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Friday, February 22, 2008

hanging in there

I know most of my recent posts have been personal, pregnancy-related ones, and I want to apologize. I actually have a couple of books on which I want to report, but I’ll plan on doing that next week. Pregnancy and parenting and tying up loose ends are all-consuming at the moment. Please bear with me.

To continue in my self-absorbed vein: I’m 38 weeks pregnant today. I’m still measuring “small,” and actually lost a little weight this week, which makes me nervous, but I have to remember that the baby was fine last week on the ultrasound. It’s not as if she’s going to shrink, right?

Other breaking news: I am extraordinarily tired this week. I just now finished the last freelance thing I HAD TO TURN IN before the baby is born, so I’m hoping to spend the next week revitalizing the art of the daily nap. I apparently need a daily nap because without one, I wake up in the morning looking like a washed-out 80s rocker. Seriously. There is something about the length of my hair and the bags under my eyes that, combined, make me look as though I partied too long on the circuit. Sadly, I’ve got the look without the lifestyle. The other morning, I walked into the bathroom and D said, “Where’s your guitar, Eddie?” I’ve become a female, red-haired version of Eddie Van Halen. This is not good news.

The good news is that I am thoroughly enjoying Stella these days (with the exception of the other night when she told me that she wished D and I weren’t alive so that so could go live with her Grammy. I had made her turn off Mary Poppins because it was getting too late and this was the ugly result.) But other than that, she really has been delightful. Yesterday, all three of us played Clumsy Monster, a game in which we take turns putting a blanket over our heads and running into walls and falling down. (Don’t worry—I was really careful.) I have never heard Stella laugh so hard. It’s one of the infectious, loud laughs—absolutely irresistible. She loves slap-stick and made us do it over and over again. Her other favorite game involves her and D walking toward each other backwards from across the room as they pretend to talk on cell phones. Then they bump into each other and when they turn around, they both gasp as realize they are father and daughter. The game sometimes involves other props (sunglasses for a better disguise, bouncing balls that fly everywhere on impact, etc.). The game always ends in a dramatic hug. Over and over again they do this as I watch from the couch. Who knew this could be entertaining? (I have probably not done the scene justice here. You’d really have to see it.)

One more week of work before my maternity leave begins, and it would be nice to finish the month, but I’d be fine if I didn’t. I’ll just clean the house (again and probably again), nap, and try to relax a little. Maybe I’ll even have a half-glass of wine tonight. I know, I know. I’m getting really crazy.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. Your thoughts and good wishes are a virtual buoy, helping me stay afloat. Thank you!

I am guest-blogging over at the Minneapolis StarTribune's Cribsheet today. And each day for the rest of the week, Cribsheet will post a short essay from one of my Mother Words students. Please check out Cribsheet each day this week to read my students' wonderful writing.

I also want to take a moment to highlight other recent publications by former students. Check out Patty's "Ready or Not," at mamazine and Deb's "Camping While Black" at The Mothers Movement Online. Way to go, ladies!

Friday, February 15, 2008

she's okay

I've just come from the ultrasound, and the baby seems to be fine and is measuring as she should for 37 weeks. So, relief. Huge relief. D was squeezing my hand the whole time, and his whole body relaxed when the technician said the baby was okay. I sometimes forget that this pregnancy has been just as hard on him as it's been on me. (Though he, of course, can pour himself a stiff drink when he wants one.)

I still have the pain wrapping around my left side, so I might not make it to March 4th, but I don't care, so long as the little one is okay. Her little profile looks just like Stella. And today she is technically a full-term baby.

Thank you for your thoughts and good wishes.

the best laid plans

A few days ago I was talking with a friend about deciding to have a C-section. (After much waffling, it just feels like the right choice for me. I scheduled for 8 am on March 4th.) My friend said, “Well that makes a lot of sense. You know the date and time. I bet that gives you a sense of control—something you lacked completely the first time around.”

My first instinct when she said this was to nod my head: “Yes, yes, that’s right. I hadn’t thought about it that way.”

