Monday, February 28, 2011

My Journey to Single Motherhood: A Not-So-Brief Synopsis, Part One

I've been meaning to go back and reconstruct this for ages. It's intimidating. So I'm breaking it down into little pieces. You know, instead of doing the dishes and getting to bed.

Though can I just say? I LOVE having the energy to come home and COOK DINNER FOR MYSELF (pasta, fresh turkey meatballs, thawed homemade (by me!) tomato sauce, frozen brocoli). And do stuff afterwards (admitting my my weekly guilty pleasure here: Private Practice (SUCH a terrible show!) and Grey's Anatomy) on Hulu. And then still have the inclination to blog afterwards? Wow.

Screw the dishes.

I decided in July 2009 that I wanted to be a Single Mom. (I decided to capitalize it because, you know, dammit, I think we are all fine, brave women. And "single mom" deserves to worn like a title, with pride. So Single Mom it is!)

I had just broken up with Tom. To be more precise, he had broken up with me. I'm glad he did. We liked each other quite a bit. We laughed a lot. And I would have never broken up with him because it felt good enough. He was intimidated by the fact that I was better educated, better employed, and just plain smarter than him.

It sounds snobby to say this, but sometimes, it's good to just say it.

I didn't care about those things. But the truth is, while I really didn't care about the employment and education part, and goodness knows he was working on those things (started grad school to finish his bachelor's degree and then complete a master's degree, to become a special ed teacher)... the smart thing probably would've been an issue over the long haul. He wasn't dumb, by a long shot. But we really couldn't participate in intellectual discussions together.  And as much as I hate to admit it, that might've been hard, at least. We were just brought up in such different worlds. I don't think his family wrangled over the dinner table. I can't say we did it better (lord knows there were a lot of terrible things about my childhood), but I guess that's the way I'm used to, now.

Anyway, Tom and I broke up. Wow, I can distract myself, can't I???

The very first Saturday after we broke up, I woke up and thought, that's it. I'm done putting my life on hold. For anyone. Or for a lack of anyone.

At first, I thought this meant that I was going to buy an apartment. But about three weeks later, I realized, nope, I'm going to have a family. On my own.

Completely untrue to character (my own), I planned to wait seven months before taking any concrete steps towards getting pregnant. I had read Jane's seminal book, Single Mother By Choice, when I was just twenty-five, and I suppose the idea had never been far from my mind since then. It was drift towards the back when I was in a relationship, then spring forward immediately every time I was single again.

Still Pregnant

Not that I was doubting it. But you know, a girl worries. Even when her belly seems to swell by the day. Especially when she still hasn't felt any movement. (Yes, I know it's still early, especially for a first time mama... but it's not that early when you consider how I eager I am to feel it.)

So anyway, I went to the midwife today. She lifted up my shirt to do the doppler, and said, "Why hello there!" in a delighted way to my stomach. And affirmed, that yes, I've "popped." But in a lovely, celebratory way that made me feel great.

I also found out that I only gained two pounds since four weeks ago. Which makes absolutely no sense. I'm ever so much bigger. But whatever.

But this probably made me feel happier about her greeting my stomach as a separate entity from the rest of me?

I don't know exactly what my pre-pregnancy weight was, because the last time I got weighed was right after I came home from camp. Camp, where I didn't like the food and thus mainly subsisted on raw, organic, grass fed whole milk and fresh fruit. Mmm. I felt like I was glowing with good health... but it probably wasn't sustainable. And it wasn't really a diet to begin with.

Anyway, I got weighed at the RE's office right after I got home, and then.... oops!... the nurses forgot to weigh me more than a month later, when I started IVF. I'm nine pounds heavier now than I was immediately post-camp. I've gained four pounds since I first saw the midwife at nine weeks pregnant... so I'd guess I've gained... six pounds while pregnant?

Weight gain and IVF ended up being kind of an issue for me, what with getting Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and all, and ending up in the hospital. Now that was, for lack of a better word, a completely trippy experience. I should write about that. I still mull it over from time to time.

But anway, the point of this point, nearly lost and obscured now, was that the midwife heard the heartbeat!

So yay!!!! I'm still pregnant. Hallelujah.

I wonder when I will stop being surprised by this and settle into this pregnancy thing?

I'm still scared to believe it's all working. I've resisted talking to the Lentil, or even, calling it the baby. Not there yet. Maybe once I get to  19 weeks, and find out the sex (hopefully)? Once I get to 20 weeks, past where P lost her baby, and to where my dear friend Emily finally "forced" herself to bond with her pregnancy (after miscarriages at 12 and 17 weeks)?

