Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Viability scan - check!

Everything looked a-ok on the scan today. Measuring just right for 7w4d, and good strong heartbeat at 154 bpm. I did get a little nervous this morning - even had an awful moment wondering if it was twins (even the midwife commented my uterus is pooching out a lot more this time, which is true), but no - one healthy little guy or girl. Excellent.

Here is his/her first portrait:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Reflections on the show

I just watched First Comes Love. I thought I should blog about it while it's fresh in my mind. 

I enjoyed it, first and foremost. It didn't do some things I expected it to - get perspectives from lots of other thinker/ trier/SMC types (although she does have two sequences involving other SMCs); it didn't show very much about the pregnancy (it kind of flies by, and she gets pregnant on her first IVF, so no fertility struggles at all). So anyone looking for a detailed, fraught story of a woman's struggle to become a single mother - this isn't it. But it is her story, which is more about her relationship with her parents and reminiscing about her childhood and their childhoods than it is about struggles to become pregnant or raise the child on her own. So that did surprise me.

I was envious of her support network. She has one childless, single friend who is basically her partner through the whole process, who despite exhibiting some misgivings about being expected to be "on call" all the time, seems to get over this fairly easily and is, in fact, a de facto other parent. The biological father, a gay friend, is also surprisingly present for pretty much every milestone (it seems), also despite having sworn off any responsibility. When she returns from the hospital she has a crew of three friends camping out in her living room to help. If this weren't a documentary, I would laugh at how unrealistic this all is, that all these people say they're going to help and then actually do. So I envied her all this help - but again, it's her story. It's what really happened. 

In the end it seemed to me that the real struggle of this woman's life is not having a baby on her own - which seems like a snap - but reconciling herself to her father, in a very childish way, still seeking his approval for her choice of career and choices in general (when she first tells him she's pregnant, he says, "call the abortionist!"). That to me is the real story of this documentary, not being a single mother. 

I guess as one who had the opposite experience of most middle class Americans - the kind of people who grew up in intact families in the suburbs whose parents placed high expectations on them and frowned on any artistic leanings - I find it hard to relate. I grew up in a crazy, messy, chaotic family with an absent dad and a musician mother who actively discouraged any desire in me to go to college or do anything in a traditional way. I see again and again stories of free-spirited adult children trying to win the approval of their stubborn conservative Johnson-era parents, and I just don't get it. But then again because my parents were both so unpleasant, I was able to "individuate" in my thirties; most people never do. Seeking parental approval at this ripe old age just seems dumb to me. So I have a very different perspective from most people. 

To sum up, I wish it had been more SMC-related; I wish she had interviewed Mikki Morisette or Jane Mattes; I wish she had exhibited more anxiety about the pregnancy or process of IVF; I wish she had struggled more as a new parent. But this is her story, not mine or anyone else's. I'm so glad at least somebody had the wherewithal to document the woman's perspective of having a baby on your own. It's definitely a first.

One question that's been bugging me lately. If someone has a baby with a male friend who, whether intentionally or not, is a part of the child's life - are they really an SMC? Is it the same as someone who sets out from the beginning that there be no dad and no possibility of a dad? Curious to hear your thoughts on this.

SMC documentary tonight!

I don't have much to blog about today, but did want to make sure you all knew about the HBO documentary First Comes Love, a first hand account of a woman's journey to becoming an SMC, which airs tonight. I heard about it on NPR a few weeks ago and am thrilled to finally watch something from our perspective - usually this whole path is told from the perspective of the kids or the donors. On the west coast here it airs at 6 PM. Try to watch it if you can! Would love to "discuss" it with some of you.

As mentioned, not much else to report. Still pregnant. Was quite sick on Saturday, then not at all yesterday, and only a little bit today. Viability scan tomorrow. I am not nervous about it - maybe I'm getting cocky now, but I'd be really shocked if they didn't find anything, even though I know that happens to women every day. At this late date it would be really a tragedy to discover no heartbeat or a "missed" miscarriage, especially for how strong my symptoms continue to be (everything smells like feet). So, just holding the good thought that everything will be a-ok tomorrow.

Mostly on my mind these days is how my event looms one month away, how unprepared I feel, how much I'm dreading all the work I still have to do, and how little money I have. I know, I'm being profoundly negative about it and I need to get over that. But it's Monday, the days are numbered, and there's just so much detail-oriented stuff that has to happen now. I am just full of dread. Perhaps I have misplaced all my pregnancy anxiety on to my event. I don't know. 

Anyway, watch the movie tonight!

Friday, July 26, 2013

7 weeks

It's a gloomy, rainy day here in SoCal, but I'm kind of digging it. This time of year is almost always relentlessly hot and sunny, so I'm enjoying the change.

Feeling pretty good today. Have been consistently on the 2s as far as nausea - feeling a little icky, but basically functional - which is amazing considering how awful I felt at this point last time. Every good day is a gift at this point.

Don't let my optimism fool you, though - it's been a rough couple of days emotionally. It may be entirely hormone related, but I had sunk into a bit of a depression. I found myself having those awful downward-spiraling thoughts - that I'm not going to make it financially, that I'm being a shitty, checked-out parent, that I'm totally incapable of raising two kids on my own and this was all a huge mistake. Yes. I've had those thoughts. But, that's me on my worst days. The rest of the time I feel like I'm doing a great job keeping everything together, that things will turn around financially or may not even be as dire as they appear at the moment, that two kids isn't going to be as hard as I think. And so it goes.

