Week 30

I’ve become enchanted by the pelvic tunnel. After the cervix fully dilates–and wait, let me tell you that before the birthing videos and the dated computerized animation, I had this image of dilation as if the cervix was opening while the baby was suspended above waiting patiently, as if for a portal in a future space ship hallway that will open with a mechanical exhale. But no, this is not it at all. The cervix is opening around the head of the baby as it pushes down down, the force of the baby stretching, the uterus pulsing, the uterus pushing. So yes, this portal does not gradually ease open of its own accord, the babe waiting patiently; no, it is opening because the babe is there pushing on that exit. After this stage the babe rotates in order to squeeze first through the bones of the pelvic inlet and then leaves through the outlet and this part of the process is somehow my favorite because (I think) I never thought nor even heard of, certainly did not focus on, this stage–the babe passing through a tunnel of bone and cartilage. It seems almost graceful. Swimmerly. After that (I’m pretty sure I’m getting my stages right) comes the active pushing and that is something else but right now I like the tunnel best…as if the babe is diving out of a cave with an underwater entrance. Or perhaps this; did you ever swim beneath a floating dock to pop up in a new area of the lake? Hah, like a beaver’s den.

I don’t know how to write myself fully. I’ve been writing a memoir, and have been shaping and changing it for years, and it is almost right, but always I come up against this wall–and it feels like a literal wall. I can tell that on the other side is a more authentic voice, a voice I can access when writing other parts of myself, but which I lose when I try to write the stories of my father, of Mexico, of my skin. I still, after years of thinking and talking and reading, can’t tell this all the way. I stopped speaking those parts of myself when I was fourteen and it has been so much harder to begin to tell it again than I imagined it would be. I thought the deciding to tell it would be the hard part. But no, I’ve decided, and I still often feel like I’m tunneling through a wall of rock. Or bone.

I am afraid and as much as I don’t want to be I still am. I want to be free in my body, in my skin, in my voice. To be free in my body will be the same as being free in the telling of my body.

Across the street is a school. At night various windows light up as, I think, janitors move through the rooms cleaning. My school is not cleaned by janitors at night. The students clean at the end of every day, and we help, and on the weekends two people come in and do the deeper scrubbing. My school is not orderly. Sometimes when adults visit they are turned off by the almost-chaotic jumble of it. It can be hard to see what it is happening beneath the precarious stack of books in the library; the glitter coating the art room table. But it is a space for kids, and not an adult’s vision of what those kids want from a space. This is my third year there and the lesson that has taken me some time to learn is that to truly hold a young person’s view at the center of their education is a much more radical re-thinking than I’d previously imagined. The simple act of accepting that I do not see a room in the same as a ten year old does, and that the ten year old’s vision has it’s own worth…Many of us prefer the vision of school in which rooms are cleaned at night when children are gone, rooms organized and maintained by adults. I wonder what the kids think of that? To leave a space and return to it magically swept bare of the detritus of the day before as if it never existed.

When I get into trouble is when I get feeling that there is no me, just versions of me, and that the gaze of others, what they perceive is what determines who I am. That feeling of being constantly changeable. Wait, that is not what I’m afraid of. I feel that way, yes, changeable, but what I’m startled by, uneasy with, is that…and here is the wall once again. I think I’m afraid of the chaotic room.

As if I could control how I am perceived in the world. As if anyone can.

I have not accepted the skin I live in. What an odd statement.

Some stories done’t have resolution.

But I am going to give birth. In one form or another. I’ll moan and move and make low humming noises to open the sphincter of my throat so that the sphincter that is my cervix will open wider and probably in all that opening and moaning I’m going to poop and it will be in front of other people, in front of B., who I don’t even like to fart in front of if I can help it. And everything will be opening and I’ll be moaning and making noises and movements and I will be in a land beyond care or concern or even thought of what others or the world think of me; I will be deep down in my body, letting my body lead me, and how could there be a thing as poisonous as pretense in the midst of all that?

Week 27

Time to rant.

The ice is a pain in the ass, and yet somehow the concern is getting to me too. To be careful, to be careful, and B. is so lovely with his elbow on my arm and yet it is the weirdest fucking thing in the world to be helped across a patch of ice the way I used to help my grandmother. I understand now that waving off of help; that, leave me be, I can do it.

