Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A No Good, Very Bad Day

Forgive me for the word vomit that is about to come forth.

Eight years ago today my mom died.  It was a Sunday, and it was very sunny.  I lived in Nutley, New Jersey at that time.  The night before, I had gone on my first date with Jeeves, which had been the best first date I'd ever been on.  I got up that Sunday morning, and had breakfast at the diner with Wendy, who was on her way to visit her parents in our hometown of Mahwah.  I came back to my apartment, and I was sitting at my computer in my little home office, contemplating a nap and the errands I had to run.  The phone rang and it was my dad calling on his cell phone.  He and my mom were on vacation at the beach in Delaware (yeah, in February.... they like the beach in February because no one else is there).  I should note that I had talked to Mom the night before and on several other occasions on their vacation.  She had come down with what sounded like a stomach bug.  But she sounded cheerful, in general.  Dad, his voice choking up, told me that Mom had not seemed well that morning, so Dad took over packing up their things.  When they got in the car to drive home, Mom suddenly stopped breathing.  Dad called 911, they came very quickly, and they tried very hard, but there was nothing they could do - Mom died.  

February 26th is a horrible day.  When I think of this day, I think of how awful it must have been for my dad to watch his wife of 43 years die, and I think of how scared my mom must have been in her last moments.  And when I get done remembering all the events of that day (including the incredible kindness of my friends - Liana, who drove me to my dad's; Wendy, who went grocery shopping so there'd be food at my dad's house for us; Kate, who came up from DC just to sit with me), all I'm really left with is how much I miss my mom, and how I think things would be better in my life and with my family if she had not died.

So, anyway, that's the baseline of my day.  Some years, February 26th is not so bad, and I miss my mom and feel sad about the anniversary of her death, but it's not too bad.  And some years, like this year, it's really bad.  Part of it is that I'm pregnant and I wish she were here for this, and also I'm hormonal and more prone to crying anyway.  And part of it was that this day just sucked.

Our babymoon was awesome, and I want to post about it more when I'm in a better frame of mine, but near the end of the trip, my acid reflux and heart palpitations started up and nothing I seem to do (except for standing and walking, which I can't do all of the time) makes them better.  Today, the palpitations were horrible, and they made me feel terrified that I was going to die or that the baby isn't getting enough blood flow.  I made the mistake of reading some online stuff about heart problems in pregnancy and that just made me feel worse.  I'm sure it's not coincidental that my palpitations are the worst they have ever been on the emotional anniversary of my mother's death from a heart attack.  But I also think that as Manuji gets bigger, he might be squishing things and either the acid reflux or just the general lack of room in there could be doing something to my vagus nerve.  In any case - heart palpitations = sucky.  I'm seeing the cardiologist tomorrow for my echo and my 24 hour holter.  Not really sure what they can do for me.  Probably nothing, and I'll just have to tolerate horrible palpitations for the next 16 weeks.  I know, I know - I'm so fucking lucky to be pregnant and I will gladly suck it up and deal with it.  But the palpitations make everything difficult.  

And then there's Dad.  For the last two weeks he has been in such a mood and it's happening at a time when I would really like it if he would be the adult in the family instead of me.  I didn't bother asking for his advice on the apartment stuff (which, uggghhhhh, you guys, that is another story for another time, but it was a total shit show while we were on our trip) or really telling him much about my heart palpitation situation because he just doesn't seem remotely interested in how I'm really doing right now.  He's got his own stuff going on and he's just not in a place to give much of anything to me right now (other than worry.... he's really, really good at making me worry, and I almost feel like he's been dialing it up a notch.  I know he doesn't put my sister through any of this crap.).  

And because it wasn't enough for me to feel physically crappy, scared, sad, angry today, I had to go and feel extra stupid too.  For Christmas, Jeeves got me very nice, very expensive headphones.  And a little leather carrying case for them.  I use them everyday and I have been taking really good care of them.  And then.... I went on vacation and proceeded to lose them.  I didn't notice until this morning when I reached into my purse to pull them out.  I think I might have left them on the plane.  I don't know.  But they're gone.  And it just makes me feel so stupid.

So that's it.  The shitfest that is February 26th.  I just have nothing positive to add to any of this.  I miss my mom.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Friday, February 21, 2014

What do you think?

So, even though this topic seems super unpopular (at least in terms of page views), I could use some advice on our apartment search.

