Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Swear I'm Not Ignoring You

It's just life. You know. Suddenly got really busy. Ten updates in almost telegraphic form (except for #10 which pertains Cricket at some length):

1. We had the first tests in Chemistry and Microbiology last week. I'm happy to report we both did quite well. I can't promise I'll make a habit of reporting my scores here, but I got 108 out of 100 in Chemistry and 103 out of 100 in Microbiology, which meant I missed nothing! I missed two potential points in Chemistry, but hey, we can't be perfect all the time. This might be last time I see such a high score in Chemistry, because the material we are currently covering stresses me out to the nth degree. Cricket either loves it or hates too, because in class the kid is a kicking maniac, which does not make me feel better, instead it only exacerbates my feelings of nervousness and doom. Like I've got butterflies in my stomach, but they're on some stupendous steroids.

2. First test in Pharmacology next week. Uhg. There are 27 chapters on the first test. Yeah right. I have so many drug names rattling around in my head and new respect for all pharmacy students and related professionals. Phenytoin, levodopa, benzotropine, trihexyphenidyl, lorazapam, diazepam, ... Fuck. What? At least I get it more now and feel like I might make it through. Along with drug mantras, I am trying to convince myself I don't need an A in this class. I just need to do the best I can do. Of course, this particular line of thought is almost more disturbing than the medication memory worksheets...

3. I won't be studying at all this weekend because Brother K is getting married! Married! My little brother! Good God. I can still remember my parents bringing him home from the hospital. I was seven. I wasn't that thrilled with him at the time-- After one has undivided attention from parents for seven years, a new addition is sometimes traumatic. But I do remember how quickly my feelings turned to pride, and that hasn't stopped swelling. He's a smart kid (man!), and I'm excited to celebrate this new part of his life with him.

4. I'm the matron of honor. Which is a really sweet way to make sure my relationship with Partner is honored, but a matron? I don't mind being a maid. Really. When did I become a matron? Why do some words just sound so old? And fat?

5. I have what I think is a sciatica in my left leg. After standing or walking for more than 7-10 minutes, the side of my leg goes numb, which manifests itself by feeling like it's very cold. This weekend Partner and I played the "Am I touching you now?" game. I wasn't very good at it. I'm hoping it goes away and does get worse. I'm worried I'll be gimp by the time the wedding is over. And I'm wearing heels. Very small ones, but heels nonetheless. And I'm no Manuela. My feet are happiest in their Birks. Keep your fingers crossed.

6. In addition to everything else, we went to Partner's 20 FREAKING YEAR CLASS REUNION. Damn, she's old. (Ha ha. Not really, but I'm four years younger so I'd like to think mine is far off, but it's not. Really. Shit.) When my parents went to their 20 year class reunion I babysat for Brothers K and N. I was a sophomore in high school. I thought my parents were really getting quite up there. Funny how different 20 years can seem looking forward and looking backward. Anyway, Partner had a lot of fun and I smiled a lot. Many people squealed when they saw her and gave her big hugs and I gathered she was a pretty perky face around the old high school. It was an interesting night. While no one seemed to flinch that she was gay (she outed herself at her ten year), it does seem that there was some gossip about the fact that I was pregnant. Oh well-- the whole even was nicer than we both anticipated and I'm glad she got to reconnect with some good friends from 20 years ago.

7. I'm still puking. It's time to be done with this. But I'm starting to think it won't end. My mother confessed that she was sick with me into her 8th month, and even though we don't physically resemble each other, many things are similar about us in the physiological sense. My guess is that I'll keep getting sick for awhile to come.

8. Our damn house is still for sale despite having two showing this weekend and an open house AND burying St. Joseph in the yard in the rain. At least we're getting showings. Many houses in the area aren't even getting that. Keep your fingers crossed. We break ground soon on the new house. Just in case we weren't busy enough.

9. Last week Partner said to me, "Just think, next year at this time, we'll be trying to having another baby." I nearly fell off my stool. "Can we just get one done first before we move on like that?" I asked her. She reminded me I'm not getting any younger either. My birthday, looming in less than a month, proves her point. But seriously? I just want to get one finished before we start talking like that.

10. She said that to me after our BIG ultrasound-- The 20 week one, which we did at 21 weeks to delay the pleasure a little. What fun. I could have stayed there all day. My favorite of course is hearing the heart, but seeing all four little chambers of the beating thing was pretty cool too. Our sonographer wasn't that effusive, but it was okay. She started by looking at the face noting that she was looking to see if there was a cleft palate. Then she didn't say anything. "Well?" we asked, "Is there?" She said, "Oh, no. It's fine." Sheesh. So Partner asked, "If you saw anything wrong, would you tell us?" And she replied, " Yes. At the end." Uh-uh. We weren't having any of that, so we asked questions after each body part was inspected and measured. I'm pretty sure we annoyed the shite out of her.

