Advice Column

April 12, 2007

One of the hardest thigns about this period is the alarming frequency with which women say the phrase: “You’ll know. You’ll just know”
If you’re me (a relatively high strung woman with an inferiority complex) this phrase will make you feel so fucking shitty. Because here’s the big secret:
Unless you’ve done this before, there is a pretty solid chance YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW.
You won’t know if you are having real contractions or irritating regular old Braxton Hicks. You won’t know if that increase in vaginal discharge is just that or a slow leak of amniotic fluid. You won’t know what it feels like if your water breaks, or if it happens in the bath or on the toilet as you’re peeing how you’re supposed to tell the difference. You won’t know what your mucus plug looks like.
And you’ll feel frustrated, and angry and sometimes you’ll feel like a failure. You’ll feel like all these chicks are out there saying “You’ll know, you’ll know, you’ll know” and at the same time telling 400,000 different versions of what it feels like, looks like, is like. All about the EXACT same event, all wildly different from the next. And so you really have no other choice than just to buy into it, assume you’re an idiot and that “you’ll know” even if everything and everyone inside and out is each telling you a completely different story.
Today I am overwhelmed. It’s day 4 of what we’re going to call “pre-labor”, Day 4 of being at 1 cm dilation and 80% effacement. Day 4 of increased discharge being nothing, of irregular incredibly painful contractions, of being so big that the skin on my belly aches if I have to stand up, feels like I’m going to split my skin in two if I contract anymore, Day 4 of feeling helpless and uniniformed and stupid and histrionic. Day 4 of having person after person tell me: “It’ll happen, you’ll know”
Day 4 of being so indescribeably frustrated with NOT KNOWING.
I told Luke last night that this process feels very much like the ultimate betrayal of my body (or maybe the ultimate payback for all the ways I’ve abused it?) against me. Pain and frustration and crazy mood swings for 3 days straight…with nothing to show for it except pain, frustration and crazy mood swings.
I have never been a patient woman, and that’s part of my problem. I’m sure of it, wanting everything to happen the way I picture it.
But let this serve as a reminder: it WON’T happen the way you picture it. because you can’t. I’m sitting here at the computer and telling you straight out: It’s very possible that my water broke 10 minutes ago but I honestly have no idea if it did or not. And now I’m weeping hysterically and getting more and more agitated because the very strong contractions I had after it (a sign? a ray of hope? I dared think) are completely gone. And all I have is my usual discomfort.
I guess wanted to get all of this out so I remember and never do the grave disservice to someone I love while they’re laboring of telling them that they’ll know. Instead I’ll tell them: “I know how much this sucks, and you can only keep telling yourself that it can’t last forever. Sooner or later they’ll HAVE to induce you.”



April 7, 2007

is there anything more frustrating than being in labor for 48 straight hours?
Even if it’s “pre-labor”?

I think not.

A Discovery

March 20, 2007

If my son if born on his due date, he’ll be an Aries.
I will be giving birth to a fire sign.

You might not buy into all that astrology stuff but I do…and in this house we are earth and water signs.

Oh Dear.

