For the love of storks

Believe it or not, even with all my discomfort and sleepless nights, sometimes I forget that I am pregnant.

I will be sitting here, minding my own business, and my belly will stretch side to side. I catch myself thinking in split seconds like this, "Wow, my stomach is really active. What the hell did I eat?"

Then I realize, "Oh, shit, there is a person living in there! I forgot!"

(Read the post on brain farts to understand why such thoughts cross my mind.)

Prior to getting pregnant I wished for storks (and some days I still do). I couldn't fathom the idea of my belly growing that far with a human being in it and natural birth always seemed so unnatural to me.

I didn't want to go through pregnancy. I just wanted the baby.

My husband explained it to me one day, as he set on his son's bed after he left, that nature wants me to carry a baby so I can get to know him, little by little.

My stepson had just left when that summer was over and he would be gone to his mom's, which is in another state, for a few months.

This always hits my husband really hard. He usually gets quiet for a few hours, if not a few days.

Whenever he arrives from dropping stepson off at the airport, he puts his son's belongings away in a slow and morose manner. I learned very fast to avoid this disheartening ritual by cleaning up the area before husband could get back. He had asked me one time, "Can you put his shoes in a closet?" and initially I thought he was being lazy, but soon realized he just didn't want to deal with the fact that the house felt quiet and empty without his hyper kid.

Even after straightening up the place as to appear as if no child had ever visited, such as this day, my husband would still sit on his son's bed, and look out the window, lost in thought.

Feeling helpless, not knowing what to say, I thought with my buttons, "I have to give this man a child; pregnancy, stork or not," and that's where the idea of a baby came about.

I said out loud, uncomfortable with his looking out the window and feeling so low, that I was ready for a baby, but not ready for pregnancy. I asked him, joking, attempting to light up the mood, why weren't there storks, when he explained to me why pregnancy was so necessary in a parent's experience.

I wondered, how can I get to know a fetus, though? It's just a fetus, it's not a baby yet. It doesn't have a personality, or thoughts, or wishes, or free will.

Or does it?

While going through painful contractions the other night, I learned from my baby books that contractions start with the baby. His brain sends a signal that he is almost all cooked and is about ready to make his entrance into the world.

I had no idea that babies actually have any saying on when they can come out.

Also, my baby has taught me some interesting aspects of his personality, already in the womb.

He doesn't like showers, or when I shower. The moment he hears the water, he kicks and stretches and throws a fetus tantrum that usually stops after the shower is over.

Baby also doesn't like when I scratch my itchy belly. He will punch the source of the itch. My husband has this theory that my nails in contact with the skin sound loud to the little one.

The baby reacts to the voice of my stepson and to my husband's touch. I picture in my head him leaning his ear closer to the edge of the belly and trying to hear what is going on, then acting nuts wanting to come out and play.

By eight o'clock every night, he wakes up and starts his mambo, which lasts until, oh, about three in the morning, when I finally sleep, just to wake up an hour later with acid reflux.

I guess husband is right (but don't tell him I said so) : storks would totally kill the mood. I barely know this person and I love him so unconditionally much already, thanks to his kicks and random jabs. Now I can honestly say I wouldn't have it any other way and that there is, in fact, a science to this madness.


Nursery (phase 4) - I think we are done!

Pinterest.com is like craft porn. You pin the crafts, look at the pictures, imagine that you are doing them, but that's how far you will go...

I wanted to make my craft fantasies come true, so I decided to create a distressed canvas of stepson for the baby's room.

I figure the baby's room needs a picture of his brother, since he lives far away.

When I told my husband my new project, he said, "What's up with all the old and run down looking stuff for the baby's room?" (he was referring here to the other crackled stuff) and I smirked, "It's to match his dad, so we are keeping a theme going: old and run down."

Truth is, I can't afford antiques and do enjoy very much making a mess. Some day I may get tired of old and run down looking things, but as for now I can live with them (my husband included - just kidding; he is a very handsome guy).

First, I needed to finish the other projects:

I glued some type of velcro behind the letters so that they wouldn't damage the walls. I don't trust them that much, even though the package says they are sturdy and trustworthy. We moved the crib away from the wall, since I can totally see those letters flying about with the first little earthquake.

Next, we hung up the crackled frames and curtains.

I told stepson to go stand next to his dad and pretend he was helping for this picture (while his dad cussed under his breath because he couldn't get the curtains straight). Stepson did a pretty good job pretending he was helping! He learned from the pro!

I bought something called gel medium (the matte kind, but the glossy is also nice), a sponge brush, a cheap canvas and something to hold the canvas up.

