Category Archives: crabigail’s kitchen

bumpwatch terror alert: week 31

i’m still a little behind, but this is the most recent pregnancy photo, from last weekend:

definitely looking a little bit puffy.

yesterday was thanksgiving. i had to go to the hospital & get some labwork done. specifically, i had to drop off a great big jug of pee (the look on jared’s face when i explained that it had to be refrigerated to inhibit the growth of bacteria was truly priceless) & relinquish a few vials of blood. because it was a holiday, the elderly docents that usually rule the registration desk with an iron fist were gone. off terrorizing their great-great-grandchildren, i assume. i had to go to the ER to register, which was unsettling. & then the lab tech misread my orders & thought i needed to pick up a fresh jug for the 24-hour urine catch. i was like, “oh no, i already did that. it’s in my bag,” & he was like, “awesome! hand it over!” it’s really awkward handing someone a jug of pee. i felt like i should say something, so i said, “um…happy thanksgiving!” luckily, it got a big laugh.

jared & i did a fairly traditional thanksgiving dinner, despite at least a week of non-stop haranguing on facebook from all our well-meaning hippie friends who want to convert the world to vegetarianism & raise awareness about the genocide of first nations people. i was the same way when i was 21. so was jared. i don’t know what happened. i just find all that shit really tedious now. i mean, be a vegetarian, that’s cool. i have no problem with that. i even have some great vegetarian-friendly recipes i can make when i invite you over for dinner. it’s also a very good thing to set the historical record straight when it comes to indigenous people in north america, & the fact that they are still around & still being oppressed. but there’s something about the social networking aspect of all of this that makes it kind of insufferable. add in a bunch of people flipping out over how fucked up & consumerist black friday is & exhorting everyone to celebrate buy nothing day & it’s just a perfect storm of sanctimony. no one is saying anything i disagree with, but they’re also not saying anything that is blowing my mind so it all comes across as a distinctly smug strain of white noise.

then again, i read something recently about the way hormones affect a pregnant lady’s brain, making her want to just hunker down in a safe place with her baby bump & be loved & focused on her growing family more & more as pregnancy progresses. rationally, that strikes me as a bunch of essentialist wombmoon bullshit, but i can’t deny that i have become more & more averse to political arguments & drama as my pregnancy has progressed. compared to growing an entire person from scratch, arguing about buy nothing day–AGAIN, because people have been getting up on their self-righteous buy nothing horses for well over a decade now–seems utterly ridiculous.

jared & i were talking about buy nothing day last night after dinner & he said, “buy nothing day. the holiday created by ‘adbusters’. a magazine whose livelihood basically depends on impulse purchases at whole foods. kind of ironic.” the man makes a good point.

anyway, for dinner, jared brined our turkey & it was fantastic. moist & just a hint of saltiness. he also made cornbread stuffing, which was superb, sour cream mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with apples, & gravy. i contributed green bean casserole, made from scratch. i might be from ohio, but this is not a household that uses cream of anything soup as an ingredient. we also made a pumpkin pie (from scratch–we used the baby’s food mill to puree the pumpkin), an apple pie, & a chocolate pecan pie. i reduced the quantity of syrup & sugar in the pecan pie & added extra pecans & chocolate. it was a lot better that way. denser & not as sugary sweet. jared just used molasses to sweeten the pumpkin pie so it had a rich pumpkin flavor. the apple pie was something of a disaster. jared was too tired after cooking everything else to make a proper lattice so a lot of moisture escaped during the baking process. he deemed it his worst pie ever. i’m not wild about apple pie to start with, so i wasn’t too disappointed.

we ate & ate & ate some more & then we laid on the couch to digest for a while. i asked jared what he was thankful for & he said, “i’m thankful for our new family, & the generosity people have shown us in the baby showering process. & i’m thankful for the internet. …actually, in retrospect, i’m not so thankful for the internet.” i said i was thankful for him & the baby & charlotte, especially the fact that charlotte is much nicer now that she’s getting kind of old. & i’m thankful that i only have like seven weeks left in this pregnancy.