St. Pat’s Adventure

March 19, 2007

Last year for St. Patrick’s day, I took my then 11 year old cousin Steve to see if we could vicariously experience the Flogging Molly concert at the Mesa Ampitheatre.We planned to sit on the grass and listen and be chased around by secuirty guards. Instead we ended up watching Flogging Molly perform from the top of the conference center for the hotel, after being snuck in by some strange guy and his buddies.
This year (and not on St. Pat’s, but Sunday night, as Staurday turned out to be insanely crowded at the concert), as I am 8 months pregnant, we decided to take Luke’s truck, some blankets and a picnic dinner and listen to the concert from the parking lot – slightly closer to the action and with the added benefit of being public parking so we couldn’t be chased off!
Steve and I were bummed that Luke wasn’t feeling well and didn’t come with us but we loaded up the truck and headed to the concert. It was much less crowded (adding credence to Steve and my mad skills regarding concert attendance guestimates) and we found a spot close enough to hear the music, enjoy the sunset, and eat out dinner.
Saturday when we attempted to crash the concert, Steve had bothered some security gaurds to sneak him in. Much to his chagrin they refused and he was left to skateboard on the outskirts. Last night, after finishing dinner, he grabbed his board and said:
“I’m going to see if those security guys remember me and let me in”
Feeling secure in my knowledge (no security guard ever let ME in when I was trying to sneak into concerts in junior high!) I told him to go ahead and settled back for a nice concert.
About 10 minutes later he comes running back: “THe security guy said he’d let me in if I left my skateboard here!”
“What? no he didn’t”
“he did! I’m gettin’ in!”
“Steve if you get fucked up in there your mother will kill me, don’t even”
“I’ll be fine” This last bit was yelled over his shoulder as he sped off.
Still feeling secure (if irritated that a security guard would mess around with a little kid) I didn’t yell for him to come back. IĀ  was sure that he would come stomping back, fumung after a jerk security guy told him he was kidding around.
10 minutes passed.
I realized that he hadn’t returned. My jaw fell open.
He actually got in.
Feeling slightly panicked I called his sister first: “um, your mom is going to kill me. I let Steve go into the concert by himself. I didn’t think it would actually work. Call me back”
I called Luke: “I don’t think I should be raising a child. I just sent a 12 year old into a punk show by himself. It’s very possible he’ll be killed.” (Luke found this all wildly amusing by the way)
I called whomever I thought would be in town to help me figure out a way to track him down inside the concert. Paul didn’t answer. Mollie didn’t answer. My cousin Ben didn’t answer.
Steve’s sister Natalie called me back: “He actually got in by himself! Holy crap!”
“Natty! Your mom is RIGHT THERE! She’s not supposed to know!”
“Okay, whatever, just come down here and help me figure out how to retrieve him”
“we’re on our way!”
Mostly I wanted to track him down because 12 years old isn’t the ideal age to attend a punk show by yourself, he had no cell phone and no money and there were upwards of 3000 people at the Ampitheatre. It was alightly alarming.
Natalie and her mom arrived, both cool as cucumbers, Natty was certain she could get us into the concert without having to buy a ticket. I was sure we’d have to wait it out by the truck and just wait for him to come back after it was over.
We had no idea if he’d ACTUALLY gotten in or was just canvassing any security gaurd he could find around the perimeter.
So Natty and I went to work. We chatted with security gaurds, asked at will call and racked our brains. We found out that indeed a little kid HAD gotten into the concert although it “was not authorized”and so were reassured that he was in the midst of all the folks.
As I talked to my aunt on the phone again, Natalie had the brilliant idea of asking the guys at the Edge booth for tickets. She told them our predicament and asked if there was anything to do. Once again I rolled my eyes, sure. they’ll just hand you the free tickets for this huge show.
And what do you know they did. Out of their bag came two tickets. General admission.
And once again my jaw dropped open.
I called Luke: “um, babe, I’m going into the concert. We got tickets from the radio station.”
“Have fun!” he was still wildly amused.
So the pregnant lady and the absolutely opposite of punk looking 18 year old walked up to the security gates to get into the concert to look for the errant 12 year old.
When we got in I was struck by how much I didn’t actually want to be there. Any other time I would have been thrilled but being pregnant at a punk show is not the best of situations. I didn’t want to be around the cigartte smoke, I didn’t want to get a contact high from the thick layer of weed smoke, I couldn’t sit on the grass for very long without my insufficiently padded rear getting sore, I was worried that the deafeningly loud music would somehow make my wee child retarded.
Although, all of that aside, it was pretty cool to get in. And Authority Zero was fabulous. As was Flogging Molly. šŸ˜‰
Natty and I wove our way through the crowds of people, we sang along with the band, and generally kept our eyes peeled. I knew if we didn’t find him by the time Flogging Molly started we would just have to enjoy the free concert and meet him at the truck later.
As the last band finished, we split up and began asking folks in the pit if they’d seen a 12 year old galivanting. Natty gave out her phone number to half of Mesa and a whole bevy of girls asked to touch my belly, being tickled to see a pregnant lady at a show.
Just before FLogging Molly took the stage my phone rang: “I found him! I found him. I found him!”
“Don’t move. Don’ t move a muscle. I’m coming to you. Marco”
“polo…I see you! Look up!”
Turns out the security gaurd told Steve to hide out up at the top of the Ampitheatre and stay out of sight. Much to Steve’s credit he did as he was told and only gazed longingly at the pit where giant men crashed into one another to the dulcet tones of Authority Zero. He stayed put at the top of the ampitheatre and enjoyed seeing the show.
After calling my aunt and assuring her he was intact, we decided to stay and enjoy the concert.
We left early because I’m a party pooper but got to hear at least one of their big songs. I took some pictures on my cell phone (T-Mobile hates me currently and I can’t send them to my Flickr account but I’ll upload them later), I let Steve venture to the edge of the craziness with his sister (she hung on to the back of his shirt and he jumped around like a loony), and wished very much that I could knock back beer.
The show was great, a little loud (does that mean I’m to old? Or just that my sensitive pregnancy hearing was on overdrive?), and I could have done without the copious amounts of smoke but I sang along with the songs I knew and danced on the grass with everyone else.
Overall, it was another fabulous random St. Patricks Day adventure (albeit one day late) and it has set the stage for tradition. As long as Flogging Molly plays the Ampitheatre for St. Pat’s, Steve and I will be there seeing the show for free somehow. Maybe next year we’ll even manage to get backstage. You should come, Steve and I have mad random adventure skilz.

