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From: "Shari Ann Herrmann"
To: "Gayle \(home\)"
Subject: Finally time for an email
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 2002 15:05:48 -0000

Hey Sweetie!
Well, it seems sort of stupid to ask you "how's it going", "how're ya doing" or any of the other standard email opening gambits, because I read your update on Bridgman today and I know that everything is going fine, and you are feeling great. So I'll just say that's great and tell you
we're all fine here too.

Kyle didn't get the chicken pox after all but has had a nasty flu, and on top of that in the last few weeks has started standing up and refusing to hang on to anything, so he does this great little ass wiggling balancing dance until he comes crashing down. Last night he did a full header into the coffee table and now has a lovely purple welt on his forehead. Poor little bugger, but really there is no way to stop him. He just gets his mind set on something and gets all pissed off and throws a little hissy fit if it doesn't work. Can't imagine WHO he takes after!!!! At the moment his little tantrums are still cute - you know, like being hissed at by a kitten. Can't take them seriously because he is so small and sweet and has no vocabulary yet. Will not be nearly so darling I am sure when his tantrums gain co-ordination and strength, and he can kick, hit, punch and scream "I HATE you Mommy, you SUCK!!" or something equivalent in Swiss German. But right now his cuteness still outweighs anything else. He is still in the full bloom of babyhood with blue eyes, chubby cheeks, little pouty lips and big duck waddling diaper bum. You simply can't get mad at him for anything.

So, already past the halfway point - wow! And now the best part of the pregnancy begins. At least for me it was the best! I just LOVED being pregnant when I could start feeling Kyle move, and most of all the last three months when I was hugely, gloriously, fantastically pregnant. I just felt like this fertile earth goddess, life giver, powerful woman-creature. Like you said, unless you've been pregnant you have NO idea of what it is all about. The first couple months are a dream state, where there are lots of hormones and all these reassurances that yes you ARE pregnant, but somehow it isn't real - you can slip an elastic through the top buttonhole of your jeans and wear your shirts out, and make it all go away if you want to. For me, I just felt like I had really bad premenstrual bloat until about month 3 - complete with extra-strength PMS. Then from months 3 through 6, I had what I was calling "Stupid Body Tricks".

Every day, there was something weird and new going on and I never knew what stunt my body would pull next. Major charlie horses in the legs some nights, shooting pains in my lower groin, the gurgles that I associated my whole life with digesting food suddenly coming out from somewhere near my armpit (cus that's where your guts get shoved to!), lying in bed at night I could feel my heart pounding through my whole body, even into my fingertips, working hard to support the two of us, and then there was the amazing hair growth, long strong nails, weird darkening of moles to almost black, a linea negra popping up on my belly... you just know you have to be pregnant at that point, because your body is doing shit it has NEVER done before. And you are somewhat relieved to hear from other women that "they had that too" - cus some of this gets pretty wierd!!

But during the last three months, if you're like me, you'll go from being in turns disgusted and amused with your body, to being in awe. Really I was in wonder the whole last trimester. The baby went from being this little shadowy ultrasound image in my mind, bumping and thumping and making butterfly flutters, to a full fledged person who could stretch, respond to music or sunlight on my belly, and kick back when I tickled the feet as they pushed out. When I leaned my tummy against my desk at work to look at the monitor closer, I would get this very definite shove against it, like "Hey EXCUSE ME out there, need a bit more room in here!!" And I was so awed that my body could contain and nurture and shelter this other person. That I could grow out of my maternity clothes that were beyond humongous when I bought them, that my skin could stretch that far, my heart could beat that strong, my hips and back could bend and sway to adapt to the load... I used to just stand in front of the mirror like a kid at a circus freak show. That is me there, that is my body - you feel so disconnected looking at it, it's like you change so fast and drastically at the end, your brain can't keep up and accept it as really you. But when I would lay in the dark holding my stomach and feeling the baby moving around inside it was so intensely personal and intimate and wonderful. (I mean, aside from the incontinence and hemorrhoids and swollen feet and nasty body gasses!!).

