the smell of my desperation has become a stench

18 weeks

18 weeks

Today marks my 18th week of pregnancy, and the look on my face has a little to do with the way I’m feeling, although it’s more about the fact that Jon was trying to get me to smile. Nothing to me is more obnoxious, except maybe someone calling me sweetheart or darling with a Boston accent. That look is a warning, it’s me going dude, if you would like this kid to grow up and know its father you had better shut it. I will smile when I am damn good and ready, thank you very much, just take the photo before things turn ugly and I start using your middle name.

The past couple of weeks have physically been a breeze, but emotionally I’m a bit of a wreck. I think it has very little to do with pregnancy and everything to do with the weather. It’s a seasonal dip I struggle with every year at about this time when I crave warm weather, sun, and late afternoons on the porch but am living day after day of cloudy skies, snow, and 4:30 PM sunsets. This is probably the hardest thing about living in Utah, and I know there are far colder places than Salt Lake City, but when I stopped to pinpoint exactly what was making me so sad I realized it was just a matter of not seeing blue sky in fourteen days. And the constant act of bending over to towel off the dogs so they don’t drag snow into the house. Nothing tragic, no, but it was enough to make me start yelling obscenities at a carton of orange juice because I couldn’t get the safety cap off.

There’s not much I can really do to combat this other than get out in the sun on days when that is possible and continue my exercise routine. Yes, I’ve heard about those lamps people use to treat themselves for seasonal affective disorder, and while I do think I am sensitive to light, I’m willing to bet that my case has more to do with actual sun and warmth and the smell of fragrant, blooming plants in the air. Which is why we’ve planned a trip to Southern California for the last week of February. Which is why we should move to Southern California in February, except for all those other mitigating factors like “house” and “family” that routinely tell my winter mood to suck it.

In other news, I have an ultrasound scheduled for Friday morning, and our plan is to find out the sex of the baby. We have been referring to it as Stretch, although Leta thinks that’s horrifying. I asked her to suggest a name then, and what do you know, she’s now calling it Princess Aurora. I told her we couldn’t name the baby that if it’s a boy because, you know, middle school, and she said, not a problem! No worries! If it’s a boy we’ll just call him Prince Aurora.

  • Jacinta

    2009/01/13 at 5:05 pm

    Congrats on the baby 🙂

  • Catherine

    2009/01/13 at 5:05 pm

    First comment! You look beautiful! Thanks for the postcard…Chuck is now glaring at me from my bulletin board with a lovely blue wig on his head.

  • Sarah

    2009/01/13 at 5:05 pm

    How exciting! Are you going to tell us if it’s a Prince Aurora or a Princess Aurora?

    Good luck!

  • cj

    2009/01/13 at 5:06 pm

    my husband knows that face well. Umm. not yours. Mine

  • Kristan

    2009/01/13 at 5:06 pm

    LOL see? Leta’s got it all figured out.

    Prince Aurora is going to think he was a rather unwelcome baby when s/he sees these photos later in life… 😛

  • Briana

    2009/01/13 at 5:07 pm

    My mom and her sister wanted to name their youngest sister Tinkerbell after seeing Peter Pan. Her parents compromised with Wendy!

    It could be worse. My cousin wanted to name her brother “Chili”.

  • Guinhyvar

    2009/01/13 at 5:09 pm

    You look lovely, and Leta’s suggestions are brilliant.

    And, as a resident of So Cal… today it was 88* and not a cloud in the sky. I feel your pain; I grew up in Utah, and moved here six years ago. I’ll be honest… I don’t miss it. I think Utah is beautiful, and I do miss the mountains, but I far prefer the sun and surf anyday 🙂

  • Anonymous

    2009/01/13 at 5:09 pm

    I know someone who ACTUALLY called their baby Aurora…

  • teegees

    2009/01/13 at 5:09 pm

    Prince Aurora. I like it! It’s better than Phinneaus or Apple…

  • jayne

    2009/01/13 at 5:09 pm

    At least Prince Aurora is a name. My daughter would suggest something descriptive…like “Naked” or “Tiny Weiner.”

