Tuesday, August 27, 2013

12 weeks - almost

I had my twelve week appointment today. Sometimes this is the appointment where women get terrible news. But not for those of us obsessed with our home dopplers. No sir. I listen to Radio Ga Ga every night, so I knew unless something horrible happened overnight that there would be a nice strong heartbeat today, and there was. And she did an ultrasound as well, and for the first time I really saw the baby - not just a little nubbin like last time; this time a real little person with fingers and toes who yawned and put its hands on its head (one of Bumpus' favorite gestures). I'm a bit of an old hand at this point but boy, it was pretty incredible. To think how quickly the little guy or girl has grown - in such a short amount of time, while I've been emptying the dishwasher and watching Real Housewives and filing orders. This person has been forming a whole body. Makes my current job pale in comparison, really!

I was able to make an October appointment with the more desirable midwife which makes me feel a bit better - if things start to get complicated I would rather be with her. This current one is nice enough and I do appreciate her low key bedside manner, but it bothers me that I often know more about some things than she does; you never want to feel like you know more than your doctor! I feel like if I start having complications she may not be very helpful. 

A friend is currently at her due date and posts every day on FB about wanting the baby to come - this is so alien to me, since I never had that "ok, 40 weeks has come and gone - now what?" experience. I was SO not ready to give birth at 39 weeks, and the whole thing was so sad, depressing, and scary (being induced early due to pre-eclampsia). I remember being radio silent on FB about it and everyone texting asking if I was ok, because I just couldn't bear to be public about what I was going through. More superstitious types would think for how much misery I was in when B was born that that would have rubbed off on him somehow, but no - he's one of the most easy going, joyful people I know. Just goes to show these kids have personalities that are far stronger than anything we can put on them! 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mama bear

My mama bear has been coming out a lot lately. I kind of like it, in that it erases any early fears I used to have that I just don't have any maternal instincts. But I kind of don't like it in that in those moments, I remind myself of my mother.

Let me set the scene for you. It's the early eighties, New York City. It is filthy, lawless, violent, and basically an outdoor insane asylum, since all the state run mental institutions had recently opened their doors and emptied their contents onto the city streets. I am a small blonde white girl. It's not good. Pretty much every time I leave the apartment I am accosted by people who hate me because I'm white, female, or just exist at all. I am pinched, chased, spat at, have bottles thrown at my head, entire bags of white flour dumped on me, and the filthiest things whispered in my ear on buses and subways. I am ten. When my mother observes any of this, she screams and yells and throws a fit towards the perpetrator(s), which you would think would make me feel proud and protected. But somehow all this ever did was make me feel even worse. I remember one incident where we were on our way to have head shots done for me and some crazy homeless guy almost pinched the skin off my arm. My mother screamed and yelled at him and everyone stared. Then we had to go do the shoot, in which I had to be "bubbly" and "outgoing", neither of which I was on even my best days, and certainly not on a day like that. I remember her being disappointed in me that I didn't "perform" better during the shoot. I have the contact sheets from that day and I can see the trauma in my eyes. It's just awful. So, again, why when my mother defended me so ferociously, did it not make me feel better, closer to her? It had the exact opposite effect. 

Years later I brought this up with a therapist. Having established that my mother has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), we came to the conclusion that, my being essentially her property and a reflection of her with no personality or feelings of my own, her defense of me was really defense of herself. It's kind of like the macho guy who beats up the guy who insulted his wife - he's really defending his own honor; it's really about his own ego. That's always how I felt about my mother. It was never about me, that I'd been hurt; it was always "how dare you touch MY daughter," and then my feelings about it were completely crushed and ignored. Or maybe I just can't ever give her a break.

Well, today I found myself once again defending my kid against someone else's horrible little brat. I was at a pool party, and decided to play with B in the shallow, non-operative hot tub away from the hyper older kids. Well, of course immediately all these little girls jump in with us and start splashing around, sticking their tongue out at him and making faces at him (to try to make him laugh, I'm sure, but it was really annoying), and then this one little girl thought he had splashed her and got mad and started sending waves of water into his face, over and over, until I looked her dead in the eye and said in my scariest voice possible, "HEY. You STOP that RIGHT NOW." The look of terror on her face told me I'd gotten my message across. Then I took us out and away because I just couldn't deal with these out of control unsupervised kids anymore. 

The intense rage I felt in that moment made me think about my mother and wonder how she felt when she caught someone hurting me, which as I said was pretty much a daily occurrence in 1980s New York. Did she want to rip their heads off, like I did? Were her instincts just normal mama bear behavior, or like my therapist posited, just an extension of her personality disorder? And if so, when I defend my son, is it all just about my ego? 

