Friday, April 30, 2010

The Pregnant Glow

I am very tired today. All I did was take a long walk, and I ended up collapsing on the couch and falling asleep with Eli while watching Maggie and The Ferocious Beast. I even slept a good eight hours last night, too. Unless you count waking up to pee, and oh my gosh is that getting old fast. Good thing that little pregnancy side effect will be over soo- oh wait! Ha ha!

The Braxton Hicks are getting stronger lately, some honest to goodness painful, so I suppose I'll have to mention that to my doctor on Monday. I'm kind of dreading it, because I'm worried she'll start checking cervix status and all that and somehow I'll end up on bedrest ALREADY. It would totally be worth it to ensure the baby's safety, obviously, but I'm feeling so good lately and I so want to have a fun summer with the kids before the baby arrives. So all of you who've had multiple kids can just feel free to chime in about how frequently your belly felt tight and crampy when you were pregnant with number three.

Other than the peeing thing and the crampy thing, I've been feeling more or less great lately. It's that mythical "good trimester" thing that I never really experienced the last time around! Given the Braxton Hicks, though, I'm trying to take it easy and not go too crazy with projects just because I feel better, so the house is not as clean as I like it, and I haven't done a darn thing on my nesting list. Still haven't really thought about names, and the only planning and dreaming I've done is for the summer: multiple cottage trips to Canada, possibly a twelve hour road trip to Charleston to visit my older sister (with both kids! I know! I know! I'm out of my mind, clearly,) gardening, sitting outside on the deck while the kids play. Grilling. Enjoying yummy summer food. I practically start drooling thinking about corn on the cob and watermelon and REAL tomatoes and ice cream cones and... Well. Can you tell I'm not really nauseous anymore? And also really really hungry?

I think that I'm still in a pinch-me, I'm actually, really pregnant! phase, AND I still can't wrap my head around the reality of three kids in the fall, so I'm just trying to anticipate the next bend in the road and not freak myself out thinking too far ahead! I do find myself noticing cute little babies more than usual, though. I saw a little girl in a sunhat today, about six months old, that nearly slayed me with her adorable-ness. I wanted to walk up and ask her (perfect stranger) mother if I could hold her for a minute. MAAAYBE pinch a cheek, too.

Is it normal to be feeling not all that impatient for the baby's arrival? Because both other times, I felt like every single day was a grueling test of my patience, and this time I just feel so happy, most of the time, and perfectly content with where I am in terms of gestation. It seems strange to me because this is the pregnancy I have worked the hardest for, wished for the most fervently, so wouldn't I be just DESPERATE to see the baby already? Or maybe because I wanted to maintain a pregnancy so badly, I'm just ready to enjoy being pregnant for once instead of being so anxious to move on to the next phase?

Monday, April 26, 2010


Last week I had to go to two different visitations for women who were at one time a part of my life and have now passed away. Tammy was in her early fifties, had always suffered from very serious diabetes, had already lost a leg to the disease, and was recently on kidney dialysis as well. She went into surgery to try to clear out a blockage in her remaining leg, coded on the table (they believe she was very weakened from the dialysis) and never recovered.

Tammy was a neighbor of ours when I was younger, and her son and I drove to school together every day my sophomore year. I had more or less lost touch with him, especially after he moved to Australia, but he's back in the States now and married. It was really good to see him and catch up, but man, it was under such awful circumstances. His poor dad seemed really a wreck. My friend John was their only child, so now it's just him and his dad.

The second visitation was for a girl who was only twenty five and died
of complications from a staph infection. Staci had been part of a small group from our church that met at our house for about two years. She married a youth pastor a couple of years ago and began attending his church, so I had kind of lost touch with her, as well. She had always had heart problems, and was frequently in and out of the hospital, so they have no idea when she contracted the infection. She went into the hospital a few weeks ago complaining of severe flu-like symptoms, worsened and was taken to a different hospital, where they ran blood tests and discovered the staph. By that time it was in her bloodstream, though, and even though they got the infection under control, it had done too much damage to her organs. She basically just shut down within about a week, and passed away.

Staci's visitation was much harder, understandably. Such a young woman, only married two years, The place was packed with all her family, her two sisters, both pregnant, all the kids from the youth group who had gotten close to her. The walls were covered with pictures and letters her nieces and nephews had sent to her in the hospital. And of course there was her poor husband, who just looked shell shocked and lost. He kept looking around, seeming confused, as though waiting for someone to come and take him out of there. Well, looking for her, I suppose.

