Dispatches from an Enchanted Castle

Onions and garlic root in the pantry. Dog fur collects in drifts in the corners. On a sunlit couch somewhere in the house, a mama naps.

Or doesn’t nap. Just lies there with eyes closed tight, still as Snow White, still as Sleeping Beauty. And around her, her children play.

So, I was wrong in one of my last posts, and I am indeed pregnant. And for our family, that means everything goes into suspended animation. I’m almost thirteen weeks now, and can sometimes get by with just one nap and twelve hours at night. I can get by with a half dose of Zofran in the morning and a dose of Unisom and B6 at night.

But mostly, there’s a lot of lying around. In the spectrum of things, I seem to fall about in the middle first trimester: not glowingly symptom-free, not hospital fodder (though a stomach bug did earn me an IV this time).

Without my friends, it would be an unbroken schedule of hunch-walking from obligation to obligation with hibernation in between and lots and lots of tv and fast food for the kiddos.

It can feel like stagnation, or suffocation. It definitely feels interminable, every time I invariably fall ill at six weeks and stare down the rest of the first trimester. (I still have a pretty sensitive puke trigger after that, but not the soul-crushing constant nausea.)

Instead, this time, I’m trying to see it as a season. Like Quiet Month, but with more mint chocolate chip ice cream. I’m receiving more help from my village than in past pregnancies and trying to just have the grace and gratitude to accept it.

For three weeks there, Christmas lights turned on by the kids shone from our porch like some weird Lenten anomaly, a quarantine beacon: in this house, no one stirs. But that’s not the death sentence it felt like in my first pregnancy, nor the cataclysm of spoiled plans of my second pregnancy. It’s a season of enchantment in the old fairy tale sense: something strange and mysterious and hard, but yielding something wonderful.