I blew up a cute picture I had of stepson at our wedding. I had put it into sepia beforehand and printed with our own home printer on plain paper.

Then I applied gel medium to the canvas, splashed some water on the paper image and glued it upside down to the canvas.

About three hours later, when the gel medium was dry, I brushed water on the picture and started to rub it with my finger until the paper left the canvas (like a beer logo leaving the beer bottle when it is nice and cold - did someone say beer?).

This is tricky because you can easily rub the ink away.

After rubbing the picture as much as I could, I applied another coat of gel medium to keep the integrity of the image. While wet, the gel medium looks blueish, like on this image.

Stepson looks like an important military figure from the 1800s. It turned out very cool!

I put this picture on the crackled dresser, which is still pretty naked (we may add a lamp there).

Here is the end result of the nursery.

We may still get a tiny lamp for the dresser, probably with a red shading, the color of some of the patterns of the bedding and maybe a rug.

I think otherwise it is pretty much done!!!


What would the honey badger do?

If the honey badger looked larger than life in pictures...

If the honey badger didn't sleep well for several nights and came across as a royal bitch the next morning...

If the honey badger cut into a line of people waiting to pee because it really needed to go...

If the honey badger had to say no over and over again to people inviting themselves to visit the honey badger baby and came across as antisocial...

If the honey badger went off on a jerk that cut him in traffic...

If the honey badger started to get back fat...

If the honey badger came across as selfish and paranoid for claiming he will hoard the honey badger baby and not let anyone touch it...

If the honey badger is caught eating pumpkin cake again...

The wise thing to ask yourself in moments like this is, what would the honey badger do?

The honey badger wouldn't care, because the honey badger doesn't give a shit.

(if you have never heard of the honey badger, look up Crazy Nastyass Honey Bagder on YouTube)

"Nothing can stop the honey badger when it is hungry"

Things that make you go hmmm

The Octopus Alien (read the post on octopus alien in the September file to be introduced to it) has been more active, more alien, and less octopus. I can now distinguish a little head, a little butt, a little back and sometimes feel a little limb waving hello across my belly button, which means this little guy is still breach.

During the last ultrasound, the specialist found amusing that he was standing straight up, head on my stomach, feet on my cervix, like a tiny soldier in detention. As she moved the ultrasound machine on his belly, though, he set down, got comfortable, and showed us his man parts proudly.

Sometimes he decides to lay sideways and stretches his entire little body, making my belly flatter and punching a rib in the process. I have been woken up because of this baby yoga. Last night was no different, so here I am, posting about it.

There are some weird movements, however, that no books will touch and talk about. Heck, some doctors don't even know what they are. I wanted to share them here for some other moms out there in the cyberspace googling this and, like me, losing sleep over it.

Belly clicking sounds

Sometimes my belly goes "click" when the baby yoga begins. I am not sure why that happens but I have read that it is either just water slushing or little cartilage-bones cracking. Some parents have reported that the baby still makes a similar sound after it is born, because their little joints are so stiff (or maybe so malleable?).

Baby "breathing-like" movements

My little guy is facing my back, so that's one good news about his position, which means he may not be born sunny side up.

Because he is facing my back, I can feel his head and sometimes it bulges significantly out, right above my belly button.

Lately, this little head makes strange movements, in and out, as if it is breathing or sucking on something really fast.

Even my husband saw it and got concerned that maybe the baby could be having a seizure. The Internet doesn't help much with titles that say, "weird baby movements may signify the probability of autism," but reading the rest of the article, the author clarifies that this is after the baby is born.

I have found, surprised, from talking with other moms in pregnancy forums that the movement pattern is in fact breathing practices. The baby is inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid and this is actually a good sign that the little one is practicing his future wailing for when he comes out.

For all the mommas reading this out there, relax, those things are common and normal.


Know thyself

I learned a lot about myself by first moving to another country on my own and then by going through a divorce.

Some of the lessons, for instance, were that I don't like, nor understand, people who do drugs, that Scuba diving and caving can be spiritual experiences and that my grandfather was right: while siblings are friends God gives us, friends are the brothers and sisters that our heart chooses.

I have also learned that my favorite hiking trail was as beautiful without my ex husband and started to truly appreciate my own company.

Growing a person is another rite of passage that has forced me into looking at my character and soul through a life rear view mirror.

I have found for instance that,

A) I am annoyed at humanity more often than I'd like to admit. I don't really like people, whether in traffic or not, and that has nothing to do with pregnancy. The hormones just overhype my pissed off days and allow me to get away with it.