i told jared i read this goofy story involving a 15-month-old in “parenting” magazine while i was at the hospital lab waiting for my blood draw, & he said, “fifteen months? that’s barely even two years old.” i said, “it’s barely even one year old.” he said, “no, you’re one as soon as you’re born.” i was like, “what?” & he was like, “yeah, it’s like the millennium, how there’s no year zero so the first year is one…oh wait. never mind. okay, you’re zero when you’re born.” i laughed & laughed & he got kind of upset about it. my doula told me that her husband had been thankful when their first baby was born that the baby didn’t have “sticky skin”. apparently he thought that some babies were inherently sticky & he was worried about getting a sticky one & having to pick cat hair off of it all the time. i think this was jared’s “sticky skin” moment. i don’t know where dudes come up with this stuff.

he also thought i was chuckling at how slow-moving he was when we were getting ready for bed & he said, “it’s hard to get ready for bed when you can’t bend at the waist because you have an entire thanksgiving dinner in there.” i flipped up my shirt to show the bump & was like, “dude, tell me about it!” he took this perfect three-second pause & then said, “you ate a baby?!?”

bumpwatch terror alert: week 30

wow, i am so behind. this photo is from a week & a half ago.

what an unflattering cardigan.

never fear, i am still pregnant. i didn’t fall behind because i precipitously gave birth or anything. instead, i came down with strep throat & ear infections in both ears. i honestly just thought it was kind of a rough cold, but i guess my OB caught strep throat during her last pregnancy & she insisted on checking me for it because she had been really miserable. the test came back positive, much to my surprise. she got me on antibiotics, but i was still pretty sick for kind of a while. in fact, i’m still a little bit congested & suffering from a residual cough & stuffy ears.

but hey, i guess it’s better to be sick now than after the baby is born. if the baby is feeling angry or rambunctious, it is well contained in my belly & can’t bother me with its screaming yet. & now jared is home, so he can help me out with the house & my terrible health.

i’ve had three biophysical profiles so far & the baby has done great at all of them. there are no signs of fetal distress at all & i am measuring right on target for gestational age. they’re doing growth scans every four weeks & the baby was ENORMOUS at the first one–measuring in the 96th percentile. but those things are really just estimates that can be off by a pound in either direction, & at this stage, being off by a pound could plummet a 96th percentile baby down into the teens. it also may have just had a growth spurt that was throwing off the estimates. the baby FEELS big, but what the hell do i know? i’ve never been this pregnant before.

i too had been doing pretty well at my first few post-gestational hypertension prenatals, but today’s was a bust. my blood pressure was well into the danger zone & the urinalysis was also pretty bad. they are having me do another 24-hour urine catch–because nothing says thanksgiving quite like a big jug of pee in the fridge. i also have to go in tomorrow for bloodwork. yes, on thanksgiving. they wanted to put me on travel restriction too, but luckily, we weren’t planning to go anywhere for thanksgiving anyway. i can’t even imagine how pissed i’d be if i’d shelled out a couple hundred bucks for plane tickets to have thanksgiving with family somewhere or something & then i go to a prenatal & they say i have to stay put. we’ll see how i do on all these tests, but if things come back looking less than great, they are talking about putting me on bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. or at least some kind of modified limited activity. i have a hard time imagining how much more limited my activity could really get, considering that i already don’t work & spend the lion’s share of my days reading library books & napping, but hey.

so it seems like jared has come home just in the nick of time. obviously he still has work to do, like writing an entire dissertation from scratch. but he’s also been pitching in with the cooking, keeping the house clean, helping me put my socks on, taking care of errands, etc. in a dish-washing frenzy the other day, he broke my favorite coffee cup, so we had to go get me a new one. which inspired him to also order a pasta maker. i probably would not have thought to buy a pasta maker if left to my own devices, but now i am really excited to find out how my lasagna recipe is affected by homemade noodles. i already make a stupendous lasagna (if i do say so myself)–i mean, i actually get cravings for my own lasagna recipe sometimes. & i’ve made it so many times, i could do it in my sleep, so it’s not this huge complicated undertaking like people associate with lasagna. i’ve had lasagna in some pretty fancy italian restaurants & it’s really not as good as mine. so i can only imagine that homemade noodles are going to take deliciousness to unforeseen heights.

