Sunday, October 30, 2011

The First of the Stuff

Yesterday was a bit of a landmark for me.  Yes, it’s the First of the Stuff.  My Mom Guru friend brought over a co-sleeper, a bag full of parenting books, and a bag of Sisterhood of the Traveling Maternity Clothes.  She also has a bucket car seat and various other yet to be disclosed items.  Baby shower?  What baby shower?

I am SLOWLY getting a handle on some things I may need, thanks to friends and various “what’s essential, what’s not” lists online.  It’s still totally overwhelming, but at least now I feel like I have *kind of* a clue as opposed to NO clue.  Cracking the baby/parenting books will help (answering questions like how often to change diapers, when & how long should naps be, when/how often to bathe baby, etc) – the first time I open a baby book will be a milestone for me as well since I’ve never read anything like that (well, except when I was a teenager and used to clean house for a pregnant woman and I would read her “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book and totally gross myself out).  When it comes to the stuff, I find myself most interested in diversionary tools like bouncers and swings – as in, how to restrain/entertain baby while I do other stuff (like shower…or poop).  Why I spend a lot of time thinking about how to have the baby away from me so I can resume MY life makes me wonder, am I being my mother, AM I BEING MY MOTHER??? with a certain amount of panic.

I plan on taking all the classes Kaiser offers, which I’m sure will help me out a lot.  That’s what they’re there for.  Personally I hate learning curves – for example, having to learn a new computer program makes me want to stick flaming spears under my toenails – so I am very much looking forward to the day when I can read my baby so well he/she barely has to grunt for me to know what he/she wants, and I can change a diaper with all the seamless choreography of a Balanchine ballet.  Right now I pretty much picture myself the first few months stumbling around this house knocking things over saying, “Fire – bad!!!” while my baby wails helplessly from his/her co-sleeper.  And the dog pees on the carpet because I haven’t walked her, and the chickens crow in protest because I forgot to feed them for a week.  Good times. 

So last night I had a gig in San Diego where I got to see some people I don’t see very often, and was completely delighted that MANY people came up to me and congratulated me.  And not just a quick, “congratulations!” and a hug as I would do (because I’m socially awkward), but all that plus a lengthy discussion about how proud they are of me and how they know I’ll be awesome at this.  One older lady said as much and I talked about how it was something I had wanted for a long time so I decided to try to slide in under the wire, and she said, “well, I missed the wire, so I’m so glad you’re doing it.”  I didn’t know if she had kids or not, but now I know.  And every time an older lady says something like this to me (it’s happened a couple of times), I find it very sobering.  Anyway, I was really touched by the outpouring of love.  Again, it’s one thing to have people be happy for you in a quick, passing sort of way; it’s another when you can tell they’ve really thought about it, and you, and it means something to them.  One asked if she thought I would inspire others to follow in my path.  I said I didn’t know, but I hoped so!

Speaking of which, attending my first Choice Moms meeting in LA next Saturday.  I hope there is a good group of people there, although even if there’s only five of us, that’s four more people than I know now who are pursuing single motherhood!  Interested to see how that all goes. 

In other news, Party Neighbor put a For Sale sign on his house yesterday.  I am beyond thrilled.  This man has been torturing me for years with his stupid trashy drunken festivals in his backyard with the radio blaring and random people wandering in and out all day.  I just pray that the new owners a) fix the place up – it’s a mess, b) aren’t worse than him in the party department, and c) can handle my chickens crowing outside their kitchen window.  But as my friend pointed out last night, if the cops never came the bajillion times I called them about his parties, surely they won’t come out for illegally placed chickens…?

PS - my March 2012 WTE board has a thread about being a crazy hormonal person, and in one of the posts a woman admitted she cried because her husband made her an "ugly" tuna fish sandwich.  Ha ha ha!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Serenity now!!!

So I’ve been having a series of dreams full of rage lately.  Last night I was a 1960’s English school girl, and at one point went up to the (evil) town Vicar and told him he, God, and the Queen could all go fuck themselves.  I don’t believe these dreams are actually related to anything (except maybe some TV show I watched or conversation I had), but are a result of my weird sleep patterns, which lately have consisted of popping awake at 5 AM, being awake for hours, and then sleeping until noon to try to compensate.  Good thing I’m having weird sleep pattern practice now!  But it does make me have bizarre and especially lurid dreams. 

