Grown Up Talk

I was going to write this whole thing about how we saved for a work station in our dining room, had a fist full of actual cash, and then realized we couldn’t use it to buy what we wanted and instead had to do something else with the money. Something responsible because of other obligations. And how we came to that realization all by ourselves because that is the shit part of being a grownup sometimes. Sometimes realizing that you can’t do whatever the fuck you want, that you actually maybe have to be thoughtful or smart or whatever about your choices is the reality of the situation … that’s being a grownup. And it kind of sucked, and we moaned about it because we had been delighted with the idea of our work station being completed and now we won’t have one for a while.

So I was going to talk all about that. But then … this other thing happened last night, this ridiculous not at all grownup thing, and it’s all kind of perfect. Right when I’m all “blahblah responsibility and grown up actions and blahblah life isn’t always fun!” I’m reminded that being a grown up also means: breakfast for dinner, going out on a school Wednesday night, laying in bed until noon and still feeling productive, impulse shoe purchases, showering with a boy, figuring out how to give 0 fucks and then giving all 0 of them. Sometimes the perks outweigh the drags.

Last night I woke up at 3:00 am with a gnawing nauseous hunger. This happens sometimes because the baby hates me, but it’s been a while because maybe I’m on the mend and maybe I’ve just plateaued into general and constant malaise. I woke Kamel up for toast and jam. I ate toast and jam and I felt better but I couldn’t turn my brain off to  go back to sleep. I started thinking about how I weighed myself the day before and how I had jumped 5 lbs since last week and how that freaked me out. I realize, rationally, that pregnant people are supposed to gain weight but I also feel like I’m inactive and eat too many cookies and muffins for my own good and maybe the 12 lbs I’ve gained since the start of these are not wholly necessary. Well, this sort of turned into panic about how I really need to get a grip and start doing a better job, etc etc. You know how this self talk goes, “Tomorrow, no more of xyz, I really need to walk more even if I am exhausted, I just need to push myself blahblahblahblah” but we all know the reality is sometimes I just can’t do the things I wish I could. But that’s beside the point because here I was now at 4:00 am, feeling like a failure over 12 lbs which will surely balloon up to 30 lbs or more (god willing not the more bit) by the end of this whole thing.

And Kamel, poor Kamel, really just wanted to go to sleep but I wouldn’t let him with my chatter about, “I need to nip this in the bud and I can’t sleep and blahblahblah, I should be walking laps in the house right this second because I’m not even tired and I should be more active and I’m also pregnant and currently insane for even having these thoughts because who wants to get up at 3:45 am just to walk back and forth down their hallway thinking it will do anything at all for the 5 lbs they are freaked out about? Me.”

What did we end up doing?

Well of course, because we are grown ups and Kamel is the greatest sport in the history of husbands-who-are-also-good-sports, we got up, in the pitch black, and walked back and forth down our hallway. On the second lap I cried because, well, there is the whole “my body is no longer under my control wahh! And I’m not just pregnant I’m also gaining muffin weight wahh!” stuff. But we kept walking, we walked and walked and walked and then we did some kick boxing moves and then we walked some more. In the middle of the night. Because I’m totally nutso and because Kamel has my back and because…. we are grownups? I don’t think that’s why. And then eventually we went back to bed and I was a little sweaty and I felt like maybe I had accomplished something… even if that something was being a total mental head case, and we went back to sleep.

Until 5:30 am, 30 minutes before our alarm goes off, because I was super nauseous and needed a pill.

And now I would give anything to call in sick and sleep all day. But I can’t, because it’s Thursday and I have to go to work and because I’m a freaking grown up.

Making My Way Through The Tunnel

Three day weekends. I want them all of the time. Maybe on top of an 8 hour work day we should also have a 4 day work week. I would vote for a president who could make that ish happen.

This weekend I am happy to announce I started to begin feeling the yucks start to lift. Not everyone has such a rough first trimester/early second trimester, but these are the cards I’ve been dealt and we’ve been plodding along through it all while seeking the light at the end of the tunnel.

I still don’t know where the light is. But! This weekend we gave our house a god scrubbing for the first time since May. And then we had our first guest over since before I was pregnant. It was kind of a big deal. We’ve been letting my body rule the roost, we really have had no other choice. So inviting someone into our den of pregnancy safety was a big deal. I’m ok with being the person who says no to fun things, but I really don’t want to be the person who cancels plans last minute. I’m too much of a planner to risk being flaky about someone else, so we just haven’t been making any plans. I’m hoping this weekend was a sign that the fog of yucks is lifting and we’ll be able to remind our friends we are alive.

