A bit of this and a bit of that

Too much swirling in my head tonight to keep to one topic. Something not unusual for me and if I bought into things like horoscopes I'd blame it on the fact I was a Gemini.

Swing low. . .
It may have seemed to me (and apparently "You're Flatter" neighbor lady) that this baby of mine moved lower last week, but if she did it was merely inching down. Yes, because last night she truly took a huge lunge towards her exit. I woke up this morning, went about our routine, pulled on a newly ironed stained (gotta love toddlers and their sticky hands) maternity t-shirt only to realize that the view looking down wasn't what it used to be. Nope. There was most certainly a gap now between chest and belly. Not only that but there are only two ways for me to sit tonight. I need to either be partially reclined OR I need to sit with man legs. Yes, I said man legs. Which is essentially sitting with my legs as far as apart as I can get them in order to make room for the giant medicine ball that used to be my abdomen.

Speaking of signs
The other pregnancy related development has been the increase in frequency and discomfort level (well ok, let's just be honest and call it mild pain) of the Braxton Hicks. Yup. They hurt now. Not horrible bad, but they are no longer those pesky "Oh, my belly is just hard" variety. No, these suckers cause you to stop and take notice. Its just one notch about mild cramps. Nothing regular yet. Nothing predictable. Nothing that says "Pick up the phone and call your OB" but I must admit that at one point today I did glance at the clock wandering if it *was* something I should bother timing. I ended up foregoing the clock watch when a moment to sit still and drink a giant cup of water helped stop the crampy feeling.

Bite your tongue
Lest you feel the urge to shout hurrah, this is it, the end is near! Let me be the first to pop my own bubble. A woman in my mom's group had effacement, 1 cm dilation, low baby AND irregular Braxton Hicks contractions for the last 3 weeks. She was induced today. Yes, this, is enough to make me stare at the end of the month on the calendar and plead with my stomach to not torture me so.

So this is a job
Today B's department threw him a surprise baby shower. He had cake. Got to be the center of attention and open presents. Brought us home a 1/4 of a sheet cake (anyone want a piece?!), a few cute outfits and a Babies R Us gift certificate.

In my work world, I got. . .well nothing.

Speaking of work
Still no word from either my immediate boss or his boss on what projects on my big full plate are to be approved as "work from home" projects. Almost makes you wish the lower babe and Braxton Hicks really really do mean something because it'd be fun to call and say "Oh, yeah, that list you were supposed to chip away, prioritize and get back to me on two weeks ago - yeah, ok. . .well its all got to sit now for 8 weeks. So very sorry."

That's not to say I've not been working. No, in fact, I almost think bossman (big one) is testing things. He likes to send me emails to my work account despite the fact he has my home account and knows its easier to reach me at it since it pulls mail constantly and not just the few times a day I log into the office. These emails have resulted in three mini-projects. Great stuff, really, getting work. . . I just wish he'd also let us tackle the to-do list.


Taking Bets

My ankles have this problem. Not all the time, but by days end on those days I tend to forget I actually have an excuse to sit with my feet up for a spell. My ankles, you see, become rather tree trunk like. Almost non-existent. My calves just sort of melt off into giant, poofy, Hobbit feet without the excess hair. This is a mild cause for concern only because the only clue last time that I had developed pre-eclampsia at 37 weeks (other than the OB visit with the higher blood pressure reading) was tree trunk ankles. I feel fine outside of that - well not "fine" but fine in that I have no other noticeable, worrisome symptoms. No blinding headaches, no blurred vision, nothing like that. I am just retaining water like a camel only instead of my back it goes to my feet and ankles. Not all the time, typically just starting say around mid-afternoon into evening at which point I'm lying on my left side, feet up between regular bathroom breaks.

So that brings us to my next appointment and The Bet. My appointment is on Friday in the afternoon. Its with Dr. Panic. The one that rushes you to the ER when you have a sinus infection and strep throat - ordering an emergency room ultrasound despite the fact baby's heartrate is good and you feel oodles of movement. He's the one the orders lots of test because you gained 4 pounds in 3 weeks.

Yesterday B asks who the appointment is with this week. I tell him Dr. P.

B - Oh, so then you will probably have the baby this weekend, huh?

Me - Huh?

B - Well its an afternoon appointment, right?

Me - Well yeah.

B - And you're 38 weeks by then, right?

Me - Right, 38 weeks on Wednesday or something like that.

B - So I figure your ankles will be swollen by the appointment on Friday because they do that now and Dr. Panic will freak out thinking you're about to repeat your history.

Me - Ahhh....well...umm. . .

B - And since you're full term at 38 weeks, right? Well I'm just saying I won't be surprised if you're calling me at 3:30 saying "Take Logan to stay with Grandpa and head over to the hospital with Grandma."

Me - Oh. . my... ugh. Darn that Dr L and his vacation! Can't the man go away when I'm not pregnant?!

