Saturday, September 20, 2014

week 34


Quick update: We are now at week 34. The baby is fantastic. Any problems I'm having can only be blamed on my body being angry at being taken for granted all this time and using this opportunity to make me pay for it. As a result, I now have a deep, lifelong respect for all that the disabled must endure.

I'm having fake-out (Braxton-Hicks) contractions that should be fake-painful as well, but that's apparently not how this works. My tricky hip (nerve pain that has made turning over in my sleep a ridiculous process since month two) makes everyone think I'm 11 months pregnant because of the way I waddle and cannot get in and out of vehicles without assistance.

But! This kid is doing great: She's got one foot up by her face and one foot down by her booty so she can simultaneously kick me in the groin and the ribs. And I don't mind one bit. I am so, so thankful to be here at this point. The cervix is 2.5 cm but soft like Jell-O and the physicians can feel the baby's head right there. There's a possibility I may be 1 cm dilated. I am having about four contractions an hour--which make for some interesting pauses during conference calls, let me tell you.

Anything can happen, folks. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

leather

photo by SecondPrint Productions

Happy third anniversary, Jon. That was the best day of my life...so far.

Friday, September 12, 2014



Brother. It is a little ironic that the one celebration that you could/wanted to spend with us on your actual birthday in a very, very long time didn't end up happening because I got scared and went to the hospital. I feel bad that you were hanging around near the restaurant for hours was while I was hooked up to monitors trying to figure out if those contractions were real and if I was leaking amniotic fluid (not really and no, everything turned out to be fine; it just took a really long time to confirm).

As much as you would never admit it, I know it's going to be different when this baby comes. Your wants and needs have been first priority for so much of the past three decades--how could they not? I don't resent you for it; I worry about you as much as mom and dad do. I know you have been wiggling out from under the parental blanket of concern for a long time, and you've done an exceptional job proving that you are your own man who can handle your own business. We don't need to worry, but it's not something we can turn off.

It has been tremendously hard for me the past few months to be the person that isn't allowed to help, can't even get up from a chair without extreme difficulty and is basically at the mercy of everyone else. The biggest lesson I've learned during the last few years is that apparently I can't control everything, which was clear to you since you were just a baby. It's probably just as hard for you to now be the one worrying, waiting for a call that everything is ok...or not. We've both done a lot of growing up in the last few years.

Happy Birthday.


Friday, August 15, 2014

36

So here I am, on *this* side of 35.
And here we are, on *this* side of 4 a.m.

***
I've never been melancholy on my birthday, but during the last few months I've found myself at the top of the world, taking in a deep breath of gratitude...then BAM, I get a glimpse of the straight drop ahead and my stomach is suddenly in my throat. I guess the only nice thing about emotional rollercoasters is that if you (and your understanding family) can ride it out, you're back on an even keel soon enough.

Last week, Syar turned 26. Do you guys remember when she was a precocious 16-year-old commenting here with all the wisdom and wit of a much more experienced person? Then how we blinked twice and now she's a grownup lady? It's so crazy how much she has grown but stayed the same. And how I feel like I know her, yet never have met her. Oh, blogs.

***

My mom has always taken the day off work on my birthday. I never understood why, especially when I still had to go to school. I mean, if she can't hang out with me--and this day is all about me, after all--then what's the point? Even now, 36 years later, she took the day to be home, cooking and shopping and who knows what else while I was dealing with conference calls and frantic instant-messenger requests and mounting email, attempting to solve problems.

But now that I may get to bring somebody new into the world, I kind of get it: My mother might just want a day to herself to think. Maybe remember all the stuff before I showed up and what she had to go through to get me out and all she had to do to make sure I even made it to 36. I wonder if 36 years from now I might take my child's birthday off to think about these months of bed rest and no carbs and having to walk around like an 96-year-old and only going to the store once a month (if they have a scooter/wheelchair). And how it makes my damn day every single time this baby kicks me to show me that she's doing ok so I don't freak out. Is it possible to believe you have a great kid even before you've met her?

People kept asking me what I had planned for today, and honestly, there was only one thing I can say for certain. There will be ice-cream cake. There is always ice-cream cake. It'll be one sad, sorry August 14 when my mom isn't around and there won't be ice-cream cake. It just doesn't taste as good any other day. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that she didn't disappoint.

***

In general, I have a pretty low threshold for decision-making. You know, decision fatigue, when you are supposed to be making a lot of important choices in a row, but the weight of all that deciding has piled up on you so you are standing in front of the refrigerator, paralyzed and frustrated because you JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO EAT. Just choose! Whatever you want! It doesn't matter, just pick something! Like, now! You haven't decided? Hurry up! Everyone is waiting on you! I feel like the world is my refrigerator with its French doors flung open to reveal thousands of delicious choices, and everyone is demanding that I make up my mind RIGHT NOW. Except I can't make my mind do anything at all, let alone make that final choice between spaghetti and soup. Because what if I take a bite of spaghetti and immediately realize I should have gone with the soup? Doesn't the world understand that scenario is a risk I'm just not willing to take?