PS Babyticker now says 159 days!!! I've entered a new... decade?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Update re: Fat and Lazy

I just tried to run. I'm proud of myself for cramming my breasts into that suddenly tiny sports bra, and getting my butt out of my apartment (where I'd been working on my baby registry, for hours it felt like, in addition to catching up on email) and into the sunshine.

And I tried. But it was so weird... my belly felt like it was bobbing up and down! I didn't realize it was big enough to do that.

So I tried running (okay, who am I kidding, jogging extremely slowly) with one hand cupping my belly while the other swung at my side. That was better, but it still felt awkward. And I didn't know if it was a bad idea to let the belly bounce.

So I stopped.

Has anyone tried one of those belly bras?

And am I really big enough for one, anyway?


Fat and Lazy

In case it wasn't totally obvious from my last post (by the dream where medical office staff pronounce me fat), I'm having some body issues.

Not giant ones. Small to medium size ones.

I'm starting to "get" the pattern here. I get a little bigger, I freak out a little, then I get used to it and go on to enjoy the changes.

But now that I'm hovering ever closer to being visibly, obviously, pregnant, I'm a little scared. I don't know of exactly what. Partly that everyone will know my secret. Partly that I'm not going to totally like being big and pregnant.

Duh. I know. But still, it's scary.

But I'm also worried because in the week before last, I suddenly really didn't want to work out.

I was a pretty inactive child. I was small and really slow and uncoordinated, and running around never seemed like nearly as much fun as curling up with a book. I was definitely lazy.

As I got into high school, I realized that a lot of people actually enjoyed sports. And that it was a good way to make friends. And that all the clubs I participated in were a lot of work. So I started getting more active -- jogging on my own, joining the cross country team (for one season), joining the swim club (for one season, the only one it was in existence). I was still really slow, but I found it somewhat enjoyable. And I swore that when I got to college, I was going to be an athlete for real.

True to my word, I was a varsity athlete during my first two years of college -- swim team. Luckily for me, there were no tryouts, as I was still very slow. But the first season was really fun, in a bizarre way. I used to joke that swim "team" was really an individual sport with a support group. Even runners on a team can chat while they run.... swimmers can only talk in between laps.

The second season was less fun. The team was a very different group of people -- mostly freshman with eating disorders, it seemed -- and I retreated into shyness, and felt very alone. Our training trip to Florida was miserably lonely.

So after that season ended, I was glad to be done with teams. But I kept up with jogging.

And with some short breaks, have been a consistent runner ever since. The past ten years or so, I really haven't even taken any breaks, apart from for things like illness. Two days off in a row is the most I've taken since I went to Mexico in 2000 (and even that was barely longer).

Enter pregnancy.

I was given an elliptical by my best friend, Scott (god bless him, and yes, we have a slightly complicated relationship, as we used to date, and yeah, most people don't give their friends very expensive exercise equipment... but it works beautifully for us... in fact, I'm hoping to ask him to buy me a bed as a baby gift... i'm worried about sleeping on a futon frame with a baby and it crawling right over the arm rest that is in lieu of a headboard) when I was six weeks pregnant. It was also cold, dark, and icy outside. And I happily switched to using it instead of running. It's been great because it is sometimes (okay, often, or even usually) a struggle to get out for my run.

The elliptical is easy. Given the pregnancy fatigue, I've found morning workouts to be best. I just roll out of bed and onto the elliptical. Because of hitting the snooze button (nice use of the passive voice, eh?), I don't always get as long of a workout as I'd like, but at least I get some workout in. I aim for five days a week; some weeks are better than others. I wouldn't say I look forward to my workouts, but I don't exactly dread them, either...  and I love how I feel afterwards.

Until last week. When suddenly, I really, really didn't want to work out. I managed only two days, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This is scaring me.

I don't want to become a person that is relatively inactive. Being an active, athletic person defines me. Not fully, of course, but it's a big part of who I am. It's what I do.

I don't know why I'm facing the sudden resistance.

I'm a relatively recent believer in listening to my body, so I didn't push past those two days. And then I went away, and while I brought my running clothes, it snowed twice while I was gone, and I didn't push the issue.

I've had several dreams about running recently, and especially with my recent fatigue with NYC, I wonder if my body is resisting the elliptical because it wants to be running? Maybe it needs that outdoors time?

