Friday, February 29, 2008


It's not even March and the redbuds are blooming. They look like handfuls of candy floating in the air.

My dad was here for a couple of days and he brought with him a blood pressure cuff so I've been taking my blood pressure every 10 minutes. Craziness—it turns out that here in the comfort and peace of my own home, my blood pressure is nothing like it is in the doctor's office. I find this very interesting; it goes along with my general anxiety about giving birth in the hospital w/ the doctors, etc, but I had no idea my body was reacting to these emotional responses. Perhaps I should have known... our bodies respond to everything we think and do, and it's so odd to me that we don't suspect. We are IN our bodies after all, and you'd think you'd know if your blood pressure was shooting through the roof because you're nervous about the atmosphere.

So I'm much less stressed. Enormous amounts of anxiety have lifted, in fact. I didn't know before if what I was so nervous about was the doctors' being too nervous and reacting prematurely or my truly having a condition to fear, but now I believe it was the latter. Discovering that things are not as bad as they seemed makes me giddy with relief.

Frances is hilarious. She makes me laugh all the time. Yesterday she was tired and grumpy, and I said, "I think someone's a little grouchy," and she stopped, looked at me, and pointed at herself and nodded. She's talking now in sentences and paragraphs, though we can't understand anything she's saying. She walks up to me, looks at me with grave intensity, and says, "Blok mblig blik klib lib clik gok blok blig blik klib bnlib clik gok?" and then waits for an answer, blinking her big blue eyes. She knows all her colors now and can hand you the blue block or green shape when you ask, but the only color she can say is 'yellow'. She loves to say this word, and points at every yellow item in the room and says it: "ye-ow". When I ask where her baby brother is, she pats my belly, which is very cute but probably indicates little about what she understands of the situation.

I plan to fully enjoy the next two weeks with her, these last days before her life is altered in a permanent way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Yesterday at the doc my blood pressure was up again. It's not very high compared to the normal population, but it's up significantly from my usual. They now want to do monitoring (stress strip test and ultrasound for fluid levels) twice a week because of my blood pressure. In fact, they are talking about wanting to induce at 39 weeks (I'll be 38 on Thurs) if it keeps going up. Ugh. It's so hard to know if they're just being hysterical. I got so upset today about it all... I want want want want want to be able to have a natural birth experience, you know? I want it so badly, and I feel on one hand like their conservatism and lack of faith in the BODY will keep me from that. On the other hand, preeclampsia is serious, I know, and maybe I'm just being selfish in wanting this particular birth experience and ignoring the seriousness of the issue? It's hard to say. I'm seeing a midwife at my next visit and am interested to hear what she has to say about it, whether she thinks it's serious enough to warrent early induction. If I can make it to 40 weeks then maybe we can induce using natural methods like breaking the water, nipple stim, etc. Although I'm FINE with my experience with Frances, which was not ideal, feel that it was the only way and best way, I really was hoping this time would go differently. It's funny—some women wouldn't care. Some women would be pleased to have the birth come earlier, and they wouldn't think twice about being induced b/c they'd have the epidural anyway, and what's the big deal? Something about it trips something deep in me, though I'm not quite sure what. When I close my eyes and fantasize about the birth, it happens here in my own house. I secretly hope the labor goes so fast we don't have time to make it to the hospital. I wish Mitch were brave enough to plan for a home birth, but here we are. And a hospital birth is what it is. (but why am I doing it??)

What it comes down to is that I don't fully trust the doctors, but why not? It's something I'm having a hard time accessing on a conscious level.

Mitch says I'm stressed about something but he doesn't know what it is. I think it's nothing more complicated than the urge to nest v/s feeling unsettled—can't get our house straight enough; feel like I should be packing up, not hunkering down; projects to do to get the house on the market, etc. I think it's the nesting urge that's not being fulfilled. Maybe I can figure out some little things that might satisfy this urge for the moment, some things I can control, like cooking and freezing food for after the baby... Or organizing a diaper table in our room.

