Worth The Wait

My brother and his wife sent me a gift in the mail. I received it today. It made me cry.

I haven’t written much about this because, well, it’s extremely personal and I’m still very much in the process of working through it. I’ve been working on this with my therapist as well. And I’ll be honest, I have often feared being misjudged by people if I were to write about it. It’s about how removed I am from this baby.

It’s not that I don’t want him; we very, very much want this baby. After our loss back in 2009 and all the failed fertility treatments, I very, very much want this baby. I hope I don’t have to convince anyone of that. But when I found out I was pregnant, and pretty much every day since then, I have, for whatever the reason, removed myself from his existence almost entirely. He hasn’t really ever been a him, our baby, a brother. Not yet.

Toby calls this a defense mechanism of sorts. He explains it pretty clearly: that after getting so attached to a previous future child—picturing holidays and school pictures, fits, screams and snuggles—and then losing said child at 12 weeks, well, of course I’m going to mentally remove myself from this one. Who would want to go through that again? Granted, I’m fooling no one. If something had happened or were to happen to this little guy, I’d be crushed beyond words. (This is not something I will further write about because it’s not something I wish to even think about. So enough about that.)

But I think there’s more to it than that. There’s the question: Can I love someone as much as I love my son? Will he be as sweet as Emory? Will he like animals as much? What if he’s mean to Emory? Will he like us? What if he’s not as kind and compassionate as Emory? These are common fears and thoughts for women when it comes to a second pregnancy, or so I am told. Thanks to my therapist, I feel better about the great hesitation I have had when it comes to fully embracing this creature. I feel better about not fully caring. And I do know that once he’s here, all of that will fall away. I know this.

And this shirt. This tiny little shirt! It reminded me of how painfully terrible 2009 was for my family. It reminded me again about how much we wanted this baby. It reminded me of the fact that he’s going to be an individual, that he already is. This shirt made me realize he will soon have a name, a hair color, two eyes, hopefully ten fingers and toes, legs, arms, a silly belly button, a wonderful little butt. He’ll have a mind of his own. He’ll be himself. An individual.

And seeing this message today on a this tiny little shirt—this reminder—made me cry. And I know this is likely to sound weird, but it kind of felt like he was saying this directly to me, his first ever message to me.

“Mom, I was worth the wait.”

He’ll be here soon. And my fear of losing him is falling away. This is becoming real. He is real. He is a boy, a person, a brother. He is my son.

And I suppose my acceptance of him into this world was worth the wait as well. I suppose I needed the wait.

You were worth the wait, Cujo Boudreaux.

38 Weeks. Little Progress.

I visited my doctor today. I’m 50% effaced and 1 centimeter dilated. (Damn that exam hurts.) Kid is still very much floating up in my abdomen, which I hear is normal for second pregnancies. But I have no idea why that would be. How does this guy know that he’s the second kid? Why would a woman’s body keep a second pregnancy higher? Why would a woman’s body know to? This doesn’t make sense to me. But pregnancy doesn’t really make much sense to me, so there’s that.

Emory didn’t drop. Ever. I was induced before the kid even contemplated using his head to help move things along. (Blood pressure problems forced induction last time.)

Nutshell: I’ve no idea when this baby may arrive. I know it won’t be today. I’m grateful it won’t be today since NYC is getting pummeled by snow again. I so don’t want to become one of those women who gives birth in a cab on the 59th Street Bridge. It’s also technically not time yet. But I got it into my head that he might arrive early. I have no idea why.

Also: I’m not ready yet. I mean, I am ready to have my body back, and I am really sick of the acid reflux, but we don’t yet have a bed set up. We still don’t even really know where he’s going to sleep. And we’re not even sure what his name is gonna be.

The second child? Totally different from the first. With Em, we had everything just so, all set and then the kid was late.

This time? We’re not at all prepared. Yet, we totally are in the sense that we now know they don’t break.

But I may break over the next couple of weeks.

But What If All the Villagers Work Full Time?

Today’s therapy session went well. Although, I really have no idea what “well” means when it comes to therapy. Basically, she got to know me better. We discussed the way I felt after Emory was born. We discussed the miscarriage and how that experience changed me. We discussed infertility. We discussed how I feel about introducing another person to Emory, how I feel about having another child at all. Everything went smoothly, as expected. But at the very end of our session she said something that has me thinking long and hard.

“I’m worried about your lack of a support network.” She said. “You need support, live support.”

“How do I go about doing that?” I asked, more to myself than to her.

“Well, there are ways.”