But my running bras are now so small that I can't even force myself to put them on for the elliptical -- I wear a sleep bra instead. I tried to look at sports bras in a catolog over this past week, and just the idea of forcing that on my poor, hapless, and heavy breasts made me shudder. So how can I possibly run?

Plus, I get so out of breath these days. And now it's been so long since I've run that I'd be out of shape for it... plus add in the whole pregnancy belly and breasts and thighs thing...

So I don't know what to do.

But I'm really scared of becoming a person that doesn't work out. It's been my life raft, even on days I was sick of it. Which would be worse, forcing myself to do something I really don't want to do, or becoming some other person, someone who doesn't exercise??? 

Suggestions would be most appreciated! (And yes, I already walk. After all, I live in NYC. It's an inevitable part of life here.)

PS I'm down to 160 on the baby ticker. Yay! It's been good to be away -- time went quickly. And am gratified to see that the baby in the picture is more or less hairless (no lanugo) again. And I like that the legs are suddenly folded up. And that the neck isn't bent forward much anymore. But can anyone tell me why the neck is suddenly bent to one side? I haven't heard of that before. It's weird.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Welcome home

I've returned home to Brooklyn, where it is relatively warm and absolutely sunny, and best of all, totally snow-less!

It was wonderful to be gone for the week... extended by a day when we got an unexpected foot or so of snow yesterday... but it's also really nice not to see any snow.

I loved spending time with my sister and nieces (and brother in law, to a lesser extent -- he wasn't around much). My nieces don't get as jacked up to see me as they used to, and they aren't snuggly any more... but it's just a warm, cozy feeling we all get, being together. I helped my sister do a little cleaning of her "office" (read: dumping ground) and we went through some baby clothes and equipment she's been saving. Yesterday we all went sledding, which was fun, though surprisingly hard work with the snow being so very deep on the hillside. And last night the girls got to show me their very favorite movie, which I have never, ever seen... The Sound of Music. The six year old crooning along in my ear, slightly off-key and not always on target with the words... that was the funniest part. But we all got under the covers in my pullout couch bed, and that was very sweet... they clearly loved that.

I've included some pics of my belly, which seems to have suddenly grown again. You can see from the one where my shirt covers my stomach that it's still not totally obvious yet. Just suspicious looking. And of course I am not walking around these days with my shirts tucked in.

Last night I dreamed I was back at the office of my Reproductive Endocrinologist (aka Fertility Doctor) and his office staff were saying, nope, it's not because of pregnancy, you're just fat.

I also dreamed that I had all sorts of old clothes, dresses and things, stashed in his office, and was gathering them up to bring them home. I really must get over this weird relationship he and I have in my dream life.

The last couple of days, it's suddenly really uncomfortable to lie on my stomach. I thought the belly would be what forced me to give up my beloved prone sleeping position. But no, I'm scared it's the boobs that are saying, nah, it's us, and it's now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Leaving NYC

I'm heading to Woodstock, New York, today for a few days with my friend E, also a SMC, and her darling daughter, A, almost 3 years old.

A is an inspiration to any SMC Thinker. She's brilliant and sweet and totally adorable. She gets SOOO excited everytime she sees me. I like that in a person. Apparently she was having a melt down on Friday morning because she wanted to talk to me and no one else would do. I'm quite sure this was not what her mother was hoping for when she needed to get to work... but it made me feel GREAT!

After Woodstock, I am taking the bus to see my sister and nieces, and oh yeah, my brother in law in the Berkshires. I will get to break the exciting news to my nieces! Hopefully they will be excited, too.

I'm so happy to get out of NYC. The last couple of weeks, I'm so sick of it I could scream. When we had tons of snow, dog owners apparently decided that their dogs' messes were invisible... and now the snow is gone and their yuckiness is everywhere.

Mostly I just miss trees and grass and cows and birds singing and MOUNTAINS. So much. When my online friend, C, posts pictures of going hiking with her little girl, my heart hurts. I always thought I would be the cool mama who taught her little one that hiking was fun by setting out on a new outdoor adventure every weekend. And here I am, instead, in my urban jungle.

I think the fact that I switched to the elliptical from running once I got pregnant is hurting me here. Well, I am guessing it might be. Even though I didn't often run long enough to not only run to, but also inside, the park, I think being outside and breathing hard made me more connected with the outside world than just walking to and from the subway. And now I work out in my living room. Not the same at all.

I'm hoping my week away will really help. I know it would be crazy to move just when I need my support system the most.

