A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: pregnancy challenges

Immortalized Nostalgia…and a couple of asshats

I began this blog when my son was almost a year old. As his first birthday approached I penned a post about my delivery. The entirety of my daughter’s existence is within the confines of this site, but there is one particular event I’ve decided to make a permanent fixture within my documented parenting history. It wasn’t hastening a departure from my mind regardless.

I’ve spent so much time working with destructive populations that I’m desensitized from horrific events and stories in profound ways. My threshold for the disturbing is quite high, yet I can no longer stomach the horror movies I used to love…go figure. I’m told this situation is horrible and terrifying. I don’t remember it as such, but I recall it as odd and stupid.

I had difficulty conceiving our second, but nothing major in the grand scheme of things. I’m geriatric by conception standards…my husband more so. Consequently, over the course of seven months I lost four pregnancies in a row very early on. It was gut wrenching at the time, but now having my little girl, the process lost its sting. From time to time I compare sibling age gaps in other families, but mostly the impulse flows over me with little consequence.

My husband and I attended our first session with a fertility doctor when I happened to just be pregnant with Warrior Queen. It was in the five week neighborhood, and I felt this time was different, but I was terribly afraid to embrace those thoughts. A couple days before the weekend my blood was drawn for a whole slew of genetic collections, as well as a pregnancy test. I can’t recall exactly how often I checked my online status, but I learned every result within twenty-four hours, except the pregnancy one…They forgot to submit it. Sunday rolled around, and the suspense was eating away at me. Some time during the solitude of a two hour return drive from a family event, I decided to buy a home pregnancy test.

It isn’t all that often I have time to myself. My husband is wonderful, so most weeks I’ll have part of a day to gallivant by my lonesome, but even including these hours, I am infrequently unencumbered by small children. I was anxious to purchase the pee stick, but not so anxious to rush the drive. Plus, I was thoroughly enjoying a Moth story on NPR. I can no longer remember anything specific about it, but I remember it as funny. It’s always when things are most enjoyable that traffic signals are green.

Exiting the highway I expected to stop. I remember feeling disappointed it was a delayed green left arrow. I followed the car in front of me barely needing to slow for the turn. A quarter of a mile down the road…through a rotary, I pull into a local drug store lot to purchase whatever store brand pregnancy test I could find. I listened to the remaining couple minutes of the story, and exited my car in my own focused world.

It was summer, still quite light outside even as the day was ending. I did not expect a mammoth black truck stopped right behind my car, blocking a possible escape. Two men sitting in said truck waiting for me to look up, windows down.

I can’t remember the exact dialogue, and, really, it was frustratingly circular, so the specifics aren’t important. I don’t know where they came from, but they were convinced the person in the car in front of me and I ran a red light. They chose to follow my car to reprimand me. What transpired I immediately recognized as intimidation, even if this type of interaction style wasn’t a formal plan by the two men. I note this because the efficacy of intimidation preys on emotional wherewithal on the recipient…or lack thereof. More specifically, identifying intimidation intellectually as it is occurring breaks the emotional power it holds, and allows one to think clearly, even if one is stuck in the situation. These interactions are quite scary the first few times one experiences them…they are meant to be, but situations of this nature are somewhat old hat for me working with a criminal or generally sketchy element of society. I can’t identify why exactly, but I did not perceive a threat beyond what was occurring. I did, however, recognize they were hoping for me to flood with guilt, start crying, and beg their forgiveness…an emotional, frazzled, and scared response. If I were a man, this event wouldn’t have happened, and that irked me even as I was experiencing the interaction.

Neither man accepted that they were wrong with their assumption; that it was, in fact, a green light no matter how much I asserted the reality of the matter. I remember one aspect of the conversation that continues to strike me as amusing. The driver of the truck informed me that me arguing with them was telling. I can’t remember the word he used. I don’t know if I fully heard it at the time. As he became increasingly frustrated with me, his sentences became incomplete. The descriptor of me that he garbled was the first of his deteriorating dialogue, and I remember it took every ounce of willpower not to counter him with something to the effect of, “You followed a random person a quarter mile down the road because you thought you saw a traffic violation, and I’m the one traveling to crazy town?” Alas, I said nothing of the sort…but really wanted to. Seriously, these assholes were keeping me from buying my pregnancy test!

There were a couple more back and forths in this power struggle that would continue for much longer in the same vein as its own inertia. I was starting to lose my cool, so shut down the exchange, “I get that you get off intimidating women, but it was a green light.” It’s been my experience that those using intimidation without physical violence forethought often do so under a veil of self righteousness. Often framing the interaction as a negative against the individual forces their retreat…or sudden end to whatever interaction is transpiring. But, I say this as someone who works off of an experienced gut, and I wouldn’t hand off my approach as a recommendation for others. As soon as my comment left my lips, the driver yelled back through gritted teeth, “I don’t,” and sped off rambling that he hopes I get caught next time. I commented within the earshot of the couple staring at our exchange a couple cars away, “Sorry to disappoint, but they don’t offer commendations for obeying simple traffic laws.” I muttered some type of colorful adjectives as I walked into the store reeling.