Are there? I thought. Because I’m not so sure.

I’ve been here before—the weeks and months following the birth of Em, the fact that I had no one to talk to during the day. I would watch the sun rise on one side of our railroad apartment and then set on the other, ignoring the fact it was overhead all day long. I just waited. For what? I had no idea. But I waited for something.

Today it occurred to me that this lack of a “support network” is what got me into trouble the last time. I simply didn’t have one, leaving me isolated. I was/am a SAHM. Most all other parents in this neighborhood work. It’s that simple. I don’t know the exact percentage of mothers here who work, but given the number of nannies I’m often surrounded by, I know that we are a very, very small minority. I’m guessing maybe 5% of the parents in this area stay at home with their children. Maybe.

(Please note: I am not complaining about my situation. On the one hand I am very, very lucky. I get to stay home with my kids! My husband makes enough money for me to stay home. That’s awesome. But it has its downside. I’m often alone. I work alone.)

I’m facing isolation again. And she made that abundantly clear today. I will need to work super hard at finding a support network. If I do not, I risk becoming more depressed. THIS is something I can grab onto. This is, I guess, what therapy is all about: taking note of a past problem, accepting it, and then trying to figure out a way to avoid repeating said problem.

My homework is to find a “live” support network. Meaning, not an online one. That means I can’t rely on forums, blogs, things like that. And she’s absolutely right. As amazing as online support is (and has been) for me, it isn’t enough. People need face-time, a voice, the occasional hug.

So, I’m doing some real thinking today, hard thinking. And I know exactly what I need to do and where I need to begin. Today I’m going to start working really hard at getting some bitches fired.

The Final Stretch

As of yesterday I entered the final month of my pregnancy. I’ve been hesitant to complain about being pregnant. After a loss, and then some infertility, I feel ashamed complaining. But, oh my goodness, am I ever ready to have this baby!

I am up 35 pounds and while I know that’s not too, too horrible. It’s far, far too much for my 36-(almost 37!)-year-old frame to handle. I get winded putting on socks, if I get them on at all. (Sometimes I give up.) I have to take breaks while walking up subway stairs, or any stairs for that matter. I’m unable to put on my own snow boots; Toby Joe always helps. Sleeping is difficult as my hips can’t handle the weight of being on my side. I wake up to shooting pains running up and down each leg.

But ultimately, it’s the lack of breath that beats me down the most. I don’t even have to be doing anything strenuous and I have to take a break because I can’t catch my breath.

The most devastating part of feeling this way is how hard it’s been on my very active 3-year-old. I feel like I’ve become a “lazy mom”, one who can’t physically do what he wants me to do, what most normal people take for granted. And it breaks my heart every day.

Before I got pregnant, I ran almost every day. As a family we’d hit the park and while he and Toby Joe played on the exercise equipment, I ran the track. And he loved watching me run! He’d run alongside me sometimes. It was awesome. And I felt proud. I was the parent showing my son that jogging is fun, exercise is a part of life, and his mother and father are both fairly active people.

Naturally, that’s not all I used to do with him. We’d play all the time. I’d hold him up to do the hand-over-hand monkey bars at the playground. I’d chase him around the gym. I was able to sit on the floor with him or have him on my lap. We played! A lot. All the time.

Now? Forget it. I get winded getting up off the sofa. I can’t read a book to my kid without feeling lightheaded or taking deep breaths. I can’t sit on the floor and have picnics with him because my legs get numb due to poor circulation. I feel so lazy. And he notices this. The other day he said, “When grandma and grandpa get back, can we go to their house? I want daddy to come so we can play bowling and ball together.”

Because mama can’t play bowling right now. Mama gets winded looking at a ball.

Did I mention I can’t get through a children’s book without losing my breath? That’s awful.

But the part that will likely haunt me forever is that sometimes I get frustrated for not being able to do something and I take it out on him. I’m not terrible; I’m not abusive or anything even remotely close to that. But he senses that I’m annoyed. And that makes me so sad. I end up feeling even worse.

I’m ready. I’m ready to get my body back. Being this heavy? It’s misery. And, yes, I realize I’m pregnant and gaining weight is par for the course, but it really shouldn’t be this hard. I should be able to read out loud. I should be able to play with my kid.

Mentally, I’m doing OK. But I have noticed twinges of depression, the same type of depression I had after Em was born and after the miscarriage. It hits me usually right around dusk, which isn’t new for me. Dusk has always been the hardest when I’m blue—has been since I was a kid.

