Half Baked

On Friday, I (we) reached the halfway point of my pregnancy:

20 weeks. Rainy day. Halfway there!

For purposes of comparison, here’s my belly at 4 weeks 3 days, the morning after I took the second positive pregnancy test:

4 weeks

You may notice that my breasts are larger. That seems to be the first thing everyone noticed. It was also my first indication that something was up – about 10 days before I took the positive test, long before I would have missed a period, I changed clothes in my mom’s hotel room and noticed that something looked different. I credited the change to my new rowing routine.

A few days later, N noticed that my chin was unusually broken out. I blamed that on holiday overindulgence. I took a test to be sure. Negative.

I took another test on my birthday, knowing the day would involve all manner of food and drink. Negative.

Don’t ask me why exactly I took another test a few days later, but I did. We walked to the Flying Saucer in a daze, and I turned down a second cup of coffee for probably the first time in my life.

In Which We Discover We Will Be Parents

That was nearly four months ago. In another four months (and change), we’ll have a baby. Crazy.

Here are some things we know about the baby:

  • It is currently the size of a banana. This is appropriate as N eats more bananas than anyone else I’ve ever known.
  • It has long arms and legs that have only just started to poke me. The kicks and punches feel a bit like when popcorn begins to pop – gentle and sporadic.
  • It will have Belgian citizenship if N requests it.
  • It is wiggly and shy, having spent half of my last ultrasound running from the tech, and the other half with its face buried in my hip.
  • It will be called Kleintje until it arrives on the scene on September 26.

I’m thankful to have had a relatively easy pregnancy so far. The first trimester was harder emotionally than it was physically as I struggled to wrap my head around the enormous immediate and imminent changes in basically every area of my life. I struggled through the brutal winter, not able to talk to my family and friends because I’d chosen to keep the pregnancy a secret until after 13 weeks. I struggle(d) with body image, with relinquishing my identity as a runner, with having to ask for help for things I could easily do on my own a week or a month earlier.

Now that I’m squarely in my second trimester, the struggles are different. I haven’t moved into maternity clothes, but every week I have to retire more of my wardrobe (temporarily? permanently?). My back hurts a lot of the time, and sometimes I have these sharp pains when I stand up too quickly. While I haven’t had morning sickness OR cravings, my body has more than compensated by rejecting large parts of my normal diet – and unfortunately mostly healthy stuff. No to yogurt, beans, and kale – yes to all the bread. I haven’t been on my bike since getting pregnant – though I do occasionally Divvy – and running gets harder by the week. But then there are also moments of sitting in traffic and ::plink::, there’s a little kick.

I just read a book review that quotes a sociologist in saying “the modern child [is] ‘economically worthless but emotionally priceless'” – the book’s author describing parenting as “all joy and no fun“. When I think about this – and the many years we have ahead of us – I’m terrified. And excited. And terrified. And very grateful to be embarking on this adventure with N, who this morning after cleaning up cat vomit remarked that this – cleaning up various bodily fluids – was his life for the next few years, and that he couldn’t wait. While I’m less enthusiastic about the bodily fluids – I also can’t wait.

One Year

On Dec 23 a year ago, I drove to the north side to meet a guy for coffee. Recent heartbreaks had made me gun-shy, and first dates are always (at least) a little weird, and I was out of it from a long, cold run, and I decided as I sat in traffic on 90/94 that I would conduct an experiment: I would be completely open about everything. What was the worst that could happen?

In return, I got a ridiculously wonderful first date, and a year of adventures, and a love that comforts and challenges me, complements and expands me. I’m a very lucky girl.

What draws one person to another? What electricity? What softening of the heart? We do not choose who we love, a man once told me but I wonder by what mechanism we find each other, the people who dislodge that has laid dormant in us, familiar but forgotten. I will ask this of M. one night in our bed and he will say: “Something about being with you felt like coming home.”
small fires – holding

I feel like my life is unduly influenced by two intractable circumstances: my commute and too many cats. Most nights I’m up 2-3 times because a cat wants out of my room, or because a fight is brewing in the hallway, or because someone is meowing for reasons unknown to all but the feline gods. They’re sweet and cute and loving, but they can’t seem to tolerate each other, and I wonder how long we can go on like this.

