My Neurosis, Let Me Show You It

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When I got pregnant, I remember being warned about things like raw milk cheese and sushi.  I remember being warned about deli meats and undercooked eggs.  But no one warned me about the cantaloupe.

From the article:

Michelle Wakley was in her sixth month of pregnancy in September when she ate fresh cantaloupe in her home in Indianapolis. Within days she was rushed into a hospital emergency room, forced into premature labor from the infection ravaging her body.

This was in 2011, of course, and it was one of the worst outbreaks in the country.  Roughly three dozen dead, 110 sickened.  From fresh melon.

And when you read that when you yourself are six months pregnant?  It can freak you out a little.  So being a modern day mom-to-be, I did what seemed natural: I created a Google alert for “listeria recall”.

And this is where I found out something funny.  Most listeria outbreaks don’t seem to be with raw dairy and meat.  The last two that have popped up?  Smoked salmon and a fruit and grain salad from Publix.  Which no one’s warned me about, either.

So in short: food supply roulette.  Extra fun during pregnancy!  And I’m not deleting my Google alerts anytime soon.


And During the 35th Week….

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I got tired.

Really tired.

This is similar to the exhaustion I felt in Trimester the First, only now it’s accompanied by tingly fingers and some lightheadedness.  It’s making that couch look very attractive.  Ryan Gosling attractive.  And I’m now starting to guess what I’ll be doing during my maternity leave prior to the birth: sitting on a couch, sleeping on a couch, and/or wishing a couch was nearby.

Mostly, though, I just want to sleep and eat and sleep some more.  And when I say “eat” I don’t want to give the impression I have a raging appetite…because I don’t.  Aside from early morning, I’m back to making myself go get lunch and prepare dinner.  I suspect I’m more tired than I am hungry, and my body would rather sleep than spend time prepping food.

(Though when I do eat, I’m craving protein. Protein and potatoes. Also, that glass of milk in the morning. Sweets not so much. I just want steak.)

So I have one week left of work. And though I’d earlier thought I could stick it out another week…I’m glad I don’t have to.  Truth is, I probably could. I’d be exhausted, but I could do it.  But it wouldn’t prove anything, and at this point I’m ready to put in some rest time after eight months of playing host.

The other news: girlfriend is head down.  That’s her butt up against my ribcage.  Those are her fists drilling into my kidneys.  She’s still active, but not acrobatically so.  She shifts around and juts her butt out and wiggles.

There was also some vague worry over my blood pressure at yesterday’s check-up…which I’m not worried about. We’re going to retake it next clinic visit (Monday), and my urine is being tested for protein (glamorous!), but I’m  asymptomatic in every other way. High blood pressure is something to worry about in pregnancy, I know, but it seems more like a fluke to me.  If it’s not, we’ll deal with it.  Simple as that.

And now I’m going to take my lunch half-hour and nap.  ‘Scuse me.


The Virtues of Sleepwalking

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I started sleepwalking in my early twenties. Prior to that, I don’t recall any heavy sleep disturbances, though I was a night owl and when I lived at Casa de la Crisis (aka Greenwalls) in Berkeley I generally went to bed at 10 AM and got up at 5-6 PM, and then only because my roommates would bang on my door to let me know I was missing dinner. Those were interesting times.

What changed? Well, when I was 21 I went to work for a game startup.

Yyyyup. That pretty much sums it up.

Also, I started working a night shift because I thought I was a night owl and that caused all sorts of interesting complications. To whit: my period stopped, I gained about seventy pounds (with associated ramifications: sleep apnea, sore knees, low energy), and I started to have waking nightmares. Also, sleepwalking.

Shift work: it’s a hell of a drug.

Obviously my period came back (though there was a point where my doctor point blank informed me I was probably infertile — ha ha! showed you!), and I lost a lot of the weight, but the waking nightmares stuck around. And so did the sleepwalking.

