Thursday, April 30, 2009

Belly shots (16 weeks past & present)

Although I do the belly shots, it is a little gross seeing how strung out my body has gotten over the course of five years. (And only my poor hubby and I must endure seeing me plum naked. Be thankful I have some modesty.)

2000, my bump was itty-bitty at 16 weeks. Hell, I was still wearing regular pants at 16 weeks. During my pregnancy in 2006, I wore my bikini all summer long and looked pretty darn good. This year I will still don the bikini, but only because I refuse to go buy anything new, maternity wear or otherwise. This year, I've got giganto splotches of spider veins across my legs with which to adorn myself. No ink for me, thanks. My body produces its own.

I can't wait to see how long I get in this pregnancy before I'm ready to stop wearing pants. Probably another month.....

One of the best things about being pregnant is feeling like your own science experiment--feeling and seeing fetal movement across your skin, seeing your body change and transform back (somewhat) following birth. I am finding, though, with this 3rd pregnancy, that being pregnant is like being a lab rat in your own science experiment. The rat that gets the funky side effects. The lab rat everyone winces at when they see it.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane.....

Preggo with N (2003, age 30)
What a wee little bump.

Preggo with G (2007, age 33)
I look whale-like, but I think it is the outfit.

Preggo with #3 (2009, age 35)
I asked D, "Do I really look this terrible in real life?"
He replied, "Well, it looks like you."
How's that for non-committal.

When you go looking for stuff

My Level II ultrasound is scheduled, and I am nervous. Still haven't decided on whether to find out the gender. Too preoccupied with what little things the maternal/fetal specialist will find that will inevitably crank my anxiety up a notch.

The nurse at the imaging center said they spend about an hour doing the scan, and then I can have an amnio if I want. Like if I want wine with my cheese or fries with my burger? No thanks. My whole fear of a c-section was due to the needle in the spinal column, not the incision and peeling back layers of my flabbiness, nor the risk of infection following major abdominal surgery. So jabbing a needle into my belly simply ain't gonna happen. Three heads on the fetus or no.

But when you go looking for stuff, you generally end up finding stuff. It may not be heart defects, but it will be something else that will give my heart momentary (or longer) pause. So while I like the idea of seeing the baby on the screen, I am also wondering how worried I will be afterwards.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


This describes me to a "T" of late.

I don't pretend to know anything about men's friendships, but I suspect they aren't as complicated as women's. I think I aspire to have more male-inspired friendships, and here is why.

In general, I like most of the people I meet. A few I'd really enjoy hanging out with more often if I only had more time. Most I like but it doesn't bother me that we don't hang much due to our own rich lives. Some I tolerate either due to obligation or etiquette. And there's a sprinkling of people I downright avoid because I find them so toxic.

Some of these people in the last category have actually made it through all the other categories; I'm just slow on the uptake, and it takes me awhile to determine where they stand.

And in general, once you are in a category in my book, you stay pretty firmly placed in that category. I think I tend to think most people think like this, but apparently not. Which I find unnerving.

I happened to see an acquaintance who a couple years back had told me and a couple other people to basically "go F ourselves." Upon seeing her recently, she starts going on and on about how she and one of the women are all chummy and going to Derby and are shopping buddies.

I apparently am not as far removed from middle school as I like to think because I actually felt a little sorry for myself, like I was left out in the cold, for a bit. Sniff, sniff. Nobody asked me to go to Derby with them. And then I screwed my head on straight and thought, "What the fuck, Carrie?" I am really quite embarrassed by this surge of pubescent feeling, but it is what it is. Although what it means I'm not quite sure.

But I was also confused because I thought this other woman was on my acquaintance's shit list? How do you write someone off and then decide to be buddy-chums again? I don't get it.

Which explains why I spend my free time typing this blog instead of hanging out with girlfriends.

Subversive (and other personality quirks)

I am a champion of metacognition, and after 35 years of living and a couple years of therapy, I think I know myself fairly well. I don't like to admit a lot of the junk I know about myself, but in the privacy of my own mind, I do acknowledge my more unpleasant personality traits.

I try to be as honest as possible with myself and other people, even though this has often kicked me in the ass, so I will admit that a recent comment on my blog has stuck in my craw. This fact has led me to ponder a little more the things I think and do regarding god.