Last weekend we saw a lot of apartments.  Most of them were very disappointing.  We saw one apartment in our current building, a 2 bedroom, 2 bath with a really large patio outside.  We liked it a lot, and we love our neighborhood and our building.  We were sorely tempted by this apartment, but it was well over the budget we had set for ourselves when we started the search.  We talked about making it work, financially, but at the end of the day I think that just because we could technically make it work, it would be irresponsible.  We should be saving so we can buy a house someday, and there wouldn't be much leftover for savings if we took the apartment in our building.  I had a good cry that night [ugh, seriously, I know how stupid that sounds.... all I can do is chalk it up to pregnancy hormones.  Which, by the way, made me cry last night while watching the Olympics when poor Mao Asada skated a clean free program and then burst into tears... if you don't watch figure skating, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about, but Mao Asada, who won the silver in 2010 skated a disastrous short program, and as a result was in 16th place.  There was no way she would medal again.  And she's retiring after this Olympics.  But she went out and skated what I thought was probably the most beautiful (and technically difficult - she landed a triple axel, which no other woman in the competition can do) performance of the night.  It was clear she was just skating for the love of skating, not because she could win anything, because she couldn't.  And the relief and sadness on her face when she skated the performance she knew she could skate.... great, I'm tearing up again.] about having to leave Manhattan.  I mean, I really bawled.  All those early mornings getting on the subway to go to Columbus Circle for morning monitoring.  The days volunteering at the CSA in the park that is filled with pregnant women and adorable children while I was having my miscarriage.  All those days I hoped we'd have our own kid someday, and I'd get to watch him or her run around that park.  It's all about where you envision your life, and when I would allow myself a single minute of being hopeful that we'd have a kid someday, I pictured us here.  

Alas, we do not have all the money in the world.  If we did, this is the neighborhood I would choose.  But we don't.  And the right thing to do is move on.  So I had my good cry, and accepted that we would be moving to Brooklyn.  Aside from getting more space for less money, Brooklyn has the added benefit of being where all of our friends with kids live.  

Anyway, we went looking in Brooklyn, saw some disappointing stuff, but then found an apartment on the border of Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn, great subway access, across the street from a nice grocery store.  It was a two bedroom, 1 bath, and it had parking in the garage for not a crazy amount of money, which would mean we could get a car (used, of course, because I'm a big believer in buying used cars).  The major bonus - it has a washer/dryer in the unit.  It also has a storage space in the basement that we could rent.  We put in an application to hold it.

Then we got home and Jeeves spent a lot of time reading about the building.  There were some tenants who had very negative opinions of the place - mainly having to do with the heating/cooling systems being poor and pipes bursting and ruining personal items.  One person claimed to have bedbugs (uggghhhh..... if we ever have to deal with bedbugs again, I mean it this time - I'm moving back to Jersey).  

Part of the problem was that Jeeves hadn't really thought far enough ahead to actually living in Brooklyn, and I think these reviews (many of which were from 2 years ago) were enough to make him look up other apartments.  In the end, he found another apartment in a condo building next door to the rental building we had found.  Since it's a condo, it's all owned by individuals, but some of the units get rented out by those owners.  We went to look at it on Tuesday.  It's a very nice apartment.  The living room and kitchen are both larger than the rental unit.  The kitchen is more open towards the living room which would make it easier for me to cook and watch the baby, or talk to Jeeves when he gets home from work.  And it has 2 bathrooms instead of 1.  The appliances are a little nicer (but not by a huge margin).  The parking in the building is cheaper.  On the downside - there's no washer/dryer in the unit [there's a laundry room on the 2nd floor, which would normally be fine for me, since that's what we have now, but since we're having a baby, the idea of having a washer/dryer in the apartment was really a draw].  And no storage in the building, which means we would have to get an offsite storage place.  

In the iffy column is the fact that the condo unit is owned by an individual and so there can be some questions about whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.  And because it's a condo building, there are higher fees associated with the application process.  But it sounds like because it's a fancy new condo building, the super will fix just about anything in the apartment and bill the owner.  Obviously the rental building has a super and from the reviews we've read, he's good and responsive.

So in the end, it seems like it comes down to this.  What's more important?  Washer/dryer in the unit with storage space in the basement?  Or larger living room/kitchen that is more connected?

What do you guys think?  We've been asking everyone and have gotten arguments on both sides.  Jeeves' parents think we should take the condo because living space and a second bathroom is important.  Phil thinks we should take the rental because a washer/dryer in unit is a huge deal with a baby.  Wendy's mom [I'm not kidding, we got her opinion too] also voted for the rental.  Wendy, because she is my life guru, did not give me her opinion, but instead laid out many things to consider, which was helpful but hasn't tilted the balance.  I'd love your opinion, reader.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I've fallen and I can't get up

Well, it's been an action-packed week.  One of those weeks where when I think back to Saturday, it seems like weeks ago.  Yesterday, Kate had her baby!  It's a girl!  Mama and Baby Ella are doing well.  Everyone is thrilled, and I got to see a picture.  I always tell people their newborn baby is beautiful or whatever, but let's be honest - newborns usually look like wrinkly old men/aliens with smooshy heads.  It takes a little while for them to look beautiful.  I can count on one hand the number of times I really thought a newborn was beautiful.  But Baby Ella?  She really is beautiful.  She looks perfect, like she could be a newborn baby model or something.  I wish I didn't live so far away and I could meet her sooner.  I've been spending a lot of my time wondering how Kate is feeling and how breastfeeding is going and what her labor was like.  I don't want to intrude on her, so I haven't called (plus, she's inundated with family visitors right now), but hopefully we will get to talk soon.