Of course, those that have played along for a while know that I am more than ready for this baby to arrive. I'm not totally freaked out by the notion that B could be right. I am not totally happy that it would mean Dr. P would be around for delivery. In fact, I'd almost be willing to keep lowering my own Pictocin drip if we're talking induction until I knew the practice's third doctor was on call. Almost, not quite. However, if this girl decides to take after her brother in the slightest, the idea of her peeing on Dr. P is kind of fun. (Yes, the VERY first thing my son did with his life was pee on my OB.)


Its offical

Well it must be offical - the baby must have dropped. ha! Wife of nosey neighbor yelled her hellos over the fence this evening. "Did you have the baby?" she asked amazed.

Me - Ummm, no, not yet.

Edie - Oh. Wow. Well its just that you look flatter or something.

Me thinking - What the hell does "look flatter" mean? Does she mean "fatter"?

Me saying - Oh, yeah? Well maybe its because she dropped a little? I guess. I don't know. Maybe being a bit lower would give that illusion.

Edie tossed in that her three all went that way too - so I guess she took a turn at being flatter.

So its either Person A in the previously written entry is correct and the baby is lower OR I should just give up my 2 year old loose-flowing preggo shirts for those like what I have on today - the new fangled "have spandex will stretch and fit like a glove" variety they've got out this year. Here I thought the fact that I had to wear this shirt with my black shorts because the spandex shirt was so 'fitted' it didn't hide the entire belly panel meant I looked bigger. But according to Edie, its just making me flatter.

And hey, if that meant something was going to happen sooner rather than later in terms of having this kid - well that'd be grand. Today my ankles are the size of small children, my back hurts like the dickens and morning sickness returned with a vengence.


The little due date calculator thingy says there are 19 days left to the baby's due date. 19. Just those two little numbers. One. Nine. That seems alternately a very long time or a blink of an eye to get to a date that most likely means nothing. I really don't put much stock in due dates actually meaning much of anything in terms of "arrival times." Its like that range those pesky contractors and repairmen like to give us around here. "Sometime between 8 am and noon we'll be out to see you." And they stroll in at 12:15pm all proud that they've not been more late than that despite the fact you actually made the effort to have non-PJ, clean clothes on your body by 7:30 am that morning.

19 days.

I've taken to using the easy way out when people ask me 'how much longer.' I just smile and reply "Oh, any day now." Its true really - at just over 37 weeks we're a whisper away from full-term (being completion of 37 weeks) and so this chid could in theory arrive any time between now and September 30th. The end of Sept being when the doctor would induce me as overdue. I just like to ignore the fact that I could be pregnant for another month+.

19 days.

What I find remarkable is the range of comments a pregnant body can render. Within an hour of each other one person that sees me often looked at me and said "You dropped a bit didn't you?" and another person that rarely sees me said "Oh, you've got plenty of time, you're still carrying high." The high thing I find amusing actually since this child has been carried much lower than her brother from the get go of those "showing" days. I mentioned this to person #2 and she said "Yeah, but you're not real low yet." To which I wanted to protest (but didn't) "Well, maybe but your mother dresses you funny."

19 days.


I am a little birdie, tweet, tweet, tweet

True story, I swear. My "office" is in our sunroom. Lots of windows. Lots of light. Some bookshelves, some files. Its also got seating to just "hang out" in and a train table plus more toys than any child really needs to have. Birds, lord knows why because the windows aren't *that* clean, have this thing about bashing their feathery heads into the sunroom windows. Its nothing new. I should be used to the banging sounds as I work by now.

But yesterday the bang wasn't on the window. It came on my door. At first I thought it was my stupid dog (yeah, she's on my list too). This is the way Tasha tells you its time to let her in. She does not bark. She does not whine. No. She body slams the backdoor. And she will continue to do so at various intervals until you open it. I got up, sighing because she has this knack of wanting in or out the moment I get comfy. It was not, however, my dog. It was nothing as far as I can tell.

I settle back in and moments later I hear it again. Several times in a row. A dull thud. I get up and yank the door open, now aggravated and ready to blame the dog or my goofy neighbor. It was neither of them. At first I see nothing. I glanced around - right, left, high, low. And I see it. A small female gold finch standing near the door under a folded up camp chair. It appears to be staring at me in the partially open door. I can't tell if its stunned or dead but either way I'm not ready to deal with it. I quickly close the door out of some fear the thing is about to rise up and dive bomb my head.

I checked back a bit later and the bird was exactly where it had been. Same spot. Not moved. I think its dead. I check back about an hour later. It has moved. Its now facing away from my door under yet another chair on the opposite side of the small concrete square just outside our door - not even big enough to call a small patio. I figure its still dead and just got blown around in wind or something wild like that. Either that, or it was stunned from all its hang banging before and has since started to come out of it. By the time I'm ready to leave for my doctor's appointment - a good two hours from the time it first crashed into my door - the bird is gone. My dog, by the way, in case you're worried, was inside the house the entire time. So I know the bird did not become dinner.

Then I got all sorts of "deep." That bird, you see, is like me and that damn job. Banging my head on a door repeatedly because its there. Thing is, a year ago I was ready to find new work. I was looking for new work. I was sending out resumes to places that had part-time listings when it seemed something I really would be happy doing. (Which meant I didn't send that many out because I felt I could afford to be picky.) Then the positive HPT came around and that whole search went on hold. I didn't feel right about taking a new job knowing I'd be on extended leave.

