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Archive for July, 2010

She’s active probably most of the time. It’s amazing to me how much she moves. And she gets the hiccups every two or three days, too: a little bounce in my belly that I don’t even notice if I’m not paying attention to her kicks. I only know it’s hiccups because it’s regular.

I’m stiff in the hips and around the bottom of the belly when I get up from sitting for an hour or more. The amount of activity I’ve been doing for the move each of the last two nights is not helping, though this morning I was less stiff than I was the morning before. I don’t really know why — I thought I did about the same amount of work — but maybe vacuuming the carpet took more out of my back than I realized. It did cause a fair amount of strain; pulling the vacuum backwards over the carpet is harder than pulling it around over the floor.

The heartburn is still going strong, but maybe it’s because a small curly fry is not really enough but I can’t resist eating an entire sandwich with the fries…and I digest so slowly that I’m full for hours and hours. On the other hand, eating that much for lunch at 3 pm means that I don’t need dinner…not that that stops me.

One more evening to move the rest of our stuff to the new place. Then we can start arranging things and figuring out what furniture we need. The living room floor is covered from wall to wall with only two passages; some of it is baby stuff that should be in the baby’s room (I wasn’t done vacuuming it when that stuff was being unloaded). The kitchen things have begun to be unpacked but there’s a long way to go, especially since trash hasn’t been arranged yet so the pizza boxes and other stuff are still on the counters.

Ah, the counters. There’s actually enough counter space in my kitchen for a change — we can have the blender, toaster, espresso machine, and probably even the microwave on the counter and still have plenty of space for making meals. And don’t even get me started on the cabinets — there’s more cabinet space in that kitchen than I know what to do with! All the pots and pans, all the small appliances that we don’t use regularly, everything will have a place and I’ll still have extra room. Glorious!

So yeah, that’ll be my weekend…and on Monday will be my reward: August’s knitting night, possibly the last one I’ll make it to for a while, depending on when the baby comes and how easy of a baby she is.

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The most pervasive message is a drumbeat through every parenting blog and website: judgment. The judgments of family and friends, people you know and people you don’t, other parents and non-parents. The message is that judgment is constant and comes from everywhere. You never know when or from where it will come.

I’m tired of it. I’m more afraid of judgment than of actually being a bad parent, not that the thought has much occurred to me. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t yet held a screaming newborn for whom I and only one other person are primarily responsible, but I’m not really worried about whether I will be a good mom.

But I hate being the subject of disapproval or other negativity. I hate being found wanting, by anybody — doesn’t matter who it is. And though I love to argue a point, and if I could be sure there would be no offense taken I would love to argue the finer points of parenting, especially once I am one so I know what I’m talking about…I hate that kind of confrontation, the kind that is a personal judgment against me. Especially because it’s usually the cowardly kind, where they hit you with a drive-by comment and don’t stick around for you to argue the point.

So when I went to get sushi, and yes I did have raw fish, I kept my eyes down. When I have a beer in a bar, I nudge it toward my husband so it looks like it could be his, nevermind that it appears he really is drinking for both of us — judgment from strangers doesn’t bother him at all, and anyway it’s not like somebody’s going to tell him he shouldn’t drink.

Because I’m not going to let other people’s judgment, or my own fear of their judgment, keep me from doing things I don’t think are wrong. And it’ll be even more important after she comes out, because I think I (and my husband, of course) can do a better job of parenting our children then anyone else.

I just wish I wasn’t afraid of disapproval from people I don’t even know. It doesn’t even happen that often, according to comments on blog posts asking for experiences. Who gives a shit, really, what some stranger thinks of what I do?

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I don’t know how I managed to go so long without realizing this.

The other day I had an epiphany — not a huge “OH!!!” moment, but a little one. A little realization that was really a big deal, but it kind of slipped into my brain while I was doing other things, and rattled around in the back of my thought processes until a related discussion brought it to the forefront.

My awkwardness around other women has almost nothing to do with my sexual orientation, as I had previously believed. Part of this is that I’m not even sure of my sexual orientation any more. I went through bisexual and lesbian phases as I tried to figure myself out; they were originally triggered by the fact that I was constantly tearing my eyes away from other girls’ figures. But in the last year or two, I’ve gotten involved in a subset of Reddit.com — a subreddit — that is designed for geeky women to discuss “girly” things. What you find there basically includes everything you’ll find in every women’s magazine ever, from Cosmo to Bitch and beyond, but the discussions are intelligent.

One of the things I learned in that subreddit is that even straight women check out other women all the time. And I started to wonder about my own sexual orientation; I based that part of my identity on where my eyes went, and for the most part I didn’t look at guys, only at other women. But how much of that was comparing myself to them, rather than sexual attraction?

I really don’t know, but I suspect the answer is “a lot” if not “most or all of it”. So now my identity is more “I don’t know” instead of “bisexual.” And I’m okay with that; for one thing, it doesn’t change what I do. I’m with the only person whose physical attractiveness hit me like a bus. That alone would rule out any possibilities that didn’t include his sex.

