P.H.R. – Friday July 29th

P.H.R. or Pregnancy Hormone Rage is a very real problem affecting pregnant women all over the world. I am in the process of conducting the first study on this important topic, and using myself as the subject. I assume it’s the first study, but haven’t really checked for others because I’m super busy taking on-line IQ tests.

Recently Tom G and I had dinner with friends. Because Tom is the most even-tempered, cool headed, respectful, awesome person on earth, he can have friends with radically different political views. He can have political discussions with these friends and engage intellectually and with utter courtesy. Even when things sound heated, or I catch him rolling his eyes, you can tell that he’s just enjoying being with people and having good conversation. Tom and I have so much in common, but we are not alike.

I have had friends with opposite political views, and unless we agree to a cage match to the death- we have to agree to never ever discuss politics. For example: I once almost lost a job because I couldn’t stop bickering with the Jehovah’s witness who sat next to me. I swear she was baiting me all the time, making offensive declarations and watching my reaction with glee. Eventually we were separated and vowed not to let myself be manipulated like that again.

So, at dinner the other night, everything was going along nicely until I was gripped by PHR. The friend and I started out talking about a political subject, then he referenced a concept that drives me crazy in my regular life (Entitlement Programs) and I snapped. I suddenly felt like I was sitting at another table, watching myself sneer and roll my eyes and say horribly disrespectful things TO MY FRIEND. Over some dumb political argument. And I couldn’t’ stop myself. Our friend was too polite to point out that I was being completely rude and nasty and he couldn’t have gotten a word in edgewise anyway, because I was doing a monologue of ranting.

I was so embarrassed by the way I was acting while I was acting that way. I kept thinking SHUT UP SHUT UP to myself, but I wouldn’t shut up. In fact, it wasn’t until Tom G said he was going to leave the table if I didn’t cut it out that I finally felt like some one had pulled out my crazy plug.

My heart raced for another hour- long after we had moved on to more gentile subjects. On the way home I apologized to Tom and told him I was so ashamed of myself. Until he told me that he thought I didn’t understand what our friend was arguing. To a woman suffering from PHR, that sounded like he was agreeing with our friend. And I went crazy all over again.

In the end of course, everything was fine. No one suffered permanent damage and I will now try and remove myself from a situation that might trigger PHR. Please, be sensitive of your loved ones who suffer from this affliction. Imagine your pregnant friends are delicate, sensitive 15 year olds, because that’s kind of how it feels. Every minor inconvenience or disagreement feels like you got blown off at the Sadie Hawkin’s Dance all over again.

Grumbling – Wednesday July 27

I am a malcontent, and I hate admitting it. However, lately I can’t ignore that my favorite topics of conversation are the following: Who’s annoying me, which politician is an idiot/scumbag, the Walmartization of America, how I’m getting screwed over/ignored/misunderstood, and how most people are idiots.

I don’t really believe that stuff, I just can’t stop talking about it. At first maybe I think it’s just easy to talk about, or easy to make people laugh through a little ranting. Then I build up some steam and the next thing you know my face is red and spittle is flying out of my mouth.

When I lie awake in bed at night I make big plans. I’m going to make so many changes and when the lights are off and everything is quiet, it seems so easy. Then I get up in the morning, and I’m stymied at the prospect of taking a shower. “Another shower?” I think, “Damn I just took one yesterday.” It’s hard to implement a lot of change when you’re emotionally exhausted at the thought of washing yourself. On the other hand, a lot of incredible art and literature was produced pre-daily-bathing, so you do the math.

Just so you can follow along at home, thanks to a winning combination of the idiots at my doctor’s office and the scumbags at my insurance company I’ll be 18 weeks on Friday and still haven’t gotten my first progesterone shot.

All Clear!- Thursday July 21st

My 16 week appointment went swimmingly. I saw one of the other doctors in the practice who I hadn’t met before. She wasn’t even that freaked out when I burst into tears as soon as she walked in. We heard the baby’s heartbeat immediately, strong and loud and so beautiful. My cerclage is healing perfectly and my cervix is closed up tight. My strict pelvic rest was relaxed slightly (it’s ok to carry my heavy purse, for example) and best of all: she didn’t act like I was annoying for wanting more ultrasounds and more doctors appointments. She told me to ignore the gatekeeping receptionist and ask to be connected to the doctor and ask for whatever I want.