I had a bit of a freak out the last few days about work stuff.  Far too boring to go into in too much detail here, but I was having a hard time staffing my event and was wondering if I should try to move it into another month (after being on the same weekend since 2001) to avoid this other event that was sucking up all my teachers. I am not in the habit of receiving “thanks, but no thanks” e-mails from dance teachers when I extend an invitation to teach – for years people have been clamoring to work for me – and it was really hurting my feelings.  And it made me worry for my future, if people are suddenly after all these years making this other event a priority (this other event is nearly 30 years old so it’s not new and hip – but for some reason has become the big party everyone wants to go to over the last two-three years or so, and it takes up nearly the entire summer, making it impossible for me to just shift a little to avoid it).  Also all of a sudden all my teachers are demanding 50% raises and a lot more perks – in other words, becoming professionals in our little hobby world.  I’m not saying they don’t deserve it…so I’m willing to pay…but the problem is our customers don’t want to pay real world prices.  So I take the hit, basically, which is why I’m so freaking poor right now.  But it’s all been resolved for the moment – miracle of miracles, I was able to get a good lineup of teachers that I can be excited about (it’s important for me to be excited about my lineup), and made the decision to raise my price by $5 which will help with some (but not nearly all) of my increased costs.  Passing the savings on to the customer – not!  I truly believe that if things continue on the way they’re going, with the customers dwindling and the staff demanding more and more, that they will soon find themselves out of work.  I’ve seen it happen before.  Right now there’s a glut of events; they will start to die off and the strongest of us will be left standing.  Hopefully I will be one of the ones left standing.  I’ve got a kid to support, for cry-eye!

Along those lines I freaked out about all the things that need to be repaired around here – my toilet, the wood railing in the back yard, the yard lights (fixed these myself yesterday, for like the bajillionth time), my car, all the scraping/painting that really should be done before the baby comes.  I have no money to do any of these things.  But I decided for my own safety that I need to just get the car fixed – after discovering my last mechanic ripped me off and ruined my car, I now need to seek out someone I can trust (collecting recommendations from friends now) and ask them what I need to do to make the car drivable for at least one more year.  And I really need to fix the toilet (most likely will need to be replaced).  The other things I can do myself or just leave undone which will drive me nuts.  So I decided I just need to pay.  I imagine these things will run $1000 - $2000 which is a huge amount of money to me right now.  But for my own sanity I feel I need to get these things taken care of in the next few weeks.  I’ve got a baby to prepare for, I’ve got a camp to run, and I don’t need to be worrying about unimportant shit like drive belts and fill valves. 

It’s all about taking one thing at a time.  I was totally overwhelmed a couple of days ago but I had to just sit down and tell myself it’ll all get done, just focus on one thing at a time and prioritize.  Today I work on the railing, tomorrow I call a plumber.  And so it goes.  Serenity now!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

That other sperm documentary

Last night I watched the PBS sperm donor documentary.  I have to say it put to rest some of the negative feelings I’d been having about all the press/that other doc about sperm donation, in that it had a different take.  It was told mainly from the perspective of the adult (or teen aged) children of the donor seeking him out, and they were all well-adjusted, happy kids who had the right idea about meeting this man – that he’s not really their dad, per se, but someone they were glad to meet once, and maybe see again. 

This was especially touching to me because it is revealed that the donor is a bit of a nutter – basically a homeless guy living in a beat up RV on Venice Beach, who clearly has some mental/drug issues.  He’s the kind of guy that smokes a bong and then goes off on all his conspiracy theories (I was waiting for him to say, “and then the Jews…” but luckily he didn’t, or the filmmakers had the presence of mind to edit this out).  One donor conceived woman had no interest in meeting him because of how nuts he is; one said she wanted to keep him part of her life because he had such a good heart, which I thought was sweet (and was true, based on what we saw of him). 

It was especially odd for me to watch this since this man is so much like my own father – probably means well, but is totally delusional and insane.  This doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of love or normal human feeling…but you just have to be careful in your interactions with people like that.  Their brains just don’t operate the same way ours do. 