No. We did not find out if the Cricket is a boy or girl, much to my mother's chagrin. As the sonographer was getting ready to look at the bladder, she noted we might want to look away at that point since if there was ever a time we might see the sex, that was it. Partner closed her eyes, and I wanted to peek, and even looked for one minute, but then Partner asked if I was looking. I had to look at her with her eyes all squinched up and closed and concentrate on her hand squeezing mine in order to not be tempted further. Soon after that the sonographer referred to Cricket as "a little stinker". For the rest of the time there I questioned myself if that was a gendered term. Is it? What do you think??

At one point I felt Cricket move and saw it at the same time. That was pretty cool and connected the whole thing nicely. It was as if the baby was really inside of me and not on the Discovery Health Channel. The sonographer also kept apologizing about putting too much pressure on me. HA! I tried telling her it was nothing compared to the way I felt manhandled during the transfer and she wasn't hurting me at all. I'm not quite sure she got it.

She thought Cricket weighed about a pound. A pound! How is this possible? From the follicle to this? It's pretty unbelievable and heady stuff. At the end she said everything looked good. She didn't say GREAT or WONDERFUL, but then again that may have just been her personality. We have a five minute videotape we haven't been able to view since our VCR is messed up. If the VCR wasn't so banjaxed, I'd probably be watching the damn tape every day. We want to go get it transferred to a DVD as VHS is quickly seeming like an archaic media form.

I'm 22 weeks today. Less time to go than has elapsed. We start Bradley classes tonight.

Now, enquiring minds want to know: what exactly do theses nurses do with the diapers?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


So in the beginning, I thought the "morning" sickness was okay because it was my most overt sign of pregnancy. Even as I wished it would stop, I was alright with the pukeus maximus action because it indicated positive baby presence. I did make sure to note, out loud and in silent prayers as I retched over the toilet, that the sickness could cease as soon as I felt movement.

And then, as you know, I felt the ever-so-slight movement of the kid. The puking was okay then too, because the movement was just so subtle. But it's not subtle anymore. And it's not my only sign. My breasts are tenderonis, my left leg often goes numb. I cry at the drop of a hat.

Yet I still puketh.

I'm prepared with my plastic bags in the glove compartment, but I do hate when it comes on suddenly while I drive. It is not so much fun to drive, holding the clear plastic bag up to the mouth and search for a suitable parking lot-- That would be one without much foot traffic or many moving cars. Generally when you are near campus in the fall, parking lots like this are few and far between.

Last week I used my last napkin. You know, for wiping the mouth. Then Sunday, after church, I knew I wasn't feeling well but agreed to go for breakfast anyway. Before we hit the joint, I got an attack. A bad 'un. And threw up and up. And Partner, who had recently cleaned out my car, searched in vain for something for me to wipe my mouth with. You know what she came up with? A maxipad.

I'll just leave it at that, shall I?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Getting Droopy

I have a slicing scar across my right knee. An old rugby injury. What a cliché, eh?

I was captain of the team and we were in Ohio, playing a team that I never dreamed my year and half old team would beat, but we were winning. So many of the women were rookies-- Some of them had never even seen a rugby match before playing in one. It's just a game with rules like others, but it's hard to play a game you've never even seen before. What's a ruck, maul, scrum down? Why do I have to address the ref as "sir"? What's a line out? Etc. But there we were, playing as a team on a late fall afternoon, the sky overcast and the air sharp, just as it should be for all good rugby matches. And then my knee broke. Really.

I dislocated my kneecap and broke it in three places. I tore my patello-femoral ligament right off. Stop reading now if you're going to be grossed out. It's a good thing we have kneecaps, because otherwise, our legs look really gross. When I looked down at my leg, I thought it was broken. There was no kneecap over the bones in my knees. My knee was bent. A teammate jogged up to me, took one look and gagged and ran away. Yeah. Thanks. I knew I had to make my leg straight, so I did and nearly passed out, but somehow that put the knee cap back in its proper place. Several guys from the Ohio men's side came out onto the pitch and looked at it. I thought for a brief minute that I just needed a little jog and I could play again. Then they stood me up and the pain flooded me so deeply, I did what any good rugger does in a situation like that: I called for a beer. Immediately.

By the next day, I couldn't walk on my leg at all. Partner stopped at a Meijers and bought me crutches so I could get out and use the bathroom and so we could eat breakfast, but mostly so we could eat breakfast. I had surgery the Friday before Thanksgiving-- a scope and some reconstruction. Three little scares triangulate around one big slice down my knee. After the surgery and in PT, doctors and therapist alike were concerned about how I'd react to the scar.

