1. By the last trimester, a pregnant woman’s breasts may leak a few drops of colostrum (practice milk). It’s thick and yellow and has the consistency of wood glue.
2. Sometimes a drop or two of blood leaks out. Blood.
3. During pregnancy, the average woman’s uterus expands up to five hundred times its normal size.
4. Some doctors say that preeclampsia, hypertension during pregnancy, is the act of the mother’s immune system rejecting the father’s genes that are in the fetus’s cells. Women can “immunize” themselves before pregnancy, say these docs, by exposing themselves to their partner’s semen as often as possible.
5. While we’re on the subject, the hormones in semen contain prostaglandin and may cause contractions late in a pregnancy. Ditto for nipple stimulation and orgasm, both of which have a direct impact on the uterus.
6. Bassinets cost $80 to $150. Christ. How about a laundry basket?
7. In the next year, we will go through roughly 4,000 diapers. Disposable diapers, eighteen billion of them, account for more than 1 percent of the nation’s landfill, but cloth diapers are taxing on farmland, and properly sterilizing them involves significant amounts of power, water, and detergents. Damned if you do…
8. A small percentage of pregnant women develop pica, a compulsive craving of items such as metal, glue, paint chips, and dirt. It’s a result of low iron and zinc levels.
9. Some pregnant women get a thin black line (“linea negra”) running from the navel to the pubis. It is caused by hormones, and it is scary-looking.
10. In the past three weeks, I have done each of the following for my wife: tied her shoes; plucked unwanted hairs; rubbed lotion on her feet; shaved her legs. I believe I am officially a DH (see Week 8: Board Games) now.
Regarding #8, Sarah doesn’t have it, but in recent weeks, she has developed a sudden obsession with the coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts. I hear Dunkin’s sludge is a common craving for pregnant women—even someone like Sarah who never cared for coffee to begin with. I read that she would have to drink three cups a day to increase the risk of birth defects in the fetus, so I don’t begrudge her a cup every few days.
There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts under my El stop, and she’s taken to double-parking and running in for a cup to go around 8:30 a.m. This morning, she decided to drive me to work, even though the weather was lousy, and I didn’t understand why until I saw the Dunkin’ Donuts sign. Trouble was, there was a police car under the el tracks, just in front of her usual spot. “Man, I can’t double-park behind a cop car,” she said. What to do? Then we looked inside Dunkin’ Donuts. There was the policeman, sitting on a stool, drinking a cup of coffee. I contend that if it weren’t for cops and pregnant women, Dunkin’ Donuts would have gone out of business years ago.