Monday, November 30, 2009
At five weeks, at Yankee Stadium (oh, like I needed another reason to hate that stupid fake team), I started spotting. It was innocent at first, then gradually became more insidious. I blew up the nurse phone line, insisting that I needed some help. Like, oh, how about you test my hCG levels, dudes? How about you do something - anything - to alleviate my nerves, instead of telling me for the floppity-jillionith time that it's those damn pregnancy tests. In the olden days, women didn't know they were miscarrying. Ah, ignorant bliss.
I somehow managed to weasel my way into the office for a simple blood test. (Something my practice does not offer initially. Basically, when you learn you are prego, you call and schedule an appointment for 8 weeks, which is four week in the future, a one-month period I like to call "Developing Horrible Neuroses and Waiting to Miscarry." It is SUPER FUN.)
Where were we? The spotting. It didn't stop. It increased. And so I had a blood test, and the next day received a call from the nurse: "Your hCG levels are extremely high. Are you sure you are only 5 weeks?"
Ninj. You little overachiever! But yes, I informed the nurse, I am sure I am only five weeks. I have it all charted, like some sort of extremely rigid, uptight conception nazi.
Because my levels were so high, I was brought in for an ultrasound. I secretly hoped that we were having twins. (Because in case you are new here: I am crazy.)
Lo, only one baby. Well, one yolk sac, if you wanna get technical. But what an adorable little egg. Go, Ninja. Get on with your embryonic self.
I was told that the ultrasound was promising; but that I needed to come back in a week to ensure that all was still well. I was elated leaving the office; by the time I got to my car, the doubts returned.
I assure you, I was really easy to live with that week. You know, spotting? And mentally preparing for the worst? And sobbing a lot?
By the time J and I found ourselves in the doc's office late Friday afternoon, I was shaking. This was it. I was having a baby, or a miscarriage. Moment of truth.
(Have I mentioned how awesome transvaginal ultrasounds are? They're awesome.)
But there, on the screen, was our Ninja. OK, there actually was a "fetal pole" but man, what an adorable pole. And a heart! A tiny flicker of light that was our baby's beating heart.
We were having a baby. And I never doubted it for another second.
OK, that's a lie. I longed to be a zen-earth-mother-goddess, but I was crushed under the weight of my fears. I still didn't trust it. I was still spotting.
But in a week, the spotting stopped.
A week after that, we had our first official prenatal visit. We got another ultrasound.
And there again: a baby. Well, actually an embryo that resembled Tweety Bird, but still. A beautiful developing embryo with a strong heart.
And four weeks after that, Ninja's heart, the audio track.
And now? At 15 weeks? I have a belly. It is small, but it's real. And my back aches. All the time. And I can't sleep well, because I'm too hot, then too cold. I miss sleeping on my stomach. My nose is stuffed. My gums are bleeding. My skin is a mess.
But we never thought we'd get this far. So good on you, Ninj. Keep the symptoms coming, and I swear I will convince your pops that a brand new car at age 16 is a wise choice.
Ours was... a different sort. J's grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving night. Joyce had been struggling for the past seven months in a nursing and rehab facility. She was 91.
J's grandfather and mother spent most of the holiday shuffling back and forth to the home. We did manage to sit down for a delicious meal in the early evening (cooked mostly by J's multi-talented sister, although I did peel the most magnificent potatoes you have ever seen). J ate about a billion pounds of stuffing, and we headed out around 8:30, ready to retreat to our respective couches, bellies full and distended.
About five minutes into our drive, we got the call.
It wasn't a surprise; in some ways, the family has been preparing for Nana's passing for the better part of this year. But when death does come, no matter how prepared you are, it always hits like a hard wallop to the face.
Joyce lived a very long life, most of them with Dominick, her husband of 67 years. J and I stopped at the nursing home earlier in the day to say goodbye and comfort his bereaved grandfather.
When we were back in the car, J said, "He said something to me that was so great. I told myself I have to remember it, and of course now I can't."
