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!