Monthly Archives: August 2014
I am officially 36 weeks pregnant. My due date is less than a month away and come Monday we’ll be in the month of my due date. Naturally, this is the perfect time to get a puppy.
He is 8 months old and the sweetest pooch you’ll ever meet. We met him last weekend at a potluck because an acquaintance there was fostering him. Lesley had seen him on this woman’s Facebook and was drawn to him. After seeing him laying calmly in his bed next to a buffet table we were sold.
He’s had a rough 8 months. He was in Texas where he was found with a broken pelvis after being hit by a car. Vet #1 suggested he be put down. Luckily, vet #2 believed it would heal itself as he was young and small. It’s been healing for about two months and while he sometimes has a little trouble getting up and has a limp, he’s doing great. He gets fixed on 10/8 so our plan is to keep having him take it easy until after that.
After being found he was in a foster in Texas, a home here briefly, a foster here for a few weeks, then home to us last night. He’s nervous but slowly warming up. One of our cats followed him around and hissed at him earlier which has stalled progress but he seems to trust us. He’s got a bed on the floor of our room next to Lesley’s side of the bed and nudged her with his nose last night when he needed to go out. For that reason alone he is a superstar.
No one is too sure what he is. Best guess is a Carolina Dog or some sort of descendent of a dingo. Maybe red heeler. He’s 25ish pounds and knee height. We just love him and hope he grows to love us. But mainly we hope he gets settled and comfortable before baby comes!
I asked Lesley the other day if she thinks parenting a newborn will be like an awkward first date. You know the kind – you’ve already seen each other naked and then decide to have dinner. (Don’t pretend you don’t know.)
I think it will be a bizarre experience – getting to know our little human. I think some of those barriers of first getting to know someone will automatically be broken. I’m going to leave the door open when going to the bathroom and lay around naked with them after getting out of the shower. But when do we really let loose? When do we let this new little human know that we like to cook while listening to Ke$ha pandora? When do we teach them the songs we make up, like our favorite one titled “Sandwiches” which is an ode to our love of sandwiches? When do I not worry about whether or not my jokes are funny (they are, FYI)?
Lesley thinks there will be no adjustment period. She said that it’s not like our little human is going to understand us from the get go and by the time they can they’ll just be used to how weird we are. It just blows me away sometimes – we’ll have this little person that will be ours. How do you even get used to that? I worry that the baby won’t like me and then I remind myself that the baby is designed to like me. My child may not like me but I’ve got some time before I need to worry about that.
I’m getting to the point where I am getting really excited. This is a shift from my attachment fears of a few weeks ago. We’ve been talking to our midwife a lot about how things will look in the hours following birth. This has been very helpful for me because I am a control freak and I know I can’t control the birth but at least I can know what to expect after. I think of those first moments, the three of us together as a family, and am filled with all the feels. I think part of my problem with feeling attached is that I do not want to have a leg up on Lesley. I don’t want to leave her out of anything so there is a struggle for me with being pregnant and feeling the baby move inside me and her not. (She does not feel upset about this in the least, I just worry.) It’s to the point now that I picture us together with the baby, on even ground, and I feel a lot of excitement.
We have five weeks to go and still a lot to do. My OCD darling has finished hanging things in the closet. She measured all the baby clothes to put them in size groups that sometimes do not match their given size. Last night she made dividers to separate the clothes that marks their size and length. This is the same woman who I have never been able to get to pick her dirty socks off the floor and put them in the laundry basket but baby clothes organization? I guess that’s her thing.
In college I was very socially involved. I wasn’t dropping banners from building rooftops or anything but was a part of campus politics and spent a lot of time in room 441 of the student union eating pizza and getting pissed off at the administration, the government, the world. I went to Washington to march for women’s rights. I had a fire that burned inside me and it could not be tamed.