I really don't think so. But it does make me wonder.

One week out

In a week I'll be right in the middle of my event. I have no idea how I'll feel at this point - my main concern, because it's such an unknown, is how is B going to do? Will he sleep? How will his eating be? Where and how am I going to change diapers? How will I make sure we both get adequate food and water? Back in the day I didn't eat anything all weekend and my jaws were so clamped shut from stress I could barely fit a toothbrush in. Can't do that today, no sir. Have to take my vitamins, drink plenty of water, eat a good breakfast, etc etc. And then next year there's going to be a toddler AND a baby. Oy!

Despite how much I've been working, there's still so much to do. Spent all night last night starting the teacher's information packets and night packets; nowhere near done. I have to spend all night tonight finalizing the schedule and writing more text for handouts; even THEN it won't be anywhere near done. I have all week mapped out with all of my jobs. It's going to be tough getting it all done, plus the elaborate amount of cooking and packing of food that's required to feed B for (technically) five days. That's a whole job in itself.

I'd feel much better if the money didn't suck so bad. I keep asking myself how I went so horribly wrong that I'm so broke now - this was supposed to be the year I finally broke through and started making real money, the year I didn't have to worry anymore. Not only did I not get the turnout I anticipated (I'm about neck and neck with last year) but at the moment am $20,000 off from last year. It's easy when you connect the dots - $12,000 in sewer line repairs, an extra month of living expenses, plus $500+ in babysitting a month starting in March that had to come straight out of my bank account. That adds up to $20,000 easily. But the question is, what the heck do I do now? The money is gone and spent, and now I have this huge expensive event looming ahead of me...I'm beginning to worry that not only will I have no money to live on but I won't even be able to pay for the event. And I can borrow money to live on, but it all has to be paid back. Years ago when I was sued I was in this endless debt cycle for about four years - after paying my $53,000 in legal fees, I had to live on credit cards; I would run my event, pay down the card, have no money left to live on, run up the card, have the event, pay down the card, etc etc. The only thing that finally freed me of this was just rolling the credit card debt into my home mortgage; that's when things finally turned around. But that was back when home values were taking off astronomically (around 2005); that is no longer an option for me. I just don't want to get into another debt cycle like that, where I never have any actual money, just credit that has to be paid back with interest. It's a horrible way to live.

Last year I had a huge rush in the last week. Please, please let this happen again. Any amount will help. And the fact that I have one less month to live between now and next year's registration definitely helps; I try to remind myself of this every time I start panicking, that in fact I only have to make it to Feb 1st. But then I remember how I could potentially be on the hook for $7000 + for this birth, like last time, and that makes me shudder. The fact that I ever thought I'd be able to afford preschool right now seems laughable to me. My how my fortunes have changed!

I think the best I can hope for right now is to "barely squeak by". At the moment even that seems like a stretch; most likely I'll have to borrow money for the last couple of months just to get through to February, pay my property taxes, etc.

Then I watch documentaries like The Pruitt-Igoe Project and I feel stupid for even complaining. I have everything and still I'm not satisfied. There's just no pleasing some people, huh?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

11 weeks

I'm a week shy of being at the end of the first trimester. Very exciting! The "I'm out" posts on my March 2014 WTE board have begun to slow down, which is encouraging. For anyone who's ever spent time on these birth month boards, the first few weeks are nothing but women reporting their miscarriages, which can be freaky. But as with all things this pregnancy, I took all of that with a grain of salt. It's sad but it is part of the process for a lot of people, pregnancy loss. As usual, you just have to cross your fingers and hope it doesn't happen to you. 

Had a very pleasant time at the beach yesterday. Met with three mothers from my old (now largely inactive) meet up group. All of the babies are now toddling around. At one point three of them were standing in a row with their mouths open waiting for us, the mothers with the food, to spoon up some lunch for them. It was probably one of the cutest things I've ever seen. 

I took B down to the water with no intention of putting him in - I figured it would be like past attempts at the ocean; I would let him down and he'd just start walking back up the sand away from the water. But for whatever reason, not this time. He ran straight for the waves, laughing and having a blast. I held his hands so he wouldn't be swept away, but he was all into it - for probably a good half hour, up to his shoulders in the water, having a blast. He was fearless. Which made me very proud.

Then I saw his teeth chattering so I took him out - and as he wasn't too thrilled with this, I wrapped him tightly with a towel and held him like a tiny baby, rocking him back and forth. I was doing it to be funny, figuring he'd be sick of it and want down. But no. He got very quiet and just lay there. For a long time. Finally I was tired so I sat down and rocked him, and again, he just lay there. I was starting to worry that there was something wrong with him, like maybe he had hypothermia,  or got water in his lungs...? But no. Just for a few moments, I think he wanted to feel like a little baby again. There was something incredibly poignant about a nostalgic toddler. 

