My progesterone levels are back. Last night my progesterone was 0.26.
Huh. No blood today, though.
So where, oh where, has my period gone?
And, more importantly, does this mean I should stick some spooge up my love canal soon? The RE is not in the office on Thursday afternoons. I guess I'll get the mirror and take a little looksy myself tonight.
Let's see, if I decide that that one spot of bright red was, indeed, my period, then that would make today day 9... unless day one was that first day of dark brown...
Good thing we get our stuff for free. If we were paying $300-500 a hit for this shit I think I'd just curl up and die.
Yeah. Not pregnant. But I have a hard, hot, blackbluered bruise the size of a hen's egg on my forearm to show for everything. I know I'm not getting that much blood drawn. I know that if we were doing ivf I'd be getting poked far more often. But my veins have just about had it. They are in full rebellion and the phlebotomists are having to get creative, and creative leaves angry marks.
So last night me and my bruise received the results of the beta and found out just how twisted and sneaky a thing hope can be, and then we overate at dinner and spent the next 2 hours finding new ways to call myself fat. Good times. Good times.
Guess what? Despite all my medications and supplements and despite the fact that I fired my therapist (which really should make me feel better since I never really liked her anyway, but since I fired her without telling her that I was was firing her, kind of backfired if you know what I mean), and despite the fact that I have a really fucking cute kid and a wonderful partner, and despite the fact that I finally finished the Series of Unfortunate Events and nothing in my life has ever been as unfortunate and tragic as what happened to those poor Baudelaire orphans... I'm depressed.
Somewhere I read or heard or was told or, heck, maybe I made this up, anyway, it doesn't matter. Somehow I came across the thought that depression is anger turned inward. And it's been well documented to myself that I have a huge problem with anger. I don't know how to express it. Piss me off and you'll never know it. I'll probably be even sweeter to you. You know, in a sort of saccarine way that I hope will slowly corrode your soul and give you cancer of the psyche without you knowing what's really going on, but which actually just does that to me as the source of the carcinogenic cordiality and leaves the intended victim untouched.
So, in an effort to let some of that anger out, I present to you:
A Sure Way To Make Me Unbelievably Pissed At You Five Days Later When I Finally Get Around To Really Thinking About What You Said:
Compare my needing expensive medications to keep me sane, functional, and yes, ALIVE to your one-to-two packs a day addiction to cigarettes. Because OF COURSE they are EXACTLY the same FUCKING thing.
This is not to say that I hate smokers. I don't. I don't hate smokers. Smoke all you want, I'll even keep you company while you do it. But do not, DO NOT compare your decision to buy cigarettes instead of tampons one month because you were too poor to afford both to my agonizing dilemma two summers ago of how to pay my utilities AND pay nearly $200 a month for my antidepressants. If you do that I will be forced to smile at you sweetly and murmer some nonsense about how I understand your conundrum while little pieces of me turn black and die inside.
I may not be able to control what's happening or not happening in my reproductive system; I may not be able to control my daughter's teething; I may not be able to control that fucking clerk in Nevada who won't fucking fax the fucking documents I was asked to track down for a fucking deposition this morning; I may not be able to do anything about the fact that I accidentally uninstalled the driver for my computer's sound card and so now all the music and video that comes out of my computer sounds as if it were uttered by Alvin, Simon, and/or Theodore; but I can damn well make certain that you never get to eat my cheese fondue again.
Phew. I feel better now. Sorry to have subjected you all to that. It may have seem a bit extreme to severe a friendship because of one misguided anecdote, but that was just the proverbial straw. I'm better off without her in my life.
Now. What about you? Anything you need to kick to the curb? Feel free to vent on your own blogs or in my comments. Let's make this last day of November as full of vile sentiment and darkest anger as we can before we kick November itself to the curb. Because November sucks baboon balls.
Last night, at dinner (on which I will write more a bit lower) I was complaining to Kristin about how no one had commented on my lovely 10 point list (this was before I had seen Shelli's and Blue Ox's comments) and that that meant that no one loves me anymore (and yes, I AM that insecure right now) and she looked at me and said: Why should anyone comment? It's obvious that you're feeling sorry for yourself; what is there for anyone to say? Which is, of course, completely true. I am feeling sorry for myself, indeed. And I have been feeling sorry for myself for a very, very long time. And by now there is not much anyone can say about that. But still. So, I thought I'd write about something else. I thought I'd tell you about Kristin's day yesterday. (She told me that I could... so this isn't as mean as it seems at this moment... or is it? You read and then decide.)
It's crunch time for Kristin right now. Papers papers papers and a couple presentations just for shits and giggles (he he he... this phrase will get funnier in just a moment). And, you know, her full-time job and her part-time practicum. And catch up from the illness. And and and... Yesterday she had a paper due so she got up at 5 am to finish it. Finishing the paper made her run a bit late to get to class, so she was in a hurry. She ran to open the gate, opened it, got in her car and backed up... right into the gate that wasn't completely open. It made a terrible noise, but she was in a hurry, so she didn't stop. When she got to school she decided to just take a look at the damage and discovered that there was a piece of our gate sticking out of a HOLE IN HER CAR. Her entire taillight assembly is destroyed, there's a big hole in the side of her car, and her trunk won't close. Oh yeah, and her registration is due in December. And this is the year that she has to have an inspection. Do you know how expensive an entire taillight assembly is? We'll probably have to get one from a junkyard. And the hole... and the big crease in the metal... and the trunk... not to mention that the piece of gate sticking out of her car was the latch to hold the gate closed... and it's completely destroyed. We now have a bungee cord holding our gate together.
So, she's in the parking lot trying to get her trunk to close, and one of her classmates sees her slamming and slamming and slamming the trunk and says something like "hey, take it easy! It's not that bad!" and then he (who, in Kristin's words is "gayer than Ed Smart"* but who has yet to come out of the closet) came over and looked at the damage and took it back. He also offered to replace the taillight assembly for us if we can get one. Which is nice since we'd rather not rely on the Brother Just Younger Than I for mechanical help right now.
*this phrase is now my favoritest phrase EVAH. Gayer than Ed Smart. Hilarious!
Aaaaaaany way. So, Kristin goes to class, trying to forget about her troubles. Then, sometime between classes she suddenly has to go to the bathroom. Really really has to go to the bathroom. It's a two stall bathroom and the other stall is occupied. So. (I can't believe I'm writing this. I can't believe she told me that I could.) Kristin goes into the stall and proceeds to be very, um, loud. Explosive might not be too strong a word. And, um, odiferous. Yes. Explosively odiferous. The woman is still in the next stall. Kristin exits the stall and begins washing her hands. And the other woman walks out and it's... Kristin's favorite professor! The professor that she has class with in just a matter of moments. The professor that's been the most sympathetic about our month-long bout with illness. The professor that Kristin's hoping to take a class from next semester, if she can get an add code because the class is full. That professor. And that professor looks at her and says:
"So. The antibiotics still messing with your digestive system?"
And Kristin really wanted to reply, "Wasn't it obvious?" but instead went with a weak "yeah" and an embarrassed smile.
And then after class the professor offered Kristin an add code but Kristin was too embarrassed to take it. She'll go and get it later.
So. That was Kristin's day. Better than maudlin self-pity?
Well, you don't get off that easy. I've still got some self-pity inside me. Here's the part that I really can't believe I'm blogging.
I called Dr. Nerdly's nurse yesterday. Nurse Perky. Nurse Perky confirmed for me that I did, indeed, ovulate on either day 10 or 11 as Dr. Nerdly had predicted. She also told me that Dr. Nerdly wants me to have another beta today if I still haven't started my period. Guess what? I still haven't started my period. He also wants a serum progesterone. See if we can figure out what part of my cycle I'm on if I'm not pregnant (I'm not pregnant). I'm not pregant, but I guess he thinks that there's a chance I could be pregnant.
Last night, on the way home from work I felt slightly nauseated. And I nearly fell asleep on the 10 minute train-ride home. Which is ridiculous because with a beta of less than one on Monday night, even if it doubled in the less than 24 hours would still be less than 2 and a non-pregnant woman is capable of producing an hCG of 2. An hCG of 2 should not be producing pregnancy symptoms (unless the woman is extremely sensitive to hCH... like all the women in my family are extremely sensitive to hCH...STOP IT!) So then, I get Julia and I get home and I am DRAGGING. And there's a coupon sheet for Arby's in the mail. And suddenly I WANT ARBY'S for dinner. BAD. I call Kristin. She doesn't want Arby's, but she suggests Cafe Med. I agree to Cafe Med, and when she gets home we go there for dinner. Cafe Med is full of lovely vegetarian options, and if I haven't mentioned it elsewhere I'll just mention it here: I don't eat meat at restaurants. I don't eat meat unless I can look at it closely. I am 95% vegetarian. And not because of ethics, it's because I just think meat is yucky. But I started gazing at the menu I have memorized and suddenly I'm wanting gyro meat! Gyro meat of all things! Meat that has been chopped and reformed. And I seriously doubt that they removed all the ickies from the meat before all the chopping and reforming. And all I can think of is how good the meat (and of the meat on the menu) sounds. I order vegetarian lasagne AND a skewer of chicken kebobs. Kristin looks at me and says, "If you're ordering meat then you HAVE to be pregnant."