Ask for whatever I want. Be the squeaky wheel. That has to be my mantra for the rest of my pregnancy. For the rest of my life really.

Next week I start my progesterone shots. My next appointment is in four weeks and we have an hour long ultrasound. Today, I’m happy and hopeful.

Thank you everyone, for your prayers and kind words.

Calm Panic – Wednesday July 20th

I have my 16 week doctor’s appointment tomorrow. In anticipation of the appointment, I’m certain that something has gone terribly wrong. With a resigned detachment, I feel sure that the baby has died, or that the soreness in my legs is a life-threatening infection, or that there never was a baby in there and I’m just growing a huge tumor in my belly.

I think: “Well the baby has probably died, so maybe we should extend our lease after all.” Is that healthy detachment or delusional detachment?

Everything is probably fine, except it’s probably not.

Every night before I fall asleep I beg my baby to come to me in a dream and tell me everything is ok. Instead I dream about conflicts at work, or being a bike messenger and getting a flat tire and having no idea how to change it. I think I would feel more hopeful if I dreamed about this little baby.

I wonder what it’s like to be a normal baby-maker.

A Little Angst Never Hurt Anyone – Friday July 15th

Last weekend I started trying to put old blog posts into a document- I wanted it to be laid out like a novel. Well, the truth is I was hoping it would just turn into a novel because I changed the layout. Reading all those old blog entries made me realize something I hadn’t noticed before: this is some seriously depressing shit.

That should be obvious to the person who went through it, but my mind is sparing me the glaring details of the past. I can’t believed I survived it, but I do know how I did it. I remember the first week Tom G and I were home from the hospital. We didn’t do much besides sleep and cry. The first day I felt like a shadow, or a ghost. Tranquilizers allowed me to sleep the day away, sit in front of a cooling diner plate, then sleep all night. The second morning I woke up and clung to Tom and screamed cried. I didn’t stop crying until I had decided to live through the pain. And once I decided, I couldn’t change my mind. I don’t know exactly when I told Tom G that I had made up my mind, but I know that he believed me. Things stayed bad, then got a little better, then got bad…but I always promised TG that I would come out the other end, and he always believed me. So I just had to get better.

Someone I love so so much calls this my “stupid blog”. I laugh when he says it, because I know exactly what he means, and I often feel the same way. This is the place where I write the worst stuff way more often then the good stuff. And this is the place where all the raw ugly pain gets splashed all over everyone, including me.

When I told my sister in law and my brother about my attempt at a book, they both reminded me that I was to use this blog for inspiration. I pretended to agree at first but quickly confessed that I was probably too lazy to REALLY write a book. Maybe I could take like a creative-cut-and-pasting class at the local college? Or maybe someone else could do it?

If I were a REAL writer I would obsess about it all day every day until I finally just quit my job and burrowed into a dank room somewhere with a key board and a pack of cigarettes and a pain of fingerless gloves and just eat rare steaks and drink whiskey until I birthed the fiery novel that had been growing in my soul for three decades. But I don’t like smoking or red meat and I’m pregnant anyways so I have to spent most of my time obsessing about the baby. Maybe in a few more decades I could try the type writer thing. Or maybe I can take a more bright loft/bathrobe/hot tea approach.

I’m four months pregnant today.

Very Important Information Contained Within- Tuesday July 12th.

My body is starting to look just like a bowling pin, which I think is charming especially because I bowl about a 60. It’s a really nice conversation starter. I could either be a pregnant lady or some one who just loves beer and nachos. Both would be accurate. Sometimes I hang out in the liquor store and try and make eye contact with people to try and provoke them into saying something about me shopping for booze and being pregnant. No one has come close to acting judgmental yet, which reinforces my fear that I just look over-fed.

I’ve been trying to convince my dog to switch places with me. I’d have to have some clothes altered for the extra legs, but I think she’d be a comparable worker, driver, cook, and housekeeper. She doesn’t think I’d be able to fulfill her duties of napping and sniffing gross things and trying to eat chicken bones off the sidewalk. So it’s a negation in progress.

We’re moving out of this apartment at the end of August, so I’ve started to get really frantic about spying on the neighbors across the street. I’m just short of buying binoculars, and that’s only because I’m scared I’ll see some one watching me try and spy on them with my binoculars. I do press my face to the windows and cup my hands around my eyes to redirect the light. I would probably look pretty insane if someone saw me doing that. I mean, I’m sure the people who have seen me doing that think I’m insane.