The event rages on. I'm enjoying watching my lengthy to do list shrink. Now it's mostly paperwork, writing up all the handouts (that everyone subsequently ignores). It's a lot of work still. But it'll get done.

Money situation is still incredibly dire. I don't think I'll have had this tight a year since 2001. But somehow, it's not bothering me. I feel pretty happy. I guess it's not what you have, it's who you have, right?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Are we raising a bunch of pansies?

Last night's post had me thinking about something that haunts me, and I'm sure all single mothers of boys, a lot. Which is, are we raising a bunch of feminized boys? Are we giving them access to a masculine identity? Basically, when it comes to raising boys, do we have the balls?

Some time ago when I posted my "I Want You to be Average" credo on Facebook, some guy wrote snidely, "sounds like a mom. But how are you going to prepare him for the excellence that comes from hard work and dedication?" I thought this was stupid and beside the point and almost deleted it, but didn't (and once again this comment was "liked" by an older woman with no kids). But it did wake me up to the belief out there held by men that women exist only to castrate their sons. And that it's their job as fathers to "toughen them up". To do what? Be in the military? Be a cop or a firefighter? Is "toughness" and physical aggression an important value in the 21st century western world?

I was, and still am, flabbergasted by a proposition put forth yesterday by Dennis Prager, a radio talk show host I listen to every morning. Now, as much as I disagree with him almost all of the time, I enjoy listening to him because I think he's a gentleman and very smart and philosophical. But yesterday, he was an idiot. He cited some study in which a majority of women, when asked who would they save from drowning first, their beloved dog or a human unknown to them, said they would save their dog. First of all I don't believe this study; but even worse, he used this as evidence as to why women, in particular Hillary Clinton, should not be in power. Huh? I was screaming in my kitchen. What about Margaret Thatcher? What about Golda Meir? Is he nuts??? But again, this opened up the strange world of male hatred of "softness". Which as a woman I just don't get.

I often observe kids and dads while out. And mostly I see dads being gentle and kind with their little boys. But maybe that's because I live in this east LA hippie bubble. I wonder about the tougher dads...or the dads from other cultures. What are they teaching their boys? Are they harming or helping them? 

I personally believe it's the dads' focus on raising "tough" boys who don't cry, don't talk about feelings, etc, that left us with this generation of emotionally constipated idiots, and the reason I'm single. So obviously I skew towards the moms are better mentality. But...I so often worry I'm not going to be enough for B. That at a certain age when I can no longer swoop in and rescue him, he's going to need something more, something I can't give him. And I'm not sure what that is, or where to get it. Will a course of martial arts be enough...?

My fantasy of B is a gentle boy who's delighted by butterflies and is kind to younger kids and surrounded by adoring girls. But that may not be who he wants to be. I can guide him to be kind and gentle, and that's great, but at a certain point he's going to be who he wants to be. I mean, I'd love it if he wore vintage clothes and grew an ironic mustache and played a washboard, but he may turn out to be an Alex P Keaton. Who knows? I know I wouldn't love him any less, that's for sure.

Monday, August 19, 2013

My last nerve

I was pretty raw today. I'd love to blame the pregnancy, or the event coming up - and surely these things are partly to blame - but honestly I was just a bitch today. I guess we're all entitled occasionally, right?

What got me going was another unpleasant playground experience yesterday. There was a sand pit and an older, meaner kid was playing with his own toys, and of course little sweet innocent Bumpus goes over and wants to play, too. I knew something bad was going to happen - the kid kept pushing B away and yelling "no!" at him, so I immediately swooped in and whisked B off to something else he could do. So far that's how I've handled these mean bigger kids - just get my kid away from them, pronto. I'm not about to start lecturing someone else's kid or let my poor little baby be treated like crap. So I posted on Facebook how bummed I am about how mean bigger kids are to littler kids on playgrounds, and a bunch of mothers offered suggestions on how to handle it (most of them have 3-4 year olds, however), and then one woman totally pissed me off by saying removing B from the situation is preventing him from learning conflict resolution and that life isn't always fair. Huh? Maybe she thought I was talking about an older kid, but I thought that was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard - and I wrote back the idea of letting my *barely* toddler be mistreated by some much bigger, much older kid, and just doing nothing, is idiotic. Someone liked her comment - an older woman with no kids. Really?

