Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Last Night of The Year

I am reclining on my (borrowed) bed on this, the final night of 2009. Although I'd hoped to be home by now, we are still at my in-laws for a few more days. For now, though, the house is perfectly quiet, but for the purring of my cat. The in-laws have gone out for a bit, and T. Isn't home yet. I just watched as the sky darkened across the snow-covered lake. The baby ate more chocolate than she should've today (naughty baby!), and she's rolling around like mad in my belly. I can't often actually see her movements, but my sweater-dress is bouncing around right now like mad as she practices her kung-fu. And, I am incredibly at peace.

2009 has been a very good year for me. It has been a year of healing, a year of rebuilding, a year of hope. It's been a year in which I finally figured out how to move on from crushing professional and personal disappointments, and a year when I finally physically healed from the illness and stress that plagued me in 2008. It's been a year in which I tried to do things even when the fear of failure nearly paralyzed me. It has been a year when I have worked really hard to tame the negative thoughts that kept my life from being all that it could be-and even succeeded at that. And of course, it has been a year that finally saw a successful pregnancy.

So here I stand, on the cusp of 2010. My daughter will be born in the coming days. My years-long home renovations will also come to a close in coming days. And also in the coming days, I will likely also learn whether I will have the opportunity to embark on an amazing new professional and personal adventure. My cup is so full. I feel so blessed.

A year ago, I could not have imagined that I would be standing here. 2008 was such a trying year. I had so far to go on so many fronts when I started 2009, and yet, with hard work, I made it to where I stand today. I am excited for 2010. I have no idea what it will hold for us, but I feel really good about it. I look at how far I've come in this last year, and I can scarcely believe it.

If all of these amazing things could happen for me in this last year, they could surely happen for anyone in this next year. Happy New Year to you and yours. May this be your best year yet.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rants and Ramblings Just Shy of 38 Weeks

Tomorrow I will be 38 weeks pregnant. I am feeling pretty good. The Braxton-Hicks have definitely picked up. Yesterday and last night I had a ton. They kept waking me up, actually. It's a little weird to feel them.

We had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Like her partner that I saw last week, my doctor thinks we are on track for a 7 pound baby (yay!). My scale is still MIA at home, but according to the doctor's scale, which I don't trust, I've gained about 29 pounds overall.

At my doctor's appointment, we chatted for a bit about the policies that her office has instituted, and I was relieved to discover that they are pretty flexible. They want me to have an IV inserted upon admission, but I don't have to have it connected to anything at that point. They'll want to monitor initially, but they are using some technology that allows you to wander at will, including into the tub. Contrary to what I was told two weeks ago by her partner, they don't want you to eat while in labor. She said that is anesthesia's request, in case an emergency C becomes necessary. She said to just make sure I ate before I came to the hospital, and then it's liquids from there (and popsicles and similar things). Overall, I was comfortable with how the discussion went. T. became a little disconcerted, I think, when she said that if we hadn't had the baby by next week's visit, she wanted to do an internal. He would like a few more weeks to finish up the house! He's not ready to talk about the fact she could really come at any time. The doctor also said that the B-H contractions are helping efface/dilate my cervix and preparing my body for labor. She said having them now means less work for my body when real labor arrives. I don't think T. was ready to hear that, either! He would prefer there were no signs yet related to labor.

The meeting with the doula went really well on Sunday, too. We met for almost three hours, and chatted about what I want, why I want those things, what I don't want, how I'm feeling, etc. We would've talked about how T. feels, too, but he is just one big ball of positive energy and confidence about this whole thing. Of course, all he has to do is watch! Or maybe he just has a lot of faith in me.

A number of months ago, I remember reading a blog post by Squeaker's mother (I will have to dig out and link the post later, since I am blogging on my phone right now) about how people didn't offer much help after they adopted their baby, and how she thought maybe people weren't as helpful because they'd adopted, rather than given birth to a genetic child. I think she might've also mentioned the fact that being an older parent might have played in, too. Well, now that my due date is almost here, I have some insight, and I think it's the latter-the older parent thing.

T. and I have always been very independent. But when my mom said she wanted to come up after the baby is born (she lives a day's drive away), I thought that would be great. I thought she meant she wanted to visit a few weeks after the baby is born, but she recently told me that she wants to come up immediately after the baby is born. So naturally, I thought she might actually want to help out. I even said to her that this would be great, because if I wasn't feeling well or needed some rest, I knew I could trust her with the baby (as opposed to some of the other crazy people who populate certain branches of the old family tree). Then the other day, she related to me that her husband was whining about what he would be doing while she was visiting the baby. Now, he is very friendly with my husband, so I assumed that he'd come with her and hang out with T. at our house. But here's the kicker: my mom told me that she told him that she just planned to come visit for a few hours! Perhaps I should just offer to email her some pic's, and save her the trouble of the trip altogether.

I guess I should be thankful that my mother wants to visit at all. My father doesn't plan on being around when his first grandchild is born. His wife is quite insistent that he's excited, and that "if he's around, of course he'll come visit.". It's the "if he's around" that I find so vexing. Because the literal translation is "if he hasn't made other social plans.". I'm used to him and his idiosyncracies, but it bugs me that she tries to make excuses for him. He's been my father for far longer than he's been her husband, and I know better. I can see right through her representations. I really wonder if she believes them herself.

Anyway, I'm not going to let myself be bothered by their attitudes. I gave up a long time ago-you can live with the relatives you have and accept their faults, but you can't change them. Trying to change them just hurts you. And really, I have a fabulous husband, a baby almost here, and an almost fabulous new house. What more could a girl want (other than a fabulous new job!)?

Sunday, December 27, 2009


We had a nice Christmas, and thankfully I did not go into labor. I think I just got a little dehydrated-laying down and cosuming massive quantities of fluid did me wonders.

I went back to my house yesterday for the first time since painting/sealing/floor installation/finishing began. It is looking really fabulous, although there is still much to be done. We are going to be back in by New Year's, which I am excited about. I am so ready to be back home.

I've had to totally hole my tongue and keep in mind that I've been unable to help T. With all of this house stuff, particularly packing and physically moving things. He was a bit haphazard about some of it, in his haste to get it done (ie, he ripped out a wall with our bed still in the room, made up, resulting in a large pile of filthy bed linens). My first instinct upon discovering a pile of dusty pots set inside my brand new bassinet (which is fully made up) was to want to open up a can of pregnant lady whoop-ass on him. I had to contain myself, though-he's working his butt off, and super stressed about getting everything done before the baby gets here. A few (hundred) extra loads of laundry are the least I can do, I guess! And have I mentioned how fabulous the house will be when he's done? He's really very talented.

People keep asking me why we are renovating so close to our due date. The answer is that we've basically done a gut rehab of our house, and we've been working on it for two years. We've been doing the work ourselves on a shoestring budget, although you'd never know it from how gorgeous it is. The baby sped up the timeline-otherwise, there is no way we'd have as much done as we do. I like to say I got pregnant so T. would finish the house (but anyone who's been following along here knows that isn't close to the truth!).

We are meeting with the doula today to finalize our plans for the birth. It should be an interesting conversation. While she says she respects our choices, I think she really wishes we switched hospitals to deliver at, and I think she has some strong thoughts about my OB practice. Although I wished I was delivering at a different hospital and have some criticisms of my OB practice, as well, there are reasons why we did not switch hospitals and providers, and I need to be true to myself regarding that. I also need the doula to be on the same page with us for our labor and delivery, because I am not a black and white person in terms of how things will unfold. Who can predict the choices we'll make, when so much about labor is inherently unpredictable? Hopefully, today will get us thinking from the same perspective, so she can be there for us in the way that I have been counting on.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I am currently laying down, although I desperately need to be wrapping presents. I worked today, then did some last minute errands. Long story short, while shopping (very briefly-for just an hour!) for one last present and a few things for Christmas breakfast, I ended up having contractions, some of which were painful. I really, really don't want a Christmas Day baby! She deserves her own special day! And I don't know where the carseat is right now, let alone have a hospital bag packed! I am a little freaked out, but mostly find this humorous. The contractions are probably nothing, but it really would be so like my life for me to go into labor right now, at the most inopportune time.

Let's hope she just was getting excited about Santa coming, and she decides to hang out a little longer.

Hope you all have a fabulous holiday, for those that celebrate Christmas, and a merry and cheerful day regardless to everyone else.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Working It Out

After having a meltdown on Saturday (mine), we worked out a plan for the holidays and beyond. My brother is coming Christmas Eve, as he always does. We will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at MIL's house, doing our traditional Christmas breakfast and gift opening. Then, T. and I will swing by his brother's place in the morning, before any of the other family arrives. We'll have a brief visit, and then we'll head down and spend the rest of Christmas with my family. This way, we'll completely avoid the drama that I was dreading. It's not as good as being home for Christmas, but it will do.

My brother and other family members are queing up to help us clean once the work crews are done, and to move us back into the house. This is a huge relief for me. I am feeling more in control now that we have a plan. This baby just needs to stay where she is for a few more weeks until I can get everything all unpacked, washed,and organized!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sad and Frustrated

We were supposed to be back in our house for Christmas. That was the plan. I moved out almost two weeks ago so that walls and trim could be painted, our gorgeous new beadboard ceilings could be sealed, and new hardwood floors could be installed, sanded and finished. All with the expectation that we would move back in THIS WEEK, over the next few days, and then we'd put up a tree at the last minute and have a lovely Christmas in our newly renovated house.