On Monday I really didn’t want to sit around the house anymore. It was Labor Day! We were supposed to be out enjoying our labor-free-ness! So, we went to the zoo. I love the zoo! I realize that zoos are not always the best for animals but their work with conservation and education these days is pretty great. And I am fascinated with wildlife. Walking around outside for several hours is still something that could go terribly wrong for me, so we took water, snacks, and Kamel continually (continually!) reminded me we could turn around at any moment and I shouldn’t feel bad, no guilt, no problem. Even if we had just bought tickets and were taking two steps into the gates. This is how pathetic my little life has been all summer. It’s a reality that I’ve gotten into the car to go to target only to turn right back around and spend the rest of the day on the couch.  I made it through the giraffes, gorillas, penguins, and big cats with only one sit down/snack break before calling it quits. It wasn’t the most complete zoo day of my life, but it was a major success.

Afterward we drove a few blocks to Ocean Beach and, though it was 50 degrees in the city and windy, sat on the bulkhead and marveled at everyone still rocking the cook-out, playing rugby in the sand, walking their dogs, and totally enjoying this day of no work. You rule San Francisco, way to stick it out despite the no-summer. Here is a short video of us being goobers:

And then we went home to the 80 degree whether.

I hope you guys had a great 3-day weekend, I hope I continue to rise (even at a snails pace) above the yucks, and I hope we all rock this 4 day work week. Ahh yeahh.

The Gift of No

I have talked before on my inability to say no. I wanted to link to something or other on that topic, but I can’t find it. But I definitely know that I have told you my tale of woes noes before. It’s hard for me. I want to DO IT ALL. I want to be superwoman, capable of all the things and even the extra things that aren’t really things but let’s pile them on anyways just for fun, shall we?

The problem is I say YES YES YES and then I wear myself out and then I over extend and then I have some regretsies and I don’t feel like I’m giving my full 100% because I’m too scattered or tired or stressed.

That was the recap.

Aside from physical discomfort and massive inconvenience, being pregnant has also given me the very real gift of saying No.

I completely understand that saying no is necessary to happiness and authenticity and not losing your mind, I just haven’t been good at it. It took a force of nature (that shoved me square on my ass) for me to totally get it. It was like a switch went off in my head. One day I was SUPERWOMAN OF THE UNIVERSE saying yes to all the things, and the next I was … um… being honest? “I just can’t do that, I’m really sorry.” Both things true. I wish I could, but I can’t. I cannot. I will have to bow out. I can’t make that happen. I am incapable at the moment of helping or doing or showing up. Some of the things really bummed me out (Outside Lands? Lady weekend 2012? Dinners with friends? Seeing people from out of town who I haven’t seen in years? Shopping! Weekend getaways! Concerts! A pool party!). Ok those are all the things. But, knowing I had to say no didn’t cause me angst, and before it would have been impossible.

Some of the time I said no because I physically couldn’t do it. Some of the time I said no because it wouldn’t have been appropriate to have other people subjected to my inconsistent health. And sometimes I said no just because my priorities have shifted. My body and health comes first. I am currently a vessel, check back in a year.

The point is: Saying No used to be my last resort. I had to have lost an arm in order to say no. And I knew it wasn’t healthy or the way things should be, but I couldn’t help it. It doesn’t matter if I’m sick, or I’m just not up for it, or if I need to choose sitting on the couch and watching old episodes of Entourage instead of doing XYZ – it’s all valid. Saying no is ok. (Yes I wrote that. Me.) It doesn’t mean I’m a bad friend (and it doesn’t mean you are either), it doesn’t mean I’m boring (Ok, maybe I’m boring. I’m cool with it…. for now.), it definitely doesn’t mean I’m a huge failure, it’s just a choice. I’ll catch you on the flipside.

Insta-Grammy Part 6

For a while we stopped doing Instagrams. This was because we never went anywhere or did anything and I was sick all of the time and I couldn’t talk about why me and the couch were BFFs and that’s all you would have seen anyways.

All The Nanners (@thebriefness)

Having nothing to take photos of and going nowhere is super depressing. For the last several weeks (and the last few months) my weekend plans have been: nothing. Laying on the couch, attempting to be a normal human, etc. Not exciting stuff, lemme tell you.

Back when my belly was insignificantly pregnant.

That Chik-Filet thing was ridiculous.

Sweaty root beer.

Popcorn not from a bag.

We had this looming trip to Mexico City in mid-August for our godson’s first communion, and we weren’t even sure if I was going to be capable of making the trip. We had bought plane tickets, we had told everyone we would be there. This was straight up family obligation, and everything was super up in the air. When I was calling in sick at least once a week because I couldn’t drag myself out of bed, things didn’t look so good for a 4 hour flight and a weekend of family activities.

