Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

on being pregnant

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

I should preface this by providing a tiny bit of background to complement my last post, mostly directed to my old readers who may remember another post at one point in time where I discussed not having children and why I was okay with that (which I truly believe I was, at the time) … very long story summarized in 23 words: Shawn and I became friends in 1998, in 2015 we became more than friends, and in 2016 we became parents. I was 39, he was 38.

Moving right along…

I want to share my pregnancy with you in case anyone has stumbled upon my blog because you are Googling pregnancy-related symptoms. Some women are lucky and just breeze through pregnancy like it’s nothing. Others, despite a healthy pregnancy, are not so lucky and get, what I have coined, Really Weird Pregnancy-Related Symptoms – or RWPRS. Pregnancy is a MASSIVE undertaking by the body. MASSIVE! We literally grow a human FROM SCRATCH inside our bodies, from two main ingredients, in nine short months… And then a HUMAN BEING. That is HUGE! Every human being on this planet (as far as I know) all grew inside another human being. Nature is amazing!

Like, if you’re a woman who is pregnant for the first time, or thinking of getting pregnant, have this dialog with yourself for a second (you will play two roles).

Role 1: What have you been up to?
Role 2: Oh nothing, really (sips warm water with lemon slice because you read somewhere that some herbal teas could cause uterine contractions). I am just in the middle of growing a human being inside my body.

I was morning sick for six weeks, from weeks six to 12. It’s all a bit of a blur now but I will never forget how heinous the feeling was. For me, it was like feeling motion sick 24-hours-a-day and never actually throwing up. I was prescribed Diclectin to try to deal but that made my existing baby-building exhaustion feel like it quadrupled. Work, let alone things that should be done safely almost became a health hazard. I actually called 811 one night because I believed my exhaustion was actually a medical emergency. Then, really just like that, the nausea subsided around week 12 and never came back.

Shortly thereafter, I developed other pregnancy-related symptoms and kept developing new pregnancy-related symptoms on top of existing pregnancy-related symptoms pretty well for the duration of my pregnancy. They were, in order of appearance:

Round ligament pain

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome with associated pain in both wrists and hands

Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome (like CTS but in feet)

Muffled hearing in my left ear (submerge head in water. listen).

Placenta Praevia (mine was classified as “minor” in that sense that it didn’t completely grow over my cervical neck)

Irritable Uterus (yes, you read that right). This is what my tummy looked like when my uterus was feeling irritated (the bandaid over my belly button was because it was sticking out a bit and when anything touched it, I nearly barfed from how terrible it felt):

Polyhydramnios (which eventually went away by my 37th week)

I started showing signs of developing pre-eclampsia in my 38th week of pregnancy by way of an increasing blood pressure. I was induced on my due-date at 40 weeks because of this.

Oh, and I’ll add Gestational Diabetes here even though I was never officially diagnosed by a medical practitioner. I basically diagnosed myself because I failed the glucose test by 0.1 point. In other words, 10.0 is a GD diagnosis, my score was 9.9. So, basically diabetes. And no, you don’t need to be a total pig/sugar addict to get GD. You just need to be yourself.

Really, during this time, my advice is to only associate with other pregnant people who, too, are suffering (or have suffered) from strange or uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Talk to people who are in your shoes, they’re an invaluable source of comfort. Or, if you truly are the only pregnant person on earth who is experiencing persistent, uncomfortable pregnancy-related symptoms (it can feel that way) then talk to people who empathise.

If you’re like me, and you’re intuitive, hyper-sensitive, hyper-attuned, and just completely immersed in life in general (basically a walking ball of emotion), you may feel things (physical/emotional) quite intensely and people who dismiss the magnitude of your experience, or downplay it, or make you feel like you need to “suck it up,” aren’t going to leave you feeling very good. So, bye Felicia. Seek those with bigger ears than mouths. (You’re probably thinking something so profound must be a centuries-old proverb, but, would you believe me if I told you I just made that up?!)

