Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pics of Fitzwilliam

Long post. Two weeks of catch-up. Things are pretty darn good. Had my level II ultrasound a week ago Thursday... and here is my little one in the scary, alien-like view that is ultrasound technology.

All is well! He's measuring one day off, and he's average size, which is great for me....The next picture is the one that really made me laugh. You see, my family has these really flat, funny looking feet. Poor boy...I think he got them. And doesn't this look strangely lanky and runner-like? (the better to kick mommy). And btw, I am REALLY feeling him now!

I went to the appointment with my friend Ms M., who I am thinking will be my back-up for hospital / chauffeur duty when I go into labor. My hope is that my mom is here for that, but she lives in the south, and I live in the northeast, so the best laid plans may not be the best laid plans. I've been renting a few dvds on childbirth, etc. It's funny, when I first got pregnant I was so terrified of pretty much anything, I thought I would definitely be getting all the meds etc etc. The more comfortable I get with being pregnant and with my body in this state, the more I hope for a natural birth. I would like to give birth in a birth center (still located in the hospital), but there are some logistical problems, mainly with my OB and the practice I go to. I'm starting to not like my OB practice. My OB is great, but the practice is enormous, and it doesn't feel very personal. There are midwives on staff, but they don't attend births unless the birth happens during "regular business hours." Isn't that strange? If I had known how I would feel about that 4 months ago, I may have gone with a different practice. But now, it seems hard, and stressful, to go somewhere new in the middle of everything.

I am hoping that having a doula will help, but I also think that I would really like to work with a midwife, too.

Some more bullets
  • I just got back from 4 days in NYC for work. Even under normal circumstances, it is an exhausting week (it's a convention in my field, happens every year). I did great the first day (and even splurged in the evening to see Jude Law play Hamlet on Broadway. Yay). But the second day I had a major physical meltdown! I think I had some kind of blood sugar drop and just exhaustion. I had to return to my hotel and lay still for several hours. It was somewhat scary, but it made me realize just how important it is to eat frequently while traveling, even when I'm not hungry, and to GET COMFIER SHOES. I think I've decided not to take the quick trip to Vienna that I had been pondering over Thanksgiving. It's just not worth going if I can't see and do everything I want to do, and after this week, I'm thinking my body doth protest.

  • A colleague in NY was SO RUDE! She fits the profile of the type of person who thinks somehow that they deserve to know the most intimate details about my pregnancy (because of some kind of perceived closeness between us, which frankly does not exist). Anyway, in front of several other colleagues she said, "OK JO, SPILL THE BEANS." Me:, "um, what do you mean?" her: "YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN." me: "Are you referring to the fact that I am pregnant but not in a relationship?" her: "YEA, DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FATHER IS?" (can you believe she asked that??) me:"um, well, YES...", and hoping to close the subject there. But no!! her: "DOES HE KNOW?" This is when I got flustered: I couldn't believe she was pushing it!! So I definitely didn't say it how I would've said it had I been more calm...I could've just said "go suck it," but instead I said something about how I asked a friend to help me and everything's cool blah blah. WHAT an extreme bitch! Excuse me, but really?? She even said "C (close friend of mine who she works with) WOULDN'T TELL ME ANYTHING", as if C is somehow some kind of traitor to her, rather than being a very good friend of mine who is respecting my privacy! Unbelievable!!

  • Got the H1N1 vaccine. I had absolutely no qualms whatsoever about getting it.

  • My belly is getting bigger. It's pulling. AND, I SEPARATED MY STOMACH MUSCLES. Diastisis Recti. My PT mentioned this to me so casually, but it took me 5 minutes to digest what she was telling me. Um, excuse me? My stomach muscles have WHAT? SEPARATED? I have always been really very proud of my stomach, and in fact one of the reasons this may have happened to me is that I trained myself over many years to use my stomach muscles a lot, rather than my back or legs, to move myself from laying flat to sitting up, etc. Which is how you get Diastisis Recti. And thank you, yes, people have said that pregnant ladies should get out of bed by turning on their sides, but honestly it may have sunk in a bit more if they said "IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF BED BY TURNING ON YOUR SIDE, YOUR STOMACH MUSCLES WILL SEPARATE." Yea, that would've worked. Goodbye, old body.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Weirdness of Normal Life

Basically, normal life for me is no longer normal life. That is, the life of a carefree single gal is somewhat over. And I don't say that in a nostalgic way. I've been wanting that stage of my life to be over for quite. some. time. But it's still kinda weird to be in a transitional stage.