But here's what I think. I think that it's all a mind fuck. I think that I want to be pregnant SO BADLY that my subconscious is playing tricks on me. My subconscious is thinking:
ok, pregnant women have food cravings. pregnant women often crave meat. kristin craved meat when she was pregant, r craved meat when she was pregnant. if you were pregnant you might crave meat. if you crave meat then that might mean you're pregnant, therefore if you're craving meat right now then then that will make you pregnant. MUST HAVE MEAT!
That's all. And that's why my breasts started hurting last night. And that's why I dreamt all night that I was pregnant. You know, I think that my whole body wants to be pregnant so badly that even the corpus luteum doesn't want to give up the ghost, but just keeps holding on, waiting for that (dead, dead, dead, it has to be dead, it's been 22 dpo) egg to start growing (that's my theory, that I have a corpus luteum cyst, that's it, that's got to be it. Why else would my period be 8 days late but no hCG in my bloodstream?)
So there. Beta at 5 pm. Exactly 48 hours after the last one. I guess we'll see.
- Because not knowing what day of my cycle I'm on adds a bit of excitement and mystery to my otherwise humdrum existence.
- I've gained a greater self-awareness. I'm not moody and over-sensitive and snappish because I'm hormonal and pregnant. I'm like that just because I'm a bitch.
- Hot Buttered Rum for breakfast.
- I'm that much closer to getting my own paragraph in a paper about reproductive medical mysteries. 15 minutes of fame, here I come!
- If I wanted, I could take a taxidermy class. It's always nice to know my educational options are open.
- The smell and feel of semen drizzling from my lady-bits are such exquisite sensations; and now I get to experience them again!
- People are finally starting to believe me when I tell them that I have it on good authority that God hates me.
- The longer it takes to get me pregnant, the closer scientists get to being able to merge ovums, thus increasing the chances that my wife can knock me up herself. How cool would that be? There's another 15 minutes of fame right there. At this rate I might get to be famous for a whole half a day.
- One more month (at least) to build up my fat stores for pregnancy.
- Because with all the x-rays, antibiotics, codeine, drinking, and admiring of greenery I've been doing this past couple of weeks, if I had been pregnant, I probably would have given birth to a one-flippered manatee. And though no doubt, no doubt, I would have loved my one-flippered manatee, just think of all the teasing it would have encountered in school what with having only the one flipper.
A week or so ago Kristin and I agreed to indulge in something so decadent, so tantalizingly lovely, so sweetly fulfilling that we could barely contain our excitement as the chosen day grew closer. In fact, when at Thanksgiving dinner my grandfather overheard us talking about it, he grew very concerned, thinking that if we were going to be doing something this indulgent, it must mean that I was sicker than had let on, because only if I were on my deathbed could he understand this kind of profligate waste of money.
On Friday we...
paid someone ELSE to clean our house.
It's true. I KNOW! I can't believe it myself. People, our house is CLEAN!
I, of course, had to work that day, so I didn't get to witness the marvel myself. And that is actually a blessing, because Kristin was home, and though we spent all of Thanksgiving day (except when I was getting drunk at dinner) cleaning and putting things away, still our house was filthydirty and Kristin felt so embarrassed at how we were living in filth, and how monumental the task of cleaning our pig sty was, that she pitched in and helped clean, too. She and the housekeeper worked for 5 and a half hours, but by the end of it the house was sweet-smelling and shiny. Our toilets haven't gleamed like that since they were new. Our faucets are blinding in their brilliance. And the floors... oh the floors were so spotless I could weep. The next morning Julia dropped her string cheese on the floor and when I picked it up it was free of dust and hair! I handed it back to her (like I always hand it back to her)and this time I wasn't filled with guilt over letting her eat dog hairy food.
So, that was Friday. By the end-of-day Friday our house was clean, all the laundry was done and folded, and all the standard tasks that fill our weekends were completed. Saturday we bought a leaf-blower and blew all our leaves away while Julia toddled around the yard and picked up horse chestnuts. Saturday night was grandparent's night and so Kristin and I got to have a date, which was only slightly flattened by the phone call informing us that Julia had been dancing with her cousin by my parents' fireplace, and had stumbled, banging her forehead into the sharp edge of the stone hearth, and had a giant goose-egg and bruise marring her little face. And we were planning on Christmas and family portraits this week!
Sunday I re-calked the upstairs bathtub, changed out the two deadbolts on our two exterior doors, installed a new water filter, winterized our swamp cooler, and filled some of the cracks in our hardwood floor. And the whole time we managed to keep our house clean! This is a miracle! We're challenging ourselves to see how long we can keep the place clean now that we're finally (after over a year) ahead of the housecleaning game.
In other news... after spotting for 5 days (one brief spot of bright red, the rest dark brown) I have NO IDEA what day of my cycle I'm on. I wouldn't consider that spotting a period. But I'm not pregnant. If that wasn't a period, then I'm on CD31. If that was a period, then I'm on CD9, unless it wasn't a period until the bright spot, and then if the period started with the bright spot, then I'm on CD6... and, of course, all weekend the RE's office was closed. I'm giving them a call in approximately 5 minutes. I'm so confused. I can't tell you how many sticks I peed on all weekend thinking that I HAD to be pregnant. I just had to. But I'm not. It's been 21 days since we inseminated. I'd have gotten a positive HPT by now. So it's just my body, fucking with me again.
Thanksgiving morning. Kristin made me a breakfast of exotic cheeses. She knows that I love nothing so much as trying new forms of fermented milk. Yum. Cheese and warm, crusty sourdough bread. And grapes. Surrounded by the scent of bread mingling with the scent of the roses that she had given me the night before, I could almost forget that it was Thanksgiving. I am so grateful for my wife, for my daughter. Our morning was delightful.
And then we cleaned. And did laundry. And it felt good to put things in order, to put things away. We wrapped Christmas presents and got our packages ready to mail. We chased Julia around the house. We fed the dogs beef stew. We cleaned so hard I got sweaty and exhausted carrying things up and down the stairs. But I did not lose my breath. I did not crumple around fits of coughing. I am so grateful to my body for healing as quickly as it did. I am so grateful for our beautiful home, our material comfort, that is so much more than so many others have.
And then we baked a blackberry pie and some green bean casserole. And then we went to my parent's house. I had told my father that I was only going to come if I could have wine. Lots and lots of wine. My mother gets anxious when we drink around her family. Primarily because she has a sister who gets upset when people drink around her (fully grown, married) sons. It's a simmering resentment on the part of those of us who are non-mormon (read: me, my siblings, my father) that we must cave to the tyranny of this particular aunt's sensibilities. We do so out of love for my mother. So my father told me not to let mom see...
Sister in-law the Maybe had been at the house since 10 AM... folding napkins, cooking, helping to decorate. She's a better daughter to my mother than I am... if my brother doesn't follow through and marry her after all these years we'll probably disown him and adopt her, but that's another story. As soon as I walked in the house the Thanksgiving panic began knocking on my mental door. I ignored it, but the effort made me a bit fuzzy. People started arriving, and with each new arrival I felt less and less present. I'm not entirely certain why this happens. I used to be so close to these aunts and uncles, these cousins. Maybe that's the problem. I don't think they really see me, who I am, what I'm like, what I love, what I want, what I think. They don't accept my current reality, they only tolerate it. I get around them and I feel all the color, all the substance leeching from me... I become transparent and colorless as glass. They look through me, not at me. I speak, and they hear what they want to hear rather than what I'm saying. I think I'm just too alien for them to really hold a place in their world view.
I kept the panic away. But a deep depression descended during dinner. Helped, in part, I'm sure, by listening to two male members of the family talk about how they like to flirt with gay waiters just to see the looks on their faces, how funny it is when the waiters slip them phone numbers... I should have said something to that. I should have, but I didn't. And that failure on my part helped push me down. It's not that they were using slurs, or saying anything BAD exactly about the men they were talking about. It's the attitude. The actions. How can I explain that without screaming and bursting into tears? How could I explain what it's like to try to flirt with a stranger when you're gay and when flirting with the wrong person can get you beaten or killed, even today? How can I convey the cruelty behind their actions without becoming the overreactive harpy who takes everything too personally and makes it all political?
And then there's the aunt who, while my mother was holding Julia, touched Julia's hair and expressed surprise at how soft and fine it is. Because, you know, she expected it to be so much coarser! My mother explained that Kristin has very curly hair, and that Julia actually has Kristin's hair and not her donor's. And that was that. But still. And I'm still left wondering if there's something more I could have said. Something sharper. Something smart and savvy. Something that would have let her know that her attitude is all wrong. It's not the question, exactly, that bothers me. It's the automatic assumption of otherness that members of this family place on Julia. Not all of them, to be sure, (and not my immediate family!) but enough. I can see how when they look at Julia they don't see my daughter. They don't see a member of the family. They see Trista's lesbian lover's black daughter. Only they would never use the words "lesbian" or "lover" or "black".
