Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flaky Family Dynamics, Part 2

Me: Dad, Mom said she can't come out to help for the summer. She said to ask you about it.

Dad: I'm driving to Franklin right now, but don't worry Dinei, we'll figure something out.

Me: I told her way back when we asked that there's a 6 to 12 month waitlist for childcare for infants here. I really wish she had just been honest with us months ago so we could plan.

Dad: Oh, chill out, Dinei.

Me: Uh-huh. Yup.

Dad: Hey! I heard a Beatles song last night that made me think of you! "I am the ape man, I am the walrus!!" Get it? Because you look like a walrus.


I really wish that was just a tongue in cheek summary. I hate everything.

How am I still pregnant?

I've been composing multiple pithy/heartbreaking/relevant posts in my head, but never making it to the post screen. For instance, pregnancy after grief and loss was on my mind for a long while. For weeks I'd wake at 2 AM and find unbidden memories of B in the NICU on my mind. Two particularly bad surgeries would come back to me every night, and I'd be unable to sleep for hours. Sometimes I cried, but most nights I just lay there and watched the memory unspool again and again. Finally I made an appointment with the wonderful therapist who helped me through the majority of my PTSD (once I acknowledged that my body is still processing what happened to me, that is) and it helped. 

So, heartbreaking post avoided. I may still write about being pregnant after a trauma some day, but it will probably be a lot more thoughtful and less with the ripping heartbreak. Phew.

Which leads me to... I'm still pregnant. How in the name of god am I still pregnant?? My due date is two days away and there is zero sign that this little boy has any intention of vacating. I scheduled today as my last day of work with a wink and a nod, thinking it was laughable to even plan so far in advance. I mean, 34 weeks maybe. 36 at the outside - but no. I'm freaking 39+5 and still relatively comfortable. If (when) this baby goes overdue it will be proof positive that the universe has a sick sense of humor.

Speaking of being only two days from my due date, my mom just let me know that (6 months after promising and planning and conversation with her) she can't help us with childcare for the summer after all. She puts the blame on dad not wanting her gone so long, but that's par for the course. Two days before my due date and we need to arrange for care for an infant and a four year old for June and July. I don't know if it is just our moms or if this is a problem endemic to women who were stay at home moms themselves but what the fuck. Both my MIL and my mom have pulled this shit, promising and then bailing on helping out at the last minute. Getting her to understand that my area has a 6 month waitlist at best for childcare, and a freaking year for infants under 6 months old, is a lost cause. We can make do - I can take an extra month of unpaid FMLA, we can try to rig up something for July - but it's unbelievable that she can be so consistently unreliable, always last minute, and have it still catch me off guard each time. 

My blood pressure is feeling a little high. Freaking family. This is why we're talking seriously about deliberately moving closer or in synch with some old friends who have kids and 'eccentric' families. 

2 days to due date. I'll be so glad to meet this little person.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Our new normal

I'm sitting in B's piano lesson (yes, god help me, my three year old takes piano lessons. He begged for a year before we gave in and let him try, but A and I still die a little of the bourgeoise-ness. Not helped by the open mockery by our brothers.) Piano lessons are torture for us, since B is off his head half the time during the lessons. He wiggles, stands on his head, by far the worst kind of behavior he ever exhibits. A and I are asked not to intervene, we just watch. It kills me. Lucky for him (maddeningly) he then goes home and calmly plays through his notes for 'Twinkle, Twinkle' as if he were not a complete madman throughout the lesson. We'll take a break for the summer and reassess in the fall, but in the meantime I just chew through my lip in the back of the room.

My new schedule as admin lets me take these leisurely Thursday mornings, as well as walk B to preschool every day. It's a far cry from my days as a public interest attorney, when I was out the door every day by 6 AM. Now I work just 9 to 5, I take the bus (and thank god because our two 98 Subarus have been showing signs of the consumption for years). It's all very different and lovely, and if I'm bored silly sometimes I remind myself that bored is perfect for now. I'll ask for additional responsibilities for the new school year, and a raise, but at almost-37 weeks pregnant, bored kind of works.