"You'll think of it soon," I told him.
The next morning, J found me in the bathroom.
"I remembered what it was," he said. "He told me, 'You know, I think I loved her from the first moment I laid eyes on her.'"
Sixty-seven years, and two beautiful role models for love, loyalty, affection, and devotion. I think, even in sadness, we can all be grateful for that.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
So what's up with Ninja? S/he is 14 weeks and 2 days presently. I am finally starting to feel a bit like myself again, and less like an alien with ridiculously sore boobs who can't tolerate basil or peanut butter. (Though my boobs are still sore, and I will cut you if you come near me with either basil or PB. Wait. What was I saying?)
Right, feeling better! I have been gradually easing back into exercise. I've even jogged a bit, but mostly I mom-walk around the track to the iPod on shuffle. Tonight I am trying prenatal yoga for the first time. If I enjoy it, I am going to attempt to go at least once per week. Fingers crossed.
I'm not really showing yet. At all. Of course, I notice the girth; my belly is less shapely than it was in my svelte, youthful days. And a lot of times, I have to unbutton my pants after a meal, or by the end of the evening. I also have this bizarre habit of announcing that I am going to unbutton my pants, or that soon, I might unbutton my pants. I am sure everyone around me is just to delighted to hear it.
J commented yesterday that everyday, he gets me back more and more. And then, when he arrived home from class, I promptly burst into tears. Why? Who knows? Maybe because I really wanted Sweettarts? These hormones are tricky bastards, but it's all for the good of the cause.
But oh, mah precious face. Pregnancy doesn't agree with my skin, and once again I find myself breaking out. It's at least somewhat manageable at this point, but I am mulling a trip to the dermatologist.
J and I went to visit my aunt and uncle last Saturday, and they sent us home with loads of baby gear. I walked in the house on Saturday night carrying a car seat. "Whoa," I said to J. "Does this just make this all feel real? What the hell is a car seat doing in our house?"
Yesterday J asked me something about something. "I didn't get that part of the email," he said. "Why would he say that is what we have to look forward to when we have kids?"
"I don't know," I replied wearily. "I don't know anything about children."
Or gerunds. Or present-perfect tense. But who's keeping score?
Monday, November 23, 2009
It pretty much follows that each time I make a bold proclamation, within 24 hours I am watching old Jon and Kate episodes on TLC.
I usually aim too high; my brain is always telling me it must be all or nothing, all or nothing. Don't take the GMATs, the brain commands, until you can make sure you score a 750.
You've already watched an hour and 2 minutes of television today, it says insidiously, so what's two more hours?
My book? The one about procrastination? Well, it actually confirms something I have long suspected: some procrastinators are actually perfectionists; we must wait until we can execute something properly, or else that something is not worth doing. Yet. We'll just curl up on the couch with a good book, thankyouverymuch, and wait until our brains are perfectly clear and focused and we feel physically, emotionally, and mentally prepared to accomplish that task. Good day.
Take this post, for instance. I almost waited until I could write something coherent, but then I forced myself to sit down and type. (You're welcome, Internet.)
And those mothereffing GMATs, always looming over me.
Then last week I realized: I am never going to wake up one day and understand geometry. That day is never coming.
The best I can do is study. Study like I have never studied before. And also? TAKE THE GODDAMN GMATS ALREADY, FOR THE LOVE OF PETE.
Finally - finally!- I have scheduled the test. I will be taking the GMATs on December 17th. I have a lot to cram into my brain before then; but then, after the 17th, I can finally relax. I can watch Oprah without feeling guilty. I can read books again without that nagging sensation that I should be studying. And that alone is worth turning off the television - and the Facebook - until then.
And of course, you know, I will have actually accomplished something. Not quite as monumental as showering daily, but it's a start.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I also forgot my checkbook. And a money order. Because that is all they accept at the DMV. Like it is 1974 or something. So I had to drag my super-made-up ass out to find a money order. When I returned, DMV Man exclaimed, Hey! You know your license expires in 3 months right?
