January 30, 2011

blinking out the window

feeling a bit overwhelmed. not as a whole; the imminent birth, on a conscious level anyway, feels good. i'm practicing my breathing exercises and reading about breast-feeding. we have supplies, a list of people to call who will light a candle, and a cozy room to birth in. the midwives visit our home now for their weekly visits. the feeling of being overwhelmed is more of an extension into other areas in my life. i cry more easily. emotions are full. i am content with smaller plans for the day; larger plans lead to depression. knowing all i ask of myself is to finish a letter, make banana bread and sweep the kitchen floor is reassuring. i think i equate busy days with feeling out of control and not ready.

i've struggled with the phenomenon of things taking on a weird importance "because i'm pregnant". something the queen says becomes oddly illuminated by the fact that we'll be co-parenting for years to come. every day i sleep in i wonder if it will be the last day i sleep in for years. my body is very much in the moment, but my mind is reeling with the change to come.

the breech position really helped me to bond with my baby, which has been nice; i pay more attention to the little dolphin, talk to it more often, appreciate the movements as signs of life. the size has remained small (i haven't really popped) and while the midwives feel like i'm probably just having a small baby, we're going to get one more ultrasound to confirm it's getting what it needs from me. i'm falling off the little chart of optimum growth, apparently. given the amount i'm eating and the vitamins i'm taking, i think we're alright on this front. but since it's our first, best to be on the safe side.

with january almost over, i want to cheer myself on having survived a chunk of winter (it's very snowy outside and minus twenty-four right now). but i don't feel like i am surviving at all. i don't mean that in a dire way. i mean i don't have a job, so i don't have to leave the house unless i want to. also, endless grey days of freezing nose hairs really pales in severity to breathing another living being into the world. add to that the queen having a vehicle and you really end up with me in a whole different scene than last winter, when i was house-sitting, taking public transit to a full-time job and getting my groceries in amounts i could carry home. i'm not even supposed to shovel the walk, lest i pop the waters before the little dolphin is ready to swim out (yes i KNOW it's a cheesy nickname and I LIKE IT).

when i'm not crying or getting a fist in the tendon, i'm feelin' alright. but yeah, a bit overwhelmed. it's getting closer, i can tell.

and we'll finish with a couple of good quotes.

the queen: between america and christmas, my stomach has definitely gotten larger.

my friend, mother of two: in the last week, you get really antsy. basically, your body has to convince itself that the best thing in the world to do is to give birth.

the wife's facebook status: down to 2 houses where stuff might be! (she has moved in with her brother, who lives next door to the gnome home, for a month, but i'm still not sure which two houses she's talking about here.)

thank you for tuning in.

January 23, 2011

over the top

we just did way too much for a weekend in the big city.

- outdoor costumed hippie handfasting: check. skipped dinner, came to reception. belly was felt. discovered someone else is pregnant. bride was hot, groom looked dazed.
- visited wife and surveyed damages to leaky gnome home. walls are soft. living room ceiling is bowed. rain in the dining room. wife is clinging quite well to sanity, i'm impressed. she has moved down the street (and in with the good witch, whom i cat-sat for back here. it is a short-term move, and she is searching for a home to call her own.
- visited another single mom friend of ours; a wonderful, sardonic, very intelligent and quite sexy woman with two kids under seven. she brought us to an industrial show downtown, which was an incredible experience for a short while and then i had to go. we slept at her place, she came home a little later. i found it amusing to crowd-watch. who is there enjoying themselves, who is depressed and wanting attention, and who is there because they just can't be anywhere else; they were pretty much born into the industrial scene...
- went for breakfast with this friend and her two kids at my favourite diner, where after the first cup of coffee, you go for the pot to refill (and dose up the other folks who look like they need a refill, since you're up). it was a lovely gong show.
- picked up books and food at various places that are now labeled "only in the big city". mmm, italian centre. ran into two more friends, watched an almost-fist-fight break out in chinatown, discovered another friend is pregnant (don't drink the water).
- visited field in bloom, checked out his new painting, used his shower, napped in his bed, drank his cider. his home is called the shore, and it was definitely that for us.
- went for dinner at the home of friends of the queen's: they cooked up an amazing array of food; i stuffed myself happily and didn't even get heartburn. these are the moments to be cherished. mmm, asparagus.
- went to a downtempo show, watched live music and swayed gently to house, electronica and other sweet rhythms. stayed until one in the morning, which made me feel all young and crazy. we stayed with the queen's friends, and he even stayed up later, but i crashed out pretty quickly after we got back. only so much young and crazy i can do now that getting out of bed is a four-step process.
- had coffee with my mom, and accepted her many, many gifts. wow. handmade receiving blankets and baby washcloths, gorgeously sewn blankets made by my mom's husband (the queen looked so impressed i think he might actually fight with the cat over who gets a couple of the really soft ones). also, a lovely giftie from my sis - baby toiletries. genius.
- visited the queen's brother's family. by this time we were pretty wiped out. i think we trailed off in conversation. got more baby stuff, including the tiniest pair of hand-knit slippers in the world.
- drove home through horrible highway conditions (you know it's bad when you see a semi-truck in the ditch) to discover a plaintive, living cat. yay, just as we left her.

