Monday, April 30, 2007

Lost That Loving Feeling

Not quite, but sometimes it's hard.

I'm just starting to get my libido back in gear after the first trimester slump. I had no desire for sex, and I didn't even want to be bothered with putting up with it for my husband's sake. I pretty much just said, "Leave me alone," and rolled over.

Then HB happened again. He's my flirt friend at work. Even though I know he flirts with pretty much every lady at the company, I still get a special feeling when he tosses a compliment my way. Face it, I'm not traditionally beautiful. I'm overweight with moderate-to-severe acne. I don't really have a self-esteem problem; I just know not to expect the fawning attention and admiring glances that my more attractive counterparts receive.

So even if HB doesn't reserve his compliments for me alone, it didn't stop me from developing a tiny crush. I get all flushed with excitement when he says something especially nice. And usually, the attention makes me more receptive to my husband.

But Friday night, instead of cuddling up closer to him, we fought. I don't even remember what it was about. I just remember crying myself to sleep and feeling oh-so lonely and wishing I had someone who wasn't such a jerk and who appreciated me... like HB.

Mind you, adultery makes me want to vomit. There's no chance in hell I'd respond to romantic gestures from someone other than my husband. So on Saturday, I had a tiny epiphany.

You're stuck with your spouse, and you have to try to get what you need from that person or you have to adjust your needs.

So that's what I told my husband. He's been complaining A LOT lately about how emotional I've been. And I told him he'd have to adjust his expectations. I'm pregnant, and I'm hormonal and emotional. I'll do my best to be nice to him and to Ben, but there are some attitudes I can't control immediately. I told him that if he gets frustrated, he should take me up on my offers to stay home with Ben while he goes for a bike ride.

I made him go for two bike rides over the weekend, and it really helped. Spending time apart, even for just an hour, helped.

I couldn't pinpoint exactly what I wasn't getting from Chester, and I didn't overanalyze the point. I think just keeping the new mantra in my head helped me feel better about our relationship.

And my dreams became sweeter. And I finally came back to the proverbial marriage bed with love and joy and did what married people are allowed to do. The crazy circus sex dream helped, though.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Swear The Baby's Not On Crack

Everything's fine.

The baby is measuring at 11w2d (I'm only supposed to be 10w3d). And the heart rate is incredibly fast at 171 beats per minute.

There's already an attached umbilical cord and everything. Very nice indeed.

There was much rejoicing in the land.

I had to go to the appointment by myself, and I was in agony beforehand. Why? The over-full bladder. I couldn't walk, and I was having horrible stomach cramps. I was bawling when I checked in, and they let me "release just a little." The ultrasound tech was so mad... she had told the check-in lady that I could void completely, that she could still get a good view as long as I had chugged all the water I said I did.

She had me lay down for a quick peek to verify that there was a heartbeat, and then I jumped up and was able to pee to my heart's content. Then I went back for the rest of the ultrasound. Bless her dear sweet heart.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Let's Put A Spin On This

My OB was unable to find a heartbeat at my 10-week checkup this afternoon, so she scheduled me in for an ultrasound on Thursday morning.

Positive Spin, brought to you by the enthusiastic, confident lady that I am:

I'm a heavy lady, and that makes it harder to find the heartbeat this early by doppler.
I'll get to see pictures of our little peanut, not just a sucky audio recording of a heartbeat.
I'll be reassured that, even though twins are always a blessing and a miracle, we will blessedly not be blessed with twins.
I'll still get to have another ultrasound at 18 weeks when we'll find out the gender.

So that's that. Thought you guys should know what's going on.

I promise I'll post by Thursday afternoon and let you know what they found. Oh. And hubby won't be able to be at the appointment with me because of a stupid contest his department at work is part of. It requires 100% participation from the department before they all get free shoes. And I'd have to be dying before they'd let him out of going.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Vomit, Heartbeat & Surgeries

I'm going to try to make this quick. I'm only at work for half a day, and there's a ton of crap to do.