he also came home just in time to go to my doula’s class on carriers & cloth diapers. obviously we decided long ago that we were going to be a cloth diapering/babywearing family. & to that end, we have already stocked up on about four dozen diapers (an even split between pockets & prefolds with covers) & three different carriers (including a moby & an ergo, both of which i got used for really nice prices). so we weren’t attending the class to necessarily learn if these were the methods for us. we were just curious about what the doulas had to say.

it was kind of weird because they talked a lot about how it’s probably smart to just use disposables for the first few weeks, until breastfeeding is established & you feel like you’re in a good rhythm with your baby, because having a newborn & dealing with feeding & sleeping & screaming & recovering from giving birth & everything else, plus cloth diapering, is just too much. maybe jared & i will live to regret our hubris, but we didn’t really understand this logic. neither of us is really at all familiar with disposable diapers, so no matter what diapering system we choose, there’s going to be a learning curve. so why not just start with what we really want to use for the long haul? sure, there’s laundry involved, but it’s not like we didn’t know that babies make laundry. & we are both committed to cloth diapering, so, you know. we’ll both be contributing to the work involved in laundering. just like we’d both be involved in taking out the trash every ten minutes if we were doing disposables.

i discussed the topic with my doula privately & she was a lot more supportive of cloth diapering right from birth. some people had discouraged me because they said those first meconium poops were way too gross & would “ruin” my diapers. which i also didn’t understand. babies poop. that’s what diapers are for. how can poop “ruin” a diaper? supposedly the meconium stains really badly, but…it’s not like i was planning to frame my pristine white diapers once the baby was pottytrained. i really don’t care about stains. she said that as long as i wasn’t looking at cloth diapering as some kind of hobby where i was going to resell my diapers & make all my money back, i could cloth diaper from the start, no problem. so…i’m going to try it. i will report back if it ends up being a complete disaster.

this is difficult

ugh. i am having a much more difficult time with jared being out of town than i have in the past. & that’s saying something, because i typically don’t handle it all that well. but usually it’s kind of a fun adventure at first. i amuse myself by ordering pizza, laying around in my pajamas all day, watching crappy internet TV, & not picking up after myself. i live like a teenager, i guess. the novelty wears off before long, but this time, there is no novelty at all. i just hate it. i’m chalking it up to pregnancy hormones. even though i am doing okay physically & am totally capable of cooking for myself, running my own errands, taking care of charlotte, etc, i can’t shake the thought: “what if something happens to jared & i have to do everything for myself, & for the baby, FOREVER?” i have read that it’s not uncommon for pregnant ladies to get obsessive about the mortality of their loved ones. it’s not logical, because obviously something bad could happen to him in kansas just as easily as anywhere else, but–that’s the magic of progesterone, i guess.

jared tidied up all of his belongings before he left. he ran dozens of books back to the school library & cleared off the top of his desk for, like, the first time EVER. he put away all his rogue socks & threw out all the little bits of paper on which he scribbles library call numbers. what i’m trying to say is that he inadvertently eliminated all trace that he actually lives here. having jared around is an exercise in living among teetering piles of library books, sheaves of random papers that look like recycling but are supposedly very important, random coat hangers dangling from every doorknob, piles of shoes & belts & smelly soccer shin guards in every corner. it used to annoy the shit out of me when we first moved in together, but i eventually got over it. & now that it’s all tidied up & put away, i really miss it. i cried last night because the house looks like only i live here, albeit with a dresser full of clothes i don’t wear & a desk full of random office supplies i don’t use.

i guess i just need to find some ways to amuse myself while i am holding down the fort by myself. on saturday, after i dropped jared off at the airport, i went to bingo for the first time in months. sometimes i find bingo really stressful & anxiety-provoking, & sometimes i find it very soothing. i did win one game, but two other people won on the same number so we had to split the prize three ways. so i only pocketed $14. still–better than nothing.