Then later I checked on a WTE post I had written in the LA moms group about finding a doctor to order the Mat21 test for me since Kaiser won't - and only one person responded, saying she didn't meet the criteria for the test either and I can't force someone to order it for me. I wrote back that I do actually meet the criteria, I just need someone to order it for me who isn't contractually obligated to some other company - but thanks so much for your helpful response. Bitch.

So, that and tons of paperwork has pretty much been my day. My inbox is full of people wanting discounted hotel rooms even though the rate expired on Friday, people wanting refunds even though the refund date expired July 30, and people performing on Teams Saturday night who want their whole family to come watch them but none of them want to pay to get in.

Two more weeks of this bullshit and then I'm FREE. I can't WAIT.

Here's a happier picture of B at the playground:

Sunday, August 18, 2013


...at least, I think so. In the interest of full disclosure I did have a giant plate of huevos rancheros before taking this picture. But even as I put on my 40s dress for a wedding gig last night I noticed a real protuberance in my abdominal region - most people would just smugly assume I'm "finally putting some weight back on" after weaning; but no; I've only gained about 1-2 pounds since getting pregnant. No, the little "lime" in my belly is making itself known. And it's very welcome to. 

I told my babysitter last night. She said even though the due date is just a month before her wedding, if I do end up with a scheduled birth of some kind, she'd be more than happy to drive up and care for B. That's great to know - although that does mean I'd be going in for a c section or induction, which of course is not at all what I hope will happen. But it would make arranging child care easier! She's in San Diego so going into labor naturally and expecting her to drop everything and make the almost three hour drive up here in time might be a bit much. Anyway I'm sure I'll figure something out by the time I need to. 

Last night I endured one of my least pleasant experiences - our band playing for a wedding in which only the bride, and nobody else, including the groom, were actual swing dancers. So basically we played to an empty floor and a bored, disappointed audience all night, who immediately packed the floor as soon as the contemporary dj'd music came on, then vanished when we started playing. This happens all the time when we're hired for weddings. People just never grasp that all their guests want is loud techno dance music so they can get drunk and kick off their shoes and act like idiots on the dance floor; they don't want a staid, old-fashioned swing band playing obscure 1930s dance tunes nobody's ever heard of. So it was torture. But the money was good. And I got to squirrel away a little raspberry mousse canapé while nobody was looking, so that's something.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The In-Betweeners

Today I had FN (Former Nemesis) over with her adorable now six month old baby for a little dip in the pool. It was the first, and probably last time I have been in the pool this summer, mostly because it's been the chilliest summer I can remember (the water was only 75, which says a lot - normally it's 81 by this time), but also because trying to balance a swim with a toddler is just too much. For now the pool is a huge, expensive liability. But in a few years it will be AWESOME.

She mentioned she'd just come from lunch with a mutual friend who was her maid of honor and baby shower planner. I asked how she was doing, and my friend said, not so great. Apparently this girl, who is 37, single, and childless, just came back from a girl's weekend in which every woman there was married and had two children, and every one of them looked on her as an object of pity and according to her said everything on the "things not to say to your single friends" list, such as talk about freezing eggs, etc. My friend said her friend was really in a funk and had been for some time. Always the maid of honor, never the bride. 

My knee jerk reaction was of course, "just tell her to have her own baby!" as if there's any "just" about that idea, and as if that's a one size fits all solution to the Aging Egg problem women face over 35. It's definitely not advisable for everyone, for sure. I have met some people interested in this choice who probably wouldn't be the best candidates - too flaky, not set up financially, not ready to stop dating and focus on something else for a minute - and I believe many women just want All or Nothing; either they get the big wedding and the dream house and the two perfect over-achieving kids, or they want nothing at all. Which, to me, is a very narrow and self-defeating way of looking at the world. 

People who grew up poor and deprived like me know that sometimes you just have to take what you can get. I have a very street hustler mentality about everything in life - maybe it's the Brazilian in me; I'm always trying to find shortcuts to things I want, recognizing I am never going to get things in a normal traditional way. I weaseled around until I found someone who would get me a home loan, I started my own business so I would never have to worry about education or credentials, I made my own family with no man. The dark side is no, I did not get The Dream, like my friend did. But I also didn't say "either I get everything I want or forget it" like her friend did (supposedly).

I'm a bit of an In-Betweener in that sense. I did get the family, and that's wonderful and amazing. But no, no nice man to take care of us. So I *kind of* have The Dream. Sort of. 

I guess the important part is it's My Dream. I watched a show about celebrity custody battles and thought smugly, "see, my kids will never have to endure that. They'll never know the pain of loss or abandonment by a guy they knew as dad. They'll never know the pain I knew." Unlike me, also, they'll never painfully watch their mother chase men like a teenaged girl and pretty much sell her whole life short for male attention. That's another of life's little joys they have been spared.

