Friday, November 26, 2004

Still A Ways To Go

Generally speaking, there are only two reasons for asking a pregnant woman how far along she is:

A. To compare her due date to her belly size.
or B. At some attempt towards conversation.

The problem is, the conversation ends quickly after an answer is given by the pregnant woman and then the questioner replies with either:

A. You've still got a ways to go then.
or B. You're getting close.

At least these answers are better than outright comments on my belly size compared to my due date. (Yes, I know I look farther along. How fun for you to point it out for me.)

I've been getting the "ways to go" comment a little too often lately. First, just two days ago when I was buying the crib and changing table from some man who listed them on craigslist. Obviously he gained a lot of sensitivity and insight through becoming a father. Then yesterday at Thanksgiving from Matt's grandmother immediately after telling me that I'm getting a little round (understatement of the year), then asking when I'm due again. Maybe she thought that her memory was mistaking her. No way could I be due in early April when I look so due now.

I've never felt compelled to guess how far along a pregnant woman is. Unless you guess right on target it causes problems. If you guess too small, then she'll start to doubt herself and wonder if there's something wrong with the baby. If you guess too big, she'll know you're making some statement on her overall weight and how much she's eating. Trust me, I'm always guessed too big and it's not fun. It's the only time people feel compelled to make comments on my general appearance and I don't appreciate it.

Between you and me, I'm not concerned about my weight and neither is my doctor. She has never said anything one way or the other. She's always told me that my belly measures on target. I just have to think that there are those petite pregnant women who are ruining it for us larger pregnant gals. Creating an image that some of us just can't live up to, and I don't really need to. I just want size comments to go away.

Frankly, I don't think I've got a ways to go. Considering the over three years it took this baby to be conceived, I think I'm on the home stretch to only have 4 more months until his arrival. 4 more months is nothing in the grand scheme. Cake walk in comparison to 4 months or more stretched out without much hope of even starting the 9 month time clock. I know and I remember. I'm grateful to have made it this far and for each day that I wake up still pregnant and the baby still kicking.

I know.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Nesting Anyone?

I've got my work cut out for me this weekend. My main duty will be to start dismantling my home office. I've got to box stuff up and ship it back to Arizona or store it. I'm going to have a small garage sale and sell my desk, file cabinet, office couch, and that thing that the printer sits on that I bought from Arthur Andersen when they were getting new furniture. My biggest dilemma is how to get this two ton desk out of here since I won't be able to help. Matt says he can do it, but I know it took at least two strong men to get it in here. We'll see.

I'm also going to sell my dining room table and chairs. I hate this table. When we moved from Arizona, we sold our dining room table so we could have a fresh start. We first rented Matt's grandmother's house as we house hunted (very difficult to sell a nice house in Arizona then be confronted by the much higher housing costs in the Bay Area - Scary!). When we were moving from the grandmother's house, Matt and his uncle started loading her table and chairs into the moving van. When I questioned this, he told me that his grandmother said he could have them. When I told them I didn't want them (brass & oak veneer 1980s style set), he said they were better than nothing.

Soon after moving in, Matt's cousin calls to tell me that the grandmother is upset that I took her table. She knows because the grandmother told her aunt who told her. And then my MIL called to tell me the same thing. I told them all that I didn't want the damn table, never did, and that Matt said he had cleared it with her. I then told him to put it in his truck and drive it back.

Her house sold a day after it was on the market, so she no longer wanted it back. When we rented her house, we paid her rent, including two weeks rent when we didn't live there but we had stuff in her garage. She said she was calling the two weeks rent check the payment for the table, or at least that's what Matt's aunt told me as the grandmother never said anything to me.

Anyway, I got stuck with this ugly table and a lot of hard feelings after the gossip. The only reason I hadn't gotten rid of it yet was that Matt talked about how it was his grandparent's table and it was so useful and expensive. As if there are a lot of antiques from the brass 1980's furniture era.

So it's going. And I will party in the spot it now stands in.