I made my last, giant payment on my sewer line bill today, so I am technically free of all non-house or car debt. This sounds good but means nothing when you consider I just robbed from tomorrow to pay for today. But in the final analysis it made more sense to just take the money I have now to pay that off so I don't rack up any more interest; then when I have to use that line of credit to live on in a few months, it'll be there for me. I keep saying to myself I'll just live cheaply all year and maybe I'll make it - no traveling, no construction, no major purchases - but then it hits me like a ton of bricks: oh right, I'm going to GIVE BIRTH next year, which could run me another $7000 in hospital bills, or worse, AND I really, really need to build B his own room before the baby comes so his sleep won't be disturbed. And that should cost several thousand dollars as well. I can just skip that - but I think it would be just hellish having all three of us in one bedroom, with the baby screaming all night and waking up B and making him scream. Honestly it's worth it to me to go far into debt to make sure that scenario never happens. Those first weeks are going to be hard enough; I feel like I need to do everything I can to ease the transition for everyone. 

I was able to replace the guy who canceled out on me - at considerable cost, of course - he called and left a message yesterday; I haven't listened to it. I'm sure he's trying to make sure I'm not mad at him. But at this moment I just don't have it in me to say, "don't worry, it's cool" because it's SO not. But I don't want to lash out in anger, either. So I do nothing. And so it goes.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hoping for 2s

Last night I fell into a bit of a pit of despair - I just felt so awful, and I've got so much work ahead of me...it all seems completely insurmountable. At least last time I felt sick before my event it was only by a few days; much of the work had been done, so I just had to suffer through the actual event. This time I've got six weeks of hard work AND suffering through the event. Oy.

Well, the good news is I feel much better today, randomly, so suddenly everything looks a lot brighter (funny how that works, when you can enjoy your food and don't feel like hurling every second, suddenly you develop a positive attitude). I don't know if it's because I loaded up on the B6 and Unisom last night and this morning preventatively, or if I just felt better for no reason. But I'll take it. Mom Guru gave me her leftover Zofran so at least I have that at the ready, too (although as stated I'm not convinced it did anything for me last time).

Tonight I spent several hours ordering the trophies and medals for my dance contests. So, that's one giant, detail-oriented job down. So many more to go. It's really something, caring for an active toddler all day, keeping a household going (cooking, cleaning, putting things away), caring for your nauseated pregnant self, and then starting your long work day at 8 PM when you're totally exhausted and just want to lie down with a cool cloth on your head. It sucks. But I did choose this, all of it. And once the event is over everything changes. I just have to make it through until then.

Today I got the unpleasant news that because one of the couples that have been sort of my right hand for probably ten + years are now having marital problems, the husband has decided he's not going this year. I had a bad feeling that might happen. So now I have to find someone to provide a sound system for my beauty contest Labor Day and DJ all the contest music all weekend long. I texted him to see if he was coming, and several hours later he wrote me that he's not. I haven't answered because I'm pretty pissed; but this guy has done all of this for me for free for years, so I really have no business being mad that he doesn't want to do it anymore. That's the problem with my kind of business - you rely on favors and volunteers, and when people flake you just have to eat it, because you can't afford to pay people. It's rough. But I may have some ideas on how to fix it. If nothing else, I am certainly resourceful when needed.

So, that's where I'm at. Yesterday my nausea was at about an 8. Today was about a 2. Let's keep hoping for 2s.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Glucose test, check

So today I endured the glucose torture test. Half hour wait, then more paperwork, then glucose drink while nauseated, then being walked through all the crap I know already (no drinking, smoking, etc), making appointments, waiting an hour, blood test, home. Like everything this time, as unpleasant as it was, it was nowhere near as bad as last time.

So once again I can't get in to see the midwife I want because she just isn't available any of the times I need to go in - and you have to keep those appointments. So, so much for that.

The good news is my viability scan is next week, followed by a genetic counseling appointment in which I can arrange for the MaterniT21 test! So excited. So I can get a picture of the baby's health AND sex soon! I hope before my event. It would be great to be able to start telling people at that point.

I feel pretty lousy today, truth be told. All I want to do is lie down in a dark room and watch The Sopranos. But, duty calls. Or doodie calls. Bumpus makes sure to leave me a big stinker every morning. Uh boy!

Monday, July 22, 2013


Today I went to get registered at Kaiser. When I got to the receptionist, she told me the department had just shut down for a two hour lunch break. So I had to leave, do my grocery shopping, and come back later. Even then it took over a half hour to be seen. I entertained B by tickling his feet. 

It was the same odd, stiff younger nurse that processed me as last time. Like last time, she asked if I planned to continue the pregnancy or not. Shudder. Then they ran a pregnancy test while I waited in the waiting room. It took so long I found myself wondering what I would do if she came out and said, "your test does not indicate pregnancy at this time." Can you imagine??? But thankfully that didn't happen!

I filled out all the creepy paperwork asking if anyone had hit me or forced me to have sex recently or if I had felt suicidal in the last month, they scheduled me for the nasty-ass glucose drink test tomorrow, and that was it. I'm registered. This pregnancy is now official.

When I sang B his "day recap" song I told him we went to the hospital to put in our order for a baby brother or sister, who we can go pick up in eight months. Ah, if only it were that simple! Some day, huh? If that technology existed I'd go for it in a heartbeat over pregnancy and labor. Heck yeah.

Started the day pretty ill but rallied enough by the afternoon that I had a giant cooking spree - made curry and rice for B's dinner, ratatouille and goat cheese polenta for my dinner, and chili for lunches. This way I shouldn't have to face cooking for a while. Who knows if I will want to eat any of this - but hell, if I don't want to I can always freeze it until I do. This sickness can only last six more weeks, right? 