Hot Hot Heat*

March 16, 2007

*not the band, the temperature.

Today, it’s a balmy 96 degrees.
Today, I am midway through my 36th week of pregnancy.

These two facts certainly contribute to the insane desire to take a nap in a baby pool full of gelato right now.

But only because I could enjoy the gelato for both it’s icy coolness AND it’s deliciousness. Otherwise what’s the point?

TOMORROW NIGHT: Steve, Luke, and I attempt to recreate one of my favorite memories from when I was losing my mind.
Last St. Pat’s I was pretty out of it (I remember very little of February, March and April of last year, due I would assume to my breakdown) but I got it together enough to try and take my cousin to listen to Flogging Molly at the Mesa Ampitheatre. We were going to sit out on the grass, run away from the rent-a-cops and enjoy the warm weather. As we rushed to hear them that evening (we had to leave the concert earlier in the day to take care of Nana) we ran into a guy who needed to use a cell phone, he was trying to get ahold of his friends on the roof of the hotel next door to the concert. I looked at Steve and I said to the complete stranger (let’s all remember that I was the weeest bit manic those days) “You can use my cell if we can crash the roof with you”. He told us it was cool if his hook up was cool with it. 5 minutes later we were climbing up the side of the building on a ladder, we came out on the roof overlooking the sea of people in the Ampitheatre…not 2 minutes before the band took the stage.
It was phenomenal.
The band was amazing, we stayed far away from the crowd of people and one of Steve’s first concerts was a pretty damn fabulous experiences. I have pictures on my old cell phone, I need to get to them and send them around. It was by far the best way I have ever seen a show, no crowds, no smoke, perfect view of the stage, and sound was as clear as a bell…It was a bright point in that pretty shadowy period.
I exchanged numbers with the guy (a high schooler who seemed amused by the fact that a 20 something chick was willing to commit breaking and entering to see a punk band with her little cousin) but it’s been disconnected…which is a bummer.
That fact notwithstanding, we’re going to hoof it to the Ampitheatre tomorrow evening to try and recreate the madness! You all are welcome to join us if you’re up for excitement, if we can’t get on the roof of the hotel we’re going to stick with the orignal plan from a year ago so be prepared to be sneaky and evade the security folks….