No, sir. I did not know that.
This is why you shouldn't procrastinate. And why you should know when your license expires. Lest you be like moi, who is going to be SIX MONTHS pregnant in my next driver's license photo. Which I will then be forced to keep for four years. For shame!
Am awesome. And also: slightly chubby. I am going to figure out Photoshop so I can share with you the latest pic. I believe I look quite round, but jaunty!
ALSO: FOLLOW ME, purty please? You see that little icon on the right sidebar? Something to do with Google? Please follow me. I am funny sometimes. And I shower more these days. And mah baby needs food. Thank you.
...I must bring you this news, Internets.
Grace and I already have a plan to show proper reverence on that sad, sad day in September 2011. And as I helpfully pointed out, my baby will be walking by then.
Flash Mob Dance, anyone?
Thursday, November 19, 2009
"OK. So what did you do today?"
"Well, I got downstairs around 7:30. And then I poured myself a hearty bowl of Honey-Nut Cheerios. And then I sat on the couch and flipped on the TV. Started watching Roseanne, but it was an episode from the final season... And so I turned it off and booted up the computer to find out what the fuck was going on with the final season? The Connors won the lottery? And then I learned that - wait, are you ready for this? This is fucking unbelievable, J. Here, the entire show was all Roseanne's 'writing.' Jackie was gay! Dan DIED of a HEART ATTACK. They never won the lottery! Becky was with David! DARLENE WAS WITH MARK! Is that the most fucked-up thing you have ever heard?!?"
"So, that was pretty productive."
*Husband's head explodes*
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
When I started QITNM in 2006, I didn't understand the blog community. I had read a few blogs. I thought I had the chops. And so I started writing. And then I'd stop. And then I'd write some more. And so it went.
I rarely commented on other blogs, despite reading many religiously. I wasn't standoffish; I was an incredibly self-conscious commenter. Plus, I hated being redundant. So if 40 people had said it before me, I'd just as soon not be the 41st person to repeat it. And so it went.
More and more these days, I realize the error of my ways. How foolish, I was! I was timid - afraid of rejection - and so I existed in a blogging bubble. Who needs those guys? I thought. I can do this all on my own.
Yeah. Not so much.
This year, I've learned about the incredible camraderie that is the blogosphere. I've learned it from following Heather, Mike, and Maddie's story; I've learned it keeping up with Matt. And just today, I am humbled by the overwhelming support for Anissa Mayhew, who just yesterday suffered a second, massive stroke. It only takes a few clicks of the mouse to discover how special she is; and how amazing this community is that is rallying around her and her family amidst these devastating circumstances.
This blogging community? It's the real deal. I am proud to be a part of it; and I hope to really get to know some of these brilliant men and women in the months and years to come, and not just when tragedy strikes, and I'm reminded just why these connections are so damn important in the first place.
Get well soon, Anissa.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Where were we?
The headaches have started, and they are inhibiting my ability to write coherently. I will soldier on for you, Internet, if you will please forgive me my poorly-worded phrases and grammatical errors.
Today I heard the mighty Ninja's heartbeat.
I even videotaped it, but I am talking pretty loudly throughout, so it's incredibly hard to make out with all of my shouting.
But it was the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
You are a baby, Ninj! With a little heart and everything. I can't quite wrap my head around that.
And yes, you are making your mama queasy and lethargic and achy and weepy: but still? I think you're all right, kid.
(Last night I lay in bed crying as J rubbed my head, attempting to ease the pressure in my skull. "Maybe," I sighed, "the tougher the pregnancy, the easier the baby." "Yeah," he said softly. "Probably." He lies because he cares.)
Friday, November 13, 2009
- I went out for a meal with some beloved ladies. An Italian meal. With portions large enough to feed whole family. Glorious.
- I went to the mall, and finally threw caution to the wind and bought a damn bag already. It is Michael Kors. It is gunmetal. It is bad-ass. And then, having bought one bag, I wandered into the Kate Spade store and marveled that I really, really needed another bag. For work. I am a professional.
