Creeping spring

Spring is taking it’s sweet time this year. Part of me doesn’t mind at all. April is the time for spring to be spring. It shouldn’t try to be summer. Part of me is grateful for the grateful amnesia about winter creeping over me, even if it does dull my appreciation of the now. Part of me wants to wander outside in my shorts and tank tops and be warm with every window in the house open and pollen blowing through.

Pregnancy seems to be affecting my sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Part of it is looking pregnant, I think. Part of it is that my pregnancy wardrobe isn’t very good. I’ve gotten accustomed to feeling like I look good in whatever I’m wearing, and I don’t feel that way right now. Part of it is almost certainly hormonal. I’m feeling all unimportant and minor right now at work for no good reason. The accuracy of that feeling might be up for debate, but I doubt I’d feel this way six months ago.

I need to get serious about preparing to have a baby come. So far I have: bought nothing, rearranged nothing, prepared nothing. This is a little on purpose. There’s no need to jump the gun. Why set up a nursery 6 months before you might have a baby to put in it? Alpha is still two months from viability, even. I should save money now to buy outfits for when I need them — when I know what I need. (What if I give birth to a 9 pounder who’ll never fit in 0 – 3s?) But I need to start the process of realizing and accomodating for the new person who is going to join us in our home. This would be easier if I wasn’t tired/lazy.

I feel disheartened and small. I’m sure this is passing, but it seems increasingly frequent as my pregnancy progresses. It is not an accustomed sensation for me, and I don’t think any amount of external validation will make it go away. Although maybe a huge clothes shopping spree would.

Fetal scan

We had the fetal scan yesterday. For those of you who have never been pregnant, that’s the only “scheduled” ultrasound in a pregnancy. (Most of us end up getting quite a few more, as evidenced by the fact this was my third ultrasound. I’m hoping it’s my last, because that will mean that my pregnancy is wildly uneventful!) They do things like check to make sure the baby has a skull and brain (no encephaly), see if there’s a cleft palate, check for numbers of limbs and fingers, evaluate chambers of the heart, etc. They evaulate the baby’s age based on size. This is when we would’ve found out the baby’s gender if we were going to.

Alpha was not particularly cooperative. It sort of looked like s/he was sitting on my spine. S/he also kept moving around, so every time the ultrasound tech would go to take a picture… whoop! Baby’s in another location! Apparently Alpha doesn’t approve of the paparazzi. There was one moment when she was showing us the head, and Alpha sort of waved us off with his hand and promptly dove down into a completely different position. It was awfully cute. If not helpful to the poor tech.

The tech can’t tell me if anything is wrong (that’s the doctor’s job) but it looked and sounded perfectly normal. She said that the heartbeat was perfect, and that according to her measurements, the due date is September 22. So we have a range of dates between 9/22 and about 9/27. Since a due date is nothing more than an estimate of the perversity of a child, I’m perfectly content with the range. I think I’ll continue to say the due date is 9/23 (my birthday) since that’s nice and easy to remember — and as true as anything else.

I’m now out of doctor’s hands for like nearly a month. I’m glad I have a normal pregnancy.

Scientific Education

I don’t think much about my science education. Really, it’s pretty basic. Chemistry, biology, physics in a high school that did not excel at all in such things. If you’d asked me, I would’ve told you I hadn’t learned much. I got ok grades — right down there with my math grades. Our high school offered one honors class (and no AP) and that was in English. I took it twice. But I never really paid attention to science. In college, I took Chemistry 101 — no lab required. It was interesting (and Professor Cheng, in his Hawaian shirts, was hot!), and I learned some things. But come one. That’s about the minimum amount of science you can have taken and still have a degree from a reputable four year college.

So if asked, I wouldn’t tell you that I’m particularly knowledgeable about All Things Scientific.

But I think I’m missing something in understanding my own science background.

