Sunday, December 31, 2006

Little Known Facts

Pregnancy has brought about a whole slew of random symptoms, some of which have come as quite a surprise. Here are three* of the things I never knew about pregnancy:

1. "Morning" sickness my...

Whomever named this side effect
is guilty of gross underexaggeration and has obviously never been pregnant. The "morning" modifier, in my experience, is hardly adequate to describe the "all dayness" of the nausea that accompanies the first three-ish months of pregnancy. My queasy stomach does not seem to distinguish morning from mid-morning from afternoon from night. Nope, it's pretty indiscriminate, this stomach of mine. So, basically, to satisfy the wrath of my angry tummy, I have been eating all day (and sometimes all night), attempting to strike the delicate balance between the slightly hungry need to feed the beast immediately to quell the unpleasant "I think I gotta barf" feeling, and the overfed the beast because eating makes me feel better so I didn't want to stop and now I'm so full "I think I gotta barf" feeling.

FYI - There have been a few things that have helped me to cope with the unpleasantness of morning sickness. I found that the standard (and starchy) morning sickness cures like saltines and ginger snaps did very little to soothe my rebelling belly. I always thought I was a carb-craver, but apparently the baby is more into proteins. One of the things I find very useful are cheddar cheese sticks, which I typically eat before bedtime and in the middle of the day. I also respond well to citrus fruits, or even candies disguised as citrus fruits - the more sour the better. I also discovered Preggo Pops (a Christmas gift from my mom and sis) - yummy suckers that come in a wide variety of flavors (including lavendar and ginger). Sounds like a scam, but works!!

2. Air Supply

Our friend Margaret from Philly had explained to me that, although she somehow avoided the whole morning sickness thing, she was "allergic to being pregnant". In fact, I myself had noticed a vast increase in the number of sneezes that seemed to occur since becoming pregnant. I never really had a problem with allergies, but chalked it up to changing hormones combined with living in the notoriously allergen rich region of Northwest Arkansas. Turns out it's probably due to a little condition called rhinitis of pregnancy. Who knew?

I also noticed increased fits of loud and embarrassing hiccups. Apparently many pregnant women experience this, although there seems to be little empirical evidence to explain why it happens. Most likely due to the wacked out digestive system during pregnancy. Some woman was so annoyed by this that she developed some creepy gimmicky device that is supposed to help, cleverly named the "Hic-Cup".

In addition to these oddities, there are other unmentionable air-emission related issues that one might face while pregnant. And although most men seem to suffer from said ailments on a daily basis, we'll just further description to your imagination.

3. Hey Freud...

The elevated frequency and bizarreness of my dreams has been another interesting occurrence. Most mornings I wake up feeling like I spent the night in a Stephen King novel. For example, here is a detailed synopsis of a doozy I had last week:

Enter scene.

Scene begins as many of my dreams do. I'm at school - some random combination of images from junior high, high school, and college- where I am late for class because I can't remember my locker combination (a variant of my typical school dreams, where I'm either naked, don't know my schedule, can't find the classroom, or didn't do my homework).

I run frantically down the hall towards my classroom and step through the door to find myself in a small, residential bathroom. To the right is a bathtub, where the water is running and the shower curtain is partially drawn back to reveal a large tree branch that is jutting out into the room, barring further entry. Perched upon a small branch in front of me is a small green lizard who appears to be taking a nap. I glance into the half-filled tub and see a large and quite ugly green frog flailing about in the water. "Eww", I thought, "these guys need to be outside." So I reach into the water and seize the frog, holding him at arm's length for fear that he will pooh on my school clothes.

I walk through the unfamiliar house towards the back door. As I step onto the patio, I recognize my parents' yard, although it is in no way similar to what their yard actually looks like. I also notice that a torrential downpour is just subsiding but has left about six inches of rainwater (swarming with minnows and various other water-inhabiting creatures, I should add) covering the entire backyard. From under the shelter of an overhang, I gently toss the frog towards the grass so as not to get soaked. I miscalculate and the frog lands on the hard patio. I panic, thinking I killed the little guy, so I reach for a long stick and attempt to prod him with it until he shows some sign of life. I stop prodding for a moment to wave at the neighbors who have stepped out onto their porch. When I look back, I see that the "dead" frog has moved from his spot on the patio to the top of a nearby rock, where he is holding a casual conversation with another frog about the unusual weather we are having today. About the time I realize that I am witnessing not one, but two talking frogs, my bladder finally succumbs to the pressure of all the water references and I awaken to my dark, rain-free bedroom.

P.S. This account is totally true and accurate. I did not embellish a single detail of the predescribed dream sequence.

*Oh, and one more bonus "factoid" that you may want to file under the Old Wives Tale category:

If a pregnant woman does not eat whatever food she craves at the time she craves it, the baby's face will resemble said food's shape.