- No, I didn't buy it. Yet.
- I went to Neiman Marcus, for the first time in my life. Oh, and likely the last. I can afford Michael Kors; I can't afford you, Oscar de la Renta. But a gal can dream.
- I wandered into the children's department, and picked up the most darling Christmas dress and thought, wow, wouldn't this be nice for a darling baby girl? And then I looked at the price tag and choked on my own saliva. $240? For a tiny baby gown? Ha. Don't babies puke all the time? Unless my future child gets invited to the Oscars, I shall never again venture into the children's department at Neiman Marcus.
- I went to Sephora. Oh hell YES I did. I did it up right, and I felt like a trillion dollars walking out of there. I love you, Sephora! But only twice a year.
- I went to the book store. And I sat in the coffee shop. Reading books. Honestly, does life get better than that?
- I ordered a pizza.
- I ate cold pizza for breakfast.
- I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and I LOVED it. I totally get why people hate it, by the way. But to me, the whole story was magical. And you know, I was in an emotional place. And plus, Brad Pitt is really hot. Even when he is like 60 or so. So there you go. (That was an amazing review, by the by. So incisive.)
- J and I saw The Swell Season in concert on Sunday night. It was one of the most incredible live performances evah. Glan Hansard is a true gentleman; ebullient and so damn grateful to have people sitting in the audience listening to his band play. There were even many, many sing-alongs! If you ever get the chance to see SS, by all means, run.
- I announced to the Internet that I was pregnant.
- Wait, no, I meant to do that, but I was all weepy from Benjamin Button and the GREAT TRAGEDY that no one must ever ask me about.
- But yeah, like Tiffani Thiessen, I've got a shit ton of stuff going on. And, er, most of that stuff has to do with gestating a human.
- And trying to stay sane.
- And not crying all the time at everything.
- And not sleeping 12 hours a night.
- And actually living life despite a grueling first trimester.
So that's it! Your blog-mistress is not just a lazy whore; nay, she is a pregnant person, though still vaguely lazy and whorish, I suppose.
Ninja - as s/he shall henceforth be known - is due in late May. I am 12 weeks and 5 days today, which either means I am done with my first trimester, or I have one more week of my first trimester, depending on which pregnancy book you are reading.
Also? S/he is a rock star. But more on that later.
Friday, November 06, 2009
And J is home from work today, but I still dragged myself from bed at 7 to be prepared for an 8 AM conference call. Twas glorious. Though admittedly, I am not completely sold on all of this grooming. Sure, I can run errands without looking like a hideous beast, but am tired. So very, very tired. We still have three more days of proper grooming before I make a final judgment call. Can better habits be maintained? Stay tuned.
In other news, whilst J is living the crazy life in Manhattan this weekend, I am going to brave my least favorite place on earth: the King Of Prussia mall. Lo, this mall is massive and unyielding. It strikes fear in my very soul, but I know I've got to get some Christmas shopping done now. I want to enjoy the process this year, not merely scramble around at the last minute buying J all of the socks and underwear and humidifiers I can get my hands on. (Seriously? Last year? Banner year for J and Christmas gifts. This year has got to be GOOD.)
I make a concerted effort to stay away from Sephora; given my aversion to malls this does not prove difficult. But oh, to shop at Sephora twice a year. That, my friends, is something real special. I'm talking lip glosses, Dior perfume, Fekkai hair products, and more. I will be excited until the moment I arrive at the store, and then all of the smells and teenage girls will make me want to die. But I shall persevere, for the product, y'all.
And once I'm done there, I plan on retreating to the book store for the better part of the afternoon. Just me, Edgar Sawtelle, and some sort of pumpkin-spice latte. Heaven.
Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
Thursday, November 05, 2009
That's the time I was sitting at this here desk, all fresh and clean and just waiting to bring the productivity.