Which... I'm almost term, people. Fair to say that I never truly thought I'd be here. A swears he never had a doubt, but I know him better than all that. The pregnancy continues to be gentle, over all. Even now I'm relatively comfortable - just sleepless and huge - which everyone tells me is a sure indication that this giant baby has no intention of coming out any time soon. (Oh, did I mention that my mom and all her sisters produced porkers between 8.5 and 11 lbs? 10 cousins and not one skinny kid. Yeah. According to ultrasounds we're looking at 8 lbs, ballpark.)

I'm glad to have done this, having lucked out with a good outcome, and I'll be glad not to do it again. Glad, too, to get to the  other side of pregnancy with a healthy baby. I still don't trust biology one bit, no matter how matter how kind it is being to me this time around.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Well, hello there

It's been a long, long time. A few things have changed since last year.

B turns four in April (four, people!! Four years old!) and looks like this now:

And I look like this:

Yup. Not just pregnant, but really pregnant. I'm now 34 weeks into a very gentle pregnancy.

Even I need a moment to pause after that.

Last spring A and I consulted with an MFM about how and why B came so early and what the chances were of recurrence. We redid blood tests, got all the files from all four providers from last time (my OB, the semi-retired hotshot MFM, the hospital where I started labor, the hospital I was flown to). The bottom line was that there was no underlying condition. Both MFMs agree that because my uterine arteries developed late with B, something unique to each pregnancy, the placenta became stressed and partially abrupted at 14 weeks. The placenta tried to hang on, even grow away from the stressed area, but the damage was done. By 25 weeks it was essentially dead and triggered the preterm labor.

So I was told that we had less than 5% of a chance of a recurrence in a future pregnancy.

We thought, discussed, I freaked out a bit. In the end, we decided to try for a pregnancy. I spent much of the first 28 weeks just not thinking about being pregnant. Let's call it the Tightrope Approach - so long as I don't look down, I won't lose it over the fact that THERE IS NO NET. There were a few small events - one full-on fainting spell (while talking to someone at a wedding, completely terrifying poor A), a small clot found on an ultrasound (completely terrifying us both, but which quickly resolved). I've been monitored within an inch of my life as everyone is determined not to be caught by surprise this time. But in the end, everything has been fine.

I also changed jobs. Mid-summer, my morale was at an extreme low and my stress high. I was constantly sick, I wasn't sleeping, I was doing a fair amount of crying in my car at the end of the day. I quit blogging for a while in no small part because I was sure that if my coworkers found my blog, they would use it to make my life miserable. In hindsight, I think this was a fairly well-founded fear. By the end, A would send me off each morning to work saying, 'Please don't quit today. It's ok if you have to do it, but please don't quit.'

In June, a former professor and friend of mine told me that there was a manager position open in the clinics at the law school. It was a non-attorney position, though the description called for a JD. Switching out of trial work, and to a non-attorney job, was a risk. I was set for a promotion to more serious cases at the trial job, our agency unfroze wages for the first time in years and I had been given a pay bump. I was offered the manager position 4 days after I found out that I was pregnant. A and I agonized, but decided to make the jump.

I am so, so happy. My position in the past has been simple administration but has been expanded for me. I co-teach an advanced practice course, I am a tutor-like resource for the students in clinic, and I've been reaching out to local agencies to build our clinic's connections for indigent clients. I do a fair amount of administration, too, but it's all well worth it. My co-workers are friends who love their jobs and their students, I have zero stress and no work to take home at the end of the day. Most encouraging, there are several people in the building who have expressed hopes and plans for my career inside the law school administration. The difference is simply amazing.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My pants look weird

In February I committed myself to a goal of 4 workouts a week at Crossfit. Work and family got in the way a few times, but I've been going between 2 and 4 times a week for two months now. The result: I'm now working at prescribed weights for a number of workouts, I haven't had shoulder or back pain in months, and I'm noticeably more toned. One suit jacket is done for - my shoulders are too broad. I keep making A feel my biceps and I don't even care how much he teases me for it.