In other news, Albees was a disappointment. Even though we got there early, the place filled up fast. I was in the stroller section and this expectant mom was desperately trying to engage her bored husband's interest in strollers, explaining the virtues of each, based upon her hours of research ahead of time... He basically said, "I like the yellow one. But not in yellow." Poor girl looked about ready to scream.

I smirked. I couldn't help it.

Being single is not all bad, girls.

Albees, anyway. The staff were not so nice. Harried and impatient and not particularly patient. One guy did show me the snap n go with the car seat I wanted... but he wasn't sure of the weight of the car seat. And you know, I'm a New Yorker. It's all about the weight.

Worst of all, their store registry is not connected to their website.

So what's the point???

Back to Amazon it is.

My jeans were driving me crazy yesterday. Apparently I am carrying a baby in my thighs. The waist, meanwhile, is just fine. I mean, it's a bit swollen, but it's not where the issue is at with these jeans. I still need a belt, only the buckle digs into my slightly protruberant belly when I sit down. But with the buckle at only one notch, the jeans sit too low, and make me waddle all the more. But there's no longer much of a hip ledge for the belt to ride above, so I can't buckle the belt any tighter, even if that belly wasn't there.

So my brunch-mate, who is nice and curvy (unlike my friend Salt Lick, who went to Albees with me and is built like Jessica Rabbit -- stick skinny with huge boobs), went with me to the Gap and helped me buy two pairs of jeans. I have never bought two pairs of jeans together in my life. What would be the point? Why would you need more than one pair? But I suppose I am finally succumbing to the advice that I buy some bigger, non-maternity clothes, for now as well as post-baby. Because I am clearly not ready for maternity clothes... but if I had to wear those jeans one more minute, I was going to scream. So I got one pair that fits pretty well now (still a little snug in the thighs, but I reckon they will stretch, as all new jeans do, unlike the ones I was already wearing, which are no longer new), plus one slightly baggier pair for a bit later.

Immediately afterwards, I went to Starbucks to go to the bathroom again and then put on the new jeans. Phew. I do not like thinking about the size of my expanding thighs every minute, which was what was happening with the old jeans. I think this should help. Once they stretch. Hopefully very, very soon.

Speaking of the bathroom, two of my close friends do not have this bathroom issue. That is totally unfair. Going to the bathroom every thirty minutes only to pee a scant amount.... completely annoying.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time Goes So Slowly

I thought I would be so thrilled to see my Baby Ticker in the 160s... it's at 168 days until fully cooked, today... but I'm not.

I'm impatient. Nothing in the world matters besides meeting the Lentil.

What's wrong with me? I've always been a "be here now" kind of girl, or at least, one who strove to be.

I don't like this about myself. I should be reveling in my last days as a single person. Whooping it up.

Yet at the same time, I can't believe I'm 40 percent done!!! I'm 16 weeks today, or four months pregnant! Yee haw! Only four more weeks until the halfway point. Only eight weeks until viability (god forbid I have a 24 weeker!!! After my months of working in the NICU, I always swore I'd flee for the hills if I went into labor at 24 weeks. But still.)

Today I'm going with a friend to scope out a few more baby things for the registry. My mother grew up on the Upper West Side, so when I told her that was where I was headed for baby shopping, she asked what store. When I told her a store named Albee's, she told me, "I went there in 1951 with my parents to buy a baby carriage for your uncle. And I got my first bike there."

How's that for cool??? Now I want to buy everything there.

The big question (the big and boring question, at least for anyone not in my exact situation) is what kind of stroller I should get. My friend offered me her second McClaren Quest, for free. I should just take this and call it a day, right? I mean, what an amazing offer! But the handlebars are all torn up and I'm a New Yorker and so I use a stroller like Americans elsewhere use a car. And I don't want to spend 3-4 years pushing a stroller with torn up handlebars. Is that wrong? Selfish? Consumeristic?

And then I kind of like the Vista G-deluxe. Which is a pound lighter than the Quest, and reclines a little further, and has bigger wheels. But isn't, you know, a McClaren. Umbrella stroller to the stars and all that. Certainly the most popular stroller in NYC, at least among lightweight ones that you can carry down subway stairs. And can be fixed anywhere, because they are are so popular.

So this is what I am obsessing about, since I can't meet my baby (!!!) just yet and I don't seem to invested in the rest of my life.