  • Jen on the Edge

    2009/01/13 at 5:10 pm

    Prince Aurora Armstrong has a very nice ring to it. He won’t necessarily get his ass kicked in middle school.

  • Elinda

    2009/01/13 at 5:11 pm

    If it makes you feel any better, you are looking very petite for being almost half way there! I must have been a real cow. I guess I did gain 60 lbs. with my most recent pregnancy!

    My older son wanted to name the baby Max for a boy… and Pinky for a girl.

  • Bex

    2009/01/13 at 5:12 pm

    Ahhh, you’re clever. Finding out the sex sounds like a good move. Can’t wait to hear the news! Hope you feel better about the weather soon 🙂


    2009/01/13 at 5:15 pm

    Prince Aurora. Classic. At least she’s ALLOWING for the possibility of boy.
    Yeah, winter is fun for about three weeks and then it just turns into the season of cold grey hate.
    Bring on spring. (PLEEEEEASE)

  • Anonymous

    2009/01/13 at 5:15 pm

    my oldest wanted to call my middle child Paprika – we were in the midst of a big Blues Clues addiction!!

  • franny

    2009/01/13 at 5:15 pm

    I feel you completely on the lack of sunshine- I live in Portland, Oregon and every year around late November I start to feel a mounting pressure in my head that gets worse and worse with the continuing absence of sunlight. By January I am pretty much a moody, emotional wreck. I have started to use a light box and it has helped but it’s still a shoddy substitute for the real thing. I also started taking 1,000 mg. of Vitamin D, and that’s supposed to help too. I’m still not totally convinced, but it’s worth a shot.
    Good luck.

  • Melissa

    2009/01/13 at 5:16 pm

    At least in SLC you have the gorgeous mountain view! Here in ND we have nothing, just the cold, wind, snow and gray sky. Yes, I am feeling that bout of mid-winter moodiness and the yearn for the sun as well.

    You look amazing!

  • Keyona

    2009/01/13 at 5:18 pm

    Goodness, I’m afraid of that warning look. I hope you start to feel better.

    Love your blog! :o)

  • Kathy

    2009/01/13 at 5:18 pm


    You should apply for this job. Sun, sand, blogging, and $100,000 for a 6 month gig.

  • Elea

    2009/01/13 at 5:19 pm

    Well, you know, at least Leta’s suggestions indicate that she’s still happy about getting a sibling thus far. It’s when she tells you that the kid needs to be named Poophead, Coco Jr., or That Thing that some concern might be warranted.

  • Amy

    2009/01/13 at 5:19 pm

    I do wish I had been that skinny at 18 weeks!!

  • Catherine

    2009/01/13 at 5:20 pm

    I too loathe Disney princesses but, except for that little affliction, Leta is quite awesome.

    We’ve had a miserable winter up here in the normally sunny Calgary too. I can most definitely relate.

    You really do look beautiful, albeit pissed off. It’s nice to see pregnancy agreeing with you.

  • WonderMike

    2009/01/13 at 5:20 pm

    Prince Aurora will most definitely be his drag name.

  • stella

    2009/01/13 at 5:23 pm

    I feel your pain – we are off to Hawaii in February and I cannot wait. Winter darkness is NOT fun and I can’t stand going and leaving work in the dark. It’s not right, I tell you. Hang in there and Vitamin D does work. Trust me.

  • fallgirly

    2009/01/13 at 5:24 pm

    You are so cute! I wish I was that tiny at 18 weeks.

  • Heather B.

    2009/01/13 at 5:25 pm

    I am SoCal bound for the end of February, too. Every morning I wake up and announce how much I despise Upstate NY and by midday I’m in tears. Let’s hope that the vacation helps or else it is going to be a long trek to May.

  • Kim in AK

    2009/01/13 at 5:25 pm

    That’s hysterical!

    Is Leta going to get mad if the new baby looks at her books and toys?

  • April

    2009/01/13 at 5:26 pm

    I have seen that look and given it many times. It is so nice to not always have to use words… it is surprising that after a root canal with half your face numb you can still give that look.

    I am with you on needing some sunshine. I am from California and 14 days without sun is unheard of. Even in Tahoe you get sun more often than that.

