Things & Things

The title of this post is a small homage (that very few will understand) to the title of the album my husband recorded with Garage Band, a four-track, and a host of per diem drummers during our days of basement apartment living, only to be distributed among friends and musical acquaintances in our private world. I dig it because it defies label and preview – seems to say, You’ll just have to listen and see for yourself. He really hates when people ask him what his songs are about. In kind, the reader of this blog might ask, Do I care about this? as she debates whether to click to reveal the “xxxx more words.” Well, my fickle online audience of the 21st century, it’s a laundry list of stuff and things, of life unfolding busily during my bloggy hiatus, and I’m having a hard enough time putting words on the page these days without the pressure of cooking up a clever title.

Announcement to Family and Gender Reveal

I mentioned awhile back that we wanted to restore some mystery to the baby-making journey by staying Team Green until the wail in the delivery room. Apparently I was bluffing. The decision to hunt down the gender portion of our CCS results bloomed from lots of discussion between me and the hubs, ultimately cemented by the reality the he, as a medical professional, can read ultrasounds and didn’t want to be shut out of that miraculous little piece of the pregnancy experience – watching the shadowy little thing wiggle and wave on screen. This catapulted Yours Truly into a whole round of phone calls, starting with my very lovely nurse at RMA, who then had to pass me off to CCRM because they had the information, and only I had the authority to request a release of that portion of the report. Unsurprisingly, my first contact was with an uppity receptionist, who attempted to shut me down by claiming, “We wouldn’t release that to you because you’re no longer a patient here,” at which point I introduced her to my Fierce Advocate persona, and she transferred me to a genetic counselor with a puff of exasperation. (Sidenote: CCRM is ultra-protective of this information because they are morally opposed to using CCS for gender selection, which I respect, particularly when the feminist in me thinks of rich couples coming over from India and China to avoid raising girls, who obviously rule.) Happily, said genetic counselor was incredibly sweet and released the report later that day with very little red tape aside from a simple fax from my RMA nurse indicating that I was already pregnant with the embryo.

It was sort of wacky and exhilarating when the envelope arrived in the mail, the creamy paper of it electrified with mystery and anticipation, and even more surreal as we stood at the bakery counter after the clerk had already taken our letter in the back to jot down which cake she’d be baking. What an outstanding poker face she maintained while we placed the order, “Lemon sponge cake, whipped cream, mm-hmm, and the filling? Raspberry mousse or fresh blueberries, great.” Oh you sly minx, you, bakery-counter-girl!

Of course the heavens dropped several more inches of snow on the already frozen and ice-laden Northeast on the day of the family brunch. (Not that this should surprise anyone since it happens approximately every three days!) Cue a flurry of texts and phone calls to cousins and moms, etc. to confirm that, yes, the brunch is still happening because I ordered a bunch of food and you live in the same town as me, for God’s sake, so lace up your boots and get your butt over here. Once everyone had trickled in, at long last, I brought out the gifts for my mom and my brother, revealing bibs that read “Spoiled by my Grandma” and “Awesome runs in my family,” wrapped lovingly in ivory tissue paper and nestled inside of keepsake boxes printed with “You are my sunshine!” in silvery lettering. My mother, who is a jerk, was too busy making dumb jokes about the way I folded my tissue paper to open the damn thing, so my brother got to his first, staring at the bib with a flicker of confusion-turned-awe as he sputtered, “Really?” When I nodded my head yes, his face turned cherry-red with tears, and all 200+ pounds of broad-shouldered muscle was reduced to quivering sobs as he hugged me and mumbled, “I’m so happy for you” into my hair.

Sometime after that, my mom caught on that something significant was taking place, and she finally took her bib out of the box and burst into tears herself, but that’s where all the appropriate reverence for this miracle stopped. In a conversation about how tiny my bump still was at 14 weeks, my mom turned my explanation (“I am literally big boned, so there’s lots of room to grow before it pops up out of the hips.” Truth, I am super tall and have a large frame) into a fat joke. Then as I mentioned that I have a tilted uterus and that this is also keeping me from looking obviously pregnant, she made another crass joke about how she has one too and that was supposed to make it hard for her to get pregnant (snort, snicker, scoff). Then she referred to my father as “Fertile Myrtle” and flaunted how quickly they became pregnant each time. This is how my mother responded to learning that her daughter is newly pregnant with her first ever grandchild after 5 years of failed IVF and pregnancy loss. There she is, folks, my mom – try to keep your envy in check, please. I extracted myself from contact with her after that to move on to more sensitive guests, and the outpouring of joy was really humbling.

And then we cut the cake!