I emailed my midwife about her private acupuncture practice; she told me I can't bring B so I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it. I will get some Zofran as soon as I can - but like I said, it didn't do much for me last time; so far the Unisom + B6 seems to work as well/poorly as the Zofran ever did. 

Not sure when the big day - the viability ultrasound - will be. I hope it'll be next week or early the week after. Last time it was just after 8 weeks. But like giving myself permission to be a checked-out mother yesterday, I am also giving myself permission to not get all excited or wrapped up in this pregnancy until a) we see the heartbeat and b) my event is over, when I can finally relax and think about fun things like maternity clothes and nursery themes and names. The first trimester is all about survival usually anyway - mine, and the baby's. Six more weeks and I can start celebrating in earnest.

Giving myself permission to fail

I was a shitty mother yesterday. I'm not proud of it, but I give myself permission to have days like that occasionally right now. These are extraordinary circumstances. My event looms less than six weeks away, which is weighing heavily on me. And I am pregnant and sick. So, I don't hold him as much (his body resting on my stomach does not feel good right now), or get on the floor and play with him as much, or have a light and happy voice. So I just go through the motions - food, diapers, naps. Honestly, it's the best I can do. But I knew this day would come - that I'd be sick in the mornings (or all the time); that our lives would fold in a little because I just don't feel well. And here we are. So already little sis or bro is taking my attention and time away from B. And so it begins.

But I give myself permission. Because just like understanding that I cannot run this household and stay out of debt and save for the future all at once, I also can't be nauseated all day and run this dance event coming up and keep up with all the daily chores and cooking and care for B AND go out of my way to make up fun things for us to do every day. I just can't do it right now.

Being as I've been nauseated every day for a week now, I think we can now say I'm just "in it". Boy, had I only known it was going to work in June, I would have waited until September...! But then again I'd have a brand new baby at this time next year while preparing for next year's event, which would be really hard. So we suffer now to avoid suffering later. It would be great to not suffer at all, though, wouldn't it?

The last few nights I have woken up drenched - and I mean drenched - with sweat, to the point that I'm freezing cold. It's like having a mini yellow fever episode in the middle of the night. I don't know if this is hormonal - does it mean I don't need that extra progesterone? Or if it's anxiety related - I do have spells like this around event time even when not pregnant. 

About the event - once I added all the new people into my database, I was mortified to discover that I do not, in fact, have "a lot more people". I actually have the same amount - 424 - that I had last year. Which would explain why there's no big financial boom for me. But I was seriously taken aback by this. The whole point of moving the dates was to get more people, not stick with the status quo. It pisses me off. I greatly expanded the budget this year in anticipation of getting some 100 or so more people. But, one way to explain it is this would have been an "off" year - being right after my big 15 year anniversary, I would normally see a big drop this year. So I guess the fact that I have the same amount means my strategy worked -kinda. Still, there's no getting around just how much less money I have, which is all that really matters. I'd like to be optimistic but I have to say I think this one time I just may find myself kind of in trouble. And this is causing me untold anxiety, which obviously is coming out at night. 

So, today I go over to Kaiser. I also have to go grocery shopping and cook. All of these things sound totally impossible. Lying in bed while B watches HBO Family from the playpen? That, I can do. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Never again

I guess you can tell by the title of this post how my trip went. Oh my God, what a mistake. Have you ever spent several days wanting to kick yourself for some dumb idea you had months ago that you're now paying for? Yup. Go to Florida for your birthday, I said. It'll be fun, I said. You can't possibly be pregnant and nauseated, I said.

Well, the good parts first. Loved seeing my sister. She got tons of good Bumpus time in, and was an enormous help to me in taking care of him (is this what it's like having an involved spouse? 'Cause it's pretty awesome). Good to see my cousin, too, even though one of our visits I couldn't hear a word above the racket of his clamoring children. And with the exception of major flight delays on the way home, everything went like clockwork - got to Florida no problem, got the rental car, installed the car seat, got our room, etc etc. They even had a nice breakfast bar where my sister could pop down and grab me random items in an attempt at waylaying my nausea. And I did get one really nice day playing in the waves in the wonderful bathtub-like water. Plus my cousin made a little party for my birthday which was awfully sweet. But....

I simply cannot do airline travel with B, not for a while. I don't know why I thought I could. It is just way, way too hard. Mainly the hauling of all the crap. There's just too much crap. I worried incessantly about the effects of lugging a 50 lb suitcase, a 25 lb toddler, and very heavy and awkward backpacks/purses/strollers on the pregnancy...and of course no matter how many diapers or how much food I brought for both of the flights, it was never anywhere near enough. B really did ok - no major meltdowns or anything; probably because I let him crawl on the floor and jump up on the seat as many times as he wanted, while tearing apart the Sky Mall catalogues. But it sure was exhausting for me. Forget about reading, drinking, eating, sitting comfortably, or doing anything at all but guiding him down to the floor and back up on to the seat, over and over and over again. That's all we did on four three-hour flights. 

The worst, though, was the nausea, which by yesterday had ramped up to about a nine, which in my book means: inability to eat anything, can't make conversation, read, or do anything but sit catatonic and rock back and forth. And yet I had to pack up, check out, hit up the grocery store for food for the flight home for B since I was out, kill a few hours in the oppressive heat on the boardwalk, return the rental car, find a gas station to gas up the car before returning it, get to the airport, kill four hours at the airport because it's too early, fly to Dallas, kill four more hours because the connecting flight was delayed until 1 AM, then find my way home at 3 AM, battered, starving, exhausted, and of course, horribly nauseated. It was the closest thing to torture I have experienced. Oh yeah, and then haul my 50 lb suitcase up three flights of stairs to my house. To an empty refrigerator. Good times.

