Sunday, July 21, 2013

I miss my brother

Sometimes it just really punches me in the gut - the missing.  The re-remembering that he's gone and that he won't be coming back next week, next month, ten years from now.  That I can't take a picture of his kids opening birthday presents and save them until he gets back.

It's the same old story: I don't know how to express this.  Close family are all focused on the remembering, and it feels wrong for me to bring up grief again, and risk ruining someone else's day.  Friends have definitely been supportive, but I imagine that nobody really wants to spend a long time with this... there's nothing to be done, after all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Week 9

How should I begin?  I'm writing this post because I'm really supposed to be doing my homework, but I was told today that I don't have to keep my 3.8 GPA in the graduate program, so I'm letting this slide a little.

Last week Mike and I saw the second midwife at the clinic (of three), and she was AMAZING.  She was so comforting and enthusiastic, and put my mind to ease about accidentally eating feta the previous week.  She did an ultrasound to check on the fetal development and we saw a heartbeat!  It mostly looked like a flickering area in the midst of a grey area, but it was so wonderful.  I thought I would cry - MIKE thought I would cry - but I didn't, really.  Too many nerves about the wand-up-the-hoo-ha experience.  I left feeling much more at ease than I've felt in several weeks, and we celebrated afterward over breakfast (fried chicken and pancakes).

It was so good to have confirmation that there really was something - someone - alive in there.  It sounds silly to say, but every time we had told someone about the pregnancy prior to this, I'd get a feeling of dread and wouldn't really want to smile anymore.  Especially after all of the stuff with my brother disappearing around Christmas I'm so tired of being the center of attention around negative events.  It's exhausting.

Other stuff has gone down that has more than made up for the stress, though.  My parents are going through some major relationship shit, and I'm so scared and sad about that.  One close friend has been in the hospital with her son who is undergoing an operation for a cold that morphed into a (very rare) brain infection.  Another close friend who became pregnant at the same time as me miscarried over the weekend.

I feel so overwhelmed by all of these things, and that I need to take care of so many important people.  I know that I don't really "need" to take care of them, but that's what meaningful relationships are for!  Being present when shit goes down.  I feel so guilty about my friend's miscarriage.  It had been so special to have someone who was going through the same physical and hormonal changes as me, and to imagine our kids playing together, etc.  Now every time I think of what's growing inside of me I think of what is no longer inside of her.  I'm worried.  There are too many feelings to really put into words right now, other than that I'm worried.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Time for Thankful

It's been a tough week.  Mike and I are trying to sort out so much for the arrival of Poppy Seed, and we're both tired, sad, and stressed.  I get so tired during the day, but by the time I'm getting into bed the worries start to smother and I can only sleep four or five hours.  It's put both of us on edge, and I sobbed through the night on Thursday.

We tried to go out for a date on Friday, but between my sensitive stomach and our new budget it wasn't so awesome.  I was sad, Mike was sad.  We couldn't pull off the small talk at first, but as dinner went on we were able to talk about some of our worries and hold hands and offer support.

I'm tired of being sad and stressed and overwhelmed.  Fighting my anxiety with blogs showcasing other people's happy families isn't enough.  This weekend I'm focusing on being content.  There are flowers on the table, the floors are getting cleaned, and we'll be writing our blessings down as a reminder of what we have.  I'm finding a counselor, because Mike shouldn't be responsible for my stress, and friends just keep saying, "none of this will even matter in 8 months" (which is true, I'm told, but doesn't do a damn lick of good right now).  Things are getting better.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Growing a Human

Over the weekend I had coffee with a friend and discovered that she was also pregnant, and in fact, due the same time as I am.  As she was telling me about her mood swings and achy body I thought, "Man, I have nothing like this going on.  Maybe I'm not really pregnant!"

If I was in doubt then, I'm not at all doubting now.  My breasts hurt all the time, I'm exhausted and unmotivated, I almost passed out in the shower yesterday morning, and all night my ribs ached as though I'd been in a fight with Jet Li.  How do people do this?  How does that reality TV lady with 20 kids do this??  From what I've read on the internet I can only expect more discomfort, followed by a marathon session of extreme pain, followed by about a year of sleepless and sexless nights with a newborn.

Call me uninspired, but I don't know how our species has lasted so long.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

These first few days

It's been a little over a week since my home pregnancy test (in Michigan!) read positive.  The week has gone by so slowly - well, not slowly so much, as hyper consciously.  There has been no floating by in any situation.     I'm aware of my body, my feelings, the future that might be in most moments.  Without a schedule in Michigan this was even more pronounced.  The flight home, too, as I worried about being sick on our three flights, and Mike found me priority boarding passes, and I told every stranger that I sat next to that I'd try not to be sick on them (they loved me, they really did).

I met with a friend over the weekend and discovered that she is also pregnant, and that we conceived on the same day.  It's strange to compare our differing emotional states - she is elated while I'm anxious.  After telling her I felt sad, which seems so contrary, but I have to keep reminding myself that there are a lot of crazy hormones taking over right now.

The rain, especially, is really wearing me down.  And since we've turned the thermostat WAY down to try and save money I'm always cold, which isn't helping.  All I want to do is sleep, take baths, and watch TV.  Unfortunately, I have to find time to fit in full-time work, homework for two increasingly demanding classes, and something akin to maintaining my essential friendships.  This all sounds so sad!  What a downer.

