Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How Pregnancy is Like a Flight Map

Hello from London! I’m just popping in quickly to say “hi” and share this little post I wrote on my personal blog on my first morning here. It isn’t about relationships, exactly, but some of you had mentioned wanting me to share a bit more personal writing, especially about being pregnant and my feelings about becoming a parent, so I thought you might enjoy this. Cheerio!

I’m in London now. I arrived early this morning — 6:30 London time, 1:30 am New York time. I took a tube straight to the hotel and crashed the minute I hit the bed. I didn’t sleep at all on the plane, despite being blessed with two whole seats to myself, and it’s been weeks since I had a decent night sleep thanks to mad insomnia. I was so tired when I got here, I passed out cold and I know I could have slept all day, but I didn’t want to be awake all night, so I forced myself to get up at 2 o’clock so I could shower and get dressed before Drew got back from work. Only, I was so groggy and out of my mind that when I looked at the clock, I thought it said 2:19, when really it said 12:19, but I didn’t realize this until after I showered, got dressed and went out in search of food and coffee and water. I really wish I’d have gotten those two extra hours of sleep. I could have used them.

Back on the plane, something occurred to me. I read for the first few hours and then when I was too tired to focus on the words in the book anymore, I turned on the the little TV screen on the seat back in front of me and zoned out staring at the flight map. This was last, oh, hour and a half of the flight and we were just about to cross into Ireland. I watched as the little plane icon moved slowly across Ireland and then across the sea and then into England and I thought, “This is just what it’s like to be pregnant!”

At least in these first early months, when you have yet to really look pregnant and you can’t feel the baby and the only way you really know you’re pregnant is that you haven’t had a period in months and your boobs are huge and you’re tired and hormonal all the time, there’s this disconnect between you and what you read and hear is happening inside your body. Like, I know there’s this baby growing inside me — I’ve seen it (twice!) on an ultrasound, and it’s been confirmed by multiple tests, and all the literature tells me the way I’m feeling right now is normal … but it just doesn’t feel quite… real yet. And that’s how it is when you watch the little plane fly across the flight map. You know, intellectually, that you’re currently miles above Dublin or whatever, but it doesn’t feel all that different than when you were miles above New York or Canada or the Atlantic Ocean. All you have to go by is that you’re really tired and a little cranky and you can’t wait to get off this fucking plane and go take a shower and a nap already.

And then you get off the plane and it’s pretty disorienting and people have a funny accent and the money is different and you aren’t sure where to catch the train and then all of a sudden it’s real and you’re so tired you just hope you can navigate yourself safely to the hotel in one piece and not get lost or mugged or worse on the way there. Maybe that’s what it’s like after the baby arrives. Who knows? Right now, in my pregnancy, metaphorically speaking at least, I’m still flying somewhere above the ocean. It’s all blue down there and I see the plane on the map inching closer and closer to something big, but it doesn’t mean much to me yet. I just hope I’m ready when it lands.

28 comments… add one
  • avatar

    TheOtherMe May 4, 2011, 1:14 pm

    Oh Wendy, you said “Tube” how i adore you 🙂

    Thank you for this nice surprise, we are trying to behave in your absence and keep things fun & friendly.

    Have a great time !!

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com May 4, 2011, 1:50 pm

    And Miles is also watching us 😉 Thanks for sharing your experiences Wendy! It’s nice to have the inside track for those of us who haven’t gone down that road (yet?).

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      Anna May 4, 2011, 2:53 pm

      Absolutely! Having never been pregnant, I’ve always felt curius/terrified about it.

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    Teresa May 4, 2011, 1:58 pm

    Wendy – just like you read – the feeling of detachment is all normal (I hope). I might get a little slack for admitting this…but… My little girl is 5 months old now – I still wake up some mornings and think, “Oh shit! I have a kid!”

