25 September 2009


I just got back from my first prenatal yoga class at the local birth services center. I haven't been to a yoga class in months, since long before we got the news, so the beginning of the class was just a process of readjusting my body to the stretches of yoga.

Then, about ten minutes in, the teacher instructed us to "inhale, directing the focus to your baby."

Me: "wut?"

I had sort of forgotten about the "prenatal" part of this yoga class, at least on a physical level. On a social level, I was a little embarrassed at how underwhelming my belly was, in class full of women either about to burst, or who like me are around 21 weeks, but who unlike me are sporting big robust stomachs.

Between the distractions of belly comparisons (I know, silly of me) and reacquainting myself with yoga, I was completely caught off guard by the reminder that this was no longer about just my body and that there was an entire *other* body involved.

So then I was amused by this sort of freakish state of affairs and started laughing silently in the middle of our cat pose, which didn't really fit the whole serene flow that the teacher was aiming for, I suppose. I wondered if the baby was getting the good vibes of my movements, or maybe even doing a fetus version of yoga poses.

At the end of class, during the relaxation time, sure enough, he or she started thumping around down there. It wasn't very relaxing, but it was quite entertaining to consider what kind of baby yoga moves were being conducting inside of my uterus.

Does this pregnancy thing ever stop being totally bizarre?

23 September 2009

About face

Here is a question that I do not know how to answer: Should I join Facebook?

On one hand, pretty much everyone I know is there, and I have received many requests to join, and I think it would be a nice way to keep up to date on people's lives, while they keep up on mine. The Mister is on it, and I see the value of maintaining connections with people who otherwise would be lost to my past.

On the other hand. Oh, the other hand. I haven't joined so far because on a practical level, I think it would be just one more time suck on the internet. I also haven't joined because I'm exceedingly wary of managing my online presence under my full name. There's a reason this blog never mentions my last name, the Mister's name is not public, I don't post too many pictures, and many topics are off limits.

I also don't like the jumble of everybody in one's life being thrown under the category "friends" and everyone being privy to the comments and conversations of everyone else. (Which, admittedly, is part of the attraction of Facebook on the voyeuristic end.) I tend to have very distinct and small knots of close friends from the many places I've lived, and I don't think the kinds of relationships I have across the board necessarily "translate" from one group to the other. They're all facets of me, but they're different facets. I can imagine this leading to awkwardness. Maybe I'm too concerned about how people view me, but that's part of being a quiet/private person.

As a simple example, back when we first told our family about the pregnancy, one of my aunts congratulated M. on Facebook--perfectly natural and very thoughtful of her to do so. But he hadn't told any of his work colleagues yet, including those who were doing legwork for potential job placements for him. So he had to delete her comment (awkward) and hope that no one had seen it. I can imagine situations even more awkward than this one.

In addition, having resisted Facebook so far, I'm really indignant about the assumption that *everyone* is on it. I have missed important news from friends and relatives--the "we're moving!" news, the "I'm pregnant!" news, or worse, "the baby is born!" news--because they assume posting it as a Facebook update means that then everyone knows. In other words, I feel like Facebook sometimes cuts into the (dwindling) amount of personal connection we have with our friends and family (even if it's just an email) under the guise of a purported greater connection. Maybe we're mistaking connectivity for connection?

All of that said, I'm still really tempted to join, especially now that we're pregnant. It would be a good way to let friends and family have quick snapshots of our lives and our growing child, especially as it gets more difficult to write more thorough updates, and the blog might be too public a forum for baby pictures and so forth. So I'm open to being convinced. Should I join Facebook?

21 September 2009


Today I am officially at the midpoint of my pregnancy, twenty weeks.

This is a tad disconcerting, because the first half went by really really fast. Granted, we were kind of busy (see: previous post), but still, if the second half goes at all as quickly the first, I should start packing my hospital bag immediately.

Actually, packing is just one of the many things that I am apparently behind on, the things most pregnant women have started to do by now that I haven't even begun to think about, like buying baby clothes out of the "just can't resist" urge or registering for a bewildering pile of apparatuses and baby holders and whatnot.

We've been concentrating on outfitting our house rather than outfitting a tiny person who's just fine hanging out inside me for the time being, so there's that. Also, we want to acquire only the bare minimum of baby accoutrements, limited to what we can take back to Barcelona with us.

There's also the fact that I hardly look pregnant. Close friends assure me that they can see a change (and obviously *I* notice the changes), but I'm certain that I look at best like I've got a bit of a beer/nachos belly. Not unusual for a college town. I'm wearing my regular clothes, and although they feel tight to me they look pretty normal. My students had no idea at all; I told a few of them last week and they commenced to stare at my stomach for the entire class, probably wondering where I was hiding the baby.

