Mr. Clearblue Easy, ovulation monitor extraordinaire, tells me what I already know - I am generally not so much with the women's intuition, but I have always known that I am a textbook 28-day cycle, except of course when I am in India, where my body has a history of going into Deep Survival Mode. Once, during a 13-month stay in India, my period stopped for eight whole months, which I realize is horribly unhealthy but it was largely beyond my control, though I have to say that health issues aside, one of the major bonuses of no period for 8 months was not having to deal with culturally sensitive issue of disposing of used tampons.
Near the end of the 8 month shutdown I got horrible acne for the first time in my life and ended up having a breakdown in a South Delhi doctor's office. "Sometimes," he tentatively suggested to his red-eyed, twitching patient, "our bodies react to stress in this way." Stress? Like the recent umpteenth breakup in a series of breakups with the Boyfriend From Hell? Or the fact that I have been living in a cloud of rickshaw exhaust for the past 12 months? Or the fact that for the past three months I've been living in Sindh, where they are just starting to get over that massive earthquake so there is basically never electricity and it's over 120 degrees because Sindh is a desert? Or are you perhaps referring to the amoebic dysentery I seem to have contracted?
Anyway, zygote probably formed on Halloween, or thereabouts. An auspicious and appropriate beginning, for sure. I love Halloween and frankly, pregnancy is creepy.
Positive pee stick test just before heading out the door to Sunday night trivia - I confess to testing mainly because I had been avoiding alcohol even though I didn't know if I was pregnant, and I was kind of sick of it and really wanted a Guinness. Pee stick dialogue:
Knitcrit: I think it's positive. Holy crap.
Todd: Uh, that does look like two lines.
Knitcrit and Todd: assorted happy exclamations and kisses
Knitcrit: This is so great. Except now I can't have Guinness. For nine months.
Guess what? A sushi place just opened up in the shop space in our building that has been vacant since we moved in. And now I cannot eat there for nine months.
First ultrasound confirms my uterus has been colonized by pulsating white blob. I am given a good and endearingly old fashioned extended lecture by my doctor on the importance of good nutrition. In what will become a recurring thought process, I wonder what the hell doctors did during monthly checkups before the invention of the ultrasound.
Morning sickness rears its unspeakably ugly head. Interestingly, I feel absolutely fine in the mornings. Nausea only begins to torment me around noon and remains bearable until early evening, at which point I am reduced to retching heap of despair. The joke that my morning sickness is on Indian time will remain funny for approximately three more days, after which nothing will be funny until week 14.
I try not to hate the embryo and instead try directing my helpless, retching rage towards the placenta (which was technically responsible for the nausea, anyway). Misery was also somewhat mitigated by the cathartic defacement of my prenatal vitamins. A little Sharpie action resulted in a satisfying revision of the annoyingly named "Baby and Me:"
I think "Life sucking embryo and me" about sums things up.
A random evening sampling of some festive Organic Valley Egg Nog that Todd had purchased on a whim revealed that it was in fact the only thing that would stave off nausea long enough for me to fall asleep at night.
After figuring out that this fine but seasonal beverage was truly the only thing standing between me and total hell, we pretty much bought out the local supermarket's supply. I have no idea what I would have done if my first trimester had not coincided with the holiday season.
Observed: one of the many other things that totally blows about the first trimester is of course, you don't look pregnant, which in my case meant that no matter how sure I was that this was going to be the commute where I would lie down on the cool, smooth floor of the subway car and perish in a pool of my own vomit, to my fellow commuters I just looked like one more professional female sporting a slightly too large briefcase and an unpleasant expression on her face. Fantasies entertained on first trimester commutes included (1) barfing on seated passengers' shoes (2) stuffing a pillow under my coat so people would just give me a seat and (3) crying out "I'M PREGNANT TOO!!!" whenever a visibly pregnant lady or a lady with a small child was offered a seat.
I reminded my doctor that I'd be seeing Dr. S for my Chorionic Villus Sampling and he basically reiterates what he said when he recommended her - that she's got tons of experience, that he trusts her, that she was doing CVS back in 1994 when he was finishing his internship, etc etc. And then he pauses and says "and, uh, I don't want to use any stereotypes but...uh...she does come across as a bit of a ... JAP. But don't let that throw you. She's really excellent."
I can hardly wait to meet Dr. S.
Mandatory genetic counseling session involves listening to doe-eyed college student explain, with pictures, how many chromosomes babies should have. Three of one kind=problem. FYI. Just in case you don't have an internet connection.
Dr. S comes in to puncture me after I've been prepped by the no-nonsense yet sweet ultrasound technician - and she clacks in wearing tall boots, a short skirt and a big, practiced, totally fake yet clearly well-intentioned bedside manner smile. Certainly in her mid-40's, but looks 10 years younger at least. Thin. Pretty. Very New York Professional Female. This is a woman who has been sticking needles in the bellies of 30-something neurotic, demanding New York Mothers a very, very long time.
After she does the test - which didn't hurt at all - she tells me that slight bleeding or even heavy-ish bleeding and/or some cramping is possible and probably not a cause for alarm, and that I should call my doctor if I bleed and am worried; she concludes by recommending "Tylenol or a glass of wine" to deal with any pain, and she clacks out. It was hilarious. And somehow very comforting.
Test results confirm fetus is not mutant. I celebrate with big frosty non-alcoholic beer with egg nog chaser.
I hate egg nog.