Besides, I have another table. It's from my family and it is real wood, extremely heavy, very big, and old in the good sense. The top needs to be refinished and I'm not sure I'll have time to do that anytime soon, but a good table cloth will cover it in the mean time. My main job will be shopping for chairs, but that's not too bad. I'll get to pick out what I like.

As for the baby's room, once I get the office stuff out of here, I can start painting. I bought the crib bedding on Saturday, which was a huge step for me. Admitting I'm pregnant and investing in the outcome. Besides, I needed to pick out the bedding so that I could settle on my theme and colors. It will be little sail boats, light houses, sand castles, and star fishes. The set is officially called "The Hamptons" but there's no rich people or parties depicted on the set. It's beachy, but not too theme-y, just light and calming. You can almost hear the waves and the seagulls. Maybe I should cover the wood floor with a layer of fine sand... or maybe not.

If I don't talk to you until then, please have a very happy Thanksgiving. Eat lots of turkey and take a wonderful nap.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I'm Huuge.

I'm very pregnant. I'm huuuge.

I probably shouldn't be this big yet, but that's the way I am. I don't do the little basketball pregnancy. I get the all over pregnancy, with the big face, b**bs, butt, feet, and tummy. Nothing is left the same. By the end, I'll be barely able to move.

With Jamie, I gained 38 lbs. She was 2 days late and weighed almost 9 lbs. I lost all but 5 lbs of the weight within 6 weeks. It's because it's not just fat but also tons of water. I soak it up and store it everywhere. I had a big baby and got very swollen, but I didn't have gestational diabetes or any other issues. I just get big.

Thing is, I'm feeling just plain fat. I miss my waist. Because I've got the allover bigness, people don't immediately know that I'm pregnant. Maybe they wonder, or at least I hope they wonder. But I think I just look big and not pregnant.

Last night I met with a group from school for this big negotiations project. No one asks me if I'm pregnant, and I feel enormous. So I started talking about how I was so tired because I can't sleep at night - because of my pregnant belly. Then they started asking me questions about when I'm due etc. I don't really like all those questions (because I always want to lie about my due date because of my size) but I felt like I had to explain my big belly.

Really, I'm not looking for attention, I just want to explain my size. How vain am I?

Then I get the comments on how they don't know how I do it with school, kid, work and pregnancy. The answer is that I don't. I think I suck at all of them right now. I get my homework done, but I'm behind on my readings. I get my daugter off to school on time, but it took me forever to find two matching clean socks for her to wear. I'm up-to-date on my work emails but my voicemail box is full. And I should be exercising but I'm just too tired and lazy.

Then there's my husband. I love Matt with all my heart. I love that he loves watching Janie on the nights I go to school. And I love how he calls on his way home from work to see if I want him to pick up dinner. Then I hate how he never wipes off a counter or vacuums.. And I hate how he never thinks to wash Janie's clothes or change her bed or pick up her toys.

The things I appreciate about him most are the things he doesn't even know impresses me. Like how he loves to go for a run, or take the dog and kid to the park. Or how he went to school and got a degree in electrical engineering so he could tell our future kids that he went to college,even though he hated every minute of it and his job doesn't require it. Or how he has loved me throughout my many moods and ranging sizes.

Then there's how much he has grown and changed since we married. Of course it has been 12 years, so it was bound to happen, but yet I was always told not to expect a man to change. Fact is, I didn't change him, he did it on his own.

First, he changed from thinking that children needed spankings otherwise they would be spoiled and unmanageable, to becoming the biggest fan of time-outs. Janie is 4 and has never been spanked.

Second, and also as important was his change in his position on IVF. It was back in 1998 that I was told that our test results were so poor that we needed IVF to get pregnant. After I explained this to Matt, he told me that he would never go through IVF. He felt that was too far and too much and more than he'd ever go through. It wasn't the super supportive moment I had hoped for. I could say that I was sad, which I was but only to a point because I didn't really believe the doctor. My friend, the psychologist, calls this Magical Thinking. When faced with facts so opposite everything we believed (that I could get pregnant easily), we don't believe them. So we started on 6 months of clomid and OPKs. No it wasn't going to work, but I thought at the time that it could. And because it didn't effect him too much and it was pretty low tech, Matt didn't mind.