The two things I liked about the documentary were the fact that he didn’t have hundreds of offspring, but a few – I think they had found something like 10-20.  I also liked that he described “donating” as kind of a spiritual experience for him…I know this sounds pretty crazy, but he would bless the “sample” and give it a lot of thought as he handed it over, knowing these were potential offspring.  I guess I liked that he didn’t just flippantly jerk off and not have any feeling about it whatsoever, which is how I imagine most guys doing it.  I mean, these most likely will result in children that will change people’s lives.  It’s just as meaningful as having sex with a partner in the intent to conceive – the odds are something just might come of it (no pun intended). 

The fact that this guy had started off as this smokin’ hot model/actor/dancer type (and I mean smokin’ – and I don’t say that lightly, or at all, really) and ended up Crazy Homeless Guy just goes to show that you never know what’s going to become of a person when you first meet them in their twenties.  I wondered if any of the kids would inherit his mental illness – but then again I’m a hair from 40 and don’t seem to have taken on either of my parent’s nuttiness, so I guess there’s hope for them yet.  I wonder where my donor will be in twenty years?  Based on his sensitive, artistic profile, maybe he’ll end up Crazy Homeless Guy, too.  Maybe he can move in to this guy’s RV and they can compare notes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Activism and Movement

Yesterday I spent the day with a friend who, when I mentioned one of my tires was going flat, very kindly offered to go with me right then to get it replaced, even though we were supposed to go on a walk/see a movie/have lunch.  We did end up doing two of those things, but it was awfully nice of her to sacrifice part of our day together for my mundane but very important errand (as it turned out the tire was about to blow any minute, and considering I have to drive to San Diego alone Saturday night, returning at about 2 AM, I knew it had to be fixed before that trip!).

I went on and on about how she MUST see the OWN documentary Miss Representation.  She has a long history of social justice/activism so I knew it would be right up her alley.  I also had two single/childless girlfriends over Sunday night to watch it (and stuff our feelings with my home baked blueberry buckle cake).  This then lead to a three hour man bashing session which felt great.  Keep in mind the documentary does not man bash at all, which I think is one of its strengths.  But in the privacy of your own home, with like-minded women who have been through the same torture known as “dating over 30” it’s great to just VENT.  It’s amazing how (some) of the men in our lives have tried or succeeded in crushing our wills, diminishing our self-esteem, and causing us to be self-conscious or feel “less than”.  I can’t say anybody’s done that to me in a long time – I just wouldn’t allow it – but when I was younger, sure.  My main thing is many of the men I dated, even the nice ones, were constantly correcting me and harping on how rude I am – how when we drive somewhere I bound out of the car and start walking without waiting for the guy to get his act together and follow, how I eat dinner at home before he comes home without waiting, etc etc.  And I suppose technically these things are behaviors of a single person, not someone in a relationship.  So, you know what?  Obviously I am not relationship material.  And I’m a grown-ass woman and I don’t need my behavior to be corrected like I’m some errant child…punk!

The two ladies and I concluded that we just don’t know what it takes to make a relationship work today.  I think that’s honest.  I still truly believe that some people luck into good situations but most don’t.  The rest either suffer together or remain single.  I don’t care because I found a way to have a family without a relationship, which is what I really wanted all along anyway.

The friend I saw yesterday mentioned she saw my ex- at a wedding I boycotted last weekend.  I told her I heard that he “found out” about me and went into a funk, cornering another friend of mine and interrogating her at the bar for an hour, saying it was supposed to be him and how could I do this to him?  This just made me laugh when I heard it.  I figured he’d react this way, because he’s delusional enough to think that even though we split up a year ago that he still has a chance with me, and that he and I could still easily have a kid together when I’m over 40.  My friend told me she complimented him on a recent gig (he’s a jazz singer), saying she heard he was really good.  You know what his response was?  Not “thank you very much,” or, “it was a fun night,” like a normal person – no, his response was, “I was FANTASTIC!”  Have I mentioned how much I dodged a bullet with this guy???  I mentioned that, right?

