Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Naval-gazing as always

And you thought I could go a whole month without obsessing about pregnancy... that's what you get for thinking. Isn't it funny how I write as though other people are reading this when in fact that does not seem to be the case any more? Anyways.

Everybody seems to be pregnant (except me) and it's starting to get to me. I'm beginning to have the resentment that seems pretty common among women having trouble getting and/or staying pregnant-- that annoyance with anyone who seems to be happily, effortlessly fertile.

The writer of a blog I read is pregnant again-- not even on purpose. One of my coworkers is pregnant, and while I'm happy for her, it's also frustrating on so many levels. For one, she too is miscarriage-prone and the worry and stress is contagious. It's like vicariously re-living my own fears. The other thing is that, well, I tend to research. I like to read and read and read about things that pertains to me or even anything interesting, whether it's pregnancy, cattle ranching, or Seattle. It kind of drives me crazy when people don't do that; when they don't bother to reach for the relevant information. Don't you want to know what's happening to your body right now? To know what decisions you'll be making in the next year, to form opinions about those things? My coworker really can't be bothered. But because she knows that I'VE done the reading she asks me questions constantly. Can she eat this. Can she do that. Why this, why that. I am not an expert on these things, and I keep trying to explain the concept that every woman, and every pregnancy, is different. Because I've been through two first trimesters this year, she is always asking me about those experiences for point of comparison. Personally I'm not that keen on discussing my failed pregnancies, and I think for her to compare her (most likely healthy) pregnancy to my two that didn't work isn't good. So that's tiring and frustrating.

Don and I are getting ready to start trying again. Back in August, we'd agreed upon December or January as long as everything else went OK. All the blood work has come back negative. No clotting disorders, no thyroid issues. I feel good: healthy, vital. I'm taking my vitamins, although I need to find a Vitamin D supplement. And a DHA supplement. Actually I need to make a list.

Preconception Checklist

* Start eating breakfast every day again-- to get back in the habit, to get more fiber, etc.
* Prenatal vitamins every day. Because folic acid is yummy!
* DHA supplement. Mmmm, fishy oil.
* Vitamin D supplement.
* No more coffee! (Why is this so hard?)
* No milk that isn't organic. Sorry, Starbucks.

Right, this month isn't going to be at all challenging. But really, what wouldn't I do...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Corporate Traveller, I am

It's like I've been gone forever, right? I haven't abandoned the blog, no worries. Just been extra busy lately with work and all. I spent this week in Baltimore for a training seminar, and the two weeks previous to that feverishly trying to catch up on the pre-work that was supposed to be done before class. It's about ninety hours of computer work, and ideally I would be tucked into a corner computer or the back room for a couple of hours a day to finish. But we're so short handed that I had no time at all to work specifically on the training and had to squeeze it all between customers and during my lunch break. Which is when -hello!- I usually do things like check my email or update this page. So between that and not bringing the laptop with me to Baltimore... no blog.

Traveling for work is kind of neat. I felt quite grown-up: staying in a hotel room by myself, dressing up every day, getting everything comped by the bank. Why yes thank you, I WOULD like a taxi! I don't let it go to my head though, because if I were still in Texas I would just go downtown for the training and not have to stay over. The traveling is really more a result of being so far from a big city than of being promoted. Unfortunately, the other nine associates taking this class were local to the area-- not shipped in as I was. Which meant that instead of us all going out after class (because we're all staying downtown and separated from our families and friends) they all drive back to whatever Baltimorean suburb they're from, leaving me alone in the city to do my thing. Which was cool, OK, I have no problem entertaining myself... but it would have been fun to have company!