So... I've mentioned that the hormones are kind of running rampant lately. By the time I got up through the line and was a few people back from the casket (open, which I kind of hate) I was a total mess and working to hold it together. The woman in front of me was obviously an old friend of Staci's mom and was hugging her and crying. The mom held her tightly for a few minutes, then stepped back and sort of abruptly pulled herself together. She turned to the casket and patted her daughter's arm, murmuring calmly to her friend, "It's all right; she's all better now." Then with a great, tender dignity she straightened her child's sleeve and brushed a piece of lint from the fabric. Her husband broke down beside her, but she had seemed to gather some kind of resolve in this maternal gesture, even now, and was very steady by the time I got to her.

I of course was a complete and utter mess. As I had been watching her, I just kept thinking, That was her baby, right there. She nursed her at two AM, she took care of her and worried about her when she was sick, she helped her prepare to walk down the aisle as a bride. How can she stand it? How can she not feel like she's burying her own heart?

I felt so bad for crying in front of this mother who was being so strong, but she was very kind. I hurried out of there as soon as I could, then sat in my car in the parking lot and sobbed. Sometimes it's so scary having children. Well, loving anyone at all, really. It's so very dangerous. You might as well just expect it: at some point, you are going to get your heart broken. It's worth it, yes, but at times it feels like just barely.

Anyways, I haven't been able to get either of those women out of my mind. They both struggled physically all their lives, but seemed so happy, so close to their families, so full of life. I am happy that they aren't in pain any longer, but I feel so badly for the pain their loved ones are feeling. This Jars of Clay song came up on my ipod the other day, and it made me ache for them, especially Staci's husband. For all of us, I guess- for every person who has had to say goodbye too soon.

Be still,
Let your hand melt into mine.
The part of me that breathes when you breathe is losing time.
I can't find the words to say I'll never say goodbye.

I'll fly with you through the night so you know I'm not letting go,
I'm not letting go.
My tears like rain fill up the sky,
Oh my love, I'm not letting go,
I won't let you go.

I saw the host of silent angels waiting on their own,
Knowing that all the promises of faith
Come alive when you see home,
Hold still and let your hand melt into mine.

And I'll fly with you through the night so you know I'm not letting go,
I'm not letting go.
My tears like rain fill up the sky,
Oh my love, I'm not letting go,
I won't let you go.

Shed your heart
And your breath
And your pain and fly.
Now you're alive.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sense of Direction

Last night my sister was in a town about an hour and half from ours for a training seminar. She didn't really know anybody there to hang out with and I figured she was getting bored, so I decided to go meet her for dinner and shoe shopping once she got out of classes. All this was fine, fun, whatevs. Just background.

The story part of this story is that while driving home from said town, a drive I have made probably a bazillion times since my childhood, I somehow managed to forget which direction I needed to be heading. Like, whether I needed to go east or west on the highway. Fortunately I headed off that disaster by simply calling Jim and asking casual-like, "Home is, uh, east of here, right?"

Then I had to stop twice, on (what should have been) a less than two hour drive, to pee. And I mean I HAD to stop. I was practically unzipping my pants on the way in the gas station door.

And uh, then I somehow missed my exit home- again, the exit I have used probably A HUNDRED TIMES, and got about fifteen minutes further down the highway before I realized it. I was so confused and tired at that point I just called Jim, and he helped me get to another state route that intersected with the highway, rather than going all the way back to the original exit I had missed.

The point? I should never drive anywhere by myself, apparently. And also, pregnancy brain is a real thing and it is no laughing matter. I am only three and a half months along and I swear, half the time I already feel partially lobotomized.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm A Big Kid Now

You know how people always talk about those defining moments when you recognize yourself as a REAL grown up? Like, not the usual symbolic rites of passage such as one's twenty-first birthday, or voting, or getting married or even becoming a parent, but more like, "I not only vacuumed the apartment this week, I vacuumed out my CAR." Or maybe the awful moment when you realize McDonalds just doesn't even taste very good to you anymore.

Well. I've had those moments, too. But I think this morning may be the most memorable yet. I haven't taken my Zofran for several days now, and was really beginning to think that morning sickness had quietly departed and would bother me no more. So I brewed and drank some decaf coffee this morning, had my peanut butter toast, and then prepared to load the dishwasher with last night's pots and pans, which I had felt too exhausted to even mess with yesterday evening. They were mostly rinsed, but I caught sight of some disgusting clumpy particle or another (no, NOT fish, at least) and felt a little gag rising in my throat.