My plan has always been to take some of my leave - the end of it - and start looking seriously for new work. In my wild fantasies I find a new job with a human being for a boss and I get to call the current guy at last minute to give my notice. I want nothing more than to find my next career home. Its just not ever an easy move to make, is it. To leave what is known for what is unknown - no matter how crappy the known is. And more than that, its not fun to be fired. To be let go.

It reminds me of my high school boyfriend. I had plans on how to break up with him just before starting my final year. I had no desire to spend that year tied down to this person in terms of my social life. I even had gotten brazen enough to flirt madly with this guy at a week-long journalism workshop held at a local college. Daring this guy in my head only to go ahead and kiss me or something even though I had this boyfriend back at home. I had figured out what I'd say. When I'd say it. How I'd pat his back and say "Its ok. Its not you. Its just this. This doesn't work." Thing is I never got to do it because he got to it first. Over the phone, late one night at the end of an hour long phone call about nothingness. It just fell from the sky like that gross block of airplane toilet ice - if you know what I mean. It devastated me at the time, which is funny when you realize that its what I wanted. Its just that *he* got to dump me. *He* got to reject me. And THAT is the part that hurt. That's what sucked. I wanted to be the one in control of that situation. I wanted to be the one that sat there calmly as he looked confused. I wanted to push the buttons.

This job is no different. I *want* a new option, but I want to find it on *my* terms. Its the part of loosing control of the when and not having the "what's next" ready that freaks me out. Or at least it was. I'm better about it today. That bird, maybe she didn't knock much more into herself than a nice break under my camp chair, but she knocked some reality back into me.


Return to normal

Our house has returned to normal. Dad's back. Boy is happy about it. And Mom can stop worrying that she'll go into premature labor with a spouse on the other side of the world. In fact things felt so normal yesterday that I got ambitious and today I pay for it with a stiff, sore back. Stupid me.

It wasn't like I was carting bushels of produce up and down the hill that is our front yard. I wasn't lugging lumber or heck, even carrying Little Man. No, I decided to locate whatever red tomatoes still existed in my garden that weren't split open with over watering (not me, the rain) or bug attacked. I decided to take the new additions and the ones I've had in a basket next to my stove and turn them into one more giant vat of sauce. See, I've already canned 23 quarts of the stuff. . . what's one giant pot more?

For those reading that have never made tomato sauce from homegrown tomatoes, you have to peel those suckers first. Yes. Peel them. SO you blanch them and then you peel. Then stick them in God's gift to cooks (aka the food processor. I used to swear I'd never move out of my parents house until I had my own.) and puree 'em all. Commense with sauce making. I've got a good 20 cups worth of tomato sauce now in my fridge. I'm not canning another jar since that'd require me to buy more jars since the one remaining jar I have isn't nearly worth the effort of boiling the water in the canning pot.

Nope. Instead I'm going to be even MORE ambitious - except not today. Today I'm going to whine about my stiff, sore back and give up this notion that I can function like a normal person. Tomorrow I will be ambitious again and I will make two big pans of food up with my currently tupperware contained sauce. I will make lasagna in one disposal pan with cute little lid and a pan of stuffed shells. Then I will freeze them so that when baby is here finally here and we're in the reality that Mommy only has so many hands and hours in a day - we can still eat like normal human beings. Whew!

But like I said, not today. Today I am content to sit on my butt and whimper.


blogger ate my homework

I had this nice update all typed out yesterday. I even spellchecked and read it for obvious gross grammatical mistakes. Then I hit "Publish Post" and it disappeared into oblivion. In the past when I get the adorable error screen about not finding the web page my post is still magically saved somewhere on blogger even though you can't read it. Not this time - this time my words are in a black hole somwhere.

Ahhh, but oh well. To be honest its probably for the best as I wasn't all too keen on that old post anyway. Gives me a blank slate without having to delete the last one personally.

The news - I'm not offically out sort of out of work on leave - kind of. Sort of. I'm self-employed, more or less. I have one client, my former employer who I never actually fully returned to after my last maternity leave. I work in their office two days a week and then complete other tasks as needed from home. The job itself is good - the boss is, well anyway. I go into my 36 week check-up and all is well. I bring up work planning on asking how long I should do the 40 or more minute commute each way twice a week and all that glorious stuff that goes with my office environment. Long story short, I shouldn't do it past this past Tuesday. I got the OB to ok me working from home, but no more into the office for me. Whopee!!! I have to call on Monday to set up a time to speak with immediate supervisor about projects I should be doing now. At least working from home means less time interacting with the big boss - the...ahh, well never mind.

There is so much more twirling through my head right now, but I'm getting tired. Perhaps I'll write more later - I'll be up late waiting for B's plane to land and the limo to bring him home anyway. I'll need a good time waster and as far as I can tell I don't even have Law and Order reruns tonight. Drat!


Fear of the quasi-known

Today I am offically 36 weeks. At least according to some calenders. (I've yet to figure out how I can plug the very same due date into different 'pregnancy calenders' and get different days marking a new week out of 40. Go figure.) Yes, I'm now standing here within a week-ish of being considered full term. I'm within two weeks of when the doctor's would induce me should my blood pressure perform a command performance of rising late term like last time. I am four weeks from my due date and 6 weeks - which seems like YEARS - from when I'd be in for an 'overdue induction.' And with those timelines, I realize that I'm getting scared.

Not so scared that I'd not be thrilled to find myself in active labor, say the end of next week. No, not that scared. But scared in that I still wonder how I'll know "its time." Sure, its my second child. Yes I was induced and delivered vaginally and so yes I had contractions and I'm sure push come to shove (bad pun actually not intended) I'd figure out I was having one should I have to. The thing is, I didn't have to figure it out last time and so I worry about whether or not I'll know in time. I always hear how my mother had just some minor back pains one morning in May of 1973. My Dad felt it best he stay home from work that day, despite the fact that my mother thought him nuts for it. He also thought it good that they go see the doctor. Said doctor thought it even better, upon examination, that they rush to the hosptial and prepare to deliver the baby. I, being stubbornly breech, was born via C-section and so the contractions Mom felt never really reached that "Oh My God, Someone is tearing out my insides!!" stage. I worry that her experience is an indication of what I can expect left on my own. Will I know?

When they started the Cervidil suppository last time I had contractions start within the hour. I remember thinking at the time that it wasn't a whole lot worse than menstrual cramps and in fact that I had a few times in my past where the cramps were actually worse than what I felt at that moment. Even when they started the Pictocin. I kept thinking "This is it? This is the bad part?" At first anyway. And so I worry - will it be that way on my own. Will it be so "huh, that all?" that I don't react and respond.

Of course, then my water broke and the other part responsible for my fear kicks in. Holy cow did that hurt like hell. I can't even count how many times I heard it prior to even trying to get pregnant and then througout pregnancy - "Oh, yeah, labor hurts, but you forget all about it when the baby comes. I mean you remember it hurt, but you can't remember how much exacty." Well I have one thing to say to that - B. S. This load of crap experienced moms feed you about 'forgetting' is just something that comes falling out of mouths as a way to preserve the species. At least it seems that way to me.

It hurt. It hurt a whole lot. I can't even begin to pick words that would describe it. The moment the doctor broke my water I felt such incredible rolling waves of pain I couldn't even suck air in without feeling as if I was being torn to pieces. He asked me if I was ready for the nice man with the drugs to come for a visit and I couldn't even verbalize the thought struggling to form in my brain between blinding cuts that started in my abdomen and radiated outward. Instead of saying "OMG you fool. SEND THAT MAN NOW!" I simply nodded. I wanted to yell "Why didn't you just bring him here when you showed up with that crochet hook of evil?!" But instead I just noisly sucked air in doubled over in overwhelming pain. That part scares the living daylights out of me too. I know its going to hurt like hell at some point and it scares me to think of it.

And then there's the epidural impact. With L I went from having high blood pressure necessitating induction to low pressure necessitating an oxygen mask. I had a nurse freak me out about why the mask - oh, just your and the baby's heart rate slow down a bit more than we'd like to see with contractions. Oh, gee is that all. I was scared then. I begged for the doctor to come and just end it. To just wheel me into surgery and take that baby out before it was too late. And he was wonderful. He was reassuring. He told me we really weren't as dire as bad-bedside made it sound. So we waited for 10 cms. I fear that fear though as well. I worry about finding myself in that spot. Of feeling so out of control of a situtation - of believing your child is in danger and wanting so desperately to save him. Of course, should the aforementioned pain make a 2nd appearance I will not hesitate nodding my desire for the nice man with the drugs.

Finally there was the pushing. I was so exhausted, and frankly famished, after 30+ hours of induction drugs and contractions with no food and no real sleep that I struggled to push effectively. The moment I hit the appropriate number of centimeters the epidural was turned off. By 10 centimeters it had started to wear off considerably. I could feel everything I needed to feel. I had the urge to push. I could feel my body leading me to do so. It simply hurt too badly to ignore it. The only thing that made the pain stop was to work with it. So I did. I worked with it for two hours. And at the end of it, as I winced and cried through an incredible overwhelming pressure mounting between my legs as the baby's head sat just at the edge without emerging, the doctor made his cut. I fear that weariness taking hold again.

And the recovery. You know, there is something to be said for those nice little inflated donuts they give you at the hospital. The episotmy had so many stitches the doctor asked me to come in 2 weeks post-partum to check on me instead of waiting the six. I never asked how many it took because frankly it was better not to know. What I do know is those suckers hurt like hell for weeks on end. I remember crying when I peed because it stung so badly. I remember gingerly sitting and rising as to not irritate the site. I fear that.

When I look back I realize that my fear the first time was of the unknown and as such, honestly, not quite as bad as it is this time. The first time I always had that thought - the "It can't be *that* bad." This time I have my truth and I know the path that may await. I also know that as each pregnancy is different, each delivery is different; I hold onto a hope that maybe this one will be gentler and kinder.

