Friday, March 30, 2007

Even cowgirls get the blues

I haven’t been posting because I am miserable and unmotivated. Times are tough here, on the couch. Let’s see. Where do I start? I’m 29 weeks. I thought it would feel good to get here but it doesn’t. It feels like I climbed to the top of a peak only to find there is a much higher one still to be climbed. And the drop-off where I stand looks precipitous. In other words, if our baby is born today she will have an 85% chance of survival, according to whom I have no idea. If she lived, she’d surely be in the NICU for weeks and would be likely to have long-term health problems. 29 weeks is not a good time to have a baby. I know I should be grateful for high-rate of survival but after the long road to get here I have a vision of holding this baby when she is born.

Being stuck on the couch sucks. Being stuck on the couch and unable to leave my house while a tile saw or a wood saw or currently a metal saw is constantly rattling my frayed nerves extra sucks. I KNOW that the project was my idea and the yard looks great but still. The saw is about ten feet from my spot and it’s been going on for three full weeks and I can’t get away from it. Last week the tile saw was going for, I shit you not, six-and-a-half hours. In a row. And I can’t get away from it.

I can’t sit outside except on Sundays. Being inside all the time is probably contributing to my state-of-mind. The blinds are closed so I’m not eyeball-to-eyeball with Jose all day. Just because this was my idea doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck listening to it all day, everyday.

What else? Last night was the first night that when I got in my bed, my hips protested. I think I heard them saying, “You can’t be fucking serious, you are laying down again. Still? How ‘bout a few minutes without laying on one of us please? How does a ball-and-socket joint get a break around here for chrissake?” Seriously, laying on my side all day is slowly pulverizing my hip bones. Reclining on my back affects my circulation and makes the burping worse. Screw the “mommy makeover,” I’m going to need a hip replacement when this is over

Oh the burping. Burping is an issue when you’re pregnant anyway, especially at 29 weeks. But imagine if you will, eating anything and then having to lay down. EVERYTHING comes back up repeatedly and for hours after eating. Nothing passes the test of “hmm, how will it be to burp this up for hours on end?” Nothing. Not smoothies with not a lot of berries, not a bowl of cheerios, not a bagel and cream cheese and not friggin’ cookies and milk. Nothing tastes good when it’s rancid. Eating is no fun.

It’s hard to enjoy eating anyway when I am going to lay on my couch afterwards. Not just because I might burp utter vileness into my throat. But because I probably require 75 calories a day to lay on the couch. What fun is it to eat chocolate peanut butter ice cream when I know that it is going straight to the inside of my knees? Fat on the knees, you ask? Yes, fat on the knees. And being post-natal in June? With a pool membership? ARGHHHH.

Eating is also no fun because my dad gives me shit about what I eat. He does this repeatedly. It started the day after the stomach flu when I fixed a half a bagel at about 9 p.m. “Heh, heh you’re really eating for two there aren’t you?” Half a bagel after a stomach flu induced fast?! To a pregnant woman who had only recently stopped feeling like puking all the time?! Swear to God. Then it was comments like, “Heh, heh you really have a big appetite there?” to my soup, salad, and half a sandwich.” “It’s a good thing _____ mooches your food all the time, it’ll keep your weight down.” “Maybe the chicken would be a better choice for you than that hot dog.” “You should probably pass on that piece of sausage, it’s not good for the baby.”

This one is a favorite: “you should probably get on an exercise program in about a month after the baby is born.” No extra time off to recover form a third C-section? Not a few extra weeks to recover from months laying on the couch? No special allowance for having a newborn and being up half the night, not to mention the rigors of caring for the other two kids?

I swear I’m not making this shit up. And he wonders why I don’t want to talk to him. But yet he is here all day and all day I feel like an asshole for not talking to him but my inner child, and adolescent, and teenager has her arms folded and wants to say, “Screw you. You never listened to me while I was growing up. You just rationalized and invalidated anything I ever told you. Regarding my mother who was unable to care for us because she was too depressed and who slapped me in the face regularly and called me an ungrateful brat and told me flat-out that a divorce would be my fault and who constantly had operations and slept in a hospital bed in the living room and who pretended to be super-mom when anybody was around and who had the emotional maturity of a three-year-old?”

What did he say to that? Once again, I shit you not, “At least she wasn’t a drug dealer.” Other favorites: “Be bigger than her (to a five-year-old), “rise above it” and “do you remember that time when she talked about how grandma treated her (yeah, that one time when I was 20)?” Other than that it was NEVER to be spoken of in front of her. Never. Toxic denial. Fun for the whole family.

