Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Bit of Random

I'm sitting down with the time and (enough) energy to blog, but I'm sort of blocked for topics. So, as is usually the case when this happens, you get some random thoughts. Too bad this never happens on a Tuesday so I can participate in the Random Tuesday meme.

I took my niece to the movies for her birthday last week, and we saw a trailer for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. I was delighted to see how many of my favorite actors are featured in the film. And, by "favorite actors" I mean "actors on whom I have enormous crushes." I mean, come on. What cliché of a woman doesn't have a crush on Colin Firth?

Not featured in this picture is the dreamy Irish Ciarán Hinds, whom I fell in love with when I saw the adorable "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day." Seriously, if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor. Lee Pace of "Pushing Daisies" fame ain't too bad on the eyes, either.

Oh, what the hell? Here's Mr. Hinds in all his glory. He's hot, right? He played Rochester, y'all. What's not to love?

So, here I am, sitting in the theater, getting all worked up about this movie and all the great actors in it. Gary Oldman! Ralph Fiennes! I keep seeing one after the other, and I'm already making a mental note to see this movie. when suddenly it dawns on me: these guys are all REALLY old. Okay, I need to be careful. They're only in their fifties. But, you know, so are my parents. So, it's a little weird. I also think they were aged for the film, or at least made to look more haggard than they normally do. In any case, god help me, it's still working for me. But, then again, this is very typical of me. I married someone six years my senior, I always tried to hang out with my mom and her friends instead of the other kids, and I developed a HUGE obsession with Emma Thompson at the tender age of eleven. What? You were preoccupied with middle-aged British actresses when you were in middle school, weren't you? I thought so.

Changing gears now: I have mentioned that I graduated to maternity clothes a little early this pregnancy. I've heard this is normal for a second pregnancy, so even though it bums me out that I'm ALREADY wearing the pants I will have to wear for the next six months, I wasn't too upset about it. That was until this morning when I happened to see a picture of me about six months pregnant with Charlotte. I was PU-FFY. My face looked like it had been gently inflated with helium. And that was with over three months to spare! So now I'm worried that if I'm bigger than I was at this point, I'm just going to keep getting bigger and bigger until I start getting the "You must be due any day now!" when I'm only five months along, or worse, the "Are you sure there's only one in there?" I'm a little concerned about this because given my already fragile emotional state, I might have to hurt someone if any of these scenarios arise.

I was on the phone with my mom expressing my concern that I'm going to be a cow by the time this pregnancy is over, when Charlotte, overhearing me, asked, "You're going to be a cow for Halloween, Mommy?" I'm pretty sure she's going to be genuinely disappointed when I don't show up as a Guernsey on Monday night.

What else? Oh, I got my eyebrows waxed the other day, and it got me thinking about how I was sitting in a different chair having a different woman try to make casual conversation with me in limited English as she rips tiny hairs out of my face, just a mere few hours before my water broke during my pregnancy with Charlotte. The woman motioned to my enormous belly and asked when I was due. "Today!" I brightly replied. You should have seen the look of sheer horror that swept over her face. It was like she thought that not only was I currently in labor, but I also made a horrible mistake and expected HER to deliver my baby in the waxing chair. Hilarious.

Okay, that's all for now. Maybe next time I'll tell you about how Charlotte tried to convince me that saying "no" to her would make me sick. But, then again, maybe I'll be too busy having an anxiety attack about how my child gets exponentially smarter than me every day. It's pretty terrifying.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Panic in my Uterus

Fair warning: I'm going to be a pain in the ASS for the rest of this pregnancy. I'm something of a hypochondriac, an avid worrier, and I've had three miscarriages. So, every little twitch, pain, or hour spent without pregnancy symptoms results in absolute panic on my part.

Last Wednesday afternoon I was convinced that I had a bladder infection and some foreboding abdominal pain. I spent three hours in urgent care only to be told by the doctor that there was no infection. As for the pain? Well, he didn't know. A simple trip to the lab could have confirmed the lack of infection, but I just HAD to see a doctor about this very minor pain. Since the medical branch in my new area doesn't have an OB on call for urgent care, it was pointless. But, I couldn't not go. What if something was horribly wrong?

I came home tired, frustrated, and also slightly pleased that I was able to finish my book during my long stay in the waiting room. I told myself that since there was no infection and the pain had stopped, I would tough it out until my appointment with my doctor on Monday.

But Thursday, after running around with Charlotte all morning I came home and started feeling the pain again. And, this time it was worse. I panicked. Texted Chris. And then I did what I always do: I complain to L until she offers to Google for me. She is an expert Googler, and this way I don't have to be exposed to all the horrible possibilities Google has to offer. L filters them out for me. Her diagnosis? Round ligament pain. But, we both agreed I should call the doctor just to ease my mind. I did, and miraculously, they were able to fit me in that afternoon! I rushed down there to see my doctor. Her diagnosis?

Round ligament pain.