Find your people and complain liberally with someone who can relate and you can whine together and have conversations that go like this:

You: I know.
Friend: I know!
You: Me too!
Friend: Ugh, same.
You: Oh trust me, I know.
Friend: Love you.
You: Love you, too.
Hug.

You don’t want to be complaining to people whose pregnancies are/were easy. They will immediately recognize the desperation your crazy eyes then will be put in the very uncomfortable position of having to basically say, “I can’t say I know what you’re talking about.” Or, they will resort to frantically searching for at least one pregnancy inconvenience with which to share with you and probably come up with something like, “Oh wait, I was constipated once.”

If all else fails, hunker down and don’t share the joyless pregnancy experiences with anyone. That’s okay, too. Be just a big, basic pregnant belly on the outside. But on the inside, do just let yourself feel everything. Barring any kind of severe anxiety or panic that may require a medical professional get involved, my advice is to just let your feelings be felt – you do deserve that. Pregnancy is a very, very bd. Oh and, your body is also being flooded with more estrogen than it ever has so… well, you know what that can mean.

There are a lot of rules and instructions around pregnancy that I had to navigate and use critical thinking for. Here is a graphic rendering of my mind at this time:

It’s easy to want to be perfect when you are given the mammoth responsibility of maintaining the developing life of something that is entirely dependent on your body to survive. And for some, I know the fear of the worst case can be quite immense and heavy; especially if experienced before. So, you kind of, by default, just want to do everything right – all the time. It’s more intense at the start, and most likely limited to first pregnancies, but I found that eventually I did relax and it came mostly when I started to look pregnant. For me, that was the first discernible sign that things were still in progress.

In the face of all the above it stands to mention that I was also so in love with the reality that I was pregnant. I was so fascinated by the process and so connected to my little fetus. I spent a lot of time daydreaming, imagining, and visualising. I sang all the folk and spiritual songs my grandparents and mom used to sing to my brother and I when they would tuck us in at night. Summertime; Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Michael Row the Boat Ashore; Mama’s Little Baby; Little Buckaroo; All the Pretty Little Horses; Hushabye; Turn Around (I have such tender memories of listening to their voices singing us to sleep, just typing this out makes me feel all snuggly. I had to list them all!), my voice sounded amazing in the shower! I would spend a lot of time gently rubbing my belly with enough pressure that, I imagined, could be felt on the inside. When I would walk Lily, I would talk about all the things I was passing by that I couldn’t wait for our baby to see, and touch, and hear. Shawn would talk to my tummy, too. Talk about his day, his excitement, or just say hello or goodnight. One thing that I really couldn’t wait to do was to hold his little feet in my hands and roll his little toes between my fingers. I have no idea why that was my most anticipated activity once he was on the outside, but it was.

You see, it’s all so much to take in and be a part of. You can’t really know unless it happens to you and everyone’s experience will feel different. There’s no guarantee it will be easy, there’s no guarantee that you will be connected, there’s no guarantee that you will like it, and there’s no guarantee that you will love it like some people do. You will like parts that others have hated and vice versa.

Pregnancy is such a unique life experience in that something that is literally connected to, and developing inside, you is so out of reach and so out of your control for nine long months. You’ll never get closer to something you can not touch.

It’s cray.

sniffle… for f-sakes… sniffle… Puerto Vallarta… sneeze… FML.

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

start: 2013Feb07

It’s presently, godforsaken, 4:34 in the morning and I’m on the sofa in the living room writing this post from my iPhone. I’ve basically been up since 12:01 AM and things unraveled as such: I fell asleep thereafter for seven minutes then woke up at 12:08 unable to believe only seven minutes had passed. I then tossed left, right, sat up, lay back down, then fell asleep again. 28 minutes passed during this second nap and I woke up again. My mouth felt like what I imagine an old camel’s would after a 10-hour shift of hauling tourists all day around the Sahara Desert. There was no way I was going to fall into slumber under such conditions and turned to study Nick’s face instead.