Now, I haven't actually thrown up in a couple of weeks. I HAVE had moments of dry heaving, though, and I figured that's all this was, so I turned around from the sink to get rid of the gross sight that had triggered it all. And projectile vomited all over the kitchen floor.

It was just horrible. Maybe the worst vomit of my adult life. There was toast coming out my NOSE, and yes, I'm going to share that little fact because if I had to experience it, SO DO YOU. Misery loves company.

It was also all over the place- basically an entire cup of fresh coffee came up- and let me just say I'm so glad it happened in the kitchen on the hard floor. I still can't believe that I didn't realize I was going to throw up, though. I mean, throwing up on the floor generally ends at around age seven, no?

So obviously it wasn't the puking that made me feel adult-like. It was the pulling myself together, washing the vomit out of my hair, and then spending the next twenty minutes cleaning it UP that made me feel like a grown up. Usually my first instinct after such an episode is to run crying to my bed for awhile (shamefully, this is true even if it's one of my own children who has done the puking) but today I just kind of shook it off and started getting out spray and paper towels. There was no one to take care of me but myself, and no one was going to clean this up but me. So I pulled on my (maternity) big girl pants and got to work.

I still feel like I deserve a treat today to even things out, though.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Pecan crusted tilapia may sound downright delicious, not to mention kind of fancy and gourmet. You may feel kind of special going to the fish counter and buying expensive, never been frozen tilapia filets, which you are going to prepare yourself. You may even be tempted to congratulate yourself for being such a little gourmet, what with your fish that isn't in stick form nor branded by Van de Kamps.

Well. You won't be feeling so smug when, TWENTY FOUR MOTHER LOVING HOURS LATER, your house still reeks in every room of pungent, pungent fish. You'll be feeling miserable, is what you'll be feeling, not to mention cold, because you'll have to leave the windows open lest you be knocked dead by the fumes. A week ago that would've been fine, but unfortunately there's been a severe temperature drop and it got down in the thirties last night and when you go into your kitchen in the morning you may discover that it is now a snug sixty two degrees throughout the house.

So, to sum up: I HAVE begun to cook again, but my first week into full-blown cookery has ended on a very dismal note and I am now swearing never to eat fish again that hasn't been cooked on the grill or in a restaurant. I also may never darken the door of a Red Lobster again.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Asking for the Impossible

Look at me, posting two days in a row! The sky is falling. But I'm posting because I need HELP. Here's the thing: I've barely been cooking the last few months, so I'm a little out of practice with the shopping properly and the cooking in a timely fashion. I attempted today to finally meal plan from a cookbook for the week before going shopping- as opposed to nauseously staggering down the aisles behind my enormous car cart, grabbing at whatever looks palatable- but I realized that I am not in the mood for anything but, well, hard stuff, requiring lots of ingredients and time. Or vegetarian stuff, which is fine for me but not fine for Jim. Like, I could eat cranberry-pecan-goat cheese salad with raspberry dressing every night. Or mushroom ravioli, or soup and bread. But he's usually hungry for, you know, MAN food, involving at least a smidgen of protein here and there.

In the winter, I'm often in the mood for this kind of hot, comforting stuff- shepherd's pie, meatloaf, chili, etc. In the spring, when there is sunlight and breezes and flowers (and also more than a hint of nausea, such that even though I've been trying to wean off the Zofran, I keep ending up taking it by noon every day) any dish that involves browning hamburger is kind of making me shiver just thinking about it.

What stuff do you guys like to eat in the spring/summer? Light, fairly easy meals that are acceptable to at least the majority of your families? And, if possible, that involve meat or another protein source, but in a very hands-off, non-smelly way?

Edit: Thank you so much for your suggestion, Omaha Mama! I subscribed to last night, and this morning before shopping all I had to do was go to my computer and hit print! Then I went through the meal plan, crossed out the meal ingredients I didn't think I wanted to do, and voila. All set to shop. This looks SO AWESOME. Sure, there IS some meat, but the two meals that involved the most meat prep/ground beef smelliness I just skipped or altered in a way to suit me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Time Flies When You're... Throwing Up

I just want to say this: I am three months' pregnant. I am officially in my second trimester. How did THAT happen? (Answer: via the lowest progesterone I've ever had and still successfully supported a pregnancy! I'm a medical marvel!)