Obviously there is nothing to do now but wait and go through it to the other side. I can't quit. I can't toss in the cards and walk away. . . and I wouldn't want to. The truth is that crap about "forgetting the pain" isn't totally crap, just misworded. You don't forget that it hurt, you just look at your child in your arms and you don't care that it did.

Yes, I fear what I know may await me. I worry about what I didn't get to experience last time and I worry about what did. Yet more than that, I'm anxious to get it started. Its not just that I'm big, sore and miserable so I want to 'get it over with.' Its much more than that. I've planned. I've nested. I've prepared. I've shopped. And now I'm ready. Now I want to meet my child. I want to see the doctor holding her yet-to-be-cleaned body in his hands as she takes her first breath. I want to hold her wrapped in cloth and not be able to do anything more than inhale sharply in awe of this tiny person that just made her grand enterance. I want to see the color her hair seems to be when its still wet with amniotic fluid. I want to hear her first cries and see her gaze at me when I finally manage to utter a word - realizing that she really does indeed recognize my voice after hearing it all these months from 'inside.' I want to meet my child. I want to be able to tell her that I love her and show her by holding her close to me and kissing her soft skin.

I'm ready. . .I'm just impatiently waiting until she is too.


Tug at those heartstrings

When I first met my husband the biggest "business trip" he took was from his basement level office to the basement level cafeteria. About 3.5 years ago he took a new job with a great company, pregnant with opportunity. Among the various things awaiting him came international oversight. Yup. No longer was the extent of his responsibility a single office location in Jersey. Now he'd have multiple offices in the U.S. to oversee, as well as Britain. His first business trip with this new company was to be the very weekend following September 11th. Obviously with airports closed and the country spinning in turmoil the trip was delayed. He instead went a week or so later - flying out of Newark he could still see the World Trade Center ruins smoldering on the ground.

Since then he's returned to the London office twice. Once when our son was about two months old and then again this Spring. The latest trip included an add-on visit to one of his newest areas of responsibility - France. Yup, he got to go to Paris and spend a weekend being a tourist. Why, I ask you, could he not have these trips at a time in our lives when I could have tagged along? Ahh, but once again I digress.

Shortly after returning from the his grand European tour, he picked up three more tasks. The first was to oversee the negotiation of new rental property in DC. He's spent two days down there so far working on this task - just day trips though so we've not noticed the fact that he was out of state. The 2nd was a similar task for Chicago. Another day trip but one so late in his return it seemed as if he was gone a day. The third was taking over the purchasing oversight for AsiaPac. Now that means a trip to Sydney, Australia - which is where he is right now.

This marks the fourth "away from us for a night" trip this year for B. Three business and one to visit his ailing mother. Little guy has always done well in the past, but this time seems a bit different. He's not by any means difficult or acting out because of it. But its clear he misses Daddy. In fact, its so clear to me that he does because he tells me often.

B left on Thursday afternoon for his trip. The three mornings since, the little man has woken up and called out for Dad before Mom. In our house, this is rare. It happens once in a while, but typically we've got a Mama's boy on our hands and the first words out of his mouth each day are predictably "Moooommmmyyy! Come get me!" (This despite the fact that he knows darn well how to get out of his "big boy bed" without needing help.) Yet the last three its been a call for Daddy and so before I go in (which would get my head bit off being the wrong person and all that.) I call back "Honey, Daddy is away, remember."

And each morning he says quietly "I miss Daddy."

Well Daddy had a rather 'plan ruining' run in with weather Thursday night. A line of storms in PA kept the plane from taking off on time and therefore he missed a connecting flight. He had to spend Thursday night in Los Angeles...and all day Friday since the next flight out to Australia wasn't until 11 pm PST. We got a call on Friday from B and as soon as the little man figured out who was on the phone he ran and procured himself a telephone - yes he did.

"Daddy!" he yelled. "Daddy! Daddy! You in Australia now?"

Daddy said "No, honey, not yet."

Boy said "Daddy in airport? Limousine take you airport. You there?" And so Daddy explained "sort of" to L. "I miss Daddy." L said softly. "I love you." And Daddy got sad.

Then, as if the "I miss Daddy" declarations weren't enough to hear a few times each day, Little man pokes at my over-hormonal heart this morning with the type of pure belief in anything only a two-year-old can muster.

See, he has a globe - a Leap Frog globe that is actually geared towards ages 8 and up. It was a gift last year at Christmas from his grandparents and he adores it. He pokes at the colorful countries with the little stylus and he listens intently as the recorded man's voice tells him which country he's selected. He's gotten quite good it actually. He can consistantly locate where he lives and about five or six other places. Each time Daddy travels now we take some time before and during the trip to show Little man where we are on the globe and then where Daddy is going/is working. This time was no different - mostly.

This time we added a few features. Being two, Little man is a Wiggles fan. Sure, not all tots are, but it seems more often than not that group of four is addictive. Not only that, but L enjoys watching the Koala Brothers on the Disney Channel once and while. SO this time we showed him Australia on the globe and then we told him that its were Wiggle Bay is AND where Frank and Buster (the koalas) live. Little guy couldn't believe how lucky Daddy was to go to Wiggle Bay. I mean really, its like heaven isn't it?!