god i missed our home. and our bed. this is way too much to do over a weekend. i am going to sleep all week now. sleep and eat. yes.

ps. the baby likes downtempo more than industrial, and electronic music more than live music.

January 20, 2011

vertex, vertex!

it flipped! well, it was maneuvered into flipping. hey, my first flip was assisted too, kid. do i recommend an ecv? try the moxibustion first - having someone reef on your already stretched stomach muscles is distinctly uncomfortable. ("uhh, we're just going to sling your intestines over your shoulder for a moment here...") but was it worth it? oh yes.

the nurses were really lovely. when one asked me what we were having and i said we didn't know, she said ultrasounds at this stage don't usually show anyway. every now and then you get the third leg. one nurse kidded that it's a boy because it couldn't ask directions on how to get out (cringe). another nurse talked to us about midwifery and warding off the bad faeries after the baby had flipped. the doctor, who had just come from a c-section, was nice and friendly; he sort of reminded me of hawkeye pierce from mash, except without the heavy boozing and flirtations. a nice guy, you know? a doctor because he liked helping people.

i had a crazy dream last night that i think helped me release emotionally. i dreamed that a man came into our house late at night (while i was up drinking a smoothie because i couldn't sleep) with explosives strapped to his chest. i wasn't afraid of the explosives (at all) but i was upset that he was in our house uninvited. he was upset; claimed something like no one would let him go to the pool (something about socializing and being with others). i wrestled him out of the house, telling him he wasn't normal, that's why. and this behaviour of his wasn't normal either. after i locked him out of the house, i could still feel his hand around my ankle.

i woke up still peeling his fingers off my ankle, and realised that eleven years ago today, my dad died.

my dad did not have adult relationships. he was not emotionally healthy enough. his only deep relationship was with me; i had to be an adult for him. his mental health problems forbid him from relating to others. this sucked for both of us. since my parents were divorced, my mom was not involved emotionally with my dad so it was just me.

i journalled last night about it (drinking a smoothie, since i couldn't sleep). i've been thinking a lot about love vs. lip service: does it matter if we say we love someone or believe we love someone if we are incapable of showing it? is this passive "thought that counts" love still love? maybe. but not to me. not anymore. and how does one love a child? especially one who is accustomed to keeping people at arm's length?

attention. i got pacifiers instead. since my dad wasn't capable of giving me his full attention, i got pizza. (it wasn't always so dire, by the way. his mental health got worse as he aged; there are some really great childhood memories of camping and hiking.) but attention is the priceless gift, isn't it? mom was putting herself through law school and then raising two kids as a single mom who worked family law for poor people.

affection. this one i feel shorted on more by mom, who doesn't really like physical touch. we still brace when we hug. dad wasn't too much better, as he came from a family where his dad never even said "i love you". i also just lucked out to be in the generation of crib and playpen children. we're planning to sleep our child in the bed with us (until, as the queen says, s/he becomes a little jerk; then they get their own bed).

asking for what's fair. i was my dad's whole support network, and that was unhealthy. it's been good for me to realise i have my own support network. i have been talking with these people more, sharing how i feel and asking them for help. the only thing i ask my baby to do is be a baby. that's it, that's all.

it was nice to realise, emotionally and not just logically, that it wasn't my responsibility to make sure my dad was feeling okay. it was never my responsibility, and i didn't fail him. this makes me feel more confident about being a parent; working through this, i feel like i do know how to love a child. at least i've got a game plan. also, i feel grateful that my mom wants to be involved. knowing she is around and has experience is really, really nice.