an elderly couple from wichita was seated across from me & they were very friendly. i am always self-conscious talking to oldsters because i worry that they are frowning about all of my tattoos & everything. & having knuckle tattoos–i can’t exactly hide them. but they didn’t seem to care. they kept asking me if i was getting close to winning any of the games, & they told me all about their adult grandchildren. i mentioned that i am almost six months pregnant & the woman said, “oh, really?” do i seriously just not look as pregnant as i think i do? i feel like the bump is obvious, but no stranger has ever asked me about it & this isn’t the first time that someone has expressed surprise about the info. i’m not too concerned about it. ultimately, i prefer flying under the radar, even with its lack of preferential treatment, to having strangers try to touch my belly or lay a bunch of unsolicited advice on me.

a week or two before jared left, we went to the grocery store & jared saw that they had put out their display of fall pumpkins. he said, “oh, we should totally get a baking pumpkin & we can put it on the porch until it’s ripe & then we can make that pie you…oh. i’m not going to be here.” & then we both felt sad. this is our last fall as just a couple before we become parents. i would love to spend it making pie together & drinking hot cocoa or whatever. i keep trying to console myself:

* it’s better that he get as much research done now, before the baby is born, because i am going to enjoy solo parenting even less than solo gestating. & the baby will miss him too.
* at least it’s a good thing that he’s an americanist, so research just involves going to new england. we know a lot of people who study, like, spain or russia, & they have to go to europe to do research. which is probably fun in its own way, but extra stressful for any loved ones they are leaving behind.
* if writing his dissertation about new england positions him to get a job in new england once he finishes his PhD, then it will all be worth it.

i will probably get a pumpkin the next time i pick up groceries & make a pie myself.

never will i ever: baby edition

my favorite google search since this pregnancy was confirmed has got to be, hands down, “useless baby gear”. but that’s probably a post for another day. what i really want to write about is my second favorite google search: “things i said i would never do before i became a mom” (& variations). so many people out there have written blogs or posted on messageboards, making fun of themselves for their naive beliefs about how they would parent. it’s like the old saying goes: “i was a really good mom…before i had kids.”

i feel that i have about as reasonable a set of expectations about what parenting will be like as i can, given that this is my first baby, i have almost no close friends with children, & i haven’t even touched an infant in like ten years. i’ve decided to tempt fate by compiling my own list of stuff i don’t think i will do, & then maybe i’ll revisit it in a year or two to see if i actually had my head screwed on straight or if i was as hopelessly naive as i sometimes feel.

i won’t let my baby play with my cell phone. cell phones are expensive! even though i just have a crappy $20 kin one & not an expensive iphone. i still don’t want to risk my baby breaking my phone or accidentally texting someone i don’t like but haven’t deleted from my contacts. i almost never use my phone anyway, so i’m hoping that my baby just won’t realize the phone exists. jared never uses his phone either, so we’re a good team in this respect.

i won’t let my baby bang on my computer & pretend it’s working with me. i DO have a very expensive computer, & i already managed to break the track pad & had to shell out $75 for a “magic track pad” (basically just an external track pad–a mouse would work just as well). i don’t want to take the chance of the baby doing even more damage. i have this fantasy that i will only use the computer when the baby is asleep or having daddy-only time, so maybe it won’t even realize i have a computer. but that is unlikely to work. i spend WAY more time on my computer than i do on my phone, & jared is the same way. we’ll just have to teach the baby that computers are for grown-ups or something.

i won’t let my baby have noisy electronic toys. this is more for my sake than the baby’s. i don’t care if my kid wants to bang pots & pans together, kick its feet on the floor, scream, whatever. i just don’t want all the electronic noise & lights in the house. i prefer my noise natural, & therefore beautiful. or at least not elmo-themed.

i won’t enroll my baby in any weird enrichment classes before it develops its own interests. no baby yoga, no baby karate, no baby soccer. if my kid starts to show some kind of burgeoning interest in the mandolin or french cooking or something, then we’ll see, but i’m not going to force my kid into the kiddie achievement rat race just to compete with other parents. if i am going stir-crazy & want the company of other moms, i’ll try going to the playground more often or something.