My dad was, of course, very happy to hear about Kate's news (he's known her she was a little girl, since we grew up around the corner from each other), and naturally had to make a "joke" about how jealous he is that she has a girl, and that maybe I'll get lucky and my next child will be a girl too.  I think I've mentioned before that my dad loved having daughters and he has always wanted a granddaughter and he made absolutely no effort to hide his disappointment that Manuji is a boy.  Normally I can let this stuff roll off my back, but it hurt my feelings yesterday.  It doesn't help that I know my in-laws were also disappointed to find out we were having a boy.  We have a lot of boys in the family, I get it.  But it took us a long time to get pregnant and we had two miscarriages along the way, can't they just manage to be happy that we can even have a baby?  Can't they just love our son because he's our son and they theoretically love us?  Right now it feels like no one in my family is particularly happy or excited that we're having a baby.  I know I'm overreacting, and of course I started crying about this yesterday, which I am totally chalking up to the hormones.  But if we decide to have a second kid, and if I can actually get pregnant again, I am sorely tempted to find out if it's a boy or girl and then not tell anyone because screw all of them.

Anyway, after this dumb conversation with my dad, I'm stomping down a shiny tiled floor at work between my cube and the bathroom and my foot (I was wearing a kitten heel dress shoe that I thought had a decent tread) slipped right out from under me and I went down hard on my left side.  Luckily my knee took the brunt of it, and I didn't land on my tummy.  There was no one around in the hall and I lay there, rolling around on the floor, like the giant turtle that I am.  It took a couple of minutes to pull myself together and get up.  Guys, it hurt a lot.  Once I was up, I was freaked out about whether the baby was okay.  I logically knew he was probably fine - I hadn't broken anything, he's protected by the amniotic sac, but it was a hard fall and it scared the shit out of me.  I called up Jeeves, crying and scared, but he couldn't answer the phone because he was on a work call.  So I went home and hoped that if I ate some pizza, Manuji would start moving.  He did.  He's fine, he's been moving all over the place.  I, on the other hand, am incredibly bruised and sore and I'm moving like an 80 year old.  

Last night, I slept poorly again, and I had all sorts of terrible dreams: Manuji was born, but Jeeves couldn't be there because of work, so I had to deliver him all by myself.  And then once he was born, no one cared except me.  Then I dreamt that we were back to having ultrasound scans because they kept seeing anomalies, but they weren't sure, so they just kept sending me for more and more scans and I was having to fight for referrals and insurance coverage.  It was really fun.  Not helping matters?  That my left side is all banged up and rolling over onto that side hurts like hell.

God, this post sounds soooo mopey!  Marcy at Sensitive Ginger wrote a great post last week where she looked at the events of her difficult week solely based on the positive things that had happened to her.  I had intended to write this post about our apartment search (which we spent all weekend on) and how we may have an apartment to move to, which is great.  But instead I spent this post bitching and moaning.  So, a list of the good stuff that has happened in the last few days:

  • We had Jeeves' college roommate and his girlfriend over for dinner on Saturday and everything turned out very nicely.  I was especially pleased with Smitten Kitchen's kale salad with walnuts and pecorino - it was delicious.
  • We got to have lunch at Adrienne's Pizza Bar.  I've been on a real pizza kick lately, and theirs is amazing.
  • It was a three day weekend!  Yay!
  • We had dinner at Fatty Crab (I still think it's overrated) with my good friend Jim and his wife, who are back from their two year stint in China (they work in the Foreign Service).  It was so fun to hear about their jobs, which are fascinating, and the places they traveled to outside of China.  Their life together is full of adventure.  And even though I get a little jealous that they go to places I will probably never make it to, I also know I couldn't spend so much time away from my family and loved-ones.  So it's nice to live vicariously through them.
  • We have probably figured out where we're living, so that's a huge relief.  More to come on that.
  • The weather is finally warming up.
  • My heartburn and palpitations are largely gone, and other than the aforementioned achiness/trouble sleeping, second trimester is going fine.  I hit 23 weeks yesterday.  Manuji continues to move around all the time.  Sometimes when I poke my belly, he will kick back in the same spot.  It's pretty awesome.
  • Wendy is throwing me a baby shower, and she's been doing so much work on it.  Honestly, I just assumed I wouldn't be having a baby shower because I didn't really think anyone would be able to host it.  So I was really touched when she asked if she could do it.  I can't believe how lucky I am to have her as one of my oldest and best friends.
  • We're going on our babymoon this weekend!  Hooray!
I bet I could come up with more, but it's time to get on with the day.  As you can see, I have lots to be happy about, and I'm going to focus on all the good stuff.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowy day cookies and trips to doctors

Just an update sort of post on what's going, and since it's not super exciting, I thought I'd throw in some cookies and maybe a book at the end (at the request of Smile from Infertility Absurdity).

