People close to me know that I'm not the best at being pregnant. Even the so-called "good parts" of pregnancy don't thrill me. I don't enjoy the extra attention. I hate Hate HATE shopping... especially for maternity clothes. I don't relish discussing my plans for delivery or whether I expect to breast feed with people in the elevator who now feel it's appropriate to ask about these very personal decisions even though they've not exchanged three words with me in the past four years. I don't like strangers feeling my belly without asking. I don't like strangers asking to feel my belly (What is that anyway? I have never, NEVER, felt the desire to touch a strange pregnant woman's stomach.). I don't want to describe how I'm feeling every second of the day to everyone with whom I come into contact. I feel crappy, thanks. Can we move on now?

Though I'm sure my husband's version of the story would differ, I have tried very hard to keep the bitching and moaning to a dull roar around my house and for this reason, I have posted few entries about my physical woes and pregnancy observations on this weblog. I seldom discuss it with other women, because I'm generally sick of myself and when I talk to another adult, I want to be distracted, not go through a laundry list of my symptoms. I'm pretty much in pain about two-thirds of each day and I know myself well enough to realize that if I allow myself to start bitching to everyone I know, I won't be able to stop and then people will be like "C'mon already! If it was that bad, what'd you go and get knocked up for in the first place?" Indeed.

Let the record show that my overwhelming attitude and feeling is that I am genuinely excited and grateful to be undergoing what by all accounts so far, looks like a normal pregnancy and I will, without reservation, continue suffering if it means that at the end of it all I will have a healthy child to bring home. YOU HEAR THAT KARMA?!? You can't touch me now! See me knocking on this wood, crossing my fingers and throwing salt over my left shoulder? OK - so maybe there's a healthy dose of superstition thrown in there too. I feel like if I complain too much now, especially knowing that all of these symptoms - even the constant static in my ears - will most likely go away the minute I give birth, I'll have something much worse to deal with tomorrow. Call me superstitious. Oh, and by the way, there's something of which you'd never hear my husband accuse me. If you ask him, I'm never, ever five things: superstitious, illogical, sentimental, selfless, or pay attention to commercials.

That being said, Monica requested "more stories about how pregnancy sucks and belly shots". And I am never one to disappoint. What's below is what I've taken from the half a dozen posts I've started over the last several weeks that I later did not publish because they were either too whiny or I was simply sick of thinking about the issue by the time I sat down to write so I never finished. I call them my 25 Great Ironies About Being Pregnant to Accompany This 25 Great Things About Being Pregnant List That Dr. Google Found (for short).

1. You're guaranteed to stop traffic whenever you cross the street.
Except you'll absentmindedly walk out into the middle of the street against the light because you have pregnancy brain and then you'll feel the need to run to show the car about to hit you that you know it was your fault and you're sorry. After running for two lanes, you will pay for it the next day.

2. People look at your stomach and can't help smiling, as if the mere thought of your being pregnant has actually made their day a little bit brighter.
Most people look at my stomach and have one of two reactions: male) shakes head sadly, mutters "too many M&Ms" to the person next to him or female) smiling is accompanied by "Pregnant in the summer, oh you poor thing!"

3. You can eat a whole pint of chocolate-chunk ice cream and not feel guilty. Every night.
Until several months later when everyone knows that breast-feeding burns calories and you haven't lost a pound yet.

4. You can -- no, you must! -- take naps. Lots of them.
But you will not be able to sleep for more than fifteen minutes at a time. All. Night. Long.

5. Getting to name another human being.
Getting to hear from relatives and friends just how bad
the name you're thinking of is and how it's the absolutely worst name anyone ever thought about in the history of naming and your child will grow up unloved and unemployable because of the name you chose, and you might as well just name your kid Charles Adolf Hitler Manson, so live with that guilt.

6. Watching your husband turn into a father when he kisses your belly good night, reads to the baby in utero, or stays up until 3:00 a.m. putting the crib together -- just in case the baby decides to come eight weeks early.
Watching husband complain that he hasn't been able to feel the baby move yet, and then try for 3.2 seconds to put his hand on your stomach before giving up, exasperated, saying, "She never moves for me." Toddler has more patience.

7. Sex: For once in your life, you're neither worried about getting pregnant nor trying to get pregnant. You can have sex just for the pure fun of it.
"Can", but do not have the energy or pain tolerance for it.

8. Buying a bathing suit. It's not about hiding your flaws; it's about flaunting your belly.
You belly may want to be flaunted, but your giant thighs and upper arms' desire is to be hidden. Must put on pants by throwing them on floor and gingerly working one foot and then the other into leg holes so trying on any clothing is undesirable.