Productivity in the sense of checking Facebook and emailing Koos, but still. Look how pretty I look! And I am wearing jeans again! (My scheduled appointment this morning was canceled late yesterday afternoon. Hello, Day 1!)
And you know what? It's 12 PM now, and I have been more productive today. I went to Wawa for a breakfast sandwich, and didn't look like something that got caught in a drain. I even - on a whim - stopped into the cobbler's, and picked up the hot black shoes I left there in JULY. (And are now, sadly, out of season. Procrastination hurts, guys.)
I made phone calls. And returned old emails. And cleaned out my inbox. From 195 to 55, in just an hour! These are achievements. Baby steps. One thing at a time.
Throughout all of this, the television has remained largely off. Last night, feeling empowered, I dashed to the grocery store, determined to make my husband a surprise dinner. And he came home with surprise flowers for moi, because he is lovely. Coincidence? We are obviously psychically connected. (Also? I think he felt sorry for me. Yesterday I blogged about showering. And the monumental task it was. And he was probably all: Aww. Let's get it together, shall we?)
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Writer ponders lack of motivation. Avoids mirrors and all human contact.
The moment: Epiphany, reading three-year old advice column.
Writer notes that she, in fact, has no children. Is just a lazy, stupid whore. With bad personal hygiene. If writer is to better her life, she need look no further than her wild, unruly blonde locks and unflossed gums. (For shame, it has been so long since her last floss!)
The challenge: Writer steps away from the computer, resolved. She will shower today. And it. Will. Be. Glorious.
Did you read the column? It spoke to me, as only the sage Amalah can:
I remember reading somewhere, a loooong time ago, that people who work from home should resist the "I'm working in my pyjamas!" temptation and continue to go through the complete motions of getting ready for work in the morning. Even if your commute is just down the hall, you should shower, get dressed, put on makeup, whatever -- and have it all done by the same time every morning. The theory being, of course, that if you look professional, you'll feel professional. And also: increased productivity, serious of purpose, self esteem and the ability to begin and end your workday instead of letting it morph into an "I'm at home, therefore I'm at work, so I guess I better check my email during dinner and before bed" kind of mentality, which naturally leads to a lot of stress and feeling like a slave to a day job that never ends.
Shit, you guys. Monumental fail.
See, work travel has slowed considerably, as budgets are shot (and I would like to state that room service at various Marriotts throughout the Northeast had little to do with that, k?). So I find myself, most days, working from home, battling a crippling lack of motivation. Perhaps I need look no further than the fact that, by the time J arrives home from work most days, I usually have not brushed my teeth. (Sexy little housewife, in your eight-year old velour pants!)
So I have extended another challenge to myself, something I am keen to do these days. I will groom myself. Each day. In the mornings. For five consecutive office days. And I will watch my productivity skyrocket and will thusly enjoy fame and money and book deals.
My mission began at 12:36 PM today, so we can't count this as Day 1. Nonetheless, here is what I pulled off today. (And no, you shouldn't be impressed. You should feel very, very sorry for me. And my long-suffering husband. And the velour pants.)
- I brushed my teeth. I totally would have flossed, too, had I not forgotten to pick up floss this week. But I used Listerine. Minty fresh!
- Showered. Way to go, champ! Turning on the hot water is half the battle, you know.
- But wait! In shower, I shaved. Mah legs.
- And exfoliated, with the greatest smelling body scrub you ever did smell.
- And I shampooed!
- And conditioned! (And bless you, Pureology. Though my hair is fine, it is surprisingly unmanageable. I can't go a day between washings, and I also can't use some less expensive, drugstore products. They leave my hair extremely soft and listless. ) (That explanation was for the fellas.)
- I also washed my face! First with my Aveeno Ultra-Calming Cleanser, then with my St. Ive's Apricot Scrub, a staple since puberty. Then! Then I topped off this banner shower with my new Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask. (I am trying a new cleansing system using benzoyl peroxide, as my fair, Scandinavian skin is acting up lately. So far, the BP has been very drying, with some visible results. Hoping for better days ahead.)