March 14, 2007

Thinking about singing to my son has me thinking of music that played throughout my childhood.
My family loves music, we play musical instruments, we sing, we rarely gather without music playing in the background. I used to sing professionally for weddings and funerals, my mother plays the guitar and the accordion, my father plays the guitar and the piano, my cousin Darin has an album out and my cousin Hannah’s voice is awe inspiring. (as a side note, there was a short while when the music wasn’t played as often as it was, just after my mother’s father died, both my sister and I struggled with depression and anxiety, her moreso than myself and music seemed to exacerbate her anxiety attacks immensly. To this day, she’s very interested in why that was, because now she loves music and if asked about that period will talk about it to a certain extent)
While I was growing up there were several songs that all meant something special to me, time and time again these songs played in house. And they each meant something specific: Sunday mornings, time for bed, evenings when my father was home making dinner and drinking a glass of wine…
Sunday mornings were the most upbeat, most diverse tunes: Graceland by Paul Simon, Djobi, Djoba by the Gipsy Kings, anything by Gloria Estefan. I’ve spoken about Sunday mornings here before, and to this day they are some of my best memories of growing up. The soundtrack to those memories will always inform the color and feel of them. It is always summer in the Sunday mornings of my mind.
Other songs that played throughout my childhood are a bit more unusual. My parents, hippies that they are, taught us great songs from their college days: “If I had a Hammer”, “Fortunate Son”, and “Hey Joe” are all songs that bring back memories of sitting around the dinner table with my parents learning about Kent State, bra burning, and living in Tucson. My mother used to play “Sloop John B” on the guitar for us, and it amused us to no end. I have since discovered that most kids’ parents weren’t as politcally charged as mine, and that my childhood was a little bit different from average. Not that I’d trade it, I like having wierd stories to recount to my friends.
When my family moved to the Robson house I was about 7 years old. At first I shared a room with my sister. My father used to sit outside our bedroom and sing to us to put us to sleep, a lullabye that I have since sung to many children I’ve nannied: “Over in the Meadow”, a counting song that still moves me to tears to hear him sing it. To hear anyone sing it really. I plan on teaching it to Luke so he can carry on the tradition. This song has taken on new meaning in the last year as it is one of the songs I hummed to my Nana as she lay dying. I would stroke her back and sing quietly to her as she shallowly breathed in and out. I used to wish I could have come up with something more profound, but I have since realized how calming lullabies can be…
I hope that my son’s memories are as filled with music as mine are. I know that I’m doing my best to expose him to music now, singing and dancing as I clean the kitchen, as I drive my car, just listening to music with his dad.Ā  Luke says he loves to hear me sing and I know that he sings at the drop of a hat (and he can carry a tune bless him!)
And now I’m curious, what kind of music makes up your memories? A specific song? A band?

The Best One

March 9, 2007

“The Best One”

Note: I composed all of this at about 2:00 this morning, insomnia struck again and it was the real kind of insomnia where you’re exhausted and can’t move but you can’t fall asleep. And you sort of want to punch whomever is sleeping in the bed next to you because they’re blissfully (loudly) sawing logs mere inches from you. And you have to go into the other room to try and sleep. And end up watching Law and Order reruns for 4 hours.

It was like that.

The subject of this post is a phrase I picked up from my Jess…oftentimes, if you’re doing something nice for her, or have said something particularly brilliant, or if you have just bought her a beer for her new beer leaf (which is, by now, no longer new but tarnished and well established), Jess will turn to you and say: “You’re the best one”.
This phrase is used often in our home, used well. It may be because Luke is not so much with the romance and this a practical way of telling me how wonderful he thinks I am, it may be because it’s nice to change up “I love you” with something else every now and then…
And then I read this:
“…I wasn’t sure how it happened, but I was sure I had found the best one. And I had.
I realize now this is just part of what it means to fall in love. Negatives slip away like dead skin. You don’t even notice they’re gone. You are left with the overwhelming evidence that you’ve got the best one. Logic dictates that not every husband, or wife, or child can be the best one. Yet in the face of that terrible logic, belief persists.
That belief drives us to document it, to photograph the object as proof. It may drive us to share those photographs with strangers (even thousands of them). Though a belief may be illogical does not make it untrue. It is true for all of us. The moment every child enters the world, two insufferable blowhards are born. That’s just the way it is.