Sometimes it happens when I’m stressed. Sometimes it happens because I was reading a really good book before bed. After my home in Missouri was broken into, I did it every night — sometimes multiple times — for nearly a year. And it’s not always a gentle, I’m-walking-into-the-kitchen-to-eat-processed-cheese sleepwalking. This is jumping-out-of-bed and screaming-like-my-head-is-on-fire sleepwalking. I have woken up to find my hand on the front door to my house, trying to escape…I don’t know what.

It’s calmed down over the years. The last really active period was when we were living at Montalvo in San Clemente and I would walk our of my room, down the hall, into Mike’s bedroom and proceed to assure him I was awake. He would lead me back to my bedroom, tuck me into bed, and in the morning I’d be all, “Did I try to tell you I was awake?” And he’d say, “Yup.” And I’d say, “I lied.” And he’d say, “I know, baby. I know.”

My dad sleepwalks. Mom has great stories about waking up to him standing on the bed with a sheet wrapped around him like a toga. My sister sleepwalks. When she was pregnant, she’d wake up with glasses of orange juice in her hand. Apparently my nephew sleepwalks. So this is a hereditary thing. I suspect my brain just fails to shut down appropriately. It’s always in the first two hours, and it’s usually after I’ve been thinking hard on something.

So what’s the virtue in all this? Simple: I have, over the years, developed a knack for going back to sleep when my brain or body decides to interrupt my snoozefest by making me get up to investigate the ninjas coming through the wall. Despite the fact that over the last three months I have been getting up at least once or twice a night to pee, I have now boiled it down into what is essentially…peewalking. I wake up, I get to the bathroom, I pee, I go back to bed, and between the time my body sent the signal and the time my head hits the pillows, I’ve had a less than two minute interruption. I’m back to sleep almost instantly.

I suspect this is kinda important.

I really suspect this is going to come in handy when we have an infant demanding boobtime at all hours in the next month or so. Get baby. Apply baby to boob. Go back to sleep.

Or I am completely deluding myself! I am aware that this is very possible.

Oh well. That’s why I’m taking all this time off from work. To recover when I completely underestimate the rigors of motherhood.


State of the Pregnancy: 34 Weeks

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If I don’t post these often, it’s mainly because there’s not much to say. I have heartburn. I have some swelling in my hands that’s causing finger tingling and pins-and-needles and as of last week my wedding ring no longer fits comfortably. Walking up stairs is a little challenging. Otherwise….

Otherwise there just is not a lot to report. Would you like to know about my exercises? Well, I do pelvic tilts in the evenings, Kegels when I remember to, squats throughout the day. Eating patterns? Breakfast anymore is a banana, some nut butter, and a glass of whole milk, which mysteriously enough keeps me fueled up through to lunch. Dinners are mostly in — at the end of the day it’s just easier to come home, put on really comfortable clothes, and cook a meal. The “really comfortable clothes” part is key, I find. Weight gain? Normal, for once. HOORAY. You still can’t pry the yoga pants off me, though.

Zoe herself is as active as ever, though her space is running out and I definitely have days where I feel like she’s bruising ribs.

Mike rubs my back and sometimes my ankles and is about as close to a dream partner as a girl could get. You don’t realize how much the love and support means until you get it. Then you want to cry a little because life is short and someday this will all be a memory and did I mention that sometimes I start to choke up for no reason?

And as another friend said: mad props to single moms. Having someone who comes in and lovingly cuddles with me and rubs my back reduces so much stress. Having someone who wants to go to my checkups, who tells me he loves me before I leave for work, who leans down and whispers to Zoe that he loves her — yup, sorry, choking up. BE RIGHT BACK.

But we’re in the home stretch, as I am told, and that’s good. I’m going to do my best to enjoy these last few weeks of relative quiet, our life-now as opposed to our life-with-Zoe. Trying not to rush rush because this is life and we only get these moments. But I am excited to meet her, and to show her the world.