I called my husband to tell him what happened, and I was cautious leaving the store. I didn’t think the men circled back, but one never knows.

Within the hour my pregnancy was confirmed.

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Stairway to Heaven and Other Ruses

My son is a savant at trickery…It’s probably why he is so cute; otherwise, I’d be much more angry on a regular basis.  I retrieve him from his nap and we walk together toward the stairs.  On hands and knees, my son demonstrates every intention of heading down without incident.  Nothing sketchy or untoward about his behavior…that should have been my first clue.  He’s always up to something when I’m not paying sufficient attention.  Usually, I wait for him to begin the process of descending down the stairs before heading down myself, but on this occasion I take the lead only to look up at him hovering at the top of our staircase for a suspicious amount of time.

I look up at Little Man from the middle of our case, when he grins at me exposing every tooth in his perfect mouth.  Within seconds my son darts up faster than I’ve ever seen him, and he sprints to our guest bedroom normally cornered off from his free and uninhibited excavation.  My son slams the door amidst a chorus of boisterous laughter, leaving me to only imagine what kind of mayhem is occurring behind the door in the brief span he is alone.  After a moment of shock, I begin my slow and labored climb back to the top.  Once I’m able to regain leveled breathing from even this slight exertion, I retrieve him, ensuring this time he actually descends.

What does quicksand feel like?

My primary hope writing this is coherence, as I usually wait some time to have semblance of bearings with difficult things.  But, how do I even talk about this when I’ve always been such a failure at person-to-person discussions regarding things that are troubling for me?  I’ve been trying the last week using likely the wrong supports most of the time, but they are around during the day when I either have time to think about or look at my beautiful boy knowing this experience is not the same on such an important level.

I retook my three-hour glucose test, which was an experience generally less heinous than the last; probably a consolation for the eventual news that I’m still diabetic, but at least my values make sense.  They are different values this time.  For simplicity it is easier to name them, and I apologize for the air of droning such description entails.  This second round my fasting blood sugar lower, 76, but considering the last test had me at 80, I’m still a rock star on that front.  Whereas my first test had my first hour draw within range, yesterday’s was 207…well above anything remotely desirable (I think the maximum level allowed is 180).  My first test had my second hour draw nine above the range, but dropping as it is supposed to.  Yesterday’s rose to 217.  For my final draw three hours after chugging the drink that somehow missed its place in the history of noteworthy culinary excellence spiked to 180 when it should have been close to fasting levels.  That was the rub that had me retake the test; apparently with a fasting level of 80, such a spike is not possible.  Yesterday’s third draw level dropped off a cliff to 86.  The range would have respected a 140 level.  My dad said it’s strange to drop like that, but it sounds like it’s nothing that indicates a problem with the test.  Other than knowing there is a problem, I couldn’t describe much else.

The referral from my Ob-Gyn’s office is in transit as we speak.  I was told to call later this afternoon to make an appointment with the diabetes clinic.  So, there it is.

I can’t stop myself from crying about this whole situation; it’s been like this for a week now.  I’m not even sure why that is, but I’ve had plenty of people telling me not to worry about it because it will be fine (translation: You’re behaving like an overly emotional child.) or it’s for the health of the baby…maybe I’ll be added as a footnote (translation:  You’re behaving selfishly about your objection to experiencing this entire process.).  The thing is, I know all of this, and I can’t tell anyone why I’m so upset.  Yes, the prospect of stabbing myself with a needle seven times a day to check my blood sugar (I asked my endocrinologist to look at my blood work in the system, even though she will not be involved in the treatment.) leaves me nauseated with anxiety.  Apparently, it really isn’t a big deal as EVERY FUCKING PERSON begins to describe in great detail the specifics of the sugar checking experience and how minor this entire situation is.

My endocrinologist thinks I may very well need insulin; who knows…It isn’t like I have a handle on anything anyway.  Let’s just add to the situation because more is really moot at this point.  It’s just a flood of what the rest of this pregnancy will be like until I actually start the process.  I suppose I should feel sick by how dire my second opinion was regarding my results; honestly, I’m not.  I told my dad; he doesn’t understand her assessment, saying no one has a blood sugar result under 120 one hour after eating.  When you look at the test range, the lab agrees.  My gut tells me she wasn’t careful looking at my results for something she didn’t order and doesn’t routinely do; not the first time I’ve had this problem with her, but appreciate her willingness to help.  It was worth a try for some clarity before my first appointment with the clinic.  The desperation for a foothold I’ve been feeling for a week borders pathetic.  Maybe what bothers me so much is that I was too eager to reach out for something I knew would likely be unhelpful, but wanted so very much to believe that  maybe someone in this moment could give me a structure to clutch as I feel myself sink.