I remember being a small child (like 5 and 6 years+) and having god issues. Being scared that god would punish me for being "bad" or thinking "bad" things (like, "I really hate my brother.") Hating to say the "Now I lay me" prayer at bedtime because I didn't want god to take my soul if I died before I woke (what kid wants to think about dying before they wake???). Basically, I had a whole lot of trouble with the anthropomorphisized god as father. The god I envisioned wasn't sensitive, affectionate god, but disciplinarian hard-ass god.

Plus, the catholic school I went to was basically a gigantic clique of snotty kids born of booster parents. I liked to dance on the playground from the youngest of ages and was quickly relegated to "nerd-status." Spending eight consecutive years with some of these kids made me despise all mention of catholic school.

But my parents made me go to church, and I completed the sacraments as expected. My relationship with god and the church was always rocky and only continued to worsen as I got into college. After D and I married, I finally decided I'd had enough of the idea that I would go to heaven (wherever that is) because I had been baptized, but D wouldn't because he hadn't been baptized. If D goes to hell, I'm there with him.

I go round and round some of the theology too. I generally accept the bible as inspired literature, not ordained by god or god's word. But assuming I did accept it as true, how do I accept god allowing his only son to be killed? I couldn't allow my child to be killed to save humanity. Of course, I'm not god. So how to wrap my head around that? (And this is what I was thinking last night before bed; fun times on a Saturday night). I feel like I'm either stuck believing in a god who seems apparently devoid of love, or a god so brilliant and awe-ful that I cannot relate to him/her anyway.

Suffice it to say, I've found that as my life has become more complicated by marriage, aging and parenthood, my internal discussions of theology have only gotten more muddied.

And I will admit that some of my refusal to attend church and accept jesus as my savior is purely my fascination with being subversive. I didn't take my husband's name for this reason. I keep my hair cut short for this reason. I colored my hair hot pink when I was 9 months pregnant for this reason. And I would get a tattoo for this reason if I didn't have such sensitive skin and seriously fear an allergic reaction.

There is a part of me that likes being the only one in my family to not attend church, to not send my kids to catholic school. I like being hornery and deliberately ticking others off when they try to proselytize. But it's not like I have this magical relationship with the catholic church and god and jesus and am denying my feelings in order to thumb my nose at other people. I'm annoying, but not stupid. I'm not going to deny myself something wonderful just to aggravate someone else.

I wouldn't characterize myself as lost either, which I suspect and fear is how many people of strong faith think of me (and others like me). I am searching. But I admit to being stubborn enough to only want to search on my terms. I don't want anyone else telling me how to search or insinuating that I just try opening my mind and heart. Maybe I have duped myself too well, but I don't think I am willingly trying to subvert my own spiritual path (despite my admitted fascination).

I suspect some people, for whatever reason, find it easier to find comfort in religion. And there are others who can't, but still feel compelled to try. And then there are those who just say, "fuck it." I'm in that damned middle category.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mysterious ways

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have fault-line faith in god. Shaky, at best. Faith is something I like to stand waaaay back from and watch from a distance. I don't attend any church, never baptized my kids, and have no inclination to do either of the two. But I do believe in something bigger, greater and more profound than what I see, although seeing and all the other senses are a big part of how I experience god. And I do think about faith, religion and god a lot.

So today I felt god working mysteriously, or at least I like to think it was god. Maybe coincidence, but I tend to think that coincidence is god. Or karma. Or whatever you want to call that big blob of unseen jelly that holds, molds and keeps life energy moving.

Moving on....

This morning I saw the mother of one of N's preschool friends who was pregnant, a few weeks further along than me. She had experienced a difficult pregnancy in that something was amiss with the baby, which was discovered early on. Now I am not friends with this woman, per se, but I had tried to keep up with her and offer my support. She had told me they didn't know what the problem was (she declined invasive testing), but the doctor said it could result in a miscarriage or serious genetic birth defects. When I asked how she was today, she told me she miscarried last week. All I could do was hug her and tell her how sorry I was. She is very faithful woman, rooted in her Christian religion, and she said she had just put it all in god's hands. She seemed ok.

