Four Christmases

December30

I’m sitting on the couch recovering from Christmas. I’m so tired I have little to say. Here are some highlights:

Audrey’s been excited about Christmas since we put up the tree after Thanksgiving. In fact, the tree is so much what Christmas is to her right now that when we were in the car the other day, she looked out the window at a row of evergreens and shouted, “I see Chwistmas twees!”

She’s also into the nativity. We have a beautiful one just out of her reach that’s so appealing she started moving a chair across the room to get to it. A couple of weeks ago, we went to a Christmas cantata my folks were singing in at their church. Audrey was totally into it, especially the live nativity. Every time the lights went down on the Holy Family, she’d shout, “Mommy Daddy all GONE!” or “Mo’ wise mens!”

We did four Christmases this week. Audrey now can say, “Open a pwesent!?” on repeat. She’s run the equivalent of a marathon through my sister-in-law’s house. She’s made of pure sugar right now. It’s great. I’m still rocking the preggers sleepiness and have been a total wet blanket at every family function, at least once 5 pm hit.

Our families have been wonderful, and there has been much joy, but I spent yesterday puking and I need to take a good long break.

Four weeks till our fifth Christmas!

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Baby Organs

December22

We had our second midwife appointment this morning. We went looking for the heartbeat for the first time and, after several tense minutes (that was probably only a terrifying 30 seconds) we heard our baby’s little heart chugging along. Oh, what sweet, tear-inducing relief.

I had a handful of days recently where I felt so normal, I kept forgetting I was pregnant. Or not believing it. Or something. This helps. Silly, I know.

When I was pregnant with Audrey, people kept telling me that heart rate had some connection to gender. So I asked my midwife. “Sure,” she said. “But it’s only 52% accurate.” Which, if math serves, is not accurate at all. So I asked, “What have we got?” “Those are ‘girl’ heart rates.” Awesome. Then we checked the Chinese gender prediction chart, which is based on your age and month of conception. That one called Audrey a girl too.

So we played the game again today. “Girl” heart rate again, but the Chinese vote “boy.” Alas, we have a draw. Or…hermaphrodite. Or a boy trapped in a girl’s body. Whatevs. We’re open-minded.

I’m actually crazy excited to find out the gender. It’s my favorite thing. I know a lot of people like to be surprised, and I don’t particularly care what anyone else chooses to do, but it makes me think, really? There are PLENTY of surprises with labor and birth. I can’t imagine needing more. I like to know a tiny bit about who’s coming, so I can feel, I don’t know, more of a connection. Makes it a little more concrete for me. Also, last time I was really pulling for a girl, so if I was going to have a boy, I wanted to know as soon as possible, so I could focus on being excited about him, and never feel any sort of….letdown, I guess. If that’s even possible once the little one is in your arms.

Pulling for a boy this time. A little bit for novelty, a little bit because I think my husband is the most amazing man on the planet and I’d love to see him raise a boy.

At the same tine, girls rule, and we already have a bunch of girl clothes, so…I ain’t gonna be complaining either way!

So. Excited. Don’t want to wait 10 weeks to find out. Phooey.

 

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Snow Bunny

December11

Since I’ve spent so much time recently in a ball on the couch, I’ve neglected a few activities. Sweeping the kitchen floor, washing myself, clothing my child. As I watched the snow pile up Sunday, I enjoyed the pretty distraction from my unrelenting misery, but it never once occurred to me that my kid had absolutely no winter gear to wear outside at her preschool, a school obsessed with being outside. Didn’t occur to me the next day either, as I sent my husband to Target for assorted needs like saltines and Pop Tarts.

Then yesterday morning came, a COLD morning, and I had to send my tiny, vulnerable baby to school in tennis shoes and a giant fleece jumpsuit. I felt so guilty thinking about her getting all wet playing in the snow outside. I was about to say I’ve never felt so guilty as a mom, but then I’d have to compare every other stupid thing I’ve done and I’m not sure I want to spend time evaluating whether it was better or worse when I lifted her straight into a light fixture or when I bit her finger.

So today we went out in search of snow pants and boots. I’ve been feeling pretty good in the mornings, which came in handy, as these two items took us three stores to procure. Packing a small, bundled person in and out of the car in the freezing cold. Hey, people who keep threatening me with the family’s genetic edge toward twins: How on earth do you go places with twin babies? Can you ever? Cause trying to figure out how I’d even drop Audrey off at school in that scenario is keeping me up at night.

Anyway.

Walmart: No pants, no boots.

Kohl’s: Boots! One kind. No snow pants sold independently, and wouldn’t matter anyway, as it is impossible to tell what things cost at Kohl’s, because the prices on tags are all made-up lies, and the electronic gadgets that tell you the real price are missing or not working. I hate Kohl’s. But the remnants of last year’s Christmas gift card made the boots affordable!