i am going to try really, really hard not let my kid have “screen time” before the age of two. meaning: no TV, no checking out movies from the library & letting them watch on my computer, no youtubing “the wiggles”, etc. we already don’t own a TV & i don’t want the kid messing with my computer, so hopefully this will just be a continuation of other policies. i know i won’t have control over what happens at other people’s houses though, & once the kid gets a taste of that sweet, sweet screen, all bets are off.

i won’t try to force or trick my kid into wearing gender-conforming clothes if it doesn’t want to. some people have said that i’ll feel differently someday & do anything to keep my kid from being picked on, but i feel that if my kid is picked on for being gender-non-conforming, it’s other kids & their jerk-ass parents who taught them shitty values that need to change, not my kid.

i will not intentionally introduce my child to disney…EVER. i know eventually the kid will find out on its own, from its friends or whatever, but i’m not going to be the one that brings that evil into my child’s life. what is it about disney? whenever someone tells me they love disney, i just know they vote republican & probably own a texas tuxedo.

i won’t go nuts about organic food & be that mom who won’t let her kid eat birthday cake at a party. i think this one will be pretty easy. i mean, pregnancy hasn’t stopped me from drinking coffee, eating sushi, & snarfing the occasional frozen pizza. i doubt i’ll flip the script where the kiddo is concerned. we eat pretty healthfully; i think we can just stay the course.

i will not post about poop on facebook. i recognize that no one wants to hear about my kid’s diaper incidents, not even other parents.

i won’t beat myself up if i fail to have a natural birth or breastfeed my child for as long as i would prefer (i’d like to do baby-led weaning). i also won’t act like a superior jackass if i do have a natural birth or do extended breastfeeding. my choices are my choices & they’re not for everyone. & if they don’t work out, they don’t work out. the kid will probably be okay either way, which is what matters.

i won’t get rid of my cat just because i have a baby. even if the cat scratches the baby…it’s a good lesson. animals aren’t toys. as my sister put it when my cat slashed her child in the face: “pain is the teacher.”

i’ll probably think of more stuff as time goes on. any experienced parents reading this–what do you think? do i seem to have reasonable expectations or am i utterly deluded?

what we talk about when we talk about the bulk bins at the hippie grocery store

jared wanted to go to the hippie grocery store the other day to buy pumpkin seeds so he could make homemade granola. i know, right? i probably don’t need to explain that this is the same dude who won me over to cast-iron. i had been skeptical of anything that a) you can’t clean with soap, & b) is often used by people who live in collective houses & sew their own pants. so we went to the hippie grocery store & i guess jared figured that as long as we were there, he should stock up on pastry flour, lentils, i don’t even know what all he got. i was too busy wandering around in a stupor, saying things like, “bulk honey! what a great idea! wow, look at these cunning little glass jars with cork lids! can you imagine being the kind of morally superior person that would have a legitimate use for something like this? man, i wish i was the kind of person who cared enough about her health to actually eat stuff like steel cut oats drizzled with flax seed, blueberries, & goat’s milk yogurt!” i think some of the other shoppers thought i was making fun of them, but i was DEAD SERIOUS & totally having an aspirational hippie consumer experience.

before i got pregnant, it’s not like i was unaware that i don’t always make the healthiest or most responsible choices when it comes to what i eat or how i spend my leisure time or whatever. example: one of my friends was telling me recently about how her dad is kind of an intellectual practical joker. apparently he once convinced a child that he often sees that “down” means up & “up” means down, so the kid started asking to be “picked down”. he convinced another friend, recently emigrated from some country like turkey or something, that pizza is the ultimate american health food because it provides all the major food groups in a single recipe. the dude just started eating pizza for every meal, & as my friend (who is teeny tiny, i should add–i helped her pick out a graduation dress once & she had to request the dress off the mannequin because all the dresses on the floor were too big; this is not a problem i have EVER had) was explaining this part of the story to me, i was like, “yeah, of course, that’s pretty much how i live, pizza is the world’s most perfect food.” but i guess the conclusion to the story is that the pizza dude gained a bunch of weight & started developing high blood pressure & such forth from his purportedly “unhealthy” all-pizza all-the-time diet.