Happiness.

It’s been too long.

I would get a little better, with help from some meds, and then I would have a really bad day again. Or a bad weekend. And things wouldn’t look so great for the trip. But we weren’t telling anyone yet because everything was still too early and what was there to tell? What if in a week everything cleared up and I was fit as a fiddle? (Oh please let this happen one day!) If things change so much from week to week we were playing this big family-obligation trip by ear up until a week before. True story. So, instead of staying with family we got a refundable hotel room (for privacy and napping ease), and waited until the ultrasound to tell us if things were still a go.

Baby’s First Feel-up.

And we went! This is a picture of me getting super-frisked at SFO because I opted out of the X-Ray machine. And wow. they tapped my vagina four times. Very weird. I thought Kamel wasn’t watching it all go down, but he was just pretending not to care while he snapped a bunch of photos. He is so sneakily on it sometimes. I love it.

Tacos al Pastor

We love Mexico City for two huge reasons. 1) the family is the best and 2) the food is amazing.

Danny-made cupcake tree.

Viva!

The colors slay me.

Street Fashion.

Traveling and not feeling 100% always sucks, but we also had a lot of fun. I mostly felt guilty for not being my usual yes yes yes self. Having to leave events before they were finished, having to take breaks and rest in our hotel room during the day, having to start the days a little later than usual in order to pull it together. It all made me feel guilty. Not because other people were at all difficult about it, but because this weekend was about family, and even then I had to take time out just for me and that’s really difficult for me to assert or admit to.

For The Baby!

Last Night in Mexico

There’s a lot going on in this photo.

Would I ever think I’d be going to Mexico City while pregnant? If you had asked me 5 years ago I would have told you I had no intentions of going to Mexico City ever! But now it feels so simple. The city where half my family lives. One of my favorite cities in the world. And even though traveling while pregnant is a bit of a pain, it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I worried it would hurt the baby, but so far so good. I worried I would be super sick, but I was just the usual amounts of sick, and I worried I wouldn’t be able to recover once we got back, but I went to work on Tuesday and I was fine.

Classic Airport Waiting Feet.

Kamel’s favorite Mexican chocolate.

Escape is futile.

And once again, the abilities of what the human body can handle amaze me. One day at a time, one adventure, one risk, one fear, one major life event.

The Pregnancy Files: 12 weeks

The evil little creature inside me has turned 12 weeks old and is the size of a plum. I’m sure it won’t be a life-sucking demon forever, but for now that’s how it’s going for me.

Before we went to Mexico this weekend I had plans of talking about early pregnancy fashion (hint: stretchy pants!!). I had a few great outfits planned and was going to take photos of how awesome I rock the accessories (yellow skinny belt, for the win) and how a solid empire waste and some flouncy skirts make all the difference. But then while on trying to look presentable I ended up just hating hating hating how my body was changing. My hips have grown lumps, and my bump is now bigger but I mostly just look like a duck… butt and tummy sticking out in opposite directions. I don’t look cute and pregnant, I just look awkward and confusing.

And I guess that’s also how I feel. Pregnancy always seemed like this really awesome lady experience. Men will never understand what it’s like to be pregnant and wow isn’t that rough for them? Doesn’t that suck, not being able to experience first hand one of life’s greatest miracles? No. No it does not suck for them. They get the best end of the stick, the end where you get to have a baby that’s half made out of you, and your body doesn’t warp into mom-jean wearing, industrial bra toting, giant nipple flashing mother goddess of the maternity waste variety.

I feel lied to about what pregnancy is, and so does Kamel. He repeatedly says “Where was the part about [Insert my latest gross body discovery here] in Knocked Up?! They leave a lot of shit out when they talk about what pregnancy is REALLY like!” And then I remind him that no one would see the movie about the girl who never pooped because she was so constipated, or chest acne, or gaining 7 lbs from carbo loading so you don’t barf at work. No one wants to hear that stuff.

And in light of all of the lovely rape talk thanks to the ever-thoughtful and women-centered Republican party, I can’t turn on a computer, radio, or TV without someone talking – yet again – about where life comes from and when it should be ok to get an abortion (read: NEVER).

This pregnancy has made me even MORE pro-choice than I was before, because before I didn’t really understand the massive sacrifice that carrying around another bundle of cells and synapses is on the body (my body, my mind, my soul, my everything). And let me make it super duperly clear: if this pregnancy hadn’t been a choice Kamel and I made together and a decision we both made after months and months and months of discussion, I would have terminated the pregnancy without any moral trepidation. Knowing what I know now, as someone who is sacrificing every single day for her child,  sacrificing so that it has a healthy and happy arrival into the world, giving women the right to say “Nope! I can’t do this!” is overwhelmingly important. And if I didn’t have a support system, if I was alone and facing all that I’ve faced with this pregnancy by myself, and there was a law that said I had no say in the matter – that would be beyond devastating. The feeling of hopelessness that that creates, even imagining the powerlessness of that situation, makes me feel desperate.