Anyway, since I had that realization, that left open the question of why I’ve always been so awkward around women. If it wasn’t attraction plus never having to learn how to interact with them (because it was easier to interact with guys, who were more likely to be attracted to me, so I had the upper hand in many interactions with them), then what was it?

A few days ago it occurred to me that I never really got crap from guys. There may have been a few critical comments or some instances where a guy messed with me, but the vast majority of shitty comments and mean behavior directed at me has been from other girls. Even several of the girls that were my friends from 3rd grade through middle school, some of whom I kept closer contact with than others in high school, were often mean to me (well, one in particular was mean to everyone, and sometimes the others followed her lead). Add to this the fact that my instinctive reaction to being treated badly is to duck my head and ignore the behavior, and it’s not surprising that I have what seems to be an instinct to stay away from women in general.

I’m so glad I’ve finally figured this out. I feel like a block has been removed and I can now finally make progress on this thing about myself that I’ve wanted to change for a long time.

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On the subject of things no one tells you about pregnancy…Well, one person did tell me this, probably in large part because nobody told her but it happened to her. Our doula explained in one of the childbirth classes how a woman’s pelvis widens and adjusts to let the baby through. One of the places where it does this is the pubic bone, which is actually two bones that meet in the front middle of your pelvis with cartilage in between.

During pregnancy, particularly toward the end, a woman’s body produces a hormone called relaxin which loosens the joints a bit. This includes all the connections between bones in the pelvis, so that it can expand to let the baby through, and that, of course, includes the pubic bone.

This is painful.

Last night, I got up twice to go to the bathroom. The second time, around sunrise, I had a soreness that felt like a bruise in/on my pubic bone in addition to the common soreness in my hips from not putting a pillow between my knees (which I find annoying whenever I try to turn over, and it doesn’t help that much anyway). It persisted, off and on, until I’d been awake for an hour or so.

So far, the pain is only annoying, but I’m not looking forward to it getting worse. Our doula said hers got so bad she had to walk her hands down the bed for support when she started trying to move around in the morning. But our mattress is on the floor…

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Not much going on

Updates have been slow because there isn’t much to talk about. I’m definitely feeling a lot more kicks as she has less and less room, and the Braxton-Hicks contractions are as strong as ever, but they’re still not painful and there are no signs of preterm labor. The next interesting thing is the 3rd-trimester sonogram on the 21st. I hope that she kicks in the usual place during the sonogram so that I can see if I’m right about where she is — her head is definitely pointing down, but I’m not completely sure that she’s facing my spine and kicking backwards with her feet. If she is, this is the best position for labor, so I hope she stays that way.

My belly is freaking huge. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself I’m amazed that I can stand at all. No wonder my back hurts after only a few minutes’ walk. And no wonder I have stretch marks covering the entire area from my belly button to my legs, and now spreading north of my belly button. Yes, I do look at it with…some kind of negativity that I can’t quite describe, but I also feel something that mitigates it and I’m not sure what the word for that is either. This is how it works; there’s no point in complaining.

I have the same feeling towards labor and childbirth now, incidentally. I guess I did the processing that I needed to and no longer feel like I want to stop the ride and get off for a while. So even though I expected to write several posts about accepting that I’m going to go through a day or so of intense pain every few minutes, I guess I only needed the one.

We’ve put some boxes together for the move and they’re sitting in the kitchen. Three boxes of books and that’s only about half of them. A few boxes of baby stuff are mostly full but not quite, and I need to dig through my stuff from Dad’s basement with the express purpose of finding stuff that needs to go in those boxes and in other boxes in her room for later.

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I should probably update…

…seeing as it’s been a few weeks.

Tomorrow marks the end of week 32. We have an appointment on Wednesday to let the midwives know that everything’s still fine, and then we start having appointments every two weeks. The next one after the week 32 one is on the 21st of July, three days before the shower, so I’ll have 3rd-trimester sonogram pictures for the shower.

The baby is kicking a lot, and more strongly. I think she kicks more on days I’ve had caffeine, but I could be wrong, and she didn’t kick a lot more than usual on the day I had a medium iced latte instead of a small (which doubled my caffeine intake for the day, and then I couldn’t resist a can of Coke later on). Sometimes my belly jumps around quite a bit. C just laid his head on my belly for a while and the baby smooshed her foot into his cheek and rubbed it around a whole bunch. I got to experience the joys of nearly peeing myself, since she was using the leverage to press her head into my bladder. But so far I’ve managed to avoid incontinence, thank god. I’ve heard stories…

But yeah. Except for the kicking, I am just about ready to be done with the whole thing. Heartburn isn’t constant like it was in the second trimester, but it’s still happening, and I’m tired of not being able to slouch without punishment. I never want to stand up because it’s just so much effort. I’ve given up getting up before 8 in the morning and I am so very done with working on manuals at work. I want not to be chained to a desk for just a little while, please?

And goddammit, I want to hold my baby! I want to see her, watch her kick, look into her eyes, touch her soft skin. I’m sure I’ll miss the days when she was so convenient, and I’ll miss feeling her kick me on the inside, but at least for now I’m ready to move on to real motherhood.

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