So, my colleague Erik quite possibly has the second coolest job in the world: he’s an “adventure doctor.”
Basically, that means that he travels around the world and makes sure that the people traveling with him stay healthy.
He’s totally qualified for the position: He’s a resident doctor in Family Medicine and has a Masters of Public Health in International Health and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies, with a Diploma in Tropical and Travel Medicine.
Doesn’t he sound like someone you want to know?
[He also speaks four languages, is a major outdoor sports enthusiast, and has worked as a firefighter and EMT. ]
Somehow, he also finds time to write here, here, and for Matador, where he contributes super-smart articles about taking care of your health when you’re traveling.
He just found out that I’m, as he puts it, “in the family way,” and said he’d share this blog with his pregnant patients, who often need some validation that they’re not the only ones experiencing crushing anxiety about not being able to see their feet. (Actually, he didn’t say that last part; I made it up).
So, welcome, ladies. This is your blog, too. I hope you’ll poke around, share your experiences, and find some new friends here.
Francisco’s mom has a lot of nicknames for me.
Like “la cafetera” (quite literally, “the coffee pot”), because Cubans drink the tiniest little cups of coffee ever–thimbles, I swear–and I need like 20 of them to equal my morning brew.
Like “la blanca” (“the white woman”), because everyone in Francisco’s family is a shade of brown and, as we discussed heatedly one day in the kitchen, I’ll finally lighten up the Collazo-Morales blood line. She’s happy about that.
And she calls me “la dormilona” (“the sleepyhead”) because I apparently sleep more than anyone else in her household. Which is strange, really. When I’m in our own bed at home, I don’t spend much more than six out of every 24 hours there.
But I have noticed, over the past week, that I’m all too eager to nap these days, and that I immediately fall asleep when we get in bed to watch a movie every night. “Mira como estas, mi dormilona,” Francisco says. “Look at you, my little sleepyhead.”
Damn it. Sometimes his mother’s right.
Honestly, I know I’m not far enough along yet to really use this excuse, but I’ve already found that it works well:
“Sorry, the baby made me do it.”
Hungry at 3 AM? It’s not me; it’s the baby!
Feeling cranky? It’s not me, really, it’s not!
Restless in the bed, keeping Francisco awake? It’s the baby, the baby I say!
Not feeling like walking the dog in the morning, when it’s my turn? Mmm, the baby thinks you should walk the dog, Francisco.
I’ve already thought about how far I can ride this excuse, and I’m looking forward to angling for a subway seat and playing upon the sympathies of baby-friendly folk to get to the front of lines (especially at the post office, which I detest).
If you think I’m shameless, it’s not me.
The baby made me do it.
Even before we actively started talking about having children, much less planning for them, we had baby names.
For girls. (Mariel Paloma; Olivia Rosa).
But no names for boys… nothing ever struck us as quite right.
“You know,” I said to Francisco the other day, “we have to consider the possibility that this could be a boy.”
“Well, if it’s a boy he has to have an American name. My kid’s an American, so don’t even think about calling him Francisco.”*
“What about Barack?”
He looked at me.
*I realize that the girls would also be American, if born in the US, but we’ve had their names so long, just ignore the fact that their names don’t fit within Francisco’s current logic.
So, just for kicks, I decided to look up the typical gestation periods of other animal species today.
|mouse (domestic white)
|sea lion (California)
So here’s what I think after reviewing gestation periods from A (ass) to Z (zebra):
If I’m as fortunate as Susan, Eva’s mom, and Allie, 9mos. will be just fine and I won’t envy the mouse, the possum, or any of the birds on this list.
But if I’m not as fortunate as these friends who said that pregnancy was nausea-free and relatively pleasant and peaceful, then these 9mos. might feel just as long as the gestation periods of the sperm whale, giraffe, or rhino.
I’ll keep you posted.
*Elida is Francisco’s mom. She lives in Cuba.
I couldn’t even eat my dinner the other night because Francisco had me laughing so hard.
We were talking about how his family–who lives in Cuba–would react to the news that we’re going to have a baby.
Though he hasn’t lived with his mom since 1980 and only saw her for the first time since then last year, he does an impression of her that is spot-on. He’s got her voice, her gestures, and her words down, though they’re impossible to imitate in writing.
So I’ll just say that I laughed until tears were streaming down my cheeks and the food was cold. And then I made a bet with Francisco: Elida would say at least one of the things he predicted when Brayan (F’s son) told her that I’m pregnant.
Brayan sent this e-mail yesterday:
“Papi- I told abuela about Julie. She said she already knew it; she had a dream about it.”
Isn’t pregnancy supposed to be a time when a woman gets in touch with her body… but not necessarily in a good way? You know, the famed morning sickness and all that?
I’m not far along, and I don’t want to sound too smug , but I feel fantastic. No signs of nausea, no flattening fatigue that threatens to completely reorder my days.
But the fact that I feel so good is a little worrisome. It doesn’t seem…normal. At what point do all those usual symptoms begin to appear?