Monday, January 31, 2011

A very scary, pregnant (I hope!) pause

I went to the midwife today for my second visit with her (before that I saw the Reproductive Endocrinologist, aka the Fertility Doctor, weekly.... weekly worked so WELL for me and my anxious mind!).

Anyway, I was thrilled when she wanted to check for the heartbeat. I wasn't sure if that was a standard thing to do or not... and, as I said, this girl gets anxious! Especially since I complained about my belly a few days ago on here... and then noticed my belly looked smaller the next day. Paranoia.

So she just kept searching, and searching... and nothing. And this was after she found it on the last visit, when it "should" have been too early (uterus too low for doppler at only 9 weeks... only my uterus, happily, tips forward and thus cooperated). I started to get more and more anxious. Started imagining how I would go straight to the ER, and that I would just have to call in sick tomorrow if something bad happened... but that I couldn't call in sick tomorrow, because I've arranged for the Department of Health to come in and offer gonorrhea and chlamydia testing to all the high school students... so I can't miss that. So I guess I'll just come in and look really grim. That would be okay, right?

Then, FINALLY, just for a few seconds, we heard the heartbeat. Faintly, to my ears, but absolutely there. I heaved a sigh of relief and my eyes got wet.

I still worry, all the time, that I don't "deserve" to have this easy (relatively) pregnancy without something terrible going wrong.

Thank goodness I was wrong this time.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weeding My Friendship Garden

I began weeding my friendship garden in the year or so before TTC. And initially I thought that it was so that I would have my life and support network in optimal shape before bringing a child into the mix.

But as I think back, I realize it was a bigger step than that. Making the decision that I didn’t want a particular person in my life anymore was a message to myself that I was ready to prioritize my own self, my feelings and my priorities, and that this was a hugely important step to take before being ready to responsibly raise a child.

I grew up in a turbulent home. My father was narcissistic and aggressive. He competed with his three children for his wife’s attention. He was quick to put us in our places, to assure us of our faults. He could reduce any of us to tears in mere moments. My younger brother, the only boy, fought with him, constantly and of course unsuccessfully, for the place of alpha male. So he generally received the brunt of the negative attention. My older sister had a strong personality like my father, but was generally busy with her own life… except when she felt that my brother was being treated unfairly. Then the screaming really began.

My role, as the quiet middle sister, was to be the good girl. I thrived on praise, and generally tried to fly under the radar. I was much, much better than my brother at getting what I needed, because I knew just the right way to appease my father. I learned to model my interests after his, to show interests in his other pursuits, to keep the conversation entertaining and non-threatening. And most of all, I knew how to avoid conflict. I suppose in this way I modeled myself after my mother, who seemed permanently exhausted by the chaos of three children, a suburban lifestyle when she hated to drive, and the constant threat of a prolonged angry outburst from my father (a quick apology would never do – once his ire was raised, a long series of apologies explaining the full extent of one’s regret and wrongdoing were required).

My parents had no real friends. Neither knew how to socialize with others. My father thought the quickest way to impress was to regale strangers with a detailed accounting of his latest accomplishment… not surprisingly, that didn’t make him a lot of fans. My mother just never learned how to interact in a social way. Her understanding of conversation generally seemed to be as a way to impart information… with a fair bit of judgment thrown in as well.

When I reached the fifth grade, I realized that as a result of my parents’ lack of social skills, I had never really learned how to make friends myself. I was lonely. Not only that, but that it was my own fault that I was socially inadequate, and that I was somehow responsible for being born into my dysfunctional family. I desperately wanted to distance myself from them, and from that terrible belief, and so I began to watch others, to see how they managed the task. I remember hungrily studying the social habits of a popular girl in my Sunday school class to see just how she did it. Luckily, I spent summers away from home at sleepaway camp, where I had the opportunity to reinvent myself, and the following summer I first had a gaggle of friends. 

