In no particular order:
I was listening to the Veils' "The Leaver's Dance" quite a lot around that time. It was my favorite song of the moment. So then for a long time I couldn't even hear Finn Andrews' voice without feeling an echo of morning sickness. (But we did consider the name "Finn," which I still think is cute.)
After the morning sickness went away, there was this intense hunger phase. In fact, I would get so hungry, and my stomach would seize so frantically onto the first thing I ate, that it almost caused more nausea. I called it the "tank of sharks" phenomenon. You know those marine biology films, where they show a tank of hungry sharks, and they throw a piece of meat into it, and the sharks go nuts, thrashing around and splashing water everywhere? That was what the first few bites were like, during meals in the intense hunger phase. My stomach, or perhaps the boy, was like a tank of sharks.
(Don't read this one if you're squeamish.) I had numerous labor phobias over the months. One was this idea of blood loss. I knew you were supposed to undergo a great deal of it, but wasn't sure how and when. So I was picturing just bleeding steadily for hours, during contractions, and finally fainting and dying of blood loss. But it was nothing like that. It pretty much all happens (or did for me anyway) with the delivery of the placenta, in one hilariously huge gush which you don't even care about because, hey!, you have a baby in your arms! Still, I recall saying "That felt gross." I mean, really, the way it felt, I expected to see everyone around me wiping blood off their glasses. And yet it didn't even particularly hurt, so mostly it was just impressive. Then of course over the next month your body makes up for having missed the last eight periods by having them all in a row.
The one thing I really wanted to do, after delivery, was blow my nose. I was in the third day of a cold and my nose was totally stuffed. But my abdominal muscles were too weak to manage it. Turns out it's quite hard to blow your nose effectively with exhalation alone.
The boy was born needing a haircut. It was creeping over his collar in back. He finally did get it trimmed, at age 2 months, when we went in for a visit while Steve was getting his hair cut. Our hairdresser said he was definitely the youngest client she'd ever had. Now it looks weird to me when babies don't have hair. I'm sure to other parents our baby looks like he's wearing a toupee.
I still have the linea negra (though it's brown, not black) down my belly. Steve says he likes it because I look like a striped animal--"striped" pronounced with two syllables.
However, I did get through this year without a single stretch mark. And today I was able to button up one more pair of my old trousers. The skinnier ones, though, are still impossibly tight. Was I ever so thin? I don't mind, for in the meantime, with my extra feminine cushioning, I just pretend I look like Marilyn Monroe.
The sleep deprivation has been the worst thing about the fourth trimester. It still beats any of the worst things about the other trimesters. And as other insomniacs know, being kept awake for a reason is far, far better than lying awake for no reason at all. I've experienced that too--even in the last three months, even needing sleep--and it's much more frustrating than getting up for the fourth time to ask my son just why he needs to thrash in his sleep like that.
Even in the tired state I'm in, I am still able to climb Seattle's steep streets, carrying the baby, with more energy than when I was seven months pregnant and getting lots of sleep. So things are getting better all the time.
Also, even better than the first smiles are the first conversations. These tend to go:
M: Oh yeah? Really?
Z: Ah. Awooo.
M: Uh-huh. That's interesting. Tell me more.
Z: Aya. Uhhh. Huhuhwuh. Ih, oooh.
M: That's good. Learning your vowels.
Z: Eh! Ooooowa.
Anyway, here you go, complete with drool: