Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Short List of Things That Make Me Happy.

I'm now on Day 6 of my doctor-ordered vegetative state, and it's starting to get to me a little bit. In fact, if I let myself, I could spiral down into some serious down-in-the-dumps-iness pretty easily. So I thought I'd post a list of some of the things that are making me smile right now.
  • The nursery taking shape upstairs. My husband's been painting away up there, and it's looking pretty awesome if I don't say so myself. It's yellow,  turquoise and green, with a great big sun on one wall and daisies blooming around the closet. It's a happy room if there ever was one—and there's love in every brushstroke.
  • The baby kicking in my belly. Okay, so that kind of goes without saying, but with all the trouble she's given me this week, it bears repeating. I especially love the way she kicks me hello when I wake up in the morning—and how she seems to love ice cream as much as I do.
  • The snow outside. I'm a Michigan girl at heart, and as much as I hate to admit it, I really do miss the blanket of white that covers the ground there in the winter. So when I woke up to a foot of snow  yesterday, it was all I could do to keep myself from running outside to play like a five-year-old kid. I did get outside fairly quickly—but not until I could come up with a good excuse.
  • My furry critters. Quite frankly, I don't know how I'd cope with all this alone time if it wasn't for the furred crew. It seems I've always got at least one curled up by my side, sometimes all three. They make me feel a little less lonely...
  • Peanut butter. I think I could eat it three meals a day right now. Is there anything better? I doubt it. They should invent a peanut butter-flavored drink. What? I'd buy it!
  • Thoughts of the tropical vacation I'd like to take. Palm trees, white sand, hot sun and the salty ocean air...ahhh, paradise. I'll get back there someday—hopefully sooner rather than later. Surely you're never too young to appreciate a beach vacation?

Do me a favor. Don't answer that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Darn That Universe Anyway.

Last week, you all had to listen to me moan about how tired I was. And lord knows, I was, and still am, just about as tired as I've ever been in my life. But even from that level of exhaustion, I knew better than to write down what I was really wishing for—permission to sit on my couch all day. Every day. Until this baby is born.

But on a particularly bad morning last week, when I happened to be sobbing my heart out, I may have inadvertently howled, "I just wanna stay hoooooooooome! I'm too TIIIRRRREEEDDDD to do this anymore!"

Yep, I put those words out in the universe.

And guess what? Now I am indeed stuck at home. My blood pressure is too high. And they can't quite figure out why (obviously, they don't know me well enough to know how thoroughly capable I am of  stressing myself out to the point of illness).

Not only am I grounded, I have to spend the next 24 hours peeing into a jug. And, as an extra special treat, I get to get more blood taken tomorrow! Why? Well, because they need to make sure I'm not getting pre-eclampsia. Because that could kill me. And the baby.

Not that I'm stressing about that possibility or anything. Because, that, of course, would be counter productive. Wouldn't it? Yes, yes it would. So, no need to think about it, right? Right. But why didn't I get more life insurance when I had the chance?

What? Oh, sorry. Forgot you guys were still here. Excuse my inner dialog. Ahem.

Yeah, so I'm getting my couch time. But now that I've got it, I don't want it. I just want to be happy, and healthy, and to have a happy, healthy baby—ten weeks from now.

Heck, forget happy. I wouldn't even mind being monstrously grumpy and tired and achey and fat for another two and a half months, just as long as everything turns out okay.

And that, my friends, is why you should always be careful what you ask for. You never know when the universe might be listening.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In the Home Stretch...But Not Close Enough.

According to my super high tech calculations (even copywriters can count days on the calendar), I have exactly 74 days left until the timer pops out and I'm officially done. And that, were I to be feeling rational, would be a scarily small number.

But today? I'm not feeling at all rational. Nope, right now, I'm ready to  get this show on the road. Don't get me wrong. I want her to be as fully baked as possible before she enters the world, but as for actually being pregnant? I'm over it.

Why? Well, gosh, I thought you'd never ask. Here, in no particular order, are my top ten third trimester complaints.

10. I'm tired of being tired. And yes, all you veteran parents out there, I know  I'm about to be a lot more tired, but these pointlessly sleepless nights are getting to me. At least once she's here, I'll have a good reason for being exhausted.

9. I hate maternity jeans. Make that HATE them. And I'm really sick of being faced with the choice of either hitching up my pants every five minutes or wandering around with the crotch around my knees.

8. Hemorrhoids are supposed to be for old people. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

7. I'd like to be able to breathe again. This feeling like I've run a marathon thing every time I climb the stairs, talk too long or chew my food too well is for the birds.

6. Speaking of food, I really miss being able to eat like a normal human. Right now I go from starving to ohmygodI'mgoingtopuke full in about 2.5 seconds. And that stinks.

5. Wine. I miss wine. A lot.

4. Aerobics videos drive me crazy. Real human beings are not supposed to be that perky. Especially while sweating. How I long for a good old fashioned run...

3. I've never been so achey. My back hurts. My hips hurt. I get charley horses. It sucks.

2. I'm going through cute shoe withdrawal. These days, even tying my shoes is tough. I'm not going to even attempt to stuff my bloated toes into my pretty little heels.

1. I want my body back. Sure, everybody says I look cute, but then they have to. I only have to look at the ever escalating numbers on the scale to know they're all LYING!

And that's my top ten list. Thanks for playing along, kids. I promise to try and be more fun the next time I post.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Fears That Stalk Me in the Night.

Waking up at 4:30 a.m. leaves me with a lot of extra time to think. Sure, I could do something productive, like dishes, or laundry, or organizing my pantry, but really? It's bad enough that I'm awake. I'm not going to make it worse by doing chores that I don't enjoy even when well rested and fully caffeinated.

Instead, I build myself a nest of pillows on the couch, turn on the Christmas tree (which will most likely not get taken down till Valentine's Day) and drift. Sometimes I think about good things, fun things, like painting the baby's room or gardening projects. But more often than not, those quiet hours before dawn are when the nasty little thoughts I keep locked up during the day come out to play.

I worry about lots of things, but as my due date looms ever closer, I find myself dwelling on the specter of postpartum depression. I'm sure every mom-to-be worries about this scary condition, but as someone who has had to fight her way back from the soul sucking black hole that is clinical depression, I am terrified.

For those of you who have never been through it (and I do hope that's most of you), there's no real way to describe the devastation that depression causes. When it strikes, it's like all the light goes out of the world. And as it leaves, the light takes everything that makes life worth living with it. All the hope. All the joy. All my plans for the future. Everything.

Without all the good things, I become a bitter, hollow thing. I hate myself. And everyone around me. I can see no reason for anyone to love me. And so those who do earn my scorn.

Although over the years I've gotten good at hiding the pain, at continuing to smile and acting as though everything's okay, inside, I'm screaming bloody murder. Just one long endless howl.

The last time it happened, I told my husband that I felt like I needed to just rip off my skin and fly away. That that was the only way I could escape the horror that had become my world. And I think that's the closest I've ever come to explaining what depression is like. At least for me.

So when I think about the possibility of that happening again - of feeling that way while trying to care for another person who's completely dependent on me, I feel sick. I can say now, while still in complete control of my brain, that it won't happen. That I'll recognize the signs and get help before it becomes a problem. But I can't be sure.

So I'm scared. And while I struggled mightily with the decision to write this post (it's been in the works for weeks), staying silent about my fears felt like lying.

So there it is. It's part of my pregnancy experience - my life experience - and I'll continue to write about it as I feel the need. Hopefully, you'll never hear anything other than "phew, glad I was wrong about that one." Hopefully.

And if I'm right about my chances of getting PPD? Well, it'll make for some interesting reading anyway.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Baby the Kick Boxer.

Today, I had a 9 a.m. conference call to present concepts to a client—a new client, at that. Now, I'm not usually at my best at that hour. In fact, as a general rule, it's really not a good idea to even speak to me before 9:30 or so. But I knew it was important to make a good impression, so I made an extra effort this morning.  I made sure to get moving as soon as my alarm went off, had a healthy breakfast and got to work with enough time before the meeting to go over my materials. In other words, I was in good shape.

The meeting started, and my confidence level was still high. I jotted notes in the margins to make extra sure I knew exactly what I was going to say. And when the time came to speak, I launched right into my presentation.

And then the kicking started.

Kicks aimed directly at my bladder.

A bladder still full of coffee and juice.

I was about two sentences in to my little speech when the first one connected. Hard. I immediately lost my train of thought, stopping mid-word to catch my breath. I waited for a moment, but that seemed to be it, so I started speaking again.

Then, just as I was getting back into the groove, she started using my bladder as a punching bag again. I don't know what it had done to offend her, but she seemed quite displeased, and was intent on having her revenge. As the assault continued, all thoughts of the materials in front of me disappeared. Instead, the only thing I could think was, "Oh my God, I'm going to pee my pants. Please don't let me pee my pants."

I shuddered, and in a choked voice which I can only hope was too low for the client to hear, said, "Guys, I'm losing it. Someone take over for me."

One of my coworkers swooped in to my rescue, redirecting the conversation so I could get myself together. I breathed deeply and mentally shouted at the baby to Cut. It. Out. NOW. If I could have, I would have stood on my head to dislodge her. Instead, I just rocked in my seat, distracting both me and her.

Within a few minutes she stopped, and when there was a lull in the conversation I charged back in—completing my presentation without any further interruptions from the future kick boxer in my belly. After the meeting, I shamefacedly explained what had happened to the folks in the room. Luckily, they just laughed, and told me next time to just get up and go to the rest room if I needed to.