All of this would have been a lot easier had I not been nauseated the whole time, of course. But it still would have been frigging hard. The only conclusion I can take from this experience is that I simply cannot travel with a small child (or children). It doesn't mean I can't ever travel again. It just means all major travel is out for several years. Which makes me profoundly sad, when I think about my aging relatives and all the lonely holidays I have ahead of me.

But then I think about the long stretches in my 20s and 30s when I didn't see my cousins, my half-sister and her family, for years on end, and that seemed ok at the time. Why this sudden need now for family time? Well, because of B, naturally.  But when I think about it, a) B won't remember anything before about six or seven anyway, and b) most people become homebodies when their kids are this age, because travel just becomes too frigging hard. Especially with two. Which I think is a foregone conclusion considering how sick I've been. Which, I suppose, is a good thing.

I attempted the Unisom + B6 morning sickness remedy, and there were times I felt like it helped, but then other times, like yesterday, when it did nothing at all. And considering how random morning sickness is - sometimes it bowls you over, sometimes it's manageable - it's almost impossible to pinpoint one thing that actually "helps". Will I keep trying it? Maybe, I don't know. Right now I'm just excited to be home and safe and still pregnant (six weeks!) and have an avalanche of work emails to contend with - almost all refund requests :-/

The preschool director called to tell me she'd gotten my deposit check but is recommending I not start B in the spring because all of the other children will be up to a year older than him at that time and he could end up really lost. She said I should wait and see how the demographic looks for their summer camp - and if not then, then I could probably start him next fall, when other kids his age will be joining. I have to say I'm really bummed out by this. Once again, it's just me being rigid and not wanting to let go of an idea once I get it in my head...but I was really looking forward to having B in some kind of "school" by the time the new baby's here (although I definitely worried there'd be too many changes all at once if that were the case). I can also just send him somewhere else...or not send him anywhere and save the money, which is a major concern right now. So, I think it'll all work out. I am disappointed, though. 

I suppose tomorrow I'll toddle on over to Kaiser and get "us" all registered as a new pregnancy. Which means filling out a bunch of paperwork which asks questions like "have you thought about hurting yourself in the last ninety days?" I should NOT include my Florida trip in my answer, right???

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The seventh circle of hell

...is air travel with a toddler. Especially across country. Especially when you're nauseated, which I of course was out of the blue yesterday. Oh, it was just awful. And this is even with everything going like clockwork and the baby never once screaming or having any kind of meltdown. The whole way I had this mantra in my head - "this was a huge mistake...this was a huge mistake...this was a huge mistake..."

So, if everything went well, what was so bad about it? Well, number one was being sick. Had I just felt well it wouldn't have been so bad. For me nausea always spirals into high anxiety and panic attacks and weird OCD issues, so being tortured with that while managing a toddler was not fun. I had also underestimated the toll hauling a giant 50 lb suitcase, a heavy, awkward stroller, a heavy carry on, a purse, and a 25 lb toddler strapped on my ill stomach, would take on me. It was just way, way too much. From car to shuttle bus to check in to gate, then on the other end, baggage claim to shuttle bus to second shuttle bus to car rental place (thank God I at least had my sister helping at the other end). Thankfully the car rental place did have car seats; unfortunately they would not install it, so my poor sister had to wrestle with the LATCH system while B happily played with all the nobs on the dashboard. Then we got lost on the way to the hotel. We were both starving and exhausted and I of course felt like puking every minute. Oh, good times.

I really screwed up as far as food for the flight, too. B ate all of the food I brought for him within ten minutes of the first flight. I brought for myself blueberries, edamame, and a felafel sandwich...which I then tried to feed to B, which was an absolute mess, since I had to chew the edamame and blueberries first because of the choking hazard. He didn't sleep at all, nor was he interested in sitting still or playing with anything for more than a few seconds. I let him tear apart magazines, play with my Kindle, play with the toys I brought, and finally just resorted to feeding him tiny handfuls of the dry, crumbly felafel very, very slowly, because it was the only thing that would keep him occupied for a decent length of time. The minutes flew like hours. And I get to do this all again in a couple of days - and heading back west, which adds an hour onto the flight. Oh joy.

So, what do we do about this? I love my family and miss them terribly. I want to see them more often. But I just can't do this. It's way, way too hard, and the arrival of another one will make it completely impossible. For years, until they are both old enough to be ok flying (and I can afford three flights-!). Again it was my choice to move 3000 miles from my closest family member. And I would rather stick flaming bamboo spears under my fingernails than move back east. So what's the answer? Skype, maybe? 

Oh, and today's my 41st birthday. Funny how unimportant this becomes when wrangling a toddler and a new pregnancy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

The night before

I've gotten myself all worked up into a tizzy over this trip to Florida. I'm just so afraid of it. What am I afraid of? Travel delays/issues. B being miserable. Forgetting essential things, like my progesterone. Miscarrying. Something happening to the house while gone. A work emergency I can't handle from my phone. You know, the usual travel worries, times ten for not only having an active toddler with me but being at a delicate stage of pregnancy. It's a lot.

But I'm trying to take the "it'll be an adventure!" attitude about it. It will be great to see family (and with my sister in the hotel room there will be someone to help for once); I won't have to be alone and sad on my birthday; I can get in some good beach time. 

After going back and forth for weeks I have decided to do the following:

Bring my light weight umbrella stroller, mostly for the airport but also as a containing device, place to feed him, etc. With the heat and my "condition" I doubt I'm going to want to carry him much. But I will use the carrier getting on the airplane. Will also use a back pack so we can be hands-free.