And people who don’t handle their patch of sidewalk suck, as do the people who should be helping said people if they can’t do it themselves.

And also world, please stop telling me “I am carrying well.” I’ve touched on this before, but it is just code for I haven’t gained “too much” weight and at some point my brain can’t keep up my feminist levee against the rising tide of body obsession and just the other day, a leak sprung, the thought, “My thighs are getting big.”

Have you heard this one? Girls steal your beauty. Apparently mine hasn’t been stolen. Yet. Also my belly is “pointy”. Sure signs. It’s a boy.

Ah, but a rant intermission here to say that I really love these women, the aunties and grandmothers, who rub my belly in the ladies room without asking and tell me not to eat salt.

I love them much more than the woman today who suggested I help her stock apples during my co-op shift and there were lots of other people around and I looked at that low shelf and the big box, and had to say, “I just can’t bend like that these days.” And do you know what she said? “Some days I don’t want to bend either.”

And while I’m on the subject of the co-op: I’m just home from the last half hour of the shift spent loading fruit onto those low shelves and there I am standing there and honestly, just send me home. I am not even remotely ambiguously pregnant these days; just send me home. There was a Latin man working with me, and he kept waving me away, “Go sit. Go rest. There’s nothing you have to do here.” Reminded me how a friend traveled to Columbia at five months pregnant and said that every woman should have the experience of going to a Latin country pregnant. My mother said the same thing of being a new mother in Mexico. That she felt like a queen. I always planned/hoped to make it to Puerto Rico once I got pregnant, and today has been a day in which I might murder for the feeling of sun and sand on this belly of mine. Today also a day when I understand why I don’t have a proper credit. B. tells me all the time that I’m actually super financially responsible, and I think I am, but I don’t trust myself with credit because of the fact that I can always find a reason to buy a plane ticket. (Just as I always used to find a reason to go out to dinner; drink the best drink.) Then again, if I did let myself have one, I’m 99.9% sure I’d be flying to San Juan this very Friday.

Ice storm coming tonight.

Okay, now I’m having trouble holding back the visions of heat and water and swimming and fruit and Spanish and sun and diving into the ocean in a tiny bikini and oh man, now I’m imagining skinny dipping in a calm ocean, and how good it would feel to just feel my skin. Only my skin in the air and the water and none of this armor of long underwear and wool and scarves.

Two nights now of better rest because I followed a pillow diagram and am sleeping with six pillows. I’m not kidding. Six. My head hovers a full foot or so above B.. When he kisses me before sleeping he has to fully lift himself up to reach me because once I’ve achieved the position of maximum comfort I’m too nervous to move for fear of jinxing it.

And the reward for all this is a baby. I watched babies today. None of them seemed cute, and most of them annoying.

It’s just that there’s not enough time left. This baby is going to be here too soon and then I’m going to have a baby and then I’m going to be a mother and I have plans for many of the weekends coming and they’re hurrying me towards my due date, rushing me along, and it’s too fast right now. I’m not ready and it doesn’t matter because the babe will come anyway.

But.

I love the bumps and wiggles and shimmies. I really do. Me and it in this private dance.

I’m having an experience without reference point or comparison.

It’s just hard some days, the not knowing my way.

Week 22

On the pleasures of being alone…

The first time I travelled alone I was nineteen years old and I went to Spain. Or, this is the first big trip I took alone, by then I had ridden countless Greyhound buses between New York and my grandmother’s in New Hampshire, between New York and college in Providence, and I already knew the exquisite pleasure of a solo bus ride on an off day; the bus mostly empty, two seats to myself, headphones, a book, the window, sometimes a bag of M&M’s, always plenty of water. On a bus, on a train, the land unspools beside you, for you, and you can pee whenever you want and your brain is soothed. My brain is soothed. My restlessness stilled by the fact of being in motion. Once, tucked into the back of the bus, I secretly masturbated while hidden under a giant shearling coat that had belonged to a man who had almost married my mother when I was ten but decided instead to move to Austin, Texas. (I had loved him, and cried when he told me he was leaving, and after him I vowed never to get close to a boyfriend of my mother’s. Something I pulled off until she began dating the man who became my step-father. But that would be later, when I was out of college, 23 and 24.) It was not even dark on the bus, only a grey afternoon, and the climax was a teeth clenched, muscle bracing, moment of complete stillness, which sent the sensations pulsing through the muscles of legs and back and neck. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden a Greyhound.