I'll start out by saying, Yay. I made it to Week 10. Tomorrow afternoon I have my next check-up, and we should hear the heartbeat then. I'm very nervous and anxious about it. The appointment could go really well or really badly, if you know what I mean. I don't want to say my fears out loud. But they are definitely knocking around my skull today.

Ben was very cuddly and lethargic this morning when we woke him up. He stayed cuddling on me even while he drank his bottle. And then he vomited all over. Poor kid. Chester took the morning shift at home, and I'll be there this afternoon.

Funny thing about Chester not being at work this morning. The power has switched off and on twice already. No clue why. But from previous experience, I know that a power outage is enough to send the Systems guys into a freaking tailspin, and Chester is missing all of the fun.

We had a nice weekend that could have gone very badly. Chester's project was to replace the drain in our bathtub so we could give Ben a full tub bath. Before we just used an inflatable tub insert, but Ben's getting really acrobatic in the tub, and he doesn't have enough room. So we found out just how hard it is to retrofit a new drain into a tub that's over fifty years old. Not easy at all. I was finally able to take a shower last night, but it was tough waiting the whole weekend for that. We decided that if Chester couldn't get the thing hooked up properly by four in the afternoon, we'd stay at a hotel for the night. He finished by three. Ben had a terrific time in the tub last night. He especially loved floating on his back. We are going to have so much fun at the lake this summer.

We put together Ben's brand new radio flyer red wagon. He loves climbing in and out, but he wasn't too impressed with the whole riding around in it thing. He preferred to climb out and push it himself.

The weather was beautiful all weekend. I loved having the opportunity to air out the house a little. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to open the windows a little this afternoon since the house currently smells not of fresh spring air, but of hot dog and peaches vomit.

At this moment, my mom is in surgery getting her knee replaced. She calls it her Spa Week at the Knee Factory. She's 62 and very active, and not having full use of her knee for the past couple years has really sucked. We're going to Oshkosh on Wednesday to visit her in the hospital. She requested a cupcake so she can sing Happy Birthday to me.

Oh yeah. That's right. I'm turning 26 on Wednesday.

My sister is having her breast reduction surgery tomorrow. A long time coming. She'll be going from a 34H to a 34C. She's very excited. And I'm nervous for her. Last night I dreamed that I was able to switch places with her after the surgery so she wouldn't have to go through the pain and discomfort of the stitches and drains. I can't believe they do reduction surgery on an outpatient basis. I think it's crazy.

Okay. I think I've got you guys caught up on my life. Back to the proofreading grindstone.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Toothpaste and the Ornery Pregnant Lady

This is the week that our embryo graduates to fetus status. We're thrilled and may throw a party. Okay. Maybe not.

I realize the I'm hormonal and that the rush of hormones may tame my ability to think straight and quell my temper. I would prefer to spend these marvelous few months of the first trimester in solitude. I'd like to just wallow away my misery in private, but no. I have to participate in society.

That means, though, that certain aspects of life will feel my wrath. And it seems like Ben's daycare center is at the top of the bill right now.

Why? Toothpaste.

I'll elaborate. In January when Ben switched from Infants 1 (4 weeks up to walking) to Infants 2 (walking up to potty training), we were told we could provide toothpaste and a toothbrush for our son, and they would help him brush his teeth after lunch. We were thrilled, and we bragged openly about this service to our near and dear.

Last week, his toothpaste and toothbrush came home with us in Ben's diaper bag. Nobody said anything. I just left it in there. Until last night, when I couldn't find Ben's at-home set. I unscrewed the cap, and imagine my surprise when I found the safety seal still intact. I was mad.

And, since I'm a proper WI-bred young lady, I was too embarrassed to say anything this morning when we dropped off our precious bundle of energy and joy. But I festered about it all morning, and I made Chester call CR, the manager, after lunch.