But all day, she has been on my mind and heart, as has this pregnancy of mine. Her loss makes me worry that I, too, could experience a similar loss. Her loss also makes me think that statistically it is unlikely that I will experience a loss like hers. And then I find myself feeling guilty worrying about my pregnancy when she has lost hers.

And then tonight, I receive word from a friend who was told she would never conceive naturally that she is pregnant (naturally) and due right around the same time as me. I am just ecstatic for her, and her news gives me some renewed hope that my baby will be alright too.

I recognize that what happens to these other people does not impact my pregnancy one way or the other, but they do impact my emotions, and I think I will not believe I am having this baby until he/she is born in the fall. I continue to be dismayed that there is something growing in me...out of sheer shock, fear and love.

So is this god working strangely? Somehow I feel it is. But what it means remains a mystery to me. I am egotistical enough to think it is god's way of saying everything will work out, but I am also doubtful enough that god spends its time sending out feel-good messages to lil' ole me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Can the CJ find nothing else about which to write?

The local paper has now published two articles about Facebook, which is completely stupid. Granted, these were in the Features section, not front-page news, but still. It seems some people, namely the people who write these particular articles, take FB a little too seriously. (I guess some would say I do too since I am blogging about the FB articles. Touche.)

The first article was about how some people ask other people to be their "friends" even though they were actually mean to these people when they were in grade school or high school. Like the popular, cliquish kids being FB friends with the dorks, dweebs and nerds who they ignored or insulted for years on end. The second article was about de-friending someone on FB because they are annoying, insulting, or a stalker.

When I read the first article a few weeks back, I couple of thoughts went through my head. First, if you really don't like someone and never have, then don't ask them to be a friend or confirm them as a friend or de-friend them as quickly as possible if you've made either of the aforementioned mistakes. Life is too short to be annoyed with some person you hardly know whenever you want to just fool around on the computer.

When I was in grade school, there were a number of kids I hated because I thought they were stuck up assholes. True, they were kids, and we all know kids can be horribly mean, and I was an overly sensitive kid, therefore ripe for abuse. Chances are pretty good that they've changed over the last 20-odd years, as I have, and aren't stuck up assholes. But I sure as fuck ain't going to search them out or ask them to be my friend. I might look them up to see how they look or how many kids they have, but I have no interest in anything more substantial. Now if they asked me to be their friend, I would have give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they have matured enough to see what a stellar fucking person I am!

And then there are other people that I liked but lost touch with over time, and so it is nice to catch up and be able to keep better "tabs" on them.

FB is a fun, keep in touch kind of thing, a way to find humor, camaraderie, support. But it is not really a friendship tool because the truth, at least for me, is that my family sucks so much of my time and energy, it is virtually impossible for me to have friendships with 104 people. See what I take overly-seriously is not FB, but the word friend. I always have.

It's like the word girlfriend or boyfriend. You get to be a certain age, and the terms just sound stupid and don't convey what you want and need for them to convey. Same with friend. My daughter has "friends" that she meets and plays with at the park for 20 minutes, and by this I mean, she didn't know them at all 20 minutes ago. But they are now friends.

The word friend seems too special or treasured to use for a lot of people I know, but acquaintance sounds too unfamiliar and distant. There just isn't a happy middle for me, and I guess that is the crux of my issue with these FB articles. They just keep bringing into focus my latent issues with the whole social networking thang.

Getting my ass kicked

This is not a post about what a lot of people would like to do to me.
This is a post about how whooped I am by this pregnancy.

I don't know what I am expecting. I have a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old. I am 35 years old. I didn't start feeling semi-normal during my pregnancy with G until I was 16 weeks. I am currently 14. Maybe what I think I remember about being pregnant is just fuzz, since I do have a notoriously poor memory, to which my husband and friend K will attest. Maybe I've just turned into the world's biggest whiner (it's not a big jump to move from 2nd place to 1st, after all).

D actually had to guilt me into straightening up the house a bit this weekend. I mean, I have really gotten in touch with my inner sloth when I (the former OCD Queen of Clean) have to be compared to really crappy housekeepers to find an ounce of energy to put some junk away.

What have I become?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Baby bump, 13 weeks

The tired, tired mom at the end of the day.
Gorgeous, darling..... (snort)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things that are driving me nuts (or more nuts than usual)

In general, I don't think I'm an easily peeved person (argue with me, if you'd like so I can add something else to my list), but methinks the pregnancy hormones are having their way with me. Let's begin with these crazy ass dreams I've been having.