B) I dont have ADD, as one therapist suggested. I was just too overworked to think straight. I may be a little scattered brained, though, but nothing worth Ritalin.

C) Coming from someone that has always been very active, I finally get it: working out is HARD, and it is so much more appealing to grow fat while laying on a couch.

D) On that same note, I used to not be able to sit still for more than five minutes and thought people that watched too much tv had no life... I have learned that I am perfectly capable of laying on the same position for hours on end without feeling guilty and that there is something truly addictive and fascinating about mindless tv shows.

E) My body has a mind of its own and that I should have been listening to it more closely. Pregnancy has put me more in touch with it. For example, my body knows when it is hungry. It tells me when it is full. It gets jittery and acts funny when there is too much sugar in it. It gives me a headache if it doesn't have enough water. It craves something similar to what it needs and it is my job to interpret it. It gets bloated when there is too much sodium and too little potassium in it. It knows coffee makes it anxious. It gets lethargic and tired (and maybe even depressed) as a way to tell me to slow down and pay attention. It feels fantastic when it is active.

F) I have become excellent in distinguishing and eliminating toxic people from my life.

G) I don't hate my body. Although I joke and complain about my weight, I am surprisingly comfortable with my figure, maybe for the first time ever.


Turkey, baby and I

It's five in the morning and I am here in the kitchen with a defrosting turkey that doesn't look defrosted at all. I am looking at it and it is looking back at me, defiant. I take him out of the refrigerator, sit him on the counter and whisper to it as to not wake anybody up, "You should be nice and ready for the oven by now, you know? You're such a turkey!"

Today is thanksgiving day and we all finally went to bed at midnight last night. Of course that's when Matthew woke up, stretched his little legs and started to wiggle his little behind side to side to what it feels like the Macarena dance (and of course that's the song that stays in my brain for the rest of the night).

Every time I start to doze off, out from my unconscious come the voices of latino singers, at full blast, HEY MACARENA! AAAAY!

Yesterday, however, the baby got me worried by not moving as much for a stretch of two or so hours.

I switched positions, poked him, got him upside down in a downward dog position and finally pissed him off enough to receive the largest blow on my ribs to date.

Laying in bed after our fight, I mapped my belly to find out where exactly his head was.

Here is how to map a pregnant belly:

Belly Mapping

Suddenly a hard bulge protruded by my left oblique and I literally held part of my baby's head on my hand. It is the size of a grapefruit and oh, so tiny!

Moments like this make me so thankful that his kicks are painful. It must be terrifying for those moms who stop feeling the kicks. You know the baby is in distress and maybe even gone.

Now it is six o'clock and the sun is rising. Matthew and I are still awake. At least he will go back to sleep in his cozy cave. I, on the other hand, in a few hours will have my fingers inside of a partially defrosted and raw poultry's ass. Wish me luck.


Nursery (phase 3) - Appliques make it into frames

The frames and letters have dried and I applied a protectant to the crackle finish.

The appliques arrived and I glued them randomly to the hard paper for frames that I got at Michael's.

I put the appliques on the frames without the glass, so it would become more clear and blend in with the wall of the nursery.

The letters are also ready. Now we just have to find a way to attach them to the wall!

Mismatched soundtrack

I listen to jazz and blues and other old people music.

This always catches people by surprise because I do it mostly when no one is looking. Just like my self-help books, they are not to be seen by others. For guests eyes, I will usually leave out on the coffee table a Hermann Hesse classic or something about astronomy and they will be listening to Led Zeppelin (which is also a classic, mind you).

The soundtrack that goes on in my Pandora and my car, however, is lately something boring you would hear in a coffee shop. My mother said from behind me, a week ago, "That's something my father would listen to," catching me by surprise in my room while I jammed to Louis Armstrong. "Please don't tell anyone," I joked.

With that in mind, I want you to make a mental picture of a small pregnant person driving a Jeep, where her belly is almost touching the wheel (no, I haven't traded cars with my husband yet), and the song playing is "Salt & the Sea" by Gregory Alan Isakov: (open this song on a separate window and come back here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIIryGosfZk).

Now picture tall, overachiever palm trees along the road and the ocean in a distance. It's sunny and uncharacteristically warm for a fall day.

Suddenly, the small pregnant person realizes that there is an over sized and camouflaged war truck tailgating her (now larger) behind uncomfortably close. Said truck finally passes small woman, speeding angrily, as if she is occupying space by driving on the speed limit.

