9 Weeks Pregnant: New Joys

August 17 – August 23: 9 Weeks 0 Days – 9 Weeks 6 Days.

Our first night in our new home, we ordered sushi for delivery. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat raw meat due to potential pathogens (not to mention that many fish are off the table due to environmental contaminants), but we were lucky to find a restaurant with a large selection of vegetarian rolls. Yum! A couple of the veggie rolls were packed next to the fish rolls Richard ordered, which could obviously allow for cross-contamination, but I opted not to worry about it. At some point the stress elicited by obsessively following all the guidelines perfectly must have just as many negative health consequences as being a little more lax about the rules.

I love doing yoga in a hot room, a love hot tubs, and people always make fun of me for wearing sweaters in the summer. Pregnant women aren’t supposed to do things that raise their body temperature, but my beloved piping hot baths have been an ongoing temptation. At our prenatal appointment this week, the doctor told Richard that elevated body temperature negatively affects the baby’s brain development, and ever since then he’s been strictly enforcing the rules. Our first full day in our house, we discovered that the pilot light for the water heater didn’t stay lit for longer than a few hours, which dissolved my fantasy of sneaking into a hot bath behind Richard’s back. (Update: We didn’t get the water heater fixed until I was 16 weeks pregnant, so I didn’t get a hot shower—let a alone bath—for a long time).

Now on my sixth week of relentless nausea, I began having some moments of despair. Before I got pregnant, I had tons of little joys in my day-to-day life. I used to take Foxy on walks up Bernal Hill, which has a fantastic 360 degree view, or for a long walk or run along Ocean Beach. Now I’m too fatigued. I used to love negitoro maki, exotic cheeses, oolong tea, and Philz Mint Mojito Iced Coffee. Now all of these are advised against (Update: later in pregnancy I discovered a Swiss Water Decaf Mint Mojito Iced Coffee). I even read the other day that chamomile and ginger tea, which I’ve been drinking all along, can be risky for pregnancy! I used to get a sugar fix from green tea cheese cake, brownie sundaes sundaes, and sour patch kids, but now dessert makes me nauseated. Even most yoga doesn’t feel good for me any more (I’ll post more on this in a few weeks).

Instead of wallowing in self-pity focusing on what I couldn’t do, I realized I had to shift my daily habits to include joys that I can still partake in:

  • Tea. Rooibos is my new go-to. I make a yummy roobios tea latte with maple syrup, vanilla, and skim milk (before pregnancy I drank nothing but almond milk, but cow’s milk has appealed to me more lately). And, tea is even better when enjoyed with friends I can share with!
  • Light, therapeutic exercise. I cleared some space for my mat and got my foam roller, pinky balls, therapy band, Mexican blanket, and bolster in a convenient location.
  • Yoga Nidra. Translating to “Yogic Sleep,” this practice is done lying completely still. Relax Into Greatness by Rod Stryker is my 35 minutes of bliss. This helps so much with the fatigue.
  • Artistic expression. I used to draw, paint, play musical instruments, and sing—skills I’ve let fall by the wayside. My sister bought me a watercolor kit for my birthday and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much free piano sheet music is available online these days, so I plan to incorporate these joys into my day-to-day life.
  • Connecting with the baby. Up until now it’s been hard to conceptualize the baby. On that first ultrasound, it was just a spec! This week, Richard and I went back in for my next appointment with the OB/GYN and we got an ultrasound that actually looked like something. Well, sort of. What it looked like was an apple fritter. But that’s at least it’s something I can visualize growing and developing inside of me. Also, unlike the first ultrasound I had, the baby’s healthy heartbeat was detectable! The other night, Richard kissed me goodnight then kissed my belly and said, “Goodnight, Fritter.
9-Week Ultrasound

Our little apple fritter at nine weeks.

Look at how much she developed by week 19!

19 Weeks Pregnant: It’s a Girl!

October 27 – November 2: 19 Weeks 0 Days – 19 Weeks 6 Days.

Throughout pregnancy, everyone’s asked if we’re going to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. Obviously this choice is individual, but here are some of the reasons I wanted to know:

  1. I admit it: I don’t love surprises. Pregnancy and childbirth have enough of them for me.
  2. I want to be able to name the baby now so to help me start building an attachment, a connection, and a sense of relationship.
  3. I didn’t have brothers and have very little experience with little boys. I felt like if I was going to have a boy, I’d want to read up and mentally prepare. Some people have told me boys and girls should be raised the same, but my intuition is that societal pressures are still so different for boys and girls that raising a child to be independent, empowered, and unencumbered by labels would require different techniques and messages for girl (e.g. “you’re not defined by how pretty you are”) than for a boy (e.g. “you’re not defined by how macho you are”). Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s all the more reason to start researching early!

We got the ultrasound this week, and found out that the baby is a girl! More importantly she’s got all the pieces she’s supposed to have and no extra eyes or tentacles.

It was really amazing to see the baby’s spine and heart, and to see the her move and kick! She kept putting her hands in front of her face, preventing the ultrasound technician from getting her final measurements. It seems like many mamas have such clear ultrasound pictures, but mine mostly look like nondescript blobs. Apparently the umbilical cord was getting included in the 3D rendering as if it was part of the baby’s body. Every now and then, the technician would capture a still frame of the baby and exclaim, “Oh! Look at how cute she is!” As I tilted my head in various directions to change perspective, I’d think, That’s a baby?? I don’t really see it… We did get one adorable picture though. You can tell this little one’s got a personality!

Week 19 Ultrasound

“Ollie ollie oxen free!”

I laughed out loud when my dad said this picture looked like Han Solo when he was cryogenically frozen:

Han Solo

Is it wrong that I’m already teasing my kid?

The baby was active and moving throughout the ultrasound (I don’t think she liked being squished and prodded), and I was surprised I wasn’t feeling her move more. The technician told me that my placenta is in the front, which means I wont feel the baby moving much until later in pregnancy. That was a little disappointing to hear. Feeling that one little kick last week made her feel real to me.

I found out the baby’s sex just in time for me to add some gender-specific flare to my hand-painted Halloween costume:

It's a girl!

Pregnant skeleton with a baby girl.

(I was inspired by shirts like this one on Etsy, but wanted a full body costume, and thought it would be fun to make it match closer to my own skeletal structure)

Before the ultrasound, so many people had predicted that the baby was a girl that I couldn’t help but have that expectation too. The day before the ultrasound I sat down and came up with a list of potential middle names for boys, just to get in the mindset for that possibility (Richard and I already had boys and girls first names picked out). It’s a good thing it turned out to be a girl, because Richard veto’d every single one of these!

They're not that bad, are they?

My list of potential middle names for a boy that got blanket veto’d by Richard.

However, I had to sign a form saying that I understand the ultrasound technicians can get the sex wrong, so you never know! In March, we may be announcing the birth of little Jasper Midnight-Courage Levasseur. Just kidding—neither Richard nor my mom would let me get away with that name.