Gradually, things ramped up. There were a lot more tests. There were different RE office visits. Eventually there was IUIs, one of which worked. Then after Janie, we went back to normal trying, then timed trying, then OPKs, then RE's office, more tests and more IUIs. Finally we reached IVF, just as I knew that we would. I wasn't surprised. I had had 6 years since I was first told that we would need it, and I'd heard it by various doctors and test results since then.

And as for Matt? He was all for it. Not a doubt in his mind. If this is what we needed to do, and if I was ready for it, then he was ready and willing.

So maybe it's life experiences that teach you that you can bear more than you thought. Or that things are not so black and white.

The years and all that we've endured together have only brought us closer. He's the only one who knows what I'm thinking when I don't say a word. When we meet people, he can tell if I really like them, if I'm being polite, or if they are gigantic jerks so I'm messing with them for sport. He supports me in my work and in my school. So maybe he has no clue what it takes to keep a house up, that's okay. It drives me crazy, but I'm not perfect either.

So I'm huge and not exactly glowing, and he tells me to lift my shirt because he wants to see my belly. And I don't want to do it because I'm embarrassed by my "protective layer of fat". But I do it because he smiles when I do, and puts his hand on my big tummy and tells me that I look beautiful. And as he holds his hand there, hoping to feel a kick or something (still hasn't), he smells my hair and kisses my cheek and makes me fall in love with him all over again.

What's a girl to do? I'm a sucker for a man who loves me when I'm huge.

And I am huge.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Individual Ready Reserve

The Army has started calling up guys from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). I'm trying to figure out what this is, so please bear with me. From what I am reading, although there are different enlistment periods, "all soldiers have a statutory 8-year military service obligation." The IRR involves "individuals who had previously served and may have some period of military service obligation remaining."

This morning I read a NY Times article about these guys being called up for IRR. One man, who is now 47, said he ended his military service over a decade ago and got the letter calling him up. He says he doesn't understand why the Army wants him considering he hasn't flown a helicopter in over 10 years, and he's 47.

Being the self-absorbed person that I am, I couldn't help but wonder about how this could affect me. My husband also served over a decade ago. Since he served his 3 enlisted years, does that mean the military thinks he owes them another 5 years? I never thought that they could call people back after so long until I read this article. And, I didn't think my husband owed them anything until I read more about IRR.

So now I have a mission to try to dig out his old military papers to look for any fine print. I have to know that he's safe. He's served his time for his country, he should be done.

Does anyone have any information on the IRR?

To be called out, first the military would have to find him. I was under the impression that he only had to give them his address for a certain number of years that are now passed. We've moved around a lot since then, and we haven't kept in touch. To find him, they'd have to trace him through his social security number, which is not that hard.

Second, we'd appeal. Or at least I'd appeal. He's the type who if called would immediately go. That's just the way he is and why he served in the first place. Remember when his job called him for Florida for a month and he was outbound a day later? He would have been miserable if he couldn't go. And when all the soldiers from his base started being deployed to the Persian Gulf, he was ansy until he was deployed there too. He left with a smile on his face to be going into the action and being part of something big.

But I don't even know if he's really eligible. I'm hoping there's some time exemption for how much time has passed since being discharged.

If he went, I don't know what I'd do. I've faced that sort of fear for him before, and it was paralyzing.

I do know that we would have to sell our house. I couldn't afford this California house payment on my own. I also don't know how I'd finish school.

Let's just assume that the odds are tiny. Okay? I'll deal with it IF they decide to call him up, IF they can find him, and IF he tries to go.

As for the men in the article being called up after they've finished their service, they didn't interview their wives, but I know what they're thinking.


I talked to Matt and he said that his period of IRR was for 7 years after he was discharged, so it would have ended 4 years ago. I can breathe again.

Nothing like a little freak out before breakfast to get the old heart pumping.