I felt so stupid. But, then I got to see my little baby on the ultrasound. And the first thing we saw when my doctor focused in on him/her was this:
It took five days to get this stupid picture up, and it STILL isn't rotated the right direction. I blame my crappy PC and lack of access to our Mac.

The baby waved! I mean, look, I'm not an idiot. I know the baby wasn't trying to be all, "What's up, Mom?" but you should have seen it. A tiny arm raised up and then waved back and forth. It was just one of those funny coincidences, but it made my whole day. I drove home grinning.
Here he/she is just hanging out.

I should have known better. I should have remembered that these little aches and pains are normal and just sat tight until my next appointment. But, I may never be able to do that. It's so hard not to portend doom every time something feels different or even a little strange. Sometimes it feels like everything going well until I actually have this baby in my arms is just an impossible dream.

But then my baby waved at me. And kicked and squirmed and showed off its stellar heart rate. And I think that maybe this kid is going to be tough like its sister and go the distance.

Just for fun, here's Charlotte eating a cupcake. Fun for whom, you ask? Me! Especially since I didn't have to clean her up after this took place.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Sister to Be

If I believed in fate, I would be certain that Chris and I were tempting it by deciding to tell Charlotte about the "baby in my belly." We were going to wait until after the twelve-week mark, but after I wrote my blog and came out of the pregnancy closet, as it were, I decided we might as well tell her before someone else mentions it to her.

I'm not necessarily wary of telling children about such news. I do believe in being honest and direct. And, if something were to go wrong, theoretically I see no problem with explaining things to her as clearly as I could. She's young enough that I don't think it would register much on her radar, anyway. But, now that she knows and occasionally asks me if the baby is still there and if she can see it, I just know it would defeat me to have to answer those kinds of questions after yet another loss. So, it was a gamble. And, it could have been a mistake. But, for right now I am glad that she is finally a part of it.

What I find hilarious, however, is how mind-blowing we thought this news would be to her. We had decided one day last week that this would be the day we tell Charlotte. I imagined maybe taking her out for ice cream to break the news, you know, soften the blow in case she wasn't thrilled. And, we did have reason to believe this would be the case. Shortly after we learned I was pregnant, Charlotte, intuitive little creature that she is, asked me if I had a baby in my tummy. I wasn't ready, so I told her no. But, curious, I ventured, "Would you like that? If I had a baby in my tummy?" She responded in the negative. I asked her what she would do if I DID have a baby in my tummy. "I will yell at the baby. Yelling, yelling. No, baby! You can't play with my toys!" Whoa. She seemed to know more about siblings than I realized.

And so we prepared for some emotion, and maybe some yelling. Between meals, naps, and whatever the hell else we do, the day was starting to get away from us. The ice cream plan was no longer possible. Chris was leaving for work within the hour, and we were running out of time. Charlotte was running around the backyard in her dragon costume, growling and hiding in her "cave" (a large box that has yet to be broken down.)We approached her, making sure not to call her by her given name, but instead referring to her as "Dragon." Because to do otherwise would have been a grave mistake, and we were already on thin ice by making the announcement that a baby was about to come play with her toys.

So, we both knelt down, and Chris said, "Dragon. We need to tell you something. Mommy has a baby in her tummy. A real baby!" in the most enthusiastic voice he could muster. We both eagerly watched her face, waiting for some sign of recognition. And, to our surprise, she got this look on her face that we couldn't quite decipher. Was it horror? Wonder? Shock? Her eyes got big, then she sort of furrowed her brow. We held our breath. The moment seemed to last an eternity. Then, suddenly, we had our answer: "Yeah. Come on, Daddy! Let's go in our cave!" The moment was over, and the reaction never came. We laughed at ourselves for expecting anything else. She's TWO for god's sake.

In the past few days, however, I have been trying to bring it up at seemingly opportune times, and I've actually had some encouraging exchanges with her about the baby. The other day she told me she likes babies (she doesn't, but I appreciated the gesture.) I told her she could help me with the baby, and she agreed. She prefers that the baby is a boy. She wants a little "broder." She was fascinated when I told her that one day she would be able to feel the baby kick when she put her hand on my tummy, and she especially loved hearing about how we could feel HER kick when SHE was in my belly.

I'm happy that she is understanding this a little and that we can involve her in the process more now that she's a little older than she was when we first started trying. Silver lining, I guess. I know that it will be hard on her when the theoretical becomes her reality, but I have too many worries about getting to that point to even bother right now. For now I am just proud of my little dragon for accepting the news with grace and her usual dose of humor. I think she's going to make a wonderful big sister.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And, We're Back

Wow. It's been a month since my last post. I think that's probably a new record for me, but then again, it's me, so maybe not.

Since I last left you, Chris and I packed up our two-bedroom townhouse and moved into his parents' house. It was...not fun. Each time we move, I swear that it will be the last time we procrastinate to the point of "Just throw it in a trash bag, and we'll sort it out later," but we never do. And, of course, it was also challenging to move from a two-bedroom townhouse to two rooms, period. We had to pack what we needed separately from what we would be storing. So, it was challenging. Moving is challenging. Moving with a toddler is challenging. Moving while pregnant is challenging.