So I am still all fired up about Miss Representation.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it, but I am considering joining some organizations and getting active somehow.  It’s something I haven’t done since I was a teenager, but I do miss political activism a great deal, especially when it’s about things I’m super passionate about.  For me this whole Choice Mom thing was very much a political act as well as a personal act – a show of female independence and empowerment, a nod to alternative families, an embracing of modern technology and mores.  I feel like I want all of these things to come together somehow…and to get active about it.  Getting involved in volunteerism may not be the best plan when I’m about to have a baby, but I’m going to put some feelers out there and see if there’s something I can do, whether it’s campaigning for a female candidate I believe in or joining a media watch dog group…something.  Something has to be done to reverse this horrible backlash we’re experiencing (which I wasn’t even aware we were experiencing). 

Speaking of documentaries, I am about to watch a second doc about sperm donation.  I imagine it will be more of the same – oodles of offspring seeking their dad, and the doc pointing out the obvious, “isn’t this kind of a sociological time bomb we’re sitting on here?” and me pulling my hair out on the couch wondering out loud how the heck sperm banks ever allowed hundreds of offspring from one donor and then worrying that everyone who watches this will think this is my situation, when it is not.  And judging me.  Ugh.

And in babyland, I believe I may be experiencing the very first flutters.  I’m not sure because it all feels like normal digestive functions to me, and does seem to happen mostly when I’ve just eaten.  But I keep feeling these little subtle pulses or “kicks”.  I sure hope it’s the baby, because I’m very much looking forward to that development.  Eighteen weeks Thursday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Updated list of fears for the new trimester

I’ve been mentally compiling a list of new(ish) fears based on new information/1st trimester fears being no longer relevant.  I’d like to point out that I am not at all sitting around worrying about these things; as you know I’m pretty zen and peaceful for the most part (having successfully convinced myself that I will never actually have to birth this baby, that he/she will just sort of magically appear):

I have a fear of not being prepared – of not having/bringing things to the hospital that I’ll really need, and not having things at home that I’ll really need.  I keep reminding myself that in nature all a baby needs is your breast milk and something warm to be wrapped in; still, I feel like somehow stuff is going to fall through the cracks.  I’m sure this instinct is what leads women to get into “tons of stuff” mode.

Fear of post-partum depression.  I think I can manage it if it happens – I mean, I’m mentally prepared for my brain to play tricks on me; I have no intention of throwing the baby out the window even if my brain tells me to.  But just like every other woman in the world, I’d rather spend the first few months of my baby’s life enjoying him/her and feeling like I’ve experienced a wonderful miracle rather than battling crazy thoughts and depression.

Fear of yukky physical stuff.  There are lots of “what do I need to know” posts on the March 2012 WTE boards, and they’re pretty gnarly – all about the stitches, the bleeding (for weeks, apparently), the pain, the trouble breastfeeding, the cracked nipples, the crying when you poop because it hurts so bad, oh, all that fun stuff.  I know it’s inevitable and all women go through it and you just deal, but UGH.  I sure hope those hormones kick in HARD to make me not care about anything but the baby!

Speaking of bonding hormones – I have this weird fear, and it’s one I think about a lot, that somehow I won’t bond with the baby.  I don’t know where this is coming from (no doubt my experience with my mother – pretty much everything goes back to that, doesn’t it?), but the thing I worry about most is not feeling what you’re “supposed” to feel.  Maybe it’s just because I don’t feel it yet, and that makes me think I never will, which is almost impossible.  But there’s always been a part of me that’s worried I’m not normal physically – when I was 13 and hadn’t gotten my period yet and all my friends had I was convinced I just never would, that there was something wrong with me; I certainly had the fear in the whole TTC process that I had some abnormality and could never be pregnant (and it turns out I kind of did, but luckily it was minor and treatable); now the fear is I won’t get that rush of oxytosin and will just look at my new baby like, “Yup.  There he is,” and not feel anything.  That the child and I will be like roommates in this house – me taking care of him/her because I’m supposed to, but never feeling that intense love everyone talks about.  Crazy, huh?  Especially when I think I know my mother didn’t (always) feel this way about us; there were absolutely times when she acted like an actual mother and seemed to enjoy parenting, mostly in the early years.  Every time I think this, though, I remind myself how I feel about my little doggie – she’s a little old cranky Chihuahua I adopted three years ago, and as far as I’m concerned the sun rises and sets out of her ass.  I want nothing more than to kiss her head, scratch her butt, and smell her until there’s no smell left.  I miss her when she’s at the kennel and hold her close whenever I’m sad.  I live in terror of the day she dies, which, at her age, could be any time.  If I can feel this way about an adult dog I didn’t even raise and haven’t even known that long, SURELY I can muster some feeling for my own flesh and blood that I conceived and birthed, no?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Does this pregnancy make me look pregnant?

