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I was right. The paparazzi were just a few miles up the road. It wasn’t a paparazzi of photographs so much as flashes of love and awe in the smiles of all our friends. They rubbed Lu’s baby belly and gave her a hand whenever she needed it. Abs and Trace even loaded up our car with a ton of equipment for caring for a child. It’s funny because when I was packing for the weekend I intentionally packed extremely light knowing that soon I will have endless gear with me at every moment of my life.

Our friends asked before they rubbed her belly which was very polite of them. They’re good like that. But that wasn’t even necessary because we loved it. I’m sure it would be unpleasant to have a stranger approach and wish to touch your pregnant belly, but seeing our friends lay their hands on Lu’s stomach and sigh with love was wonderful indeed. It made both (all 3?) of us so happy to have that love and energy directed into our growing child.

Another friend mentioned how this is pretty much as close to the Mysterious as you can get in a real and concrete way, and I totally agree. Even love itself is difficult to define and can be tough to identify. But having a child is proof that this world is far deeper and more amazing than we can every really comprehend. We can see far into the cosmos, but in the microscopic depths of a growing fetus a process occurs that is nearly impossible to fathom. At some point cells organize into thought and life and perception. At some point cells grow a soul!

I can’t wait to meet the personality that comes with that soul. I can’t wait for all of it.

Lu is still headachey and coughing, and we really thought she almost had it kicked. While down in Florida she started to feel much better, but now that we’re back in New Haven this bug is back in full force. My new theory is allergies, even though she’s never had them before. Perhaps living in SF for the last 4 years lessened her tolerance for the East Coast pollen. Or maybe I just like making up theories. Either way she’s got to feel better soon because that cough is just brutal, and a constant throbbing headache makes everything difficult.

As for me, I’m sort of in a constant state of awe whenever I see her. Her baby belly is in full effect!

I’ve known Lu for 9 years and been her husband for 3 of them and now she is transforming before my very eyes. When I come home from work or when we wake up in the morning it is clear that her belly is bigger than before. Without a doubt, she is growing by the hour. I’ve been around pregnant friends many times, but it is truly incredible to have front row seats to this wonderful spectacle.

And by the time pregnancy is done and birth is imminent Lu’s belly and beauty will be spectacular indeed. I’m expecting the paparazzi any minute.

As I was writing the post below the other night, Lu was in bed falling asleep.  To help herself do that she laid on her back, placed her hands on her growing belly and began to meditate until she dozed off into sleep.  Soon after that I hit ‘publish’ for the post and then crawled into bed.  Lu woke up as I did and she had a few things to tell me.

“I don’t want to find out,” she said.  “I’ve been thinking about it, and everyone I’ve talked to has said it’s so much more fun to not find out until the delivery that I think I can handle not knowing for sure.  Melis is gonna be pissed that now we’re one of those couples, but oh well.  I want to wait!”

“Awesome,” I replied, snuggling up against her.  “You know I’m all for that.”

“But,” she continued, “I think I know what we are having.”

“Oh yeah?” I replied.

“Yeah.  I was laying here meditating falling asleep trying not to cough and I had this really clear image of this firey little girl that is totally determined to take everything she can from me to be born strong and healthy.  She’s got crazy curly hair and a strong personality and the sensation of all this just came to me as I was laying here, so I really think it’s a girl.”

“Alright then!  I’m still thinking it’s a boy, but I’m definitely willing to consider that it is a girl. That was my first impression for sure, but now I do think it’s a boy.”

“Girl.  Definitely a girl,” she said with utter conviction.

“Guess we’ll find out at the end of September,” I replied.

“Guess so,” she agreed.

Then I laid my hand softly on the growing belly bulge and I imagined that I could feel the blood flowing into the tiny child within as all three of us breathed in unison and slowly and quietly we all drifted off to sleep.

To know or not to know, that is the question.  Lu thought she did, but now she’s not so sure.  I would actually prefer to not know, but if she finds out then there’s no way I can’t know, too.

Originally she definitely wanted to know if it would be a boy or girl.  Now she wavers.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she decides and eventually one way or another, what we are going to have.