Like how I just slipped that in there?

In case you missed it, I'm pregnant. I've known I was pregnant for over a month now. Needless to say I was not much of an asset when it came to our move. If I wasn't napping, I was trying not to throw up. Or I was trying to figure out what to eat for my third dinner, because even as I have been nauseous beyond belief, I have also been starving every couple hours. I think in the end, I probably contributed about 30% to the move, which left my poor husband and our families to pick up the slack. And, because I am am very, very lucky, everyone has been really understanding.

Especially if you know my history, you might be wondering how far along I am. Most everyone I have told in person has looked momentarily delighted, then a look of realization sweeps over their face, and they cautiously venture, "How far along are you?" It was harder to answer when I was five or six weeks along, and it is only slightly easier now to tell you that I am just shy of ten weeks pregnant. I am currently further along than I was during any of my miscarriages, so big thumbs up there. But, it would be great to be twelve or fourteen or any of the numbers that are meant to offer you SOME reassurance. Still, we went to our first ultrasound last week, and everything looked really good. I'm still feeling sick and tired, which is hellish, but reassuring.

I know that with every passing week Chris and I feel more at ease, but we're both sort of expecting the worst at any given moment. Or, rather, he is expecting the worst, and I just try to prepare for it. Because I can't say I expect things to go wrong. In fact, I feel almost strangely confident that they won't. I've mostly been really at peace with this pregnancy. Occasionally I am gripped with fear when I let myself wonder how I will deal with another loss, but it's rare. I suppose this Zen-like demeanor is my defense mechanism, and I have to say it has been helpful.

I'm sitting here in Starbucks wearing maternity clothes, which is comically unnecessary, but also stupidly comfortable, of which I am highly in favor. I suppose the maternity shirt is a bit much, but I needed something long enough to cover the tell-tale maternity band, since I don't look pregnant and don't exactly want to advertise my premature proclivity for elastic waistbands. I would like to believe that it's true about showing sooner with subsequent pregnancies, but I have to say I am rather convinced it's the third dinners that are to blame. This is also why you will not be seeing any adorable "belly pictures" from me for a loooooooong time. Not until the girth more closely matches the level of pregnancy, at least.

And now that we've gotten that out of the way, what you might really be dying to know is how we are coping with our new living arrangements. Or maybe you don't care, but I'm going to tell you anyway. I can't speak for my in-laws, but the rest of us are adjusting well. Chris is tired from the extra time on his commute, but otherwise, he has no complaints. Charlotte is in heaven. She literally RUNS all over their large house, which is a vast improvement on running in circles around our tiny couch. She goes in the backyard every day, as many times as she can. And I'm already noticing her getting more comfortable, not just with her grandparents, but with adults in general. My theory is that it is less of a shock to her now to have people other than her parents around. She was pretty isolated before, and I feel like this is already proving to be good for her. Plus, she's sleeping well, is generally happy, and doesn't appear to be struggling with the change at all. In fact, when we left our apartment for the last time, we told her to say goodbye to it. She cheerfully said "Bye!" and then in a different voice she said (as the apartment) "Bye! I hope you don't want me anymore!"

As for me, I am adjusting well, though perhaps the least so of the three of us. I blame my anxiety above all. It's easier for my husband because they are HIS parents, so he's used to pissing them off. I, on the other hand, run around like a crazy person trying to make sure I have cleaned up any trace of my presence there. I am insecure about how I am ALWAYS there because I don't feel well enough to get out of the house much. I try to do little things whenever I see an opportunity, like emptying the dishwasher or finishing laundry that my mother-in-law started, but left the house before finishing. That last one has happened once, and probably won't happen again because Stephanie is like a MASTER housekeeper. She has a full-time job, and still manages to keep her house cleaner than I ever did, even when I was unemployed AND childless. But, it's important for me to note that my anxiety is just that: anxiety. It comes from me. My in-laws have never made me feel anything less than welcome and nothing like a burden, even if that isn't actually how they feel.

It's been a week. Hardly enough time for any major disasters to occur, but it's also hard to imagine any such disaster when you are in the hands of such generous people with whom you get along so well. Does it sound like I'm sucking up? If it does, well, they DO read my blog, you know. And I might be needing some free babysitting soon. Oh! Which reminds me! The babysitting! We've been back in our hometown a week, and have already seen a movie, courtesy of my mom's babysitting and gone out to dinner last night when my mother-in-law spontaneously offered (We were out the door so fast...) This alone makes the transition worth it.

And, with that, I leave you with a picture of my new haircut. It's a crappy cell phone picture which many of you already saw on Twitter. And my hair is flat in it because of the rain, but it's the only one I have. There aren't many picture opportunities when you are lounging around the house all day invading your father-in-law's space after he gets home from a long day of work. Though I suppose I'd have someone to snap the picture...