Sorry, I'm practicing becoming a really boring person now. In preparation for parenthood (goddess willing), when I will be discussing my child's digestive habits at length, I suppose.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Coming Out

Today I passed ultrasound photos around at our monthly staff meeting. Most of the staff work at different sites so we only see each other at these monthly meetings...

Anyway, I passed them to one of the other nurse practitioners... who, let me just say, is from another country. I won't say which as I don't want to make stereotypes... though of course stereotypes come from someplace! And it might've helped others to be more sympathetic to her if they knew this was normative for her culture. I have worked with many nurses from her country and I have found them to be, umm, very free to ask questions. In a word, nosy. If you were being culturally insensitive. So it's not that she's just completely out of bounds. It's that she defines bounds differently than some of us born in this country.  So I was a little nervous about what she would say or ask when she saw my pictures.

True to form, she asked a million questions. But the first thing she shared, before any of the questions, was,

"I envy you."

And that about broke my heart. Apparently she has told other coworkers that because she had to raise her many sisters, she never got a chance to have her own children.

How lucky am I, are we all, that we live in a time and place where we have this incredible freedom?

And speaking of feeling grateful, last night, for the first time, I thanked this little fetus, not of mine, but of my body for the time being, for choosing me.

Thank you.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This is Not My Work

this is NOT mine. i take NO credit for it. please check her out at Funky Mama Bird (one of the blogs I follow).

i just think this writer is awesome. and oh so entertaining. and this really did make me giggle like a 12 year old boy. at work. (I just tried it again now, after dinner. Yup, giggling like a hyena, all over again.)

Coming Out

So I sent out my big announcement to the extended family on Saturday via email. Only I called my cousin Liz the previous day to tell her by phone, because, as my sister pointed out, Liz is a warm and loving person who could only be excited for me, and would certainly never be critical.

My cousin Liz was great fun to tell. Her voice got all high and squeaky and it seemed like she was fighting back tears of joy. Liz comes by it honestly... her mother cries at every bat mitzvah and wedding. I like that in a person.

Here's what my announcement said:

Dear Family,

I have some very exciting news to share -- I am 15 weeks pregnant (with help from an anonymous donor and my wonderful doctor)! 

The result is expected in early August!

I couldn't be more thrilled, and I'm so excited to share with all of you. 

I hope to see all of you on May 28th at T's bat mitzvah! 



Cousin C, who famously once declined to allow me to crash the annual family Hanukkah party when I had just moved to her town (in case you're not Jewish and not familiar with the religion... "we" (i'm not actually religious) are HEAVILY into the whole welcome-the-stranger-into-your-midst idea, lest we miss an angel like Elijah walking around in sheep's clothing. Last I checked, God didn't really go for the whole "but it's catered and you would throw off the numbers" idea, but you know, I haven't been a faithful correspondent with said Holy One in a while, so who knows????). So I'm not really a fan of Cousin C. but anyway, I did include her in the announcement, since she includes me at kid's bat mitvahs and the like. I went to one of them, and I have to say, it may have been the best party I have ever been to. Turns out that "spare no expense" works quite nicely for parties. This is the cousin that lives in the double apartment on the Upper West Side and has a full time housekeeper, in addition to being a stay at home mom.

Anyway, this was what she said: 

Congratulation Abby.  You will be a truly amazing mom.  You are warm and caring and just a beautiful young woman.  We are so happy for you and can't wait to be part of your new life.  Love, C


After this, I'm expecting I might finally get an invite to the Hanukkah Party... just 10 years after arriving in NYC.

Uncle C., who is a staunch Republican, emailed me to say, "this is exciting news!" Not exactly the "congratulations" I was hoping for... but much better than I feared, which was no acknowledgement at all. I'm going to take it as positive. He's not really the gushing type.

Cousin P left me a voicemail saying, "Congratulations. I can't think of anything the world needs more than more [insert my last name plus the letter "s"] in the world." Awww.

Cousin D., who is a reproductive endocrinologist himself... alas, he specializes in male issues... called me from FL to congratulate me! I lived with him and his wife and two babies when I was a mere yout, about to start 12th grade, and very interested in OB/midwifery, and got to hang out in the NICU and labor and delivery with pediatric residents as a result of his high powered connections, which was an amazing experience. so I'm very fond of him. 

Funny story about this cousin. My brother, who is encountering some fertility issues himself, went to see a RE in his town. Said RE mentioned the work of our cousin, upon which my brother said, "Oh, I know him, he's my cousin. His doctor said, "You KNOW him??? That's like saying you know the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

I am not making this up. And for the record, while my cousin the RE does have a high falutin' job now, and did some important research along the way, he's not, like, the surgeon general or anything.