I decided to rent a car seat at the car rental place. This could go so horribly wrong. But just the idea of lugging a huge, heavy suitcase, a toddler, a carry on bag, an awkward stroller AND large, bulky car seat...? I don't think I could physically do it, not with only two hands. The car seat is one thing I can rent there, so that's what I'm going to do. Again, could be a total disaster. But I don't see another alternative.

Went and bought snacks at Trader Joe's today. You know what? I might start shopping there regularly from now on. Judging by some of the prices of things I buy a lot, it seems like I could save some money. My grocery bills have been bumming me out lately. 

Felt a little nauseated yesterday and quite a bit today, but I would still put it only at about a 3. The fact that I am functioning and able to eat tells me it's not so bad. Please tell me this is as bad as it'll get. At least through my trip. Well, I'm bringing my Unisom and B6 in case.

For those of you into symptoms, here's what I've been feeling - very different from last time:

Slight nausea
Light headedness - feel like I'm swimming in a fog a lot of the time, and have a head rush every time I stand up
Achy, twingy feelings in abdomen
Nothing in the boob department at all. They are the same sad, deflated little pancakes they've been since weaning.

So, today I'll do one last trip to the park to let B run it out, then finish packing and get any essential work projects finished. I hope on this trip that: B does ok with sleeping/napping/eating, and isn't too traumatized; that I am not too sick; that I'm still pregnant at the end of it; that I'm not too traumatized by my cousin's crappy marriage. Oh, and that nobody molests my house while I'm gone. That's not too much to ask...right?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mama said

Mama said there'd be days like yesterday. Oy! The word of the day was "traffic". An oil tanker overturned on a freeway connector near my area, catching fire and spilling oil into the LA river. Which meant that ALL freeways were closed...which meant all side streets were packed, all day and night, with angry motorists inching along. Among them was me.

Our morning trip to the Silverlake reservoir, which should take about two hours in total, took four. It took almost two hours to get to my bandleader's birthday party, a trip that normally takes about fifteen minutes. Then, entirely unrelated, coming home from DJing last night in Orange County, all the freeways I took were also closed or down to one lane for road work, making a half hour trip almost two hours (and of course I had a sitter on the clock at home). So basically I spent almost my entire day sitting in traffic, half of which with a screaming baby. I kept throwing things behind me into his car seat to play with - here, play with this empty Krispy Kreme bag/water bottle/piece of junk mail/pair of sunglasses etc etc. It's amazing that actually works. Thank God he's easily amused-!

I get home finally at nearly two AM, bleary eyed and exhausted, and the sitter has locked the screen door, so I can't get into the house. Looking through the window, she's nowhere to be found. I knock and knock, and nothing. I text her that I can't open the door - nothing. I start to panic a little, wondering if she left...? And if so, where's the baby? Finally I ring the doorbell. Which brings her out of the back room, and wakes up the baby, who is now screaming hysterically. Ugh. I guess he had woken up so she was back there giving him a sippy cup of milk. She said she'd locked the screen door because she heard fireworks in the neighborhood and got scared. So, I was left with a wide awake baby who wouldn't drop his sippy cup...and of course today woke up to an exceptionally cranky baby who'd peed the bed and had milk stains all over him. See, this is why we don't take a bottle to bed. But sometimes you're just too tired to care. Last night was one of those times.

So, yesterday pretty much sucked. But you know, it could have been worse. First, still pregnant, and still feeling good. Second, kind of enjoyed some of the driving. Comedian Louis CK does a bit about when you're a parent, the only vacation you get is those few seconds between strapping your kids into their car seats and then walking around the car to your seat. For me, driving is my "break". I know he's safe, we're only out when he's neither hungry nor with a dirty diaper. So it's the one time I don't have to keep an eye on him nor do any parenting at all, other than toss him things to play with or ask how he's doing from time to time. It's awesome. So during the times he was 't screaming, the sitting in traffic wasn't so bad.

Also he didn't object to being kept in his stroller the entire time at the party, thank God. I just couldn't cope with chasing him around at yet another outdoor party full of hazards. So he ate a tortilla contentedly and charmed everyone while I *gasp* actually got to eat something and have a few snippets of conversation. It was a miracle.

Today I'm having a much needed girl date for lunch and a movie while B goes to the baby kennel. I've been looking forward to this for weeks. Sometimes it's the little things, you know?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

5 weeks

Five weeks tomorrow. This is the point at which I had my first loss. Somehow you always think if you can just make it past that point, everything will be ok, which is so not true. But I know I feel like I can breathe a sigh of relief. I made it past those first two weeks of pregnancy where everything is happening so fast and is so fragile. The baby is going to start to look like a baby now. We've moved into fetus territory.

Yesterday I confided in a friend from one of my meet up groups that "I'm having another baby." I never, ever pictured those words coming out of my mouth, ever. Certainly not when I was in the worst of my despair over having any babies at all; and certainly not picturing it like this: a single woman, with one adorable little red headed boy, and me looking like this, and my house looking like this, and our lives being like this. Never would have pictured it. And yet here we are - this is our life. And the life of just mom and Bobby has changed, too. There's going to be another one. Another one!!!

You just never know how something is going to feel until you're right in the middle of it. I wondered what me as a mother would be like - and I'm delighted to report I like me as a mother; I like that I can still have an edge and a sense of humor and still be "me". I like that I don't feel overwhelmed (yet!), that I have no regrets. These are all things I worried about a lot. Not liking myself as a mother. Not recognizing myself. Not liking what I'd "become". And all of these things may yet happen. Who knows what two kids will be like? Who knows what two older, more independent kids will be like? I'll only know when I get there. But I think it will at least be similar to this.