And I realized that maybe Jess has created a phrase more powerful than she originally thought. It took me a lot of looking but Luke is the best one I’ve ever known. I realized that Jess has perfectly captured what it means to love unconditionally because, sometimes, late at night, when the belly has kept me up with his dancing, and I’m aching with the muscle pain of carrying around 60 extra pounds, and I’m exhausted but STILL can’t sleep, sometimes I run my hand over the hard ridge where my baby’s head is and whisper: “You’re the best one my babe” and he quiets and I can feel his little hand pushing back at me like he’s saying: “You’re not so bad yourself momma”.


February 23, 2007

Today is my birthday. One of my favorite days of the year…
Today I have been ruminating on a lot of things, having been up since 7:30 or so (cut me some slack, since I started my 9-5 I can’t sleep past 8:30 usually, birthday or no)
mostly the ups and downs of my life over the last 25 years. The important things I’ve learned:

-Trust your gut.
-Always make sure people know how amazing you think they are
-Take risks
-Find one thing every day to be joyful about
-Learn to cook well
-Be flexible
-Take nothing for granted
-Nothing is what it seems, or what you plan, or sometimes even what you hope…

This last one the most simultaneously painful and joyful lesson I have ever learned. The essence of it is that elements of our lives are whizzing by us at an incredible rate and every so often we get lucky enough for 2 or 3 things to collide at just the right moment and create something astoundingly beautiful. Sometimes these collisions result in a life changing, painful, blinding explosion but if we try and control that process, we might end up mising the best thing to ever happen to us.

So today, this day of my birth, I am taking the whole day to be grateful for all those little collisions that led me here. And for all the people who helped me survive through them.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times.

"The dawn is breaking

A light shining through

You're barely waking

And I'm tangled up in you

YeahI'm open, you're closed

Where I follow, you'll go

I worry I won't see your face

Light up again

Even the best fall down sometimes

Even the wrong words seem to rhyme

Out of the doubt that fills my mind

I somehow find

You and I collide

I'm quiet you know

You make a first impression

I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I somehow find
You and I collide Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to ryhme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find
You and I collide You finally find You and I collide You finally find" -Howie Day, Collide.


February 21, 2007

when I finally do have this child, I know, unequivocally that I will look forward to the day when he comes in after curfew because I can say to him: “You have ALWAYS kept me up nights my darling”

insomnia sucks

tonight as we were driving back from the movies, we saw one of the neighbors bunnies, Fang (we’ve named the bunnies threatening names to entertain ourselves) just sitting in the middle of the road. Attila the Bun, his counterpart, was sitting in the adjoining lawn watching him.
As we pulled into our driveway I said to Luke “babe, you have to go see what’s wrong with Fang”
to which he replied “I was gonna!”
and he got out of the car, walked to the rabbit, looked at him concernedly, scooped him up and carried him to our neighbors yard. We knocked and returned the rabbit (the general consensus is a car winged him and broke his back and he’s gonna have to be put down poor bun.) Luke talked with our neighbor and allowed the little kid next door to pull him around the house for a while as I just stood there saying “poor bunny!”
When we got inside our house, I told Luke that I loved that he immediately thought to go check on the rabbit, even before I said anything. I said “you love all living creatures”
to which he replied, with a kiss to the belly and a hand on my cheek, “I especially love this living creature. And this one”

the boy has got romantic skills when he wants them that’s for sure.