But this trip to Spain…I took a semester off of college because currents of anxiety were pulling me under with frightening frequency and also I was smoking too much weed, drinking too much, all of it too much, and I had not seen nor heard from my father since I turned my back on him when I was fourteen years old and I thought it was time to explore that. I arranged to live at home, work, do therapy, but also to travel alone for a month. I extended my loan money to pay for it, and they sent me a glorious check. Spain is the land of my father’s parents and it was my first step towards him. I bought a round trip ticket. I had not been out of the country since I was six years old and visited my cousins in Norway. (That’s my mother’s side.) As the weeks brought me closer to departure, a pattern emerged: The very rich parents of the very rich kids at the after school where I worked looked at me with envy, with longing, wistful to the extreme, and said to me, “Do it now while you can.” Said, “This is the right time to go, soon you won’t be able to get away.” Said, “This could be your last chance.”

My last chance! To me, it was my first chance, the first of what I hoped would be many trips, a future dotted with movement and places and packed bags. But this too; these parents were so very rich, and yet felt so very locked in. They saw their own lives as limited, finite, without options for such adventures, and this most of all: They felt that they had no say in the matter. They were sure that outside forces were locking them out of things they might want to do. Not one of them saw, or could say honestly, that it was they themselves preventing them from those adventures. How much better it would have been to hear, “I used to want to travel, but now I’m content to be at home with my kids.” I wouldn’t have understood it for one second, and probably would have made fun of them to B., but I hope some part of me could have heard the honesty in it, the embracing of one’s own life and choices.

Everyone has warnings for me these days. According to the world at large it’s going to hurt a lot; i should definitely get an epidural; I will never sleep again; B. and I will never be alone again; moving is not a good idea; everything’s going to get harder; my breasts are going to be destroyed; and I better start wearing smarter shoes.

I bought my ticket to Madrid for October. On September 11th, September 11th happened. I lived about a mile away, but was protected by the span of the East River. The ash coated the playground, and we prayed that the parents of all the children would appear to pick them up. They did. And Christa’s husband didn’t go to work and survived, and somehow Danny’s three brothers survived, though he would not know it for hours. At sunset I stood on the Promenade, beside me a man with a bloody bandage wrapped around his head, and watched the ribbon of ash blow over us and further into Brooklyn. We’d breathe it in for days.

On October 1, I flew. I had thought I was scared of flying, but I’d learned that death comes and that miracles and tragedies are lightening bolts that can strike two people standing inches from each other. That we truly have no say. I decided simply that to fly was to risk death but that it was worth risking death to get me to Spain, to live a life I wanted to live. And then when I saw the clouds below me, it was only confirmed: to fly was a foray into the afterlife. And ever since, flying has become the same as embracing the fact that I can die at any moment. Over a decade later,  every time I board a plane I think I am risking death in pursuit of a full life.

I swear, it feels like an optimistic perspective.

Here is one prediction that does seem true: Once this babe is born, I am never again going to be fully alone in the world. I am bound to B., my friends, my family, yes, but I have a hunch this is going to be different. I am housing her. Him. This babe. I am its first home, it is literally forming inside me, and won’t my heart always be lodged a little inside this new person? Won’t this new person take a portion of me wherever it goes? My fears, my love, my hopes: I will want so much for it, and yet it will have to go forth without me and won’t it pull my heart along with it…aching, celebrating, worrying, exulting? I really don’t know what solitude is going to mean to me in a few months. And I am quite sure I can’t know until it comes.

