Back to Work

So, I’m working again.  I don’t get to hang out with the coolest little baby all day long anymore.  I keep wanting to write a post about it, but never get around to it, so instead here is the email I just sent to my friend who’s going back to work in a few weeks and wanted to know how bad it was going to be:

Back to work. It is not that bad. First! First, you will like it. The first few days will be fun! Exciting, a new challenge, nice to get out of the house and pee whenever you want to pee without having to prepare the baby first. You’ll use your brain, which is nice. All your coworkers will be excited to see you so you’ll get to talk about the baby a lot. Everyone will complement you on how great you look. It’s fantastic!

After the first few days, you settle in and it’s not new & exciting anymore, but still nice to get out of the house and to have a set schedule. Then, somewhere in the second week, you realize that actually? Work sucks, and your baby is awesome, and it is STUPID that you are at work, and why aren’t you staying home and being a happy, hippie earth mama with your incredible kid telling you great stories all day long? You are a BAD MOM and clearly you DON’T love your baby as much as you think you do, and your husband is probably JUDGING YOU.

You have to push past that point.

It gets better! That crap lasts another few weeks, and then…it just becomes what you do. You wake up, you go to work, it’s not the greatest but it’s not terrible, you remind yourself that you’re being a good female role model for the kid and you’re contributing both to society and to your family, and you enjoy the hell out of that baby whenever you’re home, and you remind yourself (remind your husband to remind you if you forget) that your husband admires and respects you for what you’re doing, and everything is going to be just fine.

The end. For now. I’m only 5 weeks back, so who knows what the future holds. But for now I’m doing okay.

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Week 37: Shit is getting REAL

The diaper service called this afternoon to confirm that they’re dropping off our first order next week.  NEXT WEEK.  WE WILL HAVE DIAPERS IN OUR HOUSE IN ONE WEEK.

Seriously?  Who decided that I was ready to be a mother?!  I guess technically it was me making that decision, 9 months or so ago.  But still!  What the fuck.  We’re going to have a BABY and we’re going to be in charge of keeping him alive.  All the time!  Every day!  FOREVER.

I may or may not be slightly freaking out.

I have been getting check-ups on the regular the past 2 weeks.  Two non-stress tests, one doctor visit and one midwife visit every week.  Plus Kaiser loaned me a blood pressure cuff, so I’m now monitoring my BP three times a day.  There are a ton of people watching over me and this little baby, making sure both of us are chugging along like we’re supposed to.  The consensus is now that I do not have pre-eclampsia (YAY), but I do have gestational hypertension (high blood pressure due to the pregnancy).  So it looks like I’ll still have to birth in the hospital, but it’s way less serious than we thought.  This is good!  The hospital we’ll go to has midwives on staff, and my midwife will be coming with me as my doula, so I’ll still get the midwifery model that I wanted – we’ll just be near doctors in case everything goes to hell.

I hope everything doesn’t go to hell.

I’m working from home full-time now, and it’s AWESOME.  No more commuting, I can snack and nap throughout the day, I work in tank tops & my underwear.  At the end of today, it took me all of 45 seconds to go from working to sitting on the couch with a popsicle.  Not too shabby.

I’m on pseudo-bedrest (that’s what I’m calling it) where I’m staying home and resting as much as possible, although still going to pre-natal yoga and taking a few easy walks in the evenings.  I’m soaking my feet at night.  I’m taking way more supplements than I thought existed.  I’m charting everything I consume.  100oz of water, 100g of protein, every day.  Greens, eggs, cucumbers, dark chocolate (woo hoo), all the right things to keep my blood pressure down and to continue creating a tiny super genius.  I’m listening to hypnobirthing audio tapes, and creating a sense of peace and calm around the upcoming birth.  I’m focusing pretty much all my energy these days on growing this baby and preparing to introduce him to the world.

This evening I ate a watermelon while sitting calmly, and realized how much I’ve changed my lifestyle in the past few months to get ready for the kid.  And I just felt so happy.  That I’m lucky enough to be able to lie around eating watermelon and dreaming about a baby.  That I have an awesome husband who is taking such good care of me and who is likewise thrilled about our upcoming adventure.  That I’m as healthy as I am, and that I know what needs to be done for the less healthy aspects of pregnancy so that it doesn’t affect me or the baby.  I’m just so happy that this has all turned out how it has, and that it appears to be continuing nicely.

And somehow that coexists with my HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS I’M GOING TO HAVE A BABY IN A MATTER OF DAYS freak out.  I’m not sure how, but I’m rolling with it.