They say tall women with long torsos take longer to really show, so I know there's a reason for this: I had all kinds of room in there for the little one to grow into. And I should see it as an advantage, because I'm not yet unwieldy or waddly or uncomfortable. I'm sleeping great, walking to campus, eating normally, and generally just feeling like, well, myself. And I'm sure the ultrasound in a couple of weeks, the one that tells us if we have a boy or girl (if you're wondering: I have no "intuition" or leaning either way and am totally psyched for either), will help me feel more like myself plus one.

So yes, I'm eager to look and feel more pregnant, but for now I'm happy to just *be* pregnant. Come to think of it, there isn't much that's "more" or "less" about it, right? You either are or aren't. And I am.

19 September 2009

Begin again

I didn't mean to leave a cliffhanger of a post up for nearly three month. Will the heroine and her Mister stay in Barcelona? Will they move to Bloomington?

But I did. And one of the reasons that I did is a little six-inch person currently doing somersaults in my belly.

Yes, the Mister and I are expecting a baby!

In fact, that last post, the one that's been sitting on this page for eons, was written just a couple of weeks after we found out I was pregnant, before we had even told all of our immediate family. When I said that I missed the Mister, I *really* meant it: I had never imagined that I would tell my husband the big news over Skype! When I said that I was tired, I *really* meant it: I was both travel weary and first trimester weary.

I had only just begun to experience the bizarreness of pregnancy, that sensation of being taken over by something other than myself. Although I had only a couple of days of true nausea, by the time I got to Washington, DC I was continually hungry yet uninterested in foods that normally are my favorites. I would have moments of bone-crushing exhaustion and painful episodes of indigestion, interspersed with periods of general malaise and achiness that made me glad that at least there was a good reason for it all. And that made me glad that my mom was taking care of me. Through all of this, the Mister and I (over skype!) were trying to make major life decisions about where we would live for the upcoming year, and where we would (gulp!) have our first child. Barcelona meant living in our own home, being close to family, and access to guaranteed medical care. It also meant staying where neither of us had a job. Indiana meant a job, for me at least, but beyond that all I saw were insurmountable hurdles.

By the time I had hitched a ride with my brother and sister-in-law up to Boston, collected the Mister from the airport at long last, and driven to Vermont, we were surprising ourselves by leaning towards an Indiana baby and had begun to search for a university visa for him and housing for the fall. Plus, as I turned the corner from first trimester to second, I began to feel much more like myself again, and we made the most of our week alone before the rest of the family arrived, working as much as we could but also enjoying the jaw-dropping gloriousness that is a Vermont summer.

That next week with my parents, siblings and nephews was a delight: we climbed Mount Mansfield, ate outside with views of the same, splashed around in wading pools, made trips to Burlington and Stowe and poked around in the meadowed corners of the state. This all happened with special intensity this year, because it was our last vacation of that sort for a long time, as my parents have rented out their house and moved to Washington, DC. In fact, as much as I spent time outside, I spent an equal amount of time in the basement, sorting through the boxes that represent my entire life from childhood through graduate school, as well as the bulk of my personal library. The fact that I consolidated the boxes from 30 to 22 does not sound as impressive as it should, given the hours of organization and the ruthless culling and the aching back bent over endless piles of paper and books.

By the time we flew to Barcelona, we had solidified most of the details of our move to Indiana, not that the prospect was any less frightening. We spent two weeks at home, furiously cleaning out our apartment for a renter to move in--a friend, thank goodness, meaning we only had to truly move our things out of the bedroom and the bathroom, although we did undergo a thorough cleaning and reorganizing process for the rest of it. We enjoyed a few precious days at the seaside, had our first ultrasound glimpse of baby, saw as many friends and family members as we could to say goodbye, then *poof* once again we were on our way back to Boston. The next morning, we began our drive out to Indiana with my parents' car--they've generously loaned it to us for the year-- stuffed full of our suitcases and miscellaneous donated items from my family, me a bundle of nerves the whole way.

And so here we are: I've settled back into the rhythm of teaching, which I suddenly remember that I truly enjoy (except the grading part, harrumph). We've outfitted our little rental with donations from friends, craigslist purchases and yard sale finds, and are enjoying the gorgeous, still summery fall weather. There's the farmer's market to look forward to every weekend, the walks to campus, the forgotten perks of a quiet small town existence.

The Mister is currently in Europe, because he had to finish up the visa application process (we were sort of late to the game, you see) and attend a couple of conferences. It's been surprisingly hard to be away from him, given how accustomed we are to long separations. But we had just settled into a lovely rhythm of life here, and I can't wait for him to see how his baby's tiny knobby knees can already poke hard enough to feel from the outside.