About five tan helicopters, those with two helices and mean looking people inside, pass by also too close for comfort to the top of the Jeep on their way to land, interrupting Gregory Alan Isakov from singing about the salt and the sea.

Bombs explode in a distance, sounding like thunderstorms, shaking the windows of the car momentarily.

Men in uniform stop to salute the Jeep while parked in a red light because it has a sticker on it that announces who is driving it. I'd hate to break it to them, but this small pregnant person with a pink tank top is no officer. I wave, a little embarrassed, but secretly enjoying the salutation.

Other trucks, tall trucks, show up out of nowhere, angry music playing in their speakers, and pass the Jeep that plays the mellow song. The young looking drivers with their heads shaved give the pregnant lady a stink eye, until they notice surprised that the driver is a short civilian girl and that there is a blue sticker on the car, and they slow down.

You see, my music and I don't belong in a military base. We are too calm and too pregnant.

I wondered with my buttons, "Why is everyone so pissed off here? Is it a prerequisite to go to war?"

I arrive at the commissary pre-thanksgiving and realize why that is; the overall bad mood, that is.

All kinds of elderly people and pregnant women have decided to buy turkey today as well. So this is where we round shaped and jazz listening people gather in a military base. Also, this is where we stand in the way, taking up space and just acting dumb.

Bottom line, the commissary is an infuriating place to be during the holidays (or any weekend, for that matter). For those who have never been to the commissary, it is a cheap grocery store on steroids, for military personnel only.

Because it is cheaper, you have to be armed with blunt rudeness and prepared to get frustrated. If you try to get cranberry sauce in a jar, for instance, you will be pushed and shoved so many times in your attempt to get it, that you may just give up and decide it is easier to make it from scratch, just because there is no one in the aisle of things that are made from scratch.

An advice to anyone that hasn't been to a commissary yet: don't go pregnant. You will need to pee fifteen times and when you get back from the bathroom, your shopping cart may not be there anymore. Heck, your cart may not be there when you leave it unobtrusively in a corner to go fight for the cranberry jar.

I leave the commissary so angry that now my Pandora plays Metallica and I am tailgating the person in front of me uncomfortably close, because I need to get out of this godforsaken place.

Now I understand why Marines are so pissed off all the time. It's not their training. It's the commissary.


Brain Farts

The urban dictionary defines brain farts as,

A massive, horrible release of stupid that is often offensive to the senses and may create a social faux pa in some settings. Brainfarts often result in an intense feeling of embarrassment and shame compounded by an inability to explain what the hell just happened.

and also,

A gap, interruption, or uncontrolled shift in a chain of thought resulting in a lull, pause, and/or blank stare during oral communication and sometimes involving the loss of short term memory.

My brain has been farting a lot since conception. This is one more thing they don't tell you (and I am telling you friends that are considering getting knocked up) : when you get pregnant you check out from common sense world, or any train of rational thinking and normal body balance and start releasing a lot of stupid.

You bump into furniture and sometimes mumble sentences that make no sense, but it's all good because you will forget all about it in a second, anyway, since your short term memory is worth crap.

You will find yourself doing some of the following:

- Looking for your cell phone all over the house, and getting really worked up about it while opening every drawer and every purse until you hear your friend on the other side of the line, "Aren't you USING your cell phone right now?" and you will have to say, embarrassed, realizing suddenly that the phone has been with you all along, "I found it!"

- Trying to turn off the TV and saying, "Damn you piece of shit, just turn off!!" and realizing your car is honking because you have been pressing the panic button of your car key thinking it was the remote control of the TV (because they look so much alike, right?).

- Finding the actual remote control of the TV in the refrigerator.

- Sucking your belly in for another person to pass because you are taking the whole aisle space of a grocery store and realizing that it doesn't go in.

- Looking at your reflection in the mirror and realizing that your hair brush is half way through it from a few hours ago when you were brushing your hair and got distracted with something.

- Parking in front of Starbucks when you are supposed to be at a client's house at the other side of town and only then realizing you don't even want coffee and have no idea how you ended up there.

- Throwing the cheese sauce from packaged macaroni and cheese in the trash and the paper in the pan.

- Forgetting what this blog was about and have to read it again.


Nursery (phase 2) - I can't help myself

I have become a crackle whore (notice I said crackle, not crack). This is so much fun to do, especially when your job is to point your finger at what needs to be done and have your husband do everything.

First, here is a picture of the dresser. It finally made it's way upstairs, carried by mom and husband.

Secondly, here is all the snoopy "gear" for the bedding and curtains. We are still waiting on more snoopy things. This baby is going to dream of snoopy.