Mindful of the previous summer, when I had spent an afternoon crying in my bunk when none of the other girls would agree to be my swimming buddy (and humiliated, convinced it was my fault I was being treated thus, had to confess the shameful truth to my counselor), I was on my best behavior. When I came back to school in my tiny town, if I stayed on my best behavior, I was allowed to stay just on the fringes, socially. I didn’t have to eat alone at lunch anymore… I had a precarious seat at the corner of the table. I was made fun of occasionally, and excluded sometimes, but not consistently any longer. And there I stayed for the rest of my school career. By high school my class of 60+ was a fairly close knit group, and I was usually treated with a vague kindness, though I never felt a part of things. Luckily, I continued to go to summer camp, where I had lots of friends as the years passed, and then I joined a regional youth group that got me out of small town life and into a vibrant social scene, where I had close friends and even a boyfriend. Always, I stayed on my best behavior. I would never consider the youth group summer trip to Israel, or any other group travel for that matter, where I might be forced to let down my walls out of sheer exhaustion. If they knew what I was really like, if I ran out of the energy to stay on my best behavior, I was sure they would reject me.

Fast forward to adult life. Apart from a shocking, deeply painful experience late in college when I had a falling out with my group of close knit friends… shockingly reminiscent of my junior high years… I’m generally socially successful. I’m beloved in the school community where I work, and I’m finally “cool” with teenagers, so many years after being a teen myself (I'm not sure it really "counts" now), as the provider of confidential birth control and STI testing. Finally in the last couple of years, I’ve begun to be my real, authentic self. I got tired of “trying.” Through working with a fabulous therapist last year, I finally, miraculously, relieved myself of the burden of believing that I was somehow marked, tainted, somehow insufficient. I finally believed that it wasn’t this curse that has left me single. Though I do believe that my belief that I was insufficient may have contributed. I never let a boyfriend see my true, unfettered self (well, save one, of the five year relationship though he still doesn’t know the truth about my junior and senior high school years… and then, perhaps, because a part of me never thought we would last?). Never let anyone truly know the depths of my flaws. Who might I have met if I had let my true self shine?

The lucky truth is that I am happy single, and no longer have any desire to be coupled. I finally learned that who I am is to be celebrated. That with all my quirks and weirdnesses, I’m still pretty awesome. Because each and every one of us is great, just as we are, especially when we are unapologetic and proud. Partly because there's no changing who we are, no matter how we try (and oh, how I tried), so why not celebrate ourselves? It sounds so obvious to me now, but it took me a very long time to learn this. 

Learning to be the author of my authentic self has been a long and arduous journey. I’m so thankful that I never “succeeded” in a romantic relationship where I was any less than I am now. I still doubt that I can remain unapologetic about who I am if I did choose to be in a relationship, and so I have chosen to remain single until I am confident that nothing can shake my sense of self. I wonder sometimes how long that will take… but I feel no sense of urgency any longer. I am complete. I don’t need anyone else to make me happy. So what’s the rush?

And now, choosing to eliminate people from my life who no longer, or never, contributed to my life in a positive way is just one more way I prove to myself that I fully accept myself. I eliminated an ex-boyfriend who liked to toy with my affections. A female friend of his who once confessed to me that the reason they never “got together” was simply that they live in different boroughs – why would I want to know that you and my ex would’ve been perfect for you if not for a small (or not, for that matter) geographic discrepancy??? A running group where the leader liked to turn on a different member each week, to make him or her insecure.

I can’t wait to share my hard-won learning with my child, to teach that every aspect of who we are deserves to be celebrated, even the more trying aspects. There’s a lifetime of opportunity for working on those minor flaws… and not a second to wait to start celebrating who we are right now, complete with those very flaws. 

(***note: I was asked to write this for the SMC blog. I'm not at all sure that this is a good idea. But that's why this is tied up with a bow at the end. In reality, of course, it's an ongoing struggle... though to be fair, I have made significant progress. More on the ongoing struggle soon. It's feeling a little too raw at the moment.)  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight...