IMG_2802Those are blueberries, friendly reader who lasted this long! Everyone asks me when I tell them now that we’re having a boy whether that’s what I wanted, but I know you will understand better than anyone that a baby, healthy and alive, is all that matters. It does, however, confirm mother’s intuition and all the male pronouns I was inclined to use from the ‘Jellyfish’ stage. Here we come, Thomas the Train, things covered in mud, diaper changes in which I get peed on, and driving cars too fast one day. It all suddenly feels so real.


Two things happened after the party: (1) We decided that we want to rip the roof off our house and build a second floor, and (2) I went to Florida to visit my best friend so we could do the registry together. I have been missing her so much in this special and unforgettable time. I had always imagined her here with me through all these rites of passage, and the distance makes me more than a little sad. There was also the two-prong bonus of fleeing the tundra for a few days of sun and grass and temps above freezing. I managed to steal one 85-degree day on the beach for girl talk and vitamin D before the cold followed me south and I had to dig out the one pair of leggings I brought with me to avoid having to shop for warmer clothes at the local Target.

The registry process was a bit overwhelming – so much stuff (things and things AND THINGS) and so many models of each individual thing to choose from. The sheer number of car seats and strollers and (accessories for the car seats and strollers) needed for one kid really bowled me over. Tackling BRU with my friend, who brought laughter and lightness whenever my brow furrowed and anxiety surfaced, was just the perfect thing.

Since then it has been full steam ahead on the house renovation, which is on a very tight timeline. We started with the bank, and I have been obsessively looking at MLS to determine whether comps in the area will justify the loan. It’s a scary time, with unpaid maternity leave ahead, to dive into this huge financial commitment, but the reality is that our house is barely big enough for the two of us plus one child, and we’d have to expand in order to have a second. I’ve had all these nightmarish thoughts about moving in with my mother-in-law (which we will have to do in order to do construction of this caliber) while pregnant again and working with a kid in tow. Do it now, my gut tells me, so the architect comes to measure tomorrow, and we’ll use those plans to get hard estimates from the contractors we’ve been in touch with. Then we compare that to the appraisal and submit the loan application. My hope is that construction will be underway in June? I will probably spend the first few weeks postpartum roughing it at my mother-in-law’s, but it’s not the worst thing that ever happened; it’s built-in help for the early weeks! She has been so sweet about the whole thing: we had to insist that we absolutely would not take her bedroom and would make the space in her guest room work. Needless to say, my Pinterest boards have been very active with nursery ideas, bathroom fixtures, staircase designs, on and on. What a thrilling time this is!

How I’m Feeling

Unfortunately, I’ve resigned myself to being one of those women who is sick for the whole pregnancy. I am not throwing up every night or struggling to keep fluids down the way I was at 8-12 weeks, but I am nauseous most nights and still throw up occasionally; I have virtually no pregnancy cravings because my stomach is always on a hair trigger, and I am eating more sugar and less protein than maybe ever in my life because of persistent food aversions. Que sera sera – pregnancy doesn’t last forever, and it’s a small price to pay. I just wish Bunny would start kicking soon so I can soak in some of the magic of this. So far it’s been all discomfort and dreams of what will be.

The bleeding, on the other hand, has stopped – hurray! My fourth and last gushing bleed happened at work toward the end of January, and I stopped spotting entirely around 12 weeks. As you can imagine, this has been an incredible relief. We also had a normal NT scan, which was the last time I got to see Bunny doing his watery gymnastics. I heard the heartbeat for some reassurance at my check-up around 15+ weeks, and my level II scan is scheduled for the end of this month.  My bump is still very subtle, and my students tell me constantly that I could have kept it a secret for a lot longer. My not so secret wish is that I will look obviously pregnant by Easter (21 weeks) when we will be in Italy, because I am insecure about looking instead like a fat American in the land of svelte and honey-complexioned fashionistas. In the meantime, I live in leggings, tunics, sweater dresses and yoga pants because I’ve outgrown all my structured jeans and dress pants but am not yet big enough to graduate to the maternity store.

31 thoughts on “Things & Things

  1. I completely enjoyed your news-filled (!!!) post. It was great! This is such an exciting time for you. Your wonderful descriptions of every little detail made me feel as if I were a mouse in the corner and “in” on everything. Thanks so much for sharing this most special time in your life.
    Sending you only good thoughts and much happiness.


  2. I’m so very excited you!! For me with my daughter, I didn’t look obviously pregnant until 24ish weeks. I was chubby to start, so it took a lot longer to really become obvious. I will keep my fingers crossed for you that you have a brilliantly obvious bump around 20 weeks!


  3. Yay, I’ve been hoping for an update from you! Congrats on the little blueberry baby 🙂 My mothers intution was off, I was so sure ours was a boy ha ha. I understand the want for a bump, but be thankful, because it means you might be less uncomfortable closer to the end. I have a short torso, and my bump is already threatening to out me at work (at just over 14 weeks).