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      kdog May 4, 2011, 2:16 pm

      That cracked me up! And I could definitely see that happening to me. 🙂

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      honeybeenicki May 4, 2011, 3:32 pm

      Haha that reminds me of a friend who had her daughter when she was 18 or 19 and she fell asleep on the couch with the baby and the daughter slid off (thankfully didnt hurt herself) and was crying. My friend woke up after hearing the crying and said “damnit, whose kid is crying? they need to shut that thing up!” and then she remembered she was the only one in the house with a baby.

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      Eljay May 4, 2011, 5:05 pm

      My “little” one is 11 and I still get all gooey inside when she calls me Mommy. I know the day will come (very soon) when “Mommy” just isn’t cool anymore (I’m sure I’ll be Mom or “that woman who always says NO), but I do relish every minute of it.

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      • avatar

        MissDre May 4, 2011, 10:00 pm

        I’m 25 and I still call my mom Mama 🙂 never stopped! she’s my best friend!

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    TheOtherMe May 4, 2011, 2:59 pm

    Warning : UNRELATED 🙂

    Holy Shnikes ! What happened to TF ?? I only logged on to send a PM and it’s totally gone bizarro !

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      MissDre May 4, 2011, 3:53 pm

      TF sucks big hairy balls these days… everything they post is majorly lame.

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        TheOtherMe May 4, 2011, 4:19 pm

        Ok first off, the fact that you added “hairy” made me crack up so much !! Also I was referring to the new commenting system … it’s actually worse that Pluck
        – ( if that is at all possible )

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      • eelavocado

        eel avocado May 4, 2011, 9:03 pm

        Agreed, TOM. TF and DW are what I read to relax once I get home from work…and (ha) the new commenting system made me even more stressed today. I can’t figure it out and I don’t think I ever will.

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    Allissa May 4, 2011, 3:50 pm

    LOl – what until the baby comes! It doesn’t get any easier or smoother until they move out for college.

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 4, 2011, 6:04 pm

      My friends all say that the year, the entire year, that the baby is two is the worst year. My sister says it’s the year that they’re three. I mean worst as in you have a beautiful, active toddler that you love totally and that toddler is nonstop busy. They’re incredibly capable of doing about anything they can think of but have zero common sense. So you have to be alert and on your toes every moment that the toddler is awake and even when they’re asleep you have to listen for when they wake.

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    Yammy May 4, 2011, 4:19 pm

    That’s a great analogy, Wendy! I was very disoriented the first 24 hrs after having my son. It didn’t help that I had him around 9 pm and the nurse woke me up every 45 minutes the entire night to (try to) wake him up to get him to nurse. She had me all worked up, thinking he was going to starve to death if I couldn’t get him to wake up. Then the daytime nurse started her shift and told me most babies crash out for several hours after birth. Even if that night nurse had to wake me up so often, I wish she wouldn’t have scared me so bad!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 4, 2011, 4:31 pm

    The thing that stood out the most to me in the early pregnancy was that we were refering to the baby as an it and that felt so impersonal for our baby. I wanted to know the gender just so that I could say he or she but our doctor wouldn’t tell us even though he did an ultrasound every time we were in the office.

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    Hana May 4, 2011, 4:43 pm

    I’ve never been pregnant but I am very curious as my fiance wants to have kids right away… How did you find out you were pregnant? Major signs? And what does being pregnant feel like? I had one scare once and I really thought it was possible and my period was a few weeks late, so after some research I think it could have been a chemical pregnancy. But I am so curious!

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    • Dear Wendy

      Wendy May 4, 2011, 4:47 pm

      We had just decided to start trying, so I had tests ready to take as soon as my period was due/late. They make tests now that can predict pregnancy with something, like, 90% accuracy up to 5 days before you period is even due. But I waited until I was a day late. I felt sure I was NOT pregnant because I had such bad PMS (so I thought). I now know that very early pregnancy symptoms are just like PMS — sore boobs (this was my first symptom — they were sore when I was running about a week before my period was due), fatigue, crankiness, and hunger.

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        Hana May 4, 2011, 4:50 pm

        Thanks Wendy! Hope you have a good trip!

