Is this the most convoluted pregnancy announcement ever? Parasites and gummy bears??? I ask you!
I'M PREGNANT! That is to say, with kisses in Jim's direction, we are pregnant. Wheeeee!
Bows and curtsies. Yes, we did it. I mean, yeah, we did that too, but I mean, we did this. We made a gummy bear! I am only 9 weeks-ish and had my first ultrasound yesterday, and the baby did not look remotely babylike, but there was this amazing little hummingbird heartbeat in there, and that was about the coolest thing EVER. My belly has its own heartbeat! The whole gummy bear analogy thing, it is really not my fault. When I was asking the ultrasound tech how big the baby was, I asked if it was lima-bean-big, and she said it was bigger, and pointed to the side of one of her machines, where very conveniently she had taped a jumbo-size red gummy bear, with the words under it: "at nine weeks." So! That is how I know what my baby looks like -- red jelly candy, with ears.
We also met our midwife yesterday for the first time and I LOVE her and feel very happy with the midwife decision. She is a certified nurse midwife and her practice is hospital-based, not home-birth-based, which is what we want anyway. I'm sure I'll babble on lots about her as the months go by, but for now, I'm still a bit hesitant to babble too much about the whole "birth" thing, as this is only just beginning to feel real (since seeing and hearing that little maniac heartbeat) and I'm not even showing yet (except by celebrity standards, where even Angelina Jolie's jeans button counts as a "baby bump"), and the birth part feels a million years away. I guess the coming months will go by really fast -- months always do, don't they? But I think these will go by even faster because I will be
It's funny how much I'm looking forward to having that big round belly! I really really am! Maybe I'll take that back once I have it and can't find a comfortable sleeping position, or have to pee every five seconds, and all the other things I hear tell of, but right now, I just kind of want it.
So. A baby. A person! What a super-cool thing to be able to do with one's body! There's been a lot whirling around in our minds these last few weeks -- baby names, lifestyle changes, fears, excitement, all that. And, I've been EXHAUSTED. Not sick, thank goodness, but feeble and weary! And all this as I've been trying to. . . and I know you've heard me talk about this before, many months ago, but -- ULP! finish Silksinger!!!
I have, though! I really have! I haven't mentioned it for a while because I was kind of pretending like it was already done and hoping you might not notice I was still working on it. And it was so close for so long, it is really very wrong that elves did not sneak into the house to finish it for me, but they did not. The lazy good-for-nothings skittered around in the heating ducts taunting me and playing leap frog and refused to apply themselves! I had to do it myself, and here's the thing: I wrote "the end" at the end TODAY. So I guess that's a pretty big announcement too! I didn't burst into tears this time like I did with Blackbringer. I just heaved a deep sigh, caught sight of a leering elf out of the corner of my eye and flung an apple core at it. Okay, it was a pear core. Now I'm glad the little blighters didn't help. I can say I did it all myself, and I can say this too:
If I can finish a book, you can too.
Really. Especially this past month. I have been so god-awfully lazy. I have read books, watched movies, learned to crochet, and done other dithersome things I should not have been doing, because I just did not want to rewrite the climax of Silksinger yet again but I knew it needed it. And I've realized something: I need breaks when I'm writing. I don't mean a break during the day. I mean significant chunks of time away from the work. Weeks. Months would even be nice sometimes, and then coming back to it clear-eyed and open-hearted, but I wasn't able to do that this past year. I was having too much trouble with the book, and was too terrified it wouldn't "work out." I had to keep plugging away.
Here's another thing I haven't really told you about Silksinger, and it ties into the "If I can do it, so can you" premise: this book was hard. So hard, I want to dedicate it to myself. I'm so proud of me for finishing it! I mean, I thought it would be easier this time. It's my third book, my second full-length novel, I thought I'd be getting the hang of it. And yes, knowing I could do it (and that I had to do it, because I had already sold it!) did help, but the writing itself, well, nothing in this book went right the first or second or third time. Ever. I rewrote the bejeezus out of every single sentence, paragraph, and chapter of this thing. The bejeezus. I wrote thousands of pages of what if's and maybe's as I worked out plotting. I'm not even joking about that. Thousands of pages. Well, okay, maybe a thousand. But seriously, a ridiculous amount of writing that doesn't even qualifiy as "writing" in that rarified way that gets to have a "the end" at the end of it. Writing is so hard. Writing this book was so, so hard. I hope I never write a harder book! I'm so eager for the next one, whichever leaps in line first (there are a few contenders) and so hopeful that it will keep itself simple and neat, and not sprout extra heads and tails so I never know which way is up with it.
Oy oy, Silksinger, my darling, I thought you might kill me.
And when I say "finished" by the way, it doesn't really mean it is finished at all. It only means I am ready, at last, to send it to my editor who will weep at the length of it and pick up the phone and wail, "Why, Laini, why?" He will. He has begged me to not let it go long. I'm sorry Tim. I did my best, and I am counting on you to help me make it shorter. There is much work to do yet, but I can send it off now, and I think that by the time I get it back, a long, tear-streaked editorial letter, I will be out of my first trimester and maybe not so terribly weary and pathetic! That's right, mamas, isn't it? You perk up a little after that? Please? Please?
(Oh, and one reason I love my midwife is she gave me the all-clear on moderate amounts of coffee! A great WHOOP! to the skies!)
So much to say and think about -- the months ahead will be very rich, and I'll get to have my big round belly and start a new book, and then at the end of August we'll have a person. Crazy! And I'm pretty freaked out about my writing life after that, but I am determined, so here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to spend some of the next six months interviewing writing mamas like Shannon Hale** about how they do it, how they get the work done, and I'm going to post those interviews here. And I know I'll get some answers from some writers who didn't write when their kids were babies, and that's cool too, because I want to know it all. I'm going to psych myself up, and never let myself believe I can't do it. I want to know details too, secrets -- like baby hypnotism, stuff like that. Yeah? Who's your baby hypnotist?
Oh, and I can't forget to mention, the weirdest thing. Jim and I are already getting postcards from the gummy bear! Seriously. Isn't that crazy? It either supports my theory that my womb carries the world's youngest genius, OR, alternatively, maybe somebody else is sending them. Hmmm. . .
**Speaking of Shannon Hale, I just read Book of a Thousand Days and I loved it. Loved it. It's tied with The Goose Girl for my favorite of hers. Love.
Oh wait, don't go away yet. First look at this. Don't think about babies at all when I say "gummy bear" this time, or it would be gross. This is a gummy bear chandelier!