I have bought some snoopy appliques (wall decals) that husband was not too thrilled to have it glued on his brand-spanking-new painted wall. I decided that instead I would buy cheap picture frames at Michael's and glue the appliques on them.

Since the frames didn't come with a background for the appliques, I bought a hard paper with the same color as the walls of the nursery (special for frames - you can find them at Michael's, by the frame section) and had husband slave on cutting the matching squares.

I plan on hanging those snoopy pictures on top of the dresser.

Another thing I bought at Michael's was Matthew's name's letters. I plan on hanging them (I mean, have husband hang them) over the baby's crib.

And here is where the crackle whore comes in.

Here is a piece of the snoopy curtain's colors (which is the same as the bedding) that I decided to play with. I thought, "hey, this room needs some of this ugly green").

I went to Home Depot, bought some Asparagus-named color and decided that the frames and some of the letters would be crackled with that tone.

I started the crackle process the same way as we did with the dresser, minus the primer. We painted the frames and letters with the base color that matches the walls of the nursery.

We waited for them to dry and applied the crackle glue.

By the time I applied the first coat of paint with a brush, it turned out HORRID and it didn't crackle at all!

I looked outside and realized that (DUH!) it was raining and cold, and those factors affect how the crackles do their thing.

Wonderful husband had to sand all the letters that, by the way, got stuck to newspapers (after all, crackle glue is glue!)

I started with the base color all over again.

By the time we applied the blue color, we found out that the crackle was no longer sticky, so the blue didn't crackle as much. We used a blow dryer to heat and dry up the crackle. The blow dryer worked like magic! Everywhere the blow dryer passed, it crackled immediately. Very neat and kinda spooky (and perfect for rainy days).

We used a roller this time and it looks a lot better. Note to self: brushes are not your friend when weathered crackling.

Here is how the green ones turned out (click on the pictures to see them in a larger image).

It doesn't look like much now, but stay tuned to see how it all comes together!


I think I have a problem

Hi, my name is Mariana and I am a Facebook addict. It has been eighteen hours since my last post.

First, why did I even join it?

A marketing consultant said it would be good for business and I started with links and comments on health and fitness, but then someone would post something funny and I would have a slight panic attack, thinking, OMG, OMG, OMG, I have to comment and re-share!!!!

Slowly my main picture changed from a fitness related one, to a photoshoped version of myself (because that's what you are supposed to do with your main picture - you pick one of your prettiest and thinnest self and pretend you look like that all the time).

Then I started posting about the random things I thought and saw throughout the day because I had this delusion (which is one of the first signs of Facebook addiction) that anyone would give a rat's ass. The positive reinforcement came through with likes. The "like" button is an evil thing. It's an instantaneous self-esteem booster for those with lack of any life outside the internet. You may even catch yourself thinking, "I can't believe so-and-so didn't like my post!"

I hit my lowest point when I realized the cars behind me were honking because I had been checking Facebook while in a red light (that turned green). Facebook apps for phones are a product of the devil.

Why did I stay?

1) Because of Facebook I don't have to force myself to be social and write or call every single person that would like to know updates on my life and that live far away (which is pretty much everyone). I can just post one single thing, such as, "I threw up all morning and all night, oh, and all afternoon too," and everyone would be like, "Oh, wow, pregnancy sucks." End of conversation. Some may even like it (which will puzzle you into over thinking what that person meant by that).

2) Some friendships got a restart when they wouldn't otherwise. THAT is priceless.

3) Facebook news is a lot better than real news. Real news are depressing. Facebook news often lack any real life problems. Most people's lives on Facebook are peachy, happy, sunny and full of amazing vacations. Everyone seems tan and glamorous and everyone gets along with their in-laws and stepchildren. Life on Facebook is like a beer commercial.

How do you know if someone is going through something shitty? Usually they will disappear from Facebook for a while or maybe, like me, they are genuinely battling the addiction.

Why am I trying to quit?

Once I got pregnant I decided that half of my so-called friends had no business knowing about my pregnancy and my day-to-day life. Suddenly this was not about me anymore, but about this little person I am growing. I deleted about two hundred or so "friends."

By the way, statistically, no one has that many friends. Most people have a handful. It's true! I read it somewhere online and it must be true.

Also, I think no one has that many acquaintances either. I think once the Facebook friend's list goes over 150 people, you are starting to add the cousin of the friend that had a dog that bit your ex-girlfriend's cat, that for some reason you won't delete because it would hurt that person's feelings (and who cares?). Maybe that person also knows another person that could talk to this other person into giving you that job.