So we return to the eternal question, is it bad to intentionally raise children with no father? Will I ever get over the fact that no man ever wanted me? Will it always feel second-best? Or is single parenthood by choice in fact awesome and one of the world's best kept secrets? I don't know yet, but I bet when I'm on my deathbed some day, I'll be so glad I made the choices I did and didn't let the lack of some pre-determined "ideal" stop me from pursuing my dreams. And hopefully my kids will be glad, too.

10 weeks

We're in double digits. I can't believe how quickly this trimester has flown by - and I do worry I'm not "appreciating" it enough. But first trimesters can rarely be appreciated because you feel so lousy, and the pressures of work have made it hard to think about anything else. The first trimester is all about survival. And as of two weeks from now, god willing, we will have survived it.

I am feeling a lot more zen about the event now - I dove in and completed my big video presentation over the last couple of days, and now I have just the last minute paperwork and organizing to do, and of course, my favorite, Customer Service. Today's Customer Service issues - can I give discounts to people in wheelchairs, a family of seven wants to watch their son perform in the Team division, do they really all have to pay to get in?, and my French teachers asking me to remove them from my website because it causes a problem at customs. Such is my every day these days. A million little decisions. Kind of like parenting, really.

I'm pleased to say the Anti-Penis Suit is working its magic. Had B in shorts and a t shirt for half a second today, and he of course immediately whipped it out. Back in the Suit.

This weekend my band plays a wedding which is the last time I will see my bandleader before the event. I am hoping to tell him about the pregnancy but I don't know if it's the best time, really - I would rather tell with his wife present. It's just easier with a woman there, honestly - men don't know how to react to pregnancy announcements. And I really don't need to hear, "but you swore you weren't having any more" one more time.

I hit up my Kaiser midwife about the Mat21 test. I happen to have her personal email from her private acupuncture practice so I used that. We went back and forth about a hundred times last night - she didn't understand why Kaiser couldn't order it for me, in fact thought the test they order was in fact the Mat21. I kept telling her over and over that the Verifi test Kaiser can order will cost me $1500 and there's no way I'm paying that. That if I order Mat21 as "self pay" it's only $199. I don't think she ever really got it - she said she'd order Mat21 for me today, but I have zero faith that she'll do it, or do it correctly - I'm a little afraid even if I am able to take this test that I'll get a bill for $2700 for it (I've heard of this happening). So part of me doesn't even want to bother. God knows I've gotten enough "surprise!" bills from Kaiser - something like that right now would be absolutely ruinous for me.

So tonight I tweak my video presentation and then have a celebratory frozen yogurt. I believe I've earned it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ethics, walk throughs, and re-lactating

Today I contacted the MaterniT21 people and yes, I can get the test for $199. Awesome. The only problem is a doctor has to order it for me. Not so awesome. Kaiser doctors won't, so I would have to find a doctor not with Kaiser who works with MaterniT21, who will see me even though I don't have insurance to cover the visit, who can see me in the next couple of weeks, who won't mind my not becoming their patient but just using them to order this test for me. Hmm. In thinking about it, I don't know how I can make all of those things happen, and I don't know how ethical it is to see someone just to order a test for you. That doesn't seem right to me. I honestly don't know if it's worth the trouble - I'll get all the information I want eventually, I will just have to wait for it. Sure, I dreamed of announcing to the world and my family in a couple of weeks - but don't forget, my announcement plans for the last pregnancy were sabotaged, too; I dreamed of telling my whole family at my aunt's memorial but was too sick to get on the airplane; I dreamed of telling my friends at a big dinner or party but was figured out early when I was so sick all the time. So, you can't always get what you want, you know? In the scheme of things this is a very minor disappointment. 

I have been off of progesterone for several nights now. It's great to have one less thing to remember to do and one less thing making me greasy and gross. No spotting or weird side effects, so I think we're ok on that front. Last night I got back my loaned-out Doppler and decided to take a chance and check for the heartbeat. Nine weeks is very early, but enough women on my WTE app said they have been finding the heartbeat, I thought, why not? It took some doing but I did find it. Underneath the slow, steady rush of my own heartbeat and blood flow, I could occasionally glimpse that oh-so-familiar "pockitapockitapockita" of the baby's heart. It was very faint and passing, but it was for sure there. And I don't mind admitting, it was thrilling. No matter what happens later, that baby had a heartbeat at 9w3d. This I know.

I did the hotel walk through today, and I do feel better about everything. I feel like I've left no stones unturned as far as tying up every little niggling detail, so things feel under control, which feels good. There is still a buttload of work to do - not to mention the video presentation I was supposed to finish last week but haven't even started yet - but I feel like it can all get done if I apply myself.