Is this good feeling a result of being older and more self-realized? Is it a result of being single? I think both are at least a little true. I think living with another adult and all the compromise that involves must be a lot more life changing than having a baby; I know that sounds dumb, but hear me out. When people get married, they usually: move into a new, shared space; accept new family members and all that entails; adjust their sleeping/eating/private time; change some friend relationships; change their single behavior. It seems a lot more invasive to me. Not that it's bad - you do those things willingly of course - but with a kid, you're still the one in control. You give up a lot but you don't have another adult requiring it. Does that make any sense? 

So once again I just feel very suited to being a single parent. It's not for everyone, to be sure, and there are certain things you and your children will miss out on. But considering how many people end up single who didn't start out that way, I'd much rather have gone this route.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Budgeting fail

So...how did my big price increase go? Great...and not so great. I'm still at a loss as to whether I need to worry or if it's all ok once adjusted. This time of year the bills and deposits come so fast and loose it's pretty much impossible to keep track. Things look a lot better when I realize this time last year I had an $8000 credit card bill and my bill this year is only $800...until I remember it will be $8000 next month when I have to order all the printable t shirts. So just putting off the expenses doesn't help. It all still has to be paid.

In the end, I needed to have $40,000 in the bank. I have $29,000. Not good, right? I know. Ironically I actually made more money yesterday than I did last year - so more people signed up, which is great. BUT I had no money in the bank to begin with, whereas last year I had $17,000 to start. So, yeah. That only means one thing. That I WAY over spent this year so far, and kind of screwed myself.

What did I spend that extra $11,000 on, exactly? Well, an extra month of living, for one, since the event dates were pushed back. Add to that child care, doubled grocery bills, diapers, you name it. That can make an $11,000 a year difference. Absolutely. And somehow I just didn't think it would make that much of a difference. But the proof is in the bank account. I'm kind of broke.

I'm not panicking because, again, I'm having a successful year with the event, which means more people signing up earlier and more people signing up later, which means more people to buy t shirts and jackets and CDs and everything else I sell. It's all good. So the good news is the event is on track for a successful future. The bad news is I may have to live really close to the bone until next summer. And so it goes, huh?

So what do I do? Hope that once the dust settles in two months that it'll all even out and I'll have the money I need. And if it doesn't...well...I have my line of credit to live off of for a few months. And next year will be better. I'll have medical bills, yes, but won't have that insane sewer bill hanging over me. And I won't have an extra month of expenses to tackle to make it. So many variables...and no way to predict! I have a bit of a heavy heart at the moment, but am trying to cling to the fact that everything always works out. 

Kind of like pregnancy fears, huh? Still feeling zero symptoms. I swear, if this is how pregnancy feels for some women - YOU ARE SO FRIGGING LUCKY. It's impossible for me to not associate early pregnancy with soul-crushing all the time nausea; every day I wake up and wonder if this is the day I'll be too sick to even get out of bed - and every day I get up and feel just great. And every day I worry that this can only mean the pregnancy is about to end. Nobody gets lucky enough to get pregnant on the first try, at my age, AND have it work out, AND not be glued to her bathroom floor with sickness for months??? Nobody gets that!!! The universe is supposed to constantly kick my ass, right? Because I never get the good things, I always get the bad things? Isn't this the World Order I discovered when I was seven? That everything, pretty much, sucks? 

Took my final Dollar Store test today. Positive test line practically leapt off the paper and slapped me in the face, urine droplets splashing to the floor. "Shut up and stop worrying, woman. You're still pregnant. Now go stuff your feelings with peanut butter and watch something stupid on Bravo. It's all going to work out." 

It seemed to say.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My $25,000 day

So, I need to make $25,000 in the next twelve hours. Think I can pull it off?

Today is the last day of my early bird rate for my event, which historically means about half my attendees will sign up today. Luckily thanks to a website that has good information and a registration page that actually works and doesn't crash every five minutes, it's fairly low-maintenance for me; I just need to stay on top of my email to make sure people aren't having any problems registering, answer questions quickly, and of course obsessively check my PayPal balance. 

According to last year, I need to end today with $40,000. I have $15,000 now. I have more people signed up, but less money, which means that I am not doing a good job of budgeting. Which is scary - because it would be terrible to have a really successful event with tons of people attending but come out of it broke. Still, one of two things could happen: I could make that much money by the end of the day (very doable), or I could fall a bit short but make it up in the next six weeks. I've been doing this event since 1998 and I've always made it. Some years are better than others, but I've never been plunged into irredeemable debt or had to borrow from relatives to make ends meet. 

Of course, it's going to be an expensive year - hopefully, a baby, with all those medical costs, and the expense of putting my second bedroom wall back. Plus B starting preschool, and who knows what's happening with his health care costs (no word on if we've been approved for the low-cost program or not...which worries me). But I long ago accepted the fact that I cannot be a single woman with a career in the arts and do ALL of the following: run a household, have children, be debt-free, save for college, and save for retirement. I can do some, but not all. So far I've managed all but the saving part. I've given myself permission to not worry about saving money for the time being while I focus on conceiving and giving birth to two babies. Right now it's just about keeping our basic needs met. 

Yesterday I began the setup of our little backyard play area. There are some kinks to iron out, for sure, but I think it's going to be a great thing for those hot afternoons when I just can't deal with carting us to the park and walking around in the hot sun. I'll take more pictures when the sand box is set up. Right now I can't deal with hauling the two 50lb bags of play sand around to the back. It was rough enough getting them up two flights of stairs.