I get it. It's networking and networking works. But not when you are about to have a baby.

Once life becomes that personal, your personal life is really no one's business, but the people who really care about you.

Plus, some friends on Facebook think my life is peachy (my fault, really; I should take more pictures crying and in ugly locations as a background). All these friends want a piece of my life, either giving unwanted opinions or wanting to "visit the baby" while saying that they "miss me" which is usually followed by the question, "How far away are you from the beach and the wineries?"

So here I am, posting on this blog to divert myself from posting on Facebook.

I think I have a problem. I may need a sponsor.


Carbohydrates (and insulin and estrogen and progesterone and cortisol and serotonin)

Conversation over the phone with nurse from my doctor's office:

NURSE: I saw in our records that you called late last night with a blood pressure of 88 systolic and 49 diastolic. Did you go to the emergency room?

ME: No. I put some salt on my tongue and the blood pressure went back to normal. I figured I was having a hypoglycemic episode because I felt dizzy a few minutes after eating a few... hum... sweets...

NURSE: It could be hypoglycemia. Your body processes sugar differently when you are pregnant, do you know?

I know. When pregnant, the excess estrogen affects how fast and efficiently insulin is released and breaks down sugar, and also the body's retention of water. Insulin is the hormone responsible for taking sugar off the blood and carrying it into the cells. When there is not enough of it or the insulin is lazy (e.g. insulin resistance), the blood gets "sugary" and sugary blood will clog everything (hence why diabetes can be fatal and can cause blindness and loss of limbs) and when there is too much of it all at once, the body runs out of cells to feed and stores the excess as fat.

This discrepancy of the insulin's job during pregnancy causes some ladies to become diabetic, others to become hypoglycemic and for most of us to just become fat.

Since we are talking hormones, I'd like to mention that progesterone during pregnancy makes women loopy (as if I needed any more "loopiness"). To counterbalance this, the body releases an insurmountable quantity of cortisol; which usually is the stress hormone, but in this case it is the "alert hormone" to keep us ladies from running into walls.

Because there is this crazy amount of cortisol, serotonin, one of the sleep and mood hormones, has very little saying on anything, and this is one of the reasons why we get blue sometimes (and a tad moody) and can't sleep.

Once the baby arrives, estrogen and progesterone leave the body like they are busted from smoking crack, leaving cortisol and insulin like a couple of belligerent drunks in a party where poor serotonin has no chance of controlling. In non-scientific terms, this is called post-partum depression.

Anyway, back to my conversation with this nurse person, I want to impress her with my nerdy knowledge of hormones, so I ask, referring to her comment on carbohydrates being processed differently while pregnant:

ME: Is this why we gain so much weight so fast while pregnant?

NURSE: Hum. I think it has more to do with the fact that you are eating a few too many...hum... sweets?

ME: :o/

I'm too sexy for this blog

First I bloated into chipmunk cheeks within weeks of conception, and that's how I knew I were pregnant. Then my hair dried and I have been having a bad hair day for almost eight months now. Then zits popped up in places one should never have zits. Then every scar (including the ones from brand new zits) got darker, making me look like I had some foreign, nasty skin disease. Then there were episodes of uncontrollable flatulence and a series of peeing on pants when sneezing.

Now apparently I also have an onset of sleep apnea that is pregnancy related. Basically I snore with my mouth open (which already contains a mouth guard in it from teeth grinding that causes me to drool) and it only stops momentarily when I snort loudly trying to catch my breath.

I know this from husband, who wakes up annoyed in the middle of the night with all the ruckus I make and watches this troll looking person laying next to him, drooling while snoring.

I am starting to think that nature's way of making a woman extra-gross when expecting guarantees that no men in their right minds ever touches her and leaves the baby alone this way.

And, by the way, the whole "pregnancy glow" line is just a bunch of bs. That's what people come up with when there is nothing nice left to say about a pregnant woman's appearance.

For instance, when someone says, "You look great!"what they really mean is, "You are a tad less repulsive than other knocked up girls I have encountered."


Lost in translation

My mother thinks she speaks English and my husband thinks he speaks Portuguese, which makes communication in this here house very interesting. While one asks if the sky is blue, the other answers that the socks are in fact very yellow.

Also, neither one of them is aware that the other is speaking with me, so they are constantly talking on top of each other about topics that have no relation to one another.

I am sitting here on the couch between them. My mom is crocheting. My husband is watching football while studying something about war or killing people or something.

Me? I am trying to have a straight thought process while attempting to chat with other pregnant ladies online.