I wake up exhausted, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, to face a day with 45-60 minutes of commuting on either side of a typical work day. I know this isn’t unreasonable for a city dweller, and that the commute is longer because of my move, but it is a constant source of frustration, though I’m doing my best to ameliorate it now that it’s consistently warm and pleasant enough to bike all or a portion of the 13 miles from home to work. Today I biked for 20 minutes, then took a train for 7 miles and 15 minutes, then biked the last half mile, arriving at work hungry and not inordinately disheveled, and in about the same amount of time that it would’ve taken me to get in my car, sit in traffic, then hunt for parking.

I’m tired all the time, and hungry all the time. My body will get used to this level of activity, but I don’t know if it will get used to the lack of sleep. What to do?

We spent a portion of last weekend in Champaign, walking around campus in the gathering dark, grabbing a drink at a favorite bar downtown, running to the car in the driving rain. Is the heavy nostalgia I feel when I’m there just a remnant of my previous life? Or should it be taken into consideration as we have these conversations about a future together, and where that might take place, and what factors are important to us as we speculate about decisions that are still a long way off? I know that that place is in my blood like no other, not even Chicago, but also that the world has moved on and I with it.

We sat on the lawn at Pritzker Pavilion Monday night with Carl and a bottle of wine and Middle Eastern take-out from a place in Hyde Park. Daniel Lanois opened with The Maker followed by The Messenger, and it was like all of the chattering, oblivious voices faded away and all that was there was me and the clouds and the silver beams overhead and his voice and my two best guys and the goosebumps on my arms and legs bared against the cool evening breeze. Summer in the city.

And don’t get me wrong, dear, in general I’m doing quite fine.

Right Now

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  1. Settled in a great new apartment in a great new neighborhood with a great new roommate.
  2. Spring and maybe summer have arrived in Chicago. On Tuesday, it was 85 and sunny for my post-work run.
  3. A couple of great overnights in Champaign, and vacation on the not-to-distant horizon.
  4. Lunchtime walks in beautiful places.
  5. Lots of demands at work, but most of them are interesting and stretch me in good ways.
  6. So much good music in the next two weeks: Zoe Keating, Emily Wells, Front 242 (DJ set), Colin Stetson, Four Tet (DJ set). And then Movement not long after.
  7. Back to back PRs in a set of races where I PR’d last year.
  8. A new relationship that isn’t really new at this point, but that continues to fill me with wonder and joy and peace.
  9. A battery of tests proving that I’m in excellent health.
  10. Horoscopes that tell me to follow my heart:

CAPRICORN (December 22-January 19): Despite everything I wrote to you last week about weighing self-gratification against fairness-to-others (which probably still requires some consideration), I can’t help but encourage you to veer slightly more in the direction of pursuing whatever the hell makes you happy. While it’s useful to reflect enough on your privilege relative to your friends or colleagues so you’re not blind to their potential responses, you can’t live a satisfying life by concentrating too much on assuaging others’ discontent. In fact, with multiple 5th-house planets now moving into a supportive trine to Pluto in your 1st, I’m sure you’re feeling pretty emboldened to make the personal most of any situation… and why the fuck not? These energies sure seem to be formally inviting you to intentionally put yourself at the unapologetic center of this week’s decision-making—and not just out of some future-minded commitment to ‘becoming your best self’, but in order to choose whatever will bring you immediate joy, creative fulfillment, and/or positive flirtatious attention. In closing, yes, I suppose I should reiterate the possibility that certain social allegiances could suffer tension, as envious or disapproving others react to seeing you so unapologetically serve your own pleasure. Maybe it’s because they’ve become too accustomed to you taking care of their needs first?