For the past few days I have had Bumpus in an Anti-Penis Suit (wait, don't I wear one of those every day? Chortle chortle). I put him in leggings and a onesie snapped over it. I hate that it's so warm right now; I wish I could just let him hang out in a diaper. But this is the only way to keep him from pulling his little pecker over the top of his pants or reaching into his leg holes and pulling out his poop. It's such a relief to be able to turn my back for a few minutes and not find a puddle of pee or smears of poop. That was really making me nuts.

In other news, I'm lactating. B was crying about something, and I felt that familiar rush I haven't felt in ages, and a little bit leaked onto my nightgown. So weird to think I'm going to breast feed again-! Good thing I kept those DD bras.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Thanks for the supportive comments on yesterday's post. Sometimes you just need to dump it all out there, you know?

Today was a rough day, nausea-wise. I've had a few of these lately; if I remember correctly, weeks 9-12 were the worst for me last time, too. So, here we go.

I was required to replace my pool pump today, at a cost of $950. Ugh. The old one hadn't worked properly for years, and finally last week started emitting such an awful, high-pitched squealing that my neighbor came over to complain and I knew I had to fix it. It's a lot like the sewer line - you can't just leave it, it has to be fixed whether you can afford it or not. Oh, the joys of homeownership.

Then I went to my genetics counseling appointment at Kaiser. Much to my annoyance, it cost me $30 and involved sitting there horribly nauseated for an hour with a cranky, whining Bumpus while the counselor insisted on going through this entire notebook of chromosomal disorders despite me telling him over and over that we went through this all last time and I already know all this. What I really wanted was to schedule one of the early genetic tests. But of course he couldn't tell me how much it would cost, so I called the deductible center when I got home. I was crushed to learn I would be responsible for the entire cost - about $1450 until my deductible is met. Everyone online has said they paid about $250 and their insurance picked up the rest. Why, once again, do I bother having insurance? It's totally fucking useless!

So I'm so disappointed - all my plans to learn if the baby is ok and the gender in the next couple of weeks are dashed; I'm not going to be able to make a big announcement at my event or tell the family. I will still do the NT scan, and if I want I can do a mail-in test for gender for a couple hundred $$ right now. But I don't know - if I have to wait another month or more for NT results I might as well wait until October for gender and save the money. I'll see. Some women online have also recommended I contact the early test companies independently, to see if I can get a better deal. I might do that, too.

Tomorrow I do a walk through at the hotel. I hope the contact person doesn't give me any more reason to distrust her. I hope I come home feeling confident that the event will go smoothly. I need a little confidence boost right now.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mothers and Sons

Oh my God. I saw the movie The Spectacular Now today and am still an emotional wreck. It's an excellent teen romance movie - sooo smart, so well written, and not at all what you think it's going to be. I'm going to reveal a few things about it in this post so "spoiler alert".

I saw it with a friend, and as we walked out she asked what I thought, and I just completely broke down. The pivotal moment for me was when the teenaged boy and his stressed single mother finally have it out, and she tells him that he is loved, he is good, and he's done good things. I immediately flashed to Bumpus reaching out to tag my hand, or hurting himself and putting up his arms to be held, or clinging to my arm when he's scared of something. Lately we've been doing this thing where I put my lips in a kissy position and he walks over and offers up his forehead to be kissed, over and over. He loves it. And it just made me think about mothers and sons, and how much boys need to know that their mothers love them, and that their mothers think they are good. And how despite my awkwardness in this department I strive to do this every day. 

Of course it also made me think about my own mother and father and our fractured relationships. My father is on Facebook now and drives me nuts commenting on every picture, every status update, posting odd incomprehensible poems to my wall, and constantly references the one or two things he remembers about me from the brief time we knew each other (he moved back to Brazil when I was around five and I've only seen him once since then), as a desperate way of trying to connect with me and make up for thirty five years of neglect. I am not friends with my mother on Facebook, but recently I browsed over to my father's profile to see what he'd been up to and was shocked to discover they have conversations there (last I heard they were not on good terms); one which involved her posting a picture of me and him from around 1976, saying "remember this?". He responded that he missed me so much, and she wrote back that she did, too. This exchange brought up a maelstrom of emotions for me - sadness, anger, and annoyance that once again I am the parentalized child, feeling sorry for my out-to-lunch parents, who both 100% caused the rift that exists between all of us. 

