Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Coincidence? I think not!

So I did a little experiment today. The last time my urine came up with no protein was when I had said "the heck with it" and had a bowl of cereal for breakfast (this was test before last I believe). Yesterday I had eggs for breakfast - same +1 protein. Today I had the cereal again - no protein. I asked the midwife about this, but she said it wouldn't be related. So you're telling me that a life long vegetarian with a high carb, low protein diet suddenly dramatically changes this ratio then starts to have excess protein spilling into their urine, yet the two aren't related? I think not! Also sounds a bit like the various RE's I asked about my five year abuse of the Nuva ring who claimed it couldn't possibly have shut down my ovaries - I'm still skeptical about that one, too. Good thing both of these issues have had/will have a positive outcome.

We couldn't nail down a midwife appointment anywhere near my two NSTs, so I am going to just say the heck with it. The NST people do all if the same exact tests, and with more precise equipment. So if nobody objects I'm just going to the NSTs from now on.

Today I made the mistake of calling someone to catch up only to find her in a terrible state - she had to go to a food bank for food for her family and is deeply ashamed. She was really distraught and apologized for not being able to be there more for me during my pregnancy, to which I of course told her not to worry about it. I thought about telling her about my sewer line woes to make her feel less alone, but thought better of it. How can you possibly try to make someone feel better who just waited on line for government cheese? Gave me a lot of perspective, I can tell you that.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I don't want to be broken

I've now twice watched the scene in Bethenny Ever After in which she breaks down in her interview and says she wants her daughter to be nice and kind and sweet and not hard and a survivor like her, and each time it makes me cry. I so relate to that. There are so many weird/unpleasant personality quirks I have because of my messy upbringing, and I so want better for my kid - I want him to be happy and well-adjusted and loved and listened to; I want him to look back on his childhood fondly, I want him to have healthy relationships and not be crippled by anxiety and depression the way I was when I was young. I don't want him to ever feel broken.

All this medical stuff right now is making me feel broken. I have to be honest, it's a real challenge for me. Nothing bad happened at the NST today - the nurse even said the #1 reason I was there was purely my age, since everything else looks so good. But I can't shake that weirdness from my childhood where I was taught that when you're sick it's your fault. They found protein in my urine again after it being absent last time, and I immediately felt ashamed, like I had done something wrong. After that I felt very defensive and hostile and could only answer the nurse in grunts and one syllable words - but again had to remind myself that they're only looking out for me and doing their jobs; I have to remind myself of this every minute so I don't punch people in the face. Sigh. Why does this have to be such an ordeal for me? Why can't I just be grateful everything is going well and I'm getting excellent care? Why all this stupid old emotional baggage all the time?

So I return for my regular midwife appointment tomorrow, then twice weekly NSTs from now on. Since they did the whole urine/weight/bp/fluid check/ultrasound thing at the NST today I'm going to see why I still have to see the midwife the next day. Seems like a lot of repeat tests for no good reason to me.

In other news tonight, tomorrow and Thursday are entirely devoted to adding up receipts for my tax appointment Friday. It's a massive job and I really hope I get it done in time. I also sent a courtesy email to my biggest competition, the DC dance event I sang and judged at last year, letting them know I'm moving to Labor Day. They wrote back saying they, too, are considering moving to Labor Day for 2014 but may reconsider now. God I hope so, because if they did move to the same weekend that would absolutely crush me. I hope I can count on our friendship and professional courtesy that they won't do that to me. I may send another email saying something to this effect; I'll have to sleep on it. But boy would that suck. Well, maybe by 2014 the novelty of their event will have worn off somewhat and it won't be such a threat. At least I'll have moved first (2013).

The Queen of Returns

So today I did something that I've done only once or twice in my life but that is an every day part of other people's lives (like going through a drive through or ordering in dinner) - I returned two items to stores from my shower that were duplicates.

I was delighted to discover the baby food maker I returned to Target garnered me $108 (sweet) so I had fun buying my remaining nursery items - picture frames, hooks, a rug pad, storage bins galore, and some baby medical supplies (why I am so relieved to have a baby nail clipper and thermometer I don't know...but I am). I feel like I am now prepared for an emergency - I have disposable newborn diapers at the ready, a pack of wipes, plenty of swaddlers/blankets/caps/etc; assuming my boobs work he'll have food; the only funky thing is installing the car seat. I was once told you could just go to any firehouse for this purpose, but apparently that's not entirely true; a quick google revealed zero fire stations in my area that provide this service, and pretty much no information at all as to where to go in LA to make sure you installed it properly. I'm also afraid that if I install it now someone will steal it (based on my car being broken into recently). Do people steal carseats? Would they steal a cheap stroller out of the trunk? Still I would feel better if I put the carseat in soon. I'm totally screwed if I go into labor and there's no car seat - they won't let me take him home!