We actually had a conversation the other day and once again he played the “at least she wasn’t a drug dealer” card. Nice standards for your kids. Yet I was never good enough because I wasn’t a fucking Rhodes Scholar. Movin’ on.

It’s hard having my dad here because of all the baggage. I know that I should be grateful for his help. He is working very hard and does a great job with the kids and he is getting little appreciation from me because I am all clenched up inside.

Let’s see. What else? I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. I HAVE been pregnant forever. 63 weeks in fact. I got pregnant with LC last summer. Not this past summer of 2006 that was eight months ago.

Summer of 2005.

Pregnant until December 30, 2006. Then some time off for recovering from the infection and the birth and the death and the mortuary and the hip sockets and femurs in her tiny bag of ashes.

Pregnant again in April (I know, I chose this, I was desperate to restore the state of pregnancy). Eleven weeks of terror followed by a big deadbabysurprise on June 30, 2006. No forewarning whatsoever. I’d seen the heartbeat twice.

Nightmare followed. Absolute fucking nightmare. Not like with LC. Completely different and with very few people around to help pick up the pieces. Can’t go there now. Pregnant again in August 2006. 29 weeks later, here I am.

Yes I know I should be grateful for being wildly fertile. I am grateful. It would’ve taken me 15 years to have all these babies, 2 live ones and three dead ones, if I had trouble conceiving. This way I packed ‘em all into 7 years.

So it’s no wonder I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. I know cry me a river. I have two beautiful kids. I went for a third. Greedy? But why shouldn’t I have three kids? How many of you had three in your family? It’s not like I’m going for number 16 here. I digress. Clearly I am conflicted about all of my griping. It just adds to my torment.

One other problem about being pregnant for so long is that I can barely bring myself to believe that we are having a baby. I’ve been pregnant for a year-and-a-half and still no baby. My brain knows that a baby is most likely coming but try telling that to my psyche. And my heart.

Now that I’ve started trying to call the baby by a name that we are trying on, I find that the name that comes to my mind or lips isn’t the right name. It’s LC that pops into place before I can catch myself. That is some sad shit right there. Maybe that’s partly why I preferred a boy; that is so I could separate the pregnancies and the babies. The last time I had a person living in my body that kicked and thumped around, it was LC. It’s hard to separate the unfinished pregnancy from this one. Movin’ on.

This afternoon I am going to see Evil Shadow Pregnancy. At a birthday party. A small party in a small backyard. This woman has been the bane of my existence since last summer. I have actively dreaded seeing her since I last ran into her on Halloween. That was right before the email exchange that made it all worse. I don’t even know what to do with this. I think I can’t even think about it because I am so overloaded with other shit. UGH.

I’m losing momentum here. This morning I thought of at least ten things that really suck about this situation. Here is one thing that is great: my daughter is beside herself with excitement. She who has no fear is overflowing with joy at the prospect of her baby sister.

She sings songs to the baby. Full songs like every single verse of “Farmin’ in the dell.” She shares her binky with the baby. She brings crackers and offers sips from her cup. She talks in that instinctive baby-talk. She tries to pick her up. She says, “I see my baby” and then pulls up my shirt and inquires, “Hi baby. How your sleep?”

She is living in the moment because she hasn’t learned any other way to live. It is pure joy to watch her in action. In those moments alone, I picture us with a baby.

I think I’ll end it here. Enough bitching for one morning. Maybe I’ll add a few more gripes later. Here’s a little preview:

--The social challenges of being on bedrest when you already feel like a deadbabyleper (thanks charlotte for this useful term)

--The social challenges of relying on blogland for your support system

--The emotional challenge of feeling like your water is going to break any second now and the conflicting emotions that result when you realize that you might actually be relieved, but only for five seconds because then you’ll end up in the hospital and your baby will end up in the NICU if she’s lucky

ARGHHH. Enough. Movin’ on.


Anonymous nycphoenix said...

thank you so much for sharing your pain and your truth and i wish i was nearby because i would totally blowoff a meeting after work to bring food and a listening ear

praying for you.

sophia from Jouney to an Ewok

1:14 PM  
Anonymous j said...

ditto what sophia said.

plus, I heard that your fertile self ovulates on day 22 ish. You're my new hero.

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You wrote EXACTLY what I just went through. I was put on bedrest at 20 weeks for being 1 cm dilated. Had an emergency cerclage. I was sure I was going to need hip replacement surgery...and decided labor was less painful than the way my hips felt.

I also know what you mean about 29 weeks...I thought I'd be ECSTATIC to get there...and all I could think was...90% survival? What if I'm the 10%? 90% sounded good when I was looking at 50/50. When I was at 29 weeks...and it meant several months in the NICU...I thought it sucked.