So, one of the more severe pregnancy symptoms I've been having lately is acid reflux.  I've never really had that before.  I mean, I guess a few times in my life if I ate a huge meal or something, I'd have it a little?  But the last few weeks, I've been popping Tums pretty regularly.  I also started having heart palpitations and I ultimately noticed that I seemed to get the palpitations when I was getting the reflux.  I talked about it in this post here (as well as my previous history with palpitations).  Anyway, on Monday I went out to NJ to take Dad to the doctor and proceeded to have the worst palpitations I have had since 2006.  They were practically all day.  And my acid reflux was horrible.  I mean, I got acid reflux from a glass of water.  A glass of water!  The palpitations don't make me dizzy or short of breath, but they are uncomfortable and they kind of scare me.  And when they make me scared or anxious?  I have more of them.  So I decided to e-mail Dr. C about them and let her know they had gotten worse.  The OB gave me a list awhile ago of acceptable over-the-counter medications to take for various ailments.  This includes indigestion/reflux.  Jeeves read the list off to me and suggested I go get some Zantac or Pepcid to see if that did the trick since the Tums were doing nothing.

Dr. C called on Tuesday morning, and sure enough, she wanted me to go to a cardiologist.  As she pointed out, it was probably not serious, but still worth checking out.  I also started taking Zantac.  Still had acid reflux that day, and plenty of palps.  Meanwhile, the cardiologist agreed to see me yesterday.  He was very nice, and basically agreed with me that based on my description, I was having PVCs (premature ventricular contractions), possibly triggered by the GERD.  But of course, on the day I went to the cardiologist, I was having barely any palpitations.  It's like my heart was screwing with me.  "Me?  Beating irregularly?  Well, I never!  She's a liar!"  Luckily because I've been through this before and I've been diagnosed with the PVCs, I didn't at all feel like the doctor thought I was a headcase, but it was still annoying.  Anyway, the takeaway is that the cardiologist wants me to have an echocardiogram and wear a 24-hour holter monitor (blerg) in a couple of weeks to make sure everything is structurally okay with my heart still (my last one was 8 years ago, so it makes sense to check it again), and the holter monitor is to see if they can catch a PVC happening.  I'm glad we're getting it checked out and being safe.

As for the palps, I had all of 10 yesterday.  And today?  None.  So there's a decent chance that on the day I wear the monitor, I won't have anything.  And the Zantac (with some supplemental Tums) seems to be working like gangbusters on my acid reflux - no problems the last day and a half.


Today we had a big snow storm in NYC and basically all along the east coast.  I had an OB appointment bright and early, so Jeeves and I suited up and slid our way to the office.  Here's a shot of Soho, close to my doctor's office at 8:30 this morning.

It was pretty, except when the wind was blowing, and having a belly and worrying about falling on all the snowy sidewalks was a little nerve-wracking.  But we made it there.  The appointment went well.  Highlights:

- Manuji kicked the transducer when Dr. C was listening to his heartbeat with the doppler.  I think he's sick of all the scans and what not.

- No more scans for me (barring some sort of catastrophe) till 36 weeks when I will have a growth scan and they will check to make sure baby boy is head down.

- My blood pressure has been perfect, my urine samples have been normal, and my weight gain has been great (I should now start gaining a pound a week).  So, I don't have to go back to the OB for 5 weeks, at which point I will have the glucose tolerance test.

- After that next appointment in March, I'll start going to the doctor every two weeks.

My reward for getting up early and schlepping through the snow was some pastries from Grandaisy Bakery.  I especially loved the apple turnover.  I also got a very good vegetarian sandwich from there for lunch (I really only eat vegetarian sandwiches these days due to my possibly irrational fear of listeria).  


I wound up staying home from work today because of the snow, which means I watched, like 5 hours of live Olympics figure skating and was otherwise unproductive.  Then I took a nap, which was awesome.  And THEN I made cookies!  I wanted to make Nutella-stuffed brown butter chocolate chip cookies, which sound amazing.  But I only had a stick and a half of butter, not the requisite two sticks the recipe calls for [I'm still going to make these sometime soon].  So instead, I made Smitten Kitchen's Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies.  My own tweak - I did not put in nuts, I used semi-sweet and dark chocolate chips, and I threw in some butterscotch chips.  They are yummy.  Mine spread a bit more than Deb Perelman's did, probably because my baking soda is a little old.  They are still delicious.  They will be especially good with some milk.  I drink at least two glasses of milk a day now, which is so weird for me because I've never liked milk much (except on cereal or in coffee).  But apparently Manuji is really into it, because I want it all the time now.


