It’s Real Time- Tuesday June 29th

I called my doctor’s office this morning and told the receptionist my name, doctor’s name, and that no one had called me yet to schedule my cerclage. I will be 14 weeks on Friday, and my whatsitcalled needs to get sewed up next week. The woman on the phone replied: “Now could you please explain what a cerclage is? I’m not familiar with that term.”

I asked to speak with a nurse.

The nurse called me back and told me I was scheduled to get the cerclage at 7 am on July 5th, and that I would have to spend the day in bed. I huffed and puffed that July 5th was not a good day for me to miss work and couldn’t we go another day and what were my options?

She told me that the cerclage would go in Tuesday July 5th.

I’m finally realizing that when you’re having pregnancy complications or are high risk you don’t get to make a lot of your own decisions. Simultaneously while being told that I’m “older now” by every person related to the medical field, I’m having my schedule arranged, being poked and prodded, having my genes tested- with no one at all interested in my input. I suppose the point is if something goes wrong, the professionals are managing the whole thing.

It’s frustrating too, because unless you’ve been through this it’s impossible to relate. When people say, “it’s really unlikely that anything will go wrong” I have to explain that if there is one chance in 300,000,000 that something could go wrong…well…that’s all you need. There only needs to be one person for one thing to go wrong, and there’s no reason that shouldn’t be me. When you already had something go wrong, when you have held your child while he dies in your arms, it no longer seems out of the realm of possibilities that you’ll be the one person.

There are possible complications that could arise from the cerclage. I could miscarry, I could develop a serious infection, the stitches could tear later in the pregnancy if I go into labor. But the scariest part about it is that now everything is real. I thought I didn’t have to start worrying until 20 weeks, but that was wishful thinking. Sometimes I think this is our only shot, because I don’t know if I can get through much more pain and fear and detached panic (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s how it feels). I’ve spend so much mental and physical energy hoping and worrying, that if something goes wrong during this pregnancy I don’t know what will be left of me.

Tragedies and joys are the loveliest and loneliest times of your life. You see who your friends are, you see who wants to understand what you’re going through. Ultimately though your life is only your journey. Even Tom G has had his own journey through this grief and subsequent joy. As my belly grows and my worries compound and multiple and intensify, I will try and remember what I already survived. I will try and keep hoping.

Baby’s First Bossiness – Monday June 27th

I think this baby is going to be very sophisticated and worldly. I can already tell the baby will be very European by the way s/he wants me to take siesta every day after lunch. S/he will also enjoy the food of many different cultures, such as Greece. That’s obviously why I’ve been marched, against my will, by the fetus to the Greek diner three times in two weeks for gyros.

I don’t know what country has the custom of waking people in the middle of the night to poop after having no action for three days, but my baby will feel at home in that country as well. Samoa and other Micronesian nations will welcome this fruit of my womb, for s/he already seems to be partial to big and fat people, with cellulite on their arms and fingers.

What a powerful baby! Only 13 weeks in utero and already such a presence. We have long arguments over whether we’ll eat fruit or microwavable pretzels with nacho cheese. I am a better compromiser than the baby is. When I don’t give in, the baby makes me grow more white beard hair.

Current State- Thursday June 23rd

I don’t have very much to write these days. I feel like I’m not feeling any of the right feelings, which I know is the wrong way to feel. I wake up tired, perk up slightly during my mid-morning panic, rage a little during my pre-lunch blood sugar dip, scarf down food I wish was healthier, combat post lunch sleepiness with another round of panic, have a short bout of hysterical laughter and or joy, with the day was over, get depressed when it is, go home, eat again, lay on the couch wishing I could go to sleep, go to bed and stare at the ceiling in a panic.

Basically, I’ve been doing a lot of feeling and not a lot of constructive thinking. Except when I’m really tired, then I remember things, which tends to make me sad. I also spend a decent amount of time annoyed that I’m sober, and horrified that I’m annoyed that I’m sober.

Last pregnancy it was much easier for me to socialize with my friends. This time I feel safer hidden in my apartment. I don’t want to come out until I’m holding a baby.

Today I have a first trimester screening. Two weeks from now I get my cervical cerclage. I’m starting to feel the tickle of fear about the procedure: everything is getting very real. I’m still not scared that something will go wrong, but that I won’t be able to handle it when everything goes right.

