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The very first thing I did after getting a positive pregnancy test result was to buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting and Belly Laughs. The first was obvious, the second I think I heard about on Oprah. For someone who hasn’t been pregnant before, reading up seemed very important, especially since the final exam involves pushing something the size of a watermelon out of your vagina. What to Expect reads like a college textbook, and should really be called Ways to Worry Yourself to Death for the Next 6,384 Hours, And Also Eat Your Vegetables. Jenny McCarthy’s book is really just about her personal experience, although she really enjoys trying to gross the reader out, especially with the stuff about pooping on the delivery table. Luckily I had already read that somewhere, so I didn’t pass out from fear. Again. But this left me with nothing to read but my one lonely copy of Fit Pregnancy and the Internet, which is a really good way to end up lying on the floor moaning that your baby is dooooooooomed.

This was my dilema until my wonderful, beautiful, super smart friend and current favorite person in the whole world Myrtle Beach Bum suggest a book to me. It’s called The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy by Vicki Iovine and it is fantastic. I would almost recommend it as pre-pregnancy reading, especially if you think babies are in your not-too-distant future. It is smart, funny, to the point, and just the thing a pregnant woman needs. Especially since I have zero friends who have been pregnant in the last 20 years to take me to lunch and explain to me that wanting to kill my husband for not emptying the dishwasher is a totally normal feeling, and yes they will help me hide the body. Lifting heavy things is bad for pregnant women.

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Oh. My. God. Not only are the clothes on this site absolutely adorable, the babies are so cute I want to eat them. EAT THEM. Don’t click here if you’re hungry unless you have a baby somewhere in your life you can go gnaw on. You’ve been warned.

Speaking of hungry, I burned my hand fairly severely on the toaster this morning, because I was in such a hurry to get the bread for my bacon sandwich toasted. That’ll teach me to try and put the bacon on something besides my face.

When I got home from work my dog Brutus was sleeping peacefully in his crate. We don’t lock him in during the day anymore, since his desire to eat our furniture has abated. When he saw me he came out, wagged his tail, and waited patiently for me to open the back door. Brutus went out and watered my begonias, turned around, came back in and lay on the floor. Wow, what a great dog! I thought to myself. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, sweet, well mannered dog, especially since I don’t have the energy to deal with a bad dog right now. I bet someday Brutus will save the baby from drowning, or alert us all to a fire, or tell me Timmy fell down the well just in time for Hugh Jackman to run in and save the day. (My mind is not well right now.)

Then I walked around the corner and right into the trail of chewed platic, half eaten styrofoam, bits of paper and God knows what else Brutus had dragged out of the trash can and strewn around the the first floor.

Stupid dog sure had me fooled. We should have just stuck with cats. I thought bitterly.

Until I got upstairs to find the cat had pooped on a pile of clean laundry.

I am worried two home pregnancy tests, two blood tests and a pee test were all wrong, and I am not really pregnant. I am worried that the baby isn’t growing. I am worried the baby will die. I am worried the baby will have a birth defect. I am worried the shampoo I use has chemicals in it. I am worried the water I drink has chemicals in it. I am worried the air I breathe has chemicals in it. I am worried the food I eat isn’t all organic. I am worried my baby will chew on the windowsills and get lead poisoning. I am worred I’ll get so hungry I’ll eat a windowsill. I am worried I won’t love my baby enough. I am worried I will love my baby too much. I am worried my husband isn’t as excited as I am. I am worried my husband will love the baby so much he won’t have room for me. I am worried I’m not eating the right things. I am worried my lack of morning sickness means something is wrong. I am worried I will gain too much weight. I am worried about stretch marks. I am worried strangers think I’m just getting fat. I am worried about exercising too much. I am worried about not exercising enough. I am worried about sleeping on my stomach. I am worried I will end up wearing mom jeans because nothing else will fit. I am worried I will end up dressing exactly like my mother. I am worried my cats will try to eat my baby. I am worried my cats will try to smother my baby. I am worried my baby will never like vegetables. I am worried my baby will like Hannah Montana. I am worried my baby will be a boy. I am worried my baby will be a girl. I am worried my baby is actually four babies. I am worried about doing to much. I am worried about doing too little. I am worried about quitting my job. I am worried about keeping my job. I am worried my boss will fire me for taking off too many days. I am worried my boss will fire me for reading pregnancy books at work. I am worried I will quit my job in a hormonal fit. I am worried we can’t afford a baby. I am worried painting the nursery pink for a girl and blue for a boy makes me a bad feminist. I am worried painting the nursery neutral colors like green and yellow makes me annoying. I am worried all the painting won’t get done in time. I am worried my husband won’t get promoted. I am worried he will get promoted. I am worried we will have to move. I am worried my worrying will give me a heart attack.