It's not going to happen. The floor guys got behind by a day, so instead of the floors being done on Friday and being able to cure over the weekend, they have to come back on Monday to finish up. Everything else is behind, too, including T., who is in overdrive trying to get projects done for clients before the holidays. T. was supposed to be buttoning up odds and ends at our house this weekend. Instead, since the floor guys are behind, he's working all weekend on a client project that's taking longer than expected. And, the client wants him to do extra work next week, which again will take him from working on getting our house together even once the floors are done. He'll get paid, of course, but at this point, money is worth less to me than sleeping in my own house, in my own bed, near my own hospital.

Instead, we are at my MIL's. Don't get me wrong-I am grateful that she's letting us stay, complete with our entire menagerie. Her home is lovely, and we have a gorgeous suite on the second floor of her house. I wake up each morning overlooking a breathtakingly beautiful lake. There is usually dinner on the table when I get home from work. I know that it could be MUCH worse.

But, I don't want to be here. MIL had surgery a couple of months ago and is still recovering, and isn't really in a festive holiday mood (pain med weaning makes her downright grouchy, actually, which is a far cry from her normal personality). There is no Christmas tree here. It's just not happy space for me, and three weeks from my due date, I NEED happy space. Now add in that we are an hour from home (and my hospital), and the hospital nearby here recently got rid of their maternity ward. No OB's, no NICU. And my nursery at home isn't anywhere close to ready-none of the baby stuff is washed, and I don't have the carseat installed or the hospital bag packed. In fact, neither is even here with me. That stuff is all packed away in storage for the time being. I'm supposed to be nesting and enjoying the holidays, and neither is happening.

I was doing okay with all of this chaos until T. just came home and started discussing Christmas plans, in front of his mother, without giving me fair warning that he doesn't plan on us being home for Christmas. He's hinted over the last few days aboit this prospect, but truthfully, I didn't take it seriously.

If we stay here for Christmas, we'll also be stuck going to Christmas with T's family, because everyone is getting together here. My family is all an hour away from here, and there are numerous events scattered throughout Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas night. Normally, we'd come up here to see T's family for a few hours on Christmas day, and then go to my family festivities as they occurred. But, we can't keep going back and forth between here and where we (and my family) live for all of the events-it would be too much to drive down Christmas Eve, then back, then back down Christmas morning, then back, then back down Christmas night. So we won't be able to attend everything, as we normally do. It's not so much missing things that bothers me--I had left the door open for us to actually spend much of Christmas at home, depending on how I felt, but that option seems to be out the door. It's that at my own house, Christmas would be warm and cozy, even if we cut back on our usual activities. Here, though, it will be depressing and un-Christmaslike.

This is in large part because Christmas is supposed to be held at T's brother's house, which is near my MIL's. There are lots of reasons why it won't be a happy Christmas there, including that his house is ALSO under renovation, there is little furniture that will be comfortable for me to sit on, he refuses to turn the heat above 60 (and it's well below freezing here), and Christmas dinner is going to be cold cuts ('s a long story about why). COLD CUTS. I can't even eat cold cuts. Oh, and then there are the highly dysfunctional people who will be in attendance-the niece who used drugs through the first three months of her pregnancy (she's four months along), but oh-hey-the baby is fine-'cause her doctor says that if the drugs had hurt the baby, she would've miscarried by now. The nephew who has a full ride to college, but has decided to drop out mid-year and hang out with his loser high school buddies here, instead, where there are no jobs and no opportunities. I could go on about the other dysfunctionals, but you get the idea. It's not my happy place.

Side rant: I don't think I can see the niece. Not after what we've been through to have our baby, not after what so many of you have been through. She knew she was pregnant, and she was using anyway. Yet, her mother thinks it's the greatest thing ever, and my MIL was bragging today abouit having her first great-grandchild on the way. The first comment that I hear at Christmas about this idiotic kid having a baby at the same time as us is going to send me over the edge. I can't bear to hear people talk about how great it will be to have two babies in the family. She is a complete trainwreck, with no job, no education, mental health issues, and substance abuse issues. I don't think I can do it, not even for a little while. I'm pissed at her for getting pregnant when she can't even take care of herself, and I'm pissed at her about the drugs. And, I'm pissed that the family seems to actually believe that the baby isn't at risk of damage from the drugs, and has bought into the crazy-assed theory that she would've miscarried by now. Ever heard of fetal alcohol syndrome? Crack babies?

I just want to go home. My home. I want to get ready for my baby. I want the peace of my own house and my own holidays. I know so many people have it far worse than me this holiday season, and I know I have so much to be thankful for. But I really need my own space back right now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

36 Weeks

This week has found me very round and very busy, but I am back to feeling great. I had a good doctor's appointment yesterday. My scale at home is packed away somewhere, so I wasn't able to weigh myself, but the doctor's office scale says I'm down a half pound. I don't put much stock in that, since they weigh you fully clothed. I am negative for group B strep, the baby is still head down, and the heartbeat was nice and strong.

The somewhat annoying news is that my doctor's office is very conservative (big surprise), and if my water breaks, they want me in the hospital immediately, even if I'm not in labor and there's no bleeding. They will only let me go 8 hours before they induce, if my water breaks. I'm not going to worry about it, since only a small percentage of women actually have their water break before they are in active labor (something like 15% according to one of my books). But conservative.

I've been so caught up in the renovations and Christmas preparations and wow-this-baby-is-almost-here-itis that I forgot to mention in my last post that I've made a little more progress on that job that I want so much! I've passed another hurdle, and much more quickly than I expected. Just two more hurdles to that I'm getting close to knowing the final answer, it's getting a little nerve-wracking. I am constantly checking my email and mail for news. It's fortunate that there are so many other things to distract me right now, which certainly helps!

We've left our Christmas plans deliciously open. We've told everyone that it all depends how I feel. It is so nice to not have any stress about where to go, like we usually do given our big and varied families. And did I mention in my last post that the hospital has imposed rules on the maternity ward during the flu season, and only grandparents are allowed to visit? This completely eliminates the visitor stress issue for me. I have been worried about how to tell all of our incredibly thoughtful and generous friends and family that we didn't want a crowd at the hospital.

Less than four weeks until our due seems so unbelievable that two and a half years after starting this journey, we will be meeting our daughter soon!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

35 Weeks, A Little Bit Late

I've had to move out of my house while the biggest parts of the renovations are completed, so I've had somewhat spotty internet access. Life is a wee bit crazy. . .nine months pregnant and homeless is definitely not a desirable situation! Thankfully, family and friends have been wonderfully generous about taking in a giant pregnant woman, a giant dog, and a lazy cat for a couple of weeks.

35 Week stats: +26 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight.

The baby has been moving around a ton. She is still head-down, and the doctor thinks her back is pretty straight from her head up to my rib cage. I have given up heels for flats, and have been sleeping with a hot water bottle every night. The sciatica has essentially resolved, although I'm having plenty of other aches and pains, particularly when the baby tries to climb up under my ribcage as she is so prone to doing.

I had a really weird doctor's appointment this week that upset me for much of the day. I saw the last doctor in the practice (my practice requires you to meet each of its doctors for appointments), and didn't particularly care for her. The appointment started off oddly. It was time for the Strep B test, which I expected--what I didn't expect was to be given the swab myself so that I could obtain the sample myself. The doctor didn't do an exam, and I apparently won't need another internal until somewhere closer to 40 weeks. I'm fine with that, I guess, but I thought it was. . .well, odd.

Then, the nurse asked me if I'd received the labor instruction sheet yet. I said I had not, but had been planning on asking about it. Needless to say, I was expecting a detailed information sheet. Instead, what she handed me was two pages long. The first page was only a half a page of instructions about when to call, and the second page was about c-sections. I have to say, I didn't like the tone, or the content. It was very "this is what we're going to do to you." If you've been reading along at home, you know that I want an intervention-free birth, so I found it all disturbing.

The doctor didn't make things any better when she came in. She was fairly dismissive of me when I asked if we could spend a few minutes talking about labor and delivery, since no one had spoken to me about it yet. She was sort of like "didn't you take the birthing class." Well, no, but regardless of that, my questions had to do with the doctors and how they handle things, and not about the birthing process itself. I wanted to ask about things like IV's and interventions. She told me I should just "not think about it." Seriously, that's what she said. I was completely aghast. By the time I left the office, I was in quite a state. I knew this was where we were at, given everything my doula had relayed to me a few months ago, and also given some of my previous conversations with other doctors in the practice. This was by far the worst, though.

After we left the doctor's office, we went to the hospital to do the tour. The nurse who showed us around was really nice, which made me feel somewhat better. The maternity ward had recently been renovated, and it's warm and homey. I could've done without seeing the OR, but I suppose I can't ignore that a c-section is a possibility. The one really good thing that we learned was that the hospital has limited visitor access to the maternity ward this winter to just the baby's parents and grandparents. This makes things so much easier for me, as I won't have to explain to the would-be onslaught of visitors that we don't really want them there. We can blame the hospital! The bad thing we learned is that while they are fine with my doula being present during labor and delivery, they require her to leave immediately after the birth. What?!

I was very, very down after having these experiences back-to-back. I just really felt like I chose poorly, in terms of both my doctor and the facility at which we will deliver. I had other options, and I thought I was making a good choice at the time, but in hindsight, I felt like I erred.