Before the dinner started, I stood in the kitchenette in my parent's basement... steps away from the huge banquet table... and realized that there was no way I was going to be able to get a bottle of wine open without everyone seeing. Sister in Law the Maybe, apron on, bustling around doing last minute prep, saw me looking intently at the lines of liquor bottles trying to figure out which would make the most innocuous, and yet potent, drink. "What's the matter?" she said, "I need a drink," I muttered. "There's water on the table" she replied. "Not that kind of drink." "Oh." "I need something that no one will notice." "I got just the thing for you." And she opened the fridge and pulled out a bottled lemon margarita and started pouring it in a glass for me. Mom came in the kitchenette, drawn by our furtiveness... she saw the bottle and raised her eyebrows, "don't let anyone see." "It's ok, it's just lemonaid." SiLtM assured her. I took my drink and fled. Later I snuck back and made myself a gin and tonic, heavy on the gin. And yet one more trip to raid the liquor to make a Kristin a gin and tonic (heavy on the tonic) too. I am grateful for alcohol and it's dulling effects on my rage. We made our excuses and left the dinner a mere three hours after arriving. We didn't overeat. In truth, I barely managed to eat at all. But my parents were happy. And this is the last Thanksgiving the entire extended family is gathering. I couldn't be more thrilled.
yet another meme that so many people have done that I don't have to credit anyone. Though, to be fair, I think I first saw it at Sublime's place.
[A is for age:] 31
[B is for beer of choice:] Gulden Draak, though I do like a good IPA.
[C is for career:] I am careerless at the moment. Just passing time. One of these days I'll get my shit together and embark on my planned career as a writer.
[D is for favorite Drink] Gin and Tonic. Though Good Earth Sweet and Spicy Tea is also veeeeery good.
[E is for essential item you use everyday:] Cetaphil
[F is for favorite song at the moment:] Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch (oh, I'm so sorry all you other great songs. I didn't WANT to choose, THEY MADE ME! I take it back. I love all of you! ALL OF YOU!)
[G is for favorite game:] Tie: Killer Bunnies, Starfarers of Catan
[H is for hometown:] Salt Lake City
[I is for instruments you play:] I don't think I can claim to play any instruments any more. Though I still have dreams that I'm playing my bassoon. And I have fond hopes of picking up the flute again...
[J is for favorite juice:] Lime Rickey
[K is for kids?:] yup.
[L is for last kiss?:] This morning as I ran out the door.
[M is for marriage:] Our marriage was annulled by the California Supreme Court. I'm still bitter about that. I hope they all got piles.
[N is for full name:] It's not that hard to figure out. But I don't think I should make it easier on my stalkers by typing it here. One hint, though, it means weeping rock.
[O is for overnight hospital stays:] Never.
[P is for phobias:] Spiders. Thanksgiving.
[Q is for quote:] "And if you turn away/because there is no lesson here/I will hold my awkward bowl,/with all its cracked stars shining/like a complicated lie,/and fasten a new skin around it/as if I were dressing an orange/or a strange sun." -- Anne Sexton, "For John, Who Begs Me Not To Enquire Further"
[R is for biggest regret:] Something that happened on Friday. And no, If you have to ask what it was then I'm probably not going to tell you. Unless you're you. You know who you are. Oh, you're not sure you're the you I'm referring to? Then you're not.
[S is for sports:] Air hockey.
[T is for time you wake up:] 15 minutes later than I should. And always reluctantly.
[U is for color underwear:] Well. White. Today.
[V is for vegetable you love:] Peas (but not the canned kind. ICK!)
[W is for worst habit:] self-denigration.
[X is for x-rays you've had:] 5 dream-crippling ones of my chest last week. Teeth. Right forearm. Ankle. Knee.
[Y is for yummy food you make:] Nachos. Don't laugh! Making great Nachos is an art form!
[Z is for zodiac sign:] Pisces sun. Capricorn moon. Leo rising.
In an effort to distract myself from the impending doom I am now going to just type. Type like there's no tomorrow. Type like the wind. I'm going to throw the Cloak Invisible* over my head and swing from ropes like a deranged berserker wildly swinging the sword of my intellect around and only managing to hit the things that are so stupified by my exhibition that they don't bother to make that little step to the left to avoid me. Feel free to watch the madness. And comment! Comment like there's no tomorrow (see: theme, current) Comment because you realize that what you have to say is a vitally important part of my distraction. Or don't. Whatever. See if I care.
Wild Swing #1. A long time a go. An entire aeon in the half life cycle of a blog topic, there was a lot of talking about donor choices. What I am about to say is not a judgement on anyone's choice. It's not a critique of anyone's required qualifications. It's not a big fat raspberry on anyone's decision-making process. It's just an observation. One I think is interesting. And I love all of your donors. I really do. Even the ones I haven't met. Even the ones I haven't read. They're all lovely and will all make beautiful children. But here's my observation. If our donor were to try to donate to a bank... if he were to fill out that long form... no one would ever pick him. It's true. He has an anaphylactic allergy to both tree nuts AND peanuts. He has asthma. He has pet allergies. His father was bipolar, his mother suffers from extreme depression. There's schizophrenia in his recent family history. Alcoholism. Drug use. His father may or may not have committed suicide. When we chose him he had no known pregnancies. And yet... look at Julia. That's all I have to say on that.
So, something kinda cool just happened. I got an email (yesterday? day before? the days all blend together right now) from a stranger saying that she had come across my posts on breastfeeding and sexual abuse survivors. She stated that she is a sexual abuse survivor, breastfeeding her son, and that she's been having issues and stuff come up. She THANKED ME for writing what I wrote and said that she feels like she can move forward with the information and story I provided. I need to write her back and thank HER. I felt like I went out on such a limb with that overly long series. But it was worth it if it helped one person (besides myself). I'm so glad I was brave enough to write that. I'm so glad she was brave enough to email me. My mission statement has been fulfilled. I am validated. I did something good.
Wild change of direction here... I am the air...I am the wind...
Last night I dreamt that all my teeth fell out. This is not an unusual dream for me. I dream quite often that my teeth are falling out. It's a real fear of mine. When I had braces put on, instead of pulling 4 teeth to make room in my mouth, they sanded down my teeth to make them smaller. That means that a tiny cavity can be a big problem in a very short period of time. I've had 2 root canals and one of my molars pulled. I have issues about losing my teeth. Missing teeth is the epitome of white trashness for me and I have a hard time respecting or even really listening to people who have visibly missing teeth. I know. I'm a bad person. So these teeth falling out dreams really get to me. But normally they're rather bloodless. There's some pain, and then I feel the tooth with my tongue and the tongues just kind a pushes the teeth out. Or I bite down really hard and the teeth just shatter one by one. But still, bloodless. But last night... last night there was a lot of blood. The teeth were gushing blood as they were falling out. And I kept grabbing the teeth and shoving them back up into their sockets and biting down hard to try to keep them in place, and more kept falling out and I couldn't get them all back in place so I could hold them all at once, and the blood just flooded out of my mouth.
But hey, at least I was asleep last night TO dream. Julia has decided the last week that she must be held by a mommie AT ALL TIMES in the night. We start out each night with her in her crib. And then about an hour and a half later she wakes and starts screaming. So I go get her. And she calms. And I put her back in her crib and then an hour and a half later she wakes and starts screaming. Over and over and over. The first night I think she was constipated and in pain. The next nights not so much. And I'm still really run down from the pneumonia. So you can see this isn't working so well. The rocking chair we have in her nursery was never meant for long term rocking. As I was never going to be the kind of mother who rocked her children to sleep every damn night. Sunday night I took Julia out to the living room and laid with her on the floor. Now I have a gigantic bruise on my hip. Oh yeah, and she crawled away sometime in the night and got into the dog food. Monday night I took her down to the guest bed. That night she slept, but every hour or so she would rise through sleep to begin to fuss, then reach her hand out and touch my hair or face and then go back to sleep. And then she rolled off the bed. So, not restful. Not restful at all. Yesterday Kristin and I broke down and bought a rocker/recliner for Julia's room. And last night I slept in that with the babe. And that's where I had the bad dream.