CR expressed surprise that they hadn't been brushing his teeth. It was part of the program. She said it was up to the parents' discretion whether or not the teeth should be brushed, and it was up to us to provide the supplies. Well, we had, and they didn't. She said she'd ask the care providers about it.

I'm left with the overwhelming relief over the fact that I won't have to trust these people to help us potty train our son. Ben is too young to tell us what goes on at daycare, so we have to take their word on it about what happens during the day. If they lied about the toothbrushing, what else are they saying that they are doing but really aren't?

I've been unhappy with them for a couple of months. Pretty much ever since they raised their rates, and I started to notice how little they do to keep up the facilities. The walls haven't had a fresh coat of paint in years, the yard is untidy and sloppy, and there's trash in the parking lot. Where is our money going? It's not going to making the place look presentable, and if it's going towards "excellence in care," why are they being sloppy in the way they run their toddler room?

Ben will only be there for five more months or so. Unless something major happens (and toothpaste is not major), we won't find a new center. He loves his ladies there, and they love him. I just have to lower my expectations.

In other news, the nightmares have stopped for the most part. Some nights my dreams get a little freaky, but they aren't as emotionally disturbing as last week. I think a big part of it was the stress from it being the 8th week (the week in which my best friend miscarried her baby in October).

Cute Ben Thing:
Saturday morning, I was lying on the couch like a log while Ben played around the house. He was dancing in the living room, and started to do his "twirls." I saw him spin a couple of times and then sit down. "Ooooh. Ring Around the Rosie." And, wouldn't you know it, that's what it was. I sang it with him a lot, and he continued to dance. Daddy's version includes holding his wrists and lifting him off the floor and then gently placing him on the floor for the Fall Down part. When my mother and niece stopped by to visit yesterday, he kept going up to them with his arms up to grab their hands and dance in a circle with them. It was adorable. They laughed when I threatened to trip Ben if he didn't Fall Down at the end of the song.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Battlefield Of The Mind

Yes, I know it's the title of a Joyce Meyer book. It's one of my mother's favorite things to give at Christmas.

That being said, this has been a rough week for me psychologically. Why? Those vivid dreams of early pregnancy have turned into nightmares for some reason. Oh, how I long for those simple, orgasm-inducing sex dreams of a couple weeks ago where I wake up and swear I've just had some awesome sex and I feel totally satisfied, only to face my husband, who remains cut off from the pleasures of the marital bed.

A couple nights ago, when I was actually able to stay asleep for more than 45 minutes without having to get up and use the bathroom, I had an Awful Nightmare. It was so bad, the next day at work, I kept having flashbacks of some of the more violent scenes. It made me feel very timid and terrified, even at work. The next night, my dreams remained on the dark side, though not down to the same caliber of the first (which included me witnessing some horrendous, depraved crimes).

Last night I added some melatonin to my nightly bunch of pills. It helped a lot. I fell asleep quicker and was able to get through the dream stage of sleep well before my morning wake-up time so I wasn't just getting done washing the blood out of my hair before the alarm went off.

It still troubles me. I'm not a violent person by nature. I'm a kind, gentle person, and I avoid violent movies and TV shows. I won't even watch cheesy horror movies. When I was a teenager, part of my mental health issues included an anxiety disorder where I couldn't easily distinguish between real and pretend. It got to the point where I couldn't watch an action flick because I'd go comatose (to a happy place) at the first strike of violence on the screen. Example: I passed out when I saw The Matrix in the theatre. Scared the hell out of my boyfriend. It took him a while to shake me out of my stupor after it was over.

My mind didn't register that the violence on the screen wasn't actually happening to me or people I know and love. So I stopped watching the bad stuff to avoid having embarrassing things happen, like a panic attack or black out.

That was years ago. I was on Zoloft for years to treat anxiety and depression. My life is pretty stable right now, and there isn't much that causes anxiety or panic. And I have a wonderful husband to shore me up when I start to fail. So I stopped taking my Zoloft before I got pregnant again. Even though Zoloft is one of the only anti-depressants considered somewhat safe by the medical field now, my OB would prefer if we didn't chance it, unless my mental health deteriorates so much to the point where the stress hormones in my body could hurt the baby.

I have a few coping mechanisms now for panic and depression. One of them is the rosary my best friend gave me a couple years ago. She's Catholic, and I'm not, but I've always been drawn to the quiet rituals and comfort of that particular faith. So if I get really uptight and anxious, I can pull out the rosary I keep in a satin bag in my purse, and I start meditating and praying.

Before husband and babies, I also smoked. I really enjoyed the relaxation and time outs. Smoking made me take time to stop talking, stop running around. I'd just be outside for ten minutes, killing myself and anyone around me with the smoke. Of course, this isn't an option available to me anymore for various reasons, including my own determination to remain smoke-free.

The other coping mechanisms I have, like pleasant-thought concentration and change-of-perspective exercises, help me during the day, but I can't figure out a way to fight off the demons when I'm sleeping. I'm pregnant and fatigued all the time, and I really need to sleep, but I'm scared of it now. I'm scared of what horror my mind will come up with for me to live through each night. Maybe I need to do some research into lucid dreaming, so I can start getting some control back.

On a lighter note, Ben managed to get up the stairs all by himself yesterday morning with no one standing by for safety. Husband left the door to the stairs open while he and I were in the kitchen making breakfast. I went into the living room just as Ben was rounding the corner at the top of the stairs. God help us if he tried to climb back down on his own.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Gender Predictor

Friday afternoon was a gal chat fest with my sisters and my mom at my house. We talked about my new pregnancy, and I let it slip that I think we're having a girl. I said it's just a feeling I have, but I've also had three dreams where people come up to me to tell me I'm having a girl.

And then my mom said she had a dream that I'm having a girl, too. That clinched it. My mom and I have shared dreams like that all of my life. Could be considered prophetic, or intuitive. Whatever. I thought my mom's dream was nifty.

It wasn't anything poignant or dramatic. She was just walking past a baby laying on the floor, cooing and giggling. And she did a double take. Who is that baby? And then she knew. It was Cheryl's daughter. End of dream. Just a flash. But it was enough to send me spinning with joy.

Honestly, I'll be fine if this little fetus turns out to be another boy. Ben rocks, and it's tradition in my family and my husband's family to have two boys first. If anybody were to bet on the contents of my uterus, the odds would be in favor of a boy. My mother had two boys first. My brother had two boys. My in-laws had two boys. Chester's brother had two boys.

And, although I've had dreams where my daughter Somerset visits with me and plays with me, who knows. That might be my adopted daughter. I've always known that when we can afford it, I want to be a foster mom, and hopefully adopt. After all, we are shutting down the baby factory after this new little miracle comes out.

In other news, I told my husband that I still like the name Henry for a boy. And if we have twin girls, I want the other girl to be named Marlowe. That's a weird name that came to me when I was falling asleep Friday night. I think it's nifty. Marly is a cute nickname. I might get over it, though. Who knows.

Okay. I'll admit where I heard "Marlowe." I watch old studio movies from the 40s and 50s every night while I'm falling asleep. Chester turns off the tv when he comes to bed, but I find it easier to settle my mind with my movies on in the background. The viewing choice for that evening was "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter" with Tony Randall, Betsy Drake and Jayne Mansfield. The blonde bombshell character, played by Jayne, of course, is named Rita Marlowe. I just like the way that name sounds when they say it.

Today is the first day of my eighth week of pregnancy.

And I was spazzing out a lot over the weekend about fears of a miscarriage. My best friend lost her baby when she was in her eighth week. And the thought of it happening to me scares the crap out of me. I made Chester go to the store to get a pregnancy test, just so I could be reminded that I actually am pregnant. (Yes, I know that a pregnancy test could still be positive if I was having a chemical pregnancy. I don't care. The test means nothing in reality, but it made me feel better).

Other reminders of the pregnancy helped as well. My breasts ballooned up last night and were very swollen and tender when I was trying to get to sleep. And I threw up again this morning when I was dumping out a bottle that had a bit of spoiled milk at the bottle. Still haven't gotten over that one.

Life's okay, though. Just one more month until that magical 12-week mark. I have my next prenatal appointment on the 23rd of April, and hopefully we'll get to hear the heartbeat.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Getting Ready For The Weekend

My mom came down today to take care of Ben since daycare was closed for Good Friday. They had an awesome morning. Ben even put himself to sleep for his nap. Nana was holding him on her lap, and he reached for the nuk that was on the table next to her. Then he squirmed down and pulled the blanket off of her lap. Then he walked over to his nap blanket and laid down and fell asleep. Simple as that.

My mom called and asked me how we had trained him to do that. Had to explain that it was just the magic of Benji, and we just encouraged it.

This afternoon, I got off of work early. An hour later, my sister, sister-in-law, niece and baby nephew blew into town. Boy was that fun. My nephew Gage is a chunk and a half. Seriously. He's four months old and twenty pounds. The 95th percentile across the board, so he's just really big all over. So funny. He has this cute button nose that is smack in the middle of this big cloud of baby fat. Absolutely adorable.

Eventually, everybody but the essentials left. And now Chester and I are enjoying a quiet evening at home with the Benmeister.

This weekend. Not a lot planned. We're not going to Easter dinner anywhere. Hopefully, we'll get some more work done on the bathroom, but I don't have a lot of expectations. My only task for the weekend is to rest. A lot.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Maternity Clothes at 7 Weeks? That's crazy talk.

Ben is going into cute overdrive lately, and I find it adorable. This morning, he rediscovered a toy that he got for Christmas. It's a singing, talking, teaching plush doggy. Really, a creepy thing that says "Hug Me" and "Yellow Hand."

Anyway. He decided that it was the most wonderful toy in the world this morning, and he would motion for me to make it sing, and then he would smile, dance and spin in circles and eventually clap. He kept this up for a while. Chester taught him to hug the doggie. I almost swooned from the cuteness.

I'm down to my last pair of non-knit pants now. It's very depressing. For at least another month or two, I'll just look kind of puffy to the outside world. To me, I feel like a blimp, and I can tell that I'm showing. My belly is getting sore and tight again like it was with Ben. And, since I'm significantly overweight, I have two belly bulges already. The lower, baby pouch of soft, spongy goodness, a tighter band at the height of my belly button, and then another bulge with the rest of my belly fat. So, the baby is pushing everything up while it takes up more space in my pelvic region. I can fill out some pregnancy tops with the top bulge, but the bulge up there is just a bunch of fat and organs, so it's really uncomfortable for anyone to pat it and say, "Hello Baby."

I had a definite baby bump at four months with Ben, but my belly wasn't hard until around five and a half months. Now, I'm having to switch to maternity clothes before two months. It's crazy. Crazy I tell you, and it had better not be twins.

On the health and well-being front, I'm still rather emotional and teary, and I'm still oh-so-tired. I threw up in the shower this morning when I brushed my teeth, but other than that, the nausea has been manageable. I'm starting to have back aches, and like I said before, my belly is uncomfortable and tight. But I'm not unhappy. I woke up this morning without getting my period. Any day that starts like that is a day for celebration.

And, my Avon order came today, so I have new make-up to play with. I love the lip gloss, but like other lip stuff from other companies, it still makes my lips flake off. Does this happen to anybody else? I have a nervous habit where I pick the dry skin off of my lips, and when I use lip stick, gloss or chapstick, it softens the skin, and then makes it really easy to peel off.