Woohoo!

1) Thank the person who gave you the award.

I have to thank the lovely and amazing ThanksgivingMom—of course the cupcake award would come from her! Someday I will be in California at a time when she’s free and then we’ll paint the town red.

2) Insert award into post.

3. Name 3 things you like about yourself.

1. I love my hands. I’m pretty bad at living in my body—with the notable exception of my hands. They cook, they massage, they write . . . and they haven’t swollen up at all yet this pregnancy, touch wood.

2. I think I’m hilarious. I think I’m funnier than anyone else does, and every couple of days we have a moment when I am actually choking with laughter at something that I said while Mr. Book looks curiously at me and waits for me to wind down. I have a little sing-song mantra that I share with him that goes “No one is as funny as me!” Those who know me can confirm that I think I’m funny—and may have something else to add. 😀

3. I’m a huge geek, which makes me happy. Not that there aren’t problems with my people, but I love gaming and comic books and my “geek inside” maternity shirt. I can’t wait to see the tiny dork or dorks we will raise.

4. Post a photo that you love.

This is perhaps obviously from our wedding; I have just mushed cake into my husband’s face, and I am laughing at him. He is about to laugh. My dad was pretty frustrated with the pictures I chose to go into our Official Wedding Album, this one among them, but this is so much better than the more posed pictures from that day. This is who we are.

5. Tagging Duties

Please, be tagged if you wish to be tagged; I’m lazy at this part. 😉

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Wage Slave

I’ve been feeling very quiet these last couple of days; maybe it’s because the weather abruptly shifted from unbearable to almost cool. I’ve been cooking good things—saag paneer (but without the paneer, because I don’t like it) and chana masala and white chili and maple cornbread—and I’ve been feeling tired all the time. Any outing, however small or pleasant, is exhausting. So I’m upping my iron intake just in case it’s anemia and not the weather (unlikely, as I get plenty of iron in a vitamin, but my best idea aside from “nap more”).

I’ve been making more of an effort to really cook because my husband is having a hard time; he hates his job, which is reasonable, but it haunts him even in off hours and days away, and I don’t know how to really help with that. We talk, and I both listen and give useless advice; I’ve started buying beer because he likes to have one in the evening after work, and it’s a small thing, but I want to heap small good things up all around him. “I never thought I would be one of those guys, you know—” he said to me.

“The kind who like beer? I think that’s most of them, cookie pants.” I like watching him enjoy himself, and I am also privately amused by the picture of myself, visibly pregnant, lugging a box of beer from the bus stop home.

If there is a way to make Mr. Book feel better about life, I’ve got to find it. He has a terrible job, and while we have two possible exit strategies, they seem awfully distant and unreal to him right now. I had a job for awhile in college that was pretty bad for me—it finally got to the point where I had panic attacks walking to it every day, and I still wouldn’t quit, and finally being fired was almost a relief. I know what it’s like to have the kind of job that actually makes you want to kill yourself, and that you’d feel like an idiot for actually killing yourself over. But I was mostly able to leave it at work, and my husband can’t. I don’t know whether I can teach him to draw a line around work and step away from it, but it’s my best idea so far and it isn’t working right now. I should say that this isn’t a sudden change; he has been sad and hurt about his work for a long time. But right now I’m thinking about it more.

Won Over

My mother has taken an interest in the little bird. I asked her some questions about baptism—after all, she went through the ritual four times (not counting the once in her infancy), so I figured she’d be able to help me out. She was completely delighted to do so, and more than that, I think that planning for the baptism helped her to think of the little bird as someone who’ll be sticking around and doing family things; she talked about a gown my grandmother knitted and in which I was baptized (along with both of my sisters and at least one cousin), and I think she’s going to dig it out for the kiddo. She wanted to know who we want for godparents (and was pleased to find that she’d guessed right), and overall really surprised me. I had called wanted to know: How old does a baby have to be? Can it work out if the godparents can’t be present? Do they just wear white, or is there some other requirement? I got a lot more.

Of course, she has since emailed me to warn me that the gown is tacky and acrylic (which I sort of expected, knowing my grandmother).

We also talked about what they’d like to be called by grandkids; I knew going in that my mom hates “Grandma,” although I’m still not sure why. I had guessed (correctly, it turns out) that my dad would want to be “Granddad” after his own grandfather, a man who died when I was a preschooler and about whom fond stories are still told. My mom wants to be Oma, after her Tanta Sophie—my great great aunt. She also talked about why she thinks people look forward so much to being grandparents: They don’t get to appreciate the kids fully the first time around, because they are too busy and tired.

I know my mom well enough to know that this may have been an isolated good day rather than a lasting change in perspective, but it was still good to see; shoot, if she cares about the kid only when she’s around him, that would be better than Mr. Book’s mom will manage, I guarantee it.

Her Craving

I keep trying to figure out what my pregnancy is like, and what it’s supposed to be like. It’s not going all that well; so far I’ve tried my other pregnancy, my mother’s first pregnancy, my omi’s pregnancy with my twin uncles (one of whom is disabled), and several crisis pregnancies that I’ve only read about. None of them really fit, and I’m trying to instead figure out why I need to do this.

My pregnancy with Cricket does seem like the most obvious model—I am having a boy again, I am pregnant by the same person, I’m due right around the same time, and my parents are being completely weird about the whole thing. On the other hand, I really need to think of this as importantly different, and of course it is; no one is going to take my son at the end. My mom’s pregnancy with me is appealing in some ways—she ended up starting a family, I was a very wanted baby—and I even bought a Cadbury Fruit & Nut Bar when I went grocery shopping last entirely because my mom talks about eating them all through her pregnancy in Ireland. But there are some pitfalls, too. My mother drank (moderately) throughout her pregnancies, and she went on to have a really rough time as a new mother. I want to be different. I don’t think I’ve talked much about my omi, my grandmother, but trust me when I say that you do not want her for any kind of role model under any circumstances.

