Friday, April 22, 2005

One Day I'll Learn

I've been grousing a lot about how icky I feel. And I got to thinking about how that might be misrepresenting both me and pregnancy. Let me make this clear: I am not a wimp or a whiner, and pregnancy isn't this awful condition to be feared or avoided lest you feel as miserable as I've been describing or worse. It's just that, with Mark being "stuck" in grad school for another year or so (pray for cooperative fruit flies so we can lower that number), I'm the major breadwinner for the family. I feel this responsibility acutely. And it's driving me crazy that the one time I absolutely need my body to be 100% so I can provide for this child in the future is the same time that I have to make every concession my body asks of me in order to provide for this child right now.

So I'm getting a tad irked with my pregnant body for not letting me work the 40hours or more without collapsing from exhaustion every night and weekend. I'm rather pissed at this mortal casing for not letting me finish a book that I could try to get published in time for Junior's arrival or shortly thereafter (yes, I know that's not all that realistic anyway, but this "gotta provide" thing is freakish in its primal, instinctive nature). And I'm really annoyed that I have to kowtow to my stomach before I can make weekend plans to work with some writing friends on putting together a consulting business. Does it matter that it would be unreasonable to consider 100% non-stop effectiveness while trying to work three jobs (the nine-to-fiver, writing, and consulting) even without the added "job" of pregnancy? Apparently it didn't to me.

I know--in the logic sense--that our financial situation is fine. Sure, it's not ideal, but it's very capable of keeping Mark, Baby, and myself fed and well cared for. Even with the unexpected car loan foisted on us last week. I know that we'll find a way to keep day care costs and frequency of use to a minimum. Mark is a genius when it comes to finding ways to make the best of tight money and time situations. But there's that illogical, emotion-ridden part of me that feels the weight of this child growing in me and knows that I want more than "we'll find a way" for this new life. I have a feeling I'll be fighting this part of me for the rest of my life, and that I'm in no way unique as a parent to feel this. I'll always try to find even more resources to give this baby. Always be willing to run myself into the ground to get those resources. Because, after all, my life isn't nearly as important as this child's. So sayeth the illogical, emotion-ridden, Mother Bear, instinctive part of me.

And so I grouse about the exhaustion and the morning sickness. I get frustrated every time I have to set aside weekend plans. I feel the stress levels rise every time I think of the long list of items I haven't been able to get to since February. I take on more and more at work, hoping to compensate for all the sick days I've taken and all the times I have to leave early or arrive late and make up the time at home or on the weekend. Every "relapse" into exhaustion and morning sickness after a day or so of feeling good drives me insane. Not because I can't hack it (though I'd much rather NOT have to deal with these symptoms), but because it's keeping me from being in what I think is the right position to provide what I want for this child.

But I'm trying to be easier on myself. Every woman experiences pregnancy in different ways, and I can't keep denying the way my body's responding. And railing against it doesn't do anything for my blood pressure or general state of being. I'm trying to live better with this, give myself evenings to just read and watch TV without feeling guilty, actually take lunch breaks even if it means working an hour or so on the weekends (which I can now do from home, a definite plus). Funny how it all works out. I've spent much of my life living for others, working for others, beating myself into oblivion to make everything around me run smoother. Now I'm facing a situation where in order to work and live for someone else, I have to work and live for myself because that someone else is physically a part of me.

This child is a blessing in so many ways.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The "New-to-Us" Car

Bought a used car last night. It's another Saturn, same year as our dearly departed car, less miles, a few upgrades. The big selling point for me was that it had cruise control. Ever since I had surgery on my right knee, I'm unable to drive for more than an hour and a half without cruise control. Otherwise fluid builds up in my knee and things get stiff and very, very, very painful. Thankfully, anywhere I have to drive in the area rarely takes longer than an hour and a half to get to. Unfortunately, I can only spell Mark for an hour and a half whenever we go on road trips to see sights and visit family. He doesn't mind too much, but I do, because I do enjoy driving, especially in the Southwest. I'm also far more alert than he is in the morning, and it'll be better if I take the first leg while he gets a few more winks of sleep.

Other cool bells & whistles: keyless entry, power windows & locks, CD player. It's one detraction: it's gold with tan/brown interior. Not my fave color combo. If we had been a bit quicker yesterday, we could've gotten almost the exact same car but in silver. Oh well. I'll live with the color for all the other perks. Here's hoping we're not having to do this again in another four or so years.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Turning Point

I think I might have felt Baby kicking and punching last night. I felt a few odd fluttery spasms on one side of The Womb, and then the same thing on the other side a while later. It could've been Junior thanking me for the yummy dinner. Or it could've been gas. Or just some new symptom of pregnancy. Can't seem to run out of those. Still, it was neat and got me looking forward to the coming weeks.

