Week 39

Monday

I met a friend, who is also pregnant for lunch at Panera. She’s in the process of switching over to my OB-GYN because she was somewhat displeased with her (mine has been awesome up to this point!) Work flew by because I charged through a couple of projects I wanted to wrap up before leaving. After work, I did a couple of yoga videos.

Tuesday 

Work went by fairly quickly again, and I met another friend for lunch. I don’t usually eat out for lunch very often, but I figured now is the time to make last-minute time for good friends before Fetus makes her appearance. (Hey, think of all the money I’ve saved by not drinking alcohol these past 9 months!)

I’ve been trying to eat healthier, but I decided YOLO and suggested Persian. It’s not that Persian food is necessarily unhealthy, but I love it a lot and tend to go overboard. We met at this place with a sweet ass lunch special. They give you a small basket of bread and olives as soon as you are seated, and then the salad bar alone is glorious;  I treated myself to cucumber and tomato salad, tabouli, dolma, pickled veggies, and dates. The two of us shared the eggplant stew and a koobideh kabab that came with the usual roasted, juicy tomato and buttery saffron rice. Yeah, you try ordering this stuff and not going overboard.

The lunch was so lavish and abundant I even had leftovers to take home for husband, who enjoyed it as well. To think, there once was a time he hated Persian food! I’m glad I turned him away from a life of sure deprivation.

This put me in a great mood the rest of the day, and I compensated after I got home with some weight exercises (triceps dips, wide squats with a 20 pound weight, wall sits, bridge lifts) and a little bit of yoga.

Wednesday

Very tired. I successfully limited my liquid intake after 8:00 p.m. the night before and did not wake up much to pee… but did wake up for no reason at 3:00 a.m. and could not get back to sleep. We went to a doctor’s appointment, and I’m not dilated, though she said this is not any kind of predictor as to when I would go into labor. I was not particularly motivated to exercise after work, but managed some triceps dips and about an hour of yoga.

We went through a big box of baby clothes our neighbor kindly gave us, and sorted them by size. Most of them were boy items, but it’s not like babies really care. Girls can dress up as frogs and bears too. Although the onesie that says “Lock up your daughters!” really might be a little odd.

Thursday

Had lunch with boss and clients at Bentley’s. I ordered a Cobb Salad with the Mandarin ginger dressing instead of bleu cheese dressing. It came in epic proportions, but I think with the hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken, and veggies, it was still a healthier choice. On the other hand, the baked Brie appetizer with onion dip and berry jam were not.

After lunch, I stopped by Champagne Bakery, located in the same shopping center. I used to go to the one in Irvine all the time in high school, when a friend of mine worked there. I’d hang around and chill toward the end of his shift and wait for him so we could hang out. He introduced me to French desserts such as Creme Brulee, for which I have developed a lifelong love, meringues, and custard brioche. He eventually was fired for stealing from the cash registers, but my best friend in high school later also worked here, so I continued to be a regular fixture for some time.

On this occasion, I stopped to get desserts for our wedding anniversary. Although I had planned a trip to the Cravory, which has oddly flavored cookies that are amazingly tasty (e.g. balsamic rosemary – who knew this could be so delicious?), I changed my mind and was drawn to Champagne instead. I got husband a slice of Princess cake and a berry tart for myself. It was tough choosing between the berry tart and Creme Brulee. Creme Brulee usually wins over all else, but maybe pregnancy has had an effect on my taste? Also, the berry tart is just aesthetically quite a bit more pleasing. I also bought a raspberry macaron for myself and ate it on the way back to work. Stayed tuned for weight gain.

We walked a nearby hill 3 times for exercise, then rushed to the Bahn Mi place for dinner before closing time. The sandwiches were delicious and we could not believe we’d taken so many years to finally try this place.

Weekend

Friday, I went for a foot/body prenatal massage combo and it was amazing. There’s a place I’ve gone to a couple of times now that is sort of a good mix between discount massages and a spa experience. It’s more money than a cheapo Asian place, but the skill level and atmosphere are also better. The atmosphere is not quite at the level of a more professional spa, as I’ve never been to a luxury spa where the masseuse is wearing shredded denim capris or smells vaguely of cigarettes, but I’ve seriously gotten two of the best massages ever here, irrespective of price, so I’m a fan.

Saturday, I did some stretches and we did the  steep hiking trail hill by our old house once, which was nice. Later in the day, we went to the beach and did some meditation practice and I did some more stretching on the beach. I haven’t gone to Yoga class since I finished up my 10-class package, but a lot of the poses and stretches I learned in class have been immensely helpful, particularly toward the end of the third trimester.

