"A nose," she said when describing my cervix. "It feels like a nose right now. Eventually it will soften and feel like a cheek." This made me think of "The Institute," a cooking class I had with Shirley King, a fish specialist, who taught me, through touch, to know how cooked food is. Touching the area between your thumb and index finger is what raw meat feels like. According to this finger pressure method of "doneness," I realized my cervix is medium to medium rare. "You want it to be hard, tight, and long," she said as she snapped off her gloves. You’d think she was speaking to a man.
This was my first of many appointments with my preventative pre-term labor specialist. Because I’m carrying twins–they’re likely to come early–I will be visiting with her every single week until the guppies arrive. Every single week she will finger me. I’m sorry, but that’s what it is. And she’ll weigh me. This kind of scares me. I’m not afraid to see the number climbing. I’m afraid now that I’m not gaining enough.
"You need to stop drinking nonfat skim milk," she said, "and get more calories with 2%." This is all new to me. I wanted to go to Weight Watcher’s not all that long ago. I weighed 142 lbs. then. I now weigh 155 lbs. "You haven’t gained enough," she said.
Here’s the thing. I read these articles, how you shouldn’t gain too much, how it will take you so long to get the extra weight off. Exercise, the articles say. Eat healthfully. Now I’m getting, "2% milk and lots of rest. Every time you have a carb, you must have a protein with it." No, I don’t want to go running and I’ve been given the thumbs up on swimming, yoga, and walking, but mostly, REST has been emphasized. Actual lying down rest, not just "take it easy." "From 11-1 and again from 4-6, you need to be lying down every day." All I hear about is women exercising while pregnant. I thought I’d be eating salads. Now there’s yelping about protein and nearly 3000 calories a day! Given the fact that I get very full after eating very little, I am under the impression that I’m stuffing myself. I’m wrong, clearly. I try to convince her.
"Well, I eat a lot of vegetables and love fruit."
"That’s fine for vitamins, but you need calories. You have bread? Put peanut butter on it. Have an apple? Eat it with cheese." When I left our appointment, I had a milkshake. I certainly don’t want to diet, but I am scared about gaining too much.
"Yeah, but, I started out wanting to go to Weight Watcher’s at 142 lbs. So I was overweight, for me, so shouldn’t I just gain less during this pregnancy?"
"No. You weren’t overweight. You had a good BMI." This conflicts with everything I’ve learned and thought of myself, well, forever. "You’re still expected to gain at least 50 lbs. and you’ve only gained 13 lbs., and you’re at 23 weeks, which is nearly six months pregnant." FUCK. That’s why I ran out and had the milkshake. I’m now going to write down everything I eat each day, so I’m more aware… and so I can hand it to her next week. I’ve done this mindful eating with a journal thing any time I’ve ever wanted to lose weight. We’ll see how it goes.
In the parking lot, I phoned my mother. "You know I’m going to weigh 190 lbs." My mother responded, "Oh my God." Then after a pause, she said, "Well it’s no time to diet. Eat." No shit, eat. I’m not dieting! I just ate croissant bread pudding from La Boulange in SF. Holy shit, like bread pudding isn’t bad enough, and I’m sorry, but it’s not like just the belly is growing. I have two chins. I know I shouldn’t complain, that there are people hiring women to carry their baby because their uterus isn’t fertile ground. I should be thankful for my double chins; I should, right? But I’m sorry, there are women who maintain thin arms and look pregnant nowhere but in their cute belly. I wanted to be one of these women. It’s not going to happen. I already look like a man when my hair is pulled back. That’s how I feel. Masculine and fat. Yes, my body feels feline and bovine, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is my father.
I just can’t believe there’s someone in the medical field telling me to gain more, to eat more, even if they’re empty calories. I hope I can gain healthfully with Boca Burgers and yogurt and beans with whole grains. Not in one sitting, though, dear God. I also never ever imagined I, of all people, would be the chick complaining that I needed to eat more. I’m just leary. It seems fishy. I feel like someone is playing a sick joke on me. Like, here, eat all you want, and when I become used to that, they’ll tug it all away and say, "just kidding." Now is not the time to pull the psych! card. Update in a week on how it goes. Here are tour photos >> (Which was so so much fun! I adore SF–and have known for a very long time never to call it "San Fran.")