Here it is the very last hour of your 19th week of gestation. This is your Mama’s busiest week of the year. We are in Chicago at a conference called ASCO, which stands for the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It’s the largest cancer conference in the world and it happens every year at this time in Chicago. This is why my writing is so behind.
But enough about my work — I have a much more serious question for you.
What on earth are you doing to my body!?!
I woke up the first morning of week 19 and suddenly the nausea was gone. I’m not going to go so far as to say I was craving anything (because I’m not), but I was not nauseous. I could eat. I even ate some chicken. I had a small burger. Finally I could get down protein that did not involve dairy or beans. I had turned a corner. Or should I say WE had turned a corner.
But then … other things started to happen.
Being that you are boys I’m really not sure if I should tell you about it. This probably falls into the category of “Oh, good grief Mom.” I can see your eyes rolling. You probably have no desire to know what you did to my body while you were growing into little men. Right now I would give anything for a book from my own mother about what was going on with her, it might keep me from Googling things like “Hot Breasts and Pregnancy” or “Warm Red Breasts and Pregnancy” or “Veins Everywhere and Pregnancy.” Of course, she did this 44 years ago … she probably does not remember much.
Since your bodies will never perform this particular act of nature, I can’t imagine it will be interesting. But just remember, you may know a woman or marry a woman one day who is expecting — and if and when you do, think how absolutely enlightened and understanding you’ll be? I take comfort in this as I proceed.
Of course, my Gran Gran gave me a book about the Merrill family when I was in my 20’s. I did not read it fully until I was almost 40. I assume something similar will happen with your Dear Dumpling letters.
After landing in Chicago on Thursday evening, I took a shower. I know, who wants to think about their Mama in the shower? No one. This is not about my shower. But, after showering my breasts were red and on fire. Veins were everywhere, including across my tummy where it felt like I had a bowling ball growing.
I stared at myself full of questions. Is this even remotely normal?
This seemed like a ridiculous question to email my doctors — I did not email Dr. S, Dr. D or even Dr. K. Instead I started Googling. My first search sent me to some strange places on the internet, so I changed my wording. I read many sites and opinions and message boards.
By the time I was done I determined I either had cancer or an infection in need of antibiotics. The most comforting option was just “increased blood flow.”
I decide to focus on the extra blood flow and try to relax.
I am surrounded by oncologists for the next three days, so I figure if I get really freaked out, I’ll ask one of them.
The truth is, for every moment I freak out and wonder what the hell is happening to my body there are 1000 moments where I am in complete awe of all that is happening. I instinctively know everything is happening as it should. Every time I see you, like I did on Wednesday in Dr. S’s office, I want to cry.
I honestly can’t believe I am 20 weeks pregnant. I really can’t. There were so many, many moments I thought I never would be. I would sit and try to envision my childless life. Luckily, I never could see it. I didn’t want to.
Many people see this as no big deal, but to me it’s the biggest of deals. It’s the biggest deal that has ever happened to me.
You don’t have to remember that I pondered my hot breasts and mix-master veins, just remember that I am grateful. Grateful for the opportunity to be your Mama. I hope I don’t let you down too much.
I’ll start by not mentioning my breasts during polite dinner conversation. But just remember … they will be your main source of sustenance for at least six months.
I won’t ever mention that in front of your friends.