Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye and Hello

Dear 2007,

I've been writing this letter in my head to you for a while now, but it gets all jumbled about halfway through, so pardon me if this gets a little confusing.

2007, it's time for us to part ways. I've been thinking about a way to salvage our relationship and you know what? It's not worth it. Yeah, you've had your moments, but let's be honest here, some last-minute good deeds from you really can't make up for the craptastic way you've treated me and mine.

Put it this way: it's not me, it's you.

In so many ways, 2007, you really deserve to be taken into a dark alley and have the crap kicked out of you.

Yeah, you've delivered some good news--happy healthy babies (Maisie, Zoe, Elspeth, Teo, Lewis, Adam, Ellie)--but note those were to other people. You promised me a whole lot right up front, 2007, and then totally reneged in the worst way possible. Don't try to say this is made up for now, because it's not and it won't be. 2008 is totally gonna get credit for this--knock wood--so don't even try it.

You, 2007, are responsible for so much crap that it's a wonder you even dare show your calendar pages. And what you've done to my friends? No. The damage is irreperable.

So don't let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.

Sincerely, oh, so very sincerely,

Dear 2008,

The bar was set pretty low for you. Just be better than 2007, and you'll be, like, the best year ever.

Bring some cancer-free days for my friend, some anxiety-free days for my grandmother, some care-free days for my mother, and you're off to a great start. And there might be one or two special deliveries this spring that you could bring to make me your biggest fan ever.

Pretty please? Because after this past year? Totally deserve it.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The verdict is in.

So... what do you think? Boy or girl?


When I got pregnant--and stayed pregnant--I swore this time I'd pick a good doctor. Not a doctor, who, upon hearing you were bleeding, sticks a dildo cam in you and then, making eye contact with the ultrasound screen, says, "Well, it's empty all right." For example. No, I was going to pick a good doctor.

I did research. I knew I wanted to be at a place near my home. There's a big ginormous hospital that's twenty blocks from our home, and I knew I wanted to be there. So I searched and searched for any recomendations of any office that did work there. And I got a name and a rec for an office there, where people said, "Get Dr. X, but if you can't, their whole office is great." So I called the office, just on the off chance they were accepting new patients. And not only where they, but when I asked which doctor I'd be seeing, the receptionist said, "Dr. X!" I said, "Reeeeally?" and the receptionist said, "Yeah, she actually has an opening, so I thought I'd slot you in there. And since you're a teacher--" we'd been talking for quite a while at this point, we were buds, almost... "since you're a teacher, why don't I just schedule you out as far as I can so that we can grab those afternoon slots for you? You can always cancel them later."

So this doctor, Dr. X, with her sporty self, has been my dream doctor. Her office, my dream office. Dreamy dreamy dreamy.


I was in for my 3rd monthly appointment, just like a regular prego. I got to see what the non-expensive way to hear the baby was like--like a wee transistor radio! with a microphone! that's CRAZY! and see the inanity of the first few months appointments. You mean... I come in, pee in a cup, get weighed (actually, annoyingly enough: it's usually the other way around), get my blood pressure taken and then as a reward hear the heartbeat... and that's IT? No blood, no prescription, no internal ultrasound or dyes or tests or... I can leave my pants ON? (except, of course, while peeing)


Anyway. So Dr. X is going over how the appointments work... "...and then you'll come in and we'll do a first ultrasound." "Actually, it'll be like my fifth." "Well, yeah, there's that, but it'll be the first one here." "That's where we find out if it's a boy or girl?!?!" "Um, usually we use it to look at, you know, is the heart working properly and there's two ARMS and two LEGS, is there a BRAIN AT ALL... nothing very IMPORTANT." "Yeah, yeah, yeah, AND THEN WE FIND OUT THE GENDER!"


Completely, deadpan: "So, I take it you'll want to know then."

I heart her, very very much.


The ultrasound tech is a hyped up whippet thin woman who is in constant motion. She wields the roll-on-deodorant-like magic thingy with the assured hand of someone who's done this twenty times a day for ten years. Swooping left and right, up and down, curving and winding in to get the best view, she whips through a tour of our baking baby. "See that? Kidneys... and here... that's the stomach, full of fluid. And that grey line... right... there that's the diaphragm..." Andrew and I look at each other and grin. "if you say so!" I say. "I keep making this stuff up and no one's caught me yet," she grins.

We wander through our baby's anatomy. Spine, ghostly ribs, faint but rhythmic heart, like a fist clenching and unclenching faster than I could imagine. And then: the money shot.

"You sure you want to know?"


So are your bets in? What do you think?


We spent the last ten minutes of the appointment just watching our baby, at rest and then in motion. Arching spine one minute, faintly swimming the next, striking an American Idol pose the next. The foot, she said, measures one and a half inches. Are you doing what I did? Have you lifted your hand to put your thumb and finger an inch and a half apart? Are you imagining a tiny little foot, with tiny little toes, stretching between your fingers?