And this email is from my sister:

Congrats on telling everyone!  Liz called me to congratulate me on my upcoming aunthood.  :)   She told me she was in a store on Broadway when you called her, and she started jumping up and down in the store and shrieking into the phone.  She says everyone was staring at her, but she didn't want to take the call outside because it would have been too noisy.  She's thrilled for you.  Apparently P. called Mom to congratulate her, too.  :)

How lovely. My heart feels all soft and warm and enveloped in love.

I haven't told people at the school where I work yet. Holding off as long as I can because, frankly, when I am at work, it's about other people's needs, namely kids', not mine. But it won't be much longer until it's totally obvious. I've definitely gotten a couple of strange looks from fellow staff members.

Of course my medical assistant and social worker know. My medical assistant is wonderful because she plays the part of better-than-a-husband and admires and notices the changes in my body on a daily basis. This is great for not-so-little-ol'-me in my first pregnancy. 

Oh, and finally, here's the invitation I picked for my baby shower. I wanted to pick it myself because I was excited about getting something very cute. I love it. It's SOOOO not me, but I guess pregnancy is all about redefining "me," right?

Baby Shower Invitations Big Buggy - Front : Lime

PS Per the babyticker, only 171 days until birth! So excited for two days from now when the numbers change to the 160s! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Feeling Better

Just a quickie to say that after a low and slightly scary dip into the seriously bad mood ranges yesterday and Sunday, I'm feeling more perky and normal again.

And no nap again today!!!

<< Nods head graciously >>

You can call me superwoman, if you want to.

In other words, my belly "popped" last night. For the uninitiated, like my friend Salt Lick, who had no clue what this meant, or for others vague on the terminology, like my sister, who thought this meant my belly button had popped out (seriously??? at 15 weeks???), this means that I officially have a belly. Like, that shows through my shirt. Granted, the belly is not shouting to the rooftops... it's more murmuring at the sidelines. But still.

I've attached a photo from last night, when I thought I was just bloated from the leftover french fries I ate when I was in the seriously bad mood. But bloat would be gone by now, right?

(Please feel free to tell me that this is a normal amount of stomach to have. I'm a little paranoid and it's scary to put up half naked, completely unsexy pictures of oneself. Even if it does show off the fabulous new bra, likewise unsexy... in all but how it feels on my body.)

Oh, and may I just add... I get sooooo excited to see I have followers! Five of them, now! Yay! I know of at least one other reader. You have no idea the thrills this gives me! A total sense of self-importance!

xoxoxo (seriously!)

PS Oh, the job scare? Over. Two days later the governor promised the hospital the funds "we" had been granted by the last governor. So no year long maternity leave it seems to me... but no crazy money freakouts, living in cardboard boxes, or worse, moving in with my mother. So, yay.

PPS Has it ever been helpful for one's mother to point out the following, "You know, the more weight you put on in pregnancy, the more you have to take off later?" If yes, please forward me the pertinent examples so that I may feel slightly more virtuous for not making a snarky response to my mother.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I'm feeling a little lonely.

Part of it's me. I think I'm so focused on this pregnancy thing that I'm a little less attracted to people who can't relate. Maybe.

Though one old friend who I adore... I would love to see her, but she hasn't responded to my emails about plans. Except to include me on an outing with a mutual friend. So I shouldn't take that as she doesn't want to see me, right? But just that she's really busy?

I love hanging out with my SMC (Single Mothers by Choice) friends, but lately, they all seem really... busy? I don't know. Suddenly, I feel like I'm the one always taking the initiative. Which makes me paranoid. I'm worried that I've become really annoying or otherwise tiresome to be around.

I've a long history of feeling tainted, uncool, unworthy of friends, et cetera. You get my drift. I've mostly gotten over it, but it seems to be coming back a little bit.

Last night, I had dinner with my best friend, Scott. Who is also my ex-boyfriend. We were a couple for five years, and lived together for about, oh, all of five minutes of that. Not on purpose, it's just that neither of us were really established at that time (I had three roommates and he essentially lived out of the trunk of his rental car -- he got hotel rooms every night, but didn't have a consistent one). We broke up shortly after his then 18 year old son with Asperger Syndrome moved to New York City. We've been broken up five and a half years, now.