Last night at dinner with my husband:

Me: (staring at the bacon on his bacon cheeseburger) That looks delicious. (stares at own meal of salad and turkey sandwich) Why is there no bacon on this?

E: You know, I’m not sure it’s good for a pregnant woman to eat so much bacon.

Me: Why do you hate me and our baby?

E:(silently hands over bacon)

I don’t like the idea of naming a child. I can’t even name my own cat, instead, I let my Facebook friends do it. But I don’t think that’s really an option for my actual, human baby, even though right now we are referring to it as “The Tadpole”. Please don’t call child protective services. I know I have a whole pregnancy to make this decision, but I’m not sure I can handle the pressure. Especially without alcohol.

Luckily, if we have a boy the decision is already made for me. My husband is a second, like King George II. His parents didn’t want to him to be called Junior his whole life, so they went with roman numerals instead. Also lucky is the fact that he has a perfectly nice name, so it’s not like I’m being forced to carry on a family tradition of torturing babies with names like Tarquin Farnsworth IV. I have also taken a poll of the people I know who have numbers (consisting entirely of my boss who’s a third) and they conclude growing up with the same name as your dad is one of the less cruel things you can do to a kid. Much less cruel than naming him Chevy or Mustang or Harley Davidson.

My real dilemma is naming a girl. I have a couple names I like, a few that are off limits, and of course the Baby Name Test. I didn’t invent the baby name test but I’m certainly going to run all possible girl names by it. You just take your baby’s potential name and insert it into the following two sentences:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, I now introduce to you the President of the United States, ________________.” or

“Now appearing on the main stage of the Lusty Beaver, _________________.”

Mostly I’m just afraid of falling into that crazy world parents live in where the desire to name your child something that illustrates its amazing spectacular specialness makes you think Bryannyan is an awesome name. Much like all the people here: http://www.notwithoutmyhandbag.com/babynames/index.html (Thanks Sara!) I also don’t want to name it Jennifer or Emily or Elizabeth or Michelle, no offense to anyone, because I have a really common last name, and wouldn’t want the baby to be Jennifer-D-the-one-with-red-hair her whole life. Although these days even the most uncommon names aren’t. I know two babies named Nevaeh – heaven backwards – and both sets of parents think they “made up” the name. Does anyone have a super awesome secret perfect baby name they want to give me?

In the past three days I have eaten so much bacon, I would not be surprised if I give birth to a pig.

Babe for a girl, Wilbur for a boy.

I rode my bike to work today. We’ve had horrible storms for two days but this morning was bright and sunny with low humidity and a breeze. Perfect bike riding weather. But now it is over 80 and breathingfeels like inhaling dirty water. Plus I’m frickin hungry and I don’t feel like dodging the idiot drivers who can’t understand that I’m allowed to use their roads.

I really thought once you were in a “delicate condition” you were allowed to pass on physical activity. Isn’t lying on the couch eating ice cream expected of pregnant women? The next 7 1/2 months will be the last time in my entire life I don’t have to worry about anyone but myself. Who would take that away from me?

The taker in question is a magazine, Fit Pregancy. I got a copy from my OB-GYN and made the mistake of reading it. At first I was just fascinated by the ads. No shoes, bags, shampoo, designers or diamonds here. Just cribs, diapers and Desitin. The idea that once a woman was pregnant she would still need anything besides baby gear is foreign to this magazine.

Something that is exactly the same as regular women’s magazines are the models. What kind of freaks are these people? They look like they just shoved a pillow under their clothes and claimed to be knocked up. Even the ones in bikinis or crop tops have perfect glowing bellies, without scars, moles or stretch marks. They’re all happily frolicking in designer clothes and high heels, with their tiny toothpick arms holding $2000 bags or organic flax and wheatgerm smoothies. COME ON. I am growing a person inside me. It’s pretty much the most special, beautiful, magical, feminine thing someone can do. And you want to make me feel bad about how I look while I do it?