I have slowed down in my reading these days because I'm not doing the 52 books in a year challenge.  But I'm still reading.  In fact, Kate got me a Kindle Paperwhite to thank me for throwing her baby shower and it is awesome.  But I honestly haven't read a lot that has wowed me lately.  One exception - These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.  Loved it.  Would have been on the top of my end of year list if it had come out last year.  If you want a really thorough review that I totally agree with, I suggest reading the Book Smugglers' review here.  I'll give you a short summary and why I loved it.  Genre-wise, I'd classify this as sci-fi, but not bee-boop-bop robot sci-fi.  The story starts on a massive luxury spaceliner.  Our hero and heroine (Tarver, a good egg war hero and Lilac, super smart heiress to the richest man in the galaxy) meet cute on the ship, but pretty quickly realize they do not like each other at all.  The ship winds up crashing, Tarver and Lilac end up in the same escape pod and appear to be the sole survivors of the crash on a possibly deserted terraformed planet.  Except that there's something really off about the planet and Lilac keeps hearing these whispers.  You know what it reminds me (and a lot of people of)?  Lost.  Except without the terrible, disappointing ending.  And really, I don't mean to make it sound like they rip off Lost or anything, it's really quite different, but survivors on a deserted planet and weird shit starts happening?  Kind of Lost-y.  I'm super intrigued by the world-building, the story is well-paced, the characterization is fantastic, and it's well-written.  It is the start of a trilogy, but only in the sense that the next book will take place in the same galaxy - Tarver and Lilac won't be the focus of that story (which I'm happy about because I felt their story was sufficiently wrapped up).  

So that's it for me.  If you're on the east coast, I hope you made it through the storm okay.  And if you are not on the east coast, I am jealous.  I'm really over winter.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Survivor's guilt

The last month or so I've heard some sad news from IRL infertile friends.  I'm not going to go into more detail because I want to protect their privacy.  Their stories are theirs to tell, not mine.  But I will just say that these are people who have already had their share of bad news and bad luck and it's just terribly unfair that they are getting more of it.

The thing is that hearing these stories is different when you are a pregnant infertile than when you are a fellow in the trenches infertile.  Basically because there's a lot of guilt.  I feel guilty.  Guilty that I am pregnant and they are not.  Especially because they've been at the infertility game a lot longer than I was at it.  As far as infertility goes, I got pretty damn lucky.  Partially because I am neurotic and I always assume that the worst thing is going to happen to me, I made an appointment to see an RE after five months of trying.  The tests took two months, and even though poor morphology isn't a great diagnosis, at least everything looked okay with me.  We wound up doing 4 IUIs and all I had to do was take some clomid.  And I got pregnant 3 out of those 4 times!  Granted, two of those times were miscarriages.  But as far as assisted reproductive technology goes, I got really lucky.  Jeeves always tells me that we were not lucky to be in the 10-15% of couples who experience infertility, and we were not lucky at all to have experienced two miscarriages.  And he's right.  But in this little subset of unlucky guys and gals, we are lucky.  And I feel shitty that we are lucky.

Don't get me wrong, I don't wish I weren't pregnant.  I'm obviously thrilled and happy about that.  And I don't wish we'd had to do IVF to get there, and I don't wish that it had taken us longer.  But I feel guilty about it.

The thing is, I've noticed that my IRL friends who are still at this don't seem to want to talk to me much.  I totally get it.  I wouldn't want to talk to me much either.  My belly is getting big, and even though I've had difficulties, my difficulties pale next to theirs.  At one point we could lament our situations together, talk about the unfairness of it all, and feel understood without judgment.  And even though I've made it clear that I'm here to talk, I know it's harder to talk about this stuff with someone who's made it out.  Which is not to say that being pregnant has suddenly and magically made me a fertile.  There's a reason that the pregnancy group I'm in is with a bunch of other infertiles - it's just a different experience.  Getting pregnant didn't make me forget what it's like.  Not by a long shot.  But at the same time, I understand why my friends would maybe rather not talk to me about their infertility travails, and I understand that maybe I make them sad.  And that's what I hate about it most - I know that even though they are happy for me and don't wish me any ill will, I make them a little sad.  Maybe more than a little.  And I hate that I make people I love sad.  

Last night when I was tearing up about this [not a big deal - I now cry ALL THE TIME, thanks to the hormones], I remembered Mother's Day.  I fucking hate Mother's Day.  It is the worst.  But I don't hate it because of my infertility, I hate it because my mom is dead.  I remember my first Mother's Day after Mom died - I walked into a Stop & Shop and they had all these balloons for Mother's Day.  I so very much wanted to pull out a sharp object and pop every single one of them.  I hate Facebook on Mother's Day.  I hate how jealous I am of everyone who has a mom.  Last year's was even worse because we were in the middle of treatment AND my mom was, of course, still dead.  Honestly, it's gotten better over the years since we now spend Mother's Day with Jeeves' mother and sister-in-law and I am responsible (with serious assistance from Jeeves) for cooking brunch for them.  It gives me something to focus on instead of wallowing at home (even though I would sometimes rather wallow).  

