- Well, I think we’re going to buy a snuggle nest; this feels like some kind of milestone, although I can’t really explain that. Still, woo for bedsharing safety!
- Last night I was talking to the little bird and caught myself saying “Your moms—” and meaning Ruth and Nora, and I freaked myself out a bit. What a gross moment.
- Midwife appointment today! I’m sure this one will be as pointless as they all feel. I keep getting the impression that I’m disappointing them by being matter-of-fact and not having any questions.
- I’m going to California in October! The Mister won’t be able to join me, unfortunately, as he has to hoard his precious few vacation days for the birth of our son. But it will be good to get back to the homeland for a week.
- I’ve started doing stretches in the bath to help with lower back pain, which helps.
- I think we’re going out to dinner tomorrow, using a gift certificate we were given awhile back; a chance to pick out my most dazzling maternity outfit! We’ve been saving the certificate for what I thought would be the perfect time in the pregnancy—far enough along that I am able and delighted to eat like a horse, but not so far along that a big dinner causes mechanical problems. We’re celebrating T3 out on the town!
- Only last night did we realize that we’re supposed to drive to the Emerald City during Labor Day weekend, and Mr. Book is also sad that it’s the first day of college football. We are not primo schedulers.
- My insomnia is really getting out of hand. I mean, I’ll schedule this to go up at a normal grownup time, but I’m writing it at 2 a.m. Can’t really imagine sleeping anytime soon. I can sleep if I take a benadryl, but even knowing that it’s safe, I feel guilty taking any drugs while pregnant. I had a monster migraine on Sunday, and it turns out that hiding in bed with an ice pack is much less effective without any medication. I can’t figure out whether I’m being noble about this . . . or just dumb.
- It turns out that cobbler is extra good if you make the shortcake with maple sugar.
This morning I was showing some children’s books to the Mister (we’re thinking about Cricket’s Christmas gift) and I mentioned one Christmas children’s book that I have that I think the Mister would really like. He said “I should read it to you this Christmas . . . Oh!!” And the look on his face in that ellipsis, as he remembered that there will be a baby to read to, was beautiful.
Well, now there’s a bit of slightly better adoption news. Ruth has said that we should come next Saturday, and even better—she’s been having this conversation with Mr. Book. Perfect. I still don’t know whether I’m supposed to bring food, but I can worry about it next week. Of course, I’ll be into T3 by then and even huger than I am, but that’s going to keep goin’ on regardless, I suspect.
I got a coupon code for a free photobook (less of course shipping, so not as free as it might be) and had a bright idea. Mr. Book only very rarely will look at a picture of Cricket; it’s hard for him, and the emailed links don’t come frequently enough to have a very good chance of showing up at or near a good time for him, and then they just sort of melt into the archives the way that all old emails do. The photobooks that Ruth and Nora make are much appreciated, but don’t tend to include the pictures we like best—this isn’t about who is in them, either, although we are both baffled by the inclusion of pictures that do not include Ruth, Nora, or Cricket—we just seem to prefer different things. So I decided to make a private book for Mr. Book of Cricket’s birth through eighteen months, which I have creatively titled Cricket’s Babyhood. I put in a bunch of pictures of the two of them together, birthfather and son, as well as a couple of Cricket with most of his other important people and a bunch of solo shots. I really hope that this is a good idea. Mr. Book loves that kid so much, but it’s hard for him to find places to express or experience that aside from visits, and those really don’t come frequently enough for him. But I think that maybe a book of his own that he can keep wherever he likes and look at when he feels moved to could be a valuable addition. We’ll see.
The little bird is over two pounds now, and thumping around constantly, and tons of fun. Earlier this week he was (I suspect) kicking some terrible nerves in my back—I was getting scary and unprecedented back cramps, too high up to be organ problems, I think—but he has since rolled away and gone back to practicing the tarantella in my guts. He either likes or hates grape juice.
I hope everyone has a good weekend; mine should be quiet, which sounds pretty good right about now.
Well, the visit is off, or rescheduled, or something—I don’t know exactly what just yet. The friendly person at the garage who scheduled an appointment for us helpfully made it for next Wednesday instead of yesterday, so we won’t be able to make the trip on Saturday. Bleh. Mr. Book emailed Ruth yesterday to let her know and find out what they’d like to do; he’s pretty sad about missing the visit.
Today is Mr. Book’s other birthday. He has two birthdays every year, one in April and one in August, and that’s more or less my fault. See, in my family, birthdays are a big deal—I got his early and was preparing to make a cake and so forth when he started trying to persuade me that in fact his birthday wasn’t coming up—it wasn’t April 24, but August 24! Obviously the most logical way for me to handle this was to give him two birthday celebrations, each of them with its own presents, cake, and fooferaw. It’s sort of like I’m trying to teach him a lesson, except the lesson could be read as “Lie to me and get lots of cake,” so maybe the message has been lost. Still, cake! His dinner request was for this artichoke pasta thing I made up a couple of months ago, and there will be dark chocolate cake with raspberries all over it. Also, I will sing. Unfortunately, he’s also got to spend part of it at the auto shop, hopefully just getting oil and filters changed with no accompanying bad news. Still, he has the day off work, so the day just can’t be that bad.