Since then, I've read some more of Birthing from Within, and thought about things a lot, and I've changed my opinion somewhat. I chose the doctors that I did because I know that they are skilled clinicians. If anything were to go wrong, I know that I would be in very good hands. I am neurotic enough to need that kind of reassurance, to need to know that I have that safety net beneath me. There was a reason I made the choice I did, in terms of doctors. I had a lot of other choices of hospitals and midwives and birthing centers, etc., and I have to acknowledge that there was a reason I made the choice I did.

By the same token, I was wise enough to know that I want as few interventions as possible, and hired the doula very early on. I trust her, and I know that she will help T. be my advocate in the labor room. In essence, it will be up to me and the doula and T. to create an overlay, if you will, to the medical safety net, to create the birth that I want. We've decided that will mean laboring at home for as long as we can, and avoiding as much of the medical stuff as possible for as long as we can (ie, the hospital requires an IV as soon as you get there, which I think is ridiculous and unnecessary as long as I'm hydrating on my own), and then delaying the doula's departure for a bit. We had only planned on keeping her there for an hour after the birth to help with breastfeeding initially, particularly given that we may have her back to the house to help out, as well, if we have trouble. She feels like the continuity is useful in helping women successfully breastfeed, and I like the idea of it. So, it will be up to us push for that hour. I don't think it's too much to ask.

I don't have a birth plan, really, and I don't have hippy-dippy illusions about what this process will be like. I don't mean to suggest that I want some flower-child ethereal birth. I just really, really don't want to end up flat on my back on a hospital bed for hours trying to do the impossible, and I don't want anyone to cut into me. I just want the freedom and the space to do what feels right, without fear imposed by medical personnel.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Great Interview Experiment 2009

A few weeks ago, Mel had this post about the Great Interview Experiment 2009 , and I thought it sounded really cool, so I signed up. It turned out to be a fascinating project. The way it works is that you leave a comment to the post, and then you end up interviewing the person who comments right before you, and you get interviewed by the person who comments right after you.

My subject turned out to be a blogger known as UnderOvr, or "the U," a 59 year old African American man who writes over at UnderOvr . It was such a great experience to go through and read his blog archives, because in addition to sharing some of his poetry and fiction, he also has an array of really insightful, thoughtful posts about life that I just loved, like this one. I definitely encourage you to go and wander around his blog for a while--you will definitely find something that speaks to you.

And now, the interview:

1. Why have you decided to move back to Texas from VA?

My youngest son was recently diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy; a disease which can cause muscle weakness, muscle cramping, fatigue, lack of endurance and poor balance. We are hoping that since he didn’t experience any symptoms prior to this year, the degree of cellular mutation will be minimal. After a recent stay, my wife asked me to move back to Austin so that we are geographically closer.

2. What motivates you to write now, at this point in your life?

Simply put, I discovered a passion to write. I suppose it is rather late for me; I was never interested in writing before but as my professional career begins to set, I hungered for something that continued to allow me to express my creative drive. Some years ago, I began to travel; going places I dreamed of as a kid. I love to travel but I needed something more; something creative. It may sound strange but I always saw software programming as a creative act. I read a blog last August and the topic talked about a man having a sense of fashion and style. I left a comment telling the blogger how impressed I was with his post and that he inspired me to think that possibly one day I might try blogging. Once I started blogging, I discovered a whole new world of expression. It allowed me to find my voice and articulate what I think and feel.

3. How do traditional gender roles/traditional gender stereotypes impact your way of thinking, and how you live your life?

I know my view of traditional roles and types has changed over the past year and much of that has to do with my being open to hear thoughts, ideas and voices which I would not interacted with, if I didn’t blog. I’ve established virtual friendships with men and women who live in other states and countries. One thing my career has helped me recognize is that, there are several ways to view and resolve a computer problem. Some options are more efficient or expedient but any viable option will work. We all have a tendency to look at things one way; our own. Recognizing there’s more than one way to see and solve a problem allows me to accept input from others. Because of that view, I try not to allow gender and stereotypes to shade my perception of a person. Biases do not allow me the opportunity to get to know a person or appreciate their unique perspective.

4. What characteristic(s) do you think allows one person to succeed and thrive in the face of adversity and another to fail, of two people with similar backgrounds and life experiences?

I grew up in Chicago on the West Side. Anyone who knows Chicago will tell you that, “You don’t go to the West Side for sightseeing purposes”. One of my brother’s was murdered and one spent a better part of his life in and out of jail. Failure is so easy when the obstacles seem insurmountable. Gangs, drugs and crime are the most obvious obstacles but education, opportunity, family and friends are very subtle obstacles which can undermine a life. I think for me personally, self-destruction was my biggest obstacle. My youngest brother and I grew up in the same home and yet our lives are drastically different. I can only say, “We both made choices regarding our lives and that I learned to accept responsibility for my actions, I didn’t want to go to jail and I wasn’t ready to die. I decided that my life needed to change and I went about changing my behavior.” Many guys allow themselves to believe there are no consequences to my actions. That form of self-deception often blows up in one's face. In a cartoon, watching Buggs Bunny light a stick of dynamite in Elmer Fudd's mouth is funny. Seeing a life destroyed because of bad decisions isn't funny.

5. What's the best advice you ever received and followed, and why?

The instructor of my first computer programming language class pulled me aside one day and told me that I had real talent and that if I applied myself I could have a successful career. I think that was the first time someone other than my Mother or Grandmother ever said something that meant so much to me. Looking back at that time, I can say I was just searching for something, anything; I just didn't know what. But from that moment I was totally committed to succeeding. I don’t know why he said it but I’m so very thankful for Gene Robinson (wherever he is now).

6. Why do you blog?

I blog because I have to and want to write. I write because there are times when I hear a voice and the voice leads me to type. I may read another blog, a newspaper or magazine article that becomes the catalyst for a post. I may get the idea for a fictional character and begin constructing sketches and scenes. Even if no one ever read my blog, I would still blog because writing is what I love to do now.

7. What do you think the solution is to the lack of involvement of Black men in the Black community?

Wow! I hadn’t anticipated a question on race. There is no easy answer to that question. Today, the Black community isn’t just geographically situated. There are black men in the community I grew up in but many of those men have their own agendas and that precludes helping someone else. As I said earlier, there are obstacles and when you are young and faced with the kind of obstacles many young Blacks encounter, the opportunity for discouragement and resignation is high. There is a reason for the term, “At Risk”. Learning to overcome the obstacles one faces growing up puts you at risk and before you know it, years have gone by and faded from memory. Not recognizing one’s value makes it difficult to contribute to the success of others. I think Black men are too often governed by pride, selfishness and jealousy. That's a rather general statement but I think investing in the lives of others in the Black community requires a sacrifice of time too many are unwilling to give.

8. What question were you hoping you'd get asked, but didn't (and answer it!)

Another tough question. What do I consider some of my best writing? There are many posts which have meaning to me because I invest myself into what I write. I wrote a post on poverty in Haiti where the people eat mud pie cookies when there is no money for food. I wrote about the genocide in the Sudan. I recently wrote about the abuse of women which meant a lot to me because a member of my family and two fellow bloggers inspired me. Writing about the murder of my brother and the criminal struggles of my youngest brother was cathartic. Where does your writing struggle? There have been a few occasions where I’ve tried to be funny or irreverent but that’s not who I am. What kind of bloggers are you drawn to read? Sometimes I’ll read someone’s blog that’s funny and witty or so honest and revealing, that I’ll think, “Why can’t I write something like that?” But I’m comfortable with my voice, I genuinely love to write and I have my own style, flavor or whatever you want to call it. I think because I’m comfortable with my writing, I find it easy to let another blogger know I enjoyed what they wrote. I have a blogger friend who writes with a wit, humor and style that always makes me feel playful. Another blogger friend writes about his life with such detail that I have often identified with similar experiences and yet he’s from Glasgow. I think I’m drawn to those bloggers who write with humor, honesty and strength. Let me just add that I find there is real strength in expressing one’s weakness too.

If you'd like to read my interview by Nonlinear Girl, you can catch it here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

34 Weeks

First, the stat's: 33 weeks found me at +22 pounds. 34 weeks has found me at +25 pounds! I'm not sure how that is possible, since I barely have room to eat anything, and am practically force-feedin g myself. But this is good, because it means the baby is growing. And how! She is really getting crowded in there, and it gets quite painful at times, as she attempts to conquer the space where my lungs currently reside.

Alas, that is not the only pain I'm experiencing. After an easy, comfortable pregnancy to date (except for all that worrying/spotting/worrying), things have definitely shifted. And by "things", I mean HER-right onto my sciatic nerve, or perhaps she's managed to bump a disc a little out of alignment so that it's affecting my sciatic nerve. Either way, I have lower back pain that wakes me every time I roll over, and pains me every time I take a step with my right leg. Sometimes the right leg just goe out from under me entirely. It's particularly bad when I first stand up after sitting or laying down-so stiff!

But I can hardly complain. Just 6 weeks left!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Nicest Time of Year

I love the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year's. Great food, good friends, family, happy decorations, and if we are really, really lucky, the first snowfall. It's just such a happy time. This year, we are also blessed to have the joy of being surrounded by family and friends who are so excited about the baby, two more baby showers tucked in the next month, and the anticipation of the baby arriving mid-January. It is such an exciting time. I am roundly content. That is, when I am not completely freaking out.