Sunday, I walked the same hill twice and it was a big mistake. It tired me out for the rest of the day and made me grouchy. For the future, I will remember the oft-repeated advice regarding not pushing yourself too much during pregnancy. It is not the time. I think it’s good to push myself to get some type of exercise even when I’m feeling lazy, but maybe not to push it to uncomfortable limits e.g. long hikes, too much cardio, too much heat. Certainly it’s not harmful and it might be helpful for staying in shape, but the toll it takes on the rest of the day and sometimes the day after is not worth it. Sort of like a bad hangover. Except I didn’t have the pleasure of drinking, and instead of dehydration and a headache, I’m grouchy, irritable, and tired.

Sunset Boulevard II

She misjudged, flooded her burning unrestrained veins, and while she fearfully fantasized she would fall in love to a symphony of bad songs again, her quiet friend in the corner was feeling a secret silence creep in from the corners of the diner. The flash of lights and obscene billboards of Sunset Strip beat against the surreal levity of everything else, melting into a smooth bleeding in their favorite wasteland.

The three of them fell asleep in bed together, in the room at the end of a small hallway of mirrors, an unfinished bottle of Hennessy left on the nightstand

One of them whispered but I want to continue my amphetamine romance as she drifted off to gray beach mists steaming around, a quiet, solitary expanse, and white breasts catching warm sun rays on a Mexican beach

When she heard her mother’s name called she opened eyelids to sunshine piercing its way through heavy blinds, spilling across the wall panes of glass

Denny’s

she was the straying lover smoking triple purple haze across his street, while watching the lights in his window. a heavy euphoria weighing down the eyelids, limbs, and the air until the night wore thin and she was aware only of shadows converging before a shuddering luminescence, forced to confess to existence, imaginary rapists coming in and out of the dark in handsome form, with mundane names

she took the corner booth at Denny’s, and suffered crucifixion among tattooed waitresses and tired, leering men, and her friend asked

are the holes in the pages symbolism for Tuesday

surveying the diner, a neon box of discord, she said no, just enclosing myself in blank pages pressed between hard covers until springtime erases this momentary solitude

as the sun arose again she noticed the remnants of the day were splattered on the restaurant walls

Alcohol IV

Jack Daniels in hand she wandered to the boy who had insisted on following her about like a puppy dog all night took a lock of his hair between two fingers and told him his shaggy, dirty blond hair was cute. He touched her lips once and she ran but he kept calling her at odd hours. The night was a lonely stereotype so she poured herself Jim Beam and he was there, dressed in all white while his friend analyzed her eyebrows.

Later she felt her veins glowing and clutched his hand, pressed her palms into his bare shoulder blades and had daydreams of a false prince.

Alcohol III

Johnny, Jack, Jim, and other insidious lovers waited restless and lonely on the shelves

Until they came to the rescue with acts of self-sacrifice

Painting the night into an unforgivable haze

After scouring the concrete wilderness all evening

Swimming in people and singing of death

She awoke next to a boy and the night had been thick and hot

He had called at 3:00 a.m., said

Of all the carousers in Los Angeles, I had a feeling you would be up at this hour 

The many hours of semi-consciousness and flirtation with a demoted deity were questionable

But she sensed in an alternative universe her other self was trudging in dark blandness and purposeless amnesia

Drowning in indifference

Bitter Heaven

There was the distinct morbidity of childhood, then before she knew it, she was knocking on heaven’s door with a baseball bat in one hand a bottle of Jack Daniels in the other. How nice that you believe in an afterlife and will have a warm home basking in the glow of god waiting for you when I continue to be lost, burnt, stubborn, clinging to vacuous resolve, stale romances trailing close behind. The scent of the night before is still in her hair and the beautiful Greek god saw her cynicism running down the length of the closet mirror. She was the most reluctant witness to the pieces of the day: cheap guitars, fake aspirations, imaginary men.

Here she thought she would find his closeness, everlasting regression, and sweetest harmony written in stardust by the purveyor of perceived eternity but he was not there, and in his place was only a fanatic disintegration.

She had ended gracelessly in an anti-climactic fade, swimming in her own ashes so she had no choice but to welcome futility. She hypothesized that sleep is parallel to death.

Alcohol II

Winter broke her like a disease.

That night, someone confessed to wanting to be an actress and fucking minors. Does it make you feel younger? She asked. Tonight, our wrinkles will be deferred by cheap whiskey, this magic bottle of fluid gold. They wasted time because they did not know.

There was something romantic in her mythologic desperation, the sword in her body and her premeditated funeral pyre but the modern parallel was wrong boys wrong times, pathetic and humiliating mistakes. She fell to the waves of his hair breaking on her fingertips and became perpetually afraid and thought that when her bones had disintegrated into the earth he will have died in her thoughts an infinite number of times.

They yelled at each other in the hall and she said it would be his loss. Almost asleep, he murmured that he was up against a wall and had nothing to lose. She tapped on his chest, demanded to know what he meant but he was silent.