anyway, i had this idea that once i got pregnant, somehow a switch would be flipped & i would transform into a version of myself that does all the stuff that i imagine people better than myself do. like cook with cast-iron without being resentful that cast-iron has to be cleaned in a different way from all the other dishes. or eat steel-cut oats with flax seed, blueberries, & goat’s milk yogurt. or ride a bike to prenatal appointments (because the hospital isn’t really THAT far away…maybe like twenty blocks? maybe less). keep an introspective & insightful pregnancy journal. take weekly belly photos to enjoy the way my body changes. spend more time sitting on the back porch with a library book, soaking up the sunshine. getting out the sewing machine & making all my own cloth diaper wipes from old towels & soft flannel patterned with cheerful animals. realizing that keeping a stock of witch hazel could be a use for a cunning cork-top glass bottle that is also good for my health & healing. actually read the articles my friends send me about the dangers of vaccinations instead of just throwing them away & then distancing myself from the crackpot friend. i could go on.

i feel that i have spent a good chunk of my life feeling alienated from people that do things like go running around the pond just because they like to stay fit & active, or who join amateur marching bands as adults & learn how to play the french horn, or decide to invest $10,000 in buying a falling down old cabin & then renovate it completely relying only on their own skills & those of their friends. these are things i feel that i would NEVER do in a thousand million gazillion years, but i also have this nagging suspicion that the people who do do these things are probably happier, less judgmental, less cynical, & more well-liked than i am. & don’t i owe it to my baby to try to be happy, well-liked, non-judgmental, & non-cynical? i don’t want to be that mom that sees her baby walking for the second time & is like, “right. awesome. call me when you learn to stop shitting yourself.”

because jared & i can’t afford the hippie grocery store (seriously, some bulk grains, a new water bottle, & a three-pound chicken cost us almost $60, & we had to pack it into a reused cardboard box, which again, is one of those things that a person morally superior to myself probably wouldn’t resent at all), we go there very rarely & only to buy specialty items we can’t get at the regular cheapo grocery store. so every time i go, it’s a weird aspirational consumer experience where i imagine what life would be like if, you know, i was the kind of person that remembered to bring her own canvas bag to the grocery store & hand-bound her own journals & noted the passing of the seasons by pressing leaves & enjoyed eating new & unusual fruits, etc etc. i look around at everyone else in there & i’m like, “i bet you can do triangle pose without falling over, & i bet that guy over there totally knows how to make potato soup without a recipe, & that lady definitely knits her own socks.”

now that my pregnancy is like a third of the way over (-ish), i am coming to terms with the fact that becoming a mom is not in fact going to fundamentally change my personality. i’m still going to eat pizza. i’m still going to drag my feet on going to the pool for pregnant lady exercise. i’m still going to go into really long-winded explanations about how i cope with hot weather that result in me accidentally quoting avon barksdale from “the wire” (“you only do two days: the day you go in & the day you get out”). i’m still going to primarily interface with the world by making fun of the stuff that i think is stupid, which includes everything from musical theatre to people who stencil their baby’s name on the nursery wall to people who think being arrested by campus security is a really effective way to wage political protest. baby, you can’t change me.

hopefully i’ll still be alive at the end of the month

i woke up yesterday in absolute agony. my entire upper back & neck were locked into place. i couldn’t look side to side or up or down without excruciating pain. i am no stranger to chronic back pain, but this is a new one for me. usually my pain is concentrated in my lower back & hips. i’ve had a few sore neck incidents, but i don’t remember anything like this.

april is off to a pitiful start so far. sunday was jared’s first full day home from the environmental history conference, which was in some ways great, but in other ways–it’s tough for a grad school widow, you know? your partner is always packing up & leaving town, which forces you to come up with your own little tricks for managing the household by yourself. & then your partner comes home & screws up your system. jared woke me up from a nap on sunday, not once but twice! i overlooked it the first time because he had just come home from a soccer game. he had no way of knowing that i was asleep. but he woke me up again coming into the bedroom for a robe after taking a post-soccer shower. & i wasn’t taking some ordinary everyday nap that’s no big deal. i was that kind of tired that you get sometimes where you’re actually crying about how tired you are. chalk it up to the progesterone supplements i have to take.