Take going out on the town. I haven't done it much since getting pregnant, partially because of the extreme fatigue of the 1st trimester, followed by the extreme work commitment of the first month of my 2nd trimester. Well things are somewhat back to normal now, and I've had a few social engagements just like the old ones...which include such things as sitting in loud bars full of drinking folks, standing around at gallery openings, and dinners. I've found that I feel a strange kind of outsider-ness, but it's different from the outsider-ness of being the 38 year old single gal. Its more that my interior life has changed, and the casual 'catch-ups' with friends ("how are you feeling?" etc) don't really seem to do the trick. I need talking, lots and lots more talking about MY PREGNANCY, MY BABY. But who wants to listen to that all night at a bar? I have so much to think about and no way to really share it in a way that feels adequate to me. My therapist is helping; my "first time moms" group, which started last week, might help. This is the first time I've ever said this, or really ever thought it, but I can see why it would be comforting to have a partner-in-crime during this time, since there isn't anyone else who would be experiencing the journey quite as much as that person.

Yea. I've been feeling a bit lonely this week. Social engagements actually make it worse.

On the other hand, how could I feel lonely when I FELT FITZWILLIAM KICKING for the first time this week!? I thought I felt a flicker last week. But then on Wednesday I laid down in bed and I decided I really needed to pay attention (a lot of people say it feels like gas...which means I definitely could've had kicking for awhile now but not known what I was feeling. heh.). Oh. my. goodness. He was there. He was SO there. Punch. Punch. Boom. Hit the bladder (oh!). Then he moved kind of to the center of my tummy and I just felt this big, hard bump there. Hello my sweet little boy! Mommy loves you!! Oh, my god. How goddamn amazing.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Traveling, and the list

Well, I'm slogging through my options for maternity leave. Not sure how I will do it, but I'm still planning on taking at least 4-1/2 months. I wrote a pointed letter to the head of HR and cc'd the president of the college (it's a small college--he knows me) about the situation, arguing that they should have offered some kind of supplementary disability insurance at the time they canceled the previous benefits package. Which they should have. Because, get this, they ARE going to offer supplementary insurance, but in January...and guess what, I will be ineligible because of the "preexisting condition" of pregnancy. So I think I have a good argument that they've let me fall through the cracks and should re-instate my previous benefits. We shall see.

My colleague had her surgery; it went well but of course the real question is what the result of the biopsy will be. It's been very hard to see her go through this.

I am just focusing on the MANY things that, it seems, need to be done before the baby arrives! It has turned into a large, endless list. My problem is that I am really such a planner, so I feel like I need to have the nursery entirely done, the gear all purchased, not to mention all that other stuff like hiring a doula, devising a birth plan (deciding what that birth plan entails), finding a pediatrician, finding someone to take me to the hospital (yes, single girls, that's a douzy), etc. I mean, all of it is fun stuff, I'm not complaining. And goodness knows baby Fitzwilliam* will survive if he doesn't have a baby bjorn the instant he's born, but keeps me occupied.

Last weekend I painted the nursery. Will post pictures when it's done!

And then, one more thing. Need advice! I found out this week that I have the opportunity to go to Vienna over Thanksgiving! I am definitely inclined to go. I've been feeling great; I will still be just shy of my third trimester; I'm going to a very efficient first-world country with good health care, etc. The doc says it's fine, but I still wonder why I am hesitating? Something about being close to home during pregnancy feels good. But wouldn't I rather tell Fitzwilliam* that I spent his 6th month on a trip to Vienna, rather than being too timid to take the trip because I am pregnant? Lots of couples take last minute trips before baby, don't they? But I will be alone (it's a research trip for work). I don't mind traveling alone, but it's kind of different this time. The doc did suggest I wear a mask on the plane. Yep, I'll be one of those. I am a bit nervous about H1N1. Looks like the vaccine won't be out by then (would be interested to hear if others are planning on getting vaccinated).