In pregnancy news, nothing to report - still feeling good and very not pregnant other than a fullness and bloating and hungrier than usual. Again, could mean nothing, or could mean this one isn't going to make it. It was at this point two years ago that I had the first signs of my chemical pregnancy - that sudden twinge and then bleeding during the movie, followed by two days of nothing, followed by the end. Keeping my fingers crossed to make it past Friday, the five week mark. Then I can feel like I can breathe a little. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


In an effort to get a summer-friendly setup going around here, I've decided to use the small portion of my back yard that isn't the pool and make a little kid area. It will come in handy on those hot days when I can't be buggered to take the kid out somewhere and the playroom is too infernally hot to play in (an unexpected reality of building into the attic - it's unbearably hot in the summer). So I went out and bought a kiddie pool, some toys, an umbrella, and a flat storage bin for a sandbox (with lid to keep out the feral cats). Haven't bought the sand yet because we had to make six stops to get all these things, with B screaming and fighting being put in the carseat pretty much the whole morning, so I was frigging over it. My hope is on hot afternoons he can run and play in this little area while I sit and relax. That's my hope.

Had quite a shock yesterday - woke up and looked out the kitchen window as I always do to see what the chickens (now chicken) are (is) up to. Discovered the chicken lying on its side along the bottom of the coop, with its head pulled off. Yikes. What a way to go, huh? I can only think a raccoon came along and reached through the fence and nailed the poor thing. So, nine years of having chickens is now over. I keep looking out the kitchen window out of habit, only to see an empty coop. No, I won't be getting replacements, not yet. I'll wait until the kid(s) are big enough to appreciate it. I have to say not hauling 25 lb bags of feed up three flights of stairs is very appealing to me right now. I just bought one on Friday. Of course.

In pregnancy news, everything appears to be going ok. Took the penultimate Dollar Store test today and got a good strong line. Was pretty nauseated yesterday morning but nothing today. And even yesterday was no biggie. I keep waiting for it to hit me like a ton of bricks. But my lack of nausea can only mean three things - a) the pregnancy won't make it, b) the nausea hasn't hit yet, or c) miraculously, it won't be so bad this time. Let's hope for C!

Been using my little thirds of progesterone every night. I hope nothing interferes with getting my new prescription tomorrow. Last night I had a singing gig and had a long conversation with the venue owner who has three beautiful teenagers - she asked me if I wanted any more (I said, "maybe"), and then told me her tale: three IVFs for baby #2, the third her sister paid for, and that they are still paying off (remember, her kids are teenagers!), two losses at nine weeks (ugh!), and then after baby #2, conceived baby #3 with no trouble at all. What a story! Just goes to show you never know from the outside what people had to go through to build their families. I so often wonder if the older childless couples I know just never wanted kids, or went through hell trying and never succeeded and just decided their public story would be they never wanted kids. It definitely sounds a lot nicer than the alternative. 

It's been a rough couple of days with B - another very unpleasant party experience, and forced him with great anger into his carseat yesterday when I had just HAD IT with his refusing to sit down. It sucked! It's not a good time for us. I feel helpless to keep him happy and entertained, and am losing patience. I am so dreading my trip to Florida next week. With the way he kicks and flails about and screams when he's unhappy now...ugh. Spent the day with people giving me dirty looks in long checkout lines. And always the thought tortures me...how the hell am I going to manage TWO of these??? Have I lost my mind???

I miss my friends, I miss dancing, I miss eating out, I miss doing adult things. Ok, just had to get that out there. Took B to the Baby Kennel yesterday to get my hair done; he screamed like a banshee when I left him, but BOY was it nice to have a break, and when I went to pick him up I saw him playing happily with the other children...until he saw me and then he burst into tears and started acting traumatized. But I knew he had a good time without me - they said he did a little dancing and some finger painting and was happy and laughing. It made me feel great that he's ok without me - gives me hope for the upcoming preschool days!

Friday, July 5, 2013

5th of July

I hate the 4th of July. There, I said it. It's not because I don't love my country and don't love liberty. It's because I have a terrible phobia of explosive, sudden noises, and have all my life, so this holiday has always been a torment to me. Back when I was in NY, I remember just about every year lying on my loft bed and crying, watching the fireworks from my window, because I was so incredibly bored and lonely. All of my nice friends would be gone for the summer and I'd have no choice but to wander the streets of the Village all night, getting into trouble with my gutter punk friends. But that's another story.

Anyway, I had been invited to a party on a friend's boat, the friend who wants to make me a dance floor. I accepted, but with great trepidation - how am I going to keep B happy on a cramped boat which is essentially a Toddler Death Trap? So once again, it just totally, totally sucked for me. All of my friends sat out on the deck and enjoyed the afternoon with great heaping plates of food and drinks while I sat alone inside, holding B's back while he climbed up the same treacherous stairs over and over, and I had to keep pulling him away anytime anyone needed to use them, with of course resultant kicking and screaming. Finally I was just utterly exhausted and fed up so I made an early exit after just a couple of hours - and drove home at 5 PM with nothing to do but feed B dinner and put him to bed, and then sit around bored while my neighborhood erupted in illegal fireworks. Good times.

As I had feared, the days of being able to take B to any kind of adult gathering are officially over. I can see now why people with kids just fold into themselves and never go anywhere or do anything - it's because unless you're home or at someone else's house who has kids, the world is full of hazards. I visited a friend with a big yard yesterday, in the hopes that I could let him run around while we ate lunch. Nope. Her yard was dotted with dog shit (which B would eat in a second) and a particularly scary cement stairway down to a basement door which he of course found fascinating. So once again I spent the entire time herding him away from these things while my friend sat and ate with her sleeping baby, and I eventually left starving and exhausted. It really makes me wonder why I even bother sometimes. 