He's gonna have big feet. :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007


We settled down to watch a movie (a really really boring one, as it turned out), Andrew had started a fire in the fireplace, the Christmas lights were on the front porch, and the room smelled like fire smoke and cinnamon.

"We have a pretty good life," Andrew said, a little dreamily.

We pretty much do.


I was sitting at my computer when suddenly a sharp pain knifed through my right side. A few quick ripples, like aftershocks, then it was gone as if it had never been. Andrew's head whipped around at my gasp, at the ready to do whatever I needed--bandaids! call 911! catch me as I fainted!--but all I could do was tilt my head, my hand at my side.

I think--I think I just felt the baby!

He couldn't have come over faster than if I had actually fainted. Really? he wanted to know. Where? What did it feel like?

I put my hand up his sweatshirt, palm facing out, and then fluttered my fingertips against the fleecy inside of his shirt, three, four times. A little like that. He put his hands against my abdomen, a little below my ribcage. Is this normal? A little early, I told him. And now I may not feel anything for days. But I did. I felt it.

After a while, he went back to what he'd been working on before, I returned to my blogroll. And just then I gasped again, as that flutter punch came back.

His head whipped around again, worried, until he saw me smiling like a goof.

Stop gasping like that, it scares me!

You try being punched from the inside and see how you gasp.

He looked at me and smiled. Good point.


I haven't written for days because I'm not sure where I am. After so long having identy as Can't Get (or Rather, Stay) Pregnant, I haven't yet grown into Pregnant. Pregnant is still other people.

School is one long maddening hell right now. I don't know what it is this year--different kids, more tired, whatever--I'm just not enjoying it at all. We're twelve weeks into the year, 24 more weeks to go, and I feel like I will never be caught up. For type A little ol me, that's a big fat recipe for stress dreams (wherein it's been discovered that a clerical error means I don't have credit for high school geometry and must take it to retain my college degree and the teacher I'm taking it from refuses to teach me and all the kids say, "See? this is why we don't like YOU as a teacher either!") and heartburn.

And I'm in a weird stage. I can't go out and get a glass of wine (or even faux-wine) with friends or even really stay out late anymore (I'm wiped by 10:30), but also I'm not yet a mother and so still open to the "Just wait and see!" that well-meaning already-parenting friends and family like to pour. Just wait and see... how tiring the first three months are ... how hard it is to leave your child and go to work ... how much weight you gain. I know they mean well--or at least, most do.

Oddly enough, though, the "Just wait and see!" game is never about happy things.

I had one teacher come up to me, out of nowhere, and tell me, "Oh, don't worry hon, before I was done, I weighed 197 pounds!" I was refilling my water bottle in the staff workroom at the time. Note that I was NOT talking to anyone about pregnancy, weight, or pregnancy weight. Plus--"Oh, hon, I weighed more than 197 pounds before I got pregnant, so I'm pretty sure I'll be more." And then I left the room.

There's still a weird chasm between those who have kids and me, where with rare exception (*cough*Em*cough*Leah*cough*) communication feels really one-sided. And I'm worried about losing touch with the friends who don't have kids. And plus, I just feel really uninteresting right now. My world is eating, sleeping, and grading. Who enjoys that?


Despite my bitching--because what else is a blog for?--we are really happy. This past week, we made a tour of daycare centers in Portland. Yes, I'm not even five months pregnant, and we were touring daycare centers. Note that of the three we went to, only one could guarantee us a spot for next fall. Staying home, at this time, isn't really a great choice for our family unit and as much as I know it'll suck and I'll cry and feel like a horrible person and probably reexamine how much I really want to teach, we want to be prepared with daycare. And we've got one place for sure, and will likely get into the much better place as well. Just a few checks (the first of many, I know, but after the major bucks we've spent to get this far, really, we laugh! we laugh at these puny checks!) and we've guaranteed our spots on the waiting lists.

Andrew is over the moon about everything, and likes nothing more than to chart the daily progress of my belly, my bellybutton, my breasts. At Thanksgiving, at our annual Go Around of What Are You Thankful For (that almost everybody, mostly guys, moan and groan about, but I think everyone secretly really likes), we all got to be thankful. Andrew summed it up nicely. "I'm thankful for all my friends and family. I'm thankful for maternity pants. And larger bras."

I'm thankful too. I'm thankful for the smell of fire smoke and cinnamon, and for maternity pants and larger bras. I'm thankful for friends who get the weird netherworld I'm in at the moment and meet halfway. I'm thankful that Christmas break is three weeks away. I'm thankful for the first communication from our little mystery package. I'm beyond thankful that I get to struggle to find my place in this identity at all.