In Madrid, it took me about two hours of chain smoking to leave the airport. I rode the metro, a monumental achievement, and disembarked into the center of the Plaza del Sol, an immense expanse of stone in the middle of the city. It was morning, maybe nine or ten, and throngs of people were criss crossing the pavement around me. The sky was a brilliant blue (every blue sky a reminder of that one Tuesday blue sky; that knowledge never leaves us, does it?) and the sun both warm and sharp. The buildings were white stone and grey stone, and intricately carved. I stood and it felt as if sky and stone were rushing through my legs and arms to meet in a long denied embrace. I was humming with it. I was exultant. I am in Madrid. I am in Madrid. I am in Madrid. The fact of it, that I had lifted my body out of New York and landed it there, in that city, in Madrid, in Spain, it was a miracle to me, and absolute proof that anything was possible. In my life, it was all possible. I am going to be ok. This is going to be ok. Life is going to work. It is still the moment I return to when the currents return to tug at me. Whatever else happens, that day happened.

I am at the close of a two night solo vacation all the way across the river into Manhattan. I’ve spent two days and two nights eating alone and walking alone and reading and writing and sleeping. It was a much shorter trip than that first voyage across the Atlantic, but it was still hard for me to get myself here. I thought of a million reasons I shouldn’t go, shouldn’t spend the money, and on and on. But I did. And when I checked into my room alone and thew my bag on the bed? Total bliss.

A last chance? A first? I’ll let you know in a decade.

Week 19

I’m growing. I’m ravenous before every meal. Which actually feels kind of amazing. I feel very…vital. Every meal I sit down to is like the meal that comes after being in the ocean. This is post-surfing hunger. I get an email every Tuesday that tells me about the week of pregnancy I’m about to begin. It tells me the size of my baby according to fruits and vegetables (a kumquat, a turnip, way back when it was a sesame seed), it tells me what the baby can do now, what it looks like, and it gives me hints as to what might be happening in my body during this given week. At the bottom, it gives me a task. I try really really hard to not read the task. From the ones I’ve accidentally read, by now I should have found a pediatrician and I believe this week I’m supposed to be mapping out childcare. Yeah.

Two and a half years ago I took a full-time job, and what I said then was that I wanted to have a job because I wanted to know I could still earn money if I broke my leg. But I was lying. What I meant was that I wanted maternity leave. I didn’t want a baby yet. But I wanted to know if I wanted a baby, and nothing about my previous lifestyle or manner of earning seemed suitable to it. My mother, though, always disagreed with me when I said I didn’t have enough money for a child. “That’s bullshit,” she’d say, “when you want one, you’ll want one no matter what.”

I’m discovering she was both right and wrong. When I applied for this job, B. and I had decided that if I didn’t get it, we would move back to Mexico for six months where we could live cheap enough for me to finish my book. I was convinced that if I was going to be a starving artist, I should at least be more of an artist. I always felt hectic then, always rushed, a day never gave up enough hours to me, every day was one I was failing a little bit. And while that likely had as much to do with my brain as my work, I didn’t know that then. All I knew was that something needed to change drastically, and so when they offered me this job I took it.

For the first time I was working the same schedule as everyone else. Monday-Friday. 8-4. I began to live “a stable life.”

Some of it has been glorious. My money comes at consistent intervals. I get paid vacations. I get paid when I stay home sick. My coworkers are wonderful. The job I am doing is worthwhile. It doesn’t take me ten minutes to explain “what I do.” And I get paid maternity leave. By the end of the first year I was ready to get pregnant. But B. wasn’t. So we waited. Life things happened. We traveled to Turkey. Had adventures.

But I also spent most mornings of that second year, last year, convincing myself that it was absolutely normal to feel a weight settling on me every morning while I threw on clothes after my sunrise writing hours. I began to believe that there was no other way for me to earn money; that this was a good job, a good job, a good job, and any dissatisfaction was for me to dissolve, to process away in long talks until I got sick of hearing my own voice saying the same sentences over and over again. Last winter was a darker time than I realized it was then. I was scared more than I admitted. Sadder. Tired. And all of it made somehow worse by the fact that I adore my coworkers, and believe in the purpose and ethics of what we do. I love working with these youth. I believe in our work. But.

But this last summer, every day of August was like me pulling on a rope with a tremendous weight on the other end; hand over hand, an inevitable task that I had no power to set down. Every morning I meditated and set a daily intention:  Be present. Don’t count down.