I attended a pizza party with 24 members of my extended family tonight. It was fine. I mean, I always feel awkward and out of place at family get togethers, to a greater or lesser extent. That much-older, never been married, no kids, slightly out of place cousin... that's me! Tonight I was worrying about looking "fat" (aka the belly sticking out) or especially busty, so that was one more thing to be self conscious about. But it was fine. And thankfully, didn't last too long.

One of my cousins hosted in her beautiful apartment with a gorgeous view overlooking Central Park. Another cousin there owns two apartments joined together to form a home bigger than most freestanding single family homes... but his is located in the heart of the Upper West Side. His children have their own wing of the apartment.

After the evening and the long schlepp back to Brooklyn (thanks F train! I loved waiting nearly a half an hour for you to arrive), I found myself lying on the couch (big surprise, that!) and thinking about money. First, I found myself wishing for more. I was thinking about my cousin with the double apartment, and how I overheard his wife telling a story about how she told the housekeeper not to let her even look at her computer before going to the gym... but then she peeked at it, and never made it to the gym after all. So, she's got three kids in full time private school, is a full time stay at home mom, has a housekeeper (when I went there for dinner once with my mom, they had TWO staff people serving dinner... and the dinner was prepared food from a local upscale supermarket... not exactly complicated to either serve or clean up from.... but I digress), and still... is stressed about time? Wow. Anyway, they have money for three kids to be in private school, and to all go away to camp in the summer, and have every luxury they could want.

I get it that money doesn't buy happiness. Truly, I do. And I enjoy my life a lot, even with not so much money. And I don't particularly wish it to be different. But still... I was thinking how nice that would be, to have plenty of money. For a moment, I wished I  could have a fancy home, too. But then, looking around, I realized that I like my apartment an awful lot. A bigger place would just mean more space to clean, more possibilities of accumulating crap (I'm an anti-clutter girl), and not particularly useful. It would be nice, however, to leave in a more hip and certainly more convenient location.

This is not a post about counting my blessings. In case you were wondering.

When I decided to get pregnant, I more or less decided to go in for a total personality change, as far as finances were concerned. I decided to adopt others' attitude of "the universe will provide." Although I can't quite see this working, according to some numbers I crunched with my mom, changes in my tax status once I give birth plus not putting any money towards retirement plus getting a raise I'm owed... SHOULD mean that I can cover daycare without being in the red every month. Of course, once I factor in diapers and shoes and trombone lessons (presumably I won't be paying for diapers and trombone lessons at the same time... one can hope), I will certainly in the red. But hopefully not by TOO much each month. And anyway, this is what savings are for, right? This is that proverbial rainy day. This baby, this life we will have, this is what I want more than anything. What I have saved for my entire life.

The really good thing about my life, our life, is that I work only 8-4 every day, and it's at an extremely popular (lottery only) public school in Brooklyn, where my child is more or less guaranteed acceptance. And best of all, I have summers off. I have sort of a hard time with a lot of unstructured free time, and so have arranged to work at least part of each summer I've been off, as a summer camp nurse. I actually worry about this upcoming summer, and what on earth I will do with myself during all of July and presumably some of August (the Lentil is due August 6, 2011) when I'm not just without occupation but also hugely pregnant and presumably without work to do. But anyway, I presume that I will be glad to have the time off (versus more money that I could earn with a job without summers off) when I have a child. If not, of course, I always have the option to find a new job. But I do love and enjoy my job, so it's not like I only keep it because of the hours.

No, as I was lying here fantasizing about having more money, what I realized is that I wished I had enough money so that I didn't have to worry about it. I like the idea of living "the simple life" and working relatively few hours and I don't mind my slightly out of the way neighborhood so much. And the Lentil and I won't need more than our one bedroom for quite a while, anyway, I reckon.