I can't, though, because this is what is going on every three seconds around me (switching back from Portuguese to English, sometimes overlapping one another),

"Tom Brady is awesome," "I want to go to Home Goods tomorrow," "That referee got punched on the face!," "You need new pajamas," "I hate studying this shit. This is so dry," "I'm hungry," "I'm hungry."

Hum. I guess I am hungry too. In both languages.


My scale can suck it

I have been so proud of myself for being one of those girls that don't gain much weight while pregnant and thought I had any control over it.

Apparently my doctor was right: weight gain during pregnancy has more to do with genetics (most women in my family didn't gain much weight while pregnant, but while going through everything else), and the weight gain can come out of nowhere.

I just put on an atrocious amount of pounds in a few days.

It doesn't show on my ass too much, so I guess that's a good thing.

Before getting pregnant I used to call these rapid weight gain episodes "the ghost baby," but now that I am knocked up, I will just blame it on the baby (not the brownie I made pretending it was a gift to husband for the Marine Corps birthday and veteran's day).

I'll just say it's all baby and my scale can suck it.


The mothership has landed

In the movies, the mothership usually lands when all hell has broken lose, or is about to. The mothership comes to solve all problems (rescuing E.T., save the world, etc) or to start them (eg.
"Independence Day").

Either way, when the mothership lands, everyone, everywhere, stops wherever they are and whatever they are doing, get out of their cars, hold on to their dogs, with their hairs flowing with the wind caused by mothership's arrival, afraid and astonished by its size and omnipotence.

The mothership has the power of making everyone feel so small, no matter how tall you have grown.

Where is the mothership now, with all her mighty force and influence?

She is cleaning my oven.

Let me tell you first why that is.

When I was twenty years old and landed myself in United States, I decided to drive from Miami to Maine, as a vacation escape to find out where in the world I wanted to end up (I still haven't completely figured that out).

I called my mother somewhere in Florida to let her know I was staying and that, no, I was not quitting school. I was just taking a break, a six-month break.

My mother, not so calmly said, "I will bring you back by the ear!" and I believed her. Every time solicitors rang my bell, somewhere in Virginia, I was sure it was my mom, and that she would grab my ear, throw me in a cab and put me back in a plane to Brazil.

She would yell on the phone that I could barely take a bus on my own. I would try and explain to her that this is why I needed to be gone. She would have none of it. Co-dependence, anyone?

When I told my parents, during dinner time, six months later, that I was accepted in an American college and was offered a scholarship, my dad was proud, my brother was quiet, and my mother cried.

Mothership is now asking if she can clean one of my windows because it has fingerprints on it.

Before my mother arrived I had cleaned the house spotless and cooked her favorite lasagna. I wanted to impress her, make her believe I have grown a little.

The mothership always knows better, though, and in her mind I am stuck at fifteen years old, when I didn't want to clean my room. For some reason she believes I am still that girl, seventeen-odd years later.

She also wants to go shopping for Brazilian food ingredients and thinks I don't eat well enough.

Mothership just passed by with a bunch of trash that she brought from upstairs. I have no idea where she got them.

In my early twenties, this used to drive me up the wall. I would get offended. I would battle my mother trying to prove to her my adulthood.

Mothership is now asking where my gardening tools are. She wants to tie the tomato plants properly to a stick and, by the way, she already made tomato sauce with the thirty or so tomatoes she collected this dawn.

Anyway, as I was saying, her behavior, always trying to teach me something, pretending I have not grown, taking over the house duties, used to hit a nerve.

I have accepted that this is my mother and for mothers, their children are always too young.

So when her plane landed I took a deep breath and told myself: she will clean your house, she will tell you the best way to do things, she will tell you that all the books about babies that you are reading are moot points, she will talk nonstop, she will take over and do things that needed to have been done a month ago, she will tell you you are cranky and messy, but she will also shower you with love and will do anything in her almighty power to see you happy.

Breath deeply, and let her clean, take her advice, nod when she tells you something she already told you for the millionth time, don't be a smart ass, let her cook rice and beans for twenty days in a row, even if you all end up farting up the beans for the same length of time.

Mothership just opened the oven and said to it, "You are so clean, oven!" and is now hunting for a broom to sweep the fall leaves on the sides of the house. I tell her not to fly away with it, with her witch powers. She says it is cheaper than American Airlines, and disappears in the garage.

After we spent the whole day buying an ungodly amount of baby clothes and baby things I never even heard of, my mother went on to tell me about how when she breastfed me, I would hold her breast with both little hands, and she showed me in the air how big the little hands were. I got teary-eyed, but looked away, because she is not supposed to know that.

