnancy 101 (except for the final exam!), I still have a few outstanding issues that I'm confused on, misconceptions if you will. Raise your hand if you know an answer.
  • Is it OK to ask a woman how much weight she's gained? I thought the answer was almost always unequivocally NO. But it seems that the more protuberant my belly became, the more people wanted to know it's mass. Oh, I'll tell them, I'm not ashamed and it's not like I can hide this bump (hell, a muu-muu couldn't hide it) or the ice cream stains running down it for that matter... I just... thought that... people, MEN in particular... knew not to ask this. And by golly, they asked.
  • "Are you sure it's not twins?" Is this funny? Am I THAT large, or do you think that I may have already forgotten (one of) my babies? For the record, I'm sure.
  • What is the point of the linea negra, that charming line that appears down the stomach? I like to think it is slimming, being a vertical stripe and all, but perhaps I'm deluding myself? Why isn't there more research on this phenomenon?
  • Why the fascination with food cravings? This is one of the more popular questions I've heard - and don't get me wrong, meals are a favourite topic these days, but I feel like I'm a big fat disappointment when I don't cop to craving pickles and ice cream. Does 'food' count as a craving?
  • Baby stuff. Do I really need all this stuff? I'm being given lists of things that bounce and swing and vibrate and play music. Things to use for the first few weeks and a whole new inventory for the next few weeks. Things to sterilize with and things to stroll with, and their many, many accessories. Are these all necessary? Because I thought that all I really needed to start was couple of lactation dispensation devices (got 'em!) and some blankets...
  • What is the obsession with knowing the sex? I'd like to find out eventually, perhaps on the baby's birthday at the latest, but am I alone in savouring this delicious surprise? I want so badly to know, I can't wait to find out, I studied sex determination on ultrasound imaging and stared at that screen like my life depended on it...therefore I think I know the sex of this child, but I don't know for sure (I'm told that can look like a number of things...). And that uncertainty is tantalizing to me. It's like an unread book by your favourite author, an unopened letter, the anticipation of a good meal. (See? Back to food. Always back to food.)
The funny thing about being pregnant is that just when you think you've got it mastered, it changes. And from what I hear, that's what parenthood is kind of like too. But until then (5 weeks!), I'm enjoying this time between life before and life after, this pregnant pause if you will. Just call me Miss Conception 2008.

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