As I thought about Mother's Day and how I feel about not having a mom anymore, I reminded myself that even though I feel crappy about it, I've never wished for other people to lose their mom.  And although on that day I feel jealous of all the sweet posts people have on Facebook about their moms, it also makes me happy to see people appreciating their mothers, not taking them for granted.  And on most days of the year, I don't have any issue discussing my friends' relationships with their mothers [even if they are complaining about said mothers].  I know it's not precisely analogous.  But it's the best I've got.

I guess my point is that I know my friends didn't and don't wish that I weren't pregnant.  But I also know that when you're reeling from bad news or a failed cycle or a miscarriage, a pregnant friend, even an infertile pregnant friend, can make you feel really sad.  And even though it's not my fault, and I know that, I am sorry for it.  I only ever want to be a source of comfort to the people I love, I never want to be someone who makes them hurt.  And I know it's the situation that makes them hurt, really, not me.  But still.  

As for you, dear readers, I know a lot of you are still struggling.  As always, I hope we all get to our happy ending soon.

Monday, February 10, 2014

I hate it here

Do you remember a year or two ago when there were all these "Sh*t So-and-Sos Say" videos on YouTube?  I think it started with Sh*t Girls Say, and then it exploded from there until it was like, "Sh*t Golden Retriever Owners Say" and "Sh*t Purdue Students Say," etc.  Well, there was one I really liked - it was "Sh*t New Yorkers Say."  Don't worry, you don't have to watch it to get the point of my post.  I'll explain.  Amidst moments where the characters stand around tiny apartments yelling, "This place is huge!" there are a couple of moments where a character declares "I love it here," and by here, they mean the City.  And a few moments later, that character declares, "I hate it here!"  This happens to me all the time.  I think that living in NYC automatically gives you a love/hate relationship with it.  There are so many wonderful things about the City [if you're not from around here, you may find it grandiose that we refer to it as "the City" but that's what it's called.  I spent nearly 32 years living in NJ.  Everyone there calls it "the City."  Philly, at the other end of our state, is nice, but it is not "the City."].  But there are some pretty annoying things about it too.  This past weekend, I had basically one long "I hate it here" moment.

After we had our appointment last week where we found out Manuji is probably totally fine, I allowed myself a day to feel super happy and so forth.  And then I remembered all the stuff we have to do before he is born, and I felt a little (more than a little) freaked out.  Chief among those things is finding a new place to live.  Our lease is up May 1, but we'd like to move in April so we have time to get fully unpacked and settled before the baby is born.  [It feels weird to think this might actually work out and we will actually have a baby to take home, I feel like I'm jinxing it when I think that far ahead, but whatever, we have to plan].  

So, this weekend, Jeeves and I spent a lot of time online trying to find an apartment, and we even went to look at one.  We live downtown, and we like it here.  It's very convenient for my work (I walk to work), and it's close to the subway that takes Jeeves to work.  Where we live has lots of parks, a good grocery store, access to multiple subway lines, good restaurants and take out, and it's not insanely crowded.  It's safe.  It's a nice neighborhood and it's fun to walk around.  Our current apartment is a one bedroom/one bath.  I'd estimate it's about 800 square feet.  Anyway, if we could stay downtown and get a two bedroom, that is our first preference.  

Well, we went to look at a 2 bedroom/2 bath a bit farther downtown than we are.  You guys.  Uggghhhh.  First off, let me say the rental price was about $600 more than we are currently paying.  Which is fine, and it was within the budget we set for ourselves.  I e-mailed with the leasing office at the building at 2pm.  When we arrived there at 4pm, someone had already put in an application for the apartment.  That's right, it was gone.  But we could see it and put in a back-up application if we wanted.  So we looked at it.  On the bright side, it's a very new apartment, so everything looks pretty nice.  And unlike some apartments in this part of town, it was on a high floor and had really good natural light (and pretty views).  The closet space wasn't bad (not as good as what we currently have, but we will never again have closet space this good in NYC).  The bathrooms were pretty nice.  The bedrooms weren't big, but they were a serviceable size, certainly fine for us and a baby.  Then we walked into the "living room/kitchen."  There was no island or any sort of divider between the living space and the kitchen - it was just one room.  And it was SMALL.  SMALLLLLLLL.  

"Where's the oven?"  I asked the lady showing us the apartment.  "Oh, the microwave doubles as a convection oven."  The microwave was not a huge microwave - it was microwave-size.  I may have mentioned on here before that I like to cook.  A lot.  I don't see how you could fit a tray of cookies into that "oven," let alone cook a dinner.  The dishwasher was also, weirdly, half-sized.  