This seems to me a pretty chaotic and possibly incoherent post, but that's what I've got. Please leave comments if you have insights. I'll take anything these days. :)

Monday, February 25, 2008


Friday my doc said no more exercise. He said he "didn't think I needed bedrest yet" and that I needed to "take it easy." Ugh. But he did say the words bed rest. Bed rest. How would that work exactly? I've taken this to mean I shouldn't vacuum the house all in one swoop, but instead do one room at a time and then sit down awhile. Of course, the minute he said bed-rest I remembered all the organizing and cleaning out I wanted to do before the baby comes. I've done some of the attic already but there are closets that are calling me! I'd really like to take advantage of the nesting urge when it strikes.

And it turns out my child has hand-foot-mouth disease. Why do they call it a disease when it's just a virus? It seemed that maybe she had something else because the rash was all over, so we went to the doc Friday (2 docs! Both mine and Frances'. She was worried at the 2nd one (mine) that they were going to look in her ears again.) and they used a tongue depressant to look in her mouth, from which they confirmed it is HFMD. Terribly traumatic, the tongue depressant. Had to nearly pry her teeth open to get out the paci. Even worse than looking in the ears. In any case, bumps all over--legs, arms, diaper area, hands, feet, mouth. So icky.

I hate that we go to a doc that is connected w/ a teaching hospital. Not that the connection itself is so bad, but I'm always caught off guard when a resident or intern appears. I need to be prepared, the moment I see it's someone in training, to say, "Nothing personal, but I'd rather have the doctor do... (the exam, whatever)." Friday the doc brought in this guy that looked 22 and introduced me to him, then said he was going to look F over and get some info, then the doc was going to come back. What this actually meant was that the young guy was going to do a full exam (feeling her stomach, listening to her heart and lungs, looking in her ears, etc) and then the doc was going to come in and do the full exam again. We were already pushing against her naptime and she felt crummy as it was, and let me tell you that two exams is really more than she can take. The young fella not only hurt her when he looked in her ears, but he felt bad that she was crying so much and kept patting her and telling her it was okay, and she did NOT want him touching her more than he already was. So every time he'd console her it would just get worse. I was so irritated with myself for not saying something, for allowing him to practice on her. I know they need practice... and I'm sorry that I can't help w/ that, but this time in particular I shouldn't have. Anyway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

less than 3 weeks

I sleep on the pull-out couch these days. Not only do I have a fortress of pillows—the body pillow, four regular pillows plus 2 throw pillows to prop up my swollen numb hands—but I get up to pee every two hours. When I was still in the bed with Mitch, I would try to roll as gently as I could out of the bed and slide ever so gently back into it, so as not to disturb him, but I finally had to admit that there was nothing gentle about my motions. Really what I was doing was heaving myself over and up, and then when I returned I had to rearrange all my pillows and heave myself back in the middle of them.

I've also had to stop carrying Frances. I can lift her onto the changing table or into the car seat, but I can't hold her for any length of time. It's not as hard as I thought it would be, and she doesn't seem to mind. Now and then when she's falling apart and needs me to hold her, I just sit down on the floor so she can come to me. The largest problem is, for example, that I can't pick her up inside the house and carry her to the car where I strap her in. Instead, I have to hold her hand as we walk down the stairs and sidewalk, and I have to be patient while she dallies at the bushes, then I have to convince her to get in the car, which is sometimes not so easy. Again with the flexibility. I've just had to rethink my schedule and how fast things get done, rethink how I arrange my day and what's important. It's been good for me. Sometimes it would certainly be easier to pick her up so we could make better time walking across the library parking lot... I'm sort of glad I've had to go more slowly with Frances this last bit, because I think it's prepared me well for the change of pace in my life after the baby comes.

Less than 3 weeks to go before my due date! I'm excited to see how Frances interacts with the baby, how she reacts to having a new creature in the house. I'm excited to see her hold him and see how she helps; she loves to be a helper. I held a 4-week old the other day and it felt so strange... I'd forgotten what it was like. Funny little creatures.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

sugar sugar

All I want to eat is sugar. And baked goods containing sugar. And chocolate. (I also drink about a 1/2 gallon of milk/day these days, which seems absurd to me.) Today it took seriously all of my will power not to buy a box of HoHos at the grocery. One might think that it's not a big deal if I eat a box of HoHos; I am pregnant after all, and shouldn't I be allowed to indulge? There are actually several reasons I shouldn't eat this stuff (besides its being disgusting...), one of which is that both chocolate and artificial crap ingredients give me migraines. On the one hand, my migraines have been considerably reduced here in pregnancy, so the chances of its causing one are slim. But in addition to a possible debilitating headache, the sugar causes all kinds of general havoc in my body and brain. Tonight when my husband spied chocolate sauce on my vanilla ice cream he frowned at me; he doesn't understand failure of willpower. It all seems quite simple to him—something is problematic; don't do it.