I did what I always do in a new city with time to kill: find the nearest bookstore, which in Baltimore was the Barnes & Noble down in the inner harbor area. Quite nice actually. Except... I wanted to finish reading a farming book I'd picked up to look at here in Virginia, so I scoured the store (upstairs and down) looking for the agricultural section. (Generally in a B&N, agriculture is sandwiched between ecology and pets.) When I finally asked for help, the dude at the info desk explained to me (in small words) that Baltimore isn't very "agricultural", that there aren't a lot of "farms" in the area, and that there may not be any actual "books" in their agricultural section. Actually there were: three books about tractors. I guess I've gotten used to living in the sticks... if a city of 40-50,000 can be considered the sticks. But we are surrounded by farms here. And cows.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Posterior cortical atrophy. Have you ever heard of it? I hadn't. It is so rare that even Wikipedia doesn't have an entry on it. Imagine a disease with all of the horror of Alzheimer's, except that it strikes people younger, progresses faster, and blinds the victim as well as robbing her of memory. This is what my aunt (and uncle and cousins, by extension) have been battling for over 1o years now. It is a terrible, tragic disease, and essentially caused her death last week-- decades before her time. The last five days have been a chaotic blur, getting shifts covered at work, making last-minute flight plans, driving to D.C. to fly to Michigan, getting back to D.C. late last night to drive back home. To be honest, I'm so tired I'm not sure this post even makes sense.

The last time I was in Michigan was for my grandmother's funeral last year; this trip had a very unsettling feel of deja vu to it. Same limos, same funeral chapel, same elderly relatives chanting indecipherable Hebrew at the Shiva. But there is such a difference between the funeral for someone who died at 95 after a long, healthy life, and someone who dies at 66 from a degenerative illness; there is a sense of tragedy to the second that the first doesn't have. When a beloved someone dies at 95 we mourn--more for ourselves than anything because we'll miss her-- but there is not that sense of what-might-have-been, or what-should-have-been, because really that's about as good as it gets. To live to old age with all your faculties and independence intact; to retain your memory and drivers' license, your apartment, vision and hearing, family and friends-- isn't that the best any of us can hope for? None of that can be said about my aunt; to mourn her is to mourn all of the years that should have been, and to mourn the last several years in which her quality of life was so poor, her memory dying. It's hard to think about the hole left by her; not so much for me (although it's there, of course) as for my uncle, my cousins, my father. It is impossible to describe how close and loving my aunt and uncle were in their marriage, or how devoted he was to her both before and after her diagnosis-- joined at the hip. It's so painful to witness his devastation.

I cannot adequately write a tribute to my aunt about what a wonderful, loving woman she was, or list her many talents and accomplishments, and it has already been said by others who know even better. But I was thinking about it the evening before the funeral. What happens is this: the rabbi comes over and sits down with the immediate family and asks us about our relative so that he can fully understand who she was in order to create a meaningful eulogy. So for maybe two hours we all sit in the living room, sharing memories and stories, explaining things about her to the rabbi. I just listened, because my memories from childhood were too vague to express well and it was fascinating to hear so much I never knew about her. It is a real legacy to leave behind a family that is so close. 3 grown children who live far-flung lives-- Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco-- but call their father every day just to chat, who are close to each other, who are in committed relationships themselves, whose partners form seamless additions to the clan-- for a woman who put family before everything else, this speaks the loudest about who she was. She will be so, so missed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Upside Down, Dreaming

You know how there are some songs that just make you inexplicably, wonderfully happy when you hear them? With those I try not to hear them too often, because I don't want them to wear thin. What if one day, you heard your favorite song and it did nothing for you? This song came on the radio today, I haven't heard it in years. It still does it for me.