You might be wondering why Kristin's not taking more of these night shifts. Well, I'll tell you. She really can't. She's not the sleepy mommie. It's funny. For the most part Julia does not distinguish between the two of her mamas. Most of the time if she shows a preference for one of us, it's the one of us that she's spent less time with recently. Except for when she's tired. When she's ready for bed, then she's ready for the sleepy mommie. And that would be me. I don't know what it is about me. Maybe I'm boring. Maybe I'm somnolent. Whatever. But it's true. I can get her settled and to sleep and Kristin can't. Last night Julia started crying at a little after 10. Kristin got up and went to her and I heard an intensification of the screams. I wanted to go in there and soothe Julia, but I also want Kristin to be able to calm Julia. I didn't want to undermine Kristin's parenting. So I waited and waited and waited. Finally Kristin asked me to get a water bottle for Julai. So I went and got the bottle and walked into the room and there was Julia kicking and screaming. And I took her from Kristin just to help Kristin get readjusted in the chair... and the moment I took Julia into my arms she sighed and stopped crying. She had been pissed that it was Kristin and not me who had come to her in the night. So. I did what any loving parent and wife would do. I handed her back to Kristin. I helped Kristin get her arms in just the right crook that Julia likes, and I walked out of the room to let them work it out between themselves. And silence finally reigned. But Kristin was unable to get Julia to go back in the crib, so I ended up in the new recliner with the baby for most of the rest of the night. The chair is comfortable, but the bed would have been better. I hope this is a short-lived stage...
Speaking of short-lived stages, today I am on cycle day 26. It's 15 days past when I think I ovulated. I've been scant spotting dark brown for the past 4 days. Pee sticks on Friday (CD 21, 10 DPO) and Sunday (CD 23, 12 DPO) were both negative. My cycles are never predictable in length, but it's very rare for me to go longer than 25 days in a cycle. And it's rare for me to spot like this for so many days before bleeding. I'm blaming the x-rays. You know I am. I think there's probably a blighted little blastocyst desperately trying to hold on... and just too mutated by the radiation to make it. It'll probably give up tomorrow and make Thanksgiving just that much more special.
Dammit, I wasn't going to think about Thanksgiving. I'm going to go look for a meme. That'll distract me.
* brownie points to whomever can identify where this comes from.
Not as easy as you might think...
1. Yourself: amoral
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend: busy
3. Your hair: camoflage
4. Your mother/stepmother: omnipresent
5. Your dog: spotted
6. Your favorite item: camera
7. Your dream last night: repetitive
8. Your favorite drink: gin
9. Your dream car: whole
10. The room you are in: lobby
12. Your fear: corrupted
13. What you want to be in 10 years: unflappable
14. Who you hung out with last night: wife
15. What you're not: brave
16. Muffin: strudel
17: One of your wish list items: iPod
18: Time: lunch
19. The last thing you did: printed
20. What you are wearing: rutching
21. Your favorite weather: lemony
22. Your favorite book: fiction
23. The last thing you ate: coffee
24. Your life: drained
25. Your mood: pessimistic
26. Your best friend(S): absent
27. What are you thinking about right now? stomachache
28. Your car: crap
29. What are you doing at the moment?: procrastinating
30. Your summer: dry
31. Your relationship status: taken
32. What is on your TV?: dust
33. What is the weather like?: gray
34. When is the last time you laughed?: dinner
I just can't get away from it. Thanksgiving. The Holiday from Hell.
In my entire life, I can think of only 2 Thanksgivings that I didn't have full-blown, feel-like-I'm-having-a-heart-attack, sneaking off to furtively sob in a darkened room, hands-shaking, relatives asking if I've recently developled a drug problem, emotionally debilitating panic attacks. Even when I was a small kid I used to freak out on Thanksgiving.
The only two peaceful Thanksgivings were when for some reason my mother would have a tiff with her siblings and opt our family out of the festivities. Those two years (one when I was 12 and one when I was 19) Thanksgiving was small, just our immediate family, and we invited my father's mother over. Using those two peaceful times as a diagnostic tool, I decided that the problem wasn't me, it was the gathering of the extended family (never mind that the extended family gathers quite frequently through the year and I don't have nearly as hard a time with them on any other occasion). So, when I got with Kristin, I took that opportunity to opt out of the big Thanksgiving and spend it with her family.
And still, panic attacks. Horrible one. Horrible ones mixed with guilt for having abandoned my own family. So, after a few years of that, I convinced Kristin that my problem wasn't with my own family, but with family AT ALL. So, we decided to do our own Thanksgiving feast and only invite friends. And still, surrounded only by people that I LIKE, STILL I have terrible, panic-ridden Turkey-Days. Not fun. Not fun in the least little bit. And at this point the day itself has become like a gigantic boogey man. I know I'm going to freak out on Thanksgiving, and the dread of the inevitable freak-out very likely actually contributes to said freak out. It's a vicious cycle.
So. THIS YEAR I told Kristin that all I wanted to do on Thanksgiving was tell everyone that we were out of town, tell our out of towners that we were holeing up here, and then HIDE in our home with the phone disconnected and the lights off and the cars parked a couple streets away and just let Thanksgiving glide by overhead like a bloated B-52. Maybe get Tibetan Take-out. If I can't see Thanksgiving, then Thanksgiving can't see me...
But see, we have a friend. A friend who didn't have anywhere to go. And we really like this friend. And we try to be generous people. So we mentioned to this friend that we were going to be home and hiding on Thanksgiving, and we casually mentioned that she could come and hide with us... and before I knew it we were offering to cook her a tofurkey (she's vegetarian and we don't really like meat, either) and she was planning on bringing wine and Thanksgiving had its claws hooked deep around my collarbone.
Meanwhile... my mom came to me and asked me honestly if she stopped hosting the entire extended family, would I come back to her Thanksgiving table? And I hesitated, because to answer a question like that from my mom is tantamount to signing an agreement in blood. But I started talking to her about how much I hate Thanksgiving, but I don't know why, and though I did end up telling her that yes, if it was just my immediate family (and their spouses) I would probably return to Thanksgiving, other than that the conversation was a good one and took enough of the Thanksgiving pressure off that I was able to come to a realization:
Remember all those months ago when I mentioned how I was sexually abused? It's in my archives, but I'm too lazy to link right now... I think I was talking about it in June or July... anway, remember how I said that I don't really remember any of the details, and how often or how extreme it was? How it wouldn't have been reported if there hadn't been a witness the last time? And how I'm now convinced that the abuse was more frequent and of a more severe type than was witnessed? Well, I begin to think that my hatred of Thanksgiving is a clue. I think that the abuse either started on a Thanksgiving, or that there was a particularly bad episode of abuse that occurred on a Thanksgiving.
It makes sense. My known abuser (and I do wonder if there was more than one, but that's a story for another time) is a member of that side of the family. Thanksgivings are/were chaotic, with the mothers all in the kitchen and the fathers all watching TV, and us kids shooed out of everyone's way. There was opportunity. There was availability. And, given how many times I was able to find hiding places to freak out, my abuser certainly wouldn't have had a hard time finding a secluded spot to take me away from watchful eyes for a few minutes.
I, of course, still remember nothing. But it makes sense. It all makes a very horrible, chilling sense.
And things with the tofurkey friend got very weird and strained over this past weekend. And I'm already getting Thankgiving Terror Tremors. So I called her up last night and uninvited her. I am an asshole. And now that I don't have a friend-with-nowhere-to-go to hide behind, what do you want to bet we end up at my mom's house? Thanksgiving is all powerful. That turkey is like a gigantic black hole... sucking everyone into its maw.
I hate Thanksgiving.
Guess who gets to go to work for a half day tomorrow?
That would be me!!! I'm still exhausted, very easily tired, and want to sleep a lot, but I think I can do a half day before the weekend. Plus, it'll help my self-esteem.
Guess what else? I also lost 7 lbs! Let's give a big hoorah to a wasting disease! If only I hadn't fueled myself with all that pecan pie.
Yesterday, I made my bed. I felt so accomplished. I made my bed, people! And then I immediately lay on it and pulled the covers up over myself like a sick-person burrito and fell back asleep. But the bed was made, and that has to count for something. Today I'm going to try to put laundry away.
The other day I was sitting on the couch, and Julia was sitting next to me, and Zoe (the cat) was sitting on my lap and purring. Julia reached forward and very, very gently, touched Zoe's ear. Zoe flicked her ear and Julia pulled back.
"That's Zoe's ear." I said. "She doesn't like you to touch it."
"Yeah." Julia replied thoughtfully. She looked at Zoe another moment and reached forward and gently touched Zoe's nose. Zoe snorted, but was too comfortable to move her head or anything. Julia continued lightly touching Zoe's nose until I said: "That's Zoe's nose."
Julia jerked back, looked at me alarmed, and clapped her hand to her own nose, feeling it, pinching it, pushing it. If she'd had the verbal language skills, I think she would have said, "Oh, god, PLEASE don't tell me that my nose looks like THAT! How is it possible that I could have anything in common with a cat?" I laughed my ass off, and Zoe finally moved, affronted, as Julia started poking at her nose again.
And, finally, here is Cali's meme.
1) If somebody said you were like a breakfast cereal, which one would you be and why? I would be Malt-o-Meal. Because I'm full of subtle flavors that are brought out by butter and spice. Because I'm filling and cozy on a cold morning. And because if you make me wrong, I'm gloppy, lumpy, overly sticky, and hard to swallow.
2) How do you take your coffee/tea? I like me some Mochas, so stick some chocolate in that coffee! Tea, I normally take black, with some sugar. Unless it's chai. I also love chai. I like my chai hot and spicy, but not that sweet.