My jeans, though. My jeans are a problem. I've gained muscle and dropped a little fat in my thighs.. which means I'm constantly pulling up the saggy seat of my pants. It is not attractive (as a habit, that is. The shape of my ass is much improved.) Two more months and I should be changed enough to justify the new clothes but for now I'm doing a bad Justin Bieber impression. Super hawt.
A told me last week that he thinks it will take him at least 6 months longer than he'd hoped to finish his PhD. I'm not surprised - despite his assurances and certainty over the last few years, I always mentally added on a year or two to his estimates - but I can't say I'm thrilled. My morale is low at work. Part of me had May 2014 as my goal, make it to A's graduation and then assess. Now I have to be realistic and stay engaged with my life rather than somehow wait out the clock.

Honestly, my morale is low in general. I don't know where to begin to fix my bad attitude. I'm lonely, cranky, dissatisfied. Emphasis on lonely. It's not the job - I like the work. It's something in the details. Where I work, the current atmosphere in my court... something. It's impossible to blame this general malaise on anyone else. After all, what makes me miserable at work is fine for someone else. But I've been sinking slowly for a while now. 

I've tried working more hours, devoting more time to research, having set times with Baz to provide us both with structure. Still my dissatisfaction lingers. I feel like I'm corroding, and if I don't turn it around I'm never going to make it through another year. How do I fix a problem whose effects are so pervasive, but whose root is a mystery?

I'm not sure what to do next, but I need to do something.
On the home front, exciting things are afoot. We've got birthdays coming, new cousins for Baz on the way (finally!), and I get to take two long weekends away with friends soon.

Baz turns three on Sunday! More on this, but suffice it to say that A and I clearly do not have a future in event planning. We got invitations out starting last Friday through this Monday, but we still have no idea how many people will be attending. 5? 20? No clue. Our only excuse is that we were distracted by work (me, three trials; A, his FE exam in addition to research and coursework) and didn't concentrate on the fine print. Oops.

Luckily, Baz is so excited to have a party that anything with balloons and cake will get us his seal of approval. His stock answer for what he wants for his birthday is CAKE, though he wants all the flavors of cake, including the improbable 'chair' and 'curtain' flavors. In an unbearably cute and unselfconscious moment, he told my parents that for his birthday he wants, "You! and You! And all my friends, and mama, and papa, and BEAR!" You want to hear two out of state grandparents' hearts swell and break in unison? That's a good way to do it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Well, ok then.

Baz: You go put on a bra.
Me: What's that now?
Baz: You put on a bra right now, please.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cut Mama Some Slack

I can't possibly love Julie at A Little Pregnant more.

I also saw the "Oh momma, you misguided smartphone-using ninny" thing going around Facebook. And as a mom who was 100% isolated from the world for almost two years, I very nearly lost my head what with the almost-screaming and the wanting to go all crazy on the guilt-tripping internet creeps. Because I loathe those sanctimonious jerks who perpetuate the idea that having children drops a woman's own needs off the list entirely. What's that? You want a break? You want good mental health and the ability to pick yourself up in the morning and do it all over again with a dang smile on your face? Selfish.

Hoooo. Ok, not going crazy on the internet. Deep breath, and link to Julie.

No exaggeration, I sometimes went weeks without seeing another adult person. Just check my 2010 and 2011 archives and see how bustling the social life of a nursing and quarantined mom of a micro can be. In that isolation, I was trying to feed a micro who vomited multiple times a day - often all over me - and was under tremendous pressure to somehow find a solution that would keep him alive and growing. It was hard, horrible, and I can't even begin to revisit that time without acknowledging how alone I was -- but for modern technology. I had books on my ereader (because I couldn't expose Baz to germs at the bookstore or library). I had email (because my friends and family lived states away). I had the internet (because you all were often the only ones sending notes in a bottle, telling me I wasn't actually alone). My phone and computer were the only connections I had to the world and often the only things keeping me upright.

But hell. It's not like you need to be three steps from the looney bin to deserve a dang break. Get off Momma's back, dude. I'm pretty sure no one is going to be harsh with the lady 30 minutes later while she's driving her kid down the freeway or cooking dinner or anything else adults have to do and generally unable to give 100% attention and adoration for the kiddo whenever it is demanded. Because it's demanded all the time. For pete's sake.

Now all I need is someone to ask, "Have you tried getting him to eat with the 'here comes the airplane' trick?" and I'll be speaking in tongues. My mother's cousin was the last to suggest it and I think she's still in traction.