Work

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I am endlessly amused by the fact that pregnancy has a disease code associated with it on my disability insurance paperwork. Then again, either R.D. Laing or Neil Gaiman said that life is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% fatality rate, which I can’t help but think of every time I look at that paperwork.

April 5th is my last day at work for a while, and that’s a very odd reality to be facing. While I’ve done vacations and I’ve done breaks between jobs, I haven’t actually been not working at a job longer than 2 weeks since high school. I haven’t stopped going somewhere to stare at a computer screen or tap on a keypad and take care of the emergency du jour in twenty years.

Twenty years.

And I am used to it. I got bored during the one-and-a-half week I had off in December. I’ll be (hopefully) waiting 3-5 weeks for a baby to make her grand entrance. And that is weird.

(And no, I am not saying that the life of a stay at home mom is not work. It is. It absolutely is. But it is also different from working for a company, with benefits and timesheets and coworkers who are hopefully better behaved than a newborn, though I know — not always. When we decided to mix our chemistry kits, Mike and I talked extensively about whether one of us should stop working and if we could afford it and still be happy. Ultimately, we came to the conclusions we came to, and I will be going back to work, and so will he. But that’s probably a separate post.)

Weird. Weird to not have to go someplace in the morning. Weird to not have things due (except a date). Weird to be waiting — not for email or a call back, but a baby.

I’m a worker bee. Even on days off, I’m probably planning something. I need doing. I just don’t know how to live, otherwise.

My husband — though invested with a nigh-religious work ethic — is something of the opposite. Once the workday is over, he winds down and is content to be still. If we do nothing over a weekend, he’s happy. This is another one of those “ways we balance each other out” things. It also helps that he sleeps in on weekends, because then I can get my doings out of the way while he’s oblivious to the world.

Ah well. Anyway. I’m sure I’ll adjust. Actually, I’m sure I’ll sleep a lot. And cook a lot. In stages. Standing and chopping have, of late, been a bit wearying. I’ll probably get in some walking. And maybe some pushups. I do miss my bench presses. Maybe I should make a list. Ooh! Or a spreadsheet. Or a Project file.

Like I said.

Always need to be doing.


Of Love and Movies

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Depending on which of us you ask, Mike and I either started dating on New Year’s Eve 2007 or New Year’s Day 2008. But that is a story for another day.

The first movie we ever saw together was on New Year’s Day, and it was No Country for Old Men. Because I said to my future husband, “I like Coen Brothers movies.” And he said, “I do, too!” And that is how we wound up watching a movie about a guy who murders people with a bolt pistol.

A week or so later I invited him over to my place for the first dinner I would prepare for him. I made some forgettable dessert, a delicious rack of lamb, and we drank wine. I was intensely nervous, trying to make the best meal possible, and it would have been great and romantic and flawless…except I served Jerusalem artichokes, completely unaware of their alternate name: the fartichoke. As our intestines made it clear that I’d made a huge mistake, we sat on the couch and tried to snuggle but mostly failed because we were farting and laughing too hard about how much we were farting.

And that is how I ended up watching Blade Runner amidst a methane cloud that had the potential to blow up my home if either of us had bothered to light a match.

The next time we went to a movie, it was to see what I thought was going to be a noir comedy. The problem is I didn’t realize just how noir the comedy was going to be, though the fact that I could only find it playing at an artsy St. Louis theater should have been my first clue. In Bruges was quirky and dark and violent, and to my total surprise Mike loved it. It was the sort of movie he probably wouldn’t have seen without me, and the sort of movie I probably wouldn’t have gone and seen without him along for the ride.

Five years later, I have still never again served him sunchokes, and we have seen Coen Brothers movies since, but last night we watched In Bruges together again for the first time, and I’m still somewhat surprised that this is his kind of movie. I mean, it’s definitely my kind of movie…but a Mike movie?

Then again, he did refer to Ralph Fiennes’s character as “Voldemort”.

And he did marry me.

So I guess it is his kind of movie, after all.