But back to this morning - I come down from getting dressed to go to church and I find my little guy laying on his back in the middle of our living room transfixed by the TV. Its rare that he pays this much attention to anything outside of a Thomas and Friends tape/DVD, but here he was focused hard on those Wiggles. He saw me come in from the corner of his eye and without blinking or budging he said "Daddy be on Wiggles."

Me - Well Daddy is in Australia now where the Wiggles are, yes.

L - No. I watch Wiggles to see Daddy. Greg Wiggle put Daddy on TV for me. Daddy sing "Head, Shoulder, Knee, Toes."

I nearly cried. I mean I knew this child missed his father, but I hadn't really understood HOW much he missed Daddy. He's always enjoyed his Dad time, but this was new. This complete 'loss' without Dad wasn't something I'd seen before. Last trip of substantial length he started asking for Daddy the day before he was due to come home. I don't know if its just a new change in their relationship or that we've had a lot of travel this year (or so it seems) and L is just starting to feel it pile up. Either way, its heartbreaking really.


The Miracle of Motherhood

There's a lot of chatter tonight in World of Blogs about the desire to experience a full-term pregnancy resulting in a live birth vs the inability to do so. Both the always poignant Getupgrrl and the Leery Polyp have written moving posts from the heart. Both women are coping with a sense of loss, both mourning a dream, a desire they'll never fulfill. And both have me pondering tonight.

A few things strike me actually. One is this 'meaning well' syndrome that some folks seem destined to inflict on others isn't just limited to the world of fertility or the lack thereof. No, not at all. Its all around us actually. Just today, for example, I read an email directed to a woman that was facing the potential loss of her great-grandmother. The reply was heartfelt, I'd assume, and said simply "Well at least she'd have lived to a good old age." Yeah, but that doesn't make the hurt hurt any less. People say dumb things all the time. In the end, I really think that's a matter of needing to say something so badly that we'll say anything without really thinking it through.

The other thing I keep coming back to -- where is the miracle really when it comes to offspring? The thing is bringing a child to the world and raising the child is a series of miracles. Its not one thing. Its not one continuous big fat miracle. No, its not that simple.

It was a miracle to conceive both my children. Had we had success with fertility treatments, it'd have been one kind of miracle. Had we had L easily, the first time we tried or the first *year* we tried, his creation would have been a miracle just the same. Struggling as we did, giving in and then finding ourselves awaiting his arrival is its own miraculous event. None of these three scenarios is truly more wondrous than the other, quite frankly. Each one is spectacular and should be celebrated.

Being pregnant - no matter how bad it sucks sometimes - is yet another miracle. I think I've said it before, but if not I'll say it again - I'm not one that relishes feeling my child move inside me. Yeah, before being pregnant I couldn't wait. I longed for those kicks & pokes. I mourned the idea that I'd never know what it felt like to feel a baby wiggle as it grew to term. Having been there, done that, though, I have to be honest. I find it a bit creepy. I find it disconcerting. I really don't enjoy not being able to find a truly comfortable way to sit or lay because the ones that I personally like, seem to piss off my daughter to no end. I honestly get a bit freaked out to feel her elbow or knee roll by my hand or arm if I'm resting either on my bulging belly. Its just weird. . . and yet its a miracle that I'm glad I've had the chance to be freaked out by. It makes me sad to think that someone that wants to know that same sensation so badly can't. Women like Grrl and Jo may never know if they're really a Mom that finds every poke and jab adorable or one that realizes it gives her the willies. To me that not knowing is so incredibly sad.

Pregnancy hopefully (because too many women suffer unbelievable pain & loss to say it's a given) ends in a live birth. For me, its honestly never mattered how my child came into the world at the end of 40 weeks (give or take a few) just that he/she did. To others, pushing that child out is important and when the ability to do is taken from them for one reason or another its another loss to mourn. Although I don't identify with this regret, I don't diminish it either. I sometimes read the lamentations and think that in weeping for their lost birth plan some woman (not all) have a romanticized view of vaginal delivery. Its that sense of the 'real' or "natural" or even "perfect" that will invoke a response out of me, because I don't actually think there is such a thing. . . and even so, I try to remember that the ability to feel your child slip from you IS a gift. It is a miracle and to not have that on your list of life experiences is sad in its own way.

Yet child rearing in and of itself is its own miracle. . . its own *set* of miracles really. Each day that dawns brings a new set of wondrous moments. Each little smile and even every tear is a gift that every parent has been given - and it makes no difference who's genes that child supports or how they came to be. Its that very understanding, that simple truth, I wish I could share with those that ache so badly sometimes. Those that mourn their losses of the other miraculous stages of entering parenthood have their right to weep. They should release their anger and their loss. But I so wish I could hug them tight as their shoulders shake and then celebrate as they see that having a child anyway they can - through their own bodies, through a surrogate, through adoption - is really and truly the most wonderful gift of all.