They don’t settle for just implying I’m somehow not attractive enough to be pregnant. They also want me to know that if I do give up riding my bike or start skipping the gym in favor of House reruns, I’m going to kill my baby. Ok, probably not kill exactly, but harm definitely. My baby could be preterm and have a low birth weight! I could get gestational diabetes! I could cause my baby to grow extra fat cells, causing it to be obese later in life! They managed to scare me enough to continue the bike riding.  I’m generally a pretty active person (just one who loves food) so I don’t think it’s going to be a real strain for me. I just dislike being bullied into it.

Fit Pregnancy also wants me to know that exercising now will help me get my body back after baby! Because as soon as you give birth you’re just fat.

I woke up this morning with huge boobs and an earache. The boobs are kind of nice, although I wasn’t really lacking in the cleavage department before. I’m going to need some new bras to keep my chests from escaping. The earache is the same pain I had two weeks ago. Last time the doctor said it was an ear infection and gave me antibiotics. I’ve never heard of chronic ear pain as a symptom of pregnancy, but I can’t see any other reason. No ear infections for 26 years and then two in three weeks? Although I am completely willing to trade a few earaches for the morning sickness I have so far avoided. Got that baby? You can have my ear if you don’t make me puke. And thanks for the boobs.

I’ve learned two major things so far about pregnancy. First, everyone is really concerned about your vitamins. Second, if you’re not married prepare to be judged, you whore.

After my first pregnancy test came out positive, I decided – against what I’ve been advised in the past – to buy What to Expect When You’re Expecting. The first chapter was a list of things you cannot do once you’re pregnant. Shockingly, drugs and alcohol are on this list. Wait, you mean meth isn’t good for my baby? My real concerns were the three martinis I had over the 4th of July weekend and the antibiotics I was prescribed for an ear infection. Luckily, even though What to Expect has been called alarmist, it assured me neither of those had caused my baby to grow a second head and flippers, as long as I took my vitamins. Then there is a little note in the book that explains it uses the words husband and spouse to mean “significant other” and people in non-traditional relationships should just replace them with “partner” in their head. It struck me as incredible lazy. How hard could it be to use the find & replace function before you went to the publisher?

I went in to the doctor yesterday to confirm I really was pregnant before I started telling people. My regular medical care is provided through the military, so I’m seen at the clinic on base. They did a blood test and then sat me down for a talk.

When the nurse started The Talk, I figured it was pretty routine. No, I don’t smoke pot. No, I don’t use any street drugs. No, I don’t smoke. Yes, I do drink but not since I found out I was pregnant. Yes, I understand the importance of not doing these things. Yes, I know proper nutrition is vital. Then she asked, “Are you married?” Wait, what? Why? Is this medically relevant? It just so happens that I am married, but it’s not exactly a requirement to have a healthy baby. Are you going to refuse me care because of my marital status? The nurse told me they didn’t do OB-GYNcare on base and they would write me a referral to an outside practice. I picked one close to my house and was sent on my way with a prescription for a year’s worth of prenatal vitamins. I really hope I’m not pregnant for a year.

The OB-GYN’s office called me in to start some paperwork and lab testing. The paperwork was just like The Talk. Do you use intravenous drugs check yes or no. Do you taken herbal supplements check yes or no. Are you married check yes or no. Wait, what? Again? I thought it might have been an insurance thing last time, but you just made a copy of my ID and insurance card. Why does it matter if I’m married?

The nurse then offered me a goody bag of magazines and coupons for vitamins. I assured her that not only did I already have a prescription for the vitamins, I’ve actually been taking them since last July. “Don’t forget to take one every day,” she reminded me. Oh, I have to swallow them? I thought I was just supposed to keep the bottle under my pillow. I did not say that, but was still sent across the street to another office for more lab tests. I don’t think I’ve had this much medical care since the day I was born.

At the lab they wanted bodily fluids. But wait! Before I could pee on anything they needed some information. What’s your address? Social Security Number? Insurance Company? Are you married? Good Lord, really?

Perhaps this question gets asked over and over again because single mothers need more support and these kindly medical people just want to help. Maybe there are statistics to prove married women have higher risk pregnancies (or vice versa). Maybe it really is about insurance. In 2005, 33.9 percent of births were to single mothers, so is it really still considered unusual? I just know that it surprised me every time, and I was secretly releived I could answer “yes” in case the follow up question was “Then how did you get pregnant, you slut?”

I love email! It's like talking to other grown ups without having to worry if the baby is screaming! Contact me: bebehblog@gmail.com
July 2008
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