He lay beside me in a heavy sleep, breathing deeply and rhythmically through his clear, breezy nostrils. His peace almost brought tears to my eyes until I realised they were probably watering because the fluid in my face had nowhere else to go.

i.was.fucking.disgusting! It’s better that Nick was sleeping so as to not be a witness to the haggard monster that I turned into since we hugged and kissed each other good night only hours earlier. “You’re so beautiful,” he said to me with heavy, lusty eyes while brushing my hair off my face and kissing my forehead, “I’m so lucky to have such an angelic, dainty girl friend.”

I’m just kidding, he didn’t really say that – but, he was so obviously thinking it. I really just included that for dramatic effect so you can better visualise just how ghastly things had become since we said good night.

I tried desperately to absorb some of his slumber via osmosis, telepathy, vicariously, anything. I tried breathing in sync with him and only ended up basically hyperventilating because my sinuses weren’t allowing me to draw a nice lungful of air and his slow, deep-sleep breathing left me gasping for it and I was downright defiant over being forced to breathe through my mouth so I settled for all that my only available (although barely) nostril would afford me. Okay, okay, I admit that in my defiance things did become desperate as I really couldn’t breathe properly, so then, like a fish out of water, I would gasp quickly through my mouth without knowing it was coming and then shut my mouth again.

Vicarious breathing techniques were a fail.

I swear, under the slices of streetlight sneaking past our curtains, Nick actually looked like he was smiling. Or, maybe a shadow was just in perfect position. Or, maybe I was just looking for something to be angry about.

Nick was oblivious to the torment that was going on beside him only a foot extension away – thank god. I was in tumult as I started to make matters worse by psyching myself out as I anticipated what was obviously going to become a complete blockage of both nostrillular (I made that word up) airways at some point. When I get sick, my sinuses do not mess around, as noted in a past post: TMI in the kitchen with Andrea. It’s like they fight over which one is going to be the most congested then, when they cannot agree, they both just slam the door on each other thereby closing off all chances of me breathing through my nose.

Let me tell you, it’s very hard trying to contain the need to thrash around, blow your nose, sneeze, and cough in an effort to respectfully not disturb the person beside you who has to be up in five hours for an early morning shift. When a cold manifests in such a way, I really am better off on my own island.

To make matters even more ridiculous, we are flying to Puerto Vallarta in four days. I’m banking on getting my shit together before then, otherwise I dread, with every cell in my body, having to fly with a congested face. I’m hoping, though, that it’ll clear up by the time I get there and am in the warmth and sunshine.

At 2:47, I eventually got up and visited the medicine cabinet. In a total fog and complete inability to understand time, I wracked my brain trying to count the hours since my last administration of decongestant and anti-inflammatory drugs. My mistake was to separate my Advils from my decongestants so I couldn’t remember when I had last taken which. “Was it two o’clock that I took that decongestant? Or, was it two hours ago? Or wait, maybe I took the Advil two hours ago and was supposed to take the decongestant two hours later?” I popped them both anyway.

You know what’s really stupid of me? When I’m taking over-the-counter medication like this and it seems like I might be taking way more than the directions are advising, I actually take the time to tell myself, “If you were in a hospital they’d give you quadruple the strength of medicine than those silly little pills you’re holding in your hand right now.” and, that’s how I feel better about exceeding the recommended dose.*

For fuck sakes, Nick’s alarm is going to be going off in an hour. He’ll open his eyes, expecting me to be there, but instead he’ll find me on the sofa buried by Kleenexes, smelling like Vicks and a camel.

Sinus

It’s getting hard to type this on my phone so I think I’m going to try to close my eyes sitting up and hope for the best. I will write more when I am less upset with my circumstances.

2013Feb13 – Greetings from Hotel Catedral Vallarta.

I AM in the hell of all hells right now.