Crazy how it feels tonight
Crazy how you make it all alright love
Crush me with the things you do
And I do for you anything too
Sitting smoking feeling high
And in this moment it feels so right

Lovely lady
I am at your feet
God I want you so badly
And I wonder this
Could tomorrow be
So wondrous as you there sleeping
Let's go drive 'till morning comes
And watch the sunrise and fill our souls up
Drink some wine 'till we get drunk

It's crazy I'm thinking
Just knowing that the world is round
And here I'm dancing on the ground
Am I right side up or upside down
And is this real or am I dreaming

Lovely lady
Let me drink you please
Won't spill a drop, no, I promise you
Lying under this spell you cast on me
Each moment
The more I love you
Crush me
Come on, oh yeah

It's crazy I'm thinking
Just knowing that the world is round
And here I'm dancing on the ground
Am I right side up or upside down
Is this real or am I dreaming
Lovely lady
I will treat you sweetly
Adore you I mean you crush me
And it's times like these
When my faith I feel
And I know how I love you
Come on, Come on

It's crazy I'm thinking
just as long as you're around
And here I'll be dancing on the ground
Am I right side up or upside down
To each other we'll be facing
My love
By love
We'll beat back the pain we've found
You know
I mean to tell you all the things I've been thinking deep inside
My friend
Each moment the more I love you

Crush me
Come on
So much you have given love
That I would give you back again and again
Oh my love
Meaning I'll hold you
But please please let me always

I'm probably breaking some kind of obvious rule by grooving on Dave Matthews Band while living in Charlottesville, but I really don't care.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Don is home, f-i-n-a-l-l-y. Got in around midnight after driving all day. The thing is, it really isn't that bad when he's away. We've been separated for as long as six weeks at a time, between staggered cross-country moves and travel for work, so it's not like I can play the weepy we've-never-spent-the-night-apart! wife. And there is the security of knowing that he's coming back, and when. It's not as though I'm an Army spouse with a deployed hubby or in some other precarious situation, you know? I tried to explain this to his mom, who seemed to be feeling guilty about keeping him away for so long-- that I can be on my own for a few weeks with no appreciable harm-- but I think she can't get past the idea of me all lonely and sad.

She seems to be doing remarkably well, but is house-bound as she's restricted from car-travel until her breastbone (which they have to break in order to get into the heart) heals, because a collision that re-opens it would be fatal. Being stuck at home isn't easy for her.

Anyways when Don came home, it was to a sparklingly clean house and a hot meal (butternut squash soup, roast chicken, peach cobbler. All from the Saturday Farmers Market). I think if he only came home once a week-- I would be a domestic goddess. The keys to squash soup are to make it kinda spicy so that it doesn't taste like baby food-- a little chili powder does the trick-- and top it with sour cream and bacon. Don will eat anything, I think, if you put bacon on top.

Problem is, the house is clean and organized and pretty because I poured hours of labor into it. Every day for more than a week, I was coming home from work and getting down to work. Running car-loads of stuff to the laundromat, dragging huge bags of trash to the curb. So the cost of coming home to a homely home is a slightly peeved partner who will want to sit down and have a Big Talk about housekeeping. Including New Rules and Responsibilities. Because a little two-bedroom house like ours should not take that kind of effort to clean, it really shouldn't. And I have no intention of being the only one keeping it nice.

Today is the first day of my favorite month. Yay for October! It was even chilly this morning, a nod to the new month. I called my doctor this morning because I want to get my thyroid tested. Hypothyroidism runs in my family and can cause infertility and miscarriage. Symptoms include inexplicable weight gain, fatigue, and feeling cold all the time. Those are kind of vague, because I exhibit all of them at times, but not all the time. And how can you really know if weight gain is unexplained? I'd say in my case it's more a matter of inexplicable weight change-- gaining and losing for no apparent reason. If you tracked my weight on a time-graph, I would look like a yo-yo dieter when in fact I'm not a dieter at all. I hope she will call me back, run the tests, get a diagnosis, put me on medication, and get me on the way to a place where we can start trying for a baby again. (Look, God, at my clean house and organically stocked freezer and homemade squash soup. Don't you think I should have a baby? Don't you think I'd take good care of it? Come on!) My faith in nature and my body being somewhat squashed at the moment, I'm pinning hopes right now on a medical intervention. Maybe a year from now, I can have a blog full of baby pictures...