I also told him that in case a packet does show up in the mail from the Army, he'd never know about it because I would give it to him. He laughed - but I'm serious.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

No time to spare

It's raining outside, and I love the rain. I especially love being home when it's raining. Sadly, although I'm home working today, I have too much work and homework to do to fully enjoy the rain. I just want to light a fire and read a good book. No such luck.

Janie has the day off for Veteran's Day, and Matt has the day off for I don't know what. They are driving me up a wall with their clear schedules and nothing else better to do than have a good time and check in on me. Janie was dancing around the house after watching Snow White and singing "Some day my prince will come." I love that song but Matt was bothered by it, I think the fact that Snow White believes her life will start when Princey Boy shows up and not until then. Not a good roll model for Janie. On the other hand, she's only 4 and wanting to be a princess is just part of being a little girl.

Matt just checked on me again and told me to get back to work. He's joking, but serious too. He knows how much I've got on my plate. I'd like to think I could do some of it tonight but I've been suffering from an inability to fall asleep. Last night I was up until 12, then back up at 4 not to fall asleep again. My awake state is not active enough to work or study, but not sleepy enough to relax and rest.

Oh, I'm just a regular ball of sunshine today.

p.s. When I said that Matt's name suggestions of Bart and Carl were ridiculous, it was because all his name suggestions seem to come from the Simpsons. Bart and Carl are actually better than his other suggestions of Homer, Waylin, Barney, Mo, and Lenny. Yes, I'm a fan but not that much.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I'm Back

I feel like I've been gone forever. I just got back from Arizona yesterday. Baby Abby (the one who had heart surgery) is doing fantastic. She's gained a pound, eats like a piggy, and is extremely active and happy. She looks like she did before the surgery (except the scar all the way down her chest) except for all her activity. It's amazing how much a fixed heart can do.

My presentation went well. It was explaining hospital finance to hospital employees who were interested. I explained things like... why does a non-profit hospital want to make a profit (to have money to buy equipment, expand programs to patients, refurbish, etc) and how insurance companies pay (badly, not enough, after playing games). It couldn't help but be peppered by my own opinions. The room was packed, with people standing in the back, and we ran out of food (it was catered by the Learning department not the Finance department). I was asked a lot of questions throughout the presentation and many many at the end. I'm not used to such an interested audience. It was great. Now they want me to do it for the night crew at midnight. I told them that I could only do it before the end of the year, since I'm not allowed to fly after that. Otherwise they will have to convince another analyst to give it at midnight, and I can't imagine any one of them volunteering.

Thank you for the name suggestions. What kind of names do I like? I like simple names, perhaps two syllables for either the name or nickname but that's not mandatory. Some names my husband doesn't like but I do are Henry, Max, Joey, and Jack. Nothing too popular but nothing out of the ordinary either. Other names I like but can't have are Danny, Paul, and Nicholas. Relative names don't work (unless you like Bert or Louis). I've explained to Matt that I'm asking his opinion as a polite jesture. Naming the child should be a joint decision but if he vetos every good name, I will unilaterally decide on one as I am the only parent who signs the birth certificate. Therefore he needs to cooperate. Matt usually laughs and throws up a ridiculous suggestion or two (like Carl or Bart). Sometimes he doesn't laugh as he thinks I'm serious.

Being back in Arizona, I ran into more people who discovered I was pregnant. I've been outed by my own body. They and those who already knew all had to ask me "Is it a boy or a girl?" I hate this question because the result is the same. When I say Boy, they get excited and give me congratulations or clap their hands or tell me how lucky I am. It's the best news in the world to them, and is sometimes way over the top. It really makes me wonder.

What would they have said if it was another girl? Is that so bad? Why is having one of each so important? Or is it that it's a boy, a male heir to the Pazel kingdom? I don't remember my head being in jeopardy if I did not produce a male.