I spoke with my doctor about it last week. She put me in contact with a doctor who specializes in postpartum depression. I am to meet her next week to discuss the way I’m feeling and how to deal with it after the baby is born. She informs me that 50% of women who suffer from PPD experience it during the 3rd trimester. So, I am not alone. And I’m quite pleased with myself that I’m getting help ahead of time. I was given a great big pat on the back from my doctor for even noticing. Because with Em, I didn’t know until it was it was over.

We’ll see how that goes. I haven’t ever spoken to a professional before, so this will be new to me. Her office is in the hospital I am to give birth, which means I’ll be visited by her right after I have the baby. I’m looking forward to that as well.

But ultimately? I’m pretty happy. Life is, overall, going really well. I am still attending culinary school (somehow!). I’m still making lollipops and selling them on Etsy. I rolled out a couple of Valentine’s Day lollipops. A personal favorite of mine is called Pop A Cherry. (Yes! I went there!) It’s champagne on the outside, cherry on the inside. It’s really quite lovely.

We also ordered a new couch! It’s set to arrive right around the same time the baby is. I’m hoping they don’t deliver it the day I go into labor or something. But that will likely be our luck! It may seem silly, but I’m exceptionally happy about this new couch. It’s the little things, people! THE LITTLE THINGS!

Anyway, I hate complaining, which is why I haven’t really updated in a while. I have drafts! But the tone borders on whiney. So, I don’t make them live. (Same old, same old!) But I’m ready to meet this little man. I know that I face a whole lot of sleep deprivation and quite possibly some depression. And I have no idea how Em is going to adjust to the new arrival. There are a great deal of unknowns here! I know the transition from three to four will be tough. But I am ready. And Em needs me, he needs an active parent and he doesn’t quite understand why I lose my breath at the slightest movement.

I hope to have more to say in the next couple of weeks. I wish to document my mental state as well as the birth of our second son. I am hoping to avoid PPD, but my doctor made it abundantly clear that women who suffer from it once, will likely experience it again. So, yeah. I will do my best to write through it and share it with others. That is, after all, why I started this blog: to make people feel less alone. I will do my best.

The 3rd Trimester Rage. Soundtrack: Jazz.

About a week ago, I entered a really bad place and I haven’t been able to leave it. I hate feeling this way. The thing that sucks the most is that I’m aware of the change. I know it’s temporary, yet I can’t do anything to overcome it. This is what I imagine it feels like to have clinical depression. You’re depressed. You get it. But you just can’t snap the hell out of it no matter how hard you try or how many times you belly up and say, “Damn, dudes. I’m depressed!”

Because, damn, dudes. I’m irritable!

One might assume, that just by recognizing one has a problem, one might be freed from said problem. At the very least one might gain some insight as to how one might free oneself from one’s problem. But one can’t. And so one writes about oneself using “one”, and one grows increasingly more annoyed with oneself.

This one has no idea how to shake this ugly feeling.

I’m never comfortable. Even when I sleep my brain is tossing and turning. I have to sleep on my side (obviously), but my IT bands are acting up so I wake up with the worst leg pain and it doesn’t go away until I massage it and that hurts like hell. (For those who have ever run long distances, you are probably well aware of the IT band.)

Here’s the thing, I could deal with all the physical aches and pains if it weren’t for this new miserable mental state.

How do you overcome this grumpy feeling? I can’t even eat a bunch of junk food to drown my sorrows because of the heartburn. You know what I had for dinner last night? Pineapple. A LOT of pineapple. I didn’t get heartburn. But when I awoke at 2 AM to use the toilet (for the 3rd time) I had some of the most intense hunger I’ve ever had. But I knew eating would be a disaster, so I stared at the moon instead. (Which was admittedly awesome. I guess that’s one good thing about not being able sleep for longer than one hour at a time: I got to see the lunar eclipse every hour from beginning to end.)

Earlier today everything came to head. I was listening to Soundcheck on 93.9 and Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O came on. They played a few songs live in the Soundcheck studio. Now, I am by no means a fan of jazz. Some jazz is OK, but most of it just annoys the living shit out of me. But today? This jazz? Oh my goodness, my body just filled with rage—true rage. I can’t imagine this is the reaction jazz musicians are hoping for. And I must be part of a small minority, because if everyone had the visceral feeling I had, the streets would look a lot like 28 Days Later.

If the Soundcheck studio had been nearby, I’d have hobbled my ass over there and screamed at them.

“WHERE’S THE MELODY, JAZZHOLES? YOU CALL THAT MUSIC? I CALL THAT AUDIBLE TORTURE!”