My second instinct was to back away, scared. Lord knows I like to be in control and have everything planned out. But I know things rarely go as planned, especially with childbirth, and I felt that by trying to control things, I may have jinxed myself.

Well, yesterday I when I was dropping Stella at preschool I began to have low back pain that wrapped around my left side. It continued for about an hour at work, then migrated up my back. Eventually, it went away, but I called my doctor. (Could this be what the beginning of labor feels like?) I went in and my cervix was still closed, but the doctor said I was measuring small for almost 37 weeks. One other doctor had said a similar thing a few weeks back, but my own doc hasn’t been concerned about this. In the last week, I have been a little concerned, though. I kept asking D, “Do you think I’m big enough?” And on Tuesday I saw a friend who is 39 weeks, and she was HUGE, her belly a solid beach ball.

I left the doctor’s office nervous, again. D and I sat on the couch last night, trying to distract ourselves with LOST, but it didn’t work. A small baby could mean my placenta isn’t functioning properly. What else could it mean? I really don’t know.

I’m going in this morning for an ultrasound, and I just hope this little bugger is okay. I’ll post later, when we know more. Keep your fingers crossed for me, for baby.

Friday, February 8, 2008

36 weeks!

I hope I’m not boring you with my weekly pregnancy updates, but I have to share this good news: I am 36 weeks pregnant today and I still haven’t turned into a water-retaining blimp.

I have a good friend who is also due the first week of March, and when I talk to her on the phone, she sounds so tired and complains of being huge and uncomfortable. She’s ready to be done with her pregnancy. I am, on the other hand, elated. Oh, I have trouble sleeping, certainly, and the indigestion is constant and uncomfortable, but still, I’m elated. I’ve never done this before—it’s as if this is my first pregnancy. The movement and how big the baby feels—these things are new to me, and I’m so grateful that I’ve made it this far.

The truth is that I could still develop preeclampsia, but now that the baby’s lungs are mature, it wouldn’t be the tragedy it would have been if I had become sick a few weeks or months ago. But making it this far also makes me think of those of you who had to live through the NICU twice, those of you who developed preeclampsia more than once (Denise and Jen, in particular), and those of you who lost your babies due to preeclampsia. I want you to know I’m not taking my 36 weeks for granted. I wish you could have experienced this, as well.

Monday, February 4, 2008

falling away

Last week was a sad week. A friend (the sister of very close friends of ours) died after struggling with depression and bi-polar disease for almost 20 years. Her son is ten years old, and every time I think of him, I get teary. Every time I think of her family and their pain, I get teary. And yesterday, as I was going through baby clothes, trying to get organized, I found the itsy bitsy teensy weensy sweater that this friend knit for Stella four years ago, and I got all teary.

I am no stranger to depression. I understand that kind of desperation, and it scares me. Before we had Stella, I used to worry about it all the time. I worried that with depression on my side of the family and schizophrenia on D.’s side, we would be mixing a dangerous gene cocktail for our children. But I guess my wish for children was stronger than my fear, because eventually we decided to go ahead and try.

Over the last few years, more general parental worries have filled my mind, and though I didn’t forget about the depression and mental illness—its power—I was somehow able to put it on the back burner. Not this week. All week, I held Stella too long, squeezed her too tightly, checked on her too often as she slept, just wanting to keep her safe.

By Friday afternoon, after the very sad funeral, I was exhausted. I wished I had had a little energy left to celebrate my 35 weeks of pregnancy or the fact that I am alive—that 16 years ago depression did not kill me (though it almost did)—but I was too tired. So, I slept and I ate and D. and I brought up the changing table from the basement and washed baby clothes and cleaned the house and bought diapers and wipes and began to prepare for something joyful: a new baby.

After all the worry of this pregnancy, it seems crazy that I’m actually going to have a baby. I’m still careful. I still don’t want to get too excited, but I’m letting go of the worry, just a little, because I need that happiness, and I’m tired of being scared.

I know that there will always be something about which to fret. There will always be something about which to be watchful. But for now—for the next few weeks—I just want to be excited, to be happy, and let everything else fall away.