Week 35: I caught the clamp.

Hello, pre-eclampsia.  You were NOT invited to this party.

So, I was in Boulder.  With a crazy high blood pressure that got me stuck in a hospital.  They kept me overnight to monitor me, and Saturday evening gave me the news that I have “mild pre-eclampsia.”  I had a few too many high blood pressure readings, and 325mg of protein in my urine (the cut off is 300).  The doctor was incredibly nice and informative, and told me she would happily release me from the hospital as long as I promised to get the hell out of Colorado.  Since pre-eclampsia can get much worse (hello, liver & kidney failure!  hello, stroke & coma!) really quickly, if I stayed for the second week of training and something happened, I would end up having my baby in Boulder.  Without the Lumberjack.  No fucking thanks.

So I went back to the hotel, cried myself to sleep, woke up Sunday morning and flew home.  Where I proceeded to cry on the Lumberjack for a few more hours.

Up next?  More crying!  We saw our midwife Monday, and learned the heartbreaking news that I can’t birth there anymore.  Since I have an official diagnosis of pre-eclampsia, they can’t let me deliver there.  I have to go to a hospital.  And I KNOW that the goal is a baby.  I KNOW that I need to be healthy.  I KNOW that hospital births happen all the time and are fine and everyone gets out alive and un-traumatized and above all else, I know how lucky I am to be able to be pregnant in the first place.  I get that, I really do.

bed rest = cat naps

But fuck, I am so disappointed and sad.  I was born on a futon in the living room.  I have grown up proud of that story, and have always known that I would give birth the same way.  I’ve been meeting with my midwife for months, and LOVE her, and have established an amazing bond.  I’ve been getting all my pre-natal care in the actual room where I would give birth – I’ve had so many amazing experiences in there, I’ve seen the Lumberjack’s face light up about our baby in there, I’ve been filling that room for MONTHS with love and energy, knowing that those are the walls that will surround us when our marriage becomes a family.

I know everything’s going to be fine, but it’s not going to be what I hoped for.  And I’m just so SAD about.  However, yes, I understand that this is an excellent introduction to parenting.

So, now I’m on fucking bedrest.  Working from home, monitoring my pee & blood pressure daily.  Eating 100g of protein daily, drinking 100oz of water.  Keeping track of everything I consume, lying down as much as possible, etc.  You better believe I’m going to guilt-trip the fuck out of this kid one day.

Week 33: Welcome back, emotions.

As was promised, the third trimester is turning into the first all over again.  I am SO TIRED.  This morning I got out of breath while…making a smoothie and watering plants?  Yeah, that sure is exhausting.  After I finished breakfast I had to go sit down on the bed to recover.  I told the Lumberjack that I (honestly) just wanted to puke a few times and then go to sleep.  That sounded like the absolute best.  He did not agree with me; ergo, here I am at work.

Also!  You guys I am SO EMOTIONAL.  It’s so stupid.  That’s all I have to say about that.

We forgot to take a picture this week (yes, that made me cry when I remembered – however, I am too tired to do anything about it), but I did sit for an art drawing class so you can look at me NAKED.  So scandalous.  It’s through Dr. Sketchy’s – a program that gets art students & burlesque dancers together.  We dance and then pose; they draw us.  I emailed the woman in charge a few weeks ago and asked if she was interested in pregnant ladies and she got Very Excited.  She knew another burlesque dancer who is due 5 days after me, so we both sat for a “Very Pregnant” special Dr. Sketchy’s event.  The artists all seemed really excited…especially this one dude in a sweater vest who waited after the show to give me a drawing and tell me how wonderful this was.  He seemed reeeeeeeally happy to be talking to a pregnant lady.  Not going to lie – it was a little awkward.

On Monday I get back on a dumb plane to fly to Boulder for the second of my 2-week training events.  Thumbs down.

This post is too negative!  When I am not exhausted and/or crying, things are going quite well.  The Lumberjack is ridiculously excited about the baby, which totally cheers me up no matter how weepy I am.  I can’t wait to see this kid’s face; I hope he looks like the Lumberjack, because his is the best face in the world.

Week 23: return of the tears!

Goddammit.