But I think I'll just hope it doesn't happen again. Once was enough for that particular experience.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Toes Have Disappeared and Other Observations.

I’ve always taken my feet for granted. Whenever I look down, they’re just there, planted at the bottom of my legs. Which has made determining whether my toenails needed cutting or my nail polish is chipping relatively easy.

Then yesterday I made a startling realization. My feet aren't in my line of sight anymore.  The only thing a casual glance downwards reveals is the vast expanse of my belly. And that’s just weird.

I had to bend forward just to make sure they were still there. And they are, including all ten toes. They’re just hidden from sight when I’m standing upright. It’s a strange feeling, to be suddenly footless.

I’ve also recently discovered that thanks to my growing uterus, my insides have been thoroughly rearranged. How do I know? Because when I bend a certain way, my lungs literally run into something hard and I can’t breathe. Kinda like when you aren’t watching where you’re going and you walk into a shelf.

And yes, I have accidentally run into shelving. More than once, as a matter of fact. Just call me Grace.

Next disturbing physical change I’m expecting? The popping of my belly button. It's always been really deep, but it’s getting shallower all the time. I know because my husband gets a kick out of sticking his finger in there and measuring it every day.

What, is that too much information? Guess I’ll stop while I’m ahead, then.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Baby Needs What?

You know, I'm pretty sure that for most of humanity's existence, babies survived without much more than a basket filled with hay to sleep in, some rags to wear on their butts, their mom's boobs, and maybe, if they were lucky, a corncob or two to play with.

Then, somewhere along the way, we decided babies needed more stuff. Lots more stuff. Stuff to make them smell better. Learn faster. Cry less. Eat more. So much stuff that we had to create Walmart-sized baby superstores, just to put it all in.

Even so, when Brian and I went to start our registry yesterday, I thought I was prepared. Figured I knew what we needed. Was sure that I'd done enough research to be able to whip through the aisles, scanner in hand, and be done before lunch.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

I got my scanner, alright. And marched straight off to the car seat aisle to christen my list. Only to find that there were five different versions of the car seat I wanted. And parked right next to the affordable, top-rated model I had researched was a much cooler looking orange one. With a sun visor. And a level-ly thing in the base. And did I mention it was orange? I do like orange.

Yeah. Our progress pretty much slowed to a crawl at that point.

We did eventually talk ourselves out of the snifty-looking seat, and the souped up travel system we knew wouldn't fit in our car, but not without a lot of debate. Before we knew it, almost an hour had gone by, and we hadn't even made it past the pack n' plays.

Three hours later my head was whirling, and my registry was nowhere near done. Did we need an exersaucer? How is that different from a jumperoo? Obviously, a baby has to have bottles, but did we want the ones that were guaranteed to reduce colic, eliminate gasiness, or teach her french?

Who knew our homes were unsafe enough to warrant an entire aisle of plastic cover gizmos and corner guards and appliance latches and rabid dog tranquilizers?

And can someone please tell me why, when everything I've read tells me that you can't use quilts in cribs, and that those cute little bumpers can contribute to SIDS, everywhere you look there are adorable bedding sets that just scream, "buy me?"

It's enough to make even a shopaholic like me dizzy.

In the end, we admitted defeat and treated ourselves to some yummy BBQ brisket while we waited for the world to stop spinning.

I am humbled. And very glad I can do the rest of my registering online.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year Begins.

We're twelve hours or so into 2009, and as I sit here curled up on my couch, kitty purring at my side—with life continuing as usual, in other words—I'm struck by the feeling that things are changing faster than I can comprehend. And I only hope I'm up to the challenges that this year will bring.

This time next year, I'll be a mom. And quiet little moments like the one I'm currently enjoying, will, I'm guessing, be a thing of the past. But that's only a guess. Because truthfully? I have no idea what we're in for. I'm sure I won't be the same person, but who will I be? I know my marriage will change, but how, exactly? The questions, if I let myself think about them too long, overwhelm me...and that little nugget of fear that lives deep in my belly blossoms into something more.

So better to think about the positives. To wonder what her laugh will sound like. To anticipate the look of love on Brian's face when he holds her. To imagine introducing her to her grandma and grandpa for the first time.

To think about all the things she has to discover, like...

the brilliant yellow of the first daffodils in the spring.

the way a cat's body vibrates when it purrs.

the feel of the warm sunshine on her face.

the crunch of the leaves under her feet in the fall.

the sparkle of Christmas lights glowing in the snow.

the sheer joy of living, loving and being loved.

When I think about things like that, I know that no matter what happens, it will all be worth it. That there's nowhere I'd rather be than right here, right now, waiting for our little girl to arrive. And that 2009 will indeed be a very good year.

Happy New Year, everyone!