I hear a lot lately about the terrible twos because we've recently entered into that time with our son. And so very many people are wonderfully supportive enough to point out that "three" is just worse. ;) The thing about it, though, is that as a mother, raising a child can at times be the most challenging, aggravating, maddening experience I'll ever face. There are moments when I stare at my child in the midst of a fit over something that is to me ridiculously inconsequential and I think "What the hell? Whoever thought *I* could handle this type of stress needs to stop laughing now and give me either more patience or really good drugs." Yet EVEN with those moments, being somebody's Mother is simply the most amazing, indescribable thing there is.

At the end of the day, when my son is past whatever fits he had tossed and he's beyond the giggles we shared, when he's laying angelically asleep, I can watch him and feel a peace I never knew existed. When its all over I can reflect and realize that even our most frustrating struggles are miracles because every little tantrum and demand is just a manifestation of this child's growth. The fact that this little blob can enter the world with nothing of interest outside of eating, sleeping and expelling waste and then move into a human being with actual wants, desires and needs is mind blowing. The notion that the person that could only once cry because he needed 'something' can now define exactly what it is he wants and how badly he wants it is truly amazing to me. And even more so, the fact that I, little ole average me, has had a hand in helping this small boy realize he had these abilities is just more impressive than anything I've ever accomplished. The fact that I've been given the opportunity to help mold the future, to help grow a person who will touch so many lives as he moves ahead with his own, is just more than I ever dreamed possible. It, in and of itself, is the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. Its a gift I wish could find everyone that is seeking it. *It*, Motherhood itself, is the true miracle.


But wait, there's more to the story.

Today the governor of my state dropped two bombshells.

1. He's gay.

2. He's resigning.

Reaction from the uninformed is exactly what you'd expect - what kind of state is New Jersey where a gay man must resign his office. Isn't that just horrid. To those outside the borders of our small but crowded home, the reaction is expected -- especially when national news organizations cover the recently concluded press conference with highlights of just the announcement itself giving a mere flip of the hand "oh yeah and also . . ." to the rest of the story.

What is scary is that there exist a block of New Jerseyans who take this conference at face value as well. Who shake their heads and look down on their neighbors for being so very close minded as to force this poor man out of office for his sexual orientation.

In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that I am far from a fan of Governor McGreevey's. I didn't vote for him. I wouldn't even consider voting for him when he ran for re-election next November. Its got nothing to do with his party affiliation or his preference for men. My issue with him has always been his record. I could go on for virtual page after page on his tenure as Mayor of Woodbridge, but I won't. Suffice it to say that those in this state shocked that the man wanted to raise taxes almost immediately after removing his hand from the Bible during his swearing in obviously ignored his track record.

In truth today's first bombshell means nothing to me. I hardly think a person's sexual orientation impacts his/her ability to carry out their job responsibilities. When coupled with that, I find his 2nd bombshell incredibly irritating. His resignation with this as his excuse is a disservice to the residents of NJ, as well as homosexuals across the nation. Why this harsh stand - because there's more to the story than just this. . .

Rumors have been swirling all day that a former member of staff is about to file charges of sexual harassment against McGreevey - now the assumption is that this former affliate is the man he's had his admitted affair with. Some will write this off as easily as they did Jones vs Clinton - but the idea of my leader being served with a harassment suit is always mildly unsettling to me.

Still though, there's more. Scandal surrounds Jim McGreevey. Aids and advisors. Fund raisers. People throughout the executive branch of state government are dropping like flies amid charges of fraud or bribe taking. The man himself has been under investigation for both. This is the same man who has had to pay back the taxpayer coffers after being discovered taking the Governor's jet to Ireland for vacation on our dime. Its the same man who's popularity nose dives with each scandalous hit falling throughout the executive branch. To many in our state that actually watch and read the news, his career has been a ticking time bomb waiting to implode.

And so the resignation comes a top a hill of disgrace. It comes at what could likely be come known to be the 'tip of the iceberg.' Or not. We may never know now. The disservice is that he finds a reason to walk out that garners sympathetic head shakes and tsks of the tongue at those that bid him "farewell" with more of a "good riddance" type approach. And in doing so it becomes easy to pull the blinds down over the rest - the mess, the dirt. It shoves a skeleton in the closet - making it easy to ignore the blemish.

Do I think he'd have HAD to resign if this was the only mountain he faced? No. Hardly. I think this was just his last straw. . .


To make me feel better or worse

A friend of mine sent me a link to this little pregnancy counter. She's newly pregnant and not yet weighed down by seeing "243 days left" as I am about seeing the days that still lay before me. ha!

But hey, maybe, sometimes, seeing it tick slowly below a month, then three weeks, two weeks, and so on to the due date I'll feel more "relieved." Then again, if it gets past-due I may have to throw things at my monitor.

Here's the little trinket she sent:
Lilypie Baby Days



Since my last post there have been two notable offenders to the 'rules' as outlined -

1. My father's cousin is the first. Upon asking me when the due date was (Sept 15th if you're not watching the calendar as closely as I am.) announced "Oh, wow, you've still got a long way to go."

I did not withhold my glare, although my mother spoke up before I could say "Bite me bitch." :) Good old Mom just smiled nicely and said to cousin "Oh, its not that long really. I mean really, in the grand scheme of things she's in the home stretch."