I found out I was pregnant six days before the start of the new school year. It was not unplanned (I think I’ve mentioned this) but it was still shockingly instantaneous.

And suddenly, my mother is right. Now I don’t care about money. I don’t care about stability. I don’t care about planning. Even from within the swirling hours of near constant nausea of the first trimester, I saw only goodness when I looked forward. The optimism is startling. I’ve never lived in so much calm for so many days and weeks in a row. All the things I thought B. and I had to have in our lives in order to be parents are being thrown into question. I don’t know what my employment will look like next year; same for B. . I don’t know where the money or time will come. Even where we live…we’re questioning everything. And I’m not worried. It’s insane really. But I like it. A lot.

According to the Week 19 email, the babe is the size of an heirloom tomato, and can most likely hear. It’s arms and legs are in their right proportions. I think it has thicker skin too, or a special coating on it’s skin, I forget. The email also notes that the next few weeks are going to be a time of rapid growth for both me and the babe. I was informed that though I may think the changes have been dramatic so far (and I do; I have a bump!), I haven’t seen anything yet. And I can feel how that’s true. It’s a little terrifying. I sense how dramatically my body is being worked on. My deep hunger. My muscles aching and my bones shifting. Everything has been set in motion, and the pace is picking up.

Week 18

I’ve gone (relatively) silent these last two weeks because I haven’t know what to write or how to be in the wake of the failure to indict the cops who murdered Michael Brown and Eric Garner. The immensity of the pattern, the history, overwhelmed me last Wednesday when the news came out. That same Wednesday, in the afternoon, before the news that the cop who choked Eric Garner would go free, a panel of boys of color ranging in age from 7 to 18 spoke to the rest of our school about their experiences with police. We are a tiny school and yet those boys were terrified to share their stories. And what they feared most was that their friends, people they had known for years, but people with white skin, would doubt them, challenge them, push back when they told their experiences. These boys were brave. The bone of my chest cracked and ached watching them speak.

“How old were you when your family started talking to you about how to deal with cops?”

“7.”

“7”

“9.”

“4. I was a big kid.”

One girl of color spoke from the audience. “At first I was upset when I heard about Michael Brown, but I also wasn’t surprised. But then when I saw that Ferguson stayed in the news; that people were still there and that they were still talking about it on TV, that really gave me hope.” And then she started to cry.

When I think of history I think of the big moments. The signature days. The March on Washington. Immense successes. The days we can point to in hindsight and say, “See, that was the change, that was hot it happened.” But that’s a dangerous way to teach and learn history, because it makes change and action seem the equivalent of topping Everest: feats of superhuman achievement, rare, almost impossible. What is essential for me to remember is that many point to the Montgomery Bus Boycott as essential to the momentum of the Civil Rights Movement. And that boycott began and was maintained by regular people gathering in countless churches holding countless conversations. It all begins with small, very doable actions. And before the boycott? Well, before the boycott was the murder of a 14 year old boy, Emmett Till, and his mother’s decision to take her mourning public, to share images of his mangled body with the country, to open the casket.

I am immensely grateful to the activists who have kept this story in the news, to the people putting their bodies in rows facing cops with military gear, to the people who have spent hours organizing and shouting and sitting and walking and marching. I don’t know where all this is going to go, there has been this momentum before, but for now, at least, the silence around this story is being cracked. It is a partnership of bodies and voices; we need the bodies in Ferguson, on bridges, shutting down highways, holding signs in order to open the casket once again, to show the marks of this violence, and to tell the stories.

One white student at my school said simply to me, “I can’t believe how young they were when they had to first think about cops.”

In that moment, I feel hope. And what’s one of the things I’m hopeful for, here now, at Christmas, expecting my first child, full of optimism and loving cheer? That these marches shut whole damn cities down.

Week 18

I wanted to write last week about the glow, because I was finally in it. Nausea gone. Fatigue gone. Hair luscious. My rounded body lovely to me, and B. and I thoroughly enjoying the second trimester sex of which I’d heard so much about. So I am beginning here because I want a record that that’s happening too. Pleasure and days on end where I feel like I’m playing my way through the hours and tasks. Days and hours when I feel radiant.