he then multiplied the crime of waking me up by moving my typewriter off of the kitchen table (where i had stationed it with the best intentions for catching up with all my mail–totally did not happen, by the way) & on to my desk. even though the typewriter clearly belongs on the bottom shelf of the living room bookcase. my computer goes on my desk. i was in the bedroom watching “roseanne” & trying desperately to stay awake until 9:30pm when it would be acceptable to turn in for the night, so when i brought my computer back out to my desk, i had nowhere to put it because the typewriter was in the way. so i moved the typewriter & plugged my computer back in…but it didn’t start charging. i started freaking out in a really exhausted, low-key way, wondering if the power cord had finally given up the ghost. then i realized that jared had simply unplugged my charger to plug in his own. rather than unplugging, i don’t know, maybe the gratuitous floor lamp that we turn on maybe once a year when all the bulbs in the overhead light burn out at the same time.

so i had to share my feelings, which consisted of saying, “i’m so aggravated,” & then i burst into hysterical sobs. i’m also going to blame this one on the progesterone supplements. they can make a person a bit emotional, especially when she’s so tired that watching “everybody loves raymond” is starting to seem like it might be a good idea. jared did his best to escalate things into a real fight (“these are tiny problems that aren’t even worth mentioning, but i guess to you they’re evidence of what an asshole i am, huh?”) but i was too tired to take the bait & instead, i just cried.

okay, i will blame it a little bit on grad school widowhood. every time jared leaves for a conference or a research trip or something, i miss him so much & am simultaneously in vacation party mode & completely at loose ends until he gets home. sometimes i feel like a housewife from 1962 because i have taken on so many of the responsibilities for managing the household, just because i know i will probably be around to handle them–i don’t have to leave at random intervals in order to further my career. so i pay all the bills & take care of a big chunk of the housework & have a mental calendar for recycling day & whether we need to stock up on cat food & laundry detergent. i don’t mind it because i’d probably be stressing about this stuff anyway even if someone else was taking care of it, but it does start to feel feminine mystique-y sometimes. more than once, jared has been accepted to present at a conference or won a fellowship on the same day when my biggest accomplishment was that i cleaned the litterbox.

anyway, yesterday i woke up with this stiff neck situation. i couldn’t even sit up from laying on my back because i couldn’t move my neck that way. i had to roll on to my side & push myself into a sitting position. i spent most of the afternoon laying flat on the floor, listening to “this american life”. then i drove across town for an emergency massage. the massage therapist said my neck muscles all felt like rope, which is apparently not good at all. she always does a little stretching with her massages, & it usually feels nice, but this time i actually screamed in agony. pretty embarrassing. she worked on me for an extra half hour & knocked $10 off my bill, & sent me home with a bag full of some weird icy hot knock-off called biofreeze. she suggested a heating pad, but it was over 90 degrees yesterday, so that wasn’t happening.

also yesterday, i cut my leg on this part of the car that i fucked up by driving into a tiny pole, i smashed my left hand in the front door, i hit my head on my bedroom door jamb, & then i hit my head on my car window. i don’t even know how i did any of this stuff, but i did openly sob about it in public.

today my neck is still killing me, but truthfully, i think it’s a little better. i at least felt motivated to take the car to the car wash, as it’s probably more disgusting filth & schmutz than car right now, but wouldn’t you know? literally the second i pulled into the parking lot of the car wash, the sky opened up & it started pouring. so i turned around & went home. it’s like my life is a stand-up routine from 1986. “you know the difference between white people & black people?…melanin, probably. i don’t know. so, sun-dried tomatoes, am i right? what else can the sun dry, i wonder?”

tomorrow me, my stiff neck, my sudden predisposition for injury, & my constant sobbing are going to a yoga class for the first time. it should be pretty exciting. i can hardly wait to trip over a pile of mats & fall down the stairs & cry in front of some more strangers. tomorrow is also jared’s birthday. i think he intends to celebrate by doing lots of schoolwork & being incredibly anxious. but i’m going to make him a flourless chocolate cake, whether he asks for one or not.