    Hope we get some sunny skies for you.

  • Maureen

    2009/01/13 at 5:30 pm

    I, too, suffer from the winter blues and I live in Calgary, too!! I feel your pain; hang in there… the days will get longer and sunnier… we love you!

  • Marieke

    2009/01/13 at 5:31 pm

    At least Leta has opened up to the idea of the baby being a boy 🙂

  • Mrs Money

    2009/01/13 at 5:31 pm

    I hope you can find out what the sex of the baby is. You look great, Heather!

  • amy j.

    2009/01/13 at 5:32 pm

    I’m not pregnant Heather, but I have that exact face too right now…and it’s not directed at my husband, for the moment anyway.

    We live outside Nashville, and this winter has been the dreariest I can remember in YEARS. It’s rained and rained and RAINED for weeks on end. We had more than 16 days of cloudy gray days before Christmas (continuing this week) and I felt myself literally crawling inside my own skin from the anxiety it was beginning to bring out in me.

    That’s when I discovered I was rather deficient in iron, like really, really deficient, and guess what? Vitamin D and B12. My husband said that explained ALOT. So, I got some vitamins and other supplements and started taking them and it has really done me a world of good. I’m still fighting the malaise the dark days bring, but my overall mood is better because I physically feel better.

    You might ask your doctor about those vitamin supplements…I know you’re taking prenatals, but maybe a bit more Vitamin D and B12 would help…with your nausea of late, you definitely might be a bit deficient.

    Hope the sun comes out soon.

  • Dayna

    2009/01/13 at 5:34 pm

    Prince Aurora has a pretty decent ring, especially paired with Armstrong. At least she’s open to the possibility of a new baby. When my Godson was born his brother, who had demanded a puppy, was quite disappointed by the appearance of a human.

    I understand totally about the winter blues. I am trying to convince my fiance to fly cross-country to L.A. for a week in February so I can endure the rest of the winter. I don’t do so well this time of year. Ugh, depressing.

    I’ve thought about those lamps but like you, crave blue skies, flowering plants and sunshine.

    How many more days until spring?

  • Maddy

    2009/01/13 at 5:36 pm

    My friend Julian’s big brother was told he could name the new baby and he chose “Baby Number One” as his first choice. It’s not really the best name for a second child, so they compromised and gave him the middle name “Kermit”.

    Their little brother is called Alexander Bunyip, which is far funnier to Australians, as he’s a children’s book character – The Monster that ate Canberra [the capital city] (man! this takes too much explaining).

  • The Dalai Mama

    2009/01/13 at 5:37 pm

    It’s nice to know that Leta is open to compromise. I give my hubby that same look my hubby when he takes video of me. It doesn’t often work but I know how you feel.

    All I have to say–Come on Spring. It didn’ get above 23 where I live today. Hate the bone chilling cold weather.

    Can’t wait to hear if Prince or Princess is joining all the fun at dooce.

  • Robin G.

    2009/01/13 at 5:37 pm

    Not pregnant, but right there with you on the seasonal affective. It’s such a fucking *chore* to get out of bed, brush my teeth, eat a meal, and take a shower. (That’s not sarcasm. Just listing those things made me tired.)

    My therapist keeps hounding me about those sun lamp things, but I’m kind of skeptical. Intellectually, I understand how the chemical reactions in my skin will lead to an improved mood and higher energy. But the thing is, they’re, like, two hundred dollars. I don’t have that kind of money to throw around. Also I would feel like a total idiot sitting in front of a fucking lamp.

    If you do get a lamp (or come up with any other clever solution to the winter blues), let us know.

  • Kathryn

    2009/01/13 at 5:38 pm

    I went through a phase where every picture of a girl I coloured was “Princess Aurora”, so I totally get where Leta is coming from …

  • trish

    2009/01/13 at 5:38 pm

    I live in a fairly expensive area of California, and sometimes the subject of housing prices comes up, particularly the subject of how much more house you can get in other states, and generally those states have snow. And my response is, Yes, you can move somewhere cheaper and have a bigger house, but THEN YOU HAVE TO LIVE THERE. And I’m not capping on other states, I’m just saying at least I don’t have to shovel snow.