And it occurred to me: if I'm going to wish for enough money to not have to worry about it, I should put a number on it. Then I can write it down. I don't know if I'm actually a believer, but I am at least a suspecter that there's some truth to the idea that you need to verbalize your goal to the universe.

And so I'm trying to decide how much money I would need to earn (or to have, if there's some other way to get money) for me to not worry about money. I think I'm a worrier by nature... but I'd like to come up with a figure. And I have no idea how to do that.

What do you think? Any suggestions on how to figure this out?

(And forgive me if this is a superbly boring post... I feel like it was important for me to even just this out into the universe... even if it makes for dull reading.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011



That's pretty much the purpose of family, right? To bring more drama into our lives?

Sometimes, like today, I feel guilty, and like it's my fault that things aren't easier with my family.

The good news is that my sister and I talked yesterday.

The bad news is that she angrily accused me of having an agenda, some sort of ulterior motive, for deciding to have my shower on a date that she couldn't come.

I very calmly (go me!) asked her what on earth kind of agenda would that be? What on earth could I possibly be trying to prove? Why would I not want her there? Of COURSE I want her there... it just felt like it was impossible to achieve.

She finally calmed down -- it helped when I told her it hurt my feelings that she suggested I have my shower four months before my due date -- and said she meant to only express her preference. And insisted that she told me that she would be there for any of the dates she had given me, including the ones in June. So I told her that I hadn't heard her say that in our previous conversation, but that I was glad to hear it now. She offered to talk to our cousin B, to see if there were any dates in June that might work for her, after all, so that my shower could be in the month of my preference. And I promised to use the one date in May that seems to work for everyone, if no June compromise can be reached.

I also told her that I'm sad that she may be moving across the country, right before I give birth. And that it's really important to me that she be there in the delivery room when the time comes... Which is very true. Though it's hard for me to imagine how that will work, if she's living in New Mexico.

Anyway, our conversation ended very sweetly. She told me that she's planning to start making me a quilt for the baby this week, and that she has a whole ritual planned, some sort of Blessing ceremony, that she wants to do for my shower. Which is beautiful. Of course, rituals make me super uncomfortable... but in this case, well, it's not about me. And she said she had this had been done for her, and it was beautiful, and she still looks at the album that was created during it. So maybe I will appreciate it too, instead of merely feeling uncomfortable. Hoping for the best with that one!

So we are back in a good place. I see her limitations very clearly... but I am able to not take them personally.

My brother, on the other hand. Well.

He called today, and after asking how I was feeling, inquired as to whether I had forgotten that I had promised him a housewarming present, as he hadn't heard anything from me in a while. And he wondered if I needed suggestions.

I. Am Not. Making. This. Up.

Now, I guess I should admire his forthrightness and honesty? I mean, I'd rather have someone ask me for what he wants than walk around resenting him.

But I must admit, it took me by surprise. And the whole honesty thing, well, he values it more highly than I do.

Case in point. Back when I was maybe 27, I had flown to the East Coast from San Francisco for our annual Thanksgiving family reunion. We were standing alone in the kitchen but were certainly not in a private place, and out of nowhere, he smirked at me and said, "nice mustache you've got going there. I've got a razor you can borrow if you need it."

When I glared at him, he said, "what? I believe in being honest with people I care about."

I can laugh about it now... well, okay, actually, I can't, but at least not be bothered about it. But at the time, it was horrifying. Truthfully, I lived in San Francisco, I'd been moonlighting as a dyke when I met my ex (boyfriend), I knew nothing about makeup, didn't shave my 'pits, and generally didn't care much about my appearance. But his comment made me deeply self conscious. I wondered if everyone had been gawking at me as I walked around, oblivious to my newfound hirsuitism?

But then, that he tried to play it off as "constructive criticism" and "helping me," well, that took the cake. Especially after saying this in the middle of a very public kitchen, in a home with 30+ people roaming through it.