3) Your bedroom is on fire. You can only reach in & grab ONE thing. Do you grab your photo album or your journals? Um, I grab my flash drive with all my poetry on it... shoot, that's not a good enough answer. Because, what if I CAN'T get it? What then? I just lose everything? I need a fire-proof safe. I need an off-site storage center. I need to prepare!
4) When I see people flicking their still-lit cigarette butts out their car windows I wish I could catch that butt, drive the flicker down, and RAM IT IN THEIR EYE so that everyone else would know that a discarded cigarette butt can still cause DAMAGE!!!, like, um, a FIRE.
5) Got porn? Oh yeah, baby. Wanna see?
6) If I could meet that first girl who made my hands tremble whenever I sat next to her and explain why that night under the tree I couldn't breathe when I was looking in her eyes I would never wonder what might have happened between us again.**
** not that I wish that I had ended up with her instead of Kristin (which some people might take this as saying), no way. But, you know, she might have been my first, and a much better first than whom (and under what circumstances) I gave that privilege to a few months later.
7) What is the worst pet name in the history of your family? Um, that would be a tie between Smokin' Bunny-Cake's bunny, Thumper, and her orange cat, Simba. I named her next cat, Themis, because I couldn't take the Disn*yness any longer.
8) I would eat a bowl of Dirt (as long as it's the kind of dirt I like) for free, but if you want me to eat a bowl of meat that still has the "ickies" in it, you'd have to pay me with sex. Um, no. Not really. But that would be nice, wouldn't it? Honestly, I'd probably just eat it to be polite, and then go be quietly sick in another room...
9) What 80's tv star would make you giggle like a school girl? Doogie Howser. Wait, was he from the 80's? And wouldn't you know it? He's gay. How funny is that?
10) What age was your best and why? Well, this age is pretty good, what with Julia being the light of my life and all... I hate to put a label of best on any part of my life, though, as I hope that it just keeps getting better.
Hopefully I'll get some cute pictures and another video uploaded soon...
Thanks for all the wonderful comments. You guys are the best. I think I virtually drowned in all the virtual chicken soup...
In my mind this was going to be a funny post with all the hilarity that a serious illness can engender. Something like what Julie would be capable of doing, something biting and acerbic and funny as hell, with a lovely little lesson woven in there somewhere.
But I'm sorry. I just don't have my funny back on. So all you get is #1.
The #1 Thing I Learned From Pneumonia is....
That I derive all my self worth from what I can do for people.
Which means, of course, that I don't feel that I have any intrinsic value. I'm only as good as my use. Normally this isn't much of a problem. It keeps me busy, proving my value; it makes our weekends jam-packed full of activity. It makes me popular with hostesses; if I'm at a party I'm always the guest that's doing dishes, serving food, cleaning up, refreshing drinks, etc... I have a wide range of skills, and I am capable of getting a great deal done. I'm a handy person to have around. People like me. I feel like I deserve my partner's love.
But then, suddenly, I'm sick. And I keep doing things to maintain my sense of place and value... and then I push myself too far and get sicker. And suddenly I can do nothing.
Where does that leave me?
That leaves me wandering around the store in search of pecan pie while my prescriptions fill, wondering how quickly we could sell our house, and if the equity would be enough to set Kristin and Julia up in a nice condo or something (I, of course, worthless creature that I am, would just go move into my parents' basement) with some money left over for some vacations to celebrate the fact that she's just been severed of such a very great Dead Weight that has been dragging her down for much too long.
Ok, so it sounds ridiculous here. But at the time? At the time it felt like the right thing to do. The noble thing. Free her from the uselessness that is me. I have nothing to offer. I am empty.
Obviously, this is a problem. I don't judge people's worth by what they can do for me, why do I judge myself this way? And, more importantly, how do I stop? Anybody have any stories? Roadsigns?
Because my biggest concern right now is that I don't want Julia modeling this behavior. And I truly believe that the best way to parent is to lead by example. And if I can't do that, well then...
Aw CRAP! You see how pernicious this way of thinking is?
Went back to the doctor today for a scheduled follow-up appointment. I think somewhere in the back of my brain was a lovely little fantasy of going into work after the appointment... ha. ha ha ha ha ha.
The doctor said she was concerned that this illness is not turning around as it should. My lungs still sound terrible. My blood pressure was through the roof (for me), my heart was racing, and I couldn't catch my breath to save my life. In fact the nurse that treated me on Saturday poked her head in the exam room saying, "I recognize that cough... oh you poor thing, aren't you any better yet?!"
So. They changed me from the nebulizer to an inhaler because of the blood pressure and racing heart thing. I'll start inhaled steroids on Thursday. The doctor gave me permission to take the prednisone all at once in the morning instead of once in the morning and once at night... the better to help me sleep. And... she changed my antibiotic.
See, internet, there's something I didn't tell you about last week. Last week we inseminated, and it looks like I ovulated... so I could be pregnant right now. That is, if the 4 chest xrays didn't blast the little blastocyct. It had slipped my mind (I'm just not used to having a 2ww, let alone possibly being pregnant) on Saturday, but I remembered to tell her this morning. And it's all good. Because Kristin needed 3 weeks of Bioxin, but insurance would only pay for 2 and damn that shit's expensive. So now she can have my week.
Anyway, it was quite a blow to be told that I can't go back to work ALL FUCKING WEEK. Especially since I don't have any more leave. That means 4 days without pay. My job is secure; I'm concerned that our mortgage isn't. (Kristin keeps telling me to stop worrying that far ahead, that we'll be fine, but it's all par for my little self-hatred course I'm on) And the trip to Hawaii is looking a little shaky at the moment. It sucks that a bad illness in November could disrupt a trip in late February that we've been planning for a year... but there you have it. It could. It really fucking could.
I have a follow-up follow-up appointment on Thursday, and hopefully the doctor will clear me to go to work on Friday. Not that I love work, by any means, but, you know, the whole "money is good" thing. And Julia still looks clear of pneumonia, so that's good. Here's to feeling better on so many different levels tomorrow.
PS -- Melessa... from your comments here you seem to be a wonderful, compassionate, intellegent, empathic person. I would be happy to meet you anytime... even if you ARE from Oklahoma!
I wrote earlier. Just forget it. Go read this. This is funny stuff. This made me laugh. Which, of course, made me cough. But that's not the Ox's fault. The Ox is blameless. Oh, and wish her happy birthday, why don't cha?
That's what I feel like: emotionally and physically.
Thank you everyone for your well wishes. It was so nice to log on tonight and see all that. Especially since I feel unlovable right now.
Kristin is extremely sick, too. She's got a horrible cough and it's hard to tell if it's from her sinuses draining or pneumonia, too. Though how she got pneumonia when she was given clear back on Thursday the same antibiotics that they just gave me is a mystery. Tonight, of course, I feel like it is all my fault. If I had gone to the damn doctor back when she told me to...
And we're watching Julia like a hawk. Her cough has gotten worse, too. God help me if she comes down with pneumonia. I don't know how I could bear that.
Shit, now I'm crying. And the crying makes me cough.
The prednisone gives me terrible insommnia. The last time I was on prednisone was when I had mono. I am probably the only person on the whole planet who COULDN'T sleep when I had mono. I'd just stare at the ceiling too weak to do anything, unable to sleep from the drugs in my veins, the drugs necessary to keep me breathing. Breathing begins to feel a bit overrated at 3 AM when all your body wants to do is quit and your brain doesn't see anything wrong with that.
Kristin's already behind in her school work and her work work. First she was sick. Then she got better but she took three days off to go to New York with me. Then we all got back and got sick again. And then this weekend was a three day weekend and she was supposed to get time to catch up and I got sicker and she had to take up the slack... and now she's so very sick again, herself. To say that I feel like the very worst sort of support and partner right now is an understatement. I was well enough tonight after getting some rest this afternoon to take Julia downstairs to play so she could get some rest. But it's not enough. It doesn't feel enough to me. I wish I could write her papers for her. I wish I could snap my fingers and make half her case-load disappear. But I can't. All I can do is sit here and hack and shake and cry and infect. I can't even sleep it all away.
I'm so glad my parents came and got Julia yesterday. But she wasn't happy to be with them. She was confused and upset. She could tell that something was wrong. When they finally brought her back today she just laughed and laughed and clung to Kristin and gave kisses upon kisses. And there was part of us that wished my parents could keep her another night, but we missed her and it's apparent that she missed us, too. But she's just so damn active and hard to keep up with even when I'm on my game. I just got her to sleep and I loved cuddling her as she drifted off. But I was so glad that she was asleep. Because now I can cry and take a bath and take a breathing treatment that will make my heart race and my hands shake and I don't want her to see me like that.
I'm going to hit publish now before I hit delete.
So... what serious illness besides the flu also presents with symptoms of:
Deep chest pain
Inability to breathe
Persistent cough that takes your breath away and leaves one shaky and weak
If you guessed pneumonia, you guessed correct!