    Yesterday? 84 degrees here. I’m not gloating, I’m just saying I wish you lived closer to where I lived.

  • Ris

    2009/01/13 at 5:39 pm

    I grew up in Austin, TX and have been in Chicago for about six months. This winter stuff, and especially the latest round of snow we just had is getting a bit hard to stomach. Also not easy? That people keep telling me IT JUST GETS WORSE. So yeah, I feel ya!

  • maddy

    2009/01/13 at 5:39 pm

    ps. It’s a swelteringly hot, cloudless day here. I might go to the beach. Not to rub it in or anything.
    Feel better 🙂

  • Britte

    2009/01/13 at 5:40 pm

    I struggle with the same thing. I found that getting outside in the sun between 10am and noon helps…I have no idea why. All I know is it makes me feel better so I’m sticking to it. I have one of those lamp things and I love it…but not because it helps me (which is doesn’t), it just makes it easily to wake up. What I have is called a sun rise alarm clock. I set it so the light takes 30 minutes to go down at night (simulating a sunset) and i use that to time how long I’m allowed to read before I fall asleep (otherwise I stay up all night). In the morning i have it slowly rise til it hits full brightness. I have it so it starts rising an hour before I want to wake up and usually about 40 minutes into it I usually wake up. It’s more pleasant than waking up to that awful beep sound that an alarm makes. Makes me less grouchy in the morning which is always a good way to start off the day.

  • Sally in Florida

    2009/01/13 at 5:42 pm

    I went through the same thing living in NJ. Now I’m in FL and it’s light until 7-ish and it was 77 today. Makes a huge difference. Anytime you want to come and soak up our sun and fun, you’re welcome to it. Southern California doesn’t suck either, just saying. 🙂

  • Katya

    2009/01/13 at 5:44 pm

    Sun? what is that? I have forgotten the sun.
    Leta is going to have a BLAST with Prince Aurora.

    rock out Dooce

  • Pictou

    2009/01/13 at 5:44 pm

    There is always an ad at the top of your page saying “I lost 30 lbs of stomach fat in 8 weeks …….” along with two belly shots. I see these every day and have to remind myself that these are not your weekly pregnancy shots. But I have to look twice.

    On an unrelated note, my sister and her husband just got TWO miniature Australian Shepherd puppies. You might want to send her a sympathy card and the address of a therapist.

  • Anonymous

    2009/01/13 at 5:45 pm

    Oh, I can empathize with the gloomy weather issues. We live in northern Minnesota and when i have to work from eight to five I don’t see the sun at all. It’s dark when I go to work, dark when I come home. I think I’m going to become one of those mole people soon. People weren’t meant to live like this *sigh*

  • JC

    2009/01/13 at 5:46 pm

    You look great!! I was the size of a house at 18 weeks. While in SoCal, you are always welcome to sit on my deck in Manhattan Beach and take in the (currently) 81 degree weather. I am not joking – 81 degress this week. Crazy! My 4 year old daughter would love to play princesses with Leta (yes, I am beyond anti-princess – they are the root of all learned helplessness evil!) While I love this weather, I am dying to wear my new black boots I just bought! 🙂 Hang in there, you’re half way there!

  • Rooth

    2009/01/13 at 5:51 pm

    I think Michael Jackson has used and reused the name Prince… but Pssssssttt Leta you can call him Prince at home. They called me Pokey for years… and the truth? I kinda miss it.

  • Becky

    2009/01/13 at 5:52 pm

    I’m totally with you on the winter climate and what it does to you at this time of year. How depressing. Yet I stay in the cold, too. The trip will do you wonders.

  • Margaret B

    2009/01/13 at 5:54 pm

    Oh Heather – yay! I just found out my baby’s a little BOY (due June 11th), it’s so exciting! But I was just thinking this morning, “I wonder what Heather’s having and if she’ll tell us.” =) I’m getting all tired again now that the second trimester’s officially in swing.

  • alayna

    2009/01/13 at 5:55 pm

    she’s definitely got it all figured out, huh?

    Prince Aurora. Damn right.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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