Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thanksgiving Meltdown

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of mine. It comes in a close third behind Halloween and Christmas. As a kid there was nothing better than waking up off from school on - let's face it - a random Thursday with the whole house smelling like turkey and stuffing. My sisters and I would stay up the night before with my mom breaking apart bread for the stuffing. It was more about chatting and goofing around than really helping. All Thanksgiving day we would kind of just hang around the house and eat snacks or go outside and play with friends. In the afternoon my grandparents and aunts and uncles would cram into our tiny Southwest Philly rowhouse and get down on my mom's awesome turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and other goodness. Mom always made creamed onions for my grandmom and lima beans for my granddad and I would share with them because I loved that stuff too. Then we'd sit around and watch football and eat pie with whipped cream. I'd doze off listening to my granddad remembering Thanksgiving football games from a hundred years ago and my Uncle Tim and my dad good naturedly driving each other crazy.

This is still Thanksgiving at my mom's. They moved out of the old neighborhood and I've never lived in the house they have now. There are different faces at the table as we kids now all have spouses or significant others. There are always a few college students who couldn't make it home and my mom makes sure her house is home to anyone who needs it. There are faces missing from the table. My brothers and baby sister are in California and my big sister is in Spain - and none of them will make it home. Both of my grandparents are gone but we still have lima beans and creamed onions on the table (mostly because I ask for them). Uncle Tim still takes pictures of food and has too much fun annoying my dad.

I love Thanksgiving for these reasons. I love to be in the kitchen talking about nothing and everything with my sisters and aunts, pretending to help my mom but really just eating cheese and crackers and drinking wine. I love to sit next to my dad and listen to him yell at the TV over a football game he doesn't really care about but still, "that's not the play you wanted!". The madness and the noise and the smells and dear Lord the STUFFING. Even though I've never lived in that house, all of that is home to me. I haven't lived at home for almost 10 years. I have my own home, a husband, and a baby on the way and still, being at my mom's on Thanksgiving is just being home. It's HOME in a larger sense than being in the house where I grew up. It's everything warm and familiar.

Thanksgiving this year is making my head explode, probably in much the same way as it does for most married people. It has never been an issue for us before because Frank was working or I was working or my parents were off visiting my far flung siblings or my mother in law had other plans. It has always worked out so that there has never had to be an actual decision about where to spend Thanksgiving. This year, not so much. I'm off for Thanksgiving and so is Frank. My parents are staying in town and doing it up, Frank's mom has no other plans and would like us to come to her house. There is also the matter that my parents will be out of town on Christmas so this is really the only holiday I get with them this year.

Obviously, I want to go to my parents'. What else would be the point of the Norman Rockwell picture I painted for you a few paragraphs ago? On the other hand, I haven't seen Frank's mom since the summer and he's her only child and dear God the guilt of not going to her house on Thanksgiving. (Not that she guilts me, because she doesn't. Ever.) I tried getting her to come to my parents' house - we're all family after all - but she didn't love that idea. I've been trying to work out some kind of dinner here, dessert there scenario but I can't get it to make sense because either I'm leaving my mother in law alone on Thanksgiving until dessert, or I'm going to my mom's already having eaten and therefore unable to eat all her delicious holiday goodness - because I certainly can't get away with not eating at my mother in law's Thanksgiving dinner. I really could do the second scenario because my mother in law likes to have her holiday dinners at like 3 in the afternoon so there would be plenty of time to get to my folks' 6pm dinner. But then we're just abandoning her after dinner.

We're all going to ignore the brattiness of my not taking into account where home might be for Frank and that maybe he wants to see his mother on Thanksgiving.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to hurt any body's feelings and I don't want to leave anyone out. I'm resisting the urge to just throw a tantrum and demand my way. Lora is having super-duper-boycott-Thanksgiving-family-stress-day at her house and that's looking like a pretty attractive option right now.

I just want stuffing and biscuits and my mom's couch.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Fine then

So the ultrasound was Wednesday and clearly, we didn't get what we wanted because it's now Friday and I'm just getting around to updating.