Why do I need some kind of Jungian pregnancy? One of my less attractive qualities is a need to feel safe that tends to manifest as a need to have a lot of control over my environment. I have gotten less and less bonkers about this over the last several years, thank goodness, or I’m sure my sweetheart would have given in and smothered me by now. I need to know what is going on. And now, when I’m pregnant, I really have no idea what’s going on—I check in every month or so with people who have some reason to believe that things are fine, but that’s all I get. Going off of antidepressants (just one so far, I’ve stayed on the second one for awhile longer) has added to my anxiety; almost every day I decide at some point that the little bird has died. If I have some model for this pregnancy, then I can believe that I know what’s going to happen, and I can relax a little—except that none of my models are relaxing. And I know, of course, that parenting is going to be hundreds upon hundreds of days of having no idea of what comes next. I am going to need to let go even further so that I can be a good mom. But my God, right now I can’t even check his breathing, and I don’t even really like Fruit & Nut bars. I want a thread to follow.

I think that’s what pregnancy books are supposed to be for, and I read mine bit by bit, over and over again: this week he is able to feel my movements, next week he hits the one-pound mark. Having information about what’s going on and what’s coming is good, which is why I already have a stack of parenting books as long as my arm. But I’m realizing what I need more than a model pregnancy is to pay close attention to what is actually going on, and what I’m really feeling and wanting, and find a way to just let the things that I can’t force happen. And then, probably, I’ll be able to fly.

My Homeopathy

Ever since Dawn appeared on the Creating a Family podcast, I’ve been going back and listening to their archives. I started with the old adoption shows, reasonably enough, and then I ran out and started listening to infertility shows. I did worry about secondary infertility after Cricket—some time after I got pregnant with the little bird, on a night when I was doubting that I was actually pregnant, Mr. Book let me know how annoying my baseless worry about infertility had been, and that I was pregnant now, so for God’s sake! I can worry at a professional level, and I don’t doubt that it’s super irritating; unluckily for Mr. Book, he can be awfully funny when he is aggravated. So now I am learning about ART and many other things. When Mr. Book sees me wearing headphones these days, he gives me a flat, disbelieving stare and shakes his head. I guess it is a bit weird. . . .

Most recently, I was listening to a podcast on the use of traditional Chinese medicine to treat infertility. Once of the first callers explained that she was trying to conceive, and that her doctor considered her (at age 42) to be of advanced maternal age, “but I don’t believe it.” The TCM provider agreed, saying that she doesn’t believe in advanced maternal age—and, for that matter, she doesn’t believe in infertility. The host was a bit startled, and asked for clarification: the TCM provider explained that if you open yourself to life, you will get pregnant. It’s as simple as that. What bothered me, and what I’d really like to hear about from those with experience  (since I don’t have personal experience with infertility), is that it sounded to me like this blames women for their inability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term. If all you have to do is open yourself to life and you are not getting pregnant, you are failing. Maybe I’m looking at it the wrong way, and please correct me if so!—but it seems like a pretty tough row to hoe. There’s nothing wrong with trying to have a baby at forty, of course, but suggesting that if it takes any more time or effort than it might take a twenty-year-old, that is your personal spiritual failing and not biology . . . I don’t like it.

I should probably disclose that I start out pretty skeptical of traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and most forms of alternative medicine. I will drink ginger tea when I’m having an upset stomach, so it’s not as though I have a deep aversion to useful herbs, but my views in the area overall are pretty conservative. And yet, when I was pregnant with Cricket, I took homeopathy tablets at my midwives’ insistence, despite the fact that I agree with James Randi about that course of treatment. I think that’s why the TCM lady bothered me so much—women in vulnerable positions are being sold a bill of goods, and I don’t like it.

Grandkids

First off, I would very much like to thank blog reader Molly for the adorable and large-ish baby clothes; it turns out that overalls for toddlers are jaw-droppingly adorable. I also blew my monthly allowance on a toddler t-shirt with a pterosaur on it, which is basically an unrelated fact, but it did arrive on the same day. (I’m thinking teeny cowboy boots for next month—my husband is interested in pooling our allowances and getting a board game.)

My mother has apparently been pressuring my awesome sister Kate to have a baby. Kate is married, but she’s also 23, and she and her husband prefer to wait a few years—seems reasonable to me, the 27-year-old pregnant one, but our mother was pregnant with me (her first at)—oh, shoot, math time—wow, 23. Of course, my mother had four children and would have been delighted to have more, so she was on a slightly different trajectory than her three daughters are. As stupid as this is, when Kate first told me, my feelings were hurt for a minute: Why does our mom want Kate to bear grandkids yet find herself unable to give a crap about my little bird? Then, of course, I more reasonably snapped into feeling bad for Kate. Kate has responded I think very sensibly—by getting a puppy.

Errors

I made two mistakes this weekend. I got badly sunburned, which is now my excuse for not posting in a timely fashion—you should see my hopping little limp, it is the latest thing! But second, and grosser, I tried to find pictures of what the little bird looks like at this point online. Note to self: do not google for fetus pictures unless you want really gross/manipulative post-abortion shots!

I had at one point planned to commemorate on the blog the day that it became illegal for me to have an abortion (because I am strange), only to find out that there is no cutoff date in my state. That is pretty cool, I think, although I hadn’t known that there were any states with this set of laws. So this is really just a short post that isn’t exactly about abortion, and I am feeling too sorry for myself to feel guilty about it. More after I have completed a series of cool baths….