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.