The scene where the mother recounts for the son all the good things he's done in his life made me think of something I rarely like to dig up, which is this awful, hateful email my mother sent me on Christmas after she told me to cancel my trip to Brazil to see her because since I no longer believed in her religion, my very presence would be toxic to her. Rather than apologizing, as I expected, she went on a rant basically telling me I am a bad person - manipulative, an emotional blackmailer, you name it - and as a kicker that I'd been like this ever since I was little and she'd always known this about me - that I am, to all intents and purposes, BAD. Can you imagine your mother saying something like this to you? When your only crime was telling her you have stopped believing in her religion?

Needless to say I never got over it. It killed a part of me that's gone forever. I never responded - and in fact never contacted her again until years later when B was born and I felt it would be downright cruel to leave her or my father out of it, as much as neither of them deserve anything from me. I know her email was just her own projecting and acting out and is NOT true about me (it's way more true about her, actually), but...as an uninvolved relative said about it, "that's your baby. You can't say things like that to your baby." You really have to watch what you say to your loved ones. Some things you just can't take back. 

And I hate that I'm a grown-ass woman and my stupid inept parents can still have such an effect on me that I can start bawling on the sidewalk in Pasadena over a teen romance movie. It's over. They're a mess, I'm a parent now and am fixing the mistakes they made, I'm moving on. I'm creating my own son who will learn to be kind and caring and selfless, because he'll always know that his mother loves him and thinks he's good. Maybe unlike me he can one day be a wonderful loving spouse to someone. Someday when he's grown like me.

But every once in a while that impossibly damaged little girl comes out - the one that was abandoned by her father and who's mother did not love her and did not think she was good - and I cry for her.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Leaking the information

I have begun slowly telling people about the pregnancy, as I see them. Sure, there's still that fear that something will go wrong and I'll have to endure months of back pedaling ("no, the baby didn't make it"), but I figure the people I've told are just the people I would turn to for a shoulder to cry on under those circumstances anyway, so why not? I mean, here we are, headed towards ten weeks. If anything were to happen at this late date, it would be really horrible - a really awful, heartbreaking tragedy. It's not stupid for me to assume everything will be ok at this point. So, let's cross our fingers that nothing like that happens, shall we?

Although I will say, of the majority of people I've told recently, the first words out of their mouths have in fact been, "but you said you weren't having any more!" Which is extremely irritating. But I guess I have only myself to blame for so loudly pronouncing my one child policy. 

I have a genetics appointment Monday - it is probably just to fill out paperwork, but I'm really hoping we can get one of those early tests started or at least scheduled. Now is the window so it kind of has to happen in the next week or so. I have two more appointments in the next couple of weeks, too. Lots of appointments in the beginning, then very few in the middle, then a lot at the end. 

I won't lie, I'm scared of the end of the pregnancy. Luckily it will be a good time of year for me - not much work, and cool weather - but I think life is going to get really, really hard with no help. B will be nearly two and who knows where he'll be at developmentally at that point; I'll be huge and uncomfortable and possibly not feeling well, and no doubt just due to my age I'll be tortured with twice weekly NSTs again, which I don't think I can take B to, so that should be interesting. Then there's birth stuff. Will I be stuck making the agonizing decision whether or not to induce again? What if I go way over my due date? What if I'm stuck in the hospital for days or weeks? What on earth will I do with Bumpus? 

I have a couple I know who I may ask to take B for me - the mom stays home with their similar aged son and the dad has a flexible schedule; I think I can trust them to care for B for a few days if need be, and I think I know them well enough that they'd be willing to come pick him up at 4 am. How do you ever repay someone for doing something like that for you? 

Well, we're off to play at a "splash pad" downtown. It's pretty awesome - B runs around screaming and has a blast, which makes me very happy. Then tonight I go dancing, which makes me happy as well.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Nine weeks

In case any of you were worried, everything's cool. I think this is probably the longest I've gone without blogging. Honestly I'm just too tired and distracted. Every night has to be spent answering endless questions about my event via email or Facebook (all of which could easily be answered if these people would just go to my website), returning phone calls from people in their eighties and nineties who don't have computers but want information, but then can't write anything down because they can't hear me because their hearing aid is off and they can't find their glasses. For this brief time of year my life becomes completely overtaken by my two least favorite words - Customer Service. And in the middle of juggling all that I have to try to find a new insurance provider for my event since last year's dropped me because I "don't give them enough business", try to hire a yoga teacher to teach each day before my dance classes, try to find a non-dancing babysitter to sit with B in the hotel room each night while he sleeps since the girl who originally agreed to do it has now decided she "kind of wants to go to all the evening dances", edit a formal video for my Hall of Fame presentation which involves combing through sixteen years of video footage for clips of various people dancing, try to find free or cheap devices to use new credit card processing sliders on that I then have to drive over to the hotel and check to make sure they work in the bowels of the basement ballrooms, write descriptions for sixty classes, figure out where to squeeze five performances during the dances, learn new songs to sing opening night, make costumes for four themed evenings, make endless descriptions and signs and handouts that everyone ignores and doesn't read anyway, keep on the graphic designer who promised me a "save the date" card for next year's event that now is so far behind I may not have them in time, arrange various djs for the event even though nobody wants to do the late night shifts, try to figure out how to let seven teams use the main ballroom floor for practice before 9 AM on Saturday, remind every single vendor and instructor that we're starting Friday night this year unlike Thursday night as for the past ten years, make up goodie bags with personalized schedules for about thirty people, make up personalized packages for about 150 competitors, do a giant Costco run for food for the event...and about a thousand other things. That doesn't even scratch the surface.