First of all, remember when I was terrified of flying congested? Well, my nightmare came true during our descent into Puerto Vallarta. My popping ears were nothing compared to the immense, shocking, severe pain that was radiating across my entire forehead. Your forehead? you ask. Yes, my forehead! I compare the feeling to how, I imagine, it would feel if someone slowly began ripping the skin off my forehead to reveal the fresh, raw flesh underneath. Then, after doing that, they would take some sand paper (coarse grade) and rub it side to side, but, not before spraying the area with rubbing alcohol first. It was almost so unbearable I contemplated calling the flight attendant but then figured there really wasn’t anything she could do for me. To make matters worse, Nick was two rows behind me. I didn’t even have his hand to crush, or his shoulder to snot on, or his expressions of sympathy and complete and utter pity. Instead, I was against the window beside a couple that brought their own freshly washed veggies in individual Zip-loc bags. I had basically been blowing my nose and/or sneezing and/or coughing the entire flight and I’m sure they were making plans to disinfect themselves upon landing. I tried so hard to keep it away from them and did all the courteous things like coughing and sneezing inside my sweater and using hand-sanitizer practically every 10 minutes. I knew they really hated me, though, when I asked the lady beside me if I could borrow her pen (which was sticking out of the pocket in front of her) so I could fill out our declaration forms. Her tray was down at this point but the pen was most definitely jutting out beyond the level of the tray. She told me that she “couldn’t reach it” because her “tray was down.” At that moment I felt so sorry for myself I just curled into a ball, threw my hoodie over my head, closed my eyes and wished death would hurry up.

Since landing, I have gotten worse if that was at all possible. I’m typing this from our bed while Nick’s on the veranda of our boutique hotel reading contently under the warmth of the sun; where I should be. Instead, I can’t fight the urge to rest and sleep. This, whatever it is, has completely overcome me while I am on vacation and I can’t even begin to describe how frustrated I am. It’s our second night here and I can just feel the sickness setting in. This is way beyond the little cold I thought I was going to have to contend with. My poor body, it’s like, stop moving right now! But my conscience is like, but I’m in Old Town Puerto Vallarta, leave me alone! I can feel it moving downward, too. As if staying in my face was too boring. I can tell by the cough I just developed this morning that it’s unfriendly and likely very vicious. It BETTER not become bronchitis while I’m in Mexico.

We had a wonderful and romantic supper last night on the beach at the ocean. Candles on all the tables, waves crashing on the shore. It’s so fun walking up to a dinner table with your toes in the sand. I had a couple delicious-looking Pina Coladas and some margaritas and a delectable-looking, serious, Fajita, however, I have no idea what they tasted like. I had to use my imagination and also made Nick taste everything then describe the flavour in great detail. It felt like such a waste.

But nooooo, I’m on vacation in Mexico. My body and I are in a big argument because I refuse to feel shitty while lying down. Instead, I’ve been feeling shitty while doing all the things that people who are not feeling shitty would be doing. I’m sure it’s quite counter-productive but I’m stubborn plus would feel guilty if Nick was stuck playing night nurse this entire time.

Anyway, have you heard of “rebound congestion?” I took Afrin yesterday because the pressure building up in my face was making my eyeballs feel like they were about to pop out of my face and run away only to never return. It’s a very annoying feeling. That, coupled with sinuses that are so inflamed that I can’t get any air in or out of them (probably the worst part for me), has made me so tense which is thereby making me even more tense at being tense in the first place. So, I lapsed and took some snorts in desperation. For four whole hours I could breathe through my nose. We swam in the ocean, rode the crashing waves, slept on the beach, walked the streets of Old Vallarta, and hiked up to where the money homes are – you know, the ones owned by rich foreigners.

Come the fifth hour I could actually feel my tissues closing up again with each inhalation. I felt like Cinderella at midnight. It was so deflating and it happened so fast, too. I spent last night feeling even more congested than I ever had thus far – if that was even possible. The only way I can properly illustrate the condition is exactly like this (those are corks):

Corks

(don’t you love how my hairstyle keeps changing? I think I look like a backup singer for Bon Jovi here)

Anyway, tomorrow is v-day. The day when I’m supposed to feel pretty, romantic and smell nice as Nick and I celebrate our romance. I wish I could feel a little more fancy, and Valentine-y, but I think I’ll be feeling more Frankenstein-y than anything. Oh well, thankfully Nick’s in it for the long haul, eh?!