Then today - ugh, today. My progesterone suppositories run out tonight. I thought I could just pop up to the compounding pharmacy and refill my prescription, no problem. Guess what? Closed. And closed tomorrow and Sunday, too. And they didn't even have the courtesy to say they were closed on their machine, so I drove a half hour for nothing with a screaming toddler. So I frantically tried to find another compounding pharmacy that was open - and of course they all told me I need my doctor to call it in. So I call the clinic - guess what? Closed until Monday, with no way to get a hold of anyone. So I am screwed, basically. You know what happened last time I didn't use progesterone for a couple of days? I miscarried, that's what.

So to say I'm upset is an understatement. What the fuck kind of pharmacy is closed for four days??? Why didn't I just run up there Wednesday? What am I going to do? Well, I guess the best thing to do is take my remaining suppository and divide it into threes so I at least don't go cold turkey off of it. And hey, I may not even need it at all, and how would this be any different than just plain old forgetting to use it, which I've done almost every night for two weeks? I also have zero evidence that that first chemical pregnancy had anything to do with stopping progesterone for three days. All I know is I stopped it for three days, got my bfp, went back on it for two days, then lost it. You do the math.

So I'm pretty beside myself. I just hope this is one of those worries that amounts to nothing - as opposed to The Thing that causes my tiny baby to die. All because of a fucking holiday. Damn it!!!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No whammies no whammies no whammies

Still pregnant. I think. Have not tested today; don't know if I will. After all, if the lines do get lighter and lighter and I start bleeding, then we know, don't we? There is no pill, injection, herb or emergency room visit on earth that will make a tiny little zygote viable if it's not. There's a certain freedom in that. And a certain sadness, too. 

Period is technically due today or maybe tomorrow. No sign of it. But the funny thing is how I feel! Totally the opposite of with Mr. B. Not nauseated. In fact, I feel fantastic. I want to eat everything - in fact, everything good for me; I have zero interest in sweets. I am not tired; in fact, I seem to have an Herculean energy. Apparently extreme hunger is a pregnancy sign - the other day I was ravenous just an hour or less after each meal. So, that's good, right? I'd take endless hunger over endless nausea any day, believe you me. 

I am also already protein loading in an effort to get a jump on any possible pre-eclampsia developing. This will no doubt take an edge off any gestational diabetes as well. Luckily there's lots of protein in many of my favorite foods - Greek yogurt, quinoa, lentils, beans, edamame, cottage cheese. Maybe they'll even help me not get sick. Maybe.

Anyway, lots of maybes right now, as you know. Trying to be relaxed and zen. It'll either work out or it won't. Doing a little math it looks like I shouldn't even check in to Kaiser until I get back from my trip in late July; after the experience of going in to fill out all the paperwork and set all my appointments, only to miscarry days later and have to explain to the multiple nurses who called to find out why I wasn't keeping my appointments that I had lost the baby, I promised myself to always wait at least six weeks. That's a long way away from now. 

But hey, I was looking at my list of hurdles last night, and Hurdle #1 is over - Getting Pregnant. Next is surviving the 5 week mark, which is a week from Friday. No whammies no whammies no whammies...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"P" FN

I am considering myself "Pregnant For Now". Or maybe "A Little Pregnant" is a good way to put it. Why? Well, because we know how these things go - I could have had a positive yesterday and negatives from now on. I haven't even missed my period yet! So now...we wait.

You couldn't really tell from the picture but it was in fact a really strong line - undeniable. And you also may have noticed it was not a Dollar Store test. After testing again yesterday morning at 10 dpo and still stark negative, I decided to google "FRER vs Dollar Store". You ever notice if you change the wording of your google search that you get completely different results? Google Dollar Store pregnancy test and you get lots of glowing reviews; google what I did and you get lots of discussion about how the DS tests kind of suck now and actually have sensitivity to only about 50 ml as opposed to 25 ml for FRER. So I said the hell with it and went out to spend the $25 on three FRERs. Told myself I wouldn't test until this morning. Of course marched right into the bathroom and took it as soon as I got home. Positive!

What went on in my mind at that moment? It was more of a "well, of course!" moment than an "oh my God, I can't believe it!" moment. I just had to be! I'm just not the psychosomatic type. And I don't walk around nauseated for no good reason, either. But don't get me wrong - I'm fucking thrilled!!!

A little worried because I had no nausea at all yesterday - zip - and actually was voraciously hungry. So it could all go away. It could. But that's the nature of the beast - I remember last time sometimes being able to go to dinner parties and act totally normal, and other times I was glued to my bath mat for days on end wanting to die. The nausea I felt the last few days was totally manageable - I'd give it a 2 or a 3. Not the 9 or 10 I felt at this time last time. But again, all of this means nothing. In a week I could be in the hospital with a Zofran IV. Or I could be not pregnant and plotting my next move.

I spent much of the evening wanting to talk to someone...but so few people know this time, I could only send a few texts and put up my blog and enjoy your responses (thanks!). It all has to be so secretive. I hate that. But it's the way it is. Do I want to tell everyone that I lost the baby or terminated due to a fatal chromosomal condition? No. So for now I keep my mouth shut. 

I so hope this little guy or gal makes it. I told B he was going to be a big brother. I hope he can be gentle and loving. What I've just done will dramatically change the course of his life, and our family life, and the genetic continuance of our ancestors. Kind of cool, when you think about it!

I other news, this happened yesterday: