Category Archives: Pregnancy/Parenting/Working Mom

Disney(R) Princess(TM) Castle Security

No one could ever successfully break into my apartment. I realized that this morning as I tried to quietly get ready for my day in the dark. Here’s what would happen: you’d put on your dark clothes and black knit hat like a proper robber. You’d pick the lock and enter our apartment. Immediately you’d trip over a mountain of Disney(R) Princess(TM) dolls, and land on the Disney(R) Princess(TM) piano, which would start playing “Be Our Guest” at top screeching volume. At this point my daughter will wake up, and demand you give her juice. You will look in the fridge for juice, but there will be no juice because we’re always running out of juice. So to keep her quiet you let her braid your hair. As she stabs your head with plastic Disney(R) Princess(TM) barrettes, she’ll ask you a barrage of questions designed to make you go completely insane, including things like “does my hair have bones?” and “why are you wearing all black and no pink?” and “why don’t we have any juice?” At this point you’ll run screaming from the apartment…if you can get out at all.

But it doesn’t matter, because we don’t have nice things. So we’ll never be burgled.

Unless you really want Disney(R) Princess(TM) toys and accessories, in which case you don’t need to break in – just pull up your car and honk and we’ll happily help load it up.

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Nov. 14

This week marked the due date for the baby I miscarried earlier this year. Pretty grim, I know. I’m doing really well in terms of getting past what happened, but couldn’t help but be hyper-aware of this date.

 

It just so happened I developed a huge cold this week and spent the day in bed (working, thanks to my laptop and awesomely flexible boss) but feeling snotty and nasty and cough-y and gross. It was a welcome distraction.

 

I can’t help but think how different life would be right now if things didn’t happen that way, and if we had a teeny new baby in the apartment right now. I know it wasn’t right somehow, I know that we will have another baby sometime, and if we can’t then we’ll adopt one. But it’s also just so important to me that I take the time to stop and remember this little baby that DID have a heartbeat and was my baby even only for a few weeks.

Becoming at Peace With a Body’s Betrayal

Having an autoimmune condition, you’d think you’d get used to being betrayed by your body. That you’d know you can’t always depend on it to do the right thing, or to work right. You’d think so.

And yet last month, as I laid down on the exam bed, 12 weeks pregnant, and my doctor could no longer find my baby’s heartbeat, I was surprised, like I never thought my body would betray me in this way. Crohn’s, sure. But this?

At my 8 week exam I watched as that tiny heart fluttered on the screen and I cried with extreme joy. I’d gotten pregnant so fast that I wasn’t even sure we were ready, but we were so happy. My stomach grew faster than it had with our daughter, so by 11 weeks I began telling people the news. Not everyone, but people at the daycare to make sure we’d have a spot secured for #2, and people at work who may realize I had a bump.

And that’s the thing, the bump. The doctor told me that the fetus had expired at about 9 weeks. But I had no idea. My body continued to grow. I still felt nauseated and tired. I still felt pregnant. My body told me I was pregnant. My body lied, and lied, and lied to me, for weeks.

In the days following this revelation, as I tried to understand what was happening, as I went back into the hospital for the D&C, as I recovered at home and answered emails and calls from friends and family who’d heard… I just couldn’t stand to look at myself. My stomach was still big. Before I’d learned that I’d miscarried, I’d look at my little bump and smile, so warm and happy that we were having another baby. And after, it seemed somehow bigger, and ugly, and wrong. I wanted it gone. I longed for the flat stomach I’d had when I was 20, before I’d even had kids. I dragged an old college sweatshirt from the back of my closet because it hid my stomach. But I still couldn’t get away, because like it or not, you’re stuck in your body.

And there was a bigger reason for all of this, this hating my stomach. It was when my daughter put her hand on it and asked, “is your stomach getting bigger or smaller,” as she had asked frequently over the past weeks. For the first time I had to respond in a new way. “Smaller,” I said. She looked up at me. “Why did the baby die?” she asked.

After that, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t want to be in any situation where my daughter could see my stomach. Or where anyone could see it.  I’d exercise and do situps, but counter-productively I’d gorge on junk food like I never had before. And I shopped like money was water, going online and ordering any and all clothes that looked like they’d offer a good disguise. Baggy shirts, printed dresses, leggings that didn’t push on the hated bump like an annoying finger reminding me of what I’d lost.

And then, one day, it hit me. Until then, for some reason, I didn’t realize the simple fact: I was mad at my body for betraying me. I was feeling this way but hadn’t put it into a clear thought. This unspoken anger and hurt I was feeling was about my body. And when I realized this, that my anger was toward my body, that’s when I began to forgive it.

I’m still exercising every morning, and I’m still shopping for flattering clothes, but I’ve slowed down on the shopping and slowed down on the junk food as well. My body betrayed me, but it’s the only one I’ve got. And I need to get it in shape if I’m going to try again – and I am, we are – we’re going to try for another baby. But not yet. I’m not fully at peace with my body, my post-pregnancy but not post-baby body. I need a little more time. But at least I know now that this time, while it was terrible, what my body has done is not unforgivable.

Life, Lately, Under Water

We had a joke at my old job, that if you ask anyone in advertising how they are, they’ll always respond with “Busy. Busy. So busy.” (Try it, it’s true.) So when I’m actually busy, busy, so busy, it feels a little overwhelming, like it’s added on to a busy that I already had. I had a dream two nights ago that water started creeping up from between the floorboards and I couldn’t stop it.

 

That’s not to say things aren’t good, because they are. VERY good in fact! I’m planning for my favorite holiday, Halloween, and have 1 of our 3 costumes all set (my husband’s costume is awesome. Mine and my daughter’s are still in production.) Depending on how the wind’s blowing, munchkin wants to either be a cowboy or a princess. I’m waffling between being a rainbow and Audrey Hepburn from the Tiffany’s scene in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (something about being allowed to carry a danish as a prop has this so appealing.)

 

And in between I have work and home and all the other things that have life going around. I had to fight another migraine this week, but my husband said a study just came out saying exercise can help reduce them – if that’s the case, I definitely know why I’ve been getting so many – I haven’t been exercising at all. Whoops. When I woke up in pain this morning I finally got my butt in front of an exercise video (had to blow the dust off that one.)

 

So – exercise has had to suffer, so has blogging. I promise to get a bit better about posting…….

Goodbye Balloon

Today I had to break my daughter’s heart.

We were having a fine day, and everything was wonderful. We were running errands together, but making it fun in the way you have to when you’re with a toddler. We stopped at the hardware store and I let her play with all the keys. We stopped to buy a baby gift, and I let her get a little toy car for herself. Then we met a friend for lunch, and my daughter noticed some mylar balloons with happy faces at a restaurant nearby. She’d been such a good girl that after lunch we went to the 5 & dime (yes, we now live in one of those adorable little towns that still has a 5 & dime) and requested a balloon with a happy face. The only ones they had said “get well,” but it’s not like she can read or anything. I also got her a latex balloon in blue, her favorite color.

Imagine a 2 year old with a balloon tied to each wrist. She was bursting with happiness – it was just steaming off of her. She trotted down the street in a cute little jaunt, with the two balloons whipping around above her. And that’s when it happened.

The bottom tab of the mylar balloon, the part attached to the ribbon, ripped. I only noticed when I heard a woman near us say “oh no!” and look upward. It was too late – the balloon had already floated beyond the awning of the cheese store and was climbing rapidly. I turned to my daughter, who hadn’t noticed yet and was still happily skipping down the sidewalk and singing to herself. “Oh no,” I repeated to that same woman, a young woman, who immediately saw how tragic this was going to be that she immediately turned red and started to cry. Her boyfriend put his arm around her, and they both watched as I went to her.

“Sweetheart,” I said… I stopped. She still hadn’t noticed. I was going to have to tell her. I was going to have to find a way. “Honey, your balloon flew away.” She looked around. She saw the blue balloon was still with her. She was confused that she couldn’t find the other balloon. She looked at me. “It’s gone,” I said. Her face crumpled. The jaunt was gone. The tears began to fall.

“No, honey, it’s okay, no it’s okay. Oh sweetheart – can I get you a new one?” “No,” she sobbed, “that one was mine.” I held her, feeling so acutely this loss. I knew she’d be fine, truly within minutes. But I hated that she had to be sad, if even for a moment. I hated that she had to feel loss in a time when she was so blissfully happy. I hated most of all that I had to be the one to tell her the news, when just seconds before I had been the hero of the day.

And as expected, minutes later and with a kiddie cup of ice cream in her hands, her tears were dried and the balloon was forgotten. But I haven’t forgotten.

It seems I have to break my child’s heart almost daily. Whether it’s telling her a balloon has floated away, or that she’s being naughty and needs a time out, or – truly the worst of all – when I tell her it’s time for me to go to work and we need to say goodbye, I feel like somehow I’m being the worst parent in the world. I know that isn’t the reality. But rarely in parenting do the heart and the mind work in concert.

And for some reason I can’t stop replaying the scene in my mind. My daughter’s silly little dance-walk down the street. The young woman beginning to tear up, with her hand over her mouth. The balloon already so high up in the grey sky.