Ok, then, time to check things off my list.

*Fitzwilliam Darcy. The hero of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and my pet name for baby boy.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Stressful news

This week things got kind of stressful. Thank god I've been feeling ok physically because the emotional stress was really bad.

First, I met with HR and confirmed the abysmal maternity leave policies of my employer. Well, actually, every employer in the US. This country is truly barbaric when it comes to maternity leave policies. 6 weeks at 60% pay and thereafter unpaid? Not so easy for a single mom. My workplace used to pay 100% (which is actually very unusual) but changed the policy last July (yep, just when I got preggers) because of the financial crisis. It's just depressing. But I've decided that I will still take as much time as possible, even if it means asking to borrow money from family members or going into my savings. I will never get this time back with my newborn child. I'm not taking him to daycare at 6 weeks (hell no). I think I can stretch to about 4-1/2 months if I cash in on sick time, vacation, and a maybe a loan or two. Of course I would like to have even more than that.

I wish I lived in England. Or Canada. Or France. New moms have it really good there.

The second source of stress is that my supervisor at work received the terrifying news that there is a mass in her lungs. She's going into surgery next week and will be out for 6 weeks. It's extremely scary, and the first word that comes to mind is cancer, of course. Which means this could be just the beginning of her trials. She is someone I care about--a lot--and the thought is truly horrifying. She is only about 55, with a child in her last year of college.

In addition to the emotional stuff, this adds other stresses to my life because I will be heading the department in her absence. I need to keep a pact with myself that I will say no to extra work if I need to. I really can't be overdoing things, and I MUST take the best possible care of myself. (I am writing this down as a kind of contract, because I am REALLY bad at saying no at work).

Yep, it was one of those weeks when things didn't seem quite so easy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Evolved people

It's interesting to me that I've been so SURPRISED at the generally very positive reactions that the "wider world" has had to my pregnancy. This tells me something about myself. Deep down I am so very very concerned with what people think of me. Even though I've often taken my own path in life, that path has always been very socially acceptable because it has involved achievements of the sort that people respect. This is definitely the most radically against-the-social-norm thing I have ever done, or ever will do. And in some ways, the "coming out" was very traumatic for me. Now that I've seen how accepting everyone is, I feel great, but also kind of embarrassed with myself that others' approval meant so much to me. I wonder if I would have TTC much, much earlier if I could have just let go of that?

Now, I'm kind of enjoying the fact that people might be whispering about me behind my back. I guess it makes me feel special and interesting, instead of the social pariah I thought it would! I'm sure there is whispering, because I haven't told the general world the 'circumstances' of my pregnancy. I don't feel that it's anyone else's business---that's between me and my baby. The amazing thing is that NOT ONE PERSON HAS EVEN ASKED. They have been so accepting. When I began to tell my boss about the donor (she was the only one I was going to tell), she actually kind of stopped me and said it was none of her business, that she is just so happy for me. Isn't the amazing? People are so much more evolved that I expected. I've also been immediately accepted into the mommyhood fold. It's so interesting; almost like people now consider me an adult, or something!

As far as physically, I've been feeling quite good. I wouldn't say that I'm bursting with energy, but I seem to be able to rise to the occasion when I really need to. I've been quite focused at work and feel well, sometimes even feeling like I'm not pregnant (except for those rubber bands currently being used to hold my pants closed). Pregnancy has been easy for me so far on the physical side, but more of a mental and emotional battle than I expected.

Finally, I miss my mom terribly. She's been on a trip to Europe for the last two weeks, and I absolutely can't stand it! She is such an important part of this journey. I've started to really scheme about how I can get her to take an apartment in my town for a few months a year when the baby comes...of course, yes, I still have my dad to deal with, who would completely nix that idea. So I'm wondering what other ways we can devise to spend more time together with my baby.