What scares me is that I am soon going to have to make hundreds of decisions a day for a person incapable of holding up her own head. And I'm sure that by the time I actually figure out how to comfortably make those choices, she won't want me to decide anything for her anymore.

***

Being alone all the time is getting to me. All day, every day. Thank God for conference calls.

I hate to be alone. I would certainly be one of those people who were asked to sit in a room with an electrical shocking device for 15 minutes with their thoughts who ended up shocking themselves to avoid having to be alone with their thoughts for 15 minutes.

It doesn't matter if the other people are somewhere else in the house doing their own thing and not interacting with me at all; just knowing they aren't far is good enough. I used to lie awake at night in my dorm room, only able to fall asleep when I heard my roommate's key in the door. Perhaps that was because I worried she'd be jumped on the way home from the library, but still.

***

I just spent 15 minutes trying to put a cover on one of those snuggly, noodly pillow things that pregnant ladies cuddle in order to sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time. About three-quarters of the way through that ordeal, I realized the thing already had a cover on it, which is probably why it was so difficult.

Pregnancy brain is real, people. And at this age, I don't think I will ever get my wits back.






Sunday, August 10, 2014

saturday night is all right

At 3:21 a.m. on a Saturday night 12 years ago, I was probably out somewhere in Greektown, eating a calzone trying to soak up the alcohol.

At 3:21 a.m. Saturday night nine years ago, I was probably sitting in the dungeon in the city, eating a grilled cheese sandwich from the cafeteria and emailing Jon in California.

At 3:21 a.m. tonight, I'm logged into work, knitting and listening to NPR on my headphones, waiting for the green light to finish testing a new system that just went live.

At 3:21 a.m. Saturday night five years from now, I hope to be sleeping.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

house arrest isn't so bad...most of the time

Today is 27 weeks for me and this baby. Hooray! The doctors are saying 28 is good, 30 is great and anything more than that is gravy. Of course, I am expecting we go the entire 40 together, but a lot of other people are not so sure we'll get that far. A girl can hope. I really just want a fully cooked turkey in time for Halloween. 

It's probably apropos that I bingewatched Orange Is the New Black during my incarceration, stuck on the upper floor of our house, only to be let out for doctor appointments and the occasional work meeting. You'd think that I'd be getting all kinds of bookreading, bootieknitting and bookshelforganizing done with all this *free time,* but I'll let you in on a little secret: I'm actually kind of sedentary, so I haven't really gained time.

Basically, I am still working kind of a lot of hours (trying to convince them I'm just as good from home as in the office), and I can't concentrate on anything for more than 10 minutes, which makes me less effective at work. That makes me feel guilty and stay logged in for longer and longer.

And then there's the emotional rollercoaster (hello, hormones!), so I've tried to keep from coming here and whining, because I truly am so thankful and grateful for all that I have. In fact, there was a Facebook thing going around where people posted three positive things about their lives for five days. Because Facebook is so easy to use from my phone while lying down, there was no question that I would participate.

DAY 1: 
1) Jon. Each day I have more reasons to thank my 2006 self for taking a risk on something completely unknown and have it work out in the best possible way.

2) My mom. If any of you have the pleasure of knowing her, that's all I need to say. I strive to be half the woman that she is.

3) Cheese.
DAY 2:
1) What I've learned. My mom has always said, "people can take anything away from you but not your education." And this isn't just limited to book learning.

2) My job. My career path has certainly been a rollercoaster, but I ended up in a place working with and for some wonderful people. Some days I know that something I did may have contributed to saving a life, and that means a lot. Even if my job has never been represented by an animal in a Richard Scarry kids' book.

3) Well-written, brilliantly acted, thought-provoking, satisfying, leaves-you-hungering-for-more television programming.
DAY 3:
1) Having the good fortune to be born in a country where I have had so many opportunities and freedoms, and during an era where a woman of color like myself is not held back as we once were.

2) Clean, running water, available at varying temperatures any time of the the day in a climate-controlled home.

3) The Internet. Holy cannoli, how did we ever live without it?!?
DAY 4:
1) I grew up without any extended family on this side of the world, but I've been blessed with the most loving and supportive friends a person could hope for. They have gotten me through the very hardest of times as well as created some of my best memories.

2) Podcasts.

3) Glasses and contact lenses. Without them, I'd be stumbling around squinting since 1991.
DAY 5:
1) My family is in relatively good health.

2) My friends are in relatively good health.

3) I still have my health. Being healthy is WAY UNDERRATED.

I can't emphasize that last sentence enough.