The good news is that it gets better. I didn't relax until I was 35 weeks. I'm almost 37 weeks now and begging the doctor to schedule the c-section earlier than April 19th. It's my third c-section and I am NOT looking forward to the recovery.

I can say..when I got up at 35 weeks I was USELESS..but 2 weeks later I'm 1000 times better.

Hang in there....I know it sucks.


3:05 PM  
Blogger Michell said...

I'm sorry for how your feeling and wish I could say or do something to help. Your dad sounds insensitive and I'm sure he thinks he's trying to help. My mom is a lot like that, the whole mind set of, if you don't think about it, it doesn't matter, isn't a problem. never worked for me. I don't know if telling him would make him realize it doesn't work for you either. Maybe you already have. As far as the 29 weeks goes, I know what you mean there too. I was a NICU nurse for almost a year and I can say that I saw some 29 week babies go home with no problems and some have problems. But the 29 week babies did way better than the 24 or 26 week babies. Praying for you that she can stay put a little longer and that you can find some relief while on bedrest.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous kari said...

I feel ya on being pregnant forever. I got pregnant 10 weeks after my first baby was stillborn. Being pregnant two whole years was awful. Especially since I refused to believe the next baby would come out alive. And as for the name thing, my family still sometimes call my living daughter by my dead daughter's name, and she's almost nine months old.

6:52 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

I have a novel to write in response to this post, but I need to eat dinner, so I will shorten it to 4 main points:

1. I love you. All of you. All of your neurotic, smart, crazy, generous, hysterically funny, thoughtful, insecure, lovely, pretty (even with knee fat) deadbabyleperousness. All of it.

2. I must correct you: Your father did not say "you should probably pass on that piece of sausage, it’s not good for the baby.” he said: "you should probably pass on that piece of sausage, it’s not good for the *UNBORN*,” which is WAY fucking creepier and wrong. Way.

3. Cart your pregnant ass outside for some air every day. After Jose leaves, at 6pm, at 9am, whatever. DO IT. You need some vitamin D, and some fresh air blowing in your face. DO IT.

and finally

4. your parents were a pair of miserable, narcissistic, crazy people, and if there was a "Lifetime" true story of WTF's childhood, it would be a really depressing show.

You are surviving your dad's ummm...what's the right phrase, helpful invasion? tolerable descendence upon your house? anyway, you are doing swimmingly, considering.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Rosepetal said...

WTF, you're going through tough times. I don't have any words of wisdom, but I'm reading and hearing you.

love Rosepetal

4:56 AM  
Blogger Co said...

Feel free to vent to us. I can only imagine how frustrating and hard it is to be on bedrest and to have a relative doing something that is really helpful to you but who is stirring up old feelings. I am sure that is compounded by the fact that you so don't want to be on bedrest. So, vent if ya gotta.

5:40 AM  
Blogger bleu said...

If there was ever a moment in your life to play the pregnancy card this is it. It is also likely your last chance as I think I recall you mentioning this is your last. That said tell Jose he has to use the saws, all of them, in a different location, in the front driveway or wherever, and then carry to the back. I don't care if it is more work, you are a pregnant woman with an extremely high risk pregnancy. As for your dad, all I can say is what I wish you would say, which is "DAD, I am pregnant, likely for my last time, hopefully for my last time, I am on bedrest, extremely vulnerable, and have been through sheer hell for the past 2 years. I appreciate all your help to no end, truly. You may NOT comment on my weight, on what I eat, on what is good or not good for my baby I am growing in my body, or anything related to any of it. It stresses me out, makes me feel 12 and is not helpful. It actually hurts."

I wish yoou peace and wish I could help.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

just stopped by to check on you. i have no words of wisdom but am hoping the last 9-10 weeks fly by for you so that you can have some semblance of normalcy back, whatever that means caring for 3 little angels ; )-

11:01 AM  
Blogger delphi said...

Well, the situation does suck - the bedrest, the "supportive" father, the pain, the worry. The SAW! So I think that it is best that you gripe away to prevent your brain from exploding. I complain about my husband - that doesn't mean I don't love and appreciate him. It means that I complain to my girlfriends and we don't fight over stupid things.

Your description of your daughter's baby play gave me shivers. You are right - there is the joy in the experience.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lost 2 babies and I understand the frustration in the situation. I am also 29 weeks along with a cerclage and nervous about all of the preterm scares.

I, however, have an autistic son who is 3 years of age and no one to help besides my husband who works 12-14 hour days. My mother is very self consumed and says my son stresses her out and my father doesn't have time to come and help.