Alright, I don’t want to be the vacationing blogger, especially when I don’t have many lifelines left while my condition seems to worsen with every character I enter.

I’ll leave you on this sick note. Olé!

*This is honestly in the most extreme of cases and the only time I’ll classify anything as extreme is when it has to do with my sinuses. Like, I could lose an arm in a shark attack and reject the painkillers; THAT’S how resilient I am.

Fifty Shades of WTF.

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

(I’m angry and it will be obvious.)
(I’m sorry if you’re a big fan of this book.)
(Maybe don’t read any further.)

I gave in to the hype of Fifty Shades of Grey in June. It is abominable.

Poor Nick was around me more often than he may have liked while I was reading and had to suffer through my agitated and fanatical grievances over, what seemed like an endless and alarming amount of, bullshit erotica crap. This book certainly did not champion, nor bring new meaning to, our sex life. If anything, Nick was looking for a complaints department. It’s like I’d be reading in bed gripped by the wrath of rage that it was conjuring in me and Nick would be all “Mmmm, let’s make out.” And I’d be all, “Mmm, no, wait, don’t touch me. Ana’s inner goddess just pole-vaulted over the fifteen foot bar, I think I’m going to be sick.” So he’d roll over defeated and grumble something like, “What does that even mean? Fucking book.”

I never read Twilight or watched any of the movies. Apparently the author, a big fan of the Twilight series, thought the only thing the main characters were lacking between each other was sex, so she took it upon herself to satisfy her need for dark, Twilight sex between her favouriteist characters and wrote the Fifty Shades trilogy. I honestly bought this book because I was expecting to be seduced by it. I wanted something juicy that was going to make me wanna just a little more than I already wanna. But noooooo. It made me wanna barf up pancakes at every page turn.

First of all, this book is written in such a puerile and shoddy way, it actually alarmed me. No, actually, at first it made me laugh, then as it wore on it actually made me furious. I started to question the motivations of every single, damn person involved in this book. From writer (I use that term very loosely) to publisher to promoter to whoever the braniac is who decided it should be a Hollywood movie. Second of all, I nearly screamed my tonsils back into my throat when I read that her research for this book came from none other than the internet. Or wait, sorry, not only that but she also contacted various “experts” whom she also found on the internet. Wai.. wai.. wait.. what?? The internet? Not from reading Anaïs Nin or Anne Desclos? Maybe Clan of the Cave Bear? Or from watching 9 1/2 Weeks, at least? Not even a nebulous, lust-filled past? A memoir? A roll in the hay with nipple clamps? Not even that? The internet? This bugs me even more because I think, if the stupid internet didn’t exist then Fifty Shades of Grey wouldn’t either.

I know by this point, some of you are not feeling sorry for me and thinking, “Then why the hell did you keep reading it?” Okay, well it’d be like this: Think back to the last time you had a glorious moment of shameless gluttony. Pick your poison-maybe a 43 g bag of sour cream and onion chips? Maybe a tub of ice cream? A huge Toblerone bar? A bag of Oreo cookies? You’ve started eating away and five mouthfulls in you know it’s going to be ugly, you know that damage will be done to your organs if you continue at that pace, and yet, there is no way you’ll be able to stop. So, you go through these transitions:

optimism and hope
apprehension
retreat! retreat!
defeat
unglued
retreat?
…defeat
recoil
weaken
re…
……treee
defeat
resign.

It was similar to that.

Okay, we’ve got 22-year old Anastasia Steele (first of all…). She’s portrayed as a virginous, naïve, doe-eyed, clumsy, stunned, sassy whippersnapper; who is also described as intelligent and academic, otherwise known as a complete mess of an oxymoron.  She’s like Barbie: fun to play with but, turn her into a real-life woman and you’d be terrified.