Yesterday while not exactly napping, but not exactly awake, more like in a sick-induced haze, I was entertained by a sound like pop rocks, or rice crispies snapping. "What a curious sound." I thought drousily. "I wonder where it's coming from." It took me quite a while to realize that it was coming from my lungs.
"Go to the doctor." Kristin said.
"No." I replied. "They'll just tell me it's a virus and thus I'm not really sick."
"No they won't. They'll tell you that you're sick and help you get better."
"It doesn't matter, because I'm much better now. The snapping sound is almost completely gone. I can't even hear it anymore as long as the music's playing."
So, I thought I was feeling better, and we went to some friends' house to kill some bunnies. And then this morning I could barely move. All my muscles were frozen in pain. And the snapping sound was back in force. So... I broke down and called the doctor.
I've mentioned before how much I love our clinic. It's not their fault that I was raised without health insurance and so can't bring myself to go see a doctor when I'm sick because I never feel sick enough to justify a doctor's bill. It's not their fault that I am so disconnected from my body that I can't really tell how sick I am until I'm REALLY sick. It's not their fault that I' m convinced that I'm a hypochondraic and thus am sure that my symptoms are all in my head.
Even the doctor could hear the pop rocks in my lungs (WHAT a relief! I was so worried that I had made that up). I blew in the little breath thingie and only measured 200. They took exrays. They poked me three times (tried to draw blood out of one good vein and that one good vein threw up the white flag and retreated into the great unknown. So then they tried with another vein and that vein, too, went hither and yon, finally they poked me in the thumb like a baby to get the blood they needed). Apparently I am very, very sick. They sent me home with their own nebulizer machine. They gave me strict instructions that I am to go to the ER if after a breathing treatment I still feel wheezy. They gave me a painful shot of antibiotics in the ass (OUCH! Even the gama globulin shot I had when I was exposed to hepatitis didn't hurt as much). I have prescriptions for prednisone and some major abx.
My mom came and got Julia for the night. Kristin's wheezing too, but she's already on the same abx that I'm now on.
Now if only we could get hold of a friend to bring us sickies dinner...
This is me in mine.
Ya know... I just can't get that excited about it.
Oh, I voted. I did vote. I ALWAYS vote. Even though as a liberal in the reddest state in the union* let's just say that voter apathy is pretty damn high. I vote knowing that it doesn't do a damn bit of good. So, I guess, mainly I vote so that I can complain. And so that I can goad people in other states whose votes count into voting.
Ok, I'm partially lying. I did find some things of excitement in this mid-term election. But let's get my bitterness out first.
I'm not all that euphoric that the Democrats are finally in power. Mostly because I refuse to believe that they'll actually do anything substantive with that power. Over the last, how many years? We've watched the Democrats roll over and play dead. We've watched them blindly vote with the majority. Yes, there have been a few clarion voices calling for change and thought and reason and justice and democracy. But for the most part the Democrats have been toothless panderers. There are series of checks and balances even within the legislature, but time and time again the Dems have refused to use what methods they had as a minority to stop the ruthless smashing of our liberties, and our values, as a secular democracy. This is my big problem with the Democrats. The Republicans are not out of the running just because they're no longer the majority. The Republicans have no problem pulling every trick of the minority out of their hats to get what they want. The Democrats just throw up their hands, whine that they're in the minority, talk big about what they'd do if they had power, but actually do nothing. So, yeah, I'll believe in Democra-sponsored change when I see it. And if I do see it, I'll know that it doesn't come from the majority of Democrats up there, but rather from a small, vocal cabal who has been pushing for change all along, and dragging the rest of their spineless party behind them.
Hmmm, I guess I'm a little bitter.
And see, about the whole vote and the shifting demographics of the turn-out? I don't see it as a triumph. I see it as the LEAST that should have occurred. Where were all those people two years ago? or 6 years ago when the presidency was hijacked and countless poor people of color disenfranchised? NOW you're doing the right thing? Well, it's about time. So my big reaction to the new voters (not, of course, the young voters who didn't have a chance in the last elections, but everyone else who either voted for the right-pandering haters, or didn't vote at all) is not a resounding HURRAH! But more of a bitter "feh, 'bout time you did the right thing"
To all those pundits who keep saying that Tuesday was a demonstration that our system works? All I say is that to me, all Tuesday proved is that only when their own bed is finally on fire will the people make a move to disturb their peaceful slumber and beat out the flames -- even though the neighborhood and the house has been burning for YEARS. Again, it doesn't seem much to be proud of. And I am, of course, including myself in that condemnation.
There's a reason I'm not a politician.
But, I said that I saw a bright spot, and I did. And here it is: In the reddest of the red states, in a vilely homophobic and heterocentric community, an openly gay state senator was elected. Now THAT's change for you. And no matter that I don't think much of him personally, and no matter that I have grave misgivings as to his actual effectiveness as a state senator, the fact of the matter is: people here voted for him. True, his constituency is here in the capital city, which is actually a dot of deep blue in a vast sea of blood red (I mean, our beloved Mayor has led protests against the president here, has pushed to give same-sex couples who work for the city domestic partner benefits, used to be an attorney for the ACLU -- can't get much more liberal than that, and the city -- and ONLY the city -- LOVES him). But still. I never thought he'd win election. So there's that.
And here's another thing. While I was looking up the election results for our state legislature for Kristin... I noticed that some of those elections hinged on as few as a hundred votes. In some of the most conservative counties in Utah, Democrats NEARLY won. This is big. HUGE. Because when I think about it, most of the tangible discrimination and misery in our lives comes not from the Federal government, but from our state legistatures. DOMA may be a federal act, but it is our state legislatures that give it teeth. All these anti-gay marriage ballots (or the VAST majority of them) come out of the state legislatures. So the bright point is that I have realized (finally, on a cellular level) that I need to change the focus of my political activism from national issues to local politics. The change needs to happen in our local county races. On the level of everyday people. And looking at the results of this election, that may not be as hard as I used to think. Especially since the more I talk to people (even "conservatives") about the very real emotional, financial, and legal problems my family faces, the more they are appalled that such things are a reality. Message voting aside, most of the people I talk to don't think that I deserve to lose my daughter if something happened to Kristin, they don't think that it's fair that Julia can't get my social security if something happened to me. They don't think that it's right that I can't adopt her. They just don't KNOW that these things are the reality for our family and once they do they are upset and feel lied to by their representatives. Finally, the sleeping giant of our non-politicised general population is beginning to rouse and think about these things (and others). And even if it's slower than I think it should be, it's still happening. The euphoria shouldn't be coming from what happened on Tuesday, but from what is possible now that the people are beginning to wake.
You know, as the next election gets closer, I just might volunteer to help a liberal running for the state legislature in a sparcely-populated, extremely conservative county... I be there are a lot of hidden liberal, reasonable people there who just don't think that they have a voice, maybe I can help them realize that while they DON'T have a voice in the larger, national elections, we can begin making substantive change through our state legislatures, where our voices are heard.
*All you people who don't live in Utah who like to call yourselves residents of the reddest state in the Union? You don't know what red is. Yes. I'm talking to YOU Texas, and Virginia, and Oklahoma, and South Dakota and Florida. Sure, you're red. You're like a bright brick red. We are heart's blood.
Several years ago my mother read a poem that I had written. And she looked up at me and said, "I can't believe that you came out of my body. I can't believe that I made something so incredible." Well, I was uncomfortable. My family and I have had a rough relationship in the past, and this particular moment happened a little too close to some Very Bad Things for me to take it at face value. I shrugged it off and moved on. My mother and father have said similar things as I've gotten older, and each time I brush it aside. I'm just not that spectacular.
I think everyone who reads me also reads Unwellness. So you've all read about Bri's tete a tete with Julia. So I guess I'm not violating her privacy by writing about my perspective on what happened. Still, I'm not sure what to say, though when I think of that moment all sorts of emotion wells up so I feel like I have to say something. If you're offended by mothers raving about the perfection of their children, you might want to skip this post. For I am about to lose all perspective on her perfection.
I can't believe that I helped make something so incredible as my daughter. And I am going to claim a small slice of credit. I truly believe that we called to our family an amazing soul. I believe that with all my heart. One of these days I'll blog my "blastocyst as vacuum" theory, but for now just know that I believe with everything inside me that Julia's soul CHOSE Kristin and I to be her parents. So there must be some part of me that is worthy of greatness because she chose to walk through this life with us. She is an amazing, wise, loving soul. AND I believe that the way we are raising her is working with what is innately within her to help her flower beautifully. This is where I take my credit. I am not a complete swine to her pearls. I (we) must be doing something right. This is why what my mother used to say bothers me so: I would not be who I am without her. She has a right to take some credit. Still, I now know the wonder of seeing my child go beyond anything I could have hoped for, and she's not even two years old yet.
I was worried about Bri. I was worried that bringing my child to the meet-up would hurt her. Bri's friendship, even though I had never met her in person, is precious to me, and I feel very protective of her, and it would hurt me to hurt her deliberately. But I couldn't come to NYC without my baby, and so I came to New York having accepted that my presence, and that of my daughter, might hurt my friend. I ached with that knowledge, and it nearly kept me from coming. But in the end I decided to let her be the judge of what she can and can't handle. I decided that if she limited her exposure to me and/or Julia that I wouldn't be hurt. I decided to trust that she knew what was best for her and that when she said it was ok that we come, that she meant it.