I have my second of many NSTs tomorrow. I don't know if they'll do weight/urine/bp too; I think I'll probably just lie there bored for half an hour only to be told everything is normal (again). I was however interested to discover last time the funny hard sensations in my upper abdomen I'd been having for ages are in fact the mythical Braxton Hicks contractions. I always just thought it was normal baby movement, but I guess it's actually kind of a "labor prep". It doesn't hurt at all - wish real labor contractions felt like that! Labor would be a breeze.

My big job this week is taxes. I wasn't up to it tonight because of all the running around today, but I must start tomorrow because my appointment is Friday, and delaying will only hurt me in the end (like I'm going to want to spend days adding up receipts with a newborn in the house!). It has also dawned on me that the funny smell in the house my sister pointed out may in fact be the final failure of my sewer line. I replaced half of it years ago for $7000; I still have the second part which should run about $5000. Where the hell am I going to get $5000 when I'm stressing about even paying my utilities this month...? Can I live with the whole house reeking of sewage gas until this summer? Is that even healthy for us? I'm going to have to figure something out. It's probably going to involve setting my get-out-of-debt plan back about six months. Ugh.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I feel another purge coming on...

So before I went to the Oscar party tonight I managed to organize the entire nursery. And I came to one rather unpleasant but unavoidable conclusion. I need to give away a TON of stuff.

Basically, I have a veritable mountain of clothes and blankets. I didn't count, but I would guess I have at least 30 or 40 hats, 40 or so pairs of socks, and well over 60 or 70 onesies and/or one piece outfits. There are at least 50 blankets/burp cloth-type deals. Just shoving these things all in baskets, drawers, and on shelves kind of gave me the vapors.

It's not so much that there's no room for these's that I don't think I can get anything done with all this stuff piled around; I won't be able find anything and it's going to drive me nuts.

I should probably wait until the baby's here to see what size he is, how fast he grows, and what I actually end up using...but I think I've developed a fairly decent system for what goes and what stays (and honestly, if I need anything after he's here, baby clothes cost like $2):

Anything claiming my son "loves his daddy" or is "daddy's little helper", goes (you'd be amazed how many things I have that say this - as much as I'd keep them for comedic value, out they go).

Anything pilled, ratty and second hand (as much as I appreciate the thought, if it's a toss up between nice and new and second hand, I'll take the nice and new).

Anything that has no personality. I got enough really cute, unique things that I feel I can let go of the stuff that was obviously grabbed off of a rack and shoved in a bag without being looked at or thought about (like the daddy reference stuff).

I'm keeping anything hand made or obviously thought about, whether I like it or it goes with my aesthetic or not.

According to the "layette recommendations" sheet I got from Kaiser, even with the things I plan on keeping I have at least 10x what I could ever need. Again, I don't want to sound ungrateful; I'm delighted anyone I know took the time to buy me a nice present. But after stressing out about all the stuff and how completely out of control it is half the day I had to remind myself that I don't HAVE to keep any of it; there are plenty of nice mommies in need who would love these things if I took them to a thrift store.

Then I thought how much worse it would be if I were having a girl - the hideous pink ruffled outfits to make her look like a little pageant baby, ahhhhhhh! At least the boy stuff is a lot less frightening.

I also have three strollers and three car seats, most of which require assembly. Will have to decide what to do about these items as well.

Happily I have very few toys or stuffed animals. Would like to keep that trend going.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is this the sucky part?

So I think I have to start admitting to myself that the sucky part of pregnancy has begun.  Or maybe I just had a bad day yesterday, I don’t know.  But some of the fears I had had about the third trimester have at last begun – and thank goodness only in the final month.  You want to hear all about it?  Sure you do!