In our current living space, we have a small sofa, a coffee table, an IKEA chair with ottoman, an "entertainment center" or whatever you call them to hold our TV.  We also have a small dining room table with four chairs.  There's also a bar for all of Jeeves' scotch/bourbon/esoteric booze for fancy cocktails, a microwave cart that holds my standing mixer, toaster oven, and food processor, and a little wine fridge.  And junk.  And like, 4 bookcases.  It may sound like a lot, but look in your living/dining room - I bet it's not that much different.  In fact, if you live in an actual house, I bet you have more stuff than we do.

If we were to try and get this apartment we saw, we would have to get rid of the dining room table (which is already tiny) and chairs and probably 3 bookcases just to fit it in.  And frankly, probably more than that.  And even with that, it would be tight.  The place was small.  I asked the lady how many square feet it was.  "It's 852 square feet," she declared.  Well, no wonder it seems tiny.  An 852 square foot 2 bedroom/2 bath?  That's small.  It's only 50 square feet bigger than what we currently have, but they had to create a second bathroom and a second bedroom out of that.  

We left, quite dejected.  I don't think I have crazy requirements for an apartment.  I basically told Jeeves when we started looking that the place needed to be 1) in a neighborhood where I feel safe walking by myself at night [pretty easy to accomplish in NYC these days]; 2) it had to have a dishwasher; and 3) there had to be a washer/dryer in the building.  That was basically it.  I don't think I'm being unreasonable [though trust me, I've had people argue with me that not having a washer/dryer in the building is fine.  No, it is not fine.  I lived without a washer/dryer in the building for many, many years when I was in Jersey.  It is a total pain in the ass.  And with a baby who will theoretically be spitting up and pooping all over his clothes all day long?  No thank you.  I need a washer/dryer somewhere in the building.]  Apparently I have to add "semi normal-sized oven" and "bigger than 850 square feet" to the list of requirements.

I'm nearly 36 years old.  I'm not an age where I want to be throwing out furniture because we have to move into a smaller place in order to get a 2BR.  So, we started looking into Brooklyn.  And uptown. Look, we'll deal.  We'll find someplace to live in New York that will not require us to go to a laundromat or throw out our dining room table.  But the process of finding a place in New York City when you don't have a gajillion dollars to spend makes me hate it here.  It makes me want to pick up my toys and go home.  I spent a good chunk of the weekend depressed about this dumb apartment search, and I should add that my acid reflux and heart palpitations came roaring back, which is probably not a coincidence.  I'm pretty sure my OB is going to make me go to a cardiologist to get everything checked out.  Blerg.

There were good things, too, in the weekend.  We finally booked our "babymoon."  We're doing a long weekend trip to California - flying to San Francisco, renting a car, and spending a few days on the coast between LA and San Fran.  Jeeves could actually see the baby kicking (my tummy moves when he kicks now), and got to feel the kick too.  We watched some of the Olympics.  So, I'm stressed, but I really can't/shouldn't complain.  You'll forgive me, I hope, if this post sounds quite whiny.

Monday, February 03, 2014

My mother's words

So, this post is going to talk a little about my third (and hopefully last) ultrasound, and it will contain an ultrasound picture, but not till near the end.  I'll give fair warning, and if you're not in a place for that sort of thing, please take a break and give yourself a hug from me.

When I was a kid, and even later, in college and law school, I would periodically feel overwhelmed by all my school work, all the papers due, and I would start to freak out a bit about whether I could accomplish it all in the amount of time that I had.  And I would share this fear with my mother, and she always said basically the same thing: "Don't worry about getting it all done.  You'll get it all done.  You have never not gotten it all done."  She would go on to point out that I might have to stay up really late, I might not get to do anything fun on the weekend, but that I have always completed my assignments on time.  And there was no reason to think that this time would be any different.

That is one of the things I loved most about my mother - she understood that to comfort me, she had to be logical and remind me of my past history and experience.  She could have just said, "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get it all done."  Or "I believe in you, you'll get it done!"  While those other sentiments are nice, they are easily dismissed as just the kind words of a mother.  Instead, she pointed out the simple truth - I always got my school work done on time.  No reason to think this time was different.  And it was hard to argue with my previous experience.  I miss her.  I try my best to say the things to myself that I think she would have said, but sometimes it's hard.  How did she know me so well?  How did she always know the right thing to say?  I hope I'll be the kind of mother to Manuji that she was to me.  One of the things I always found so amazing about her is that the things she knew I needed to hear were different from the things she knew my sister needed to hear, and she tailored her style to fit her children's needs.

