Making The Colonel: The First Trimester

So, holy shit, we’re pregnant! I’m all knocked up, got a bun in the oven, am rocking the pregaliciousness, furiously gestating night and day. Very glad I don’t have to say “the rabbit died,” because, thankfully, they’ve come a long way in pregnancy testing technology. Always thought that was a pretty raw deal for the rabbit, anyways, especially considering it’s a condition that’d become fairly self-evident after a while, right? The rabbit had to think, “Seriously, you couldn’t just wait another couple months until your pants didn’t fit?”

But, I digress. One of the things I’d decided I wanted to do if/when I ever got pregnant, was to try to blog a bit about the experience. I don’t follow a ton of mommybloggers, and I’m not sure I aspire to be one, but I took a healthy portion of inspiration from Dooce and a bit from Mighty Girl, and just figured it’d be a good idea to chronicle these nine months that will be different from any I’d experienced before and likely any that will follow. Who knows how often I’ll actually sit down and write, but let’s just give this a shot and see how it goes. To that end, here’s a bit of a recap of the last 12 weeks so you all can catch up.

The conception

The details are certainly not something I’m going into, because 1) it’s the definition of TMI, and 2) I’m guessing you had high school sex ed and understand the general mechanics. The notable thing about the timing, however, is that it almost certainly happened the weekend we lost our friend, Jeff “JD” DeVoss in a motorcycle accident, probably around October 24. And, oddly enough, I remember thinking I knew it was going to happen. Instincts are something, huh?

The test(s)

I took my first test November 5th, a Friday morning before work. I hadn’t missed my period yet, but we were heading out to Pleasant Ridge that night to celebrate JD’s birthday in his still new and pretty raw absence, and I didn’t want to drink if it turned out my instincts were right and I was pregnant. Ron was still in bed, and I sat in the bathroom, watching the little window on the test for any sign of pink. And then, there it was. Very faint, but definitely there. I’m no scientist, but I understood the basic principle behind the test, and it seemed pretty black and white to me — you either have the pregnancy hormone in your system, or you don’t. Even barely there, it seemed I was, indeed, carrying a new passenger. I went into the bedroom and leaned over Ron and said, “I think we might be pregnant.” I don’t remember his exact response, but I think it was something like, “No way!” or “Get out!” or “Holy shit!” or something equally mannish and pretty darn cute.

That night, we told everyone at the Ridge I wasn’t drinking because I was on-call (which, actually, I was), and planned to take another test in a few days. Monday morning, before Ron was scheduled to head to Michigan for a few days, I took another one, and the pink line was much more prominent. Most people would’ve probably called it good at that point, but I felt like I needed to take just one more before starting to tell family around Thanksgiving, so I got one from the Wellness Center at work, and when that one came back with basically a “Hell, yes, you dummy!” response, I figured we were good to go with a 3/3 record.

Symptoms, or lack thereof

I must have some good karma built up, or maybe a pregnancy symptom angel watching over me because, so far, things have been awesome. What I have noticed: peeing more often, sore boobs, fatigue, an texture aversion to meat, cravings for clean and cold food like iceberg lettuce, celery and cucumbers, and did I mention peeing more often? What I have NOT had: any sort of nausea or puking. And, after talking to several moms, it seems that a nausea-free pregnancy is not as unusual as I would have thought. Perhaps the women who do get sick are just understandably more vocal about how icky things are for a while there.

The strangest thing, though, was that this absence of feeling horrible made it hard for me to believe I was really pregnant. Rather than thinking, “Huh, I’m pretty lucky,” my first instinct was to think there was something wrong. And, of course, there’s WAY too much information at expectant moms’ fingertips these days, and I read stories about how a lack of morning sickness meant you’d be more likely to miscarry and all kinds of other alarmist crap. But, the Colonel’s still here, and I have yet to have a queasy moment (but, as my girl Katie would remind me as a second trimester nausea sufferer, it could hit any minute). I’m just choosing to feel entirely blessed and send up thank you after thank you that I can keep down my lunch.

Yes, there’s an app for that

In true iPhone user fashion, after we had the positive tests back, I immediately Googled “best pregnancy iPhone apps.” As a result, I downloaded iPregnancy and BabyBump. Both calculated my due date as July 19th, which agreed completely with what we ultimately heard at the doctor’s office. Both have been very useful for tracking The Colonel’s progress as he/she grows up through the produce section (this week we’re a plum, next week a peach, etc), keeping tabs on my OB appointments and the yet-very-slight uptick in my weight. Later, I can use them as kick counters and contraction timers.

“Are you going to find out?”

That’s the most consistent question we seem to get: are we going to find out whether the Colonel is a boy or a girl. And the answer is no, not if we can possibly help it. I dunno, maybe it’s old school, but it just seems like that’s one of the last really good surprises you can get. I don’t really buy into the “pink or blue” thing anyways for nursery decor or clothing, and we have names picked out for either case, so we’re all good.

The names

Sure, we’ll tell you our current top contenders for names. Why not? I’ve never really understood why people keep their names secret. I can certainly respect it, but I don’t really understand it.

If The Colonel is a girl, she will most likely be Margaret Emmeline, and we’ll call her Maggie. Margaret was my grandmother’s name, and, ever since I found out that name meant “pearl,” I’ve thought it was a really pretty and strong name for a girl. Plus, I love Maggie as a short form. Little Maggie James.