If you have two kids, there are generally three variations. Boy/Boy, Girl/Boy, or Girl/Girl. Each one is having two kids. They are different flavors of pairs, sure, different experiences to be gained. But why is one of each so preferable to having a matching pair? I've seen many siblings of the same sex and they are so cute and very close with each other.

I'm happy that it's a boy just as much as I'd be happy it's a girl. That's why I'm so confused by the total excitement of aquaintances or strangers for having achieved some sort of triumph by this combination. They seem much happier finding out it's a boy than finding out I'm pregnant, and to me that's backward.

So is there a lesson that infertity beats into our brain that the rest of the world hasn't gotten yet? Any child, any child, any child would be wonderful. Thank you.

p.s. Thanks for the shadow box idea, it's a really good one. I'll have to get one I can open up so I can take it out and hold it sometimes. I'm wondering if I'll dress my son in it just once for a sort of comparison shot. I don't think he'll mind the cherries. There's no ruffles and it's not a dress...just some red cherries.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Little Clothes

My mother is a train wreck, but I know she'll get better. Two of my sisters will be with her this weekend, then the service is the following weekend. She's also spending a lot of time with her friend's daughters who are also in the same kind of hell after this suicide. I'm a mean and horrible person, but I can't help but think that most times suicide is a selfish act because of how much it hurts the people left behind. I say most times and not all as for those times when the person is suffering from cancer or such and they don't want to die a long painful death, taking one's life is more understandable.

Tonight I'm flying to Arizona. My friend has all of her son's baby clothes she wants me to go through. That would be assuming that this baby will eventually be born and will need clothes. How very presumptuous. She asked how many of Janie's clothes I still have and I told her only one outfit. I just saved one of her baby pajamas, but that's it. She was shocked. How could I have not saved more?

Hmmm... how to explain this. I hated when Janie would grow out of her baby clothes. It was always sad to take out the small outfits that didn't fit her anymore. It was not a happy time because I felt like I would never have another. She was my only baby and she was growing up. I couldn't keep baby clothes around because that would presume I would have another. I didn't want to reminisce over her baby clothes because while there are happy moments, there are sad ones too thinking about how I wanted another. Instead, I loved giving the clothes to my friend and sister-in-law who both had babies (2 each) after mine had grown older. It made me want to reach out instead of retreating. I would see a picture of them in one of her outfits and it would make me smile.

All I kept was the little cherry pajamas. They look like longjohns, even with the butt part that buttons up in the back. White with little cherries. The pictures of Janie in it make her look like hugo baby because of her many rolls, buddah belly, and several chins. Yet, when you hold the little jammies, you see how little she really was. I love to hold those jammies. I don't know if they would be as important had I saved many outfits. Maybe. The others just didn't have as much meaning to me as this one.

So in terms of baby stuff, I have almost nothing. 4 1/2 years later, I have the baby jogger, playpen, breast pump, baby bathtub, and some handmade quilts. No crib, no stroller, no johnny-jumpup, no sling, no diaper bag, and no clothes. It will be expensive to restock, but it's a new beginning and this baby will know that he's special.

He? It is still hard to believe.

P.S. I need good boy names. I've never even thought about them.

Monday, November 01, 2004

What would you do?

I'm trying to reach my mother but not having success. While I was out getting my flu shot (no line!) she called and left a message that she had bad news. My sister emailed me and said that my mother's friend (ex-boyfriend but still friends) killed himself over the weekend. They were supposed to go to the opera together but he cancelled and said he had other plans. He gave his tickets to my mother who brought my sister. My mother then got to stay up here (opera was in San Francisco) for Halloween.

I'm not sure what I should do. As far as the guy, I never liked him which makes him the same as pretty much all the men my mother has dated. He spent one Thanksgiving with us when they were dating and got offended when my brother sat at the head of the table. That's pretty much all I know about him. But I'm worried about my mother who I don't like to hear is grieving. I'm not sure what I should do. I've emailed my sister to ask when the funeral is, but I'm sure it's probably not planned yet. If it's next weekend, I'll go. Otherwise I'm supposed to be in Arizona later this week for a presentation (on hospital finance, how exciting).