I’m currently reading a book that summarizes the sum of scientific endeavor since people started thinking. It maps the history of the universe, and talks about geology, chemistry, physics and the Big Ideas that revolutionized the 20th century. (The atomic bomb was only made possible, for example, once folks figured out that nuetrons existed.) I have enough science background that what the author is talking about is often familiar, and I can hook it on to something I know, or read behind it and remember the underlying logic. I understand the periodic table and valences. I understand plate tectonics and induction zones. I understand the role oxygen plays in matabolic function, and how cells are attacked by viruses. I know the difference between RNA, DNA and mitochondrial DNA. I understand how gravity works on a cosmic scale, and that it’s one of the weakest of the forces. I’ve contemplated whether the universe is expanding or contracting. I know how acid rain gets created, and that whether ozone is a nuisance or a necessity depends on where you are in the atmosphere. I know how a catalyst works. I understand the Scientific Method, the concept of a theory, and accept experimentation as a valid way of creating ideas of how the universe works, fully knowing that we will never understand it all. I understand statistics and risks, and can weigh proven risk factors against each other more or less rationally. I have mastered none of these things. My understanding is not complete. It has few gradations, and probably more than a few holes. But it’s enough that when presented with information that has a pre-requisite of understanding these things, I can follow the information. And to be honest, I’m not sure how I got here. And I’m beginning to wonder, to think, that maybe everyone has this.

To be frank, I’m not sure it ever occurred to me before. In some ways, I’m a success story of our education system. A liberal arts graduate with no more than average interest and decent intelligence who got sufficient science education to be capable of staying informed of scientific developments and what they mean. But did I get it through the education? Was it the years of subscription to Discover magazine (eventually cancelled because they got boring)? Was it the family background that made me curious in the way things work? Was it a trait of my mentality that makes it easy for me to retain concepts (I can still quote the Ontological argument for you if you wish?) Is it because I married a scientist, and he sends me links nearly every day discussing the scientist who is suspending metabolic function in mice and bringing them back unharmed from the brink of death hours later, or the latest innovation in nano-technology? Or is it because I have a good reading comprehension, and it all comes back to language?

How do you feel about your scientific education? Do you ignore what happens in the science pages, or is it part of your daily distraction reading? Do you find science interesting? Are there whole stories that just flit past you, incomprehensible? Where and how did you get the science background you got, and does it affect your daily life? Do you wish you understood it better?

What dreams we have must give us pause

My husband very rarely has nightmares. When he does, they’re usually right before he wakes up, and he wakes up screaming and is upset for the rest of his day.

On prior, very disturbing dream he had was a variant on the common college dream. He was taking this class he really, really liked. But one morning, he went to class and there was the final! And he’d totally forgotten to study for it! So for this class he loved, he sat there miserable, unable to answer a single question. This was when the D&D 3rd Edition book came out. The class he was taking was on D&D. The questions he was unable to answer were things like, “If you have a third level party of four players, and they are attacked by a party of 8 orcs, what is the challenge rating of… ” Heh heh. The funny thing is, he woke up SCREAMING and really, really upset. It was an honest-to-god nightmare. I managed to be sympathetic and soothing. For about 2 minutes. I still think that’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

This morning he had another nightmare.

You see… (pausing to let the sense of doom and horror build) he had forgotten to pre-register for Gencon!!!! So there he was! Ready to play! Dice in hand! And he hadn’t registered for ANY GAMES! And honestly, he woke up screaming again and saying “how awful, how awful!!” I assumed he had a dream where I turned into a zombie and ate his brain or something but no. Failure to pre-register for Gencon events.

My husband is such a dear, delightful, wonderful geek.

What’s a self-effacing girl to do?

One of my friends at church asked me if she could organize my baby shower. (This woman is fabulous at organizing.) Touched and flattered, I said yes. And I’m excited. I feel really overwhelmed by it all, though. So far she’s lined up a date, got a co-chair, er, host. Asked me for a list of friends I’d like invited, and asked where I’m registered.

Yipe!

So the registry… she has a good point. She says that if I register for one or two larger items, folks can contribute an amount they can afford (whether that’s $5 or $50) and not feel like their contribution is obvious. But I hate asking for things. We’re very fortunate, financially, and I *really* feel like people don’t owe us anything in the way of presents. (Of course, like all human beings, I also like presents.) Couple that with the fact I have no *clue* what I need or want for a baby (although this cute but impractical bassinet comes to mind) and my previously posted current issues with pregnancy, and I’m flummoxed.