- Then, out of the shower. I moisturized. I slathered up my face with Aveeno Ultra-Calming Moisturizer with SPF, then regular old Lubriderm for my delicate bits. Yes, this is noteworthy. I skip the Lubriderm more days than I care to admit.
- Stay with me, we're still grooming. I blew-dry my hair, even used a little product.
- Next, I evened out my splotchy-ness with actual make-up. Which my face has not seen since Sunday, when I last truly ventured out of the house. (Oh, I went to the grocery store on Monday. I won't even describe the horror. Let's just say, it's like playing Russian Roulette. If I ever run into anyone I know looking like I did on Monday, I will melt into the floor and die.)
- I applied powder, and blush. And mascara! And some lip gloss, to soothe my poor, cracked lips.
- You know those celebs who say that the only make-up they use is just a bit of mascara and lip gloss, and they're out the door? I hate those rotten liars.
- I dressed, somewhere in the midst of all this. I threw on a gray tee-shirt and jeans, but hell, at least I'm wearing a bra. And pants!
- Oh, I even threw a load of laundry in for good measure. (The other night I asked J why our bedroom smelled funny. "Oh I don't know," he replied, "maybe it's that huge pile of dirty laundry in the corner." I know; I'm a domestic goddess.)
Monday, November 02, 2009
Well, more like dropped the fat-free organic goodness (slippery little sucker) and then it was sort of busted open, just laying there on the floor, seeping out of its cardboard container. And then I just sighed, and picked it up quickly, and thought, very seriously: There's no use crying over spilt milk. And that little platitude made me chuckle and convinced me to go on living.
And then, in an attempt to salvage the remaining milk, I poured some into two to-go coffee cups. Then I used a chip clip to reattach the top of the container, and then I stuffed it in the fridge.
Oh also? This is my way of explaining all of this to J. Sorry, babe. Your milk is chip-clipped in the fridge. Tasty!
In other news, I finished this book early this morn, and LOVED it. Please do read.
Other exciting things? J is heading to NYC this weekend without his beloved, and that means some Netflix HomeValley-lovin' angsty film-viewing! The kind I am never allowed to do when J is in the vicinity! (To be fair, he allowed me to watch about half of Evita after we returned from Buenos Aires, before he ever so kindly stated we can turn this off now; for the love of GOD, shut up, Banderas.)
So what to watch? Leaning towards The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Last Chance Harvey, but I am not completely thrilled about either. Any suggestions?**
Finally, the TV-viewing moratorium is going better this week. I'm proud to report that the tube has not been on AT ALL today, which is quite a feat, considering I like to wake up and start my day with some Apple-Cinnamon Cheerios and some TLC. Then, I typically work until noon, then head back to the living room for some lunch and perhaps some What Not To Wear. Anyway, I am trying to see exactly how long I can make it without actually turning on the set. A whole day? A whole two days? We're hour-by-hour here now. It's getting close to the Oprah witching time, and we all know I am powerless against O and her damn feel good stories about Journey frontmen and warrior moms.
But lately? It's my books that are stressing me out... I've got a whole stack of books that need to be read (loans from others, loans from the library), and they're glaring at me, taunting me: You used to fancy yourself an intellectual, they brat. And now you have the attention span of a gnat.
I have to be strong, and keep from reaching for that remote. It's getting serious, y'all. If I can't reel it in... dial it down... quit the incessant Jon and Kate in happier days-viewing... Well, let's just say there's been talk of down-grading.* To basic cable. And getting rid of the DVR.
And I won't let that happen. I can be strong for you, DVR.
*By the way, all of this talk is by me, the big-mouthed blogger with the highly questionable self-control. I usually just run my scatter-brained schemes past J rapid-fire, and he just acquiesces to pretty much anything knowing I will forget about it within the hour. Because look, J! House Hunters is in Lisbon!
**Edited to add: The TV rule applies to actual TV. When J and I initially conceived this plan, we specifically stated that weekend movies and NFL football were free zones. Because, come on.