A baby is coming to live in our house in less than two months. Have I mentioned that we are STILL renovating? Renovating as in I still have raw sheetrock and a new heating system that is only half-installed and floors that still need refinishing. T. has promised me that the work will be done by Christmas. And in the meantime? What is left of the furnishings in the house have to be packed up and moved out into the garage so that we can have the floor refinishers in all at once to sand and refinish. We have moved out a lot of the furniture, but there is still loads more to go, and I will certainly be no help in moving anything at this point.

Then, there is the fact that I have no idea what to do with a baby. I have books, but I can't seem to make myself read them. I don't know why. . .it just seems tedious, and it makes me more nervous. Cavewomen didn't have books, and the human species seems to have evolved. Plus, I keep talking to women who had their children 50 or 60 years ago, and they always pooh-pooh modern parenting, with its gadgets and rules. "My kids turned out just fine," they say, "and we drank and smoked through our whole pregnancies, and let them sleep on their stomachs." Fair point, although I of course follow ALL of the rules. I am hopeful that I will just be able to figure it out, but I'm also not sure this is the best strategy. It is also completely contrary to how I do just about everything else in my life. This gives me angst.

I have also started to worry about the baby. Will she be okay? Will anything be wrong? Will something bad happen to her during labor? I want her to be okay. I can't seem to keep myself from worrying about her.

Then, there is the concept of what our lives will look like with a baby. I am having a hard time imagining the changes. I sort of picture that our lives will look like they do now, but with better scheduling practices and more joy. But what if I'm wrong? I have come to loathe the people, who are mercifully few, who say things like "your life will never be the same." It always sounds so hateful and ominous. There are so many things that have changed my life irrevocably--choosing to live where we do, grad school, my choice of career--things that have changed ME in such a fundamental way that there is no going back. Yet, no one has ever felt the need to warn me about the ramifications of my choices, as a few have during my pregnancy. I particularly love the people who talk about lack of sleep, as though this is somehow world-ending. I frequently go through periods where I don't sleep much. Most of it is stress-induced and job-related. I don't blog about what I do for work, as part of maintaining the anonymity I prize, but if people saw and did the things that I see and do professionally, they wouldn't sleep much, either. I suspect that dealing with the sleep cycle of a newborn is going to be much like what my life is like as I deal with a professional crisis. I do know life will change, and I do know there will be hard times, but I don't consider these bad things, because if we did, we wouldn't have done this, obviously. But it's the not knowing that gets to me--it's all such a big question mark.

Then, there is labor. I am really hung up on having a positive birth experience. And by "positive birth experience," I mean that I would like to live, I would like my baby to live, I would like people to be nice to me, and I don't want anyone to cut me open in any way, shape, or form. I am pretty flexible on everything else. But again, it's the not knowing--I can't imagine the pain, or the issues that might come up, or how the doctor will be, or which doctor I'll get, or whether the nurses will listen to me about how I feel about narcotics, etc. (For the record, I HATE narcotics. They make me violently ill EVERY time.) I know this is my control-freakishness manifesting itself. The fact that labor and birth are inherently out of my control makes me stress.

And finally, I am sort of on pins and needles about what will happen with this fabulous job that I so desperately want, and whether it will work out. I will be devastated if I don't get it, but I am also worried about GETTING it. Last night, I lay awake for two hours in the middle of the night (see? can't sleep) wondering whether it would even be a good idea for me to take it. After all, our house will soon be just as we've dreamed for the last two years of gut renovations. We'll have a new baby. Family and friends are nearby. T's business is doing well here. Am I completely crazy for even considering taking a challenging new position in a far away place at this point in my life? There are some great things about it, though--T. would definitely be able to be a stay-at-home dad, our child would grow up a world-traveler, with all of the benefits that entails, we would have an interesting and meaningful life. It feels crazy sometimes, though, to want this.

I am so blessed to be in this position at this time, though. We are so blessed to have our family and friends, and to have all of these good things happening to us. It is truly a season of celebration, even with all my little worries squished in there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thoughts on the Eve of 33 Weeks.

Tomorrow we will hit 33 weeks. There is something so surreal about this.

It has been a big week for us in so many ways. The big project I was working on is finished, and was very successful. I am more relieved than I am proud of the outcome. It turned into a long and difficult slog. I am glad it turned out well, but I don't consider it my best work. Given everything that happened, I'm just happy to have survived it, and for it to have all come out okay. We had some movement on some big personal things, too, this week. And then there is the fact that now that I have my life back again, I can focus on this baby. It's a little overwhelming, truthfully. Being so busy with the work stuff totally distracted me and prevented me from freaking out about the delivery, and the whole baby-coming-to-live-with-me thing. Have I mentioned that it's been more than 20 years since I've changed a diaper???

So, in no particular order. . .

I have gotten quite large about the middle, and now struggle to get out of bed, which is particularly unfortunate if you think about how often I get up in the middle of the night. My center of gravity is all out of sorts. T. laughs at me and says I'm like a turtle that has been flipped on its back. It really is kind of pathetic. And don't even get me started on how much effort it takes me to get myself appropriately propped up with pillows once I get back into bed. My payback for the laughing turtle comments is that I now wake him every time I return to bed. It isn't easy being a turtle.

As I become increasingly rounder, I find myself wishing that my dog spoke better English. Oh sure, it's nice that she recognizes such useful phrases as "Excuse me" (translation: get out of the way, you ginormous creature--why we are so polite to a canine, I'm not sure) or "do you have to poop" (no translation necessary, I'm sure-- results in a gleeful happy-dog dance all the way to the door every time). But at this point, it would be much more useful if she could turn up the heat, turn off the lights, or grab the orange juice out of the fridge. We will definitely have to brush up on her language skills before we ever try to get knocked up again. These all seem like reasonable tasks she should be able to accomplish, which would save the poor turtle from having to labor to get off the couch.

I felt fantastic during the project, but I promptly fell apart upon its conclusion. We had a lovely celebration dinnner Saturday night, and I got back into the car feeling fine. But, when I stepped out of the car at home, my back gave way and one of my legs seemed to almost go out beneath me. I don't know if the baby shifted or my newfound extreme roundness is pinching something over near my right hip, but my right leg isn't quite as stable as it should be, and it occasionally gives out on me. On top of that, the little miss doesn't seem satisfied with the space she's been given in my giant round belly, and she is a PUSHY broad. She is stretching a ton, and it is really quite uncomfortable as she bangs around my ribcage. Also, I think she is laying sideways across my midsection, which isn't so great at this stage of the game. I know there's still time for her to switch around, but I wish she'd do it in short order. I really, really don't want a c-section.

The project. . .it ended well overall, but the woman I was teamed with was a trainwreck. Even worse, she doesn't think she was a trainwreck, and thinks it went just fine. She is completely oblivious to the 18-20 hour days I had to put in to make up for the disaster that she became in the middle of things. The office found out about her performance, and they will be addressing things with her (I didn't actually rat her out--plenty of other people noticed and relayed word back to the office, unfortunately--it was THAT bad). Before the office takes her to task, I feel like I have to have a conversation with her about her skill level, what other people in her position normally do during such projects (ie, she did a fraction of the work she should have been doing), and why she is so far off the mark. She is so completely terrified of the job that she literally couldn't do it. I had to not only pick up the tremendous amount of slack, but also had to pour time and attention into what she DID do just to whip her "contribution" into shape, and to get her to carry it out. It was exhausting. It's going to be a dreadful conversation, though, given how completely oblivious she is to the severity of her situation. She thinks her level of fear, her skill level, and her level of contributions on the project are normal. They really are not, and I feel like she needs to hear that from me before she hears it from the office. I don't think she'll hear anything I say, but for her own sake, I have to try. Plus, it wouldn't be fair to other people in the office to have her think that what I did for her during this project was normal--she was a giant pit of need, and I did not want the project to fail, so I did what I had to do to get the job done. No one else should be in that position, though. Thank goodness it's over. The office felt so bad for me after everything that's happened over the last few weeks that they ordered me to take this week off--and it doesn't count as part of my vacation time.

I have another doctor's apppointment tomorrow. I'm a little apprehensive. Now that I'm not distracted by the project, I am back to waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's not helping matters that I've been having funky stabby pains in my vajayjay, and last night while reading my pregnancy book, it mentioned that stabbing pains can be a sign of the cervix opening up. I'm going to try to think positive.

And finally, also on tomorrow's agenda: lunch with a good friend from college who is in town for the holidays, who I never get to see--SO excited to see her! Then later, a prenatal massage.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Baby Shower

The shower was amazing. Someone must've rescued me from tacky decorations and party games, because there were none in sight. Instead, it was an amazing group of old family friends, good friends, and a few of my aunts. Everyone was incredibly supportive and thoughtful and excited for us, and it was a lovely afternoon. There were the most gorgeous flowers, and the food was elaborate and delicious. I think everyone had a wonderful time. We are so, so blessed.

Some of the gift highlights:

The friend of the friend that I had never met gave us an amazingly soft handknit baby sweater, hat and booties. Such thoughtfulness from someone we've never met!

Handmade burp clothes, already washed and stored away in a ziplock bag for when we need them.

Multiple packages of thank you notes, from the host's dogs!

Beautiful handmade baby clothes, from the host herself. And a Wil.low figurine. And a handmade quilt that turns into a bag with pockets, that you can throw in your car and grab and spread out whenever you need a blanket. And a book about what to do with babies in their first year. So incredibly generous!

Pretty much every item that matches my nursery decor, including all of the things that we didn't even register for because we thought they were way too expensive.

