Day’s Verse:
Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:4-ish

First off, we’re going to Hawaii for a week starting on Friday. Expect fewer posts than usual (I know, you’re probably thinking, “How is that possible?” Just you wait and see!) I anticipate getting lots of sun, which for a Washingtonian in February is the epitome of luxury.

Initial Ground Rules for Conversations With Katie While She is Pregnant

  1. Please try to bring up pregnancy no more than 25% of the time. I appreciate inquiries into how I’m doing, but beyond that, let’s keep it to a minimum. I may bring it up myself, but if I don’t, it’s because I would like to talk about something else. I continue to have a personality and interests despite having a little alien in my uterus.
  2. There’s nothing to see belly-wise yet, but when I start showing, please DO NOT TOUCH ME. Being pregnant does not invalidate personal boundaries. Thus, some specific guidelines: The first time you pat or touch my belly, you get a verbal warning. The second time, you get a punch in the face. The third time, I sever all contact with you forever. My apologies if this sounds excessive, but I feel rather strongly about this.
  3. Please refrain from using the term “prego,” “prego-luego,” etc.; talking about my “eating for two”; or other oh-so-cute pregnancy cliches. I have enough nausea in my life without these types of references.
  4. Please, don’t show me pictures of babies in your life. I’m afraid I’ve never been a baby person, and being pregnant has not changed that so far. I really won’t appreciate your baby pictures, and if you show them to me, I’m going to have to lie and tell you how darling I think your baby is. (Not that it isn’t cute — I just won’t appreciate it, and my reaction will therefore have to be faked.)
  5. Feel free to offer unsolicited advice or name suggestions. The way I’d like you to do this: When you think of a piece of pregnancy or parenting advice or a baby name we just HAVE to hear, write it down an a piece of paper or in an email. Send it to me. I guarantee you I will read and consider all information received in this manner. Verbally-supplied advice I will gratefully acknowledge and forget within 30 seconds.
  6. I’m sorry to disappoint anybody, but no pre-birth baby pictures will be posted here or anywhere online. If you want to see what a normal ultrasound, I have handily Googled it for you. Our fetus at 12 weeks looks exactly like all the other pictures of normal 12-week-old fetuses online already.

Thank you for helping me stay sane and happy during the next six months by following these guidelines.

In other baby-related news, I saw the alien fetus on an ultrasound yesterday. For a creature that didn’t exist 12 weeks ago, and that’s only about the size of a plum right now, it looks remarkably person-like. The ultrasound people said everything looked perfectly normal. They then stabbed my finger with a very sharp, long, presumably sterilized needle and proceeded to squeeze out more of my blood for various tests. The previous day the ob-gyn office took between 1 and 2 pints of my blood to do various genetic screening (maybe I have exaggerated slightly, but not much, I promise). Happily I’m done with that for a month. I hope next visit involves a lot fewer needles.

Also for this first ob-gyn appointment, I had a very unsatisfying conversation with the doctor about athletic activity and pregnancy. She didn’t seem to understand why I would want to train with my team if I wasn’t going to race; didn’t understand that biking is about riding for hours at a time without stopping, but with eating and drinking on the go. Instead, she gave me a kind of canned spiel essentially saying that any vigorous exercise of any sort was out; I should keep my heart rate below 140 beats per minute (that’s a “riding easy” pace; I can easily exceed 170 when riding up a steep hill) and even then stop and rest every 30 minutes. Give me a break! Women run marathons, do triathlons, heck, in Third World countries do hard labor all the way through pregnancy.

I understand that lactic acid is toxic, and I need to not go anaerobic — fine, a heart rate of 160 – 170 bpm is still not anaerobic for me. And I understand that exercising to exhaustion sends all the oxygen and nutrients to my muscles, depriving the alien, which needs those things to grow into a healthy person. Also fine. And yes, of course the alien’s well-being is my top priority for the next 6 months, while it’s in my body and my sole responsibility. Yet surely there must be a satisfying balance between my doing hard, long riding and keeping the alien well-fed and -oxygenated. I’m looking to her to get her expert advice for guidelines on how far I can push and still be healthy, but whatever that limit may be, the doctor didn’t really help me determine it. She did say she’d do more research and get back to me, but I’m skeptical about how meaningful that will be. When doctors “get back to you,” it’s a nurse reading a one-sentence memo the doctor gave, no give-and-take conversation.

/rant. Finally, Mr. XKCD has our backs for names if our baby’s a girl.

Too bad we’re on our own if it’s a boy.

3 thoughts on “Pregnancy Conversation Guidelines

  1. Standard doctors are very by-the-book and unimaginative when it comes to most things and even more so with things they aren’t familiar with. My best advice (written down, of course) is to do your own research on what kind of medical care you should seek and to question the medical-industrial complex (my own term)that exists around childbirth. There are lots of options–more humanizing, individualized options. I wish I had known about them when I had my kids.

  2. All that I really have to say about this post will never make a difference to you, because really you will never understand how insulting all of this commentary might seem to 90% of the population. But by all means, keep writing down all of your thoughts and making the people in your life feel uncomfortable about your new life phase.

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