Reality TV Tears – Thursday June 16th

I have mixed feelings about the televisions at the gym. Some machines have a little built-in TV that has a crappily-functioning touch screen control. I usually end up angrily pressing channel up or down until my finger is sore, then just watch Fox News to help elevate my heart rate. Most machines are set up in front of a long row of TV’s and the least lazy person changes the channels. The rest of us just have to accept what’s on there, or drum up the energy to find the clicker, go through the channels and hope we don’t piss some one else off with our selection.

That’s why I found myself on the treadmill this morning watching the behind the scenes stories of MTV Real Life. It started with a weird sequence of people letting their dogs lick their tongues, shooting heroin, singing into microphones, screaming at their mothers. The usual reality TV montage. Then it cut to a young woman giving birth, then sobbing crying when they handed her the baby. I wasn’t wearing my glasses and could barely read the closed captioning, but I got the gist: The woman was giving her baby up for adoption.

I burst into tears on the treadmill. Tears streamed down my face and I pressed a scratchy gym towel against my eyes. I wasn’t even sure why I was so broken up about it. I felt like shouting at the TV- “Don’t do it! Your heart will ache forever!” I also imagined myself lying dazed in a hospital bed, finally getting to hold a big fat baby against my chest. Then I imagined never getting to hold a healthy full term baby of my own, and watching women around me take it for granted that their bodies could perform. I wondered if I would ever be the recipient of someone’s adopted baby- the beneficiary of a heartbroken mother’s decision.

Maybe I just saw the sublime pain of motherhood in that young woman’s face.

I wiped my face quickly and took deep breaths. Crying is a dangerous activity for me since I lost my baby. Everything spirals out of control so quickly, it’s better if I just keep it buttoned up. I refused to melt into a salty puddle on the gym floor- or worse- short circuit the row of treadmills with an ocean of tears.

Eventually the story changed to a teen-aged sumo wrestler and I recovered. But that little parasite of sadness that a good cry leaves behind stayed with me the rest of the day.

I’ve Got It Bad- Monday June 13th

I am so incredibly moody. I am way moodier as a pregnant person than I usually am, and I’m usually pretty god damn moody. The problem with being a moody adult is that you usually have to act around normals*. When I’m with normals I could win a damn Oscar for the superior acting I do. Some of the really sensitive ones can tell I’m acting, but I assume they appreciate my efforts. Most normals think I’m one of them (maybe a little louder, maybe a little funnier, maybe a little more annoying).

My daily award winning performances are exhausting. When I break character things get pretty rowdy. And by rowdy I mean I am a real pain in the ass.

Lately I’ve been enjoying torturing myself by imagining that Tom G and I met in college, and had Tommy Jr at age 22. I like to lie on the floor and stretch my aching back and think about how much easier this would all have been if we didn’t have to also be grown ups. I suppose it would have been harder to get through, maybe I wouldn’t have been able to get through it at all. But when I’m feeling like torturing myself, I imagine doing this ten years earlier. It’s not a regret; it’s life without a time machine and access to foreseeing one’s future.

Other times if I’m feeling stuck and/or paranoid, I imagine that people around me are conspiring to get me to put roots down and never be able to leave this city. It wasn’t very long ago that we still could have hit the road. There were about five minutes where we didn’t have any debt, we didn’t have any responsibilities, and we could have just gone.

Now? Incurable grown-up-itis. This a fatal disease. In fact one of the ways I knew I had it was when I started performing the award winning act. Before that I would just happily ride the waves of moodiness shouting “sorry” over my back when I was particularly bad. Enough people stuck around because the good times were really good. Now? I keep showing up places feeling very serious. When I’m not acting I’m compensating, and tI require more training in compensating. If I tell one more dirty or otherwise inappropriate joke I think the FBI is going to start a file on me. Or whoever.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore. Some things I know I’m good at: Being a wife, a daughter, a sister, sometimes even being a good friend. I was a good waitress too. The other stuff eludes me.

* Normals are people who think I’m normal and expect me to act pretty normal. They are the same people who are surprised that I get depressed.

One Thing- Wednesday June 8th

I’ll be 11 weeks pregnant this Friday. I look like I’m 4 months pregnant. I feel like I might not be pregnant at all, except that I’m exhausted all the time and if some one hugs me too hard I yelp from boob-pain.

I’m worried a lot, but not about the obvious stuff. I’m more worried about where we’ll live, and how I’ll ever leave this baby to go back to work, and what I’ll tell her (or him) our their big brother who will always be a tiny baby. I worry about how inadequate I’ll feel after cawing about how I AM a mother, but don’t know the first thing about how to take care of a baby. I know how to do the three step hand washing system to handle a baby in the NICU. I know how to pump for breast milk for a child who will never be able to eat. I know how to hold a dying infant in my arms and enjoy the few precious moments we had together.