I had been feeling so awesome and happy, and then this weekend brought, simultaneously, gorgeous weather and ridiculous hormones.

a brief moment of happiness (so dramatic)

Nothing in particular happened, I just got the Out Of Control weeps all of a sudden.  And they JUST WOULDN’T GO AWAY.  The first trimester weeps were like little explosions, where I would burst into tears in a second and then 5 minutes later feel normal again.  These second trimester weeps are just mean.  They’re like the PMS weeps.  I hate them.  They turn into a weepy spiral where the only solution is to run off to the movies by myself (and the fetus) and watch Jason Segel awkwardly suffer through a dumb “romantic comedy” that could have actually worked if they had respected the character development more and whatever, this is not a movie review blog.  This is a pregnancy review blog, and this weekend pregnancy totally bit.

However, it is a new week, I am feeling better, and I started working from home!  Not every day – I still have to come to the office most days.  But I’m going to try to do it at least one day a week, and see if I can increase it as I go.

Also, I just found out that one of my good friends is pregnant (YOUR SECRET IS SAFE WITH ME), which is awesome, not only because she has been wanting this for awhile but because I now have a pregnant friend.  This is my blog; it’s all about me here.

Today the fetus is the size of an ear of corn (hopefully not baby corn), and weighs a pound & a half.  I’m starting to look pretty huge.  Scary.

Week 21: It’s a boy – aka, the time I burst into tears during an ultrasound

We are having a boy (until a few years from now, when he tells us differently).

I was not expecting a boy; I did not want a boy.  I had no idea I felt this way, however, until Friday’s ultrasound when the lab tech said “You’re having a son!” and I literally burst into tears (not the happy kind).  Woah.

I sobbed all the way home, without really understanding what my problem was.  And on and off again all weekend.  Like, intense, body-wracking sobs.  Harder than I’ve cried since the Lumberjack’s mom died 2 years ago.  The Lumberjack, meanwhile, who had been expressing his preference of a girl all along while I stuck with my overly optimistic “I don’t care as long as it’s healthy!” perspective, could not contain his smile.  He was lighting up every corner of the house.  We figured out later that he knew what he preferred, so he was prepared for the alternative.  Whereas I had completely denied having a preference, so I was totally blindsided by the fact that I had one, and that I wasn’t getting it.

So anyway.

The baby is healthy, you will be happy to hear (as was I).  I have an anterior placenta, which explains why I haven’t felt much movement.  The baby has a huge brain, and a quickly beating heart, and he grabs his little toes when the lab tech is trying to get a clear picture of them.  He has tiny toes!  Because he is tiny!

I did a bunch of reading on “gender disappointment” over the weekend, and apparently 1) I am not alone, and 2) I have it WAY better than some of the women out there.  One lady said that she regularly considers giving up her 3 boys for adoption, so that they can be with someone “who really loves them.”  Holy shit.  But the main thing I learned was that a lot of women have a general idea or vision of what their kid will look/be like, and it usually has a specific gender.  So finding out that you didn’t get that gender requires you to rewrite your perspective of what you’re getting, while simultaneously mourning the kid you won’t be getting (this time around, anyway).

I’m going to have a baby, and he’s going to be a little boy, and somewhere in the past few hours I suddenly got So Fucking Psyched.  I don’t know what happened.  I was walking to work listening to KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Baby Give it Up” and suddenly I pictured myself with a little boy, dancing around a kitchen, and I got so totally, blissfully happy.  I guess I rewrote my vision, and now I’m the one who can’t stop smiling.

AS LONG AS HE DOESN’T TURN INTO A DOUCHEBAG.

I told the Lumberjack “I still need this baby to be a feminist.”  He said “Well, yeah…I assumed that would be a given.  I mean, we’re the ones who are going to be shaping his world view.”  Hot damn I love my Lumberjack.

PSA: I feel better.

I left work yesterday at 3:30, went home and sat on the couch with the Lumberjack.  Read books for a few hours, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.  Had a cat sit on my head/shoulder and purr for awhile.  Ate some spaghetti.  Went to bed at 9pm.

Woke up at 7am, put on a cute outfit, had a good hair morning.  Things are looking up.

Week 16: I hate everything.

I may or may not be in a rotten mood today.

The fetus is the size of an avocado!  It sounds so cute!  Up until last Wednesday or Thursday, everything was adorable.  Then something happened and my hormones went insane and now everything sucks.  SUCKS.  EVERYTHING.  EVERYTHING SUCKS.