The bottom line is, whenever we find out it will be a wonderful surprise.  I just wonder if the surprise will be even more spectacular when the child first appears.

I still think it’s a boy, but if you’d like to go on record with a guess, the comment button is right there!

Every week is a new adventure.  I can only imagine what it is like for Lu.  I only see the results, how these symptoms and internal experiences are manifested in the real world, but she is living every second of it.  Craziness.

I came home today and I wasn’t sure where I was going to find Lu.  I knew it was one of two places, either the bed or the bathroom and the latter was correct.  She hadn’t puked on the bedroom floor from coughing so hard today which was good, but she had nearly passed out in the store again.  This time a woman had to get her a chair.

She is a tiny creature that is now pumping something insane like 40% more blood through her system.  No wonder she gets lightheaded.

The coughing is the new awesome thing, though.  It’s wild.  Suddenly I live with a 72 year old Pall Mall smoker, filterless for life, of course.  Maybe a new flu?  The same one as the stomach ache and then head ache reawakened?  No.  Just pregnancy.  Pregnant women can develop a terrible chronic cough.  Obviously.  Really, what can’t they develop?

Lu was hoping to have fun with this whole pregnancy thing.  But I think instead it’s having fun with her.  Pregnancy Side Effects had a meeting and decided to throw a party for the 6.72 billionth person, starting at conception.  All the Side Effects were invited.  Nausea, Constipation, Headache, Fatigue, Flu-Like Sensations, Aches, Pains, Swollens (Nipples and Ankles), Restlessness, Absentminder, Incessant Hunger, Indecision, Chronic Cough, Nasal Congester, Sore Boobage and even a few of the rarely seen effects like Purple Skin Spots, Xray Visionary, Fire Breather and Sudden Flights of Fancy have all stopped by to rock out with Little Baby Gallagosen.

But hey, that’s how we roll.  All of it every time every which way you can.  When we do things, we do all the things you can do with it.  We don’t hold back and this pregnancy is no exception.

I have no doubt Lu will look back on this whole experience as amazing and wonderful and I’m just so glad this blog is out here to remind us of the week that she spent coughing like it was her job.

And I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Tax time is never the most fun time of year, but this one has been particularly stressful. Lu has her own business which means she has to carefully watch her income all year to make sure she’s putting enough aside to cover taxes each quarter. Then come March, the accountant takes over and figures out how well we did with all of that, and what else we need to do. It’s never pretty but this year has really pushed Lu to the limit.

She also has not been feeling well. A slow-moving bug has been migrating to various parts of her body and making her feel icky, on top of the general discomfort of pregnancy. Stomach ache -> headache -> neck ache and then repeat has made her very unhappy. And we think it’s a bug, but it’s impossible to be sure. This whole being pregnant thing is not nearly as glorious and magnificent as it’s made out to be. Or, at least it hasn’t been for Lu, so far.

A small part of the problem, though, is her of her own making. Lu is someone that always envisions how things are going to be, as many of us do. And her visions are always filled with joy, happiness, success, beauty and light. Unfailingly, whenever we talk about plans or upcoming situations her responses are consistently positive and hopeful. She expects things to go really really well, all the time.

She has been looking forward to being pregnant all her life. She thought it was going to be beautiful and amazing, which it is, but I don’t think she envisioned that it might be difficult, uncomfortable and painful at times, which it also is. Once pregnant she understood that the first trimester was tough and so throughout she has been really looking forward to tri-2, where everything gets better (she’s been told.) Now we’re there and things have not markedly improved, yet. And that makes her worried and sad and that’s not good.

I love her positive, hopeful attitude because it is amazing to be around someone who always sees the best. Especially since I’m not really like that. Perhaps it was my Boy Scout training, or maybe it was the effects of living with a family member who has had MS for the last 34 years, or maybe it’s just the way I’m made up, but my motto has always been “plan for the worst, hope for the best.” It’s not that I’m a worrier, because most of the time I’m really not worried at all. But I do always like to have backup and alternative solutions in mind for when life’s wind blows me into turbulence. At all times, though, I am confident we will get through anything and everything, one way or another, together.