How can anyone play such nonsense and call it music? I was so annoyed. And I needed an answer. I needed to know how anyone could call that music.

How is that noise music?

And then I realized I’d taken crazy up to level 11, possibly even 12. And while I would have liked to blamed the crazy on all that jazz, I knew it wasn’t entirely jazz’s fault.

Yeah, this isn’t really about jazz, middle of the night hunger or heartburn. It’s not about eating pineapple for dinner because pineapple is a wonderful thing. This isn’t about taking note of a glorious eclipse. This is about me realizing I’m not myself at all and that I probably won’t be myself again for another 8 weeks. I have to learn how to deal with it somehow. I have to learn how to cope with me somehow.

Just, please, for the next 8 weeks don’t play any fucking jazz.

Mom It Down: Homemade Deodorant!

I can be really stinky. Unfortunately, my armpits (and feet!) are my biggest culprits. I used to go weeks and weeks without having to wear deodorant. But something changed in my late 20s. (I blame hormones. I blame them for everything.) Nowadays, unless I want to fill up an entire subway car with my stink, I have to wear something.

I am forever searching for a natural deodorant that actually works. I have tried Toms of Maine and it just doesn’t work. (It works for my husband, however.) By the end of the day I end up smelling like an onion sandwich.

Old Spice works (and they offer a stick without aluminum) but they are owned by Proctor and Gamble and I try not to support P&G whenever possible. The Old Spice sticks are also filled with other questionable ingredients, so I’m not pleased with them either.

I’ve also used Arm and Hammer deodorant. But the sticks include chemicals such as propylene glycol. And I’m a little bit wary of propylene glycol (PG). While I’m pretty certain that it won’t cause harm in small amounts, industrial strength PG is used in engine coolants, antifreeze, paints, enamels and varnishes.

I always come back to the same question: If I can find something completely “natural” that actually works, why not try it? (Plus, the hippie in me gets a boner for such things.)

Last Friday, friend and twitter contact Mary wrote about making her own deodorant. I’ve always wanted to try this, but never really researched it. So I reached out to Mary and she totally came through. (Thanks, Mary!)

Today I’d like to share that homemade deodorant recipe with everyone. While this doesn’t fall in with my usual “Mom It Down” recipes, it’s pretty awesome. (And it is actually edible! But don’t eat it, because that’s weird and I can’t imagine it tastes very good.)

One more thing I should mention: I put this stuff to the test yesterday. I had an 8-hour pastry class, one where I spend all 8 hours standing next to and over many, many hot ovens. Plus, we’re made to wear long-sleeve, chef jackets. Guess what? It worked!

What you will need

  • Saucepan
  • Spoon

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Mom It Down!

Put everything into a saucepan.

Over low heat, mix until melted and milky in color.

Remove from heat. If you’re adding a secondary smell, add it now.

Pour into a lidded container. (I made a label for the one made with patchouli because I’m a dork.)

Put it into the refrigerator to firm up.

You’re done!

Overcoming Obstacles

The refrigerated mixture will be rather hard—the consistency of very cold butter. At room temperature, it will loosen up a bit. This is perfectly normal. Mine ended up being the consistency of lotion as did the one I made for my husband.

The smallest amount goes a long way.

Shea butter and coconut oil can be pricey. The good news is, they go a long, long way. I reckon you could get a good year’s worth of deodorant out of one container of each. In the end, I know it’ll be MUCH cheaper than buying deodorant sticks all the time. And your body will thank you.

One last thing from Mary: she mentions that baking soda can irritate freshly-shaven skin. Please keep is in mind, ladies. I would wait a little bit after shaving to apply it.

Variations

As mentioned earlier, feel free to add essential oils to your mixture. I did one all-natural (smells like cocoa butter) for Toby and one using a dash of patchouli for myself. (Might as well turn the hippie up to 11, right?) Be warned, however, that some essential oils can irritate the skin. I would suggest testing any oils before adding them to the deodorant.

As usual, please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!

I PASSED!

Not only did I pass my gestational diabetes test, but I did so every hour by quite a bit. Awesome, right?

So, here is where I confess to something.

I did something before the 1-hour test that may have messed with my numbers a bit. When I admitted this to my mom and husband, both said, “You’re a moron!”

You ready?

The morning of my 1-hour glucose test, I may have consumed a fruit tart I had made in pastry class. Said fruit tart was made with homemade pastry cream. (The kind with a lot of sugar, cream and butter.) It was also made with flour and butter and fruit. I know! That’s probably pretty sugary, right? I had that at 7:30 AM.