And for those trying desperately to get pregnant, please don’t think I’m thumbing my nose at you. I want you to have all of the babies you want, I want to have all of the babies I want. But we should want the babies we have. We should be willing to make the sacrifices, the physical and the mental, for those babies. No one should be told, “You have no choice in the matter. If you get pregnant you will be forced to see it through.” The sacrifice is too much.

And as sucky as this pregnancy is, as much discomfort and as many tears as I have shed over how much I hate it, I still take my vitamins that make me gag, I still check every time I pee to make sure the baby is still in there and there isn’t any blood on the toilet paper, I research daycares, I touch my stomach and think, “It’s me and you kiddo, the two of us getting through this together, you little shithead.” And when there was turbulence on the plane ride this weekend I kept thinking, “I am the vessel who absorbs all of the bad things in order to make sure you don’t feel any of them.”

And this is the choice I’m making. Every single day I choose this. And every single day I could change my mind.

So, I’m Pregnant

It killed me that I couldn’t write about what was happening with the pregnancy in real time. So, I journaled here about the process up until today. My plan is to post as interesting things happen, like I did with the wedding. No one topic totally takes over, it’s just whatever is happening on the daily that gets written about. I’ll be posting a photo every month. I love seeing pregnant ladies and it will be cool for me to see how things grow and change. Other than that I don’t really have any plans with this whole shenanigan. Now, to catch you all up on things:

I spent the first week after I found out I was pregnant being really, really scared. I was pretty much terrified I would miscarry at work. I was terrified I would suddenly look down and see blood seeping through my pants and staining my desk chair, like some horror film. Every time I went to the bathroom I checked my underwear for spotting. Every time I wiped after peeing I felt relief when there was only the usual and nothing pink or red. I worried I would be grossed out and then maybe pass out at work (I pass out, this isn’t so very far fetched). Worrying about this made my panic spike so that even the littlest mention of blood or stories of anything gross gone awry sent me over the edge and into the bathroom to splash water on my face and take several deep breaths, telling myself, “I got this. Get it together Lauren.” It didn’t help that I did spot, twice, in that first week. And that I had pretty chronic discomfort, pressure, and cramping. I think for a first time pregnant lady cramping is the most ominous thing, even if the internet tells you it can be normal… or not normal. Really, it means nothing. That is the opposite of helpful.

Then one day as I was getting ready for bed and talking this out with Kamel who was hearing every fear, every irrational (or not irrational) thought, I realized: It’s gross. This whole thing is kind of gross. Mucous plugs and increasing the amount of blood in your body (you know, because eventually it comes out in a rather dramatic fashion), and the hormones make you constipated and/or gassy,  and the expanding uterus can give you horrible heart burn and/or make you pee every hour on the hour. It’s just going to be gross and physical and there is nothing I can do about it but ride this shit out. And then I started to feel better. And by the second week I knew that I was pregnant I stopped worrying every day about miscarrying because if I do, I do. It means the baby was broken, the chromosomes not so awesome and the body does a re-boot. It is what it is and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Except stay hydrated, don’t fall down stairs, and take my prenatal vitamins so my kid doesn’t come out with a third eye or 6 toes.

This is me 1 month pregnant:

And pretty soon I am 6 weeks pregnant. Just like that the little creature has a heartbeat (or so I read) and I feel like shit. I sleep 12 hours a day and I constantly feel like I have the flu. Making a baby is magic, but feeling housebound and like every single day is a massive chore – that fucking sucks. I am reading first trimester forums because none of my close friends have had kids yet and my mom says it will suck for many more weeks, so I’m trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel. It cannot be found. Ladies everywhere even complain about fatigue and grossness at 10+ weeks. I am so bloated at work I have to unbutton my pants secretly under my tank top. The gas pains are ridiculously painful and there is nothing I can do to stop them… except fart, of course… and that really doesn’t happen at work in a room full of people. Being pregnant at 6 weeks is indeed miserable.