We’re probably driving up to the Emerald City on Saturday. I am in my usual state of not really wanting to, whereas Mr. Book is really strongly feeling the desire to see the Cricket. The other night, I realized aloud that I have some hand-knitted baby stuff that I made sort of for Cricket that has been packed up for a year and some, and Mr. Book started thinking about what it would be like to have two little boys running around our apartment. “I miss him all the time,” he said. “I think about him every day,” I responded, which is the closest true thing that I can say. I wonder why it’s so different for the two of us.
I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to bring food to this visit; I always have before, but I’ve always had some conversation about it with Ruth beforehand, which hasn’t yet happened this time around. I figure some kind of hostess gifty thing would certainly be in order. Maybe I should bring a dessert? I don’t know what’s going on, but I feel like this year has been me feeling less and less connected to Cricket. Mr. Book doesn’t seem to be having that experience. I still care about him, I still want to do right by him, and I’m still plotting out his next birthday present, but. I honestly wonder whether part of it is because the visits have been so stressful and the relationship with his moms has felt so hard that he’s associated in my head with mostly bad things. It’s not like we’ve had any good times together. That’s an ugly little sentence right there, and hopefully it will be different in the future, but it’s true right now. The last visit was the best one that we’ve had so far, and if in a couple of years we can, I don’t know, go to a children’s museum or something, that could be a good experience. But as it is, if the visits weren’t so stressful, they’d be terribly boring.
I’ve been wondering too about my feelings for him after something that my mom said. She was saying on Sunday that she things that in some ways she thinks I’m much better suited to be a mom than she was—one of the things she mentioned was that she never liked other people’s children. Right now, this year, I love Cricket, but I have certainly loved other people’s children this much. When he was newly born, I was completely in love with him, but that broke me, so I stopped. But it’s been awhile, and it doesn’t seem ideal for me to care about him as much as a little girl I still remember whom I babysat as a teenager, or my parents’ friends toddlers back when my parents had friends with toddlers: Am I morally obligated to try to love him the way I did when I was his mom for real? Maybe not that much, but more than I do now? I think the Mister is having a harder time because he looks at Cricket and sees his son, and I don’t see the same thing when I look at the kid. When I get hints of that connection, I get panicky. Maybe I’d be better equipped to handle that feeling now; does that mean that I need to feel it again?
On Saturday, Mr. Book and I went to a monthly giveaway thingy run by an antiabortion center in town. I’ve mentioned it before—that’s where I got a pregnancy test—and while I do of course feel weird about their politics, I have to give them credit for following through; once a month, pregnant people, people with babies, and people with little kids are welcome to show up, eat a free hotdog, and get a few diapers and other baby things. I scored half a dozen diapers, a couple of onesies, and a pair of Robeez in fantastic shape. Woo!
So now the weird part. The people who run the center have a very different sort of philosophy from mine, perhaps obviously. At one point, the headwoman approached us and asked us to help set up a tent. “Sure!” says I.
“Oh, no!” she responds, seemingly shocked. “We don’t let mommies work—only daddies.”
She steps away for a moment, scanning the crowd for other possible recruits, and Mr. Book looks me in the eye and says “What the hell are we doing here?”
I don’t have a better answer than “diapers,” which isn’t particularly satisfying, so instead I trail along behind the men who’ve been recruited to put together a tent and their leader, Robert. I sit and knit while watching my husband grow increasingly frustrated as Robert, unable to figure the tent out, issues meaningless orders in a manly sort of way. I would like to point out that the whole tent couldn’t have weighed more than fifteen pounds, and that I am regularly hauling a good bit more than that in groceries home from the bus stop. I don’t think of myself as helpless, and while I wouldn’t try to lift a car or anything, I could in fact have safely helped with the construction. Funnily enough, it turns out that the only person around who knows how to put this tent together is a pregnant woman volunteer who has to wait for the headwoman to get distracted before taking over the assembly team. Robert recovers his sense of leadership by coming over and condescending to me. At least it’s a beautiful morning.
I’m feeling very fortunate this morning. That might sound weird considering that I’m up at 3 a.m. after trying unsuccessfully to sleep for a few hours (this acid reflux is really out of control. Would that I had an easy chair to sleep in!). But tonight Mr. Book and I are having a date for the first time in a few months—I think it’s the second date since I had a positive pregnancy test, come to think of it—and that’s pretty exciting. I’m feeling blessed by stupid things; the other night, I woke up at right about this time absolutely certain that I needed to barf, and lay there for a few minutes trying to figure out what on earth was going on, and finally realized that the little bird was kicking me in the stomach—really giving it his all. And I rolled over and he slid away to cheerfully kick other parts of my gut. And while I really don’t want to wake up that way again, the kid is doing great, and he’s also apparently very strong and very bored late at night. My little dude.