But to my credit, I asked and read up on this. Everywhere I looked said NO NEED TO FAST before the 1-hour test. Even the nurse told me I didn’t have to fast. In fact, everything I found suggested one eat normally. So I thought, it’d be fine.

I also had a little bit of cereal at 9 AM. That’s more normal for me. So I thought that’d be OK as well.

Drank the orange soda at 10:30 and by 11:30 I was ready to go.

I’m thinking that had something to do with it. While everyone and everything said I could eat normally, I don’t normally eat fruit tarts for breakfast.

However, I asked the nurse about whether or not eating beforehand would have messed with my numbers and she said probably not. So who knows? Maybe I’m not that big of a moron.

Anyway. I passed. I am pleased. I’ve been eating really well since I got the news that I failed. I’ve been eating a low carb diet, barely any sugar. But I think I earned some freaking cake. Or pie!

OMG! I have class tonight and we’re making croissants. I will have two.

Thank goodness.

Now I must work on the anemia.

Gestational Diabetes

I just got a call from my doctor and I failed the 1-hour gestational diabetes test. I’m not yet going to worry too much about it because I seem to remember this being a common occurrence, and women go on to pass the 3-hour test. But I am curious.

If you’re reading this and you have had an experience with either failing the first test and passing the second, OR with gestational diabetes, might you share your experience with me? Does it just mean changing one’s diet? Does it mean I have to “take it easy” and will have to postpone school? Just wondering what my worst case scenario might be.

Also: did you end up with Type 2 postpartum? I have so many questions.

I’m also anemic and need an iron supplement immediately. Any insight there as well?

27 weeks and falling apart, my friends. Falling apart.

NaBloPoMo: Four Little Birds.

Toby Joe and I have been stressing out about our living situation again. We live in a tiny apartment. We pay a lot of money for a tiny apartment. And the rent is set to go up 200 bucks in December. Between that, the size of the place, and the fact that we’re about to become a family of 4, we’ve been stressing out a bit.

Where do we go? What do we do? Do we pay the extra amount until we figure it out? Do we move? Do I want to move while 8 months pregnant in the dead of winter when our lease is up? Not really. We’re just not sure what to do. We feel stuck and we’ve been stressing out about it.

Em is in school three days a week. He loves it. He loves it so much he wants to go every day and tells me this often.

The school is in our neighborhood. We can walk there in under five minutes. It’s one of the main reasons we feel tied to this area. We are very, very happy with the school. So is our son.

A couple of weeks ago, while I was there picking him up, he came out singing. I didn’t pay it much mind at first because Em is almost always singing something. But it seemed oddly familiar.

“Em, are you singing Bob Marley?” I asked and I hummed a little bit of what I thought it was.

“No. It’s just a song we sing.”

“Oh, OK.”

He continued singing it all afternoon. At the playground, he sang it loudly. It sounded an awful lot like Bob Marley. Had he been singing Bob Marley in school?

When we got home that evening, I decided to dig out some Bob Marley. Only I guess one doesn’t really “dig out” music all that much anymore. No. Instead one fires up the computer that hosts one’s thousands of MP3s. One turns on the Playstation 3 (or whatever), the receiver and the TV. (Wait! What was that? I just heard something from inside the closet! Why, it’s the sound of my vinyl collection sighing! And, OMG! What was that?! The dust made my one-of-a-kind, pink-pressed vinyl of Sonic Youth’s Evol cough! And that’s the sound of me sighing.)

I flipped through the list of MP3s and found “Three Little Birds”.

“Emdash, is the the song you’ve been singing?”

I could tell immediately from the look on his face that it was. He began to sing and dance around the room. I sang and danced along with him. It was impossible not to. Our apartment roared with noise and laughter.

Later, Toby Joe came home from work and I showed him what happens whenever you play “Three Little Birds” in front of Emory. Em immediately began to sing and dance again. Toby Joe started to as well. And just like that, the whole family began to move around our small, overpriced apartment.

“Singing:

Don’t worry ’bout a thing,

‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”

This is my message to you: The space we call home may be very small. And it’s most definitely overpriced. We may be seen as a little stupid for putting up with it all, but the sound and joy that fills it up is monstrous.

And it’s just gonna get bigger.

And you can’t put a price on that.

25 Weeks. An Obligatory Belly Shot.

If you think my belly is huge, you should see my ankles. (Or should I say cankles?)

Yeah, and I’m not sure why I’m grabbing my own tit. I think it’s because I’m shocked that my belly has finally surpassed my boobs. Or something.