September 19, 2008

I thought I'd emerge from this pregnancy unscathed, cold-wise, but Trent brought one home with him last week and I picked it up from him. Hence, several days of severe congestion, nose-blowing (we should buy stock in Kleenex) and general yuckiness. Now I'm in the "hacking so hard I might bring up a lung" phase.

There's an added aspect of advanced pregnancy when it comes to coughing during a cold. The abdominal muscles are already under some strain; my dad explained it by telling me to picture a paper towel tube with a hole cut out of one side to illustrate what happens with pregnancy. The growing uterus pushes abdominal muscles to the sides that usually run the full width of the abdomen.

Now imagine coughing like that. Fun, eh? I usually end up holding my stomach at some point in the process just because it aches more than coughing usually does.

-On a brighter note, I have an end date in sight! The c-section is scheduled for 8 a.m. on November 6th, so I know that by noon on that day (assuming I don't go into labor or something before then) Trent & I will have our daughter in hand. YAY!!!!!!!!!

I can handle thinking of 48 days a whole heckuva lot easier than the ambiguity of sometime in early November. It's part of being a concrete-sequential sort of person. : )

September 04, 2008

Uncivil Impatience

I have a tremendous dearth of patience when I want something.

Right now my impatience is with the government--specifically, the U.S. Postal Service. I ordered two DVD series by Ken Burns (The Civil War, and his most recent about WWII) last week Thursday. Amazon told me they thought I'd have the two series by September 3.

They're still not here.

-As of last night, I couldn't even get updated tracking information about the package. All I knew was that the supplier had shipped them from Indiana on August 29th.

The last two days, I have waited with baited breath for the mailman, feeling the eager anticipation of, "Maybe today..." only to have the morning pass and 3rd party fliers occupy the space in my mailbox.

I read through Doris Goodwin Kearns' phenomenal book about Abraham Lincoln, Team of Rivals, and my brain has been cogitating on Civil War data... humming "Ashoken Farewell," the violin solo piece that is the theme of Burns' Civil War documentary... checking other Civil War books out from the library...

As if I didn't know already: I'm a geek.

I hope they come tomorrow. It'd be nice to have something to watch while I fold laundry. : )

September 01, 2008


Conversation between Nathan and Grandma, in Grandma's sun room:

"I really like the sparkles, don't you, Nathan?"

"It's a SPARKLY!"

"That's right! -Actually, it's a Swarovski crystal. Can you say 'Swarovski'?"


Not quite 3, and he already knows how to punt.


Right now it is beyond my ability to obey the lyrics of Faith Hill's song, "Breathe".

There's something about a small child shoving all internal organs out of the way that kinda' hampers any and all other body systems from functioning normally. I know my gallbladder is crammed up into my rib cage with my lungs, so who knows where my poor diaphragm is these days.

I remember dissecting frogs in 8th grade science lab. My group happened to have a male frog, but other groups had females. At least a couple of those female frogs were pregnant--ovaries extremely pronounced, abdominal cavities packed full of eggs, all other organs crammed into any available space... It made it difficult to find, let alone identify, which formaldehyde-soaked bit was a stomach, which were kidneys, etc. There are days of late that have me feeling like one of those pregnant frogs--without the formaldehyde, I hasten to add.

Abdominal discomfort sliding into pain is pretty standard these days. The uncertainty comes in trying to pin down the what or why of the discomfort. Have I not eaten recently enough? Did I not eat enough? Did I eat the wrong thing? (Greasy foods are guaranteed to make the next day a miserable one.) Did I eat too much? Am I lacking sleep? (This answer is almost always "yes".) Would a different position of sitting/standing/lying down help at all? (This answer is often "no".)

There is a picture I have of me holding Nathan in my hospital room within a day after he was born. Just looking at the picture conjures up the detailed memories: the soft weight of him draped against my shoulder, the heart-full knowledge of being able to cradle my son as closely as I wanted to after nine months of being kept at a distance, and the expression on my face... I can't think of a way to describe it except as feeling like I finally came home. All of me, every cell and fiber, was fully present in that moment, not wanting to be anywhere but where I was.

I know that there are future moments like that ahead of me with our baby girl; I know that the nine months' discomfort fades into acceptable memory.

It's just the present that's hard.

The last trimester of pregnancy is one of those times of life when most (if not all) women will fail to feel attractive--enough so that being complimented on how cute I look causes me to look closely at the person to see if they're in possession of their mental faculties. Elephants are not "cute". Whales ought never be described as "cute". I consider it a measure of my parents' training that I'm usually able to stretch a smile on my lips and bite my tongue from saying strongly negative things about the complimenter's eyesight. Despite being pregnant, I have retained my civility--most of the time. : )

August 28, 2008

IV Adventures

Not a whole lot of time to post--I just prevented Nathan from unloading the entire bin of plastic food here at Grandma's because "I'm almost done, and then we'll need to clean up so we can go bye-bye."

I think the crash I just heard from the vicinity of the living room had the unmistakable sound of lots of toys (be it food or toy kitchen pans, etc.) cascading onto the floor... It amazes me how finely-tuned one's hearing can become as a result of motherhood.