So, we came to New York. And I wasn't surprised that Bri kept her distance from the children. I was happy to see her and she seemed as composed as anyone could be under the circumstances. And then time whirled by as it does when one is overwhelmed. And the next thing I know Bri is holding Julia and tears are streaming down her face. I walked over there, concerned, not for Julia, but for Bri. Charlotte was there, and Bri gave me a watery smile as I approached. She told me that she'd tried to put Julia down but that Julia wouldn't let go. And then I noticed that Julia was clinging to Bri and rocking a little, back and forth. And under the noise I heard how Julia was humming to Bri. Suddenly the situation changed from Bri holding Julia, to Julia holding Bri. My sick, cranky, miserable, in-pain, give-me-all-the-toys-or-I'll-scream toddler had not only discerned the amount of pain within Bri, but was attempting to comfort her through that pain. She was trying to comfort Bri in the best way that she is comforted -- by holding her, by rocking her, by humming to her.
I was there. I saw it. It blew me away. My toddler, in the midst of her own pain, reached out to comfort a stranger in distress. Yes, Virginia, there is a Goddess. I saw her shining in my daughter that night. May I see her shining through many times more.
I can only hope that that is what my mother has seen shining through me. That even if I haven't been able to feel it at the time, there has been a touch of divinity within me. And I can only hope that as Julia gets older I'll be able to convey how much I learn from her, how blessed I consider myself, how amazing she truly is.
You know, without giving her a big head or anything.
That was a moan of misery, in case you couldn't tell.
I don't deal well with being sick. I am not the sick one.
You'd think that with a whole day to rest with my sick and cranky baby I'd be feeling better. But no. Nonononononononononono. No. As the day went on I got sicker and sicker. Coughing. Achy. My chest hurts. Julia went down for her afternoon nap and I (thinking she'd be asleep for a solid block of time) took a cought syrup with codein. Big mistake, but at least it didn't bite me in the ass too much. She woke up after only 1/2 hour (just as the codein kicked in) and I staggered into her room and brought her out with me to the couch. She napped with me on the couch for a period of time and then wiggled down and started playing. I think she may have played nicely by herself (without doing anything TOO dangerous) for about an hour before she crawled back over to me with her bottle and started hitting me in the face with it. Ok, Mama's up.
So, she's feeling better and I'm feeling worse. But I used up all my leave yesterday, so I'm sitting here at work like Typhoid Mary. My chest hurts when I breathe in deep, so I'm trying to keep my breathing shallow and regular. And that works, until I cough. Then I have deep coughing fits that leave me groaning and shaky. Everything aches. I've got that raw skin feeling that I get when I'm just about to spike a fever. My head aches. My neck aches. But I'm not fevered yet, so that's a good thing. I tend to go delirious when I have a fever that hits about 102 -- so let's just hope I don't go there...
And, on top of it all... the thermostat in my area doesn't work and so it's FREEZING in here. I have a metal space heater which I clumbsily hit with my bag and it fell over and smashed my big toe... and when I left for New York I forgot to empty the tea bags out of my teapot. And they were all moldy this morning, and even though I washed the teapot out... my tea still tastes like mold.
At least I can still breathe through my nose.
Tomorrow is Veteran's day, so I've got the day off, thank the good lord above. I'm just not sure how I'm going to get through this one...
I know. Whine, whine, whine. That's all I ever seem to do these days.
One last whine. I'm like, 20 THOUSAND words behind on my NaNo novel. WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO??? It's not looking good for my novelling aspirations, I can tell you that...
Julia woke up worse this morning... all the screaming, again, I just couldn't take her to daycare so back to the doctor we went. Her ear is still infected, but she's still got the abx in her system, so there's nothing more to do. It's ok. I was just worried that maybe her eardrum had burst or something she was so upset.
I am also home sick. Just a cold, I think. No fever, just body aches, chest aches, cough, swollen lymph nodes in the neck. It'll do us both some good to stay home and sleep.
I don't know where to start...
Yes, it's true, we went to NYC this past weekend. We shouldn't have. But we went anyway. I've never been to NYC, and I was terrified of the city. TERRIFIED. But I girded my loins and braved my fears of the subway, the busy streets, and the taxi drivers and went.
But we shouldn't have. Wednesday night I took Julia to the doctor's office because she was so congested. We just wanted them to check her out. Just in case. I thought she just had a cold. But nope. Ear infection. Just starting. She wasn't even running a fever. I asked the doctor if we should cancel our trip, but the doctor said that we shouldn't. That we caught it soon enough, and with the decongestant and the antibiotics, she should be fine. Ha. And again I say: HA!
Anyway... so we packed. Light. For the entire weekend we took our two purses and one backpack. I was impressed. And we got on a plane at 6 AM Saturday morning. And Julia was a champ. SO well behaved. We got comments on how good she was. And then we were getting off the plane in NYC. And then we were getting on the bus to Harlem. And here is where things started getting a bit shaky. See, the bus was crowded, and our stroller is BIG. And even though I had it folded up, it still took up a lot of space. And I was mortified that we were taking up so much space. And people were tripping on it, and kicking it, and I just wanted to curl up in a tiny little ball. But finally the luggage platform was cleared off and I was able to put the stroller out of the way and try to relax. But still, there were SO MANY PEOPLE!!! Everywhere I looked on the street was overflowing with people. And cars. And busses. So much congestion! I started to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated and far from home. I was on constant look out for pickpockets and purse thieves and baby snatchers. You know, all the evil people that live in NYC and love to pray on naive out-of-towners. Luckily we didn't meet up with anyone like that.
Anyway, eventually we reached our stop, and managed to get the ginormous stroller out of the bus and headed in the right direction and then we were in the safe haven of Shelli's place. HEAVEN! Kristin and I were nervous to be staying with internet strangers but Shelli and Narda made us feel immediately welcome. And MP3 is ADORABLE! And I was able to breathe and let my heart rate and blood pressure decline and we settled into a quite night of chatting and killing bunnies. And then Jen and Cait and Natalie arrived and there was more talking and more big eyes and finally I practically passed out from overstimulation. But that was a good thing.
But that night, Julia spiked a fever. She was so restless and uncomfortable that night and I felt so incredibly bad for subjecting her to this trip. And there was nothing more I could do for her besides dosing her up with Motrin and decongestants and her antibiotics and lots of cuddles and hugs. The poor little pumpkin. So sick and so far from home.
Saturday morning we all got up and Hope and Megan and Quinn came over and we all headed out through Central Park to go to breakfast. This was lovely. Meeting these people in smaller doses was perfect. Time to talk. Time to acclimate to seeing people in the flesh that I had only ever seen in the pixel. I'm a fairly new reader to Hope and Megan's blogs, and I don't feel like I know them as well as I know other bloggers, but it wasn't long before it felt like I'd known them forever.
After breakfast, we went back to Shelli's place and began getting ready for the big party. And here is where it gets all disjointed for me. The closer to the descent of the masses, the more panicked I got. The more panicked I got, the more I wished I could just hide in the bathroom and forget the whole thing. WHAT WAS I THINKING???? I'm the woman who had a full-fledged panick attack at Julia's birthday party surrounded only by my friends and family! Why did I think I could do this thing?
And then Brooke showed up. And I looked in her face and I recognized the same panick that I was feeling, and then I remembered that HEY! I know about this woman's ass problems! I know this woman, I can do this! And I started talking to her, and about that time someone opened some wine and I grabbed a glass and started drinking, and then things just started to smooth out. Some. They started to smooth out some. I got drunk and started chattering. I think I talked too much and too loudly. I think I rudely interrupted conversations to tell really lame and pointless and long stories. I'm sure I hugged all the wrong people (wrong meaning that I hugged people who probably didn't want to be hugged, not that I hugged people I didn't want to hug, comprende?) and didn't hug the right ones. And OH! Sophia! She came over to me to say hi!!! and all this time I never thought Sophia liked me! But she must like me, at least a little. And, people, Sophia is gorgeous! And I'm not just saying that so she'll like me more. It's absolutely true. And there were people there that I wasn't surprised to see. Not because I was expecting them, but because it just seemed that I knew them so well that they didn't feel like internet strangers, but like old college buddies that I just hadn't seen in the flesh for a while. Instant comfort. Or maybe that was the pinot grigio. I'm still not sure.
All I know, is that my pants kept falling down. It's true. I think I bought them when I was slightly bloated, and as I wasn't capable of really eating anything, and I'd already worn them for a day and kinda stretched them out, and whatever... I don't know. But I swear everytime I bent over they fell down and I was constantly hiking them up. Sorry people, I wasn't MEANING to moon you... I wasn't THAT drunk. All I can say is that I hope you either didn't notice, or that you liked the show. I started so many conversations that I wasn't able to finish... I saw so many people that I wanted to talk to more. I regained my bearings by noticing Brooke somehow managing to look like she was holding up the wall in the middle of the room and walking over and talking to her some more.