January 18, 2011

treadmill or rollercoaster?

aww, everyone is being supportive. you guys are so sweet! reader support; i never knew it could feel so good. i got this beautiful c-birth story sent to me, which was absolutely perfect, plus it introduced me to the offbeat mama website, which seems pretty lovely.

we have the ecv scheduled for tomorrow. the chiropractor seems pretty hopeful, the midwives encouraging. i'm trying not to be too attached, but it would be nice if i could come home with a baby in vertex position and continue planning my homebirth.

we were at the pool yesterday (somersault, somersault) and there was a little munchkin hiding in the lockers while her mom got dressed. it was like a toddler version of "you can't do that on television":

"oh mommy?"

"yes pumpkin?"

"i is hiding!" *slam!*

this weekend, we are planning to head up to edmonton for a handfasting and a party. we were going to stay with the wife, but she has to move suddenly because her house is leaking everywhere. i haven't seen it, but an entire wall of the attic has ice all over the inside. it is raining in her dining room. so we're scrambling a bit for a place to stay. it's funny, because it's offers at this point (incredibly pregnant, last-minute, winter) that really show you who your friends are. there are people who are saying "oh, of course!" who have absolutely no room, and people who are saying no because, you know, it's inconvenient for them, they had plans... and people i am not even bothering to ask. and the wife, who is packing up against the tide, who had to cancel all her childcare so is basically out of a job as well, is still trying to help us find a place. now that's a sweetie. seriously. if there were a respectable sainting organization on the planet, i would nominate her.

it got me thinking about friends; i spent years in a "community", but sometimes the community is a bunch of selfish assholes. when my friend who is under house arrest for the next two years came to the city for a month, almost no one came to visit her. i mean, this is a woman who is legally prevented from going out, who is being dressed up to look like a terrorist because she has organized non-violent actions against corporate control of natural resources and government inaction, and all the community she spent years helping to grow could do was provide lip service and facebook support.

that got me thinking about family. i don't post about my family a lot, because there isn't much of it left (dad died, mom remarried, sister took off) and it impacted me mostly in ways of fear and isolation growing up (there was always a crisis, which doesn't automatically mean there isn't much family support, but that's what it meant in our home). my mom and i have gotten closer over the years, as she has finally had time to breathe and my hormones have matured, but our closeness is based more on mutual respect than affection or affinity. still, she is supportive. and i feel that as my birthing time grows closer. i feel grateful.

i know the patterns of my family have contributed strongly to how i relate to people now, people i am supposed to be close with. i know there are people i am not closer to and it's not their fault. it's just continually surprising who it is who asks me how i'm doing, how i'm feeling, and who doesn't. who helps when i really need it, and who just helps when it's convenient for them. who actively helps when it's inconvenient for them - wow, these people are awesome.

which one am i?

January 16, 2011

crisply depressed; like deep fat fried emotions

let me start this post off with a musical recommendation for those among us who are feeling depressed, with shout-outs to this sweetheart and this poor sod (who wrote and starred in a cool video but man does he ever seem low). seeing these people depressed reminds me we don't have to be ugly or poor or otherwise destitute to feel depressed. they honestly seem like smart folks, and they're both cute. depression: illness for the successful among us. (it seems to help to live in a developed nation, and perhaps be white.) i wonder if all of us were dropped into circumstances of extreme physical challenge, would our emotional problems resolve themselves in a poof of perspective? likely.

we are who we are. i thought being pregnant was rough, but now i think facing an imminent c-section when i'd planned for a home birth is way, way rougher. no doubt there is a corner i could turn whereupon this reality would feel like a fucking parade.

most of the time, the old "hey, it could be worse" option does not make me feel better. like drinking water upside down to cure the hiccups, it's been used one too many times for it to be effective any more. but every now and then (usually just after things have gotten worse) it feels like the truth it is.

i've been feeling totally wrapped up in my own problems, which aren't major on a scale of zero to "is your baby dead?" but merely disappointing like "oh, your vacation got cancelled. sucks." and reading the poor sod's blog while not terribly enjoyable nonetheless sparked in me the reminder that not everyone is wrapped up in my pregnancy. thank god.

(side fear: what will stop me from becoming domestically disabled? i mean, today i made cake to solve my problem. gingerbread cake. with whipped cream and pineapple. it actually worked - i feel way better. but i fear this blog will turn into "this is what my baby did today" and "great new recipe, guys!" do we really need another blog like that? i really prefer the "read this, listen to this, try this emotional process it worked for me" kind of blog i have maintained up til this point. which i suppose we also don't need more of. anyway.)

where was i? oh yeah, not defined by being pregnant - still human, just with a kicking dolphin brewing escape plans out the emergency hatch of my uterus, instead of the door. human. which, given that it's a windchill of minus thirty outside, would probably involve cake and goulash (well, sort of goulash - some substitutions ended up happening) were i empty-of-womb.

really, the major difference with me now and me not-pregnant is that i would probably have gotten stoned today. which would have made for a fuzzier entry. admire the crispness. and listen to the song; it's all i can share since you aren't coming over for cake. at least i've spared you a tale of how difficult it was to clip my toenails today.

