Half(ish)way there and already nesting?

Week 20: 5/21/2007


Twenty weeks! I keep getting congratulated on being halfway to the baby, and there is something milestone-like about the number. But get real: I only found out I was pregnant at week 4 (and that was weirdly early). So I had a head start. Technically speaking--and I had to do some fancy figuring to get to this--I'll be halfway there in two weeks.

But that sort of technical-talk is missing the point, I know. I'm showing like crazy, the second ultrasound turned up nothing out of the ordinary (and, by the way, no clear genital shot, either--the slight ambiguity continues), and October 4 is suddenly feeling a lot more imminent.

So it must be time to...file!

I love nesting. I love the concept, I love the hormone-fueled nature of it it. This is probably because I'm not a naturally obsessively-neat or ordered person, so I really need those hormones to help make it happen. I let things pile up. I have files that say "To File." I do laundry--and then don't fold it. I start thematic piles in my office--"Fiction," I'll think to myself, decisively, as I place a huge stack of papers on my desk with every intent to then file them accordingly--then, when in a rush, place totally unrelated files on top of it, but at a 90 degree angle, as a little reminder to my future, actually-filing self that I should differentiate between the two. At the same time, I think of myself as a neat and organized person; friends are often surprised to see my bedroom overrun by laundry or my office with only one square foot of cleared-off space.

So even though it's early for nesting--I think of it as a third trimester phenomenon, yes?--there are a few looming events that I think nudged me towards it this week.

One: My office was a holy freaking mess. I have no "before" pictures to prove it. But trust me when I say that on my desk--which, granted, is quite large and L-shaped and with plenty of room to contain such things--I found two dead moths, condolence cards from our dog's death three years ago, and a souvenir shot glass from Texas shaped like a cowboy boot, given to me ... I couldn't even tell you when.

Two: My office, which is upstairs and across the hall from Sylvia's room, is going to turn into the new baby's room.

Three: We have a tiny living room, and so have decided to tear down the wall between Aron's office on the first floor and our unused dining room, and transform that new space into the new living room. Our current living room, which is right next to the kitchen, will turn into a more casual, actually-used dining room. If you're still following me--just nod along with the pregnant woman--you will probably notice that according to this plan, Aron and I are now out of offices. So we're having a cabin built in the backyard to accommodate both of our work spaces.

Four: The contractor is due to arrive any day to start knocking down the wall, putting Aron out of his office until the cabin goes up sometime later this summer. It would be nice if I could let him share my office until then.

Let the clutter-purging begin!

I started on Tuesday, and spent much of Wednesday and early Thursday on it. I pulled a late-nighter on Wednesday--11:30! Fellow expectants out there know how late that can feel--and that provided a huge push.

To get to where I am today (see photo, above), I filled six overflowing shopping bags of recyclable paper, and one overflowing can of garbage. I rearranged my file cabinets into rational order. I filed our 1999-2001 taxes in the basement--which is the next battle field.

I finished by wiping down the surface of my desk with a damp washcloth. It took about four trips back and forth to the sink to clean and wring out.

And now I feel fantastic. Light and lean and ready to work with a clear mind. Who needs drugs when you can just throw things away? I recommend the natural high. It was with no small sense of pride that I showed Aron the newly spick-and-span space, and invited him to move his computer and files up. Knowing how much easier it will now be to turn this into the new kid's room is a huge relief.

You know, I say I'm ready to work, but mostly I sit in my chair and just gaze in awe at the perfection.

Nesting, Stage Two: Outfitting our new spaces

Soon, we'll have to turn our new ginormous living room into a real, usuable space. Two couches, room for toys, appropriate lighting fixtures, a new paint job, art on the walls... And then, once the cabin is up, there will be the grand transfer from my current perfect office to my new perfect office, and then making the baby's room just right.

Aside from the agita that's created by thinking about how much all of this going to cost, I'm psyched. We moved into our house six years ago, when we had more theoretical ideas about our lives as grown-ups, with a family. Now that we are grown-ups--by some measures, at least--the chance to redo and recreate according to what we actually need (i.e., not a dining room table that seats 8, but a kitchen-like table that seats 4 and can expand to six) is sort of thrilling.

It's something I don't hear very much about: the way that pregnancy not only presents new limitations and constraints, but also a time of great opportunity--an opening up to a new perspective, a chance to shake things up a little, bring things in a new sort of order to match your new reality. For this, and so much else, I'm already grateful to this baby.

Join writer Emily Bloch each week as she chronicles her pregnancy.

Next week: Dreaming up a name for the new baby.