Building Ear Buds Within

It’s really weird, the combination of being in new work environment, being a chronic over-sharer, and having a belly button gone suddenly as haywire as Herman Melville’s beard (dear lord, you should see it. I don’t know if it’s due to leftover diastisis recti from my last pregnancy, but my belly button has exploded in a pink, angry fury.  I can’t even imagine what it will look like by 40 weeks, I imagine it will need it’s own bath tub)

My pregnancy isn’t a secret, it’s almost 16 weeks old and I’ve splashed it around in multiple places on the Internet, and I’ve told my workplace — at least, I’ve told my immediate management and most of my colleagues in my immediate vicinity.

But today I was talking to one of my earnestly smart and athletically gazelle-ish young colleagues and I wanted to explain that my ill-fitting top was related to gestation, not smarties, but there’s no way to do that professionally.  You can’t just insert it casually into a conversation about strategy and client goals, it doesn’t fit. 

My dubious outie and the fact that there’s a mysterious life slowly growing ears and toenails and stuff for procreation inside me is really of no relevance to anyone but me and so it’s a hard fit in conversation.  But the thought of just getting increasingly giant every day is rather uncomfortable.  Then again, so is everything about pregnancy.  The skin tags, the headaches, the cellulite and the weird smells.  I smell different during pregnancy, and I forget afterward every time until I am pregnant again and I think “Aah yes. The pregnancy smell.

 It’s not bad, per se, but it’s unsettling because it’s foreign Is it hormones?”

***

Image

My brother turned 35 years old yesterday which feels pretty crazy because my baby brother is suddenly a full-on, middle aged adult.  We ate too much Greek food and a fantastical amount of yogurt and man, I have a cool family.  My brother’s girlfriend, she’s disturbingly gorgeous, yes? He’s still got that weird whatever-it-is-he has that all the houseladies loved so many years ago.

 

Meant To Be

Almost as soon as it started, I was filled with a sudden, sweaty-palmed recognition.

Ahh, shit, this.  Yes, this is what it felt like before, and the time before too.  How the hell does the insta-forgetting happen every time?  Mother Nature is shrewd, cunning, stunningly effective.

***

We’d talked about it, a few months before.  We’d even decided that I’d make an appointment to get my IUD removed.  I had a few years before I hit forty, but only a few.  Time was sparse, fleeting.  Jude, with his grumpy old man tendencies, could probably benefit from the shock of a sibling, and I had an uncomfortable knawing around my gut that my family — as insane and robust and amazing as it was — might not be complete yet.  But then, something big shifted and it became apparent that my career path might have to shift,  and fast.  I started nudging my linkedin networks, perusing the local hot companies, assessing possibilities.

“Now,” I said to Corey,” Is probably not the time.”

So almost as soon as a fifth family member became a possibility, it became impossible, and that was OK too.  As it was, we had a grade schooler and a whippersnapper and not enough sleep.  I wanted to write a book,  anyway, I’d been threatening for goddamned years now.  Corey’s business was about to rocketlaunch, and a baby wasn’t in the cards.

***

It was a combination of things: a sudden requirement to get up at 3am to let out an irritatingly miniscule pee.  A swift, perplexing aversion to the smell of coffee and even the possibility of smelling any kind of red meat.  And my chest.  I was way too far past puberty to be developing a new cup size, and so I hunched in the bathroom at midnight with a covert package of First Response without telling Corey what I was doing.

***

The next morning  the full gamut of symptoms rushed in as if  they’d been bottled up, waiting to bubble out.  The nausea came in rolling waves of sickness, the left side of my temple pounded constantly.   I pulled on tights, a black button up blouse, a pencil skirt, willing away the taunting vomit.   Twice, I threw up out the window, on to a black rain-slicked street, grateful for the cloak of 6:30 AM.

If there’s anything as stressful as death and divorce, it might be starting a dream career with the hottest tech company in the city while inadvertently pregnant and wretchedly ill.

***

I told my management team once the danger period was over, once I knew that indeed, this baby was on its way.  They were shocked — understandably so — but extremely good about it all.  They don’t know me well enough yet  to know  for sure that I won’t let a baby mangle my ability to achieve my business goals in any way, and in fact, that my underdog feelings are more likely to compel me.   But I do intend to prove it, of course, and now that I’m comfortably  cocooned in the second trimester,  I can see I won’t have to do that while retching out the car window, which is excellent.

Baby number 3 means the development of a much earlier belly, and I’m shocked every time I look down at my stomach.  Baby number 3, coming this summer.   Who the hell would ever have thought, you know?