I had a horrible nightmare the other night that the Lumberjack left me and I woke up sobbing.  Like, seriously, body-shaking sobs.  I had to grab on his finger with his wedding ring to get back to sleep.  All weekend I was the most impatient and cranky person ever.  I had to do laundry on Saturday.  So?  Did I do laundry?  I did!  But first I got way too pissy at the Lumberjack for using up all our quarters, then broke down sobbing in the living room yelling at him for an apology (yes, you read that correctly: I demanded that HE apologize to ME).

SERIOUSLY WHAT IS UP WITH THESE HORMONES.

Yesterday was better but I’m just plagued with this deep pit of sadness.  Which is based on absolutely nothing that I can figure out, which of course makes it useless.  I’m about 4 seconds from breaking down crying at any given moment.  This is exhausting.

And then I went and told Facebook that I’m pregnant, which I kind of didn’t mean to do, but of course I did because What Else Did I Expect when posting about how much I miss beer.  And I forgot (or did I?  who knows; I am SELF DESTRUCTIVE LIKE A CRAZY PERSON) that some of the Lumberjack’s friends are my friends and so now they all know I’m knocked up and TRUE it’s been a month since we started telling people, so at this point it’s all out there

BUT STILL YOU GUYS I HATE EVERYTHING.

And then to top it all off, I am consumed with guilt over what my emotions/hormones are doing to the fetus.  Am I passing on stress vibes or something?  Wasn’t there a study done where depressed moms ruined their children’s lives?

aaaaaaaand I think I need a nap.  No photo this week because I forgot, what with all the ANGST.

Week 15: So Many Feeeeeelings

Last week started off a bit rough.  I was still feeling all tired and pukey and first-trimestery, and I was not enjoying it.  At about mid-week, I also got hit with a Serious Case of the Jealousy.

I do not want to be a stay-at-home mom.  I know that it is best for myself, my husband, my future baby, my family, my everything for me to have a career.  Everyone wins!  I love supporting our home, I love my job, I love making a difference and helping people everyday.  My job is good.  I know this.

However!  Man, I am seriously fucking jealous right now of every pregnant person who has the privilege of choosing how long to stay home with the new baby.  The federal government gives no paid maternity leave whatsoever, so the only paid time off I get is what I can cobble together from my annual leave & my sick time.  Taking unpaid leave is simply impossible for our family, since my income is the only one we’ve got.  I think I’ll have almost 3 months saved up by the time I’m due (hooray for my crazy paranoia of taking time off and my generally healthiness not requiring much sick time – I have no idea what we would do if I didn’t have so much already saved), and I know that’s probably enough.  But still, I’m pissed that I won’t be able to take more in case I need it.  That once my time runs out, I’ll have no choice but to head back to work, regardless of what I’m leaving behind.

I don’t want to take a year off, or never go back – I just want the option of another month or two.  And I’m super jealous that other people get that, and I don’t.

SO I AM MAD.  But, working on it.

Shorts and sandals in early March. Good luck with the environment when you're my age, fetus.

In other emotional news, I THINK I may have hit the magical second trimester that had been promised (albeit a few weeks late).  Maybe.  But holy crap I was in a great mood all weekend.  The weather was FANTASTIC (although the fact that it was 72 degrees in March did make me fear for the future world I’m passing on to the kid), and I spent a ton of time outdoors.  Went for a 4-mile walk with some friends Saturday morning, then wandered around the Port of Oakland with the Lumberjack all afternoon on Sunday.  It was a perfect weekend mix of social time, husband time, and lay on the couch and watch tv time.  And I felt practically giddy.  Finally my pregnancy hormones are working for good, not evil.

Last night the Lumberjack woke me up at 3:30 – apparently Bella was meowing a bunch.  He shook my hand until I woke up, then sleep-babbled that Bella was annoying him, but that she was warning us that we had forgotten to do something for the baby.  He mumbled some other things, then promptly fell back asleep.  I, however, was wide awake for another 45 minutes or so.  Thanks, dude.  Then I finally fell asleep, only to be woken up at 5:30 by a pretty substantial earthquake.  We are all fine, although the cats did not enjoy it.  The Lumberjack spent the entire earthquake with his arm across my belly; I just stared at the bookcase using my jedi mind powers to keep it from falling over.  Next time the cats are annoying, I will definitely pay attention.

How much can I blame on pregnancy hormones?

In case you were wondering how much of a treat I am to be with, I just responded to the Lumberjack telling me I was wrong by getting into bed with my raincoat and sunglasses on (at 9:30pm) and refusing to look at him. Then he asked if I wanted to go out on a date Thursday night so I crossed my arms and said (yelled?) “I’LL HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT.”