I have had a very unwelcome return to the nausea.  It’s not as bad as the first trimester, but it is there.  I had intended to have a pleasant evening at home last night, maybe even do a little nursery organizing, but instead got knocked out by a wave of illness and had to just lie down uncomfortably on the couch for hours until I had to admit defeat and get into bed around 10 PM.  This has happened off and on for the last couple of weeks.  Usually after I eat I just don’t feel so hot and have to take it easy. Couldn’t have dinner because nothing looked appealing.  Well, if this is my lot from now on, at least it’s only four more weeks!  Anything will beat that three month marathon in the beginning, for sure.

My new waking up mantra is “ow ow ow”.  My legs cramp in the night from sleeping in the same side positions, and it’s extremely painful trying to work them out.  Although the heartburn is nothing like it was a few weeks ago (the baby must be moving down), it’s still there from time to time, so I still get a sudden sharp pain in my heart especially when I’m trying to sleep.  And here’s a new one – I think I’m developing that third trimester carpal tunnel, because my hands, especially my left, hurt a lot all the time.  Sure, they’re a little swollen, but I don’t think that’s it – the joints, especially my wrists, kill, and it makes it very hard to make a fist or grasp anything.  So my morning routine usually involves trying to turn over so I can roll out of bed, and the cramp in my leg firing up, and then trying to grip something with my left hand and that being extremely painful, and then getting a jab of old heartburn in my heart, and then some weird pully-stretchy feeling in my stomach if I move too abruptly.  Good times! “Ow ow ow” indeed. 

I was super wiped out yesterday all day long which makes me worry about some of the things I have coming up – mainly my two day photo shoot, and some remaining gigs, and spending this entire week doing my taxes, anything that will tie me up for more than a few hours.  Will I be able to do this stuff?  And also the normal household duties which are endless when you’re a single homeowner – dishes, laundry, cooking, garbage out, taking care of pets, getting gas in the car, keeping things neat?  Was yesterday just an anomaly?  I actually kind of feel up for a hike today which means maybe I’m on the mend.  But I am a little worried that Manatee Season is at last upon me.

At least today I get to enjoy a nice Oscar party and that’s pretty much it.  And then it’s taxes all week, and I am still trying to squeeze in that kitchen facelift before the end of the month – I kind of can’t afford it, but I think I’d really regret it if I didn’t just suck it up and get the damned kitchen painted already, because once the baby is here I’m just never going to want to take care of projects like that because of the fumes/dust/inconvenience/expense, and then it’ll be another ten years of deterioration before the kitchen gets spruced up. So it really needs to happen now.  Oh, and my nursery is still a mess of boxes and piles of clothes with nothing actually practical for the baby – like prepared cloth diapers, wipes, a place for him to sleep, etc – ready to go.  *le sigh*

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Iron and underwire

Today I went to see The Iron Lady, followed by nursing bra shopping.  I have to say I’d read so many scathing reviews of this movie that I was shocked by how “un-bad” it was.  I mean, it’s a bio-pic; there’s not much you can do there except get someone to do a great impression of a famous figure.  The only truly great bio-pic I can think of is “Raging Bull”.  But I did kind of enjoy the movie and thought it was well done.  One funny thing that sort of stuck in my craw though was the huge importance placed on the husband figure.  The movie *sort of* implies she would have been nothing without him – or at least makes him this huge looming figure in her life, when she was Prime Minister, for crying out loud.  I would have liked to see more of Meryl Streep/Margaret Thatcher kicking ass than being old and scared and crying out for her deceased husband.  It made me wonder had she been a man, would they have made a movie so heavily about the spouse…?

Afterwards I exhausted myself trying on maternity bras.  As with all things maternity, I have no idea if I will live to rue the choices I made today.  I opted for soft and comfy as opposed to supporting and underwire.  I can always go back and get underwire later; for now I just need to know they’ll be comfortable and have room to grow, since I spend the majority of my time at home not having to look glamorous anyway.  I was hoping to get a compression garment as well but just didn’t have the money.  I may use my Amazon gift card for that, and again, just guess, and take a chance that whichever one I buy will a) fit and b) work.

So for now I am going to rip off my cutting, too small pre-pregnancy underwire bra and slide into something more comfortable, then spend a lovely Saturday evening on the couch with the dog eating black bean tacos and watching bad TV.  Sounds like a perfect Saturday night to me!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Smile and nod

Went to the high risk ob. For the first time they did measurements, and showed that I am not in fact growing a freakishly huge baby despite my possible GD. And guess what? No protein in my urine today! And guess what the reaction to that great news was? "Well, that doesn't mean anything." Huh?