Happy things?  The kitten has been extra cuddly today.  I got a 16-ounce blender and am getting to work on my leafy greens and stock of frozen fruit from the summer.  My new niece and nephew are so cute and delightful.  Mike has been so accommodating and nurturing, and I'm so thankful to have him as a partner.  We told Mike's parents the night before we left Michigan about the little Poppy Seed, and they were so excited.  They just kept saying, "we are so blessed.  So blessed."  OH!  And we've taken to calling the Other In My Body by her (its?) size last week - Poppy Seed.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Early incubation

Spending the first few days of getting to know your pregnant body while at your in-laws in another state - AND while your partner is sick with the flu - is so miserable.  I'm cold and tired and want my bed and want to stop making up excuses for why I'm not drinking that glass of wine.  I intend to spend the rest of the evening crying over a pot of lentil soup and listening to podcasts.  (For a similar experience, read the story Tear Soup from Arnold Lobel's "Owl at Home".)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One Year Awesomer

11-05-12 Today is my birthday!  31 years of awesome.

I love, love, love celebrating my birthday.  We had an amazing party on Saturday (one party to rule them all!), and I've nearly finished our Party Project.

And now, without further ado, list number one - 31 People I'm Thankful For (not ranked):

  1. Mi esposo/mi amor/the rev/Mike
  2. Rachie B.
  3. My sister-in-law, Colleen
  4. Mike's parents
  5. Mike's grandparents
  6. Alicia-b-married
  7. Amanda
  8. My new boss, Nancy, who is awesome!
  9. My former boss, Michael, who taught me so much, and helped me to refine my accounting and problem solving skills
  10. Vance
  11. My parents
  12. Todd & Angie (even though it's awkward) for teaching me to sing from my stomach
  13. Crystal & Geoff, because they heard me
  14. Nancy H., who might possibly be the most generous person I know
  15. My siblings, in all of their complexity
  16. Lalita, who creates beautiful things for the people in her life.  Creative and amazing.
  17. Cynthia and her husband, Michael, who laugh harder than anyone I know.  I'm going to do more of that.
  18. Angie and Marion, who fed us and fixed our house
  19. Sue and Joe, who shared their kitchen and gave me wine when they weren't supposed to
  20. Nickaela, because her stubbornness and intelligence are so inspiring


Update: life got crazy around the birthday time, and I (clearly) never finished the list.  Well, here's to embracing life's imperfections: My incomplete list!


Three days ago I confirmed something that I'd suspected for the last couple of weeks - I'm pregnant.

It's so strange to type the words.  Even when I told Mike that morning I danced around the issue, sort of describing the situation instead of just proclaiming those two words.

The issue is that we have been talking about this regularly for the past few months, especially with passing the half-way mark at school and leaping into my early 30s last year.  Our plan was to start trying in the summer, which would allow me to finish the program, and give us time to save, and plan, and have a few last hurrahs.  Well, New Year's Day was a fabulous day.  We woke up from a terrific night out with friends, made a delicious breakfast to share with even more friends, and once the house was empty we had some awesome sex.  Awesome.  Seriously.

Something had nagged at me toward the end of that day, and in checking my fertility calculator that we've been using as pretty effective birth control for the last year-and-a-half, I found that I was right at the beginning of my "fertile period".  Shit.

I've waited and waited the past two weeks, wondering if any unusual feelings were signs of pregnancy, trying not to drink, telling myself that getting my period is okay.  Friday morning was the day before I should have started my period, and I hadn't slept at all the night before.  My sister-in-law had been up all night with crying twin newborns, and my nerves were shot.  Getting up around 7, I peed on the pregnancy test I'd brought with me (stashed conveniently with my tampons) and immediately got the two red lines.

Two red lines.  !!!!!!!

Everyone in the house was asleep, so I washed the dishes, tidied the baby blankets, collected bottles, and paced around the house.  I tried reading.  I gave in and sat on the bed next to Mike, fully dressed, until he woke up.  I said something along the lines of, "remember New Year's?  And how we had really great sex?  And didn't think to use a condom?  Well, I just took a pregnancy test and it had two lines.  Which mean that... most likely.... there's a new thing growing inside of me."

Why couldn't I just say the words?  In short, I'm worried that this won't stick.  My Mom and aunt had difficulties with conceiving and multiple miscarriages, and Mike's sister had some infertility issues, as well.  What if I miscarry?  What if I miscarry really late in the pregnancy?  How do people handle the HUGE WEIGHT of growing a life inside of you that you can't absolutely protect?

On top of that, based on the date of conception, I'm due at the end of September, which is one month into my final term at school, when I'll be intensely working on my capstone group project.  I don't know what I'm going to do!  If I were due during the break I could see working this out while on maternity leave, but I can't see myself pulling this off.  And it's expensive.  And I'm afraid my classmates will not want to work in a group with me because of it.

We're going to have to really tighten our belts over the next several months in order to afford the hospital bills, the leave from work, and the baby supplies.  I won't be able to take any vacation for the next year, which means cancelling our trip to Michigan for the grandparents' 60th anniversary celebration.  I'm afraid of the changes in my body, and that I'll never be able to lose the weight gained.  I'm worried that I'll have a terrible, painful delivery.  I'm worried that we aren't ready.  (Whoa. This is so much worry!)

Allllllll of that said, I've prayed about this a lot.  By myself, and with Mike.  In spite of all the worries laid out, I feel surprisingly calm and not anxious.  I know that we can work the details out, and that if I miscarry at any point it will somehow be okay... in time.  I can find a way to work things out with school, because I know that students in this program before me have pulled it off.  I've looked at a few blogs and photos of friends who are pregnant or have new infants and keep reminding myself that This Is Good.  I remember that I have years of experience with newborns and young children, and am confident that Mike and I will be excellent parents, and that we really will have so much fun.  I know that Mike is my favorite person, my supportive partner, and life-long companion.  We will figure this out together, and will have the support of family, friends, and church members.  It's going to be okay.