Baby clothes, baby clothes, baby clothes.

The Twilight Turtle AND the Sleep Sheep . I just LOVE both of these.

And, this, complete with instructions that they'd like me to amortize it:

a White Hand-Woven Bassinet

Saturday, November 14, 2009

31-ish Weeks and Stuff

My blog posts have been particularly boring lately. I confess that I am completely wrapped up in the work stuff that I've got going on. The end is in sight--perhaps another week--and then I sort of get my life back. Thank goodness! It's been much more challenging than normal. The young new colleague they paired me up with has been terrified of the work to the point of utter immobility, which has meant even more work for me than I would usually have on a project of this magnitude. I feel both frustrated at the situation (how did no one know that she lacked the basic skills necessary for the job AND that she is afraid of the work? And why did they put her on a major project so untested? And why is she so afraid to even try? She literally has told me she is "too stressed out" to do XYZ. . .) and sorry for her. I really like her. But, this is so clearly not the right path for her, and I think it's going to devestate her to hear that news at the end of the project. She knows that it's not going well, but in the interest of trying to keep her head in the game, I've not yet let her know just how bad her performance has been. Sigh. I dread having to do so. I really wanted this to be a positive, constructive experience for her, and I don't think she will walk away from it feeling that way.

The 31 week mark came and went a few days ago in a flurry of work activity. I have been obsessing over whether I am gaining enough weight (I'm still only about +19 pounds pre-pregnancy weight), but I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, and they said I am right on track. My weight and my measurements were perfect, according to them, which eased my mind a bit.

I did have something of an embarassing episode while I was there, though. I have to give a urine sample at every appointment (does everyone do this?). So, I produced the sample, and went in to the appointment. I have been having some back pain that feels vaguely kidney-ish, so they decided they wanted a second sample to culture. Although it often feels like I have to pee every five minutes, for once, I simply could not go. So, I drank and I drank and I drank, and sat around the office until I could pee again. Finally, I had to go, and toddled off to the ladies room with my little specimen cup in hand. I procured the sample, and set it on top of the metal trash can lid that was right in front of the toilet. Now, this was a stainless steel trash can with a metal lid--the kind you open with a foot pedal. Flat, flat, flat surface, perfect for setting down your little pee cup, right? Not so much. . .as I turned to grab the lid for the sample cup, I heard the cup smash to the floor, pee everywhere. I was completely horrified, and it took me forever to clean up. I am pretty sure that all of the nurses at the desk next to the bathroom must've heard me say "oh no!", and must've wondered why the hell I was in the bathroom for so long. Well, at least by the time I was done with all the cleanup, I had to pee again!

My first baby shower is today (I am apparently having three, thrown by three distinct sets of people who don't really know each other). I know, we are blessed, and it's sort of an embarassment that there will be multiple showers, but. . .I am sort of looking at this one with equal parts excitement and trepidation. My MIL wanted to throw this one for old family friends, but she recently had surgery, so she asked a friend of hers (who T. and I have known for forever) to host it. Only, the friend decided her place wasn't big enough, so she asked to host it at another of HER friend's houses. Although I have met the second friend, the host of the shower, I couldn't pick her out of a crowd. She knows T. a little better, but I feel sort of weird about this. Then, MIL let slip this week that some friend of the host who does not know me or T. in any way, shape or form decided that a baby shower sounded like great fun, and she'd like to attend. And also, she decided that she'd like to decorate for the shower. My MIL, who knows me well, was rather vague in her warnings about the shower, but I am sensing streamers, and horrid party games. I am not a streamer and baby shower party game kind of girl, and being subjected to it at the hands of complete strangers kind of freaks me out. Thankfully, two of my close friends are coming, so I will have moral support. I am hoping that in the last few days, someone has decided to tone down whatever my MIL thought was a little over the top. . .in a few hours, I will find out!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

30-ish weeks

I am round. I am sporting a really serious woman-who-swallowed-a-basketball look. I hope/am glad the baby is getting nice and big. On the other hand, it's getting hard to cart myself around. I am not used to being sloooow. But give me a laptop and my bag, and it's all I can do to get up the stairs. It makes me incredibly winded. I may soon have to resort to the elevator. I am kinda pathetic.

This week, I am up 19.5 pounds. As round as I am getting, I am not gaining very much very quickly. I am still trying to eat healthy, but I also bought ice cream and raspberry turnovers and Toaster Streudel tonight while shopping. My normal diet seems like it's not quite working, so perhaps a little more fat will help. You'd think all the cheese I've been eating would pack more pounds on...

Work is insane. I would not recommend taking on a major project at 7+ months pregnant with a brand spanking new colleague who has no self-confidence. It doesn't create that warm late pregnancy glow I was hoping for. Instead, I am anxiety-ridden and neurotic about how to make it all shake out okay. I'm sure it will, in the end, but only after a few more weeks of sleepless nights...I don't know why I let myself get roped into this.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

29 Weeks

Yesterday marked 29 weeks. It blows my mind sometimes how far we've come. The baby's been more and more active. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem satisfied with her digs in my belly, and is often intent on climbing up under my ribcage on the right side. I can very distinctly feel her bottom when she does this. As uncomfortable as it is, it does make me giggle.

Stats for this week: Up 18 pounds from prepregnancy weight. I think I am a little down from last week, so I'll have to keep plugging away at eating many small meals. There isn't room for anything else. Last night we got burritos from our favorite place (the shrimp burritos at this place are amazing-it's one of the few places in my little corner of New England that is authentic Mexican), and I could only eat half what I would eat if I wasn't pregnant.

My doctors appointment went well yesterday. I passed the gestational diabetes test. My iron was like .7 off from what they's like to see, but my doctor wasn't overly concerned. She said to add a supplement once a week if I can handle it, but not to bother if it makes me constipated. She did chide me on my heels, which seems to happen at every appointment. I've stopped wearing the really high ones-yesterdays were very modest. But, skinny. She is afraid I'm going to fall, and reminded me that my balance won't be as good as I continue to get bigger. I promised to give them up before the ice comes, and really, once this big project is over at work, I won't need cute shoes any more.

I've been on the fence about the flu vaccines. I don't normally get them. Where I ended up shaking out is that if I could get the preservative-free (thimerosol-free) shots, I would. I got the regular flu shot a few weeks ago. I was supposed to be on a list for the H1N1 through my PCP, but they called yesterday to say that they're only getting the regular vaccine, and no preservative-free. They tried to convince me to get it anyway-so irritating. I hear them that the risk of getting the flu is higher than the risk of the shot with preservative. But if there's another alternative (ie, the presevative-free shot), why would I risk it? My OB wanted to know what I was doing, and I explained my position to her. She said the preservative-free has been really hard to come by. Then, just as we were leaving the appointment, they came running after us, and told us that they'd founf a small supply of preservative-free. I am not supposed to tell where it is. Another doctor's office has it, and has agreed to vaccinate a few patients. I'm not to call the other office, and I'm supposed to show up there at a particular time tomorrow to get it. I told my docotr's office that I felt like we were arranging anb illicit drug deal. It's crazy that after all of the hype about this damn vaccine that it's so hard to come by.

Finally, speaking of crazy, I never did get the call back from my other doctor's office about the form. I did, however, receive the form via fax, perfectly and correctly filled out, as I had requested. I guess the doctor wasn't as fired up as the evil nurse would've liked me to believe!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Quick Rant About Healthcare Providers

As I have previously mentioned, I have excellent health insurance coverage. I pay about $90 a month for our coverage (two adults), and it covers pretty much everything. Had we needed IVF, it would have covered the whole shebang. My healthcare providers get paid quickly by my insurerer (I can look online at all of the billing), and they get paid pretty well, by my review of the bills.

Which makes it inexplicable that the staffs at the three doctors offices I currently visit are so incredibly rude. My physicians are lovely people, but their staffs kind of suck. Two cases in point:

I was at my PCP's, gvetting the regular flu shot. My PCP said they had the one that is thimerosol-free. That's what she recommended. That's what IS recommended for pregnant women. When the nurse came in to give it to me, I asked her to verify that it was in fact the thimerosol-free shot. Her response? "I can go get you the box if you'd like.". Okay, so far, so good. But when I took her up on her offer, she got very huffy. "I can guarantee you that there are NO side effects from getting the shot with preservative. I had it with both my kids, and they're fine.". Um, okay, lady. Your study pool of TWO has definitely convinced me. By the way, have you read my chart lately? See the weird bacterial infection I got last year AS A RESULT OF MEDICATION, which occurs very rarely, and happens to hardly anyone? Yeah, I'm not playing the odds with my baby, thank you very much.

And then yesterday, different docotr's office...I need a form filled out for this job that I want so much. In addition to regular background clearance, I have to get medical clearance. My doctor filled out the form, but neglected to fill in one of the boxes. The nurse was very nice when I spoke with her on Friday, but yesterday when I had to point out the oversight, she got huffy. "You know, you're lucky that she filled out the form at all. No other doctor in this practice would've filled out the form. You should've gone to your PCP.". Despite the major attitude, I patiently explained that I did go to my PCP, but she hadn't treated me for the aforementioned infection, she'd referred me to this doctor. And, that I was a patient there, and needed a form filled out related to my care, so there really wasn't anywhere else I could go. (Seriously-I pay THEM money for a service. Who are they to say no to a damn form? A SHORT form, at that.) What did I get? More huffiness. "I don't know if the doctor is going to want to do this.". Hmmmm, that's funny, because I've talked to the doctor several times about this very issue during my appointments, and she seemed just fine with it.