The hospital where we go for the ultrasounds is lovely. The rooms are newer and well kept, the equipment seems to be very good, and everyone who works there is extremely pleasant and helpful. I'm encouraged by this because it's where the Chicken is going to be born. Even the doctor who comes in to review the ultrasound is super nice. It's been the same guy both times and he's funny and casual. He takes the time to talk to us and explain things. He chatted about what names we might have in mind and talked about his son's name. It's all quite nice and comfortable.

So forgive me, but I was totally annoyed by my experience with the technician. There were two technicians in the room because apparently the one doing the scan was new and in training. I would have really appreciated someone explaining that, even though I could figure it out by myself. The woman was very new to the system the hospital uses I guess so she was fumbling around a lot and the other woman was giving her direction. In the meantime, I'm laying there,all gooped up, having my belly jammed into by not the gentlest touch with the ultrasound wand. I can barely see the screen because she has it turned mostly towards her face, and neither of them are really explaining what I'm seeing. They didn't even get a picture of the whole baby for my sake. I could have been a training dummy for all the notice they took of me.

The good news is the cyst is completely gone. There is no sign of it anywhere. My question for the doctor is going to be; why then, does it still hurt? Seriously, even as i sit here now typing this, it hurts in that exact spot. My mom and sister both say that it's probably just a little tender still as the tendons stretch and take over that spot. Who knows? At least it's gone.

The frustrating news is the Chicken was face down, butt up, and vertical so we didn't get a look at anything. We did see the spine which looked...spiney enough I guess. The night before I was doing some dishes and I felt the funniest feeling in my belly, like a fist turning over. When the techs said the baby was essentially upside down, I realized that the funny feeling was the baby rolling over. On the night before its big show. I can't believe a child of mine would have stage fright but there it is.

After the techs left and we were waiting for the doctor to come in, we tried the flashlight trick to see if we could get the Chicken to roll back over. Frank has some crazy flashlight application on his iPhone but he was putting it on flash and police car and other blinky madness. I told him to stop giving the baby seizures. It didn't work anyway. The Chicken was still stubborn and upside down for the doctor too.

We go back in 4 weeks for the big anatomy scan. I hope Frank can make it. He's going a little nutty waiting to find out. Truth be told, I am too.

Wednesday was also the 16 week mark which I think means 4 months. I have to say though, that whole month thing is a little wacky. Does this mean I'm starting my 5 month? Am I 4 months pregnant? I'm sure if I stopped and thought about it for a moment I could figure it out, but I much prefer the weekly counting approach anyway.

The baby is about 4 inches long and weighs about 3.5 ounces. Fingernails and toenails are fully formed. The Chicken is now covered with down-like hair called lanugo, which should fall out before birth. Between Frank and me though, there's a good chance this kid is coming out pretty hairy whether the lanugo falls out or not.

At this point, it may become possible to feel the baby move - or turn completely around just in time to break Mom's heart a little. I've been feeling what I think are quickening movements for about a week now. It's a strange experience because it's so fast and so slight, by the time I realize what it was, it's gone and doesn't happen again. Earlier this week I got a tiny little poke and before that, just a few little bubbles popping on my left side. I try to lay really still and quiet so I can feel it but all I mostly feel is the blood pumping hard and then the rhythm of that puts me to sleep. There is movement in there though.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Small Update

There hasn't been much actual information here. Sorry about that. I know you want to read all about what kind of produce the Chicken resembles this week. Here's a little update.

I'm halfway through week 15 and not much is happening. Well, happening to me. All kinds of stuff is happening with the Chicken, such as:

Baby D now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Her legs are growing longer than her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam. There's not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds. Finally, if you have an ultrasound this week, you may be able to find out whether your baby's a boy or a girl! (Don't be too disappointed if it remains a mystery, though. Nailing down your baby's sex depends on the clarity of the picture and on your baby's position.

We have an ultrasound on Wednesday (at exactly 16 weeks) and I will be disappointed if we're not able to find out the sex. The suspense is killing me! The point of the ultrasound is not to determine gender or anything. There's a big ol' cyst on my right ovary and they want to take another look and see if it has changed size at all. I'm hoping for shrinkage but I'm not too concerned. The doctor says it won't affect the Chicken and as long as I can handle the pain (oh yeah, it hurts all the time), they'll leave it alone. I'm hoping for shrinkage just for my own comfort but more than that I'm hoping for the money shot. I'll be giving my belly pep talks that this is no time to be bashful for the next two days. Either show us the goods or you get the flashlight baby!