Eventually the fire died down. It’s not that I no longer cared about those issues but I also cared about not being depressed. It’s hard to see the world for what it really is. It’s hard to get worked up about every sexist thing you see. I live in this society and honestly, it sucks. It’s hard and sad and for my own mental health I had to choose to ignore some of the really bad stuff. I’ve felt myself slip from my ideals – I say things here and there that I know are inappropriate. I catch myself seeing the side of the oppressor in arguments from time to time. I no longer spell women with a “y’ in professional correspondence. But I do the best I can. I have a tattoo that has been on my arm for almost ten years – A woman’s symbol with the word “revolution” running though it. I remind myself that every move I make is one of a feminist and if it’s not I hold myself responsible. I remind myself that being a feminist in this world is taking action, even if it doesn’t always feel like that.
I’ve been preparing for this to change as I enter motherhood. I want my child to see the world and see social justice. I want to take them to protests and have real conversations about privileged and inequality. I told myself at 21 that I couldn’t change the world – that’s something I never want to tell them. I want to find a way to show them how to speak up and rally for change without feeling defeated. I’m not sure if that is possible but I want to try.
This stuff in Ferguson is getting to me a lot. (I’m just going to assume you all know what I am talking about.) Our country is at war abroad but also here. Things are getting worse and kids keep dying. I had a really hard time with Trayvon Martin and there have been so many deaths since then and Michael Brown is just the latest in a long list of names that keeps getting longer. I watch my friends get upset about school shootings (which are TERRIBLE, I am not denying that) in white communities and turn a blind eye to the race wars going on in our country. I am much more terrified of police brutality than school shootings, to be honest. This is a very scary time and in six weeks I will bring a child into it. I know so many people who don’t talk about these issues with their kids – I just don’t get it. I can’t imagine having to explain these events to my child but I also can’t imagine not having that conversation. I feel no greater responsibility as a parent than to speak to my child about race and class and privilege. But on days like today, on weeks like this week, I sit with a heavy heart and acknowledge that I can no longer keep my head in the sand. I will do my duty as a parent and teach my child to be an activist. I just hope I can help them find a better balance than I could.
On a final note, this song has been in my head all day and I thought someone else out there might need it, too. The link is crappy and from myspace because no one listens to Ember Swift anymore but her songs were a big part of my life (as was my huge crush on her) before everything got too much for me and she moved to China and married a man. There are so many times I hear her songs on a loop in my head – this one is on today.
I have a confession to make. I do not feel super attached to our baby.
I feel like I should be feeling the overwhelming attachment and I just… Don’t. I see women talk about being so excited to hold their baby or reading it stories every night in utero. About them talking to their fetus and fetus responding. That’s not how things work over here.
We talk to Steakums on occasion and when they are going nuts I normally lay my hand (or Lesley’s hand) over my belly in an attempt to soothe. We planned on playing it music every day but that lasted about a week.
I don’t know why this is. Is it because we don’t know the sex so can’t call them by their picked out name? Is it because we’ve had only two ultrasounds so don’t feel like we know them as intimately as other people feel they know their uterine guest? It’s odd because we tried to get pregnant for months. We planned to get pregnant for years. I thought by the time we got here I’d feel something different.
We have 7 weeks to go. My brother reminded me last night that his first daughter came four weeks early. I need more than three weeks to prepare. I feel like pregnancy I understand but it still blows my mind that we’ll soon have a baby. We’re not ready. Can we really do this? I’m trapped between two worlds- one where we watch my belly dance and wash and fold baby clothes and one where I lay next to my sweet love and try to freeze time.
Our midwife asked today if I had been having Braxton hicks contractions. I said no and her assistant asked if sometimes my belly got really hard. Yes, I said. Those are Braxton hicks. They said it was a good sign that I’m having but not feeling them. It’s weird to know that’s what is going on and without my hand on my belly I have no idea.
We asked today about how to prepare my body for birth. She said a lot of people believe that perineal massage will be very helpful but they don’t see much evidence that it makes any difference. The best way to prepare my body (and by body I mean vagina) for birth? Lots of sex.
That seems like a great prescription and normally it would be but I have not enjoyed sex at all during my pregnancy. I have no sex drive and when we do have sex I get frustrated because it goes no where for me. My poor darling is a bit frustrated with this.
So those are my marching orders. Kegels, drink lots of water, take many walks (did I mention it is 90 degrees and feels like I live on the surface of the sun?), and have lots of sex. Could be worse, right?