Because as you may be guessing I don’t feel radiant today. There’s this thing that started about a week ago, it’s at the base of my spine, it began as simply a sensation. An awareness at the very bottom tip of bone that lives right in the center of my ass. And it’s not pain exactly until it is. In the middle of the night last night I began to envision it as an egg-not like the eggs my body makes, like a chicken egg, a 3-D oval-nestled at what I’ve learned in yoga is my root chakra. This little egg is the palest blue and charged with static electricity, radiating sensations that are not pain, but are not comfortable, over into my hips and down into my legs until magically no position is comfortable. And as I lay there cursing the cat for daring to try to tuck into me yet again, I visualized just popping this egg out of it’s place holder in my back and leaving behind this blessed, empty space where it once nestled.

This is how the night passed, and as I was laying there this morning, having not realized that for a quite a while it had been my alarm going off and not B’s, B. goes, “Can I ask you a favor?” And I should I have just said no right then and there, but I didn’t. I said, “What is it?”. And literally all he asked me to do was turn the thermostat up, which means climbing down one flight of stairs and then up again, but I was instantly furious. My first two emotions of today were resignation and fury. It was already an innocent thing to ask, but making it even more so is that B. rarely asks me to do those kinds of favors if he can possibly do them himself. All he wanted was thirty more cozy minutes in bed, but sensing my mood turn, he went down while I was in the bathroom, which then made me even more angry for him doubting that I was going to do the favor which I was planning on doing with such righteous indignation. I snapped at him. And then I apologized. And then I scurried off to meditate before I did any more damage.

I don’t want to be the grumpy pregnant lady, just like I didn’t want to be the nauseous pregnant lady, just like I don’t want to be the tired pregnant lady. I want to be the radiant one who just loves being pregnant. Which is why this record has to show that those days have happened. Today is simply not one of them.

Week 16

I just finished sitting by my kitchen window eating a grilled cheese. A.) I ate a whole grilled cheese and 20 minutes later I still feel fine. B.) I normally have a hard time sitting still in a quiet house. Not all the time, but in the afternoon. From midday until dark, it’s often a challenge for me to be home. Especially when it’s sunny. During the summer this can get tricky because I’ll want to stay out until the set sets, which leaves me taking meandering walks until 8:30 no matter how busy the day’s been, with B. trying to convince me how nice it would be to just relax. Sometimes I’m not so good at relaxing.

But today I’m not antsy at all. As I was sitting in the quiet and the sun, looking at the backyards, I thought, “Enjoy this now because in not long you’re not going to be able to sit quietly by yourself by a sunny window.” And I’m glad to feel all calm, but I’m really trying not to get into this game. For me this thinking can lead me to much more hazardous behavior than eating a peaceful grilled cheese. It’s definitely why I smoked cigarettes in Turkey this past summer. And before that, it’s the thing that had me wanting to have one more drink, try more drugs, do more, always more, before it was too late. I officially stopped doing drugs and drinking ten months before I got pregnant, though it had been winding down for a while. But until I woke up one day and realized that, for me, these substances were no longer a good idea, I had been planning my big comeback. I kept thinking to myself, “One of these days I really have to get my game back on.” I bought tickets to a music festival the year before in pursuit of this game. I was sure I would do some proper drugs there. But the universe aligned to keep me from going, and I didn’t have the money to buy the plane tickets. I lost $300 (and the cool quotient) but I have this feeling that things would have gone very badly for me if I’d made my way down there: An outdoor and more significant version of the night I tried to drink like my old self and found myself, a 31 year old, puking a full dinner into my friend’s toilet and then crawling to her couch, unable to stand until morning.