Then they did an NST. It was no big deal - just lying on my side for half an hour while they monitored the baby, who was of course fine. They said I was having contractions even though I didn't feel anything. Ah, if only labor could be like that...!

So I'm now required to go in two times a week for these NSTs, plus my regular appointments, even though everything went great today. What a pain in the ass. Already it's a scheduling nightmare with my two photo shoots week after next, because apparently you have to do them at exact times and days, even one day different isn't acceptable. But I'm not going to worry about that right now. They have me in next Tues, then I'll keep my midwife appt Weds and see what we can see. I'll be 36 weeks by then and that much closer, maybe I'll have a better attitude about all this then. Or not!

They said the primary reason for all this is just my age. I thought so - I thought if I was 34 none of this would matter. They asked detailed questions about my GD numbers and I just lied my ass off. I find it interesting that the one day I don't have any protein in my urine is the one day I don't have any protein for breakfast. Coincidence?

I did a fairly good job of keeping my annoyance to myself - always reminding myself that everyone's just doing their jobs - but I did let slip a snarky "seriously?" when I rode down in a very packed elevator only to have it stop on one floor and have a very large woman say, "we can squeeze in a couple more, right?" and make us all pack in even more. I guess someone had to be the recipient of my wrath, might as well be a complete stranger, right? Spoken like a true New Yorker!

The pre "high risk" appointment post

I thought before I write another post all about urine concentration numbers and blood pressure I’d take a moment to write about non-medical stuff.  But first, the medical stuff. I have my “high risk” appointment at 3.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen today – I asked my midwife and she said they’d just want to go over my various test results with me; but I’m prepared for a) being asked to do another 24 hour urine collection, b) an NST test, c) more blood tests, and d) being set up for all kinds of additional visits.  In fact I was told I may be their patient from now on.  *sigh*.  Can’t they just leave me alone?  I know what to look for to see if I’m in trouble.  I feel perfectly fine.  But I guess that’s not good enough.  Only one more month of this, though.  That time will fly by, it really will.

Last night I went out dancing in a rather tight t shirt (usually I wear more tent-like items) and I could see by the attention I was getting that I now look VERY pregnant.  Everyone asked how I was feeling, boy or girl, when’s my due date, what’s the name, etc etc.  Some people then ask if the same questions over and over annoy me.  They really don’t.  I’ll answer those same questions ‘til the cows come home, because I’m touched anyone even cares to ask.  I also don’t mind the belly touching.  I have noticed one funny phenomenon, though.  I find I am inordinately pleased when people comment how good I look, how I “really haven’t gained that much”, and I find myself taking the fact that I’m still wearing my pre-pregnancy bras and underwear as some kind of badge of honor.  I mean, I guess I deserve some kind of kudos for struggling so much to keep my weight in check when all I want to do is eat tray after tray of cupcakes…but it does bug me that we women (and by “we women” I mean “I”) are still so tied to our looks, and still need almost constant confirmation that we’re attractive.  I know it’s kind of hard wired into us to be this way, but I wish I didn’t care.  You know?

On the business front I am about to sign a three year contract with my hotel for Labor Day weekend, starting in 2013.  I have mentioned this to a few friends I usually go to for advice about my event and they had nothing but positives to say about it – no conflicting events they could think of, and lots more possible improvements that will come as a result of this change.  I am thrilled, personally.  I think this just *might* be the little push I need to get my event out of the doldrums it’s been in the last few years because of the economy.  And it couldn’t come at a better time, when I’m about to take on the expense of single motherhood!  It’s going to be hard to keep it under wraps to the general public until this event is underway.

It’s crazy to think this time last year I was in India, planning my first “attempt” upon my return.  I remember telling my travel companion about my plans and her enthusiastic support (she has since sent me a lovely baby blanket).  I had no idea how all of this would go for me – and it sure was a wild ride for a few months there.  I remember how melancholy I felt with spring coming on and things not working and that terror of it never working; I remember feeling so guilty about hiding it from people but knowing it was the right thing for me to keep it mostly private; I remember the frustration and tears; I remember being tortured by my friend’s elaborate fairy tale wedding and the months of rampaging jealousy this brought out in me (almost entirely gone now, btw).  And yet it all seems like a million years ago and I can hardly relate to that person, because that person is gone.  The “nothing good ever happens to me” person is no longer, because finally something good did happen – for once things did actually go my way, especially in a situation that is so out of my control.  I mean, business and real estate stuff you can kind of make happen – but pregnancy?  Relationships?  Absolutely not, as anyone who reads this knows.  Yet for some reason the fertility gods decided to smile on me, and for this I am eternally grateful. 