Anyway, we had a great time last night, but I feel distant from him. I know that although he will love my kid, in general he's not that into kids. Partly because that's just who he is, and partly because he's just not in the kid phase of life anymore (he will be 60 in September... we are 23 years apart in age).

I'm scared of ending up alone, without friends. I'm scared that I'm fucking annoying and don't know it.

And also, I'm really, really tired of winter in NYC, and I'm desperately missing the climate and the hiking in San Francisco, and idly contemplating what it would be like to totally pull up stakes and move back out there. And hey, if I'm lonely here anyway, maybe that would make it all the easier?

Here's a photo a friend posted from her run in the Marin headlands, just over the Golden Gate bridge from San Francisco.  My heart hurts when I see this. I miss it so much.

My sister's husband is interviewing for jobs, and one of them is in San Francisco. Unfortunately, he thinks it's more likely that he will accept a job in Florida. No way am I moving there. But would it be CRAZY to move to San Francisco if my sister do move there? If she rarely has time to call me now, would she actually have time to see me there?

Or maybe I'm just being ridiculous and just need to get my butt out of the house and go to the farmer's market, even if I don't really need anything, just to be engaged in the world?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shaken and Stirred

So today, my boss called to alert our little clinic staff of three about the article in the New York Times. The one that said that the new governor is holding back funds promised to the proposed merger between my hospital employer and another... the merger that was supposed to happen, I believe, April 1. And so my hospital's parent company replied to said governor, "oh yeah??? My dick is bigger than yours! And if you don't give me my money, I'll just close the whole damn operation down... and lay off all 2,500 employees."

I am not quoting verbatim.

This is the third time I've been faced with a layoff in this job. The first time, our hospital's parent organization tried to shut down all of pediatrics, including my program, plus OB/GYN and dentistry. The parents in my school community. sprang into action. The state chastised the hospital parent for trying to shut down essential services, and devoted an entire paragraph to slapping their wrist with regard to my tiny school health program in particular. 

The second time, we got laid off outright, just my school health program, at the beginning of July. They actually called me July 8th to tell me that I had been laid off on the 1st! I thought you had to tell employees, like, right away, when they'd been whacked, but apparently not. Anyway, because my salary is pro-rated over the summers, I would still be paid for the whole summer. Again, "our" parents sprang into action, and again, the day was saved. Unfortunately, not before I had accepted another job, but long story short, that new job took so long to come to fruition while I worked "temporarily" at my old, restored job, I finally turned them down.

I've been at my current job four years. Mostly, I love it.

I have to say, since I've been pregnant, I just don't care as much about it. I like it well enough, and find it rewarding, but it doesn't get me up in the mornings. My rapidly growing belly does that -- I like to inspect it each and every day when I get out of bed, to see how it changed during the night.

Anyway, so when I got this news, I just felt tired. Big suprise, that, on account of my feeling tired all the time lately. Seriously? An hour long nap every afternoon, even into the second trimester? Wasn't there some policy created for fetuses (yay! not an embryo anymore) that once they hit the second trimester (yay! again), they weren't supposed to sap their mamas (weird!) of energy quite so much?

Apparently my Lentil is stubborn. Just like his or her mama.

After feeling tired, I moved on to the second stage of pregnancy affected emotion... feeling frozen. I kept thinking, "oh, this is no problem, you'll find a solution" etc etc but I kept feeling, "oh crap, I'm going to have to move in with my mother and not have a job and not have a car and not have any friends and then I will have to kill myself." (Not literally kill myself, but want to.)

The thing is, if I got laid off during my maternity leave, I'd be majorly bummed out... but I'd also be able to see a big silver lining. More time at home with my baby! And then a fresh start job hunting when I was ready... and home with a delicious dumpling of a baby in between interviews.

But being laid off during my second trimester? Yuck. I do not do well with long stretches of unstructured time. I become progressively lazier and then I start to despise myself. It's not good. And having to lie on the couch at home and have nothing to do but watch my belly grow (and imagine horrifying outcomes)... no thanks.

And job hunting while pregnant? Um, yeah, way to not get a job! Gee, don't you won't to hire me, knowing that I'm going to take three months off in less than six months time? What do you mean, "no, thanks? But I'm faaaaaabulous! Seriously, I am."

I could try for temp work... but I'm imagining that's 12.5 hour shifts, on an inpatient hospital floor, probably nights. As a pregnant woman. Learning a brand new job.

Sounds like a disaster.