Right now, though, Lu is totally wrapped up in the overwhelming and individual experience of being pregnant. Some of what she’s been told has turned out to be true for her. Other parts are not at all what she wanted or expected. And for me, that last part is the aspect I worry about most for her. Expectations. She expects that what she heard is true, that this will all roll out smoothly, that she will get to have fun with her pregnancy.

The fact is, this has turned out to be work. Constant, insistent, never-ending physical work to manufacture a new human using every resource within her.

How is it possible to *not* have a headache, at all times while pregnant?

I want Lu to stop thinking about what happened to everyone else while they were pregnant and start focusing far more attention on what is happening to her. Yes, taxes are still out there and we’ll need another car soon and the Earth is heating up and the President is an ass and not every piece of food she consumes is organic and healthy and perfectly correct, but it’s all going to be alright. I’m certain of that.

I told her this tonight. Nicely, mostly, but emphatically, too. Because it’s all so important to all of us. She cannot have constant stress tightening her muscles and knotting her soul. She cannot worry all the time. Lu has to enjoy this experience and learn to embrace even the tough aspects as parts of the whole. She knows this, wants this. She can do it, we’re both certain of that.

Obviously it is easy to say all this from the outside. But really that’s all I can do. I’m here to help her through her tough times just like she has pulled me through the rough patches in my life. It’s the gift we give to each other every day. We drag each other kicking and screaming through the world saying “hey CHECK THIS OUT, it’s FUN! We’re having FUN! Remember? FUN!? That’s THIS!! So get the hell over here, take a look at this amazing vista I can see and let’s do a funky dance and have some freaking fun, together. NOW.”

I feel like I’m standing over here in the corner with a whistle and a crazy hat and big sunglasses going “Pay no attention to the discomfort of child-bearing and watch me do this jig!” And then I do a jig and then she laughs and then everything is better.

Lu told me herself that she was hoping to be able to ‘have fun with her pregnancy,’ and as crazy an idea as that sounds to me, I’m going to do everything I can to help her do that. Even if I have to talk her out of a headache by shouting about the many great things in our life for a little while. Even if I have to do a crazy jig.

Of course a temple massage would also probably help, too.

The internet is a vortex of worry.  There is almost no point in searching for causes and cures because invariably the worst possible thing is the first to appear.  And the results below that aren’t much better.

Lu got a headache on Saturday and it didn’t really let up until this afternoon.  During that time I discovered a thousand different reasons of what could have caused it and the myriad ways that disaster awaited.  Luckily our midwife is calm, cool and collected.

“Sometimes a headache is just a headache.”

That was exactly what we needed to hear.  Turns out Tylenol is nearly perfectly safe for pregnant women provided it is used sparingly.  Obviously Lu won’t take it for every ache and pain, but when a headache splits her in two it is nice to know there is some relief besides pressure-points I can’t find and massage techniques I am not qualified to perform.

We are 15 weeks in.  That means there is less than 6 months until we have a tiny little newborn child.  For so long this was something that seemed far away and almost unimaginable.  Now imagination has nothing to do with it.  Reality is blooming in her belly.  The days are racing by!

So far I’ve gone 33 years without changing a diaper. My bro tried to get me to change Oren’s a while back. And every time we see them at one point or another there’s an offer for me to step up and grab the tape. I’m not adverse to doing it. I will happily change Oren’s diaper many times, but just not quite yet.

I’ve gone 33 years without changing a diaper, and I’m about 6 months away from doing it for my own child for the first time ever. I think I’ll keep this no-hitter going, and then start a diaper changing streak right around October 1.

Sure, practice might be nice, but I’m certain I’ll have plenty of time for that in the coming months. They start to potty train right around a year or so, right? Right?

Wait you’re telling me I have to unwrap, re-wrap and then dispose of a tiny human’s feces for the next 3 years? That’s madness! Isn’t there a website that can do this for us by now?

I will have to change a diaper nearly every day for the next 3 years of my life. That is a strange and somewhat terrifying thought. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

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