My friend Jayme (hi, Jayme!) says you start to look at your mother in a whole different light when you are pregnant. You understand suddenly everything she went through for you and everything she still does, no matter how old you are.

My mother just said hello to a bird chirping outside my window, while passing by with a large broom in hand.

With that in mind, let me go grab another broom. I heard it's cheaper than American Airlines.


That slut

I have mentioned before (on the post "The Monster Upstairs") that being a stepmom is tough. Unless you have been in a stepparent's shoes, you have no business judging one. I have embraced that title, however, and have learned that it can mean many things, from ogre to saint.

I have realized today that I will also belong to another long line of negative archetypes at some point in my life: the mother-in-law.

Mother-in-laws are usually intrusive, feel entitled to give their opinion when not asked and seem to all have different ways to raise children and organize a house other than that of their daughter-in-laws.

As if a law of nature, mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws are supposed to march to a different drum.

In listening to numerous horror stories from some many different pregnant ladies, I tell my buttons I will never be that woman.

I will be a cool mother-in-law, or so I think.

My husband and some friends have recently asked me a series of questions and these are the cool and collected answers I came up for them, which should tell what kind of mother-in-law I will be.

My husband asks, "what if he picks some weird religion to follow?"
- As long as he has strong morals and values that are somewhat similar to the ten commandments I am OK with it.

My husband also asks, "what if he decides to join the military and is sent to war?"
- I have learned from watching my mom that the more she tries to stop or pushes my brother and I to or from doing something, the more inclined we are to do the opposite.

A strongly republican friend asked, "what if he turns out to be a democrat?"
- Read previous answer.

Other people ask, "what if he turns out gay?"
- Haven't you seen Modern Family? Nowadays any family dynamic goes; as long as he is happy (and uses a freakin' condom).

Finally, my husband asked, "what if he gets in a serious relationship with some girl when he is fifteen years old and wants you to meet her?"

Without missing a beat, I raise my voice, before thinking, "He is not bringing that slut over to my house!"


Husband and preggo pillow - a love story

For the last few nights I have noticed that right before my husband falls asleep he caresses my preggo pillow, which lays between us. I found it strange initially, but thought, hey, to each their own.

Then last night he was molesting preggo pillow again and said, "Honey, you might want to start working out more. You feel very soft."

"Well, that's because you are fluffing my pillow. Unless, of course, you meant to say that to preggo pillow, which is kinda disturbing. You guys have grown awfully close lately."

Which got me wondering, who knows what else he has done to it thinking it was me?


In the sewer with baby

I am in a sewer tunnel, the creepy and nasty Japanese kind, where the walls circle me and I can see the light of the street about twenty feet above me. I float in excrement and Matthew (have I told you the name of my baby is Matthew?) is in my arms, crying, terrified.

I scream but no one hears me. The water starts to rise and I have no choice but to kick my legs to stay afloat, keeping Matthew above the water. I know that once we reach the top we will be stuck by the bars that seal us in. At this point I know we will drown, and I just hope I get to go first.

Hyperventilating, I push my blankets away and turn to see my husband sound asleep. I walk downstairs and self medicate with leftover Halloween candy, then sit on the couch, in the dark, breathing deeply while Matthew squirms inside of me.

I had heard of vivid dreams during pregnancy. The hormones make them more real. That, coupled with the fact we have to pee every three seconds and the fact that fetuses choose to kick more at night, wakes us up early enough in the REM phase to make them more palpable.

Dreams during pregnancy are known to follow the pattern of the gestational period we are in.

In the first trimester it is common to dream of water or of swimming, which means the uterus is filling with amniotic fluid. Being myself, I had to dream of rivers, all right, but they were made of chocolate. I floated contently on them and always had a straw with me, so I could drink the river. Those were the happy times and I often woke up in a good mood.

By the second trimester, a lot of women start to dream about the sex of the baby. I dreamed I swam inside the womb, met the baby and he had not only a penis on him, but his face was pressed against the placenta. I held his chin towards me so I could see it. His skin was redish and he looked like an alien. I woke up in love anyway.

Once the third trimester turns the corner, however, the nightmares begin. The idea of responsibility sets in and also of unconditional love. The scariest things in life are now about something happening to the baby and the unconscious knows that.

I find it intriguing how the mind has a funny way to tell us a symbolic story of what may happen and what is really stressing us out.

But my question right now is, how the hell did I end up in a sewer in Japan? And what kind of mother takes her baby there, anyway?
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