And then in just a few more weeks there will be a little person here.  I’ll wake up and there he’ll be – either screaming for breakfast or making little baby noises wanting some attention.  And then he’ll be nursed and changed, and then put in his little outfit for the day, and then put in his bouncy chair while I do the dishes or feed the chickens or answer e-mails.  And that will be our life.  I will get to know his language and learn his burgeoning personality.  I’ll look at his face and hands and feet and wonder how much of him is me, my mother, my father, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and how much is the donor.  I’ll wonder what he’ll look like as a boy, a teenager, a man.  I’ll wonder how much of the values I raise him with will stick and how much he’ll set his own standard, what obsessions he’ll take on, what music he’ll like, what kind of girlfriends he’ll have. 

And maybe one day he’ll have a little brother or sister, and maybe he won’t.  Either way he’ll be fine, because he has such an amazing network of little dance babies who will be built in siblings, and a blood family who already loves him even though he’s not here yet.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Career Opportunities

During my shower I was talking band stuff with my bandleader friend and the subject came up of a large jazz festival our big band always plays at the same hotel where my event is held, during Labor Day weekend.  I was still horribly ill when we played it last year and it was all I could do to not throw up all over the mic when I got up to sing.  The event has been on a bit of a downward spiral lately, being as it only attracts elderly people and, there’s no better way to say this, but they’re all dying off.  So my bandleader says, “Oh yeah, I got an e-mail from Wally (organizer) that they’re not doing it anymore.”  I went home and checked the event’s web page and sure enough it says the festival is canceled, effective immediately.  Wow!

Lying in bed at about 2 AM that night I got on my phone and e-mailed my hotel contact that I would love to take the Labor Day spot.  Not this year, of course, but starting in 2013.  I figured there was a good chance it was already claimed, or the organizer was keeping the date for something else, or they wanted a larger group and would hold out.  A few days of back and forth (she hadn’t even heard the jazz festival was closing) and this morning she e-mailed that she’d discussed it with her sales team and they’d love to have me take that spot effective next year.  Woo!

So I’m super excited.  I can’t think of a single downside to moving to a holiday weekend – events like mine on holiday weekends tend to do very well since everyone is looking for things to do, the international flights cost half what they would in July, and I will at long last not be right on top of all the European dance events that are claiming all of my teachers.  There is a small long running event in New Hampshire that is traditionally on Labor Day weekend, but I don’t see much crossover there either in teachers or customers.  Moving to Labor Day would hijack my whole summer, for sure, BUT it would also make July less frantic so I can enjoy my birthday more, and when I travel it’s typically in September anyway (and travel is off the table for years as we know).  It’s funny that the first thing I thought of was trying for baby #2 next year, and how I would now have to push that back a month or two so as not to be too huge during the next camp – which would be good in that it would allow me to breastfeed a couple more months and my body to heal more from birth, but would also push me just that much closer to 41 which worries me.  But really it’s only about a six week difference in dates, if that.  And we all know baby #2 may be canceled at any time, whereas the event must go on if I’m to keep a roof over my head.

I feel I deserve a little self pat on the back for having seen this opportunity and nailed it before it got away.  It’s not set in stone yet but I think it’ll happen.  Once it does I’ll e-mail all my teachers to make sure they’d be available for that date next year, and also the event in DC where I sang and judged last year which has been switching dates in August for years and I’d hate for them to land on Labor Day, too.  That would kill me.  But I won’t announce the change of dates officially until my event this summer lest people decide, “oh great, let’s just wait until next year, then.”  Don’t want that happening!

The snap ‘n go Graco travel set I asked my mother to get me arrived today.  She had e-mailed asking if there was anything she could get me, and although I originally wasn’t planning on getting this item, it was recommended to me for traveling and could solve my flying/car rental woes once he and I hit the road this summer.  It was pretty expensive and I felt a little funny asking for it, but honestly she’s doing well financially these days, and I figured she kind of owed it to me.  So…thanks.