I’m scared that I’m never going to stay out late again. I’m scared that I’ll never be as cool as I’ve always wanted to be. My twenties ended badly in a haze of secret eating disorders and fearing the loss of my grandmother and then mourning the loss of my grandmother, and I’ve spent the beginning of my thirties working a very responsible job that has me rising before the sun, and falling asleep on the couch at ungodly hours. 10, 9:30, 9. Even, yes, more than once, 8:30. And now I’m pregnant. I had a whole life of shows and bars and friends always out and it’s as if I thought I was taking a short detour, thinking I’d be back in just a sec, and the detour turned out to be my life. It’s like Frodo says Bilbo says, in Fellowship, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”

I’ve always imagined that there was a wilder, more fabulous, unafraid, confident me waiting just around the future’s corner. In high school, I knew it would happen in college. In college, every next semester was the one. After I graduated, it was the next trip, the next country, the next job. As my twenties went on, it was every new New York bar, restaurant, thinking that if I was just going to more clubs, doing more, better drugs. And then I slammed into what I’ve dubbed, “the hard years,” and now here I am. Sometimes I feel like I’m standing, blinking, trying to see clearly the place I’ve arrived in.

But. I am happy. I am really fucking happy. Yesterday B. and I went to the Met with friends, and then to delicious (though silly expensive) hot chocolate and then we showed up for his mom, who’s had her hip replaced, and then we ate dinner at the Veselka, the restaurant I’ve been eating at since I was six years old, and then we went home and (I’m sorry, but it must be said) had mind-blowing sex, and then I woke up, and meditated, and drank decaf tea, and made pie dough, and the fact that I can sit by the sun in this silent house, content, calm, not thinking about the next thing to do, is really kind of a miracle.

Assessing it then: I can’t say I’m fabulous, but I am unafraid; I am confident; I am enjoying this solitude; and I am over the moon to meet this babe.

So.

All right then.

Not so bad.

Week 15

I had my first glowing day this week. I also finally told the the students at school, and the full release from that secret has been huge for me. My whole body has relaxed and I can wear whatever I want, and being rid of that tension is incredible. It helps that the outpouring of excitement from the kids is the sweetest, funniest, best thing ever. They can’t get enough; want to talk about it all day long, and ask any old thing that comes into their mind.

“What will you name it if it’s a hermaphrodite?”

“Imagine if the baby came out with your exact tattoos.”

Students I don’t well, all genders and ages, have found a moment to congratulate me. Plus, it turns out that half of the high school knew already anyway. My little bump seems to have been spotted way earlier than I realized.

I am loving my new shape.

The other night as I was changing out of my robe, B. passing by saw and stopped. It was evening. The lamps were doing their golden glow. Before I could re-clothe B. came over and ran his hands over my new belly, and my fragile breasts, this new expansion of me, and us, and he was grinning. There was delight, and such happiness in his face. And I remember those other days when he, fearful and helpless, watched me carving myself down; when he tried to stop me from running in the cold, or injured, and I brushed him aside, and went and was gone for hours. And I remember how I ran my hands over the sharp planes of my hips and how he did not do the same, would not admire them with me. That person is a part of me too; she’s still in there, but the joy of my body now…even my skin feels stronger and softer. I’m grateful I get to have this–this body, this time, because it is more, better, sweeter than anything I could have known to ask for.

Week 15

And what if I don’t stop feeling sick? What if I’m one of the women who doesn’t get to feel the magic of the second trimester? I have not yet snapped to and felt surges of power and vitality; isn’t the placenta supposed to be done forming by now? Isn’t that the reason for so much of this nausea, this exhaustion, this…all of this? I’ve been banking on that magic moment, that pay off, but what if I don’t get it?

I get rattled when I look forward into two years of my body being taken over by these sensations; pregnancy and then nursing and then I suppose beginning to get back to normal. What is my body going to be after all this? There is a varicose vein behind my right knee that began forming in college. It’s gotten bigger.

The problem is that there’s a good chance that if I got more energy back I would simply expend it. I think the universe gave me such a rough first trimester because that’s the only way it could get me to slow down. I tried bargaining a few times: “Please universe, I promise that if you lift this nausea then I will rest more and take it easy.” Am I tired today because I stayed up late reading and then did a whole bunch of stuff? Or am I tired because my baby is now the size of an apple?

I don’t get even the illusion of control. And I haven’t even written about the gas. Miraculously, I’ve only gotten caught farting once and it was kind of a cute one; a classic whoopee cushion sound while talking to my co-worker in a silent hallway.

I will say this though. The sex really is amazing.