I seem to be out of the first trimester woods. I'm getting five hours of sleep every night, and they're good hours. If I time my schedule a bit better, I may even be able to get six or seven hours consistently. I still wake up every morning at 4:30 AM, but now I can climb back into bed and get a few rounds of 20-minute light naps in before the alarm goes off at 6 AM. And my stomach isn't unsettled in the mornings anymore. It's nervous. I can't explain it, I can't seem to appease it, but at least food goes down and stays down.

But all of this could change by the weekend. Who knows? I don't think it will, though. It's like I can tell my bod's adjusted to Junior's presence. I feel more active, more alert, more stable. I think this finally means that my weekends are finally mine again. I don't think I'll need to spend this entire weekend passed out on the couch or in bed, recovering from a work. This has me so excited! I have a ton of stuff to catch up on. Like my on-line writing course assignments. And research for a writing consultant business so pals of mine want to start up. And how 'bout actually WRITING some more, eh? And then, once I get caught up, maybe I could start participating in housework again and give Mark a breather from running the house. The possibilities boggle the mind.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Total Loss

Our four-year-old car is totaled. Just like my last car, I managed to mangle the frame just enough that trying to fix the thing would be way more than the car is worth, and probably wouldn't be anywhere near as safe and stable as it had been fresh off the assembly line. And, of course, the car has grossly devalued in the past four years. Shockingly so, actually. So we're looking at a small loan to get even a decent quality used car. I'm of the "in for a dime, in for a dollar" school of thought when it comes to loans. I figure we might as well get a brand new car and try this again if we have to get a loan anyway. Mark's much more financially savvy than that, but if we can get a steal of a deal on financing for a new car, then he might think about a new one.

Last night we visited our young, dead auto at the tow lot and cleaned the puppy out. This was the first time I got a good look at the damage. Yipes. I really beat the shit out of that car, considering I was only going 30mph. Managed to hit the other car with enough force and at the right angle that it spun and slammed into me, smashing my rear bumper to bits. In addition to crumpling the front right side like an accordion.

And the car still reeked of that godawful airbag dust. But hey, at least I've got my Tori Amos CDs back.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A New Family Tradition

When my mother was about 14-15 weeks pregnant with me, she was in a car accident. Crossing a state road, got clipped at the rear by an 18-wheeler. Did a 360 into a ditch and a 180 back out of it. Gave her some bruising and whiplash, decimated the groceries in the trunk. Probably rung my bell a bit, too, but I turned out just fine (except for a few pesky genetic issues that were already set in stone by then for me).

So Friday afternoon I decided that I couldn't let my mother outdo me and a root canal while pregnant certainly couldn't compete with a car accident while pregnant. Yup, good a reason as any to run a red light, right? Before I give all the fascinating details, be reassured that I am fine and Baby is fine. I have a small scrape on my arm from the airbag deployment, a tiny bruise on my knee from hitting the bottom of the steering wheel, and a few sore muscles on my neck and where my seat belt kept me in place. Oh yeah, and my ego's a bit battered, but it can take it. Baby's ticker is still going at 159-161 bpm (my nurse says this is an indicator of a girl), and we even heard some more kicking and punching today, not that I can feel it yet.

It all started Friday morning when I decided that Mark and I needed some Mommy and Daddy time. We arranged to take the afternoon off and grab some lunch together and then maybe pick up a baby toy or some baby books or something equally sappy. I was on my way to pick him up, listening to Tori Amos and getting a little day-dreamy about the whole "and baby makes three" thing. The sun was shining, creating all sorts of fun shadows, and I was about to head under a bridge just before a stoplight. The car next to me slammed on the brakes, my first indication that perhaps the light was red and not green. I checked, saw the red, immediately slammed on the brakes, and started swerving to the left to avoid the car already pulling out into the intersection. For a few blissful milliseconds, I thought I had stopped in time. I relaxed and exhaled, only to come to a half-second later, trying to catch my breath, staring at a deflated airbag, a bumper (not mine) twenty feet in front of me, and a neatly crumpled hood (mine).

By this point, the delusion that I had avoided the accident was looking mighty preferable, and I had a hard time getting back to the present. Then I started to freak. The baby, the car, the money, the bay, the car, the money, THE BABY OHMIGOD THE BABY WHAT HAVE I DONE WHAT HAVE I DONE. Then I started to multitask like I've never multitasked before. Other people were out of their cars, checking on me, bystanders were calling the cops, I was trying to answer everyone's "are you OK" questions, assess the damage of the car, my own personal "broken/good" gauges, apologize profusely to Baby, call my husband, and sob. While trying to assure Mark that I was OK, but to just get here now, I realized the car was smoking slightly. In a strange haze of "what do I save", I fumbled for my purse, took my glasses off because they had been knocked askew by the air bag (and in my disheveled state I had failed to realize that I just needed to resettle them on my nose), and got the heck out of my smoking, greenish-yellow fluid-leaking car.