But seriously. This pregnancy is kind of flying by so far, AND so far it's all been kind of sucky, with bleeding scares and horrid nausea and sinus infections and Grim Winter. Think how fast it's going to go NOW, with summer and weekend trips and shopping for teh bebe and... You know, general Fun In The Sun type activity. I haven't even started making name lists yet! I haven't begun my complaint pregnancy journal yet! I haven't yet compiled my usual obsessive, control freak List of Ridiculous, In-No-Way-Related-To-The-Baby Things That Must Be Done Before Baby!

I'm also freaking out a little about having three kids. That's more HANDS than I have, people. I can't even grab them all at once. I see a lot of baby wearing in my future, I'll tell you that. Which of course means I have to find a new sling, since my old one got recalled for SUFFOCATION HAZARD. Nice.

Beyond that most practical and worrisome concern is the other stuff that goes with babies. Constant diapers. Constant nursing. That giant, back-breaking carseat. Baby STUFF all over the place. Not being able to leave the baby for longer than two or three hours, or else face pumping, which I hate a whole lot and never works very well for me, despite a very expensive pump. Not being able to drink much caffeine, still, or more than one glass of wine.

As much as pregnancy isn't really my thing, especially the last trimester, I am kind of glad of it, this time. It's comforting to know that by the end I will be DESPERATE to get that kid out of me. I am kind of thinking that if it weren't for the physical misery of the last few weeks, I would never want to actually birth the baby! I'd just want to pat my little bump, knowing its gender and name, feeling it kick and jump, and say, "Yes, this is my third child, right here. Safe and sound. I'm just going to keep it in here like a kangaroo's pouch for another year or two until we're REALLY ready."

I'm guessing feeling REALLY prepared and competent to handle a third kid probably never happens, though, except to people like Michelle Duggar. I'll do ok, though, right?

Friday, April 09, 2010


-Here's how much I hate shopping for clothes: my sister was at Target the other day, found a maternity bathing suit she THOUGHT I would like and that she THOUGHT would fit me, and I let her get it rather than go to the mall and find one myself. I have to take Addy to swim class next Saturday, so if it doesn't work out I'll have a week to find one on my own, I guess. I sure hope it does work. On the positive side, bathing suit shopping when pregnant is at least not as depressing as shopping for one normally.

-I do have one already, technically, but it is so worn and stretched out from two other summer pregnancies that I'm pretty sure it would fall right off of me if I tried it on now. In fact, it DID fall off of me- well, or rather, I fell out of IT- on two separate occasions when I was pregnant with Addy. Yeah. And the first time I didn't even notice until, no kidding, another woman in my prenatal water aerobics class pointed at my chestal region and was all, "Your, um... is out."

-I just ate half a jar of salsa and an undisclosed amount of tortilla chips for lunch. I'm pretty sure Heidi Merkoff wouldn't approve, but oh well.

-Is it weird to be feeling Braxton Hicks already? I mean, they don't hurt in any way; they're just classic Braxton Hicks. My belly just gets tight and squeezes for a second, then it's gone. Cause for concern, or normal with a third baby?

-Also crazy: I'm pretty sure I've been feeling the baby move the last few days. I mean, it seems a LEETLE too early for that, but it's right in the middle of my lower belly, and it feels like these little springy jumps. It's not at all like gas bubbles or food digesting or those other things that sometimes get mistaken for baby movements. Of course, I haven't felt it yet TODAY, and now I'm worrying that it means something bad! Gah. It'd probably be better for my mental health to wait until twenty weeks and then suddenly start feeling kicks all day long, I think!

-I made a delicious lasagna last night and neither of my kids would touch it. What the heck, children. Your rejection stings. Also, you are kind of dumb. Lasagna is heavenly.

-The other day Adelay told me, as soon as she woke up, "Today I think I will be the boss. You can be the kid."

-My kids are pretty much using the den furniture as their personal jungle gym right now. I totally used to judge people who let their kids climb all over the furniture. Now, on days like today when it's teasingly sunny out but freezing and still wet from last night's rain, I understand. The kids are getting spring fever, and if they can't get their exercise SOME way, they are going to spontaneously combust.