I've been freaking out a little for the last week or two about how much Jeeves and I need to accomplish before Manuji is born.  I even made a spreadsheet.  It seems overwhelming.  It's not just the stuff we have to get for him, or the birthing classes, or the figuring out life insurance and wills, or day care.  It's one other giant shadow - it's moving.  We live in a smallish one bedroom apartment.  Back when we thought we were having the bean in January, we figured it would be fine to live here with a baby for a few months before our lease was up.  But our lease is up before Manuji's due date - we have to be out of here or renew our lease for at least a year by May 1.  Neither of us want to stay here for a whole year with a baby.  So we need to find a new apartment, a 2 bedroom apartment.

If you're not from the area, I will just tell you that NYC is notorious as being a really unpleasant place to look for apartments.  Everything is expensive, small, and usually snatched up quickly.  We spent several weekends 4 years ago looking for the apartment we're currently in.  It was not fun.  And then there's the moving.  The moving!  I hate hate hate moving. 

So, I've been freaking out a little about everything we have to do.  But I keep repeating my mother's words in my head, that this time won't be any different than all the other times - that we'll accomplish what we have to accomplish.  


I've been suffering from some pretty epic heartburn.  To back up a little, when Mom died almost 8 years ago, I started suffering from heart palpitations.  Eventually I went to a doctor, and then a cardiologist.  They were diagnosed as premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).  Super common.  Usually benign, but sometimes harbingers of bad stuff, so I had to have a bunch of tests done, and everything was fine.  The cardiologist thought it was just a stress/grief reaction, and advised me to try and ignore them as best I can.  So I did.  And then in 2009, about 3 years after they started, they just... stopped.  No idea why, but I didn't want to look a gift horse in the mouth.  Then, in October 2011, after planning our wedding (which was great, but stressful) and starting library school, they started again.  And lasted until January 2012, after I graduated school.  So, it appears that my PVCs are definitely a weird stress reaction for me.  

I knew when I got pregnant that there was a good chance they would come back, because a) it can be a stressful time; and b) I have way more blood going through me right now and heart palpitations are actually a common pregnancy symptom.  Sure enough, I would very occasionally have a heart palpitation after my first trimester ended.  But in the last two weeks I was having more, and I've noticed that I only seem to get them after I eat a largish meal.  The problem is that I am hungrier than ever and I want to eat LOTS of food when I sit down to a meal.  

Well, I've combined a bunch of things - Tums, making sure I am sitting fully upright while eating, and either standing or walking after a meal, not drinking anything while eating, and eating many small meals throughout the day.  It's a little sad only because I still want to stuff my face when I'm hungry, and instead I have to take a break for an hour and then eat some more [I learned this lesson the hard way after eating a piece of chocolate cake after a big and filling lunch and spending the next hour in misery].  But it seems to be working really well so far - no acid reflux (gross, ouchy, and unpleasant), no heart palpitations (not gross or ouchy, just weird and unnerving).


Ultrasound news ahead!

So today, another snowy day in NYC, was our follow-up scan to check Baby Bun's feet.  I thought it was going to be a detailed anatomy scan, but they were apparently satisfied with everything they saw 10 days ago, so other than making sure his heartrate was good, they just check his feet.  Unfortunately we had the bad tech again.  When I say bad tech, I don't mean she can't do her job - she seems perfectly adept at running the ultrasound machine.  I just mean that her bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired.  She spent a ton of time on Manuji's right foot (the one they were still unsure of last time).  But she didn't tell us anything.  Not a peep.  

Then she went to see Dr. G and said that the doctor would want to scan me herself.  Dr. G came in and started looking.  She pretty quickly said she thought the foot looked more normal this time than last time.  Then she went back to looking and was silent.  It was nerve-wracking.  And Jeeves and I could both see that in some of the pics, the foot looked a bit clubbed.  In the end, Dr. G decided that the foot is normal.  She explained that she thinks the appearance of club foot is positional - when Manuji rests his foot on the uterine wall (which he really loves doing), the foot looks clubbed.  When he pulls it away and it's free-floating, it looks completely normal.  Dr. G said that with club foot, the foot will never look normal.  She said worse case scenario, if it is clubbed, it's slight, and it's a completely isolated anomaly because everything else looks perfectly fine on him.  She doesn't see the point in us having any more scans done - it will probably continue to look clubbed against the wall, and normal when not.

I know I used to think ultrasounds were very exciting and cool and I wanted them all the time.  Now that I don't need the reassurance that he's still alive down there, and after all the anxiety of the last month from the club foot debacle, I'm definitely over ultrasounds.  It's really fun to see Manuji, and I can't wait to meet him, but I'm hopeful that this will be my last scan.

He was moving around a lot (I had a pint of chocolate milk before the appointment and he was super into it), and the weirdest/coolest part was that when I saw him kick in there, I could feel it, too.  That was a first.  He also pointed/shook his finger.  I think he was pointing at the ultrasound tech and telling her to knock it off.  Here he is.