Oh yea, this sucks. Monday July 11th

Frustratingly, I’m back to being shrink-wraped. The pain and aches of the cerclage keeps me submerged self-pity. “No one understands how this feels” I keep thinking, which makes me feel very naive and whiney and silly. Especially because I do have several women in my life who know exactly what I’m going through! My brain and my heart conspire against me though, and I spent long stretches of the day hiding my physical and mental pain.

Laughing hurts my cervix. I was previously unaware that my vaginal was involved in any way with my laughter, but maybe I don’t really understand my anatomy. Being on pelvic rest means avoiding lifting anything over five pounds, but I’m pretty sure my purse weighs about 16 pounds. My dog weights 52 pounds and she’s always dragging me from one pee smell to the next. Every activity in every day is weighted with a constant ribbon of anxiety. “I’m not doing this right, I’m going to f*ck this up”. Then I think that anxiety is going to damage my baby.

I knew I would worry throughout this pregnancy, I just didn’t know I’d experience such impatience and disgust with my own worry.

Socializing is difficult when you are consumed by self-pity. I also think it must be boring for people to hear me find new and interesting ways to talk about how tired I am. It’s also difficult to be nice to people when they offer me stupid or insensitive advice. I try my hardest to be nice though, since I am the reigning queen of stupid and thoughtless advice. So I lie on my couch, watch TV, read magazines and books, and torture Tom with isolation. He never complains, but I feel tortured by my own presence so I have to assume he feels challenged as well.


All Stiched Up- Wednesday July 6th

I spent a lot of the weekend aimlessly worrying. We left my parents’ house early so I could be back at my home base, where I have a comfortable anxiety routine. Tom G woke me up at 6:00 am and I told him I was too sick to get out of bed today, let alone have a scary and potentially painful procedure done. He asked me just to shower, then we could talk. I emerged from the shower determined anew. Or too scared to not go through with it. I got dressed and we walked into the summer heat to catch a cab.

My breathing got more shallow as I stepped into the lobby of the hospital. The elevator raced to the 6th floor. When I saw my mom waiting in the hall I felt time-traveled back to the days we spent together in the NICU. The round reception desk, the mottled brown carpet, the branching corridors pushed my brain right back to those short, joyful, terrifying days when Tommy Jr was born and died. I burst into tears against my mother. She and Tom G exchanged worried looks and murmured soothing noises at me.

A nurse led my mom, Tom G and I into a small room and gave me instructions on how to dress in the gowns and store my personal items. After a brief flurry of activity I climbed into a bed with heated blankets and started waiting. The time crawled by as my surgery time got pushed back three times. The anesthesiologist and the interns came in to chat with us, and I started to feel more confident. Once I was actually in the hospital- in the gown- I remembered that I could do this.

Finally I was wheeled into the operating room. When I cried a little the anesthesiologist gently wiped away my tears and told me that the worst part was over. I spoke with one of the interns about Tommy Jr., she asked me questions and held my hand until I heard my doctor say, “We’re all done”.

The anesthetic slowly wore off and I was in a surprising amount of pain. The cramping that followed felt just like labor pains, which made my brain flash red with panic. I knew though, that the pain would pass quickly and now my little baby was stitched up nice and secure.

As I rested on my couch and Tom G indulged me by letting me watch “A Cinderella Story” with Hilary Duff, I tried to fight the enormous amount of self-pity that was building up. The cramps came and went like physical reminders that I wasn’t going to be a normal pregnant girl ever again. Despite my public insistence that I would just enjoy each day and be happy each moment the baby was in my belly, I just can’t help feeling sorry for myself.

Later that night I fainted. I felt really weird and nauseous and by the time I realized I was going to faint it was too late. I lost consciousness as I was trying to get into bed and smacked my head into the bedroom wall. Tom G and I both were pretty rattled. He usually can play it cool no matter how scary the situation is, but while I was sprawled out on the bedroom floor in a cold sweat I heard panic creep into his voice. We called the doctor who assured us that it was a pretty typical pregnant lady reaction to surgery, and in 15 minutes I felt much better.

This morning I woke up tired, but the cramping had subsided. I had a dull headache and a sharper awareness of the precious cargo I’m carrying. I feel like I should walk more gingerly and talk more quietly. But I was dreading this procedure, and I’m happy it’s behind me. Now I’ve just go to concentrate on sleeping well, eating lots of fruits and veggies, and learning how to pray.

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