My point is, your father may have made mistakes in the past, but at least he is trying to help you now. At least you are able to go on bed rest and have someone take care of all of the day to day things. At least your surviving children are healthy and can realize that they are having a sister come into the world.

I look to your blog everyday for guidance because I am very much in a similar boat, but you need to really try and concentrate on the many positives that you have in your life.

6:21 PM  
Blogger bleu said...

I am sorry but coming here and posting anonymous and negative seems really not nice to me. This is WTF's blog, her place to vent and let off steam, her place to come for support. I am sorry if someone else has it harder or whatever. Someone ALWAYS has it harder, rougher, more difficult journey. This isn;t a contest. WTF should be able to come here and vent, and rant and rave, about even the most trite of issues if she wants. For instance if she wants to devote an entire blog to not having her tissue of choice in the house, who cares. It is her space and her blog. She is going through a HUGE and very very very scary time, as you well know, and if you are unhappy or feeling overwhelmed then state that on your blog, or even here, but don't come on anonymous and tell her she needs an attitude adjustment. Please!!!!!!!!!!

9:12 PM  
Blogger Treggles said...


Hi there. I've not stopped by for a while, so just wanted to say a big "yay!" on reaching 29 weeks. I know you feel there's a long way to go, but 29 weeks is good news.


(PS: I see you've still got me listed as "baby on the way" in your blog list...)

11:39 PM  
Anonymous steph said...

Hang in there woman!! Dtr #1 sounds like such a hoot - good for comic relief.

As for dear old dad . . . Don't know what to say about that. Would it make you feel better to shoot him the bird behind his back?

Certainly, positively, definitely continue to let out all the junk bottled up inside. My mom always said there's more room on the outside. And I agree with Charlotte - fresh air and sunshine is healing to the soul. Cart your ass outdoors at least once a day.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Cynthia said...

Sometimes things are said in a caring matter, not to be negative or mean.

I don't agree with being hard on anonymous. She is right. It is so easy to get caught up on all the negatives, it helps to be reminded of the many positives we have on this earth.

She was just trying to empathize with WTF and not judge. You know stress is a leading cause of preterm labor.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Rosepetal said...

"Stress is a leading cause of preterm labour?" What exactly is WTF supposed to do with that information? Oh, yeah, turn the stress off. Just like that. My mother said something similar to me recently. And someone else told me about the dangers of too many ultrasounds. Just how is this helpful to me?

Well I suppose commenters don't have to be helpful. But I don't think WTF has to be "giving guidance" to anyone either.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

ocJust thought I'd chime in that my elementary understanding of the stress-preterm labor link is primarily related to the chronic exposure to conditions such as racism, poverty and unsafe neighborhoods.

While you clearly have more stress in your life right now than you deserve, don't let the idea that stress is a cause of pre-term labor scare you.

Hope you and baby are doing well and not going nuts on the couch!
Amy (regular lurker)

11:35 AM  
Blogger Jessa said...

Haven't been by for a while, was even just a bit afraid to follow the link and am so relieved that you are at 29 weeks!! HALLA-LOO-YER!!

Can't imagine having my dad around when I was on bedrest with DSWL1 (dearsonwholivednumberone). Good grief! Complain away, woman! Even under the best of circumstances (under which it never occurs), bedrest still sucks ass anyway. Sure, you can compare downward to women who have no help at all but that doesn't change the fact that it still funking hurts to lay around all day, it isn't relaxing (in fact, for many of us it is anxiety-inducing), and it doesn't help to have people tell you ought to be grateful or change your attitude. That smacks of the same insensitivity offered to me after our unexpected/unplanned/unwanted Cesarean, when I was told I should be grateful that I had a healthy baby. No shit, sherlock! Doesn't change the fact that I have a huge infected gash in my abdomen, you ginormous insensitive arsehole.

Or even better was this nugget...from our doula, no less: "Fifty years ago you would have died childbirth." It took all I had not to say, "Yeah, and fifty seconds from now YOU will be dying from my hand down your throat."

And speaking of major abdominal surgery, did I read it right that you are having a third C-section? May I ask why? Honestly, I don't mean to pry, I'm just worried about you! I don't have time to read through all the posts I've missed but maybe I ought to do so. Regardless, I hope that in 11 more weeks- or whenever you're planning your surgery- everything goes as well as can be expected with no complications whatsoever and that your recovery is a breeze. Will you have any postpartum help that is not your dad? Or if it is your dad, can he at least keep his mouth shut about what you fricking eat? You are a walking miracle in progress- so tell him to treat you as such from. now. on. (especially when you start transforming the food you manage to eat into milk!)

You've come a long way, baby!!!!!


2:47 PM  

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