Better safe than sorry, right ladies?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tellin' the Folks

Telling the Folks - Plan A

Our first baby-related drama... how to tell the fam. The timing was such that Christmas would fall around the three month mark, a good time for tellin' assuming I wouldn't be showing too much. Since we'd be with my folks in Peoria, we devised a way to reveal our secret to both families at once. Basically we were going to buy "World's Best (insert self-appointed grandparent related title here)" sweatshirts and have both sets open them while on speaker phone. We were sure that this convoluted and time-sensitive plan would work. However, an even better opportunity presented itself, and we jumped on it.

Telling the Folks - Plan B

My artsy-fartsy mom was having an open house - a sort of christening for her new art studio - in Illinois on December 9. Vicki (Timothy's very generous and thoughtful mama) had called and asked if I would be interested in road tripping with her and Leah (Tim's sister) up to Peoria to be there for mom's opening. I hadn't really entertained the idea because Timothy had a final that morning and I couldn't imagine trying to make the trek by myself. Tim and I saw this as a perfect opportunity to tell both families, at once, in person.

Thus, Plan B was born (pun intended). Timothy rescheduled his final and got Bill (Timothy's dad) on board, so that the whole Evans clan could make the trip up to IL for the family reunion. We bought a "congratulations" card that would be given to mom under the pretense that it was your standard "congrats for being brave and ambitious and talented and finally opening your own studio" card.

We wrote a little poem inside that revealed our secret, knowing that mom would read through it until her jawed dropped open, she would look at me, then scream and jump around. Then I'd have to tell her to tell everyone else why she was flailing about, as she would most likely assume that everyone else already knew. Lots of crying, hugs, and nervous laughter would follow.

The Reveal

So we headed to Peoria on Saturday morning, a difficult ride for me as the frequent urination and nausea stage was in full effect, further compounded by the fact that Timothy was the only one aware of my predicament. But I kept my eyes on the prize and made it to the open house sans bodily functions of any kind.

After changing clothes amongst snow piles in the 30 degree parking lot, we all made our way inside. My whole family was there - grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins included. Hee, they thought the only surprise of the day would be to see how hot my beautiful and goldenly tanned sister Rachel looked upon her return from her 8 month business adventure in Hawaii. But little did they know, we had another shocker in store.

After things had calmed down a bit and our two families were milling around in the same general vicinity, we decided the time was right. I pulled out the card and handed it to mom, who took her sweet 'ole time opening it. Meanwhile, I am shaking like a leaf and Timothy is attempting, (and failing) to maintain a single train of thought while conversing with my dad. Finally, all eyes on mom, she opens the cards and reads:

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Guess what, we're PREGNANT!
Congratulations to you!!

Essentially every detail from that point on ran like clockwork, precisely as it had been planned. Mom read, jaw dropped, looked at me, jumped and screamed. At this point, everyone is wondering whether we've presented her with an all expenses paid trip to some exotic island or announced that unisex dressing rooms were no longer lawful. Leah, unable to take the suspense for a second longer, snatched the card from mom's hands at the precise moment the words "they're pregnaaaant!" left her mouth. More jumping and screaming ensued, followed by crying and hugs, followed by nervous laughter. Right on cue!!

Oh baby, oh baby

Look out world, the Evans' have decided to procreate! Now that the cat is officially out of the bag, we've determined that it's finally safe to start documenting our adventures into parenthood and share them with the world. For those of you that would prefer to skip my incessant ramblings and get right to the good stuff, the attached pictures might suffice to tell our stories. For those of you who don't mind a bit of pontification (thanks, Word-A-Day), you may choose to skim through these entries to get a better gist of what is going on in our world as we prepare to welcome the newest addition to our family.

First, a brief recap of initial events:


We first discovered the good news on November 6. I took a pregnancy test at home and told Timothy as soon as he got home from the library, to which he replied, "are you serious?" I was serious. And although it is a common practice for folks in that situation to take multiple tests, if not multiple boxes of tests, the giant label that read "over 99% accurate" was good enough for me.

Misery Needs Company

After weeks of feeling sick and tired and having no one (but my loving and sympathetic husband) to share my misery with, I decided it was time to inform a select few of my condition. The long work day was difficult to bear when I had to focus all my efforts on concealing my physical ailments, so I informed the girls at work slowly, one by one, as time seemed fit. Our good friends the Primms and Reeves were also of the first to know, as with new babies of their own an pregnancy fresh in their minds, I knew they could relate to my woes and offer much needed advice and encouragement.

First Visit

Our first prenatal visit was on November 30 at the NWA Clinic for Women, where we met two nurses and discussed some of the details of the pre-baby process. Instead of taking the traditional route and working with a doctor that might not be there for the delivery, I chose a Certified Nurse Midwife that would conduct all my exams and be present to deliver the baby. Up until that point, the whole midwife concept seemed a little "crunchy granola" to me, but I really appreciated the continuity of the latter scenario, chose to release my preconceived notions, and went with my gut. A little labwork (that confirmed I was preggers) and a lot of paperwork followed, leaving us somewhat overwhelmed by the barrage of information, diaper samples, and invoices for services to be rendered. Overall, it was a good visit that left us with a lot to think about.