I have a recurring dream that began after I had my nervous breakdown in 2004. In the dream, D and I are together, sometimes in the house I grew up in, sometimes in our current house, sometimes in a house I've never seen before. Sometimes we have our kids, sometimes we have no kids. The whole gist of the dream is that I am wanting and waiting for us to get married. I have a real sense of yearning in this dream, so intense that I still feel it upon waking. But always at some point in the dream I realize that we are already married. I feel like we have a pretty solid marriage, but this dream has plagued me for almost 5 years now.

In addition to this dream, I have had sex dreams about virtually every guy I dated in college. I'm currently not in the mood for real sex or dream sex with anyone.

How quickly one forgets the "issues" of pregnancy. I had forgotten how I sweat at night in the region from my belly button to my mid-thigh. I wake up convinced I have peed on myself. Nope--just sweat. Gross nonetheless.

Although I enjoy it, I recognize that FB is a giant ego-trip (as is this blog). I do enjoy reading people's status updates, but I get peeved at myself when I make what I think is a witty comment to someone, only to find that my superego is worrying that I have been too crass, too vulgar, too Carrie. And since FB frieds might be real friends, cyber-friends, former friends, almost friends, etc, I can't be sure that I'm not royally pissing someone off. And then I become even more pissed at myself because, really, do I care that much?

Isn't the saying that you dislike people in whom you see too much of yourself? I think I have the capacity to be this kind of woman. The kind that seemingly cannot live without a man. From the time I became boy-crazy at 10 years old until I married at 24, I felt I wanted (and needed) a male cohort to be happy. My dad (a good, good man and dad) was not, and is not, particularly affectionate. I don't remember him saying "I love you" on a regular basis until I married and moved out. Without going into all of my therapy sessions, suffice it to say, I think I felt the need to feel loved by males because I didn't feel that my father loved me (apparently, I needed more affection than he was comfortable giving). Blah, blah.

So when I come upon one of these women, who seem to have strings of defunct relationships and feel compelled to not be alone for a good long time (like at least a year without a single date), I get my panties in a twist. I just wish for them to be happy by themselves for awhile and quit wasting so much energy on men. For awhile.

I am a firm believer that if you are married, you are married, even if you are separated. This does not mean you can or should date other people. If you want to date, get a fucking divorce and be single. Don't date until that time. Also, if you are willing to spend oodles of time working on a new relationship, why not try to first spend oodles of time salvaging the one you are ending? (Granted, I realize some marriages are not salvageable, nor should they be salvaged.)

'Nough said.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In the works

It just seems like there is alot going on, and most of it is stuff I either have to do or things I can't control. And when I am confronted with "out of my hands" issues, I start to feel anxiety creeping.

  • The obvious "not in my control" thing is the pregnancy. I've made it to 12 weeks, heard the heartbeat, and still feel weird. My thoughts keep going something like this, "This wasn't planned, so it's kinda like a miracle that I even got pregnant, which means something bad is going to happen, because....well, I don't know why, but I just can't get invested." There is nothing rational about this thought, but it is there, floating around in my head. With N, I didn't believe I was going to have a baby until I was in the process of delivering her (full-fledged, unchecked, unmedicated anxiety). With G, I believed it much sooner that I was actually going to have a baby (happily medicated, post-therapy). This baby, I am somewhere in between. My rational brain and psycho brain are at odds at the moment. I know it is because this wasn't planned, but I don't know what to do about, if anything. Time will take care of it, I reckon.
  • Summer class. Have to do it. Just something hanging over my head, causing anxiety.
  • Vacation, which I am looking forward to, but there is some level of stress with thinking about spending money, planning, driving, keeping kids happy in the car, etc.
  • Refinancing our mortgage. No biggie, but something else on my mind's back-burner.
  • Did I mention the unplanned pregnancy?
  • N is sick, and I hate it when either of the kids is sick. Can't do a darn thing but wait it out.
And then there are lots of other little things I need to do at some point, like make a dentist appointment for myself, make a ENT appointment for G, get the kids' pictures made, take them for their respective well visits. Just little things that clutter up my brain, and zap me with anxiety rays until I get them done.