Recently I’ve been feeling really frustrated with adoption stuff, as y’all know—a major part of that has been the feeling that I am the one trying to make this visit happen and the one who least wants to actually have the visit (probably; I might have to arm wrestle Nora for that honor). I haven’t wanted to bother Mr. Book with that because he was having such a rough time at work, but while he was gone today I went ahead and wrote an email to him about my feelings. It took me awhile to get to the point where there wasn’t any hint of ultimatum in it, because my conclusion was: Maybe we should cancel this visit. I think I’m still glad that I waited for him to be feeling better to start this conversation, and it went really well—and we’re not cancelling the visit. There was one point where I said “I waited two and a half weeks for you to do something about setting up a visit and then you didn’t and Ruth emailed me with a date and it was my problem again!” and he said “Yeah, I didn’t really get why you thought that.” And you know, it’s true that it never occurred to me to write back with “Actually, Mr. Book is going to be organizing this next visit, so let me send this on to him and he’ll get back to you.” My controllingness is everywhere.
At my birthmother support group on Thursday, the group leader kept telling me how healthy I look—I think it was four times—which leads me to suspect that I look as though I’ve gained a lot more weight than I have. I started worrying that when she was looking at me, her brain was throwing up helpful livestock keywords. “Susie, you look so bovine healthy!” Because I don’t spend enough time brooding.
The group ended late, and I really needed to leave on time but got trapped, because it ran over into a discussion of whether birthmothers need to spend time with adult adoptees—or, since this is a group therapy kind of deal, pay to spend more time with adult adoptees. Didn’t seem like a great time for me to sneak out. Three of the group regulars are adoptees and birthmothers, and I like all three of them, but the woman who most insisted that we have it “too easy” because we are talking to adoptees who also know what a birthparent experience is like—well, I don’t think that I agree. (There is a mixed group being formed, which I plan not to attend.) I’m open to other perspectives on this one, because I should figure it out if I’m wrong, but I suppose that I want permission to acknowledge the difficulties of these adoptees’ experiences without having to spend a lot of time grappling with them. Part of the problem for me is that I don’t know how similar Cricket’s feelings will be; I think it likely that he’ll be angry at us, at least for awhile, but none of these adult adoptees grew up having regular contact with their biological relatives. They are talking about search and reunion and the perils thereof.
I tend to get irritated when people tell me what Cricket is going to think—not, mind you, when they tell me what they believe he might think, or “This might come up so you should be prepared” things. I guess a big part of my hostility to the concept of the mixed group is my belief that the adult adoptees will be trying to make me feel guilty about my choices. I am, frankly, pretty good at generating my own guilt, and don’t particularly want help from strangers. You (, theoretical adoptee group member,) think I did the wrong thing in placing Cricket, I think I did the wrong thing, and it is done. I’m more interested in hearing about the experiences of children growing up in open adoptions and learning from those; the top two lessons so far are “You might be important to him at some point, and you’re going to have to muscle past the fact that this makes you incredibly uncomfortable” and “Don’t flake out.”
Well, the medical appointment was uneventful, but the evening that followed it more than made up for it! When reading my account of the setup, please bear in mind that common sense isn’t something I have very much of.
When we had dinner, I was carrying a glass filled with ice to the table when I dropped it on my foot and then the kitchen floor. I picked it up, put the ice back in (classy, ain’t I?), and went on to drink out of the glass. Halfway through my drink, I noticed that I’d managed to chip the glass when it fell. Huh.
An hour or two later, I take the last sip and then notice that there is something on my tongue—a chip of glass. Y’know, it does sort of feel like there might be something in my throat, and this little chip is nowhere near big enough to be all of the glass. . . . I go to ask the Mister, who was watching a movie, what I should do. Should I make myself throw up? At any rate, I start spitting into a glass, with the brilliant reasoning that I shouldn’t swallow anything until this has been straightened out. He suggests that I eat some bread. I decide to call my mom, who is a healthcare provider, and she says that I need to go to the emergency room. “I don’t think they’ll want to give you an x-ray, since you’re pregnant, so they’ll probably have to scope you.” I don’t even know what that means, but she is adamant; apparently even a small piece of broken glass could lead to a perforated bowel and a hideous death. I ask whether I could try throwing up, and she says that the glass might embed itself in my throat instead of coming up. “Okay, but what are the odds that nothing happens and it’s totally okay?” “Susie. . . .” I say that I’ll call her back.
My next step is to get online and see what my insurance would cover if I end up in the emergency room: nowhere near all of it, apparently, which means that there’s no way I’m going tonight. I go ahead and made myself cough up enough stomach acid that, after seeing no glass and no blood (it was red glass, so I knew I’d be able to spot it), I went to check in with the Mister, who had been carefully sweeping the kitchen floor and had found many teeny pieces of glass. I am horrified by my carelessness. “I can’t believe you didn’t rinse out the glass before drinking out of it!” says he, giving me a sweet and worried look. “That never would have occurred to me!” says I. At any rate, we decide that if I swallowed a bit of glass, it is so small that they wouldn’t be able to get it out even if we went to the hospital. I call my mom and explain. She is not delighted, but she understands, and tells me to watch for blackness or blood in my stool. Adventure!