plan-it-xyerra fest

inspired by jared’s sterling example of internet restraint, i installed leechblock on my browser & blocked all the pregnancy/trying to conceive websites i like to look at. i just don’t have any self-control with them. i can spend hours scrolling through old posts, looking at people’s fertility charts, comparing them to my own & wondering if i might be pregnant this cycle. now i am only allowed to look at them for ten minutes every four hours. this is going to free up A LOT of time that i hope to use for writing, reading my way through the teetering stack of library books that is constantly replenishing itself like some kind of evil horcrux-concealing potion, & wandering around town getting lost.

yeah, so i still don’t know if i’m pregnant or not. but that should change within the next few days. i tested with a dollar tree test yesterday & saw two lines for sure, without a doubt. it’s just a question of whether that second line is for real, or if it’s an indent (where the test chemical leeches out of the strip, leaving a nearly-imperceptible divot behind–it can read as a shadow, which can read as a very faint positive test). i took a more expensive test this morning, & again, there was just the tiniest whisper of a line, which also could have been an indent. i’m just assuming that they are indents, & that i am either not pregnant or testing too early. i have a whole stockpile of tests in reserve & will just use one every day until i get an answer.

i am trying to prepare myself for the likelihood of once again not being pregnant. i know there are some women who don’t get positive results on their home pregnancy tests until they are like a week late for their periods. but there are so many places on the internet where ladies suffering the ravages of baby rabies congregate together to discuss how they got their positive pregnancy tests like a week BEFORE their periods were due that i am feeling kind of shitty. i’m not late yet. logically, i know i could be testing too early. emotionally, i am beginning the process of giving up for this cycle & trying to find a silver lining.

i have one more cycle left with just the 50mg of clomid before i have to regroup with my doctor & come up with an alternate approach. i had an appointment with her a few days ago & she said she would probably just double my dose of clomid. i don’t really understand how that would work. clearly, i am ovulating with 50mg. taking 100mg instead would only increase my risk of becoming pregnant with multiples or suffering ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, which could result in the loss of one or both ovaries (& hence, even more compromised or totally eliminated fertility). but i am trying not to worry about that for now.

if i don’t get pregnant this cycle or next, i am taking a break. i need some time off from all the drugs, & jared’s probably going to be presenting at a conference in western mass when i’m ovulating in april anyway. it’s weird to think that if i’m still not pregnant by then, i’m looking at a year-plus until i finally have a take-home baby…at the earliest.

anyway! today jared & i took a walk & went by the first house we lived in when we moved to lawrence. we had to move out almost immediately because there was an enormous hole in the roof above the window we intended to use as a bedroom. rain poured inside like a waterfall. that’s not an exaggeration at all. a person easily could have showered in there during a thunderstorm. we had the apartment condemned by the city in order to get out of our lease. that was two & a half years ago. there’s clearly someone living up there now, judging from the totally bitchin’ grateful dead tapestry tacked up over the window…but it’s obviously still not fixed. the entire window frame is rotting out. it’s amazing what slumlords in lawrence can get away with, just by rolling the dice & hoping that their next tenant is going to be too stoned to call the city & report them.

we cut through a church parking lot on the way home & i found a dollar bill flapping on the ground. i pocketed it & immediately said, “i wish it was a hundred-dollar bill.” i feel like this story sums up everything that is wrong with me as a person. i took money that i found in a church parking lot, & rather than being thankful, i immediately complained, out loud, that i hadn’t randomly found one hundred times more. i am seriously such an asshole. not that i am really all that interested in changing that aspect of myself.

but i am interested in no longer drinking (or eating, if i can help it) things that contain high fructose corn syrup. i’ve gotten way into ginger ale because it helps with the nausea i experience on my fertility meds. but the ginger ale from the regular grocery store all contains high-fructose corn syrup, which is basically just liquid type 2 diabetes germs. my dad & my paternal grandma are diabetic…well, my dad was before his diabetes killed him at the tender age of 48. i feel like i really need to watch it, especially because my blood pressure is looking a little high these days…so i guess jared & i are going to start making our own ginger ale with homemade ginger syrup & carbonated water. it’s all very folk-punk. don’t be surprised if you see me running a zine delivery service by bicycle & holding weekly bonfires where everyone just hangs out, sharing their tips for cutting a good stencil or cobbling shoes.