At the time, I walked away, and ignored him the rest of my visit. When he confronted me about said silent treatment a day or two later, I said, "look, I could say to you, 'your ass is getting kind of big. Maybe you need to start going to the gym more often.' And that's true. But I don't, because it's not kind." That shut him up. And I walked away.

(After I returned home to SF, I managed to share this story with my then-boyfriend of five years, who is a lovely, gentle soul... cringing at the part about the mustache, worried that he had never noticed my disgusting hairiness, but would forever afterwards be revolted by me... and he just laughed heartily. To my shock and wonder, he didn't seem disgusted by me in the slightest, even knowing The Terrible Truth About My Hairy Self.  And then ranked on my brother and his unbearable self righteousness... and made me feel warm and surrounded by love. )

Do You Like Boobs a Lot?

"Do you like boobs a lot?"

"Yes, I like boobs a lot!"

"Why do you like boobs a lot?"

"'Cause I like boobs a lot!"

This little ditty, if it can fairly be called that, was taught to me by my cousin Bonnie at the ripe old age of, I don't know, six? My younger brother and thought it was hysterically funny.

Don't ask me why, but it has stuck with me all these years. And now, it keeps coming into my head because when I woke up yesterday, I swear to god, my boobs were noticeably bigger compared to the previous day. My belly had also grown overnight.

My belly felt sort of like a balloon, stretched tight, so I don't know if that change was permanent or just bloating.

But the boobs, they were, for real, bigger.

They've been a bit of an issue for me for a while now. I was a 34D before I got pregnant. Not the most common size in the world, but not that rare, either. So once when the chest started growing with pregnancy, I didn't predict any problems finding a new bra.

My medical assistant kindly offered to go shopping with me as she knows how much I loathe shopping. I worried that I was taking advantage or doing something weird with boundaries by taking her up on her offer (please, offer feedback if you have any!) but I really didn't think I would go without someone there, forcing me. So off we went.

Target had nothing in my size. And I refuse to go to Victoria's Secret, where I normally shop, as I don't want to spend a lot on a bra that probably won't fit for long. (And to clarify, I don't shop for bras at VS because I want to be some sexy, silky thing... not for everyday use, thank you... it's just that their bras fit me. And they completely prevent nipple show-through, which is something I care about, working with adolescent boys. It's uncomfortable for everyone when my young patients get erections during their checkups.... I try to minimize the odds of this happening.)

So anyway, Target had nothing in a DD. Which seemed weird to me. Where to all the slightly-larger-than-average women, not to mention the pregnant ones, shop? Then I had an inspiration... Motherhood Maternity! Their stuff is pretty cheap, and the fact that their bras are also nursing bras seems handy... there's at least a chance that a bra now might fit during the days (months? years?) of nursing. So off we went.

And Motherhood did have bras in my size. But nothing fit right. One of them, I kid you not, the saleswoman raved about as being so comfortable that she owned three of them. And she was in her sixties. Granted, it was one of their rare non-nursing bras... but still. It seems a little odd to me to buy your bras in a pregnancy store when you are well past menopause. But, hey, glad you found something that works. But this particular bra had this weird brocade (I think that's what you call it) that totally showed through when wearing a shirt over it, as opposed to a sweater.

Finally, I found one more bra on the racks, one I hadn't tried on yet. And it fit! Well, pretty much. It was not what they call "full coverage," which my medical assistant recommended. (Oh, and to clarify, she did not see me in any bras without a shirt on over them. That was how I decided to manage boundaries.) But it seemed okay. And it was a nursing bra, which was good. And it had total nipple show-through protection. For $20. Size 36E.... which sounds scary to me, but I've since learned that DD = E (and DDD = F. Who knew?) and I was really ready to leave.

Sweet! Off we went. I was fully relieved... I'd been having nightmares of having to go to another store. Have I mentioned that I HATE shopping?