But I don’t know how to mother a fat pink wailing newborn.

When I get too worried, I think about how I never thought I’d make it this far yet here I am. There were many times over the last year where I thought there’s no way I’ll ever be able to be pregnant again, no way that I’ll even get out of bed today.

Somehow I got out of bed everyday though. I smiled when I felt like lying on the ground and giving up, I made people laugh when I felt hollow and sick. And I never thought I’d be able to do that. I think in the beginning I read some books about grief, so maybe I should buy a book about babies.

The problem with worrying, for me at least, is that my mind races around like a pinball machine. I can never seem to slow it down for a moment and just deal with one thing at a time. I make a lot of lists and plans, but in the end I usually find myself staring at the ceiling at two in the morning and worrying. Maybe, since I’m already writing about it, I’ll go on Amazon right now and order a baby book!

We Live in A Thrilling Historical Epoch – Monday June 6th

I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life. Summer has finally arrived in Chicago, and with it so many reminders of my wonderful friends and family and husband. Indeed, I have so much to be thankful for and I am often remind how precious and good life is.

But there haven’t been many days quite as wonderful as today.

Today was the climax of Weinergate: My Current Favorite Half-Hearted Perv Denial Scandal. This story had so many wonderful elements. A short list of examples:
-Educational: I did not know that people sent pictures of their boners in tight underwear to their twitter followers. In fact, I am now considering revamping my whole twitter concept.
-Suspenseful: When was Weiner going to break down and cry? When were his other electronic liaisons going to come forward? Could we count of some of them being teenagers or men masquerading as women? (still hoping for that one)
-Family-Friendly: Well, not actually very family friendly, but my whole family laughed about it.
-Emotional: It was a pleasure watching Weiner whip up the fake tears that they must teach to the freshmen in Congressman orientation.
-Hilarious: The whole thing, down to his “I lied to myself” apology, was pretty hilarious. Additionally, I would say that Weiner didn’t lie to himself, he just hoped that he could bulldoze his way past this scandal, which he probably considered mild compared to Tiger Woods or Larry “Toe Tapping” Craig. But then Weiner’s hubris took over, and he forced the media to continue covering his Half-Hearted Perv Denial Scandal.

And it slowly boiled up to the lid until today, this glorious day, when it splashed over the sides in a fantastic and gruesome faux apology.

It’s not my usually stance to take such toe-curling pleasure in anyone’s downfall. I’m a nice person; I frequently rally against judgementalism under the argument that “life is complicated”. Still, there is such a unique pleasure in watching crowing, self-riteous, billowing bullsh*t bag, idiot politician get spanked in the ass. It’s my only real mean streak, and I’m not proud of it.

There is a bittersweetness to the climax of Weinergate. Tomorrow I’m afraid I’ll have to go back to complaining about the war, or the Koch brothers, or farm subsidies. For today though, I am happy. I am blessed with one more sweet reason to love life.

That’s Much Better- Thursday June 2nd

There we go, all fresh and new. It’s a strangely huge relief to look at a different layout when I read my own blog. I feel like I took a huge leap forward, like I shed that last bit of smelly snake skin.

Since I haven’t been writing for the past week, I read like I was smoking crack. I also felt inspired after watching a friend performed in Mortified: a show that invites people to tell their life stories through their childhood journals, art, and music. I have an impressive collection of diaries hidden in my apartment so I dragged them out and started reading. I was sure that they’d be so charming and naive and cute. Instead I thought they were mostly depressing. I mean I haven’t made it through the whole stack yet…but there is a distinct pattern to my private writing. Taking it out in the open on this blog has been a strange experience. I still squirm a little when people bring it up in public although I’m delighted that they read it. I get embarrassed by my lurching emotions, but am grateful that people relate to it and are supportive. In many ways my on-line life feels much more genuine than my actual life (I certainly not the first chubby depressive to feel that way).

Real life requires so many emotional compromises, so many tight lipped smiles and hallow laughs. I can’t always spill everything here, I don’t have the guts. But this forum let’s me be unapologetically self-indulgent, and somehow that brings a lot of people closer to me.

My blog facelift makes me feel new and hopeful. It helps me feel a little more comfortable in my own skin. It’s been over a year since I lost my child. A new little life is forming in my belly, which gets rounder from my anxiety eating than the progression of my pregnancy. I still have to add my biography and Monday I’ll publish a weekly advice question. This is more like trying on a new outfit. As soon as I get it home, I’ll cut the tags off and parade around my apartment in front of my dog.

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