I had to laugh about your comment "why aren't people being nicer to me?". I remember about month seven I was still working 100% and having days in the office when I really felt a bit sorry for myself (nobody ELSE has to function on too little sleep and wear rubber stockings every day in the heat and has to pee every 10 minutes and can't eat or drink what they want and can't climb stairs anymore .... and they expect me to meet DEADLINES besides??? And they just keep dumping work on me like nothing at all is different... why isn't anybody being NICE to me???) But rest assured.

When you get the approximate size and shape of an SUV, people WILL start treating you special, and with respect!! Mainly because they want you to stay calm so you don't get upset and burst like a balloon or similar. (You have to cross the "Is she pregnant or only fat" line to "Definitely pregnant, about to pop" before the sucking up really starts!) When I hit that point I got a lot of special treatment, but I would also get dumbass comments too (they are a standard feature of any stage of pregnancy, apparently). I actually started getting nervous, because of comments (true, these are true) from co workers like: He: "Wow, are you still working? But you're due soon aren't you?" (this was August) Me: "No, not until October" He: "Shit! You're going to EXPLODE by then!!". Or this one: He: "Wow, you must be due soon" Me: "No, not for nearly 3 months" He: "Wow, my wife is due in two weeks and she isn't as big as you!!" And so you wonder, you know, if you actually will make it to the end without smacking somebody at the very least.

Amnio questions. Oh yes, I had them. And from people who normally would not take the time to say hi in the hallway. People who it was really none of their f***ing business and the only real response should have been... "How dare you... none of your f***ing business!!". I do not understand how people can ask you about the most intimate aspects of your unborn child's health and expect a response. It is not as if at any other point in your life you would ask casual acquaintances about the results of an intimate medical test!! "Gee, Chuck, how were the results of that last prostate exam??" ... (Marco said I should have asked that back!!)I actually had one coworker say to me "So is it a boy or a girl" and I said "We don't know, and we don't want to know" And he said "But surely you found out when they did the amnio" and I said "I didn't have an amnio" and he - ARGH - said "But at YOUR age, you had to have one, didn't you?" (!!!**???!!!) and I said "I didn't HAVE to have anything!" What a MORON!!! He would have kept going and getting into all the reasons why I should have etc., but at that point I simply said "Excuse me" and got up from my desk and waddled away in as dignified a way as I could manage. I just didn't feel like getting into it with him, it was quite simply none of his damn business.

We had planned to have an amnio actually, but during week 9 I started bleeding and I had to have bedrest for two weeks. When the bleeding stopped we had a few ultrasounds a couple weeks apart and confirmed that the baby was fine and growing normally, and there had been no damage. At that point I just couldn't go through with the amnio a couple weeks later. I realized how much I wanted the baby when we almost lost it, and I didn't want to take another chance of losing it because there is a 1 to 2% chance of miscarriage after an amnio apparently. Thank God it all worked out okay. When I look at Kyle now and realize that we could have lost him, it is too much to handle.

Sorry your friends are being a bit thick - I know how you feel. Sometimes I would force myself to go along to things to prove to myself that I was still cool, even though I couldn't dress cool anymore, and I would sit in a bar sipping mineral water, feeling like a huge fat whale and freaking inside about what the second hand smoke was doing to my child. And there was a part of me that was screaming, you don't BELONG here, go home and read books and nurture yourself and your baby, how dare you bring this little one into a BAR!! But if I didn't go out with my friends, I never would have seen them.

As you say, the invitations keep coming for things you can no longer do, or  no longer want to do, and your own invitations to go to a movie or for a walk or for lunch just get politely brushed off. Well, for what it's worth, I would do brunch with you sweetie, if I was a bit closer! Guess we have to make do with email!

Anyway, I should go and do a bit of cleaning up before Kyle wakes up from his nap. He's been asleep over two hours now and won't be for much longer.

What an angel, sleeps through the night every night and has nice long naps. I could never be that lucky twice in a row - makes me nervous about trying for number 2.

Keep taking good care of yourself and your little son, and keep in touch.

Lotsa love


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This website created June 18, 2002
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