What do you suppose the cause is of medical staff rudeness?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

28 Weeks, and Other Stuff

So, we are offcially past 28 weeks. This has been a milestone in my head. I don't know why. Maybe because survival rates go up so much after this point. 32 weeks is the next big milestone in my head, because long-term effects on premature babies go down after this point. I don't spend much time worrying these days, but this kind of stuff is always in the back of my mind. No doubt a lingering side effect of the miscarriages...

A few days ago, my husband saw his aunt for the first time since we announced the pregnancy. She asked him if it was an accident. I was so offended. This question never fails to irritate me. He also confessed that two of his sib's asked the same thing, and expressed surprise that I'd want a child. He said it's because they don't know me well, and don't see that side of me. They don't know me well because I try to avoid them, because one is an alcoholic and the other a drug addict. But still, their attitudes bothered me. I don't understand why people we are not particularly close to feel the need to express their horrid, ill-informed opinions. Thank god there are plenty of people who love us, support us, and are so excited for us. It more than makes up for the lugs who say stupid things!

I am up 19 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. People keep telling me how tiny I am, which is driving me nuts. All I can hear in their comments is recrimination: "you're not eating enough.". That often appears to be the inherent message. I know that I am Perfectly on track, and eating just fine. I forgot to mention, I think, that I had told my OB that the GI said my albumin was low, and I need to eat more protein. The OB said that she was surprised my GI didn't remember that albumin is generally low in pregnant women, because they have more blood. She wasn't worried at all.

Things continue to be crazy and hectic. The big project at work is scheduled to kick off next week, but there is always the chance that things could get messed up. A big monkey wrench appeared last week, and I'm still waiting to see how it all shakes out. It wasn't anything I could've prevented or seen coming, and is totally due to someone else's rookie mistake, but that does little to ease the concern. Normally, the response would be to simply bump things a little, straighten out the problem, and move forward. But time is something of the essence for me right now! I can't bump it too far into the future without risking that the baby might appear before the project is finished! Argh! I should know more by midweek.

Things on the new job front are holding steady. I finally had to tell my office at the beginning of the week. I was able to get by with just telling the HR person who maintains my personnel file, and the head of my department. The HR person was psyched for me, and swore she wouldn't tell anyone. The department head was also surprisingly cool, said that none of us know where we'll be in a year, and said she's keep it to herself. She also promised me that it would have no impact on my assignments in the future. We had a really good conversation about it, actually. So, we'll see how things progress, now that I am sort of out of the closet.

My first baby shower is in a little more than 2 weeks. I am not sure if it's supposed to be a surprise or not. I am also not sure what to wear, but I don't really want to buy anything new. Maybe a cute, inexpensive ebay find is in order.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Swirling Clouds

I am all over the place lately, so please forgive the mess. I kind of just need to get some of it out of my head.

First of all, I am incredibly forgetful all of a sudden. I know this is a side effect of being in a million different places, but it's making me crazy. I will be so certain that I left something somewhere, and then it's not there, and I can't find it. Business cards, cell phone, files, notes, my watch. . .it's completely maddening. I already have no time, and then I have to waste time trying to find the stuff, but have no idea where to look for it, because it's not where I was SURE it was.

I am incredibly, horribly thirsty all of the time. My OB wasn't the slightest bit concerned, but I feel like I can never drink enough (although, I am constantly too full to WANT to drink). Yet, I am hardly peeing. Althogh, I keep thinking that I have to pee, only to discover that I don't. And then, I think I don't have to pee, only to discover five minutes later that my bladder is stretched to beyond capacity. I don't know why or how this happens, but it's maddening. It is also inconvenient, given the upcoming project, which involves a fair amount of public speaking.

I am so, so, so ready for change. I am not sure what I will do if this job doesn't pan out. I can't even think about it, really. It's overwhelming. I have had my background check interview (and boy, were there a lot of questions on their list). I don't see any problems there, but when you put your life under a microscope, there are invariably things that come up. It's shocking to hear, I'm sure, but I've actually made mistakes in my life. Who knows what they will think of them--I assume that no one is perfect, but maybe I am wrong, and I am some terrible abberation when you look at my life up close. No, background checks are not good for the neurotic, in case you were wondering.

In an odd twist, during my background check interview, it came up that my background examiner had suffered with secondary infertility, and ending up adopting the second time around. He said he liked to tell his wife that she had their first child, and he had their second one, since he made most of the arrangements for the adoption, and brought the child back from the country they adopted from. It really is everywhere.

I feel like I am on the cusp of a new and exciting life, but I can't quite see what it looks like yet. The baby is one component, but there are definitely other components. It could be this job that I want so badly, it could be something else. I am impatient and anxious about it. . .I just want everything figured out already. It's so HARD to try to figure out what's next, and waiting is HARD, and being uncertain is HARD. Life is so much easier once you've made the tough decisions, once you can see the goal, once you have a plan. I am not good with the in-between spaces.

The baby is doing well. She's been kicking and punching me throughout the day today. I am excited for her to get here, but I feel oddly detached lately. I think it's because I've been so busy with so many things. It's like, I know she's in there and growing, but it doesn't feel quite real. The more time that goes by, the less real this feels. I intellectually know that her due date is in 12 weeks or so, but I feel like time has sort of suspended, like I will be pregnant forever and there won't soon be a baby that is living in my house. Lately, it's actually hard for me to imagine the baby living in my house part of this equation. What I really need is for time to slow down and for me to have more time for and with myself. Unfortunately, it will be another month before that happens. The good news, I suppose, is that once Thanksgiving gets here, I am slated to have a really light work schedule through my maternity leave. The silver lining is that this doesn't give me much time to freak out about the baby-coming-out-of-me stage. See? Sometimes denial is a good thing.

I have not talked to my office about the background check yet. I had every intention of doing it the other day, but my department head was only around in the morning on Thursday, and I had meetings all morning, and then she was out of the office all day on Friday. Likewise, our HR person was out of the office during the only time that I wasn't in meetings. I am dreading telling them. The background examiner was very supportive, and completely understood my concerns about being pregnant, layoffs, not guarantee of a job, etc. He told me to tell them whatever I wanted to (ie, it's preliminary, no guarantee of job, I might not even take it, etc.), and that he would be happy to reiterate that during his meetings with them. But still. . .it's going to be painful. The HR person will be fine (she thinks our office is incredibly screwed up right now, and I know she'll be supportive). But, she doesn't count for much around my office, unfortunately. The head of my department won't care that I'm leaving (she never cares, except to the extent that it impacts her staffing), but will want to know exactly when I'm leaving, so she can make plans to fill my slot. She will likely pester the hell out of me until I actually leave. If I actually leave. Because, have I mentioned that this job is completely theoretical, at this point? I'm sure I've mentioned it at least once or twice! Argh.

I have had no time to deal with the doctor situation. In my heart, I know I'd be happier switching OB practices and delivering at the other hospital. In my head, I think I just can't deal right now. It's too much, with everything else I've got going on. Since I last posted about my dilemma, I've had two family members as patients at the hospital where I'm supposed to deliver, and let's just say I haven't been all that impressed with the care. I know I should switch. But I'm already at the point where I have to see the doctor every two weeks, the giant project at work is impending, and I'm exhausted. Switching seems like a Herculean task. I still might, but I can't deal with it yet.

And, it's getting harder and harder to get my own shoes on and off, because bending over has become a chore. For some reason, I never anticipated this problem.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Weeks 26 and 27

Things have been a little crazy around here. Work is wild (two weeks to the debut of a HUGE project, another big project just completed yesterday in the middle of prepping for the next one, and more to come tomorrow on a third!), we are scrambling to complete the renovations to the house before the baby gets here, and things on the new job front continue to progress (and require lots of follow-up from me). I running around like a crazy person, but taking care of myself. I am (finally) even gaining a little weight.

Week 26 found my weight up 17.5 pounds from pre-pregnancy.
Week 27 found my weight up 18.5 pounds from pre-pregnancy.

I had a doctor's appointment this week, and everything is measuring on schedule. My blood pressure looks good. The doctor said that my placenta is anterior, so I probably don't feel the baby as much as some other people might. Still, I feel her plenty. She is still laying sort of sideways, and spends a lot of time kicking my left side and punching down near my bladder. Fortunately, she mostly misses the bladder! Everything feels good, except that I am starting to get very round, and I am already running out of room. I am never hungry any more, and eating has become a chore. I constantly feel full! I know it's only going to get more uncomfortable, which is a little disconcerting.

This morning when I got into work, I have to let them know about the possibility of this new job. I'm not excited to do that, needless to say, but I need a background check before I can get a firm offer from the new job, and I can't get the background check completed without them talking to my office. Ugh. I am obviously worried that my office will start viewing me as a short-timer, and that it will impact my work, or worst case scenario, put me on the chopping block. The impending maternity leave also complicates things. I don't want them to think I'm not coming back, when this new job is not even close to a sure thing (getting background clearance just gets me on a list to be hired off from, when their hiring needs accomodate). Heightening my anxiety is the fact that layoffs are currently underway. I am reasonably comfortable that I am secure--I work hard and have done good work for them, and they desperately need people in my position. But still, particularly given that my maternity leave is coming up, I am feeling vulnerable, especially in this economy. I am hoping that I can tell a few key people that can work with the background examiner, and that it can otherwise be discreet.