9. Those wild, intense, amazing pregnancy dreams in which every remote person from your past makes some sort of appearance. None of these dreams can even begin to be analyzed or understood.
Have you met me? Hi, I'm Alice. I'm crazy. See this entry.

10. The amazing anticipation. It's like all your previous birthdays and holidays rolled into one.
That goes on and on and on and on and on and on until... (anticipa.............tion is not all it's cracked up to be)

11. Imagining the possibilities.
The possibilities that something catastrophic will happen and my body will no longer be able to sustain this life, how the fact that homicide is the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the US will come into play, that I'll be in a car wreck and deliver at twenty-two weeks, that this baby will grow up to hate me and choose a life of crime just to spite me... ah the possibilities!

12. More personal space! And you have no qualms about claiming it.
Also fill up more personal space and have been accidentally groped or felt up by everyone from a missionary to a cable repair man. Number of people who now have direct access to look at and touch my bajingo has now increased ten-fold.

13. You eat healthier, drink more water, and carefully read ingredient labels. Suddenly, it matters more to you what you put in your body.
Tell that to my body that craves only Diet Coke and Sausage
, Egg and Cheese Biscuits from McDonald's.

14. In the middle of a boring meeting at work or a meaningless argument, you feel your baby squirming inside you and the sensation takes you away. It's your own secret communication.
Every time this feeling happens, feel like I'm on a roller coaster ride and must suppress urge to throw my arms up and yell, "Weeee" during staff meetings.

15. Getting to hear the swish swish swish of your baby's heartbeat on the Doppler.
Worrying in between every doctor visit that you won't hear that swish swish swish kind of sucks, though.

16. Playing "Guess the part sticking out," usually at bedtime, when your baby starts moving furniture around or whatever it is he does in there.
Or more accurately, "Guess the part that's sticking in my cervix."

17. The extra attention you get from everyone -- your husband gives you more foot rubs, and your friends call to check in more often. Neighbors offer to help; coworkers volunteer to get lunch for you; little presents (a bottle of water, an afternoon snack) mysteriously show up on your desk.
Everything I touch ends up on floor; floor is suddenly three feet further away from reach. People are only interested in helping if it means they can carry something heavy. No one wants to wheel me in my rolling chair to the bathroom or pick up the eighteen pencils that are under my desk. Am still waiting for a foot rub, by the way.

18. The pregnancy beauty package: thick, silky hair; long, strong nails; beautiful skin; big boobs.
Exhibit A: strange clump of baby fine hair growing out of left side of forehead which cannot be combed, pulled back, curled or sprayed into submission

Exhibit B: need to shave legs twice as frequently, but cannot reach legs to do so
Exhibit C: twice as likely to need to brush teeth; cannot do so without gagging... or gums bleeding
Exhibit D: bra that looks like David misplaced his sling and instead used it to throw the rock that slayed Goliath.

19. Getting to skip to the front of the line in public rest rooms.
Needing to ask to do that on average twenty-seven times per day.

20. Shopping for a person you haven't met yet: tiny clothes, all-new furniture, and adorable room decorations.
Paying $30 for a dress made from material equivalent to a $2 remnant piece.

21. Dreaming about the first time someone calls you "Mommy" and the first time you hear someone call your husband "Daddy."
Strangely inappropriate and creepy, though, when people at work start every email with “Hi Mom.”

22. Baby showers! They remind you how special your friends and family think you are.
Unless you don’t enjoy playing games like Stages of Labor Concentration and eating melted candy bars out of diapers.

23. A continuous sense of accomplishment. You can answer "What did you do today?" with cool things like "I made ears" or simply "I'm making a person. What did you do?"
And yet, inexplicably, “I finished publishing that book from my hospital delivery room” didn't lead to the raise I wanted when it came time for my annual review.

24. Spending immeasurable amounts of time trying to remember all those nursery rhymes, children's songs, and lullabies.
And then later singing the same one, over and over and over. I think most people aren't aware that the portion of my brain formerly set aside for the olfactory sense has been re-appropriated and is now simply filled with song lyrics.

25. Knowing that all the bad stuff -- the heartburn, swollen ankles, backaches, and the rest -- doesn't last forever. And that in the end, it's all worth it.
Can't see ankles anyway.

And now the requested "belly shot". Ugh.
Enjoy, because that will probably be the last one for a long time.

25 weeks