 

 

At least, I HOPE you’d be terrified.

I guess part of her problem is that she’s almost too cliché. Like, of course she’s a virgin, of course she’s beautiful, of course she’s naïve, of course she wears Converse, of course she wears her hair in pigtails (Christian Grey thinks these are cute? What?!?! Pfft, they’re just pig tails), of course she drives a classic VW Beetle, of course finds herself so unimpressive even though the rest of her social network thinks she’s Eva Peron. Of course she has never owned a laptop or had an email address. Of course this is all meant to be unassuming but reeks to the high heavens of manipulative predictable banalities.  Oh andof course she’s able to abate a devastatingly gorgeous, mysterious, grossly rich, aristocratic, elusive, stoic, troubled, control freak who is, {of course} into kinky, dominating sex. There really is zero depth to her and she’s about as flat as a paper doll. Betsy here is probably more interesting…

McCall’s July, 1905

For most of the book Ana is obtuse, clenching the muscles deep in her belly, biting her lower lip, rolling her eyes, talking/arguing/discussing with her inner goddess and subconscious, flushing, moaning, whispering, orienting her vagina “down there,” watching Christian remove “foil packets” from his jeans pocket/jacket pocket/night table (gag); either fawning over Christian, cowering from him, or dancing around his kitchen listening to her iPod (Oops, he caught me. OMG I’m like, so embarrassed!), orgasaming, and crying.

-snore-

Christian is of course astonishingly rich and gorgeous to the point of it almost being illegal. He wears jogging pants just off his hips and plays piano like a melancholic Rachmaninov. He’s aloof, arrogant, elusive, “fifty shades of fucked up” (yawn), a control freak and a stalker who gets turned on by virgins. He doesn’t make love, he “fucks…. hard.” He’s threatening, impatient, aggressive, jackhammers through Ana’s virginity and pulls out her tampons.

But, “he’s sooooo freaking hot!”
“Wow, just… wow.”

Christian spends a lot of time growling, scolding, lecturing, despondent, moping around, moody, and stroking his index finger against his lower lip.

The writing reads like something I would have put together when I was fourteen and I didn’t yet have the maturity and vocabulary to write a story with metaphors and alliteration. Actually, even at fourteen I might have written better than this. Of alllllll the ways, is this really the way it had to be?

“…and my very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.”
What the fuck does a “gentle victorious samba” look like anyway?!!

“My inner goddess has her pom poms in hand – she’s in cheerleading mode.”
I want to punch her inner goddess for this.

“My subconscious is frantically fanning herself, and my inner goddess is swaying and writhing to some primal carnal rhythm.”
Come on.

“Of course. Silly me. Such a sad, exciting score, which no doubt you can play? So many accomplishments, Mr. Grey.”
“And the greatest one is you, Miss Steele.”
Noooooooooooo.

“Laters baby.”
I don’t care how hot he is…

“So you’ve just slept with him, given him your virginity, a man who doesn’t love you. In fact, he has odd ideas about you, wants to make you some sort of kinky sex slave.”
Yep, now just take it one step further and FUCKING RUN, dumb bitch!
(Sorry that might have been out of line).

“I ignore the unwelcome stab of disappointment. Why do I want to spend every single minute with this controlling sex god? Oh yes, I’ve fallen in love with him, and he can fly.”
Wendy, clearly, you’re not listening.

I really could go on, and on, but don’t want to give this book any more of my time and attention. E.L. should be thankful that I devoted 1271 words to writing about her precious book.

he said in text

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

You really don’t have to do that today. Or, if you do, just do the garbage bags, that would be a big help. I can still go Thurs and Fri on my own. You sounded sick and grumpy and I don’t want you to overdo it on account of me. I’m serious. Just do the garbage and drop off the vacuum and I’ll be grateful. No more though, she said.

haha. As if. I would walk around the world on broken legs for you, he said.