  4. 1) I am so thrilled to see an update! 2) Wow your mother is just something, which is not surprising to me given how you have told us about her, but still. 3) I teared up seeing the blueberries! Although I suspect I’d do the same thing if I saw raspberry. I am so thrilled for you! 4) So glad you got to see your BFF in Florida. 5) I really hope that you will get to enjoy this pregnancy more rather than being sick all the time. 6) And finally, I just love how you write. But I’ve told you before already, right?


    • My mom is something, and I think it can only get more interesting once Bunny gets here. And I’m so touched that I provoked tears! How are you feeling, 2ww and all?


  5. I can tell you that is is possible to be peed on by a baby girl. It comes as a kind of spring shower. I could only laugh when it happened. And, with luck, you can position buddy boy so he will drench your mom’s new hairdo!


  6. so loved reading this.. i wish that all the folks who love to read your words could throw you a little party. I would bake you a cake myself!
    Im so happy for you. I hope the rest of your pregnancy becomes much easier and enjoyable.


  7. Was that as opposed to or perhaps a tribute of sorts to Stuffs & Things a la Funkadelic?

    You might be thankful your body isn’t outing you prematurely. Mine did the same in my sons pregnancy and I didn’t even admit being pregnant at work until after 20-something weeks. Not a possibility this time. I’d happily trade for the stupid crap people have said to me lately about my overly obvious bump. 😉 I’m so glad to see every post from you that confirms my good feeling about this bean of yours sticking around for the long haul. Yay to the tenth power!


    • Hmm, maybe, but I’m not up to par on my Funkadelic knowledge. As far as the bump, I was laughing with my husband yesterday that I was going to push my stomach out and wear my food baby as a real pregnancy bump! The two (real baby and pregnancy bloat – belly is constantly full of air and I have become a burp machine) are working in tandem at times to make me look pretty pregnant.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A! A baby boy! Your baby boy! Sweet little blueberry! So profoundly excited for you. Cried when I read about your brother discovering he will soon be an uncle. I stopped feeling nauseous at around 16 weeks and felt baby kicking around 18. I hope both are right around the corner for you! I am truly truly so happy for you and really look forward to reading you as mother. I, myself, have really wanted to resurrect my own online ramblings after giving birth at the end of January to my little girl at 35 weeks. Not what I had hoped and prayed for and I am still worried about the consequences of her slight prematurity almost 6 weeks later, but it’s pure bliss holding her in my arms, hearing her gurgle and cry, and knowing, despite it all, we made it.


    • I’ve been wondering about you as I knew you must be getting close – congrats!! I so hope all is well with babygirl despite her early arrival. From what my cousins says, you’d have this new-parent anxiety no matter when she was born, so I’m glad you’re enjoying this time as any new mom would 🙂


  9. Hippity-Hop ..Time to Pop..Bunny Boy!
    No crying for you here…just big time smiling.
    Extra floor=Extra cleaning….Silly Pregnant Brain!


    • Ha, extra floor means places to put things while cleaning, of which currently there are few with space only dwindling with the addition of another human to the gaggle! Mama bear will start growling if the toy box ends up in the living room.


  10. Oh boy…well, your mom is your mom so I won’t say what I’m thinking. 🙂 Yay for a BOY! Boys are fun and I’ve always heard that they have very close and special relationships with their mothers. One word of advice, do not believe the timeline that the contractors give you. Add at least 3 weeks to what they tell you. I say that you should buy some maternity shirts for your trip. Who cares if your bump isn’t big enough for them? The style will accentuate whatever size your bump is. Registering is very overwhelming. It took one long trip to BRU and several hours of online registering before I felt comfortable with my list. I’m so glad you were able to share that with your friend. I’m very happy for you and I’m glad that things are going so well. Continued best wishes for you and your little man.


    • I am definitely prepared for construction delays, but if there’s work stoppage for no good reason, they’re going to have a crazy pregnant lady beating down their doors!


  11. This was almost entirely lovely to read. While I wish your mom would wake up and turn over a new leaf and be there for her grandchild the way she never was for her own kids, the rest of this was so joyful and made me tear up. So jealous of your exciting house plans and your warm weather getaway! Also that cake looks amazing. I love lemon blueberry 😉 And I completely understand wanting to show. Early pregnancy was the first time in a very long time I was jealous of the teeny tiny women I know, because their bumps were noticeable so early.


    • This bakery is so amazing! They baked our wedding cake – also lemon – and people raved. Who ever raves about the wedding cake? (ahem…no one)


  12. What a great update. I laughed when you caved about the gender. We opted not to find out for the very same reason but have not even been tempted. I’m also feel like I’m barely showing–I definitely felt just fat until recently.

    Very ambitious that you’re renovating your house now, but it seems like a sound idea and it’s definitely better now than in the furture.


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