 

Friday, July 11, 2014

clearly at some point there will be bad news, but in the meantime

I have been told on the regular that I am a Negative Neddy. There's not a lot of proof to refute that, so here we are. Sorry this is long, but enjoy the positivity while it lasts!
  1. This baby is now at 24 weeks (the produce-size equivalent of either corn or a cantaloupe, depending on whom you ask). That is the furthest me and a baby have ever made it together, so each day is new terrain to discover.
  2. This cervix is holding steady, stitch in place. Steady enough that the specialist no longer thinks I need it checked via ultrasound every week. Let's not repeat that bit of news too much out loud or we may jinx it.
  3. This baby's heart has all the major components, and they look to be properly formed and working well together. This has always been a concern because heart defects run in my family. If this is the first you're hearing about that topic and you have 12 hours to kill, look up the label "brother" on the side rail and read the 111 posts about him. There could still be problems for the baby down the line, but for today, that ticker is in good shape.
  4. If it weren't for the cloud of terrifying possibilities hanging around--that wakes me and keeps me up for hours in the night telling me I'm leaking amniotic fluid, and interrupts all sorts of enjoyable television and not enjoyable conference calls with fears of contractions at every ache and pain--I would really enjoy being pregnant.
  5. This baby kicks me. A lot. And I'm grateful for each and every reassuring jab that she's OK in there.  
  6. People have been SO wonderful. 
    1. Strangers.
    2. Coworkers who didn't give a crap about me before.
    3. Everybody who doesn't judge me for my extremely, um, ethnic wardrobe of Auntie Patrol-approved muumuus. I scoffed when my aunts sent them for me and now I cannot live without them. (I may never voluntarily wear pants again.)
    4. Friends who send me cards.
    5. Friends who message to recommend books and see how I'm doing.
    6. Friends whom I have gotten to know better because they love someone I am friends with and have reached out with concern and much-appreciated advice about such a scary time from their own experiences.
    7. Friends who come over to spend some time with me, won't let me get up to be a proper hostess and don't make me feel bad about it. 
    8. Friends who bring their kids over so I can watch them run around and my baby can hear their happy little voices.
    9. Friends who don't bring their kids over so we can have an adult conversation. Or watch TV. Or both.
    10. Friends who come over and do stuff to help Jon. Even little things like keeping me company so he doesn't have to worry about dinner. And then he can have a few minutes to look at ESPN.com without feeling guilty that the dishes are piling up. Because now Jon has to do EVERYTHING. He has never complained once about it, but still.
    11. The "Police" (my mom and my husband) who don't let me lift, walk, use the stairs or pretty much do anything but keep my feet up. I could go on and on and on and on and on about how much these two have done to make my life bearable, but I'll spare you. They are truly my A-Team. The only thing I can hope to give them in return is this baby.
  7. The Police let me out on parole and took me to the fabric store for an afternoon. Best afternoon I've had this year. And not only because I got to drive around in the scooter.
  8. I have become a legitimate Facebook stalker. Seriously, the OCD is in overdrive and I need to read every single post. And repost. And pontificate about whatever social issue needs pontificating about--such as the overuse of the Oxford Comma. Also, I'm pretty sure I notified EB that her prom date was engaged about 30 seconds after it happened.
  9. Everyone but my brother pretends they are not annoyed by my Facebook activity, and some of them even enjoy my posts. Sweethearts.
  10. I have discovered Pinterest. I am desperately trying not to fall into that vortex. But I can only browse for about 30 minutes before looking outside at our weedy yard feeling unproductive and useless compared to the Pinterest prizewinners with their beautiful homes, yards and handmade goods. And apparently a lot of time.
  11. I have been knitting. I wish I were a lot faster. But then I worry about giving myself carpel tunnel.
  12. I have been working. A lot, but not too much. That is ok because:
    1. I would be going out of my mind alone all day every day. And worrying.
    2. Jon built me this awesome monitor-over-the-guest-bed-hanging-structure so I can truly lie down and work with a wireless keyboard and mouse. My brother gave me a practically new 22-inch monitor so I don't have to crane my neck. It rocks. 
    3. I'm trying to get all the crap I do at work in some semblance of order for the people who have to cover for me when this baby comes out. So I am learning to use Microsoft OneNote.
  13. I have probably seen more commercials in the last two months than I have in the last two years. The story behind this bored pp (though she'd never admit it) so I will summarize: We only watch dVR, Hulu or Netflix downstairs in the mancave. Jon sold the old jailbroken AppleTV upstairs before they could come out with a new one to make it undesireable. Then I got put on bedrest and can't go downstairs anymore. So unless I want to watch on a small screen in my lap, cable with commercials it is. DIYnetwork has the best ones. 
  14. Next week Jon's sisters, M and A (plus nephew Declan!) will be coming for a visit. Madelyn will also come back to hang out. It's always great to have them around.
  15. I am just really happy at this moment. 
  16. I was worried I complained too much on here, and nobody wants to read blogposts describing the circus in my head, so I will try to post more often now that I'm a little less scared out of my mind.

Again, thank you all for your prayers, your time, your kindness and your love.