Well, since I've gotten home, I've learned why that full coverage cut is so important. Less than "full coverage" means that you get more cleavage going on. Which, in my case, means that my breasts sort of ooze over the cups a bit in the lower half of the bra, while the upper half remains quite empty. This causes that gross cleavage effect that you can see through shirts, that squished-up-your-bra-is-too-tight look that we all know and love.

Crap. I've been trying to fake it by wearing the band too loose. And as long as I don't cross my arms too tightly across my chest, it seems to be sort of okay. Not TOO obvious.

But the growing breasts... I think they are demanding another trip. To a better, more expensive bra store.


Have I mentioned that in addition to hating shopping, finances still seem unbelievably tight, post fertility-treatments? Such that I wasn't really looking to go in another new, undoubtedly more expensive, bra?

I was going to go bra shopping today after work... but instead we got a whole bunch of snow, and NYC schools were cancelled. And no one has seen my breasts at all, or the rest of me, for that matter, so another day where I didn't have to deal with the bra issue. Yay!

Happy snow day, fellow northeasterners!

(here's a photo of me, taken two days later. I'm slightly horrified. The boobs are ginormous. They were bumping the women on either side of me, which was scary. And you can see the belly starting to poke out, just above the crease in my sweater. Taking bets on when people will be able to reliably guess that I am pregnant? Posting on body issues to follow shortly... it's still germinating)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Want Something NOT Done? Be Sure to Ask an Un-Busy Person


I'm not feeling very kind nor generous right now. In fact, I'm going to say some things that are downright uncharitable and definitely un-PC.

I want to have a baby shower. (That's not the down right mean and definitely un-PC part. Well, it might be un-PC, but not terribly so. Right?)

Typically, I hate showers. They seem really tacky and all about consumering orgy-ing. But you know, damn it, I've never had a shower. I never had a wedding, a bachelorette party, and am not planning to have a bris or naming ceremony for that matter. My mom wanted to throw me a shower during the weekend of my niece's bat mitzvah this May, since the family will be together.

But when my cousin B and sister in law both said, "absolutely not, you deserve your own weekend," I must admit, my heart melted. It made me feel great. Me, the center of attention. How beautiful! I could combine the bridal shower/bachelorette party/wedding/baby shower into one beautiful, all about me, event. A shower in the afternoon, then taking the extended family out for dinner in Park Slope, showing off my beautiful Brooklyn (some of them well familiar with it, others who typically stay in Times Square... triple ughh, but that's for another day.)

B emailed me a list of a half dozen dates in May and June that worked for her. I'm still waiting to hear back from my sister in law on her schedule, but went ahead and emailed that list of dates (all of which worked for me... I'm a creature of simple habits, apparently, though to be fair, I think I'm supposed to stop traveling sometime around then, anyway) to my  mother and my sister.

My mother emailed me back and said that all of the dates sucked. She had many other plans on other (non-conflicting) weekends and previous weeks and so would be tired or stressed by traveling these weekends I was suggesting. To be clear, it didn't seem that there were any actual conflicts on those dates. She also asked why we couldn't do it the weekend of that bat mitzvah. This made me feel wicked awesome. Like a total priority.

A couple of years back, my mom threw a birthday party for my niece during the weekend of a cousin's bar mitzvah in NYC (the immediate family all lives in MA, except for me). So immediately after the luncheon, we all trecked the American Girl Palace for a little bit of weary tea and total sensory overload. It was awesome. We all looked a bit drunk with fatigue. I didn't even have time to go home afterwards before it was time for the evening reception. I reckon my niece enjoyed it, somewhat, but then she melted down at the evening party. It was clear to all of us, save my mom, that a nap would've been a much better idea than adding one more event to a busy day.

And now she'd like to repeat the experience. Yay!

I was upset by this, and called my sister, who was traveling to New Mexico, where her husband has just been offered a job. I was worried that she would think my mom's idea was a swell one, but she immediately agreed with my cousin and sister in law, and said that of course I deserved my own weekend, and that she was looking forward to it, and "had been thinking that she would help plan it."

Sigh of contented relief.