January 14, 2011

both of us can turn

ah, winter. the bottle of something-or-other that i've been looking at out the window to gauge the amount of snow was completely buried this morning.

that's a decent analogy for my emotional state right now. i keep doing these breech exercises and the little dolphin keeps turning, but only from side to side; turning, not flipping. meanwhile, i feel all stretched and awkward. between the weather (which complaining about will net me a barrage of more northern alberta comments; they're colder than us) and the hopefully-not-pointless, every-few-hours exercises, i do not feel like visiting anyone, getting any groceries, or doing any dishes. i am not sure what exactly i feel like. getting drunk maybe, or rolling around in green grass. things that are not an option, though this webcomic reminds me (sort of) that someday i will be able to do these things.

in the meantime, do the things i can, i guess. bake muffins, go to the pool. maybe things i can walk to, because the roads must be terrible today. ah, terrible roads. at least we aren't moving in weather like this. texas across the street is moving (we've named the house texas because of its red white & blue theme, complete with stars. lone stars.) and i feel compassion for them. snowing makes everything except baking and cuddling more difficult. pregnancy makes cuddling more difficult. i finally started to dream that i was pregnant (my belly was getting in the way and i was talking about my midwife to someone). maybe that's some kind of good emotional sign for flipping the dolphin.

i have begun to cozy up the room i want to birth in. hanging woolen blankets and moving birthing supplies and our seven(?!) newborn baby hats into it. making it mine, making it smaller and more inviting. acting as if.

is it bad to drink two cups of coffee today? not every day, apparently, but since i won't be running for a bus today (walking to the pool will have to do) then i am going to just use the same grounds in the espresso machine to brew a second cup. i don't drink it every day. and i don't want the energy, i want the smell. fuck decaf, btw. it does not smell the same. on the bus trip i was getting half-caf latt├ęs and they tasted half as yummy.

okay. so we've deduced that since we can't do what we want to do, we will do what we can. i think this is strength - the kind of strength that makes lions lay down. closely related to fortitude, this is my favourite comment on the post i made on schmacebook regarding the breechy mcbreecherson: "what a kick in the ass! I really hope baby turns for you and you can have the experience you are wanting. Whatever happens though, make sure you own your delivery, even a c section; it is your journey, unlike anyone else's. Sending you baby turning vibes."

right on. my journey. hey, all the exercises are good for me anyway.

January 11, 2011

hydrogen or helium?

okay, i need to actually blog, with emotions and all that.

i feel really sad about the baby being in breech. i want to have a home birth. i want this baby to pass through the canal and join the world having felt a little pressure. i want to know that experience for myself as well. i want this to change my life, not in a surgical way but in an opening way. i want to feel the pressure and the tightness and the release.

i am accustomed to finding the silver lining, finding a way to be okay with whatever happens. i am probably better at adjusting/accepting than at creating what i want. i don't feel very skilled at bringing about the changes required to get what i want in this case. but i want it enough to try, to risk doing all this work at turning the baby and failing anyway. this is hard to own up to. this is another kind of vulnerability that i have worked hard to avoid facing.

i am also tired of being pregnant. and yet still pregnant for four more weeks, give or take. i am getting lost in all the priorities; eat well, drink well, move around enough, not too much or in the wrong way, do the breech exercises, read up on all the choices we have to make (strep b antibiotics? vitamin k drops? blah blah blah?), continue to abstain from all the things i have already been abstaining from for a long time, collect baby supplies (which brand of cloth diapers? how many onesies? where do we get diaper pails?), collect birthing supplies (which we may not need if we are obligated to hospital birth our breechy mcbreecherson), rest, get the house in order both for us and for baby, deal with the stressed out cat who occasionally pees on my floor (she has NEVER done this even though we've moved several times in her life, and of course now is the perfect time to start), remember my relationship with the queen (knead the bread of love), accept visits from his parents and mine, talk about the baby to all my friends, communicate with the baby, relax, practice the breathing-for-birth exercises, read up on the birthing and baby care... i just pick up and put down the priorities, and don't have a clear idea of what is more important than what else. it really seems to depend on my perspective. i'm not sure i have perspective anymore. i guess there is a me in all that, but i don't see her.

and i want to stay upbeat and positive because now is not the time to get all mopey, but i'm tired of staying upbeat: i feel like i'm in some kind of spotlight which i sometimes enjoy because i get more attention and have been inaugerated into this club of pregnancy survivors (it's fun to belong, a rare feeling for me), but also would like to be able to take off the dress and go hide in the cloakroom like i have been able to for my life up til now. there is no off button for pregnancy. and i am REALLY annoyed when people cheerfully tell me that 'this is the easy part, wait til you're a parent!'

oh thanks. that really helps me look forward to it. c'mere, you have something on your face...