2. My very own, innocent, loving 2 year old broke a rule. Yes he did...and I forgave him only because he is my own child and he's 2. I think the two part did more to save him than anything else, quite frankly. I fought to remember that at this age he has no concept of body image and proper etiquette.

So yes, my child idled up to me, patted my stomach that conveniently hides my toes from my sight, and said "Wow. Mommy got big belly!"

Nice, eh?

At least he followed it up by patting his own stomach and saying "My sister in Mommy belly. I got baby in my belly too." Its hard to shoot eye daggers at someone that can be that cute and naive. Of course we've also told him that the Mommy and Daddy will some day soon (but not soon enough) go to the hosptial to get baby. So now, according to my truck loving tot, the crane currently building a new wing to said hosptial is in fact building my 2nd born.


Oh Shut Up!

I've come to believe that there are certain things a pregnant woman should be able to beat the tar out of another person for without penalty. What are folks thinking when they open their mouth and fail to insert their foot in time. The closer I get to full-term and the more unwieldy my body becomes, the less patience I have for these fools. I'm looking for a license to kick butt, is what it really comes down to - if I could actually get my leg high enough off the ground to do so that is. So what are these gross offenses you ask?

1. Any statement containing the words "HUGE" and referring to the pregnant woman. I mean really, does anyone appreciate another staring at them, mouth gaping open, and the words "Oh. My. God. You got HUGE!" spilling from their lips? After complaining about this to some, I've actually been told "Well, but its different, you're pregnant, you're supposed to be gigantic. You have an excuse." Yeah, well, you scarf down a ton of junk food, you have an excuse for your huge ass too, that doesn't mean I need to point it out to you.

Ok, the pregnant body is a beautiful thing. Blah blah blah. Its a wonderful miracle. My bulbous belly is a sign of life growing in all its splendor. I get that. Yet I didn't start this pregnant journey as a size 6. My size isn't totally baby, its got a lot of ice cream and other garbage glued to my hips and girth. I don't like being "huge." I don't appreciate having trouble navigating tight aisles in a department store or squeezing my way past the door of a poorly designed public restroom stall. And I really don't need to be reminded of it with startled, wide-eyed utterances.

Variations on this theme include using the words: gigantic, house-like, enormous, behemothic, big mother, Brobdingnagian, bulky, colossal, cyclopean, elephantine, gargantuan, humongous, jumbo, leviathan, mammoth, massive, mungo, planetary, prodigious, super-colossal, titanic, tremendous, vast, walloping, whopping

2. Any statement that sounds like "Oh, you must just love this heat and humidty" snicker, snicker
Ok, call me naive, but frankly, I think any day where its hot and humid enough to produce a heat index of 98 degrees just sucks whether you're pregnant or not. I mean really, does anyone out there actually enjoy 88% humidity? Does anyone really get excited to feel their clothes sticking to their backs when they merely walk out to get their mail. No. I seriously doubt it. Hot, humid, summer days where the air feels heavy just suck. It sucked last summer when I wasn't pregnant and it sucks now that I am. My "huge" baby-carrying induced girth does not make it much worse than it already is.

3. Encouraging words such as "Man, you've still got a long way to go!"
Personally I hear this a lot less now that I'm in single digit count down of weeks until D-day (aka due date). I do, however, think that pregnant women everywhere hear this idiotic statement all to often. "Oh, when are you due?" [insert response here.] "Oh, wow, you've got a long way to go, huh." Yeah, that's just what I want to hear. My back hurts, my legs hurt and I have three months (or whatever the duration) left to go. Thanks for pointing that out.

Variances to this theme include:
- "Haven't you had that baby yet?" (Appropriate responses to this include, "Does it look like it?" and "Baby? Oh, I had that weeks ago. Now I'm just fat."
- "Really? That long? You look like you're about ready to pop that kid out any day now." (which is also a variance of beatable offense #1)
- "Oh, wow, you're nearly at the end. That's going to go so fast." (Yes, I know a bit contradictory of me, but honestly, let's use now for example. Six weeks in normal time may not be a whole lot, but when you're 'huge' and feel like every joint hurts from the added duty of carrying another person 24/7 six weeks is a long time. When you can't sleep at night because you can't find way to lay that doesn't put make something hurt - six weeks is an eternity.)

4. The act of reaching out and touching someone.
There are pregnant women that don't mind being a touchstone for everyone and their brother, but personally, I think people need to keep their grubby fingers off my stomach. What is it about the pregnant belly that shouts "Reach out and grope me?"

Here's what gets me. Were I not with child, folks wouldn't even consider walking up to me and placing their hand on my body uninvited. Hell, if I were to do so to them, they'd stare at me in horror. Yet the mere fact that I get kicked from the inside out and have lost visual contact with my feet, seems to be a blanket statement of approval to anyone that gets within 2 feet of me.

The ones that really goad me are those that touch first ask later. Their hand firmly attached to my belly, they look up and say "Oh, is this ok? Can I touch you?" I've been very good about ignoring the urge to respond "Only if I can pinch your ass."