Sunday, February 8, 2015

The One Where I Explicitly Tell Everyone that I'm Pregnant

So I know I announced BabyTK's impending arrival in my last blog post, but as you will read, I started writing this first. You know in the beginning when you aren't supposed to tell people, but so much stuff is going on that I just wanted to share it, so I've been randomly typing whenever something amusing or novel strikes me.  And everything is novel for me at this point. Mr. ATK says this is all a blatant bid to increase traffic to ye olde blogge. He's not entirely wrong. I'm happy with the traffic, but I am fascinated by the fact that the post I wrote about Lucky Charms has 2500 views (that's 2300 more than any other post.) I assume it has become mandatory reading at General Mill's. Or people just like reading about cereal. I have no idea. I don't expect this stuff to compete, but maybe it's more interesting than the giant piece of fish I had in London. Who knows?

Mr. ATK and I got quite the Christmas surprise this year-- we found out that I'm pregnant with Baby TK who is slated to arrive sometime in August. 

Now I'm starting to write this early on, a few months before I'm actually planning on publishing this, but it has been an interesting time of learning about "my changing body." You know, asking the internet "Why am I so tired all the time?" and "Why do I always feel like I'm going to puke?" and then reading the internet's answers. I'm not sure what people did when they only had that What to Expect When You're Expecting book to read. There is so much to read online--what to eat, what not to eat--funny story about that. Apparently there is a thing called "pica" where pregnant women crave non-food things to eat like paint chips, dirt, and laundry starch. I've never heard of this before so as I was reading the article I said to Mr. ATK, "Hey, apparently pregnant women sometimes crave non-food products." And without missing a beat, he said, "Like dirt." I (somewhat astonished) was like, "Yeah."  And he continues, "It's because they don't get enough iron." This is exactly what the article said, so I was like, "Yeah. How did you know that? I've never heard of pregnant women eating dirt."

Well, apparently it's a rather common problem here in Kyrgyzstan. Mr. ATK then told me about his site mate in Peace Corps who worked with the heath clinic in town. They would go around to the rural villages giving presentations on sanitation, where to dig your bathrooms, prenatal care, etc. So one time, she was making a presentation on prenatal care and was showing it to the healthcare workers and asking for their opinions. They were like, "This is great, but you need to add, 'Don't eat jer.'" (This whole conversation is taking place in Kyrgyz, obviously.) She like, "Huh?" And they kept repeating "Don't eat jer. You need to tell them not to eat jer." Jer means "dirt" but it also means "land" which was the more familiar meaning to Mr. ATK's friend. "What do you mean don't eat land?" Mr. ATK said the Kyrgyz were, like, picking up clumps of dirt, saying, "This. Don't eat this. You need to add a thing telling women not to eat this- jer." I guess she was like, "Wait? People eat dirt?"

I was surprised to hear many Kyrgyz experience anemia during pregnancy since they eat so much meat. Horse is really high in iron, and beef and mutton aren't too shabby either. Mr ATK, however, pointed out a couple things. One, not all Kyrgyz, especially the very poor, eat that much meat. Two, they drink a ton of tea, which inhibits iron absorption. In fact, when a woman is pregnant, they encourage even more tea drinking than usual to keep the baby warm. This also blocks calcium absorption, which, I don't think the Kyrgyz diet is very high in calcium anyway, but it's a problem because the baby ends up leeching calcium from the mother's bones and teeth. Mr. ATK says you can always tell which Kyrgyz women have had children because they are all missing teeth. Now I'm very paranoid about getting enough calcium. I don't want to lose my teeth!
Anyways, it's been an interesting couple of weeks so far. Mr. ATK has started researching life insurance, college tuition costs, housing costs.  The internet tells me that this is the male form of "nesting." It's pretty adorable. BabyTK already has a college savings account that began with $100 and is already up to $100.37. Mr. ATK is thrilled. Unfortunately, he has to wait until a "life changing event" occurs before he can change his life insurance. Apparently, pregnancy itself is not sufficiently "life changing."

As for me, I have been dealing with morning sickness and an incredible fatigue. I had no idea that being pregnant meant I would be so freaking tired. And it was confusing at first because I would get tired after doing not particularly taxing things. I was a little alarmed to be panting at the top of a couple flights of stairs, which had never given me trouble before. (Though, I suppose now that I think about it, I've never walked up these stairs not-pregnant.)*  I felt like Dorothy in the very special Golden Girls episode about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (which of course, is never mentioned again on the show. Like Rose's however many years long pain pill addiction that came and went in one episode.)

(I don't know who made this trailer, but God bless them. I do not consider this episode the "saddest Golden Girls yet." It's not like they were going to actually kill Dorothy. Man, the 80s had the best very special episodes.)

Moving on...

The morning sickness is nausea more than anything. Not vomiting. So I know it could be worse, but it is very unpleasant to feel like you are constantly going to throw up. You know, it's one of those things you always hear about, but you really can't understand it until you experience it. I mean, I feel people focus the most on the last months of pregnancy as being the most uncomfortable (and they probably are) but these early ones? Yikes. They have knocked me on my ass.

And I just have to give mad props to Mr. ATK who has really just been the best. I could not ask for a better husband and partner. I feel bad because, despite not working, I'm really not pulling my weight around the house. I'm sleeping a lot and get tired easily and Mr. ATK has had to pick up a lot of the slack with the cleaning and the cooking.  I don't know how women go through the nausea and fatigue and still work. I think of my friends who have had kids or are expecting and it's like, "How on Earth do you do that?" Sometimes they throw up at work, I imagine, but they keep right on going. I do wonder, though, if maybe I had a job I could focus on something besides how crappy I felt. Hilariously, the day I found out I was pregnant was the day I actually got hired for a job, it's just that it takes, like, a month for security clearances and everything to go through, so I was just sitting around for most of January wallowing in my misery wondering why anyone would do to themselves this more than once.

But happily, I've now moved on to trimester two and, like the internet and every formerly pregnant person I know has told me, the morning sickness and fatigue has cleared right up. I'm a little dumbfounded how it just goes away like that, but it did. (Just like Dorothy's chronic fatigue syndrome. Maybe she was pregnant. Now that would have been a storyline to pursue! Dorothy's pregnant! And it's never mentioned again.) The human body is a mysterious thing. Now, I am hungry. A lot. All the time, it feels like. Again, it's a little weird and difficult to adjust. I'll be like, "Why am I so hungry? I just ate a couple hours ago." My standard breakfast does not go as far as it once did, that's for sure. I feel like Chris Farley in the "Gap Girls" sketch. I quote it often to Mr. ATK.

As for other frequently asked questions, no I don't think I have a baby bump yet. I mean, my belly does seem to be sticking out more, but I feel this may just be the gut I have had for the last 20 years, but I've just stopped sucking it in 24/7. Based on my ultrasounds, the baby is not located under the belly but rather under the flat part of my abdomen below my nascent Buddha belly. Make of that what you will. My pants still fit, but I'm not sure for how long.

So... yeah. That's what I've been up to. It's been an eventful few months. Three down, six to go.

*Of course, if I've learned anything from General Hospital, it's that stairs are a pregnant woman's worst enemy. If you are near them, you will get into a fight with someone at the top of them and you will fall down them. You may lose the baby. Especially, if Sonny Corinthos is the father. I'm pretty sure every time Carly was pregnant, she fell down some stairs. I should probably just take the elevator.

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