So much craziness!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Weekend Update

Over the last few days, a friend has been nagging me to call my doctor's office. There is the spotting, and then there is the mild tightening of my lower belly that's been happening periodically. I wasn't particularly concerned (very, very light pinkish brown spotting most days this week, and last week, actually; the tightening is weird, but it doesn't hurt, and there's no apparent rhyme or reason to it.) So, I didn't worry about it. My friend, on the other hand, thought that I should just check in. Of course, with my very conservative OB's practice, my call landed me in the office yesterday afternoon for an ultrasound.

It was all good news. My cervix looks fine. The baby looks great. She was face down, so we didn't get to see her face, but the tech spent a lot of time going over her whole body and taking measurements, since we were there anyway. She currently weighs 1 lb, 11 ounces, and her heartbeat was at 144. As I expected from the general areas I feel her (upper right side of my abdomen and lower left side), she is laying crossways, with her bum against my right side and her legs crossed. Her hands are up by her head. I got an adorable photo from the tech of the bottoms of her little feet. It was very funny, because she started punching the tech as she tried to do the ultrasound, and the tech felt her doing it.

Measurements also reminded me that I haven't posted about my discussion with my mom about her labors with my brother and I. She said that I was a 7 pound baby and my little brother a 9 pound baby. Her labor with me was worse, though, because she had back labor. She was only in labor for five hours after she went to the hospital, though. They broke her water, and I was born just five hours later. Hopefully, this will mean short and easy labors for me, too! The one weird coincidence is that my mom told me that she only weighed 112 pounds when she got pregnant with me. She had no idea how much I weighed when I got pregnant when she told me this, but that's EXACTLY how much I weighed at the time I got pregant! I thought that was an amazing coincidence. Of course, when she had me, she was a good 17 years younger than I am now, and probably in much better shape.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Quick Update At 25 Weeks

Overall, things are going well. My belly is getting bigger, although the rest of me doesn't seem to be. I am up 15 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I had a routine visit with my gastroenterologist, and because of the abdominal pain I'd been having, she ran pancreatic and liver panels just to make sure everything was okay. They came back fine, but she said I need to make an effort to eat more protein. I was so disappointed. I have been struggling with the protein, because it's the only thing I just DON'T want to eat, but I thought I'd been forcing enough of it down my throat. Apparently not. So, I've redoubled my efforts. Oh, and I've dropped the high-fiber cereal from my diet (eggs, instead--meh), and since then, no more abdominal pain. Well, at least we've gotten to the bottom of both issues!

The only disconcerting thing is that I've started lightly spotting again. I'm not having any cramps or anything else that would send me flying to the doctors. They told me last time to check in with them if I had any other warning signs of preterm labor, but since it's just a tiny, tiny bit of pink spotting every few days, I'm trying not to freak out, and I'm keeping a close eye on things. My next appointment is in two weeks. If anything changes or becomes more worrisome, I'll call before then.

The baby is becoming more and more active. I can feel her throughout the day now. The funny part is feeling her in two places at once. It's weird to think that she's gotten that big! It's so exciting, though.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Fear That Binds

We are freshly returned from our long weekend away, which will probably be our last before the baby comes. I went for the job interview for that new job that I so desperately want, and it went very, very well. I still have to pass a few more steps before I find out if I'll be getting a firm offer, but things are looking very good.

And yet, upon learning how well my interview went, I was not ecstatic. I was worried and afraid. Not of getting the job--I would be over the moon if I got the job, despite the major lifestyle chaos it would bring my way for a while (ie, major move + new baby). I'm totally up for that. No, the fear is of NOT getting the job, which is simply ridiculous. I have been beating myself up with worry about all of the things that could go wrong, and what I will do if they don't make me an offer.

After much thought over the last few days, it's made me realize what a negative impact fear has had on my life over the last five years. I have been so afraid of failure on a number of fronts that I have not even tried. Which is so weird, because in life, I am generally bold and tough and a risk-taker. In my day-to-day worklife, I am generally confident I will succeed. In my personal life, though, I tend to try to avoid things I think I might fail at, which is absurd. I almost didn't try for this job, because I'd heard that it was very tough to get in and only a small percentage of the people who go through it actually get a job offer. But look at me--here I am, and I made it through the first three phases of the hiring process, on my first try, despite the crazy odds that I had heard so much about. I clearly need to have more faith.

I have wasted so much time worrying about things that may never happen. All of those early months spent NOT enjoying my pregnancy, because of the fear it would end in failure again. So many opportunities not pursued, because they might not work out. I have not even attempted to do things that I absolutely should have done, because I didn't think they would come to fruition. In some cases, my life is actually worse off because I have not done what I clearly should have done, because I was held back by my fear. But what's the danger, really, in failing? Rejection? I can handle that. Failure itself? I have been there; I can do that. Embarassment? Well, what is to be embarassed about, really? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you are afraid to try, then you will most certainly be stuck where you are forever, and that's not a very good alternative. When I sit and think about it, I cannot even articulate why I have allowed fear to reign in some aspects of my life.

This job is the only thing that I want to do next professionally. I haven't been able to come up with another alternative that is even remotely appealing to me. I have decided that I am going to forge ahead, and try to avoid the negative thinking and the self-doubt, the worries in the back of my mind that maybe it won't work out. There is a possibility that it won't work out, but there is an even better possibility: maybe it WILL, and that is what I need to focus on.

PS Congratulations to Jamie , who gave birth to the very gorgeous Cade on Thursday--who is himself the epitome of proof that it's worth pushing through failure, fear, and self-doubt to see what might happen on the other side.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chaos Reigns (almost 24 weeks)

First, some utterly boring musings:

I have been on the fence about the flu shot (I never get them, and I've never gotten the flu), and when I brought up the issue at my doctors appointment last week, my doctor admitted that she never gets them, either. And, she has kids, so I assume that means she didn't get one while pregnant, either. She did say, however, that the death rate in Australia has been 6 times higher for pregnant women due to pneumonia complications, basically because late pregnancy already interferes with breathing, and severe pneumonia just leads to complications. She said that she and her partners still have to decide if they are going to get them, and they may force her to get one this year. I still have to do more research. I don't really want to get it (particularly the H1.N1, which seems to have been so rushed), but feel like I should.

I also had an appointment last week with my G.I. dr, who has wanted to see me more frequently due to the pregnancy. I have been having some pain on my lower right side for the last 3-4 weeks. It is probably just due to baby plus digestion, but it gets to be fairly severe, and I still have a long way to go in my pregnancy. She took some blood to run liver and pancreas function tests, which she said can go haywire during pregnancy, just to be sure there's not an issue, and told me to call if I had any fevers, as it could be signs of an appendix issue. That's all I need--to get appendicitis while pregnant! She wasn't overly worried, though.

I think I was still up only about 12 pounds when I hit 23 weeks. Tomorrow is the day I do my weight check, and I'll hit 24 weeks tomorrow. I think I've actually gained a little bit of weight this week, which is good.

And now, for the (also pretty boring) drama:

On top of work being a complete whirlwind (major deadlines moved up by a week (!!) unexpectedly; minor projects due; major projects due; and, my primary assistant quit and left last week because she didn't want to deal with office politics any more), I also leave tomorrow for 5 days for my interview. We're combining it with a visit to my mom's, which I'm excited about, but when we planned this trip and I scheduled my interview, I had no idea that life was going to be so absolutely crazy right now.

So of course, in the midst of all of this chaos and drama, I got a cryptic email from my doula asking which OB practice I am seeing, and then telling me she needed to talk to me. After a few emails back and forth, she said she thought she'd better come see me to talk about the issue in person. Huh?

It turns out that she was talking to a group of other doulas, and the conversation just happened to turn to my OB practice. It turns out that my practice has a very bad reputation for being high-intervention. . .routine episiotomies, 2 hour pushing limits before c-section is required, etc.--all things my doula knows I don't want. My doula is amazing, and is completely supportive of whatever I want to do, but she didn't want to keep information from me. The list of issues went on and on, but one doula apparently even told my doula she won't take clients from my OB's office any more, because women have uniformly had such negative birth experiences. She said that there were three doulas there talking about their former clients' negative experiences, and all said that their clients were happy with the practice and the care they received, until they got into the delivery room. She said the doctors told the clients that they were on board with birth plans, and encouraged them during prenatal visits. . .only to completely ignore them in the delivery room. In fact, my doula said that my doctor has the very worst reputation of all (and she just gave me my doctor's name, as being the one with the worst reputation--she had no idea who my OB actually was).

I am not some overly crunchy earth-mother type. In fact, I am pretty mainstream, and happy with a lot of medicine, generally (um, this pregnancy has clearly been evidence of that--you think I need 7 ultrasounds during my pregnancy. . .by all means, do them! Chorionic Villus Sampling? Sign me up!). But I really, really don't want to be cut open. I've never had to have surgery, and I don't want to start now. The US C-section rate is so many times WHO standards and those of many other nations that I have to believe that there is something wrong with the American system, and not American women's bodies. I know so many women who blythely talk about their c-sections like they are no big deal, and even women who have sought them out on an elective basis. I am not one of those women. It's major surgery, with major recovery needed. And then there is just the increased risk of dying. . .simply intolerable to me.