January 8, 2011

whoda thunk not having a life would feel so good.

well, even if i wasn't in nesting mode, the blowing snow warning and blizzardy conditions covering two provinces would probably drive me inside anyway.

it's nice to have a home to retreat into. i organized my sewing (not as good as actually sewing anything, but hey - i reintroduced myself), baked more banana bread, and have plans for chili, cornbread and a bath in my fresh clean bathroom later today. maybe while listening to glenn gould play bach, which the queen has on vinyl, which is yet another reason he is the queen.

the queen's parents popped by today and i think i made quite the impression. "your son? no, he went to saskatchewan for the weekend (to visit the awesomes). i was just out shovelling the walk at eight months pregnant. cup of tea?" he's going to get an earful from his mom about leaving me alone. it's funny, because i want to tell her that as much as i have missed him (daily bouts of moroseness around eight pm have brought me to tears two days in a row. pregnancy or dependency? the polls are open), i quite enjoy time to myself and i was also quite enjoying shovelling the walk. i think time apart is vital for any relationship, but especially one that is under more pressure than usual. baby-in-a-crockpot pressure definitely counts.

my parents are coming down tomorrow, roads permitting, and the queen is returning home as well. tonight is my last chance to do loud things at two in the morning when i cannot sleep. there is something so satisfying about rattling around in the kitchen while the town sleeps.

wow, i am so boring. wanna hear about my turning-the-baby exercises? no? how about my pissed off cat? shocking. you people are clearly far too busy. sit down and listen to me pour on about things that only matter to me, and only for the next month. come on. this is what life is all about.

January 5, 2011

some things are upside down.

two chunks of news.

one is homeish: settling in nicely, starting to make large batches of food and freezing it. so far, a good spicy turkey soup (which we ate so much of because of the cold we both had that only one tupperware made it into the freezer) and a nice pasta sauce. plans are at work for a salsa and a chili. the queen cut up some steaks and froze them as well. we're planning to use the dehydrator and making our own jerky (jerky is one of those pesky things that seem to have gluten in the store brands all the time). the rooms are shaping up, though still have far to go. the cat has an updated license and has begun to venture outside. it's nice to have an outdoor cat again - she was going crazy and bringing us with her.

the second chunk of news is baby-related: the little gymnast, though having been head-down at the last midwife visit, has turned into the breech position. this sucks, as in alberta, it means a probable c-section under the care of an ob-gyn. my midwives will still be able to be present at the "birth", and i am allowed to try and birth the baby vaginally, but the ob-gyn calls the shots. i am disappointed, but it's still early enough (35 weeks) to retain hope; try and get the baby to turn on its own. i have a plethora of homework to do, including moxibustion, swimming, laying with my hips up to convince the baby that's where up is (which i was doing a lot on the bustrip and not since we got of the bus, so hopefully starting that up again will do the trick) and visiting a chiropractor to make sure my hips are open enough and comfortable for the baby to hang out in. our option if that doesn't work is to go to the hospital and try and get the baby turned by a doctor, which presents a small risk of damage to the baby but less than the risks associated with a c-section. first thing first, off to have an ultrasound and confirm the head's up.

the midwife says i don't have the biggest uterus, but it's still big enough that the baby could turn around easily. so all is not lost. i would really like to birth the baby at home. we have been collecting all the goodies required and i have been reading the hypnobirthing book and getting really excited. so this is a bit of a blow, but i am focusing on the options available to us. stay tuned to see how the baby decides to birth.

in other news, i walked around town today (experiencing a bit of a chinook) and noticed some cute small town things. one, the bar is called the zoo, and its tag line is something about the local wildlife. har har. also, they're advertising an ac/dc tribute night - in november. right on. must've been really great.

two, the post office is attached to the senior's centre. what a genius idea.

anyway, off to put my feet up and talk to the baby about somersaults.