-And one more thing. Yo Gabba Gabba edges me closer to suicidal feelings than just about anything else that has ever happened to me. Why kids, WHY, do you like this show? I swear it's filled with subliminal messages of evil. Besides being the STUPIDEST WEIRDEST show ever.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The First Trimester: A Manifesto

I'm fine, baby's fine. Just thought I'd say that upfront, since I know it's been awhile since I posted. As usual, lately! Things have just been crazy around here, with Easter and my sister moving back home. Not to mention the bee-YUTIFUL, sunny weather, always welcome, of course, but which to someone who's been sick and nauseous for over two months feels like magical feel-good juice being poured directly into the top of my head. The house has been a disaster for almost a week because I've pretty much wanted to be outside in the breeze and the sun every single second. At least the windows are open, though, so the house SMELLS clean!

I had my twelve week appointment on Monday, and everything went just fine. I almost took a picture of myself in the gown they gave me to put on, though- it was a sleeveless, pastel plaid seersucker jumper, and just the worst thing I've ever been supplied by any medical establishment for the purpose of providing an illusion of modesty. Also, I think I should get one of those medic-alert type bracelets to wear to any sort of ob/gyn appointments announcing that yes, indeedy, I have a tilted uterus. No, really, it's VERY tilted, like into my spine, and yes, you will have trouble finding it when I'm lying down until I'm about five months pregnant. Sorry 'bout that. And also, ouch. That pastel, seersucker jumper clad body you're poking and prodding does in fact have nerve endings.

Due to the tilted uterus, I ended up getting another ultrasound to find the heartbeat since it was still un-findable with Doppler. The baby is fine, and looking less like a gummy bear/shrimp-type object and more like a jumpy baby alien with giant eyes and skinny limbs. In other good news, the subchorionic hematoma appears to be completely gone, so, you know, WHEW.

The nausea, not so much, though it's certainly better. So much better that yesterday I boldly decided to skip the Zofran and hope for the best. But I didn't eat a very good breakfast, and then I was chugging cranberry juice all morning ('cause my urine test revealed crystals, making me at risk for kidney stones, and you can BET I am doing everything I can to prevent that fun little pregnancy complication.) Long story short, I ended up puking up cranberry juice behind the bathroom at the playground- sorry kids!- and then hurrying home to throw the rest of it up in my own personal toilet. Lesson learned.

Ah well. I'm getting close to thirteen weeks, which I believe is technically the end of the first trimester, right? So I KNOW the end of this phase is in sight. It IS. It HAS TO BE.

I have officially gained four pounds, all of it, I believe, in my jowls and thighs. My hair and nails are growing at alarming rates, leading my hair stylist on Saturday (when I finally felt well enough to venture into the salon knowing I could endure the smells without running) to exclaim, laughing crazily, "Your hair is out of control! I can't even get it flat ironed!" Ah, pregnancy. Such a time of beauty.

Also a time, for me at least, of strong emotions. Oh my GOSH with the feelings and the tears, all the time. Every other song on the radio makes me well up with tears. Every story I hear, happy or sad, makes my throat all tight and weepy. Every beautiful day outside with the kiddos makes me feel that the day is a gift just for me, and the whole world is our oyster and I am SO lucky, la la la. And then the sight of a messy room or the sound of kids yelling and bickering makes me sit down in the couch and stare and sigh in despair and think what a tragic little suburban trap I have fallen into, woe is me.

I have often thought, actually, that being pregnant makes me feel like an infant myself. I am volatile, given to mood swings; I unable to tolerate hunger or sleepiness or discomfort without needing immediate comfort. Every feeling, every physical sensation, is just so much MORE: more weighted, more important, more euphoric, more uncomfortable, more tragic, more tender. This particular aspect of baby making is like uncovering a whole new layer of my own feelings. In fact, that's exactly what it feels like- like peeling back a layer, the way you'd peel an onion. Experiences and emotions feel fresh and new, but I am also left feeling raw and exposed much of the time, and wishing I could crawl back into my normal, non hormonal brain for awhile!

Also, pregnancy brain is in full swing. I am almost incapable of multitasking, and small, everyday chores like paying bills and scheduling appointments seem inexplicably difficult and taxing. Example: the day I remembered that sign-up for swim lessons started THAT MORNING and that I'd better call and get Addy a spot- and then actually MADE THE CALL immediately following the thought- I was ridiculously pleased with myself all day. So productive! So on top of things! So different from the state of most other things household related these days, like the kitchen floor and the bathroom sink. But you know, it'll get done sooner or later, when the nesting urge kicks in. Unless I'm on bedrest at that point, in which case someone else will have to do it and I will have to lay on the couch and slowly lose what's left of my mind. My money's on scenario B.