I had a doctor's appointment umm, almost 2 weeks ago. Anything that wasn't baseball that happened in that two week stretch of the playoffs and World Series is all so very hazy. It's like I was on a baseball bender - which I pretty much was. Anyway, the doctor's visit went well. I only gained 1 more pound in the 4 weeks between appointments, putting me up to 139. Frank finds that hilarious. He listened to the heartbeat again and poked around my belly. He said my uterus was up around 16 - 18 weeks rather than the 14 weeks it was, thanks to the cyst that ate Philadelphia. He said to get a flu shot and don't rent one of those baby dopplers because it will make us crazy. He was supportive of my resistance to the quad screen blood test, ultimately leaving it up to us. It was a short visit.

So we have the ultrasound on Wednesday, then the doctor again the following week, then another ultrasound the week after that for the big anatomy scan.

Speaking of comfort, my love affair with maternity pants is over. I'm still enjoying the forgiving stretchiness of the waistbands, but that's about it. The reality is, they make me feel all fat and schleppy. They're so baggy and saggy - especially in the rear - there's no way to look good in them. I'm always hiking them up to fight the droop. I'm still wearing them every day, but now I hate them every day. There's just no pleasing me, really.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mush and Awe

I'm not much for mushy. Or public declarations of love and fidelity. Sarcastic and withering are much better colors on me. On the inside though, I'm just a big pile of squish that cries at anything.

Frank and I are both this way, although him not so much with the crying. We're not big on being affectionate in public or gushing about each other to people. We don't even hold hands in public that often. A lot of friends and family - and strangers - sometimes don't get our relationship and I think this is at least part of the reason why. When we were engaged I never called him my "fiance" - there is no more annoying word on earth. We were only engaged for a couple of weeks anyway because we are so averse to sharing private stuff with people, we hopped a plane and got married in Vegas, just the two of us.

This is all to say that I'm about to take a moment and expose my squishiness and lay on a big pile of mush, so I'm giving you fair warning to skip this post if you're not in the mood for a gushing love fest.

When I found out I was pregnant, it wasn't like the movies. If I'm being honest, I was very upset and not a little depressed. I cried trying to figure out how to tell Frank, cried when I told him, cried when we came home from the first prenatal visit. I was in a total panic. I felt like a stupid teenager who got herself knocked up and lost her scholarship. There was no consoling me. All of this was not about the baby. Babies don't scare me. Rather, it was that our entire life was about to turn upside down and it was my fault because I ruined everything.

For over 3 years we've been living rent free (and utilities free) in an apartment provided by my boss. It's a one bedroom, 900 square foot deal with a garage right in the middle of the ritziest part of downtown Philadelphia. Needless to say, we've been having a lot of fun these past 3 years without much responsibility. I work long hours and he works crazy hours but still, it's been pretty awesome. We took a lot of vacations at a moment's notice and bought a lot of fun toys (for him) and shoes and handbags (for me) and saved up some money. Like I said though, the apartment is a contract stipulation of my job, which I'm most likely going to lose/quit because I can't/don't want to do this job with a baby at home.

That means I'm going to need a new job and we'll need somewhere to live and it all has to get done before a baby makes his/her grand entrance in about 5 months. I was consumed by terror, guilt for creating this situation, and did I mention sheer terror? I kept crying and apologizing and crying and freaking the eff out.

I fully expected Frank to join me in the freaking out, but he never did. At least, not to me. Instead, he sprang into action. He put up with approximately two days of my freaking out and then told me that he didn't want me to be sad anymore, that everything would be okay and that it was time to be happy about it.

We decided that the best thing to do was buy a house so we went looking. We both fell in love with the first house we saw so we made an offer and they took it. The whole process took a week. Holy everything happening so fast! He didn't want me to stress out about the whole home buying process so aside from giving me some papers to sign, he handled the whole thing by himself. Also, my credit isn't the greatest so it was better to leave me out of it anyway. He even went to settlement the day of the Phillies parade. The house needs some work so he's calling contractors, meeting with landscapers and electricians, even getting the house inspected for termites. All on his own, all on the first weekends he's had off in 3 months. He's getting up in the morning to scrape wallpaper and rip out paneling before going to work the night shift, or he's going to work at 4 in the morning and then going to work on the house.