I made it to the curb and the sobbing started in earnest. By this point, two people had attached themselves to me: an EMT who happened to be there, and a very nice woman named Linda who took it upon herself to get me calmed down. The driver of the other vehicle stayed with the cars, checking out the damage. I'm pretty sure he was the first to ask me if I was OK, but I honestly don't remember. Eventually Linda got me calmed down and joking about the fact that my mother had been in an accident while pregnant, how we had just the day before replaced the car battery, how a root canal wasn't excitement enough for Junior, etc. This gave the EMT time to take my pulse (an adrenaline-fueled 120 bpm). And then the cops and paramedics started showing up. This was a haze of very kind faces making sure I was OK, taking care of all the details like getting the other guy's info, clearing the intersection of debris, towing the cars away, etc. At some point, the put me in a neck brace and started to get me on a backboard. I asked them to wait a few seconds until Mark got there so he didn't have to show up just as I was getting wheeled into an ambulance, because this was all precautionary, not necessary.

For those of you who have never been on a backboard before, I really don't recommend it. For the first half hour, it's not so bad. But by the time you've been on the damn thing for two frickin' hours, you're ready to invent an entire new language using nothing but profanity. Any pain I had in my neck from the accident was nothing compared to the back pain from being stuck on that damn orange backboard for two hours.

Everything slowed down and became basically ordinary at the ER. Some Xrays, a CAT scan (here's hoping Baby takes the trace amount of scatter radiation and turns into the Stops On A Dime Xman), a quick fetal heartbeat monitor, and we were ready for our friend PJ to drive us home. All in all, while Mark and I got to spend quite a bit of extra time together this weekend, this was not the manner in which I had hoped to spend it. I slept away most of Saturday, waking up only long enough to pick up the rental car after Mark found out that his driver's license had expired. Sunday I was supposed to host a writing group, but we were hammered with a decently impressive snowstorm yesterday and had to cancel the meeting. And I didn't have to mess with Earl at all this weekend (excluding the intense conversation we had Friday evening; note to self: Baby does NOT like spicy pork BBQ).

I was quite content not having any exposure to the reality of what emergency response folks do. But now that I've experienced their skills firsthand, I'm truly amazed and grateful that we have people like that in the world. Everyone who helped me get through Friday afternoon was amazing. I felt safe, protected, cared for. It was nice to have a moment to look around and realize that everyone wants to help.

Now I'm just waiting for the phone call that will tell me whether or not the car is totaled. If it is, this will be the third car Mark and I have lost since we've been together, two of them within days after replacing the battery. I think I've satisfied my adventure quota for a while. Hopefully at least for the next six months.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Good Stuff

I was so absorbed in my little "woe-is-me" tirade on Sunday that I neglected to mention the big, awesome news from last week. My brother is back from Iraq, safe and sound in the good ol' US of A. Of course I can't see the pipsqueak until he has time to drive up here in May. But he's back, and he'll be out of the Marines by the end of the week, maybe even done with Reservist duty. Big Sis is very happy. About that, anyway.

I actually had a somewhat normal morning, excluding the fact that it started at 4AM. But my stomach seemed almost pre-pregnancy stable. The "almost" reared its head when I tried to eat a nice bagel, egg & cheese sandwich Mark whipped up for me. The concept of such a breakfast sounded good when I asked Mark to make it for me. The concept started losing its appeal as soon as it was placed in front of me. I took a test bite and my stomach advised me that taking another bite would be most unwise. So Mark got a spiffy little breakfast instead. But at least there was no bucket hugging this morning. (And I've decided that the bucket's name is Earl Chunks.) And I also found a blog that made me realize things could be a lot worse. This poor woman. She seems to have the support network she needs to get through this, and she doesn't have to be anywhere for 40hours a week for that silly money stuff. But I had a brief glimpse of what she must be suffering on Saturday when I couldn't get anything to stay down until I finally passed out from exhaustion and gave my stomach time to sort itself out. If every day of the past 14 weeks had been like Saturday morning, I would be making appointments for a vasectomy and a tubal ligation the day after I delivered.

I'm so glad my body is behaving today. I was just so tired of it all last night that I cried for a good ten minutes. I needed today to be a good day. Who knows what kind of day tomorrow will be, but at least today is good. At the moment. :)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Bad, Bad Week

So much for pulling out of the first trimester woes. They were back with a vengeance this week. I'm thinking of naming my constant companion, the green bucket of former mopping yore. Afterall, we're getting to know each other fairly intimately, especially after yesterday morning. It took my stomach five hours to realize that it actually wasn't supposed to return the items I kept trying to give it. And then there's this whole sleeping issue. Junior seems to think that it's not all that important. That four hours of sleep is enough to enable a pregnant woman to get through a forty-hour work week. This child and I are going to have words if next week doesn't show some glimmer of improvement.

And don't even get me started on the DDJ. Or my writing. Not after this week.