Perhaps this is connected in some way to my lack of patience yesterday. It wasn't just with F; it was also the jar I couldn't open because of my sad swollen hands, the dog's non-stop barking, etc. At one point I heard myself scream at the top of my lungs for the dog to SHUT UP. Then I felt really silly. I don't know if I mean screaming at the dog is connected to a lack of willpower or eating too much sugar. F just looked at me like everything was perfectly normal.

I wish I knew what causes my patience to give out somedays and to stay perfectly intact other days. Of course, this would probably require me to UNDERSTAND what it is I'm feeling when I feel it. Yesterday afternoon (sometime after screaming at the dog) I smelled a twinge of anxiety about the house in NY, about the move, about the changes coming with the coming babe. Sometimes there's excitement, sometimes anxiety. Perhaps if I knew what I was feeling it wouldn't have to well up and take me unaware.

Just after coming back from Rochester I was only excited about the move, and definitely less anxious about the winter there, having seen it first hand. Now that we've got a house and I've seen it and the neighborhood, my work is to picture myself there—pushing the stroller down the street, meeting neighbors as I go, driving to the grocery; living my life. I'm going to visualize this, visualize myself happy there, comfortable, satisfied. Visualize what I want to have made real.

I'm going to go eat some cereal.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

like a movie scene

Just a little while ago F and I were in the front yard while she pulled the dog around by his leash. I was trying to get her in the stroller for a walk, and she was trying to delay as long as she could. We live on a corner, and a car pulled up to the stop sign across the street. It was an older little sporty thing, a kind of death trap with the SUVs on the road, a car you drop down to get into. A 1970s 240Z or something; white, missing the front bumper, sounding like perhaps it was missing its muffler too. I paused and watched it a moment as it idled there on the corner across from us. Other than the color, it was just like the car my boyfriend had my senior year of high school. His was brown, also missing the front bumper, and smelled always of exhaust, which I came to associate with sweet and good things. As I watched the car I thought sort of nostalgically about my boyfriend and about who I was then, and I waited to see what kind of person was driving this one. The car pulled forward through the stop sign, and drove past us. The driver's window was down and the driver, a younger guy with dark eyes and a hat pulled down over his hair, half smiled at me and lifted his hand in a wave. It was the oddest thing--he looked just like my old boyfriend. Here I was on the lawn of the house I own with my husband, hugely pregnant and puffy, watching my little daughter toddle over the grass and pull a dog twice her size. It's been 18 years since I sat in that exhaust filled car and felt it rumble under me, and I haven't seen him in over 10 years at least. For a moment I stood there sort of stunned, watching the car disappear down the street. I actually wondered if it were my old boyfriend, here in town visiting someone maybe, but that didn't make any sense. I hear about him now and then and he lives far away in another life. But standing on my lawn, for a strange moment there was an overlap, a pause in which my life stretched itself out and sort of folded over. I don't know what these kinds of experiences serve to tell us, but lately I've been thinking I'm not the same person I was then. Yet seeing that car, having the driver smile shyly and wave, reminded me of all the ways in which I am indeed the very same person, the ways the same dreams pass through me now as then.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

extremely short update

We got a house! We're under contract... Yippee!

And I'm in some new unfamiliar place of being relaxed in my life. Traveling w/ Frances wasn't stressful, not because it wasn't tiring, but because of my perspective. That, and she was a champ... entertaining everyone and generally being charming.

Excited and relaxed about the move, excited and relaxed about the baby. How did this happen? I like this new place; I hope I can stay here.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


We're in Rochester. The streetlights glow up from the snow. Looking at houses tomorrow, looking for the place that will contain our LIVES the next few years. (A container. tupperware? glass? aluminum foil?) Really tired after traveling, though Frances was a dream—well behaved, happy, having a good time. Right now I choose to believe the next babe is going to be the same. I choose not to lean on Murphy's Law, not to believe that just because this one is lovely the next one will be a maniac. I choose to believe that this is the kind of tot we create, though I know she actually has very little to do with me.

More soon.