I'm sure he's worn out from the stress and the worry and the running around on top of his work schedule but he never complains. He tells me not to worry about anything , he's on top of it. He doesn't want me worried about anything but work and being pregnant. If he could find a way to stop me from stressing out at work, I'm sure he would.

In the midst of all of this, Pregzilla hasn't been that much fun to live with recently. While I've escaped most of the nastier symptoms of early pregnancy like nausea and puking, the hormones have knocked me sideways. I'm an emotional disaster area and this too Frank bears without blinking. He lets me complain and be grumpy and snap at him without taking it personally and he does his best to distract me by making me laugh. He comes to every doctor's appointment, reads my pregnancy books and websites, and even rubs my belly when it hurts - all without asking.

I've never been much of a damsel in distress. In fact, I've always been pretty independent and have always insisted to do things myself but I'm blown away by this. Frank has always been the guy who stands up so others don't have to. It's the quality that led him to first join the army and then the police department. I've known him since I was 14 and I've always known this about him, but I'm still amazed by his insistence to be in charge of everything so that I don't have to worry. To me, it speaks to a level of devotion to our relationship and growing family that leaves me in awe.

It's not new behavior for him. This is the guy that gave me the key to his place and made room in his closet after only a few months of dating - at his suggestion, not mine. The guy who brought me to his house and fed me chicken soup when I had strep throat even though he was working the graveyard shift. The guy that I married after dating for 8 months. Even so, I'm falling in love with him in a totally new way as I watch him do all of this for us. I wish there was a better way to tell him how much it's appreciated.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just Crappy

I have this whole list of things to write about. They're all half written in my head and some are started in my blackberry and some are in drafts right here on Blogger.

I had plans today to write about my World Champion Phillies and my Granddad, who was a true fan and didn't live to see them win last week.

But I'm going to have to get to all of that tomorrow because today I want to complain.

I just feel like hell today and I'm pissed about it. I really need to just lay down but I can't because I'm at work and will be here until 10pm at the earliest (I've been here since 9:30am btw).

I'm experiencing that lovely thing they call round ligament pain and it hurts like hell. Shooting, crampy pain that comes and goes in my belly all day. I know that the muscles in there are stretching out to make room for Chicken Dinner and I'm happy he/she is growing and my belly is getting bigger but damn, does it have to hurt so much? It's worse when I sit hunched over a keyboard, and even worse than that when I'm driving. Those two activities basically make up my job description so it works out well.

I have a lovely headache, right behind my eyes. I took some (doctor sanctioned) Tylenol but I must be immune because it has not helped and even though the doctor said I can take it four times a day, I'm not doing that.

Today is also a day where my body must forget that we are in the second trimester now because every smell is making me want to just retch my guts out and be done with it. Being right in the middle of Center City Philadelphia is giving me plenty of opportunities to puke, too. Maybe it's the Tylenol

Something weird; the joints or whatever they are in my back and shoulders are popping. It starts as soon as I wake up and it's all day long. That, plus the back and hip pain is a fun combination. I'm also perpetually out of breath. Climbing a flight of stairs, walking, any form of physical activity totally takes my breath away. Today I took out some trash and it was as if I just ran a mile. It's like I'm 80 years old over here. How am I going to function when I'm heaving a big belly around?

And can we talk about daylight savings time? Why are we still doing that? Who benefits from sunrise at 5am and darkness by 5:30pm anymore? Are there farmers around without electricity that I don't know about? Does the government know that pregnant women with Seasonal Affective Disorder are not served by stupid daylight savings time? Ok self diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder, but still!

I just want to be home, in pajamas, asleep. I'm feeling pouty because why do I have to go to stupid work when hello? growing a person right now? Can't I just be home? It's not fair.

I know. So bratty. I'm sorry. I'll be better tomorrow. Or at least I'll keep it on the inside. Promise.