Still,the sunshine liquids diluted to a romantic translucence made waves in the head, the concrete pond became an ocean, and in the fluidity of night they rolled heads and senses and fell unconscious together, pleased with oblivion, pleased with each other, and awoke to monotony disguised as something novel. She dreamed she was 14, fearing her petals would be cruelly torn off.

Imagine You’re Standing At the Shore…

I went to yoga again yesterday, even though I needed much more vigorous exercise after eating gummies, chocolates, goldfish, and other unfortunate snacks throughout the day. Toward the end of the session, our instructor had us relax and envision standing at the shoreline of the ocean. She asked us to take in the wide expanse of sea, and to listen to the rhythm of the waves.

The type of beach that came to mind immediately was in southeast Asia. I started in Phu Quoc, Vietnam, but a little jellyfish swam by my feet, so I migrated to Phuket, Thailand, but the water was a bit darker than I preferred. I settled on the shore of White Sand Beach in Candidasa, Bali, where I sipped on a large bottle of cold lager and ate an entire grilled fish, with a side of a local sweet and sour fish sauce-based dip while lounging in the sand. It suddenly occurred to me I will not likely be carefree and alone with my husband on a remote beach in southeast Asia, drinking and eating with reckless abandon any time soon, or indeed, for many years to come, and I sort of wanted to cry.

Of course, that was not the point of the exercise, and our “birth wisdom” tip sheets at the end of class fittingly reminded me to check negative thoughts at the door.

Morning Coffee

They held daffodils between their teeth as they wove flower crowns and years later

Flipping through old books she found four-leaf clovers pressed between pages

Crushed flat and still, preserved for no one

She felt the heat and shine of the rising sun and saw her friend in his car, preparing to leave the summer behind

She called out to him from the patio and said I love you

He turned to her and responded Ugh stop drinking

The child molester sitting a table away asks her about a boy as the morning coffee begins to waft

She says Give me a cigarette and I’ll tell you

She takes a drag and weaves a tale of indifference

As he lectures her about fickleness

Announcing Pregnancy

Everyone knows the 3-month rule. Due to the higher chance of miscarriage in early pregnancy, many, if not most, like to keep things under wraps until the second trimester. I did not follow this approach for a few reasons, however.

While the risk of miscarriage in known pregnancies is, according to Dr. Google, 10-20 percent in the first 20 weeks, the odds still appeared to be largely in my favor. I also considered the fact there are no known miscarriages in my family and I’m pretty healthy. Whether these are scientifically sound reasons for being optimistic, I can’t say, but that was my thought process.

I balanced these odds with the absolute certainty that within a week or two, I’d find myself at a party, uncharacteristically without an alcoholic drink, and would face questions about being pregnant and have to lie. I knew this with absolute certainty, because there was one occasion on which I attended a baby shower after a night of brewery hopping. As I had indulged sufficiently the night prior, I decided to take it easy on the alcohol at the baby shower. I was one of the earlier guests, and actually did help myself to a mimosa, but after that, I refrained with the exception of a virgin Bloody Mary, which is nice the day after drinking. Also, I hate vodka and love tomato juice, so I always drink Bloody Marys virgin, but I do not do this frequently, so not many people know this.

Subsequently, my husband received several text messages from his friends insisting they “knew” I must be pregnant, because none of the girlfriends or wives saw me imbibe alcohol at the shower, and in fact, saw me order a virgin drink. The texts were so adamant my husband actually called me on the way home from work to ask tentatively, “You’re not pregnant… are you?”

So I had a pretty good idea that any time I’m caught without alcohol, there would be questions. I am not a good liar and I could see myself being really awkward with this. Further, I’d have to make up a lot of lies if I was seeing people or being invited places over the course of 3 months.

Additionally, while you never know until it happens to you, I did not think I’d be the type to be completely devastated if I miscarried. Surely, it would be frustrating, but I suspected I would tell myself it was my body’s way of rejecting an organism not meant to be born, and doubted I would become a total emotional wreck. I balanced the relatively unlikely possibility of having to tell multiple people I miscarried with the absolute certainty of telling many awkward lies, and decided the awkward lies would be worse for me.

We told parents and family almost immediately, followed by close friends. Everyone else, we told if they asked or if it somehow came up. We did not go out of our way to share on social media or make any type of formal announcement. To be honest, for me, the beginning was characterized by a certain level of anxiety, and I didn’t want to feel like I had to put on an act for everyone about how exciting and joyous this all is. Maybe that makes me weird, but it’s the truth, and I was not inclined to put on a fake show. You can fool the world, but you cannot fool yourself, nor should you try to.

[Note: pictured above indeed is our little fetus, not a cat sitting on a plank, however appropriate that might be.]