Anyway... I wanted to share this weekend's frustration. Sunday morning began with abdominal pain when I woke up, and it only increased over the next several hours. The three of us traipsed into the urgent care clinic so I could be poked and prodded. The gallstones I have were giving me problems. Since the pain continued and I didn't have the energy to care for Nathan on my own, I was admitted to the hospital and stayed overnight Sunday night in order to talk with the surgeon the following day. Silly me: I took only one book with me, which I (of course) finished Sunday night. All day Monday I felt extremely bored. TV... sleep... wander the halls (because of course I didn't sleep well on Sunday night due to restless legs syndrome kicking in)... feel frustrated with the hassles of having an IV in my left arm. By the time I talked with the surgeon around 4, I either wanted to head into surgery to have my gallbladder taken out or just go home. Argh.

On the humor front, I managed to create some problems for myself, even alone in the hospital. I went to get ready for bed Sunday night, casually assured the nurse that I would be fine and didn't need help, and started to undress.

Only after I started removing my top did it occur to me: the IV in my left arm would effectively prevent me from removing anything on top.

I ran down my list of options:
1- Sleep in the clothes I'd worn all day
2- Remove clothing as best I could and just let it hang on the IV line for the night
3- Try to detach the IV line from the machine myself so I could get undressed

If you know me, you can guess which option I chose! I examined the machine first, to see if it would be easier to detach the line there, but quickly decided just to unscrew the port from the line in my arm. No problem; it came off without any problem. I removed the necessary clothing, got ready for bed, went to reattach the IV line... and ran into my brick wall.

Trying to attach a bracelet one-handed is simplistic compared to trying to screw an IV line back onto a port inserted in your arm with just one hand. My shoulders slumped as I realized I would have to call a nurse in to "confess" what I had done.

Anna, the nurse, was gracious enough to laugh with me about my predicament once she came in and I explained what I'd done. She asked me what I do for a living; I told her I had a degree in biomed engineering, and she said, "Oh, so you must know how these machines work."

"Um, no..." I said, "I just lack all appropriate sense of fear when it comes to trying something new."

"Apparently you do; most patients are hesitant to do anything involving an IV machine!"

Well, I don't fall into that category. I'm more the sort whose husband tells her before leaving for the night that she isn't allowed to take a screwdriver and remove the back of the IV machine (which, I must say, is exactly what Trent did that night before leaving for home).

So... the moral of the story is that one should not attempt to attach (or insert, for that matter) IVs one-handed. Got it?

The really sad part in all of this is that I don't know if I'd choose differently if presented with the same choice today! God certainly does protect the stupid--I'm living proof!

August 18, 2008

Coming to Life

I finally have a reason for the nausea and general malaise that has plagued me throughout this pregnancy: an ultrasound revealed I have gallstones. How odd that such news would provide some relief... it's nice to have a reason for feeling so cruddy--even though there's nothing they'll do about it now. Usually they would remove the gallbladder, but they're understandably hesitant to perform any surgery that isn't absolutely necessary during pregnancy! I'll probably go in six weeks or so after our baby girl is delivered via c-section so they can remove my gallbladder using a laparoscopic procedure. The relief of at least knowing what's wrong means I can focus on other things, like dragging myself through the personal struggles of writing again! I received notice of another devotional collection that's soliciting manuscripts. My bargain with God is that I'll submit at least one piece for every solicitation that comes my way. There have been times I regret promising that. What is it about writing--about doing anything that is a true offering--that brings all negative internal criticism, every self-doubt you've ever had, and every negative memory of things not working out to the surface? I wrote one piece that fell short of the minimum length, then procrastinated for a month. Through force of will, I made myself finish the first piece and write a second one yesterday. I did some final polishing and sent them off just now--with a dreary voice in my head saying it's just a pointless exercise and I'm sure I'll receive a "thanks, but it didn't quite fit with what we wanted" in response. Argh. Why is it that something you're passionate about (language, writing, expressing thought and emotion) can become something you face with intense dread?

If you'll permit me some shameless self-promotion, at least I know I've been published twice already! Yay... Maybe there's more somewhere in the future.

August 13, 2008

More Surrender

My internet access is now sporadic at best (witness the near year between posts), but reading a friend's blog lit the desire to write a bit again.

Baby #2 is on the way--I'm 27 weeks, due November 12th. This pregnancy was difficult verging on impossible in the first trimester, but things were helped a couple weeks ago by learning that I apparently have gallstones. I no longer feel bad about feeling bad. Even people who aren't pregnant would agree that gallstones can leave you feeling miserable.

For now, I'm in the stage of, "I just want to feel like me again." I know my body will continue to resemble a stranger's and show me (yet again) that I cannot predict what it will do; I'd settle for feeling like myself a bit internally--energy-wise, attitude-wise, something me-wise.

It's easy as a stay-at-home mom to feel like you exist as nothing more than a response to the lives around you: take care of laundry, meals, daily discipline, cleaning, pet care and a motley host of other tasks. Somewhere in the midst of the melee, it's harder to care for yourself. I accept that, but what's harder is sometimes not even knowing what my dreams or fears are anymore. Dreams and fears for your family edge their way in until it's easy to discount yourself as a valued person with a unique worth in God's eyes--just as valued as any of your family members.

I guess it's another opportunity to think of the verse that talks about Christ "entrusting himself to the one who judges justly"--I need to trust that even when I forget who I am, God has not. He'll remind me when the time is right. Surrendering means confronting the fear that you'll never get back what was surrendered, after all.