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My parents were visiting this week, so I haven't been writing much. It is difficult for me to type the word "fuck" when they are within a fifty mile radius, much less in the same room. I will get it out of my system now: fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fucking fuck.

That is how I'm feeling at the moment. Warning: I am now going to further alienate all of my infertile friends and readers by complaining about this pregnancy. Here goes:

After Tuesday's OB appointment, my mother and I engaged in long conversations about what constituted strenuous activity. We agreed that my digging in the garden was a bad idea — there goes that major renovation I'd planned for the front perennial bed. We surmised that painting rooms, however, would probably be okay, as long as I didn't make it the three-day marathon I normally do. And we were sure that housework was all right, as long as I got Paul to carry the vacuum up the stairs.

Yesterday, after their departure, I called the nurse to confirm my assumptions. How wrong I was, how wrong! I have been forbidden to:

  • Vacuum, mop, or scrabble around on my knees, crablike, scrubbing bathtubs;
  • Lift or carry anything of any significant weight, such as a laundry basket; or
  • Paint, hang blinds, mount a stepladder, or do anything else useful and handy.

But never fear! I am allowed to:

  • Walk;
  • Climb "a single flight of stairs here and there";
  • Drive; and
  • Stand "long enough to prepare a simple meal."

In other words, I am benched. I'm not on bed rest, but I'm also not likely to get much done. My dynamo days are over, at least until I'm no longer pregnant. But you shouldn't think I'm upset on that score. I'm not annoyed by the forced inactivity, because I will do (or not do, as the case may be) everything I can to keep the baby lodged neatly in place for as long as possible. Rather, I'm frightened by the need for it.


I told a friend in e-mail that I was forbidden both intercourse and orgasm, asking whether blowjobs would be considered strenuous activity. (Of course the only possible answer to that is, "Yes, if you're doing it right.")

She said, "Nope, no blowjobs. None for me means none for you, bucko."

Now let's just hope Paul doesn't decide that no lifting laundry for me means no lifting laundry for him.


I will say that I have no qualms about Paul's ability to keep the house in good running order (with the help of a few carefully selected professionals — fair's fair). One of Paul's most attractive qualities is his competence. He doesn't vacuum the way I vacuum, but good enough is good enough, and he is cheerful and willing, even better.

There are women who complain that their husbands aren't involved in their pregnancy because they don't exhibit an intense interest in every symptom, don't volunteer to attend every checkup, or don't know the textbook definitions of lanugo, vernix, and meconium. (I think those were the names of the Magi, coincidentally.) I am not troubled by any of this: Paul proves his very great investment by working every day to make our house ready, patting me fondly at frequent intervals, and, now, showing solicitous concern instead of annoyance about my physical limitations.

Surely a little blowjob wouldn't hurt.


It was such a nice visit. I was made much of by both parents, especially once my condition proved itself to be more delicate (which I like to pronounce with a long a) than I'd wanted to acknowledge. My mother dug in my garden while I sat in a lawn chair, and cooked about two dozen meals for my freezer. My father helped Paul move some furniture out of the b-b-bbb-bb-b-b-BABY'sroom to make it ready for the painting that now won't happen. They showed their concern in countless concrete ways, bringing me to tears more than once.

My dad stood behind my chair and massaged my shoulders, saying, "I've never had a pregnant daughter before."

I did not ask, "What about the other two times?" It didn't seem appropriate.

I've been thinking of you all, but particularly of some of my friends who are adopting, whose family members haven't yet gotten caught up in the enthusiasm of welcoming a new child. My shy enjoyment of my parents' attention was colored by the awareness that you're missing out on some of the celebration that every family-to-be deserves. It seems so wrong, so sad and wrong.


Before my parents arrived, I went on a tear. Not only did I spend two full days on my feet cooking and cleaning; I pressure washed the deck, cleaned out the two-car garage, and mowed the back lawn in preparation. (I didn't mow the front because I ran out of time — there is only so much a girl can do in the span of 72 hours.)

My feet hurt, but I didn't give them much notice; I thought it must be that my soles were tender from standing on hard surfaces for such a long time. It wasn't until I was getting dressed before their arrival that I discovered the problem. My feet and ankles were so swollen that I couldn't put my shoes on. My hands looked like a set of overinflated surgical gloves. And it hurt.

I completely overdid it. On Tuesday the doctor confirmed that I was as plump and juicy as a Christmas turkey, poking my shin and saying, "You're even denting all the way up here." I was denting! (Paul would spend the next few minutes poking me experimentally here and there. I poked him harder in retaliation. We are a fun couple.)

The doctor assured me that since my blood pressure was normal, she wasn't concerned about pre-eclampsia. It was garden variety edema, brought on by nothing more alarming than my own stubborn insistence that I was no different from the slave women who gave birth in the fields, then kept on working — that I was ten kinds of mighty badass, every bit as capable as ever, just pregnant.

But then what could be more alarming than that?