So today, her second day back after her trip, we chatted for a bit by phone about her trip, and then at the end of our conversation, I asked her if she would respond to the list of dates I had sent her.

She sent me an email later in the day. The only date that matched my cousin's list was May 14th. Sigh. Not what I had been hoping for. I had this vision of a June party. I sent my mom an email asking if she could make the May date work.

Walking home from work, I wondered if that date really did work for my sister, as I knew her nephew's bar mitzvah was around that time. So I called her to double check. Granted, I got her on the phone while she was trying to round up (pun mostly non-coincidental but still enjoyable) her daughter from her riding lesson. I quickly asked my question as she barked out orders to her daughter.

Then she said that actually, the sooner the better for her, in terms of the shower, and she hoped I would consider April.

APRIL!!! Have I mentioned that I am due the 6th of August???

First off, cousin Naomi tells me that the proper time to have a baby shower, per the Jewish version of Emily Post, is 6-8 weeks prior to the due date. Second off, I have already developed my fantasy baby shower. Everyone will be dressed in Roaring Twenties costumes/Brittish-y Tennis Whites and we will play croquet. There will be those long cigarette holders -- I don't know what they are called, but they make smoking (or faux smoking, at my party) look waaaay glamorous, as opposed to stinky and gross. Also, we will barbeque. Both of these activities will take place in Prospect Park. I have been forced to recognize by dear Cousin Naomi that barbeque and croquet/Roaring Twenties don't exactly "go" (as in together). But you know, it's still early... a girl must have her dreams. As the date draws a little closer, I will hover closer to Planet Reality, no doubt.

Anyway, nothing about April, as in the-ground-is-still-frozen, it's-not-even-spring-yet, works with these fantasies. Not to mention, being told you're quite low on the priority list is a sure way to make a momma to be feel kind of low. Especially, maybe?, a momma to be who is already single and doesn't often get to be the star of the show. Perhaps by her own volition. But still.

So I just called my mom, who is far from blameless, and vented. But, being my mom, she let me vent. And then said, "If you want it in June, do it in June. I will be there. Unless it's the first weekend in June, when I have a committment. But otherwise, I will be there. Don't worry about your sister. She probably won't be able to come in June if she's moving, regardless, so just do it when you want do do it."

Then we basically trash talked my sister/her daughter and that fact that she can't get a damn thing done. (This is where the mean/un-PC part comes in.) That she's a full time stay at home mom who stresses about getting the laundry done. Lest I sound unfair... she's a full time stay at home mom with both of her children in school full time. Oh, and also, with a husband around. And that she surely will be in a shit panic about  moving in July (if, indeed, they decide to move). Despite the fact that it's only January and she has months to plan. But according to my mother, my sister hasn't had "time" to empty the trash in her "office" (read: dumping ground) in two years, so all the time in the world wouldn't be time enough for her to pack.

Okay, this is sounding mean, even to me. Seeing this in written form, it's obvious that my sister's got, well, "issues." She can't get crap done. And I should feel sorry for her, because that's got to be a terrible condition to have. But sometimes, as a single, working, soon-to-be-mom, it sounds like a nice condition to have the luxury of suffering from. Even if, deep in my heart, I know it's not.

Well, I feel a little bit better. Back to fantasizing about my costume.


On an unrelated note, I'm proud to say that I cooked dinner for myself tonight! For the second time since I've been pregnant. I made chicken soup (this "quick" recipe that uses some pre-made soup, or boullion in my case, plus some cut up veggies and chicken... organic kosher chicken that turned out quite tasty). It's all about not taking a nap... that's why I could cook. Which I was able to do because I wasn't trying to convince myself to work out. Because I woke up a few minutes early and hopped on the elliptical before work. So now I'm in this whole new beautiful schedule, I HOPE, where I work out before work so that when the day is done, I don't have to come home and achieve some more. Cooking doesn't count, as an achievement, in case you are wondering... I see it more as a pre-requisitie to motherhood, which is a tad intimidating, given the aforementioned record of only two cooked meals during my pregnancy. A little snack usually does me in the evenings... cheese and crackers, milk and fruit, that sort of thing. Even though I'm hungry, I can't be bothered, particularly. So then I need two breakfasts the next morning. Including a giant buttered bagel. Just what the midwife ordered, right? Oh well.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Hello there,