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    • Skyblossom

      Skyblossom May 4, 2011, 5:35 pm

      When I was pregnant the only sign I had for the first six to eight weeks was that I had no period. I didn’t even get big boobs, my little ones stayed little through the entire pregnancy and breastfeeding. Then I had morning sickness for months and it’s like having the fly day after day after day.

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    • avatar

      Kim May 4, 2011, 5:35 pm

      I’m currently pregnant as well (not as far along as wendy). We had been trying for a few months and I typically waited until the day of my period to test. The month we had sucess, I tested 2 days early. I was feeling a bit off and a bit nauseated. The other months I was hopeful, but never really felt all that different. I was also immediately very bloated (I had to buy new pants within a week even though I hadn’t gained a single pound yet). It’s pretty different for everyone, but with some common themes…

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 4, 2011, 5:38 pm

        Congratulations on your pregnancy!

        I remember feeling so lucky that I didn’t seem to be having morning sickness and then it finally hit and got worse every day for at least a month.

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        Kim May 4, 2011, 5:44 pm

        Thanks! I’ve been pretty lucky (so far). I’ve generally felt nauseated and bloated the whole time, but never to the point where I couldn’t eat or was throwing up. I’ve been a lot pickier about what I want to eat, and can only eat leftovers once or twice before being done. For me, being tired picked up around 6-8 weeks, and I’m anxiously anticipating that getting better.

        It’s also weird because I have been craving sweets a bit more, but I’m not used to eating them and have been feeling sick after eating them. One day, I felt like eating cookies the ENTIRE day at work, but managed to supress the urge. My husband showed up at home that night with an extra cookie leftover from a meeting. I decided that was fate, and ate the cookie (after dinner). I felt like I was going to throw up for 2 hours after that…

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    BoomChakaLaka May 4, 2011, 4:47 pm

    Still no kid, but thanks for the analogy. I’ll keep it in mind if I ever do have one. I will tell you when I do see a kid, I know for sure that my ovaries start smiling. I love little babies with their pudgy cheeks!

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      MissDre May 4, 2011, 5:58 pm

      LoL @ ovaries smiling… I feel that way too! I get so excited at the thought of having a baby, I can’t wait to start trying! But, I think I’m about three years away from that… (or at least I hope…)

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 4, 2011, 5:50 pm

    Wendy – The first time I went to England i also felt disoriented. Even coming in to land the buildings looked different and when we got off the plane the carpet was really wild looking compared to American carpet. After getting through immigration and customs I went into a bathroom and found that the doors of the stalls all required a coin be put in to open them but nothing said what coin. I went back out and told my husband and he guessed which coin I would need, I think it was 10 pence, and he was right. We then went to the tube to take it across London to the train station because we were going to York and it was rush hour and every train filled instantly so that the doors had trouble closing. We turned and looked at each other and at our suitcases and turned around and waited an hour until it was much quieter. I also told my husband I needed the address and phone number of his parents in case we were separated so that we would be able to find each other. I hadn’t thought about needing them until that moment. Finally, we were on the train heading north and I fell asleep while watching the football supporters drinking beer on the train at 10:00 am.

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    AKchic May 4, 2011, 11:33 pm

    It’s worth it. Trust me. My boys surprised me yesterday at a company dinner. All of them were so good that they were recognized at the end AND many of the dinner guests stopped to talk to me today at the last day of the conference we were attending together. Little surprises like that are sooo worth the effort of pregnancy.

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    princesspetticoat May 5, 2011, 6:37 pm

    Slightly off topic, but your post got me thinking about how surreal airplanes are. I was on a short flight a couple of days ago and it’s just such an amazing experience. You look out those little windows and if you’re lucky, it’s clear and you can see the patchwork in the land, or, if you’re a little lower, you see the tiny dots of cars or the little buildings that look like toys. And yet, somehow it’s not scary to see just how far off the ground you are. I know that if I’m in a skyscraper and look out the window to the ground far below, I get that shaky, afraid of heights kind of a feeling. But I don’t get that in an airplane; it’s just surreal for some reason.

    … I love airplanes.

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