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.

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….

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 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

"A mother told her daughter go out and find yourself 
a brown eyed handsome man
That's what your daddy is a brown eyed handsome man

Milo Venus was a beautiful lass
She had the world in the palm of her hand
but she lost both her arms in a wrestling match
to get a handsome brown eyed man
she fought and won herself a brown eyed handsome man..."

 There are a lot of songs about blue eyes and green eyes and every now and then a 
love song about brown eyes...Eyes of every color get odes. Even hazel eyes got a little 
tribute thanks to my girl Kelly Clarkson!
 I've been listening to a lot of love songs lately, all kinds of styles. From joyful upbeat ones to 
quiet sad songs. Mostly I listen because the baby seems to like it when I sing to him and
when I dance around cleaning the kitchen. But I've been listening to get a grasp on what this
feeling is that I've had a lot lately. This sense of ease and lightness. It takes a lot for me to go
crisis mode, and I feel confident (if ungainly) and though things still frustrate me every now and then
and sometimes I have a hard time communicating what I want, I am truthfully very happy.
Is this the love they're talking about?
 I've been innundated with the images of romance and love lately, everyone has, with the good old V-Day
coming up. Honestly, I nothing the holiday, since my birthday falls in the same month, when I'm in a 
relationship my birthday usually got precedence over the corporate holiday and I was given a joint present. 
And when I was single, it just never occured to me to be bitter because it came and went without my noticing it.
But I've been reading all those articles about romantic gifts and engagement proposals and roses
and I've been ruminating on it all...
 Mostly I have been thinking a lot about my relationship. And not just in terms of how it will be changing
once Colin gets here. But how we got here, where we're going, what makes this relationship so steeady 
feeling, so comforting and familiar. Our 6 years of friendship certainly helps, as does our ability to talk 
about everything. I'm sure that my being mentally healthy as of late (read: since last May) helps a lot too.
But it's more than that, something intangible, something that I struggle to define but am certain I have never felt
before. I use the word "incredible" a lot and "wonderful" and "joyful" in almost irritating repeat, and yet
it's still not enough. This morning as I kissed Luke goodbye, and he got into his truck to go to work, I looked at
this handsome brown eyed man I've got. A man who couldn't be more different from what I thought I wanted, a man
who really believes that his job is take care of me and worship me, a man who loves his family and friends and his God
with a ferocity that inspires people who meet him, a man with an innate curiosity about the world and a passion
for learning. A man who quite probably shares his beautiful brown eyes with my son...
and I smiled. Because there it was again. That feeling. 
 Where am I going with this? I don't know. Is it an attempt to create a Valentine for the partner I am irrevocably
bound too? Is it just a stream of thought that occured to me as I listened to Chuck Berry and Van Morrison as
I washed the dishes? I don't know.
But I'm grateful for that feeling. Whatever it is. Because it makes everything that much better.

Adventures in Hospitaling

February 7, 2007

Hooray for histrionics!
Thanks to a seemingly unrelated series of symptoms my OB sent me to the hospital yesterday. While there I got to wear “the gown”, get strapped to fetal monitors, watch my faux contractions on a screen, worry for about an hour that I was going into pre-term labor, get a shot from a nurse with 9 fingers, a ride in a wheelchair from the same nurse and watch Luke pick the lock of a locked hospital bathroom…
it was an awesome day.
I am, in fact, fine. But I was dehydrated (which caused my contractions and in turn caused them to give me a shot of Albueterine – a muscle relaxer that works like Proventil, the asthma medication, in that it relaxes a your muscles but makes you super shaky, also it has a reaction in some people (ME!) that mimics your blood pressure plummeting, but only if you’re hydrated -)so today I begin drinking like I was doing the detox diet again…
“what’s this detox diet?” you muse
surely you knew me when I went on the crazy detox diet?!?! no? you’ve never heard about that? OH MAN. Is that a crazy story. A story for later.


February 5, 2007

If I gave birth today I would have a son.
He would survive.
He would be tiny and birdlike and fragile.
But he would breathe in and out, with human lungs rather than gills…
And his wee little heart would beatbeatbeat.
If I gave birth today
I would be a mother.
It is a comepletely incapacitating thought to have.
The next 10 weeks are for growing. And grow we shall.
Mostly with the idea that I am not the same person I was this time last year.
And I never will be.