I feel like I've thought about the birth more than some women seem to. Perhaps I've intellectualized too much a thing that isn't meant to be intellectualized, but. . . When I read other womens' blogs and talk to women about their births, many women just seem to fly by the seat of their pants and go with what their local establishment recommends. While they may be worried about the birth, or have had what they consider a tough birth, they just seem to go with it, and not stress about arranging any of the details for themselves, or wonder whether they could have done something to avoid their "bad" birth. I sort of feel like a lot of women just kind of show up in L&D and take it from there, and deal with whatever comes. Maybe this isn't the case, but it seems that way to me.

I wish I could do that, but I am not hard-wired that way. While I don't see this as a be-all, end-all pivotal life event (the birth. . .the baby's arrival, on the other hand, actually is), I want it to physically go well for me. I don't need to have a positive life experience that I will forever carry forward with me in that earth mother way; I need to have an experience that isn't frightening and horrible physically. I know it will be painful, but I'm not talking about normal labor pain--I'm talking about all of the other stuff that needlessly happens that causes needless pain, like episiotomies and c-sections. And, I feel like by making certain choices now, perhaps I can avoid complications and unnecessary procedures.

That was why we hired a doula. I read the studies that suggested doulas facilitated shorter, easier labors and much lower c-section rates, and that was it for me. It's also why I decided I wanted to deliver at a hospital with a birthing tub, so I could labor in it. It just seems natural to me to labor in water, since it's my usual stress go-to relaxation technique, and it tends to make pain better for me. Plus, it seems to me like lots of warm water MUST help in stretching tissues. Unfortunately, at my appointment last week with my doctor, she also told me that they just got rid of the birthing tub at the hospital I am supposed to deliver at (which is one of the reasons I chose the hospital in the first place) largely because her practice didn't allow their patients to use it, as they felt waterbirth wasn't safe.

I really like my doctor, and I really trust her and all of the other doctors in the practice. It's a small practice with only four doctors. They all have 20+ years of experience, they all went to really good medical schools, and they all trained at top-notch faciliities. If anything were to truly go wrong during my labor, I have every confidence they would get me through it okay. I have received very, very good medical care during my pregnancy, including the referral to a world-class MFM for the genetic testing.

This is where I am struggling. I know that the practice has the medical ability to make things turn out okay if anything goes wrong. But it's that same medical ability that may also turn a perfectly normal birth into a surgical event, simply because they are very conservative in how they practice. It's a double-edged sword: the thing that attracts me to them (the confidence in their medical ability; my feeling of safety) may also result in me getting more medicine than I need or want.

So, at six months pregnant, I am considering whether I should switch to another OB practice, at a different hospital which still has a birthing tub. I have been doing a ton of research again and asking around. It's a little easier to talk to people about now, since people know I'm pregnant. When I was looking before, people didn't know I was pregnant, and it made it hard to ask questions without outing myself to people I didn't necessarily want to be "out" to. My second choice practice, from when I originally chose my OB, was located at a different hospital that is equally far away from my house. I chose my current OB's office because a) a friend had gone there and liked it, and b) my second choice practice was a bit bigger, with about 5 doctors and a bunch of midwives, and some of the doctors had less experience and did not seem quite as highly qualified as my current practice.

The hospital affiliated with my second choice practice has an all-new birth center. They are affiliated with a major children's hospital. They have a much-touted birthing tub, promote waterbirth, have jacuzzis, etc. From what I've picked up so far, local women who are concerned about truly having a "natural" birth (which is sort of my concern, although I think most women want a natural birth for reasons a little different from my own) deliver at this hospital, as opposed to one of the three others that are available.

My doula has been terrific about working to get me more information, too. She's reached out to additional doulas and L&D nurses that she has for contacts. All highly recommended my second choice practice. All highly recommended the hospital affiliated with my second choice practice. One of the women she talked to said that she's never heard a birth story from someone satisified with my current practice. My doula also told me an interesting story about the doctor I happen to be looking at in this new practice (my doula has no idea I am even considering this woman). She said that the L&D nurse told her that the doctor had a patient who had serious high blood pressure issues, and was on mag. The patient was in labor, and really wanted a natural birth. The doctor personally sat with her for nine hours during her labor. Not once did the doctor mention a c-section, although at one point when things weren't looking very good, the doctor did talk about needing to talk about other options, if things continued down that path. They didn't, and the woman went on to have a healthy natural delivery. THAT's the kind of doctor I want--one who keeps me safe, and works with me.

It seems like this should be a no-brainer and that I should switch practices. And yet. . .there are a couple of doctors in this other practice that I don't love, at least on paper. I don't really want a doctor at my delivery who has only been practicing for 6 years, and is a D.O. rather than an M.D. Yes, I know credentials are not everything, but that doesn't feel like it measures up to 20+ years of experience, top medical school, top training. I can't control who ends up in L&D with me, because it's the luck of the draw on who's on call.

I'm going to try to tour this other hospital in the next week or so, and try to see if I can get a "consult" visit with this new practice, to sort of feel them out. I think in the end, I would probably be happier giving birth at this other hospital. But the neurotic part of me is reluctant to give up top-notch medical care, even if maybe it's too much medicine.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Curious Case of the Roadside Memorial

When people die, I am a big fan of tributes to their lives, which have hopefully been lived well. My favorite memorials involve lots of tears and lots of laughter. . .and lots of beers, but I digress. I am not such a big fan of focusing on the death itself, because mostly, there is no good to come of it. Roadside memorials, in particular, creep me out. They are a perpetual reminder of a horrible end, rather than a celebration of the good things that the person in question brought to this earth. In my opinion, they are just about the bad. I can see the argument that they bring attention to dangerous stretches of roadway, etc., but I would like to hope that most people understand by now that car travel, particular at high speeds, can be dangerous.

There is a road that I generally travel at least twice a day. The speed limit is rather low (35mph), and the road is very straight, and heavily wooded, although the trees are trimmed back quite far from the road. It was with great curiousity, then, that I began to notice something odd popping up at an intersection in the middle of the wooded straightaway. First it was a flowering plant, nestled into the earth just west of the intersection. Then, the next day, another. And another the day after that.

Each day, morning and night, I would eagerly check out the site on my way by, curious to see what was new and different this time. The plants actually changed at one point, to a taller variety. Each day, there seemed to be one or two more plants than the day before. Yet, it did not appear to be a garden planned by anyone who had a right to be gardening there amidst the trees. The efforts seemed to happen slowly, in stages. There was something very furtive about the way the little garden appeared, changed, and grew. It was very strange.

Then one morning, I caught site of one of those mirrored garden balls. It wasn't in amongst the plants, but rather out near the street. It changed position a few times over the next few days. Then, a few days later, a small cross of rocks was built upon it. It was then that I realized it must be a roadside memorial of some sort, which I also thought was very odd, since I haven't seen or heard of any accidents at that location.

I have been wondering for weeks about the story behind this little garden, about what motivated the furtive gardener who put all of this there. Somebody spent a lot of time and money building this green memorial, with its blue garden ball cross. It meant quite a lot to someone, to build it so slowly, to tear things out and put new things in, to make it just so.

Then yesterday, as I came by, I saw a white pickup truck with a trailer backed up next to the little garden. A man, clearly the "hired help," most likely for the adjoining estate that owns the property, was tearing the plants out by the roots. When I came by a while later, every last plant, the garden ball, the cross--everything--had been removed, and the area raked over, forestland once more.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weight Off My Mind

. . .no pun intended, but my doctor expressed no concern at all today at my montly appointment about my weight gain, or lack of it. I have only gained a pound in the last month, but she says I am measuring right on track and all of the scans of the baby have looked great, so she has no concerns. She said that if I couldn't eat, she might be concerned, but since I am eating healthy and regularly, there are no worries--the baby is getting what she needs. So, on to something new to obsess about.

Luckily, I have plenty of other things to worry about. Work is CRAZY busy. I have a huge project coming up in November, and I am slammed with work on that, on top of a few other huge things that are on my plate at the office. I know that it will all get done. . .somehow. It's starting to wear on me a tad, though. It's harder than I thought it would be to focus on baby, house renovation, volunteer work, major projects at work, and looking for a new job, all at once. I know that the obvious solution would be to drop back on some of that stuff (the volunteer work would be the obvious choice), and I am slowly trying to pull back a little, but it's hard to give up things when I am so into all of them.

Truthfully, I am not investing a huge amount of time in looking for a new job at this point, since a) it will be six months before I could start, and b) there is only one job I really want, and I scheduled the job interview months ago (I know--weird that it got scheduled so far in advance; that's just the way it works for these positions) for a date in late September. That means that the interiew for that job I so very much want is NEXT WEEK! How did it get to be late September already? Given that I scheduled it months ago, it's almost surprising to me that it's finally here. It seemed so far away at the time I scheduled it, but I was worried about scheduling it any sooner, given the baby situation. I am equal parts excited and nervous about next week. I have been trudging along the complicated application pipeline for seven months now, and I am finally at the make-or-break point. I will be devestated if I don't get it.

Of course, getting this most amazing new job would also turn my world completely upside down (it will involve a major move away from family and friends, possibly shortly after the baby is born), albeit in a really great way. The job is just an incredible opportunity, which definitely includes sacrifices and hardships (like moving away from family and friends, among many other things), but it also would allow me to do some really great things, and possibly even make a huge difference in our world. Keep your fingers crossed for me, as I do my final prep for this amazing opportunity. I really want to perform well in this interview. I really want to be given a shot at this job. It seems like a crazy time in my life to be going for this, but it just feels so right. Now if I can just make it all happen for myself!

In a nutshell, there's TONS for me to obsess over right now.