Target: Two pairs of snow pants available, both actually in Audrey’s size. One pink, one purple. Because those are the only colors girls are allowed to wear, apparently.

Success!

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I’m Fantasizing about an Adjustable Bed and Cafeteria Food

December10

So I had a wretched weekend of feeling wretchedly sick. I’m back to a normal level of queasy now, which is great. You know what I keep fantasizing about? The hospital. I cannot wait for those two days in the hospital after this kid comes out. I want to live in that bed that adjusts at the push of a button. I want to make a phone call and have any food I want brought to me. It’s all I can think about.

I want to go back to the days where you could stay a week. I know some women want to run after the minimum four hours, and some don’t want to be anywhere near a hospital for birth at all, and I get that, but it could never be me. I’m absolutely willing to fend off a few intrusions because at least it’s attention and people doing stuff for me. Oh, you’re here to pound on my exhausted uterus again? I’ll kill you, but thanks. You want to vaccinate my teeny newborn against a sexually transmitted disease? Back away slowly, but hand me that dinner menu while you’re at it. You want to take my kid away from me and stick her under a heat lamp? Try taking her temp before you’ve had her naked for five minutes examining her; go far far away from us now.

It’s all worth it. I don’t care. I liked being in a place full of so many people. When we first took Audrey home, it was surreal and terrifying to just come in and sit down in the living room, the three of us, no backup. I mean, we did FINE, and there were eventually grandparents and such around, but sigh. I want my instant cafeteria food so BAD.

People out there who birthed: How did you feel about the hospital?

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Craving

December9

I never understood the concept of pregnancy cravings. They were just things you wanted? Weird things? To the point where husbands would have to go out in the middle of the night to fetch said weird things? Okay, well, I never had that with Audrey. And even if I had, I mean, WHY torture your husband over it?

Okay, I get it now. It’s not about food you really want. It’s about being a special round-the-clock queasy that has to be managed within an inch of its life. Something always has to be in the belly, but not too much and not the wrong thing. A stomach too empty will make you hurl, a stomach too full will make you hurl, a stomach with the wrong thing in there will make you hurl, and the whole day is a tense mental game you do not want to lose.

So when you start to get that first twinge of too-empty queasiness, and the thought of any food in the house gives you another ralphy twinge, you’re doomed and the clock is ticking. You wrack your brain for any food that exists on the planet that sounds good to eat and if you’re lucky enough to come up with it, you call that husband and get him on the road toute suite and hope he makes it home before you spew. It’s like the end of every murder mystery show where they figure out who the killer is and have to catch him two seconds before he kills again.

“Rice Krispies! IT’S RICE KRISPIES! Grab Rice Krispies and milk now, before we have another gruesome scene here!”

 

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Cookies

December4

(Note to decent people: I’m gonna be cursing here. Feel free to skip this entry if you want to keep thinking I’m a lovely girl.)

I got a much-needed mental break yesterday evening in the form of a friend with pizza and hot hoagies. (Bad news: it’s not just the crappy frozen pizza Andy bought last week that’s not working for my stomach; even awesome pizza isn’t quite right anymore. Nooooooo.) I got to continue that day’s fairly successful operating system, which was Distraction at All Costs. It went really well. Pick up kid from school. Eat food. Put down kid for nap. Watch TV on Hulu while reading the entire internet. Start application process on Healthcare.gov (hoping future plan covers mental anguish from using site). As long as I didn’t let my guard down for more than two seconds, I remained weep-free. Girlfriend was the best kind of Distraction – I mean, even though I was still trying to hold my shit together, at least I could be honest about the Broken and have some laughs about it.

So, THANK YOU, Girl.

As soon as I got up this morning, I put on the coffee, cause pardon-my-French-Grandma, I’m not fucking with that shit anymore. And at one point in the morning while smiling at my husband, I said, “Holy crap. I feel good!”

Which was awesome. And immediately made me whip my head around to see if the Sad had heard me and was going to smack me upside the head for thinking it was over that easy.

Then I relaxed about it. Kind of. I rode with the good mood in as Zen-like a manner as I could. I can feel good in this moment while accepting that it could disappear at any time. Then I decided I should make up for lost domesticity and bake cookies. I mean, God only knows when Sad Girl will come back. Let’s unload the dishwasher and wash underwear and bake some cookies so we’re better prepared.