If The Colonel is a boy, the top choice right now is Jackson Elliott, and we’d call him Jack. Jack was Ron’s dad’s name, Elliott is my brother’s middle name, and Jack James is just a great name for a little boy who will most likely be a handful.

Baby names are a totally personal thing, but my criteria for naming a small person is that I always wanted to give them something that they could wear lightly during their youth and proudly when they grew up. I also just love older-sounding, classic names. Margaret and Jackson both seem very easy to grow into, yet you wouldn’t blink an eye if you ran into a 35-year-old Maggie or Jack, either. I’m sorry, but, for my money, you just can’t say the same thing for names like “Neveah” or “Jayden.” Cute at three; a bit immature at 30.

“The Colonel?”

Rather than “the bean” or “the peanut,” we’re calling our little person project “The Colonel.” This came about pretty organically over the Thanksgiving holiday when we were visiting Dad and Colleen in Arizona. We were sitting around the dining room table, everyone but me with delicious-looking wine in hand, and brainstorming names. It was quite hilarious; we were going through names for candy bars (Baby Ruth, Snickers, etc.) and cars (Mustang, Pinto), and I can’t remember exactly how it came up, but someone came up with calling the kid “The Colonel.” And, it just stuck. What I love most about this nickname is that we can keep it after the kid’s born, whether it’s a boy or girl. I relish the thought of being able to tell people, “Yeah, we’re going to be a little late; The Colonel is having a meltdown,” or “Hey look! The Colonel pooped his/her pants.” Ron and I just have to remember to at least promote ourselves to General so we outrank our own progeny.

There really is somebody in there

The first real “proof” we got that I was, indeed, carrying a growing little person inside my body was at our doctor’s appointment on December 28th, when my doctor pulled out the Doppler machine and found the Colonel’s heartbeat. It took a while — she had to navigate around the sound of my “strong uterine artery,” but eventually, she hit it, and the difference was unmistakable. The heart rate was an entirely normal 162-165 bpm (and, if you believe the old wives’ tale, distinctly girl-paced), and the Doppler reflection sounded like someone saying “shoe-shoe-shoe-shoe-shoe” really fast.  It was awesome.

The most recent evidence was in sonographic form, via the ultrasound at our first trimester screening appointment on January 6th. We’re apparently growing an inordinately stubborn child, as he/she WOULD NOT position him/herself in position to show the nice ultrasound tech (Tim, thank you for your patience) the area of the back of the neck that he needed to measure. The upshot of that is that we got a lot of pictures compared to what most people probably get, and I got some free orange juice because, hey, when all else fails, send some sugar down to the intractable kid and see if THAT helps! The ultrasound was awesome, and Ron and I both found ourselves reflexively still looking at the screen even well after Tim had taken the wand off my belly and there was nothing more to see. It was, by far, the best TV I’d seen in a long, long time. I also had no idea a 12-week-old fetus bounces around in the uterus like a circus performer on crack. It was amazing.

Sure, I have anxieties

Pregnancy has a way of bringing out the paranoid worrier freak-out machine in you, I’ve discovered. Like any mom, I’m having the usual pregnancy-related concerns about miscarriage (allayed significantly now that my first trimester is mostly in my rear view mirror), birth defects, complications, etc. As someone who’s struggled with my weight all my life, I’m concerned about keeping my pregnancy weight gain under control while still gaining enough. I’ve discovered that, unless heated to steaming, lunch meat will eat your baby. There’s a lot of alarmist thinking in pregnancy (again, the “too much information” phenomenon).

A lot of my worries are financial in nature. Money is the one thing that can freak me out more than anything else. I’m starting to think about how we’ll handle a new or used car payment, because we’re probably going to have to replace my Protege with something bigger that has AWD so the Wisconsin winters are safer. I’m anxious about paying for daycare, even if we only go part-time. Daycare is insanely expensive.

Curiously, one thing I’m not worried about is what kind of mom I’m going to be. That all seems like it’ll shake itself out fine, and I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at the number of people, some of whom don’t really know me all that well, who have said, “I’ve always thought you’d be a great mom.” I certainly already have some ideas of the kind of parent I’m planning to be, and the things that are important to me to pass on to my child. That all seems like it’ll progress pretty naturally.

But, regardless of all my anxieties, I’m sure everything will work out fine. There’s always a way. I’m just going to give my fears up to God, do what I can to plan ahead, and try to enjoy myself as much as possible because I’ll never have another first pregnancy. This is a precious time.

But, I’m having a lot of fun

So, we’re pointing expectantly toward July 19th, and looking so forward to meeting this person who’s currently making me pee so much. So far, though, pregnancy has treated me very well, and I am completely excited about the roller coaster ride we’re on. Ron’s really excited, too, which makes such a huge difference. I can’t imagine what this time must be like for women who have less-than-involved or less-than-thrilled partners. Pregnancy is an awesome woman’s club, and it’s been incredible the instant sisterhood it’s given me with so many other moms. I’m completely bolstered by how excited everyone is for us, and I can already tell The Colonel’s going to be born with a huge support network of family and friends who will be there as we raise this kid, providing love, support and encouragement along the way. THANK YOU, we appreciate this more than we can adequately express.

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2 thoughts on “Making The Colonel: The First Trimester

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your first blog as a mommy-to-be! I hope you document more of your feelings and impressions of this special time. And I agree with the general concensus of friends and family that you’re gonna be an awesome mom!

  2. Pingback: Announcing his or her presence « wildwend letters

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