And with the guest list thing. I live in a bunch of different worlds. They’re not intentionally distinct for the most part, but my RL friends don’t go to my church and my church friends aren’t generally on-line. And then there’s family. And work. I’m not sure if my RL friends would like to attend a shower from church, or if they’d like to have one seperately (and since I’m not supposed to be organizing any of this, I don’t want to ask either. That seems wrong.)

Er, so as my friends, what do you suggest? What should I register for and where? How can I effectively communicate that I want to share joy and time together, but don’t need things if you don’t feel the overwhelming urge to give them? If you think you are the sort of person who would like to attend a baby shower for me, would you rather attend a church-centric one or should I take a wild leap of faith and guess that my RL friends might also host me one and you’d rather attend that one?

I’ve never done this before. I don’t think I’ve been to more than one or two baby showers in my whole life. And to be honest, I’m a whole lot less comfortable with this baby thing than I was the wedding thing.

HELP!

Last appointment with old doctor

Due to laziness, I failed to cancel my last appointment with my old doctor. I figured it was easier to go and get my records and be done with it. He was actually nominally on time this morning, which came as nothing so much as a pleasant surprise. They seem to be very ultrasound happy at their office (they have an ultrasound on premesis) because they ordered another look.

And now I don’t know what end is up.

We’ve already had two rounds of ultrasounds, so anything there should’ve shown before now. But apparently, my children are the sneaky sort. Yes, children. Folks, this ultrasound showed not only an Alpha, but a Beta as well. It wasn’t super-clear — Beta was still mostly occluded by Alpha. We basically just saw an additional hand and arm where no hand and arm should be. (I actually freaked, the ultrasound tech reassured me that Alpha doesn’t have three arms.)

I’m just sort of stunned. Despite the fact that I’m switching to the midwife, I sheduled a followup with the ultrasound folks to get a better look (apparently there’s an internal ?? technique that’ll probably show Beta better). So yeah. Two.

So if you could send some thoughts to my husband and me… we were nervous enough about being the parents of one. Being the parents of twins right off the bat is totally going to be a trial by fire.

I wonder if they’re fraternal or identical.

By the way, I hope you all have a terrific April Fools day!

Editor’s note: this was the finest April Fool’s prank of my life. I deleted any comments that noted that it was April 1st and played it up to the hilt for a few hours. I got most of my friends something good, and my had to talk my sister out of calling my mom with the amazing news. It’s still one of my fonder memories.

Spring and Morning Sickness

I’ve become increasingly convinced, psychologically, that there is a relationship between the winter and my morning sickness. I’m one day shy of my 14th week of pregnancy. Morning sickness usually arrives uninvited at about week 6 (roughly two weeks after you miss your period) and stays for another 6 weeks. It’s unusual, though not unheard of, for morning sickness to last this long.

For me, it’s actually gotten much, much worse in the last two weeks. For most of my pregnancy, I could eat stuff, I was just picky. And I would throw up every couple days. Now, I can hardly eat anything. (Amazingly, I have yet to lose much weight. I do not understand this.) I spent a week throwing up morning and night. Now I’m just throwing up every night. Every single night. At about 8:30.

Just in the way my sickness has extended past it’s usual date and worsened at the end, so goes winter. By the end of March, you can usually see the grass. We still have foot deep drifts in our back yard. It’s snowing several days after the vernal equinox.

Both of them seem to stretch back in my memory. I hardly remember what it felt like to feel good, to eat food and enjoy it, to have energy and enthusiasm. I hardly remember a time when I could walk outside without a coat, and feel the warm wind on my face. I don’t remember the sound of lawnmowers buzzing and kids jumping in and out of pools. I just remember the scrape of ice and the sound of the snowblower.

The consolation is supposed to be that both of these will inevitably and invariably come to an end. This pregnancy will cease. There is no way for it not. Hopefully the morning sickness will diminish before I deliver, but even if it’s 9 months of agony, it’s finite. Spring, too, will eventually arrive. There was no volcano chilling the world. The grass will green, the garden go, the kids will go back to splashing.

But I don’t believe it viscerally anymore. And it seems like every setback I experience with my health pushes spring back. And every snowflake adds to the weight of my nausea.

I miss being me. I miss being cheerful and happy and energetic. I hate staring blankly at my screen, wishing I was asleep because asleep is the only way I feel good. I hate it.