Cookie recipes always make a lot. It’s a long process and once you’ve eaten a couple dozen over a couple days, the magic has kind of worn off and you’re forcing them down because…well, they’re cookies and therefore you have to keep going. Last time I made them Andy suggested I just make a few and then freeze the rest of the dough in little pucks. Then, whenever we want a few cookies we can bake them up fresh! My husband is a genius! So I did that. Then, about a minute after the couple pans I baked disappeared, Girlfriend was over. I said, “Hey. You want me to bake a few cookies for you? Or…you know…we could just eat some frozen cookie dough out of the baggie.” “Frozen’s good.” Damn straight, girl. And that is how all the spare cookies got eaten without ever being baked. 

For today’s adventure I was too lazy to even dollop them up into proper cookies and then coddle them off their damn pans. Audrey and I just mixed up our batter –

 

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And shoved it all in one big pan.

 

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It’s straight out of the oven but she’s blowing on it to get it cooler faster.

 

It was just kind of underdone and over-chocolated and really gooey good.

That first cookie bar aside, I’ve been having trouble wanting to eat today. My desperate need to have food in me at all times to stave off queasiness and just to feed the insatiable beast has transformed to a queasy-if-I-do, queasy-if-I-don’t nervousness.

So I had my first puke.

But! Hey! I will take happy and pukey over the opposite, I really will. This is a good story.

 

 

Magic Beans, Take Me Away

December2

Meet coffee, the valiant warrior in the battle for my soul this morning.

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Oh, people, I don’t know. I wrote yesterday’s post from a very sad place, which sucks, because I don’t want to be sad when I tell you about our new kid. I’m not sad ABOUT the kid. So then I wanted to go back in time and redo the whole thing and make it simpler and less cranky. Or go back and make it more honestly cranky, without feeling I needed to reassure everyone I was quite pleased about the baby part of it.

I don’t know.

I know I’ve got hormones and exhaustion and just STUFF working against me here, but I don’t remember this kind of sadness last time I was knocked up, and it sends parts of my brain into high alert. Well, the ones that aren’t zoned out on the couch.

 

Alert Brain: May Day! May Day! We’re going down, people!

Couch Brain: Shhhh. Sleeping.

Alert Brain: No, you’re crying under a blanket. We’ve got to get you out before it’s July and you have a newborn and postpartum depression.

Couch Brain: Just let me ride out this trimester. We’ll be fine, drama queen. Just need a nap and a soda.

Alert Brain: I’ve seen this before, years ago, and you descended into a hopeless mess. Call for help!

Couch Brain: This is a normal physical reaction that will pass. Making a big deal out of it is insulting to people with REAL problems. Don’t you know how good we have it? We live a charmed life. We’re really lucky. So shut up and let me wallow until it goes away!

 

I don’t even know who’s right at any given time. Last night was pretty bad. I kept to a quiet malaise during the day with the kid, then when my husband came home, the sobs just exploded out of me. Seriously, the poor guy. He’s my safe place, so I save it all for him. I went to bed (which I SO needed) and he took care of the kid during the night. When I woke up, I felt better. Then my brain turned on, I remembered feeling bad, and I started yelling at myself inside my head, because my bad thoughts were making me feel bad again, and how could you do that, stupid?

So I got up and felt bad for an hour or so. Then I managed to get a cup of coffee down – most days now I don’t have the taste for it, boo – and within minutes I had the will to live. I showered! I dressed! I got my kid to school! The answer was coffee all along! I’m fine!

So I keep telling myself as tiny little brain demons start pounding at the edge of my world again.

 

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Stuff is Happening Here

December2

The 181 comments about valium awaiting my moderation tell me I haven’t been here in a while. I tried to think of something to write the last two weeks but all I had to say was that I’m painfully exhausted, cranky moody, and ravenous like a beast.

Also blessed to be bringing forth life. Woot woot, much wanted second child!

But, man, that wears off sooooo fast when the actual pregnant feelings smack you in the ass. Or wherever. I get so sad. And then guilty for being sad. I get so anxious. I’ve had no will to move from the couch, but I need to know what my next meal is going to be and I’d better have it within five seconds of when I suddenly want it, or I will become queasy and faint and mean. I’m worried that our current nighttime parenting “technique” with our toddler (who will be a developmentally different person in 7.5 months anyway) is not at all sustainable with a newborn around. I’m worried that Andrew and I won’t ever find a boy name we can agree on, even though we have no idea if we’ll have a boy. I need this stuff worked out now!

On the plus side, Thanksgiving was awesome for a gestating woman. There was a constant supply of food I didn’t do anything to prepare, and people around to keep the toddler alive. What a relief. And, yes, I felt totally thankful. For all of it.

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Having done this once before, I expected to have more of my brain under control. But instead of obsessing over the unknowns, I can now worry about the definite knowns. On that note, pardon me while I go get some of that yogurt that helps you poop. Cause I KNOW I don’t want to be messing that up this time.