Anyway, I talked to my best friend, Scott, tonight... we've been drifting a bit, but he's generally awesome... and he cheered me up. He pointed out that even if the hospital does close, it's unlikely to happen in four weeks time. Too many folks to argue and wrangle with before all could be convinced.

As my mother would say, "from his mouth to God's ear."

And now I will take me and my suddenly slightly rotund belly off to bed. No nap today -- whee!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Body Image as Pregnant Person

I started another post about this, where I started to share my long history of body image issues... but you know, like so many white women, it's complicated. Very.

So I'm skipping to the present, and will fill in the back story later.

I'm very anti-dieting. It's a little bit complicated, actually, because I work in healthcare. And I'm supposed to follow these protocols when someone's weight is too high. Or her cholesterol is higher than it's "supposed" to be.

I don't know that I really believe in "the cholesterol hypothesis," namely, that high cholesterol, in and of itself, is dangerous to one's health.

I do believe that being overweight isn't healthy... but I don't think we have any great solutions for people who are overweight. I say this because, during my lifetime, the answer has changed from high carb and low fat, to high protein high fat low carb, and everything in between. And people just keep getting fatter. All of us.

Moreover, I know how completed fucked I would be if my healthcare provider had a serious chat with me about losing weight (my midwife, god bless her, doesn't really care about weight. Love that.) Because I would see it as a judgement on me as a person. Because in our culture, our appearances reflect our worth. Whether we admit it, as a society, or not.

Plus, I grew up as a white, upper middle class girl, and went to a fancy schmancy liberal arts college in New England. Eating disorder was our collective middle name. I didn't know anyone that had a normal body, aka self, image. Such that you saw yourself not only as fat, when you weren't, but also as a colassal failure, or at least a mighty screw up, even when you weren't.

So I don't talk to my patients about their weight. Ever. Unless they bring it up, they want help losing weight, and they are significantly overweight. But my patients, god love them, mostly do not care about their weight all that much. From what I can tell, as people of color, they have (mostly) escaped this curse of judging themselves by their weight. So I guess I should say that we do this as a white culture.

What I do do, to appease my guilty conscience, and so that I can fairly document that I've done what I'm supposed to in my patient's chart, is to talk to them about making "healthier choices." And I talk to all of them about that, fat and skinny alike. So I feel pretty good about that. And I make a point to ask them what they would like to do better with their eating... and to meet them where they are. So, for example, maybe they can switch from a large fries to a small when they go to McDonald's with their friends, that sort of thing. I think so many medical people screw up by not really hearing where their patients are.

Hopefully I am doing a good job with this. It's a tough balancing act. I don't want to screw up my kids by not telling them the truth... but I worry about scarring their psyches, permanently, by telling them their weight is not good. And I opt for promoting psychic health over physical health any day... but maybe I could do more. Who knows. Certainly my approach is not evidence based! But it's love based.

So I try to treat myself with that same love. But pregnancy, man, it's weird. I know my belly is supposed to grow, and my breasts as well. And sometimes I'm fine with it. And other times, it completely freaks me out.

And I "get it" about "feed the belly what it wants." But I'm not really an ice-cream-and-pickles-craving kind of girl. Not yet, anyway. I guess when those cravings strike at midnight, I will really mourn the fact that I don't have a devoted partner to run out and get them. Luckily, so far, I'm rarely awake at midnight.

I've been eating badly. Though I don't like to pass judgement on my eating. I've given in to my "cravings," if you can call them that. I'm not sure they are really cravings, or just an excuse I give myself as the-poor-little-pregnant-girl to eat crap that's not good for me. I've been eating an astonishing amount of sugar. I don't feel good about that. And now that the nausea has been gone for more than a week, woo hoo!, I'm trying to crack down. Though crack down sounds hard. I try to carefully, cautiously, lovingly coach myself in the right direction. Slowly. No elimination diets. Just consciously reducing, while still enjoying, sugar. And trying to eat more protein, now that I realized the nausea excuse for an all carbs diet is gone (and it wasn't a very good excuse... protein is what actually made the nausea stay away... the carbs worked for five minutes, tops.)

There was a point, here, I swear there was.

I'm trying to find balance. To embrace the pregnant body, but also to make better choices. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I hope that cutting back on sugar will maybe get my thighs to stop rubbing. I'm hoping that was just a freak occurrence.

PS I feel so daring and bad that I actually cursed in my post! But I'm trying to use this blog to escape the sanitized version of myself that I present in my job every day. I'm supposed to be that way, since I work with kids, but it feels great to escape it here.

Also, I dig me some italics. Sorry.