Tag Archives: pregnancy

Things people say

I’m due in three weeks, and my lab coat still snaps over my belly. I can’t even begin to explain to you how happy that makes me. Normally, I wouldn’t care – I’m pregnant, I’m supposed to get big, and the coat’s only a medium. But after several months of coworkers looking me over and joking about how I’m going to need a bigger lab coat, I’m planning on taking a photo of myself in that coat every day so that later I can point to the one immediately before I went into labor and laugh because it still fit me at the end, you chuckleheads!

They mean well, of course. They’re not trying to be jerks. I’m the first pregnant employee this lab has ever seen, and I’m a novelty. Only a couple of my coworkers have kids, and I get the feeling that pregnancy is pretty foreign to most of them. So they say all sorts of things, trying to be friendly and funny. And at first it was kind of funny, because I was getting round enough in the middle to start bumping up against counters. I laughed with them. But after a while, the same joke gets old even if it’s a good joke.

I’ve been told I look tired, but maybe the days I’m told I look “less tired than yesterday” are supposed to make up for those? I’ve been told I’m getting huge, and I’ve had people stand comically far away and suck in their guts to “make room for mama” in the doorway. I was told my face is really starting to fill out – because what young woman doesn’t want a nice filled-out face, am I right, ladies? And the dark patches on my face didn’t go without notice, either. Unfortunately, the first person to point them out thought they were a sunburn and told me they looked like tire treads and asked if I’d been run over by a Segway. He got DEATH EYES (and a quick lesson on skin hyperpigmentation in pregnancy) for that. And then I cried in the bathroom for 15 minutes.

I’ve had equipment taken out of my hands because I’m not supposed to “overdo it,” but I get teased for moving too slow. I’m repeatedly told to put my feet up, but then I’m told I sit too much. I’ve been judged on my carbohydrate intake, my artificial sweetener intake, and my regular cup of coffee at break time.

They tell me to enjoy my time now and bank some sleep for later. I can do that? I can, like, sleep extra, and put those sleeps on a shelf, and just grab one later when I need it? WHY DOES SCIENCE NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?

I’ve been asked whether I’m dilated, whether I’m planning on an epidural, and whether we’ll circumcise. When I replied “oh, just a normal prenatal appointment” after being asked about leaving early, someone wished me good luck with “Dr. Jellyfingers.” Took me about an hour to realize just how wildly inappropriate that one was. Or is it just me?

I’m sure nobody is trying to be mean or inappropriate. They’ve said some sweet things too, and they threw me a lovely surprise baby shower last week, with Baby Jeopardy questions they wrote themselves, and a fabulous cake and thoughtful gifts.

So, really, I’m probably just overreacting because I’m hormonal. I should relax. High blood pressure is bad for pregnancy, so I should put my feet up. While exercising. With a big smile on my filled-out pregnant face.

Taking All the Joy Out

My break room at work is a dangerous place. I spend as little time in there as possible, because to remain there too long is to submit myself to political rants and conspiracy theories, or diatribes on the dangers of preservatives and food dyes. But the break room is where the water cooler is, so, like a gazelle at the water hole, I have to take my chances and hope the crocodiles aren’t hungry.

A few weeks ago, around the 24 week mark of my pregnancy, I was in the break room refilling my water bottle to maintain the all-important “enough-so-you-pee-all-the-time” hydration level recommended by my OB. When I turned to leave, I found a colleague from another department staring intently at my belly.

“You pregnant?”

I nodded.

“I thought you were getting fat, but that’s a baby in there, ain’t it.”

The only other person in the room looked up from her Words With Friends game. Her eyes darted back and forth between us while she debated calling for security.

I decided to be the better person and ignore the rudeness in my colleague’s tone and word choice. Instead, I accepted her clumsily conveyed, but possibly genuine, expression of surprise and interest.

“Yup, I’m due in July. Very excited.”

“Keeping it a secret? How come we never heard about it?” Her hands went to her hips, and if not for the complete lack of amusement in her face, I’d have been sure she was joking. But no, she’d been blindsided by new information and was genuinely grumpy that she was late to the gossip.

Decidedly NOT amused.

Decidedly NOT amused.

iPhone lady sensed my discomfort. She tried to rescue me by asking if I knew whether I was having a girl or boy, and I smiled as I patted my tummy and told her it was a little boy in there and I couldn’t wait to meet him.

Which set off some sort of land mine under Grumpy Lady.

“You – “ and she jabbed a finger at me to be sure I knew she meant me – “You took all the joy out of this baby. Why’d you need to know something like that? I never asked about my babies, never needed to look at them while they were in there. I took what came and didn’t care what kind I got.”

“Oh,” I said, “I didn’t care either way, really. I’m just happy to know which it is so I can plan a little better. And this way my husband and I will argue over half as many names!” I looked over to iPhone lady, who smiled and nodded in agreement.

“Nah, you kids today want it all convenient and easy. I bet you’re one of them who’s going to ask your doctor for a C-section so you get the birthday you want, too. Not happy with letting that baby come when it wants. No joy. No surprises. Need to control everything.”

escalatedShe continued on in that vein for another minute or so with hardly a pause in her breath long enough for me to say anything in self-defense. With her still ranting, I mumbled something about how I didn’t think that’s how C-sections usually worked, and made a move for the door. As I stepped out into the hallway, she got a last word in:

“And I hope you have a GIRL!”

Baby Brain

Baby brain has hit me. Hard. It’s one of those things that mothers always joke about, how the fetus doesn’t build its own neurons from scratch, but sucks Mom’s out of her brain instead. More efficient, surely, but when it leaves Mom a confused stumbling mess, I’m not sure that’s the best strategy for survival of the species. Maybe that’s why humans developed societies and the pair bond – to keep pregnant women from absentmindedly walking off cliffs and squashing the next generation.

The baby isn’t snacking on my brain like a tiny zombie, of course. But some days it feels like it. Especially in the early days, it was mostly due to exhaustion. During the first trimester, I was tired almost all of the time, thanks to crazy hormones. Between nights and naps, I was getting at least 10 hours of sleep a day, but it was never enough. And when I’m tired, I do stupid things. Things like pouring a glass of water, putting it into the fridge, and walking to the couch with the Brita pitcher in my hand.

I’ve stepped into the shower with my socks on. I’ve fed the cats and wondered 5 minutes later whether it was time to feed the cats (the cats are loving this part). I’ve left for work without my lunch, without my badge, without deodorant. I’m on autopilot, but my autopilot is a soviet-era autopilot retrieved from a wreck and cobbled back together by a team using only IKEA pictograms to guide them. I remember to breathe, to eat, and to go to my prenatal appointments. At this point I have to wonder if I should just accept that as a successful effort at this pregnancy thing. Maybe I already did accept that? I’m not sure. My memory is shot.

Which means that words? Those things I use for talking? Forget it. They’re gone. I have never relied on hand-flapping and creative substitution as much as I have these past couple of months. My husband thinks it’s hilarious, and at first he’d call me out on my crazy sentences.

“Oh, crap, I forgot to pick up, um, that stuff… white stuff… like for baked potatoes?”


(Spousal violence in the form of whacking him in the arm)

Marge, where’s that metal dealy you use to… dig… food?

As time goes on and it’s clear that the vocabulary situation isn’t improving at all, he’s choosing to ignore it more often and guess my meaning from context. Smart man. Maybe we’ll keep the next generation from being squashed after all.