I'm new to this blogging thing. But I love reading other people's blogs. Well, the ones that are well written. Plus the ones with cute baby pictures. But I despise the ones with black backgrounds. No matter how well written OR how many cute baby pictures there are.

I'm writing this blog because I think I might really like to write... and having an audience, even, probably, only an imaginary one, might make me write? Or else find out that I don't like to write.

So I'd like to share my personal journey. And also share the incredible stories of my patients. Because where else can I share them? They will be disguised, of course, to protect the not-always-innocent.

So, I suppose an introduction is in order.

I am 36 years old, female (because the Single Mother part of my blog's title wasn't a dead giveaway on my sex, right?), living in the beautiful old borough of Brooklyn. Did you know that Brooklyn was the fourth largest city in the United States, all on its own, when it joined forces with Manhattan and the rest to become New York City? 'Tis true. So anyone who thinks that Brooklyn is inferior to Manhattan needs to get her sorry ass off the island more often. Seriously. We've got just about everything Manhattan does (OK, not my beloved Central Park, but Prospect Park doesn't suck by a long shot), and more space to enjoy it.

Oh, and I'm pregnant. Yay! Twelve weeks along. And I'd like to say that I was knocked up by my doctor, but that sounds gross and highly unethical, and might give you the wrong idea. You and my doctor's wife. So let's just say that I used my Visa card to purchase Spike, who is kind of like a genie, in that he performs miracles, only he comes (heh, not intentional, I swear) in a vial and not in a lamp. And then, with the help of my Reproductive Endocrinologist (a fertility specialist) plus a vial of the aforementioned Spike, I got pregnant. After a few months of attempts. I will share more about them in the future. There were some highly comical moments along the way.

Today was my 12 week nuchal scan, where the ultrasound tech measures the pocket of fluid behind the fetus' neck. My Lentil's pocket was less than one centimeter, which is awesome, and means my risk for Down Syndrome and Trisomies 13 and 18 are extremely low. Way to go Lentil!

The risk of Down's.. and ps, it's Down Syndrome, which I think can reasonably be shortened to Down's, but it is NOT, and NEVER has been, Down'S Syndrome -- grrr... and also, in case you were wondering, which I am quite sure you were not, it's Lyme Disease, NOT Lyme's Disease. Sorry about interrupting myself like that, I do that a lot. Anyway, the risk of the Lentil having Down's is something like 1 in 4000 and the risk of Trisomy 13 & 18 is something like 1 in 7000.

In case you haven't heard of Trisomy 13 and 18, babies with these syndromes have an extra chromosome, like in Down Syndrome, but these babies don't live long. I've helped to care for a baby with each, and it was very sad. Each lived a few months at best, and never left the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit... where preemies and sick babies live.)

I also got to see Lentil looking like an actual BABY today. What a total mind trip. I knew OTHER women could grow babies in their bellies. I have not at all been convinced that I could. Indeed, after my Frozen Embryo Transfer, I emailed the doctor to ask how he knew that an embryo, even a top notch one, could ever take up residence in my uterus. I think he gave me some non-satisfying answer like, "try not to worry" (hah! like that advice ever helped!) but here I am. Weirdly, pregnant. I'm shocked. And thrilled. And every time I look at that ultrasound, I fall more in love. There's totally a BABY in my belly.

I am the luckiest girl alive. And in case you were wondering, nope, I could care less about having a guy around to share this with. More on that another day, you lucky reader, you.

Thanks for reading... I've never shared like this before!


PS Isn't my Lentil just a darling?