I fooled them all because I loved it. Still do. Just like I love the gash like scar on my left ankle from a bike accident as a kid. And some little scars just under my knuckles and my wrist bone from another bike accident where I flew over the handlebars of my ten speed bike. For awhile, a little piece of my lip was gone too, small enough that probably only I noticed it. I have a little white stripe on my ankle from shaving (yes, shaving) too fast one night as my friend Amy stood outside the shower, urging me to hurry up. Some scars are there from cooking.

There are lots of little marks on my body that I love because they tell some story about me. Not all scars have happy memories, some are painful, but the thing about scars is that they show how you've healed. How your body has knit itself back together. It's something you've survived.

For that reason, I can't quite connect with the body mania people seem to feel either during or post pregnancy. What I'd like for my body is to be able to do some of the things it did in the past with no problem. Climb up a tree lickity split. Do swimming races. Butterfly. And win. (Did I really race the 200m butterfly? I don't know if I could do a length now.) Move heavy furniture with no help. Be confident I could carry anything. Never worry about my fitness level. That's what I wouldn't mind having back, and there's a certain knowledge that different body than the one I have now would accompany it, but it's the doing I want to have back, not the body.

People keep telling me what my breasts will look like after this is all over. My stomach. My whatever. And I just think, I don't care. I don't care how my body will look because it will look that way because of what I got to do: have a child. It's a story that not every woman will be able to tell with her body. I know that it's a story my own partner would love to tell with her body, and I wish I could give that to her. (I'll give it to her the only way I know how, but sharing my body and experience with her, to have the baby that came from her eggs.)

So I say if you have droopy breasts because you breastfed your babies, rejoice in the droop when you look at your children running around. You fed those kids from your body-- Your beautiful breasts attest to that. If you're stomach looks like cottage cheese from being pregnant, go look at your sleeping child-- It came out of you. Even if you look this and never had a child, think of your life, who you are, what your body has done for you. It's carried you places, it's given you a story to tell. If your feet are calloused and you hate those callouses, why not think about all the places those feet have taken you? I know not every scar, or droop, or fat cell has a happy story to accompany it, but think of the ones that do, and I think you'll be alright.

Perfection is boring. It's the scars, lumps, and bumps that tell the true story. The one you want to hear.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Coming Together

Midwife appointment day-- Which I have to admit, I was really ready for this week. I have still found myself waking up on my stomach. It's because there's so much fat room in there, a noticeable bump for those who don't regularly see me naked is not apparent. And fyi, no one regularly sees me naked but Partner. Still even though I know that my fat is to blame, I was plagued by thoughts that the baby wasn't growing in there, or moving, and you know what the end result of thoughts like that are... I won't even say it outloud, but believe me, at 2:00 a.m., in the darkness, the bad bad thoughts run rampant. Of course thoughts like those thrive on the midnight hours. The same thoughts seem almost silly only twelve hours later. (This might be one reason why I have a problem with winter-- more hours in the dark to brood about what might be but probably never will be.)

I also haven't felt-felt the kid yet. I guess Partner and I decided that some of the fluttering I was feeling was indeed the Cricket, but being kind of thick sometimes (not just in the middle), I have desired a definitive jab in the gut. Come on kid, sock it to me! As an ex-rugby player, one might say that I need to be hit hard to even feel it. It's a theory anyway.

When I went out to leave the requisite pee, Partner apparently asked the midwife if the flutterings I was feeling might be the Cricket, and she said definitely. I suppose it wasn't hard to get there by deductive reasoning: A. Katie feels distinct fluttering in her abdominal region. B. She never felt those feelings before being pregnant. What might a logical conclusion be? Huh. Hmm. I wonder?

So when I hopped on the table so she could Doppler my beer gut/pregnant belly, she noted that maybe when listening to the heart, she'd hear it move too, and if I could match that movement with the flutter, we'd have proof in the pudding.

Okay-- Let me just say, the kid is a Mexican jumping bean. Rambunctious isn't overstating it. Kick, kick, kick, roll around, kick, jab, kick. We could hear the heart get louder or softer as it moved around. And it was hard for the midwife to really get the heart rate count because the kid was moving so much. She was laughing out loud. "You really can't feel that?" she said to me? Nope. Nada. "Well, if you can't feel it now, it won't be long until you can."

I came home to try and teach myself out of the Essential Drug Dosage Calculation book (with stupid elemental mistakes in basic math, and believe me you, I'm penning a letter to the publisher about it) and felt the flutterings. The Cricket. Fluttering around. With a heart beating. I think I'm going to have a baby. And I can unequivocally say that today was the first day I felt enormous amounts of excitement about the whole thing-- excitement that was unhindered. It floated up to the sky. It filled my house. It's made me warm. Baby.