So I think the denial has to end in at least one respect.  I for sure am looking pregnant now.  I’m so glad I had a tendency to wear tent-like things before, because a lot of my clothes still fit.  Bottoms are a bit of a problem, but for now my one pair of maternity jeans will suffice, mixed in with dresses and skirts (may get a maternity jean skirt from Old Navy online – I would wear the heck out of that).  Last night I for realz went out dancing – as in, got dressed up, paid $20, had a normal night out at a dance at which I wasn’t DJing, judging or running a contest, singing, or organizing in some way.  Some people there know I’m pregnant, some don’t.  The Facebook friend who recently had the late term miscarriage was there.  I wondered if she could tell, and if it was a stab in her heart.  I worried about this.  But then I remembered that my being pregnant, as a single woman who is never dating anyone, is the last thing anyone would think.  So my guess is no; anyone who even noticed probably just thought I was wearing an unflattering outfit or had been packing on the pounds lately.  I know women who are mortified by this thought, but I don’t mind – they’ll all know the truth soon enough!

I e-mailed the family my latest ultrasound pics.  I found it interesting that unlike all of my other relatives, my mother’s e-mail isn’t in my contact list so I had to look up my last e-mail to her to find it.  We had sort of an odd moment after I e-mailed everyone my 12 week picture…she wrote back that she has a “friend” here in SoCal who wanted to give away a crib.  I’m sure this friend is someone she only knows online (like all of her friends) and is no doubt involved in my former “cult”.  I wrote back truthfully that I didn’t know if I wanted a crib yet because I’d probably do a co-sleeping arrangement for a while.  My mother then wrote me back that, well, this friend really wanted to meet me, that she’d told the friend all about my event and she wanted to know more about it.  I didn’t know what to do with this information – at the time I was still pretty sick, and the idea of driving all over the place (I mean, Southern California can mean just about anything – from fifteen minutes away to three hours away) was really unappealing to me, plus getting some random crib that I don’t want, plus meeting some strange woman who no doubt will report everything about me back to my mother…the whole thing just gave me the creeps.  So rather than insisting I was not interested in meeting this person (couldn’t think of a way to say this via e-mail that wouldn’t sound impossibly rude) I did my usual passive-aggressive thing and just ignored her.  Luckily she didn’t pursue it, hopefully understanding she’d gone too far.  But then my sister told me that she’d met up with my mother’s cousin who was shocked that my mother, who she’s in touch with on a regular basis, never mentioned my pregnancy to her.  Which made me think my mother was mad at me somehow…even though I know her not mentioning it could mean anything, and most likely meant my pregnancy just isn’t that important to her (she is a narcissist after all!).  So yesterday I sent the 17 week pictures wondering if my mother would respond, being prepared emotionally if she doesn’t.  I mean, I’m onto her, you know?  I understand not to take anything from her personally, because she’s not in her right mind.  She can be weird/disappear/lash out all she wants; that’s her problem and has nothing to do with me.  But still of course I’d like things to be at least cordial between us.  So I have to admit it was with a sigh of relief that I got her response today, guessing I’m having a girl.  Another crisis averted, whew!

So now I have the issue of friends wanting to come to the gender ultrasound with me.  The one friend who reads this blog, I’m not talking about you, it’s the other one, you know who I mean.  She sent me a lovely e-mail saying that in her tradition it’s all about community and joyful events should be shared, etc, which I really thought was sweet.  However I’m just not convinced I really want someone there.  I keep mulling it over.  This whole exercise has been such a solitary experience, because I’ve wanted it to be.  It is just about me and the kid when you get right down to it.  So, the question is do I share the “gender reveal” with (at least one friend), or do I do it alone?  Or meet up with people later?  I will have to ponder this one a little.  I had a dream last night that this same friend coerced me into running a workshop for her and hardly anyone showed up and I lost a bunch of money and was all pissed off.  Is this a sign…?