In the meantime B has developed the super annoying habit of pushing his diaper down as far as possible under his pants and then peeing all over everything. I have done nothing but clean up pee off of toys, carpets, and playpens for days, not to mention completely stripping his bed and washing it every single day because he wakes up completely soaked. I tried the one pair of overalls I have for him but he managed to slide his hands down the sides anyway. I tried the one onesie that still fits, with pants over it, but today he managed to pull off the pants and then reach into the leg holes of the onesie, pull out his poop, and smear it all over everything. I am absolutely at my wit's end. 

So, I am not having a good time right now. I have just three weeks to my event and the stress is overwhelming. It makes me do things like I did tonight, which was chuck everything and lie on the couch in a stupor. I was also exceptionally nauseated which is no help. And tomorrow I will once again be dragged out of bed by my piss-soaked boy at 6 AM to answer phone calls from people who can't use the internet and emails from people who want their money back because they're "running a little late on rent this month". Lord help me.

Friday, August 2, 2013

8 weeks - progesterone, olives and Lucky Charms

I just had three bowls of Lucky Charms. So much for eating healthy and loading up on protein, huh? Ugh. I don't know. That cereal box at the supermarket was just calling my name today. And once we got home (by we I mean me and the box of Lucky Charms) I just had no self control. For the record I have been eating very healthfully, though. Except for today.

My progesterone runs out in a few days. So I can either spend another $25 and a long trip up to the compounding pharmacy and endure greasy undies for another two weeks...or I can just stop when they run out, at 8 1/2 weeks. I think I'll step down and cut the last three into halves to stretch to nine weeks. After all, if I survived the 4th of July with just little thirds of progesterone back when the pregnancy was very new, I think I should be fine at this late date. I'm pretty sure I stopped at nine weeks last time. I should be fine. Right...?

My WTE app says the baby is the size of an olive now. I do have an underlying river of joy about this pregnancy, despite being bogged down most days by loads of work complications. I cannot WAIT until a month from now when I can be done with it all and start enjoying and celebrating - if all my tests come back good and I'm squarely in the 2nd trimester, I think I will do a big Facebook announcement, etc. I didn't do any of that last time, and am kind of sorry I didn't. I was just too afraid of people being judgy or jealous or not supportive. But the heck with it. This is for sure my last pregnancy ever, and I intend to celebrate it. As soon as my event is over, of course. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A little gratitude

I went to see Peter Murphy last Saturday night. He was doing a retrospective of Bauhaus, his former band and pretty much the mother of all goth bands (and the entire goth phenomenon). I can't say I was ever really a goth - I didn't have the hair or makeup skills - but I was very depressive and completely obsessed with this band in the 80s. So it was a real walk down memory lane for me.

Peter Murphy is now old and balding and paunchy, as one becomes in one's late fifties. But he put on a good show, with enough gothic posturing to keep his equally aging audience happy. I couldn't help chuckling at the irony of driving to a Bauhaus concert with a back seat full of baby carriers and strollers, and a new nubbin in my belly. How times have changed.

Being as it was a tribute to the 35th anniversary of his former band, he told lots of stories. At the end of the show he said, "thank you for feeding my children." My heart caught in my throat. Thank you for feeding my children. If that doesn't sum up how we should all feel about whoever pays our bills, I don't know what does!

I've felt really shitty and ungrateful lately, annoyed by the customers bugging me with inane requests or more problems that keep cropping up with my upcoming event. But every once in a while I think it's important to pull my head out of my ass and remember that it's these people that feed my children. As stressful and insecure as my line of work is, it is a remarkable way to make a living, allows me tons of free time and freedom from the need for daycare, and has literally made having babies as a single woman possible. So lest I forget, I'd like to say to each and every person who pays to be at my event, thank you for feeding my children!