At 7 weeks this happened:

And it was amazingly reassuring and very cool. Up until the point where we saw the blob on the screen and the feverish heart beat the only sign that it was alive or even in there had been increasing pregnancy symptoms (Oh, did you say migraines, constipation, acne, AND diarrhea? On top of feeling massively hungover on a daily basis? Weee!). So I was a little paranoid that it wasn’t even in there at all and I would have to go through this all over again seeing as how it was just a “Chemical” pregnancy. Thankfully, that did not happen. And now I have evidence of the blobby little face who is trying so very hard to kill me. At this point I really don’t have much fear of miscarriage. I know I’m going to write that sentence and then it’s going to happen because that’s what the universe does – it fucks with you. But I guess that’s also the truth. The midwife who did my ultrasound was pretty stoked about the strong heart beat and how everything was progressing. What I’m most worried about is having it die and then having all of these weeks of hell be for nothing. That would be a crushing blow. And yes, me me me. It’s all about me. I am trapped in the longest flu of my life. Yay baby, but fuck me (That’s what got you here in the first place. Yes I know.) I’m just counting down the weeks to second trimester. So far: 5 to go. That’s over a month. Knowing that makes me cry. I have several times so far because the difficulty of this has been overwhelming.

This is me at 2 months pregnant:

The baby is the size of a raspberry and it has fingers and toes and arm and leg joints and a facial features. I have not popped yet, I do not have a bump, I just have bloatation, giant boobs, extra lbs from carbo-loading on crackers and dry cereal all day, and my total inability to work out because I have 40% more blood in my body than I did 2 months ago and my cardio ability went from pretty awesome to zero in a matter of days. Literally. It’s very spooky to be one day working out in the mornings like it ain’t no thang and then two days later feel like you are suddenly (SUDDENLY! POOF!) 300 lbs and lose your breath walking up a flight of stairs. Talk about who-the-fuck-am-I?? For being as body-conscious as I am, I am doing pretty well as I watch the lbs tick on (yes, I’ve already gained weight, no you don’t have to, yes some people lose weight in the first trimester, obviously not me). I get that things are just going to happen and I have a very limited amount of control, so I’m doing my best. But the most difficult lesson for me in all of this? Realizing that my body no longer functions under my command. Things I thought I knew, are no longer true. Things I used to be capable of, just like that I am no longer capable of. I don’t really know or totally understand my body anymore. It’s been taken over by hormones (or as we say in my house Hormonies) and a foreign creature clawing its way to existence. It’s sort of like I’m not even here. Go ahead, make your human, I’ll just wait.

Then at 10 weeks we saw our baby move:

We now call it the dancing baby. And sometimes Kamel leans over to me and says, “We have a dancing baby!” and I say “Yup!” And that is the greatest. I’m still sick every single day. I have meds that help but I still feel hungover, I’m still massively motion sick at the drop of a hat, and I am still exhausted by simple tasks like … leaving the house. So I don’t. Sometimes we try but then we end up aborting the mission half way through. Sometimes I have windows of feeling ok. Mostly these windows are spent at work, sometimes I’m lucky and I get a few hours where I almost feel normal on a Saturday and I can run some laundry out to the laundry room or return clothes I’ve ordered online that have been sitting on my kitchen table for weeks. It’s really difficult to come up with viable content for the blog because I don’t do anything. And this makes me feel guilty and frustrated. And that’s why I took that week break – I mostly felt like I was failing.

I wrote these paragraphs as things were happening, as I said above. As the weeks ticked by, I wrote little blurbs about them. Now I am 11 weeks! And the baby is the size of a lime. So far there have been some really cool moments – ultrasounds, watching my body shift, learning weird factoids about the process – and sometimes there have been scary moments – sudden pain in my 10th week that could have been a bad sign but wasn’t, having anxiety about miscarriage, a moment when I was sobbing on the couch into Kamel’s chest about being really and truly afraid of labor/delivery – and the overall difficulty of being sick for such a prolonged amount of time. At this point, my eye is on September. I’m almost to my second trimester and I’m hoping and crossing my fingers a major part of the difficulty lifts for me.

Announcement

Finally I get to spill the beans:

Way back in June we found out that I was pregnant! And this is the reason I was slow on returning emails or calling you back. It’s the reason I had to cancel plans or say no to things I generally say YES YES YES to. It’s why the blog has felt very lame lately, and why I needed to take that week off two weeks ago. It’s the reason for lots and lots of things that have happened (or more like: didn’t happen) this summer. Like, how I was supposed to go to OutsideLands this last weekend with Claire and instead we had to sell our tickets because I am going through a period of lameness and constantly feeling hungover and/or motion sick.

Hopefully I will bounce back shortly and be able to fit into my fun pants again. Even with the addition of a belly.

And tomorrow I will give you a big run down on everything that’s happened complete with photos and video. (Yay!!) But for now, it’s just this: Pregnant, me. Hooray!