In September, I couldn't tell anyone. It was just me alone in my home nursing a headache and crying over TV commercials, wondering how I could talk Jonathan into allowing me to name the child myself. Not because I don't like the names he picks out (Thor Fjellbjørn?), but because he's so good at vetoing the ones I like.
Little Camper is due in mid-April, which is great, because spring and summer in Norway are the best, and I'd rather attempt this whole motherhood thing for the first time in sunnier, warmer circumstances. I'm now 18 weeks along and feeling happy and healthy and basically normal.
But how about those first few months...
My pregnancy is the real reason my doctor told me to relax and let go of my plans to run the Oslo Half Marathon. I ended up watching the race from the sidelines after training all summer long. That was rough. I did run Munchbreak Hill (as I've christened the steep climb at 15-km, approaching the Botanical Garden) with my training buddy, Corinne of Northern Natterings . She nailed the race to the wall, and it felt only right that I should accompany her through the toughest part. We finished off the loop at that part of the race, then she hugged me and ran off to finish for all three of us!
It's a good thing, ultimately, that I didn't push it. Fatigue had been my worst symptom so far. It was a crushing kind of tired. The kind that made the inside of my mouth ache. The kind that made the act of exhaling seem titanic. I napped out of nowhere, and would sleep for hours if I failed to set an alarm. Drooling, twitching sleep. Dream-filled sleep. Sitting through my classes at the University of Oslo was--in an impressive bout of understatement--difficult.
Why was I so tired? Partially, it has to do with my growing a human being and a placenta, and partially it's due to my inability to either sleep through the night (twice-nightly bathroom runs made me grateful for my heated floor) or to ingest enough calories to fuel my day (to say nothing of the growth of the aforementioned tiny human and placenta). For a straight week, all I could eat were popcicles and pretzels, washed down with ice water. Which didn't exactly limit my trips to the bathroom. A vicious circle.
Toward the end of my first trimester, my eating habits became more erratic. Though my nausea was never terrible, I was crippled by random waves of crazy hunger. I had to eat immediately or the world would end. This led to some fun episodes. In one, I exited a tram at a random stop, ran into a grocery store, grabbed a loaf of bread and a pack of cheese slices, and barely made it through the cashier's line before I was ripping open both and making a crude sandwich. The cashier watched me, horrified, as I stuffed it in my mouth, brushing crumbs from my cheeks as I typed in my pin code.
There were also several days when the only thing I could even imagine eating--or having anywhere near me--was a McChicken sandwich. Honest to god, I have basically avoided eating McDonald's at all since moving to Norway, but within a three-week period, I gobbled up more than my share of McChicken sandwiches. And they tasted heavenly.
(I was ashamed of this behavior, by the way. I even risked my nausea by going to different McDonald's restaurants so that no one would begin seeing me as a "regular." Which reminds me, these days I'm a little bit paranoid.)
My mood is all over the joint. A little Bengali girl in a headscarf and glasses waved at me on the bus, and I burst into tears. My literature professor asked which group in the novel The Octopus deserves our sympathy, and I answered None, and then proceeded to become almost enraged as I defended my assertion. Enraged. In a literature class. When Jonathan brings home a can of A&W Root Beer for me I am maniacally happy. (This is a treat, by the way, as one can costs about $4 here in Oslo.)
Oh, and my brain takes frequent and random breaks. I'll be reading (and reading and reading) for my classes... and suddenly I'll realize I've retained nothing from the last several pages. Names swim on the page, disembodied from the text. Events are orderless. Concepts nebulous. This definitely cramps my ability to write critically about these texts, which, unfortunately, is a major part of how they're going to grade me in the masters program. Brainlessness is detrimental to education, I've discovered.
There is good news. I've experienced zero morning sickness. (I'm counting nausea as something else, because I can continue to function--if clammily--even when it hits.) Knowing that many of my friends have suffered through far worse in their pregnancies, praying long and hard to the porcelain god, I don't take this for granted. Princess Kate is also getting pummeled by acute morning sickness these days (for the second time, poor thing!).
So, that was my first 13 weeks. I'm thrilled to be moving onward and outward. By Thanksgiving, I'll be halfway there!