Friday, October 21, 2011

They grow up so fast...

Here are a couple of ultrasound pics from yesterday’s ob check up.  I didn’t know they were going to do an ultrasound yesterday so I was delighted when my deadpan, Bill Nye-esque ob broke out the tube of gel.  Everything looks good except he was a bit alarmed by my nine pound weight gain over the last month – he says I should really be only gaining 2-3 pounds a month.  I was thinking nine pounds in four months is about right; but I think his concern was more that I’d gained it ALL AT ONCE.  He’s right, though; I’m still in the habit of shoving food down my throat the minute I feel the slightest pang of hunger for fear of being horribly sick if I don’t, forgetting that that doesn’t really happen anymore, and I can actually go 3-4 hours without eating and not get violently ill for hours.  So basically I need to return to normal eating patterns.  And knock off the Pop Tarts.  I can do it.  Everything sweet kind of tastes like stomach bile to me anyway.

I also did my 2nd round blood test for the NT scan yesterday, and I don’t mind admitting I had a little bit of a freak out.  Not about the fact that it was the NT scan – as you know I’m not terribly concerned about bad results – it was more general anxiety that I’d been having all day, exacerbated by an especially long wait for the blood test and weird old feelings coming up about being scared of medical stuff.  You know how anxiety is.  One little old childhood thing sets it off and then it becomes this swirling pool of racing thoughts and irrationality and nausea and fear and panic.  I got back to my car and did my breathing exercises, talked myself down, went home and took a nap.  Woke up feeling refreshed and normal.  It was just a weird day, and I’ve had a few of these lately.  It must be hormones.  Somehow I became convinced that nobody loved me and I was abandoned and lost and I don’t have it in me to be a mother, I just can’t do it, I CAN’T.  But I fought it hard all day – fought like the dickens, and eventually it went away.  I reminded myself I’m very loved and I absolutely CAN do this.  I’m so glad I did the foundation work long before any of this TTC/pregnancy stuff about my anxiety – that I learned that just because you have a thought doesn’t mean it should be listened to, that you need to nip these things in the bud and constantly remind yourself that the thoughts you’re having are not rational, not reflective of anything real, and are just chemical reactions.  Kind of like being on drugs – not that I ever have been, but I imagine these hormone-fueled panic attacks are a bit like that.  Like many illnesses, I doubt I’ll ever overcome it entirely but I can manage it.  And it does pass.  I feel fine now and can’t believe I was thinking the things I was thinking yesterday – what was that about?  Hormones, chemicals.  Not the real me, not at all.

Last night I watched the documentary on OWN, “Miss Representation”.  I was riveted, and I mean RIVETED.  Not that I’m unaware of how the media treats women – especially in politics – but WOW.  When it’s right there in front of you, with statistics of women in power positions in business and government, it’s pretty shocking and upsetting.  And I was deeply ashamed when I thought how I had allowed the media, and society in general, to disparage women – I remember how anti-Hillary Clinton I was, and why?  No reason, only that the media had shoved it down my throat that she was a bitch, she was a harpee, her voice was annoying, she was a ball buster (not in a good way), and I bought it without even attempting to think for myself.  They also drew a direct correlation between how few women we have in government and our piss-poor family leave/maternity/women’s health care compared to nations where more women are involved in national policymaking.  This has to stop.  Also the presentation that women somehow aren’t capable, that they shouldn’t be in certain jobs or positions (yes, even I have thought this), that it’s ok to pick apart a woman’s appearance where we’d never do that to a man, etc etc etc.  This documentary is so important that I have saved it and intend to show it to every close girlfriend I have.  I really need to change the way I think about certain things.  Not that I wasn’t on board before, but wow – I’m really on board now.  Especially if I have a girl.  I’ve got a whole new take on how to raise girls today!