And then it was over and everyone was leaving for a bar in Union Square. Shelli and Jen and Cait had all said that it would be ok for Kristin and I to leave Julia in their care... but we wanted to get her to sleep first. So we promised to meet up with everyone as soon as she was down. But she never. went. down! An hour later and she was still up and Shelli shooed us out the door saying that there were enough mothers in the apartment to handle one cranky, overtired baby and that we should go. So, we took a cab down to the village, walked around some, and then took the subway over to Union square and couldn't find anybody! I was calling and calling, and we were walking and walking. In and out of bars looking for our peeps and nada! Nothing! I was disappointed, but it was all ok, because I got to see a subway rat (the one thing on my MUST SEE! list...) so I felt like the night accomplished something. And then Kristin and I ended up at a cool lesbian bar for the rest of the night. So that was good too. The only bad thing was that I hadn't said goodby to anyone because I thought I'd see them later... and I never did. So things feel unfinished there. Does that sound strange? I didn't hug someone goodby so now I feel like I owe them something. Weird. I am a weirdo.
ANYWAY. Julia seemed better on Sunday, but still we took it easy. Hung out in Harlem. Watched the marathon runners run by. Ate the world's best french toast at a lesbian owned restaurant... It was nice. And then it was time to go. Only with the marathon in town everything was discombobulated. We had thought we'd just take the M60 back to the airport, but it was rerouted. And though Narda walked with us to help us figure out where the bus would be picking up passengers, and though the place she finally led us was full of travellers with luggage trying to get to the airport... the bus never came. Finally all 20 (or so) of us airport seekers realized that the bus was NEVER GOING TO COME and we all tried to get cabs. And no cabs would stop for us. No cab wanted to try to get to the airport. Kristin and I walked a few blocks away from the horde and tried again... and the only cab that would stop for us was a rogue cab that haggled with us over prices, and finally agreedt to take us for all the money in Kristin's pockets. (Luckily I had a 20 hidden on my person). And thus began The Most Frightening Half Hour of My Life. This man was INSANE!!!!!! He made his own lanes. He swerved into oncoming traffic and left it to the oncoming traffic to get out of the way! He went the wrong way on one-way streets! He weaved through intersections full of traffic going all 4 directions! We were clinging to our baby in the back seat (sans carseat, by the way! because we were told that they weren't required in NYC) PRAYING to ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GOOD! While he played with our lives all while talking non-stop on his cell phone (NOT hands free!) and cursing at the people in cars who just happened to be following the traffic laws! He... he... he... got us to the airport on time. That's all I can say. He got us there, alive, but considerably frazzled.
And then... it gets worse.
When I bought our tickets a month ago there weren't any seats left sitting together. And there weren't any "bargaining seats" aka: window and aisle seats. No. There were only middle seats available. That's ok, I thought, I'll ask them to change the seats when we check in. But no. When we checked in I could see that there were open seats together. But to change them on the e-ticket check-in screen cost $30! And, frankly, I thought that was ridiculous. So, we went to the gate and I walked up to the gate agent and explained that I was travelling with a baby and that my travelling companion and I weren't seated together and was there any way they could change our seats... and she refused unless I paid more money! Now, I'm used to flying standby. And when you fly standby you accept such things. But I had paid full price for these tickets and I think that they should change your seats for free when you PAY for a ticket. But maybe that's just me. So, Kristin's in the row behind me, and we're passing Julia back and forth over the seat backs and she's fine. She's completely fine. And then the plane takes off (btw... no one wanted to trade us seats so we could sit together) and Julia starts SCREAMING. She screamed like someone was murdering her. She flung her head back and forth, she kicked and scratched. She wouldn't take her bottle of milk. She wouldn't take her sippy cup of juice. She wouldn't eat anything. She wouldn't play with anything. She just kept screaming. People were looking. Finally the plane leveled off, and though the fasten seatbelt sign wasn't off yet, I took Julia up to the lavatory and held her in my arms in the little open space there for a few minute while she SCREAMED and SCREAMED and SCREAMED. And I couldn't take everyone's eyes on me, and she was overstimulated and so I, in desperation, took her into the lavatory. And she SCREAMED and SCREAMED and SCREAMED and kicked me and pulled my hair, and pinched me, and threw her head back and it banged into the wall, and I was sure that people thought I was beating her in there. And I sung to her and I rocked her back and forth and I took her shoes and socks and pants off because she was so hot, and I hummed to her and (because I get very airsick, and I hadn't taken my dramamine and I was in a bad position rocking her in the lavatory while there was turbulence) I vomited bitter, burning stuff into the sink as she screamed, and I called her name and I kissed her and still(I'm crying right now as I type this) she screamed so long and so hard that she broke little blood vessels in her eyelids and after an hour (yes, I hogged the lavatory for over an hour on a 2 hour flight -- but even though I didn't have the door locked, NO ONE CAME IN) she stopped crying and passed out. And then I held her for another 15-20 minutes as she twitched and moaned and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed helplessly, and tried to get control of myself. And then I came out of the bathroom and walked with my head down and my red, puffy eyes averted, back to my seat and prayed that Julia would stay asleep for the rest of the flight. And that was only the first leg of the flight.
During our layover I read the instructions on the dramamine and broke a pill into pieces and fed her some so that it would help her sleep. And the dramamine kicked in right before take off, so she slept through the second flight. Which was a good thing. Kristin and I were together on this flight, but this man who STANK to high heaven of cigarettes and alcohol was in the seat next to Kristin and passed out on her and I spent the flight nauseated from the smell and she spent it feeling violated from his touching her. And then we were home.
So. Now I just need to process. It was so wonderful meeting so many of you. I feel a deeper connection to some, and to others I just feel justified in my already deep connection to you. But, I'm afraid if y'all want to do it again, I'm going to have to insist that it be here or within driving distance of here, as I'm afraid that I'm NEVER GETTING ON A PLANE WITH MY BABY AGAIN.
How long does it take to drive to Hawaii?
She's officially a toddler!
taken with my new camera that only cost me $20!!!
Sometimes it pays to complain when a company treats you like crap...
Dr. Nerdly says...
that yes, the numbers are elevated. And yes. The elevated numbers indicate that I have diminished ovarian reserve.
But. He says that I'm young. That the tests indicated that I ovulated beautifully last month. And that he doesn't want me to get upset or give up hope. He said that the numbers indicated that if we were trying to do IVF that I wouldn't stimulate as easily and they wouldn't be able to harvest as many eggs as they'd like... but we're not doing IVF and he says he has no reason to believe that my eggs are bad, per se. And, really, if we're not doing IVF then we really only need one egg at a time, right?
So, we're watching this cycle. Again, I'll have blood drawn for progesterone tests. He's thinking that I'm probably ovulating around day 11 or 12... and that might be why I'm never catching an LH surge... I'm surging before I start peeing on sticks (except that one month where I started peeing on sticks on day 5... but let's not think about that...) So we'll see. I took the whole day off work so I could cry myself to sleep, but left the appointment feeling more optimistic than I have in a loooooooooooooong time. I'll see him again in about another 2 weeks, and we'll evaluate this cycle and then we'll talk about femara.
So, it's a good thing that I didn't overreact and freak the fuck out on Tuesday...
Oh, you thought that was freaking out? No. That wasn't freaking out. Freaking out would have been following through with my plan to kidnap our donor for a hasty elopement to Vegas to ensure the ability to use his jizz for an IVF cycle using Kristin's eggs. Now THAT would have been freaking out. What you guys got here was just a mild upset...
I'm outta town for the weekend. But before I go... a lovely thing to think about that I got from a poster being given out at the University's Women's Resource Center.
For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable. For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence. For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep. For every boy for whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes. For every girl who throws out her e-z-bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one. For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry's attacks on her self-esteem. For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.
Adaped from a poem by Nancy R. Smith.
Crimethinc. Gender Subversion kid #69-B.
I'm supposed to start a novel today.
Holy crap I'M SUPPOSED TO START A NOVEL TODAY
given what I'm going through right now, it seems impossible to focus on something as trivial as writing a novel.
given what I'm going through right now, it becomes absolutely imperative that I manage to create SOMETHING from this body of mine. Once upon a time... I wanted to be a writer. I even got a little piece of paper to say I was one...
Too bad I don't have the foggiest idea of what my novel is going to be about, and that I'm planning a very busy, non-writing weekend, and, oh yeah, I'm supposed to have like 20 baby scarves made by Tuesday (total completed so far: 1 very lumpy one that Kristin gently questioned the craftmanship of, until I burst into hiccupy, sobbing tears over the little strangely-shaped scrap of pink yarn, and she apologized and told me it was lovely and that she was sure no one would mind the fact that it is wedge shaped). I am over committed, over extended, over emotional, but AS GOD IS MY WITNESS I SHALL WRITE THIS NOVEL!