Yet, when I read her message, the floodgates opened, and I can’t control the weeping.  Why is that?  I’m not worse or better off than I have been.  Nothing is relieving this horrible pit feeling.  It’s just more waiting until the process begins.

I don’t know why this is so difficult.  I suppose I should have some deep Mommy dramatic crusade that I worry for the life of my daughter, but I don’t.  She’ll be fine, and behaving like a pain in the ass around our house in no time.  I’ll have to make whatever lifestyle changes this process requires; fine.  I can’t imagine it will be anything so dramatic that I’ll look like the lost tribe that managed to find civilization centuries later.  Okay, I have to do something about my chocolate intake; I’m sure I can figure something out as an alternative.  I’ve already cut it back almost entirely once I found out I had a problem with my glucose levels.  Sure, I don’t know what the specifics of my diet will be, but I’m fairly certain virtually freebasing anything from the cacao plant is out.  I’ve mentioned the needle thing; whatever, I’ll deal.  It likely won’t be the most painful or unpleasant experience of my life even if you disregard the blessing of vaginal childbirth.  I can’t imagine I’ll need insulin.  I haven’t found much online that is helpful, but the few message boards I’ve perused described women with more significant glucose issues who were managed with diet.  I have a friend having her second round of pretty severe and hard to control gestational diabetes; she didn’t need insulin.  I’ll get a handle on the appointments and classes and whatever else I have to schlep a toddler to who will undoubtedly save his best tantrums for such occasions…Do they make baby Valium?  Maybe I should take my own and let him do his thing…He’s cute; they’ll deal…

So, why am I an absolute mess when I think too much about all of this?  What is my problem because it very much is my problem, which I am reminded fairly frequently when I start trying to talk about it?  I know the people who love me have the best intentions, and it’s hard to know what to say.  Maybe it’s loneliness.  Maybe it’s fear, but I don’t know what I’m afraid of.  Maybe as much as I know I didn’t cause this to happen with this pregnancy, didn’t I on some level?

My son knows Mommy has not been her best the past week.  He gives me pats on  my thigh and sweet looks when I’m staring off into space.  He cuddles me and pats his sister with his delicate, small hands.  The Warrior Queen, however, gives me a strong jab, “Suck it up and push through.”

 

Rest for the Weary

My husband and I have relatively frequent conversations regarding the misery of the first three months of newborn life.  Part of these conversations consists of him mentioning the challenge of having two blessed cherubs vying for our affections…or at least a meal…  I approach this near transition with a similar stoicism that served me well expecting and slogging through the first months of our first.  No argument, the beginning is lousy on many levels, mostly akin to sleep deprivation.  But, how do I explain to my husband that the misery after our daughter is born will feel much more tolerable and even oddly invigorating than these months of pregnancy?

I’d say that fortune blessed me with another easy pregnancy, but it’s never quite so easy.  My assertion expressing my obligation to minimize the hardships because so many have it worse.  My relationship with my daughter is an interesting thing that I can process more fully now that the experience is a repetition.  Pregnancy is surely miraculous and the closeness I’m developing with my tenant so strange.  But, the toll on my body nurturing this miracle is constant and inescapable.  The virtue of understanding the full process and timeline is my only relief in some moments.

I could describe at length the various symptoms that illustrate the annoying encumbrance pregnancy is on my life, but there is one specific experience worth the characters for this post.  Fatigue seems like such a paltry way to describe it, yet other descriptors aren’t appropriate expressions either.  On a basic level I’m tired; the same unrelenting sleepiness that one would expect from months of restless sleep.  But, even when I’ve clocked sufficient hours at night with nothing noteworthy interfering, soon after I awaken I can feel the heaviness in my lids that never alleviates other than fleeting seconds of distraction.

Fatigue, however, is a versatile beast, as sleepiness only characterizes the least troubling of its many faces.  Perhaps best represented as walking through body deep water while carrying a burdensome load, but the liquid does not share the effort as expected.  Every trudge is a slow plod of heavy motion that persists so long the previous ease of movement becomes a nostalgia whose incarnation seems forever lost.  But, with familiarity as my guide, I will reacquaint with the self I remember from so many months ago.  It will be the dark early hours of morning when I’m holding my daughter during those harsh initial months, but I will smile and this time almost will be forgotten.

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