The Pregnant Life: A River in Egypt

Amy Keyishian

I can't believe I did this: Yesterday was Tuesday when I hit the 30-week mark. I've had a standing Tuesday ultrasound appointment every two weeks at 2 p.m. for the last, what, three months? And yesterday I just ... forgot. I went into my office, sans my phone, so I didn't get the text reminding me of it. When I came out, I was all full of beans because I'd successfully knocked off my entire to-do list, only to find that no, I hadn't, plus the 2 p.m. meeting I'd scheduled with my husband was off because the baby had napped early.

It's true what they say: Once you're a mom, you're always pulled in too many directions. I had like 30 seconds of feeling like Superwoman before I realized I'm just plain ol' Lois Lame.

I did manage to reskedge for the next day, but what really strikes me is how unconcerned I am. I think I mentioned last week that this pregnancy is entirely more normal and healthy. I think there's something else going on, though. I have always had a real aversion to appearing vulnerable. Well, not always: I had my Sylvia Plath phase when I skittered around downtown New York weighing less than 100 pounds and gazing, hollow-eyed, at the black, black world I found myself in. Ah, the innocence of my early 20s. It took very few years for me to have various experiences that taught me what real vulnerability was, and to react strongly against any implication that I was in any real danger, ever.

Have you ever had a cat who seemed fine, and then suddenly got really super-sick all of a sudden, and you just hated yourself for not realizing sooner what was going on? Cats are notorious for this; it's a survival instinct. They act fine till they're too far gone, because appearing sick is basically an invitation to predators. I think I'm part cat. I shed on the furniture and feel like I've had nine lives, not to mention how much I like to play with string (okay, not that last one, though I do how to knit). I think I'm reacting, irrationally and strongly, against the idea that I'm at this really profound moment in my pregnancy.

I talk about it, but I also do stuff like missing this appointment, or running around the playground toting Penelope up and down the slide, or drifting over to my husband's side of the bed and trying to talk us both out of pelvic rest. Bad! Bad behavior! I'm the rebel preggo!

Other moms who get pregnant after preemies are fraught with fear and guilt and worry, because the memory of those long weeks or months in the NICU are still front and center. And I do have those memories and the accompanying flashbacks of PTSD that come with them. Just last night I popped into P's bedroom to listen to her breathe and rearrange her blanket, and I had the most overwhelming joy as I reveled in being able to touch her, whenever I like, without having to open a plastic box, unhook leads, scrub my hands with a brush. It's not like I forgot. It's more like this is my fuck-you to the NICU -- some kind of illogical response.

Of course, now that I've paused my writing of this blog entry to drive a half hour over to the hospital to go to my rescheduled appointment, only to find that somehow the rescheduling didn't "take," and I had no appointment, and I couldn't get rescheduled till Friday, and now I realize that I have a conflict with this Friday's appointment, I'm just pretty much embarrassed and appalled that I missed the Tuesday appointment in the first place. Lame. Lamest mostest. I also feel like a giant dum-dum and wish I were better at managing my life.

Well, anyway. I see the doctor Friday. I'll let her tell me what a schmuck I am.


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