From the category archives:

Week 16

Right before it starts becoming real…

by Milton on Mon, Nov 16th, 2009

in Week 16

I feel like we’re currently at the very edge of where this mystical baby starts becoming more real. Last night, Esther felt the first popcorn popcorn pop of the baby’s movements.  I sat in bed with my hand on her belly for a good hour at least trying to wait patiently for a little pop.  At one point, popcorn happened, and I didn’t notice it.  I resolved to put more attention into the nerve endings of my palm and to concentrate as hard as possible on the slightest movements, but by that point the popcorn had stopped.

Yes, the baby is still popcorn in my mind.

But, I think, once movement starts happening, and I can feel it, the popcorn idea will poof from my head.  And then, shortly after the movement is confirmed, the true obstacle of de-abstractification will be just on the horizon: gender.  And then, of course there’s that ever-growing belly on my beautiful wife to consider.  With a baby inside!

I want reality to break through.  I want to know this baby.


I read Jenny McCarthy’s Belly Laughs book a couple days ago.  Wow.  It’s scary to think that she’s encouraging women to act like her, in my opinion.

On the other side of the spectrum, we watched the Business of Being Born last night.  That’s a pretty great documentary.  I think it was meant to be controversial, and to show the worst of hospitals, and I don’t think all hospitals are as ignorant and backwards as the ones depicted (Seattle’s Swedish, for instance). However, I think the fact that more light should be brought to the midwifery traditions and practices is definitely called for.

According to our midwife, that documentary and the book Pushed have both contributed to a surge in business for midwives in the last few years.

Only 1% of births in the United States are done via midwives, and only a fraction of those are home births.  Seattle’s a little different, and actually has between 4-7% of births through midwives.  I think it might be because of the better insurance policies that allow them to be covered.  So hopefully this number will grow.

One of the great and unexpected things about The Business of Being Born is that the film-maker is pregnant during the making of the movie.  Of course, after all this talk about home births and everything, she ends up having pre-term labor and a C-section at a hospital, and had to keep her baby in NICU for 3 weeks.

The reason I think that’s great (in the documentary’s sense, not in the sense that the baby had such a scary beginning) is because every doctor in the movie is like “what if something scary happens?” and this is the answer… you go to the hospital.  Hospitals aren’t inherently bad, it’s just that they are designed to deal with emergencies and dangerous medical conditions.  Most births, however, are not in this category, and could just as easily (and some argue more safely and nicely) be handled outside of the hospital system.  For the 10-15% of births that have complications, it’s awesome that hospitals are there to help, and this fact has a lot to do with the lowering maternal mortality and baby mortality in the last 100 years.

Anyway, it’s just so interesting to think about all of this.  I keep trying to remember how we first started down this midwife/home birth track–I remember being just as pro-epidural as the next person before Esther got pregnant.  We are trained to be afraid of birth.  And, as the non-participatory husband, of course fear is even more justified because all of this is happening to Esther, not me, and therefore the lack of control is scary.

This is merely how I feel now, and reserve the right to change my mind at any point along this pregnancy.



by Esther on Mon, Nov 16th, 2009

in Pregnancy by week,Week 16

I’ve been having a lot of lucid dreams about feeling heartbeats and baby movements under my hand.  I wake up feeling so happy and excited during the mornings after.  The dreams make what’s happening inside of my body feel very real and sweet.

The most recent dream happened this morning.  When I woke, I realized that I had been laying with my hand on my womb for goodness knows how long, dreaming about all the pops and bubbles I could feel from the little fish alien swimming inside of me.

This is a big week for pregnancy-  you just might feel your beb for the first time!  The Mayo Clinic book and The Baby Center page both say that first-time expectant mothers don’t usually feel the baby moving inside of them until the 20th week, but that the expectant and wise first time mother can feel movement as early as 16 or 17 weeks.  Prone to an excess of body awareness and sensitivity to every little nut and bolt inside of me, I’ve believed (sure-  somewhat smugly)  from the beginning that I would feel the baby early, and have been eagerly seeking quiet and still moments for the past few days, gently poking around my belly to see if I could wake anyone up (how rude, I know).

Quite unexpectedly today, while sitting at the computer to perform mundane errands, I felt my first decisive little *pop*.  A little gold fish!  A bit of popping corn!  A butterfly!  The tiniest beep on my personal radar.  And there it was again, just a moment ago, a tiny little knock.  So exciting!


Gear, money, and travel.

by Esther on Mon, Nov 16th, 2009

in Challenges,Money,Pregnancy by week,Week 16

I’ve been feeling pretty great.  Fatigue is in check, nausea has disappeared, pickle cravings have subsided, and somehow I refrained from spending $50 on sheep milk cheese at the market this week.  I even want to have sex again!  The second trimester is truly the sweet spot of pregnancy.

Milton and I have been getting on well.  Our only argument has us recalling one of our only wedding-prep related arguments, which was quite specifically about gift registration and gear.  We agree that there is a colossal amount of waste in the baby industry.  Obviously, every baby born does not need a brand new status stroller.  Obviously, any baby born does not need a brand new anything.  I have no qualms about hand-me-down anythings (other than a breast pump, because that just seems a little weird), but worry that not registering for anything at all will leave my family at a loss for how to help out… and, like most American families, my family likes to help out by buying gifts on a registry.  I also worry that we’ll end up throwing money we don’t have on things we later find are necessary when we feel a pinch.  We do have that bad habit.  It’s nice to be prepared.

Of course, all of this baby gear prep is still a few months away.  Right now we’re concentrating on selling our awesome house, which is really only awesome if you don’t have a baby.  We’re also concentrating on buying tickets to go to my hometown for Christmas and my Grandmother’s 85th birthday, which is making me sad because I have to spend a whole lot of money to fly during the holiday season… and money has become this whole different thing to me now that I need to save it for a new family.  I am truly worried that I will never see my family again once this kid is born.   Goodness knows that tickets feel a whole lot more expensive when they are bought in twos and (later) threes.

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