Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just Me Being Me?

So last night I found myself sitting on the couch, finishing up paperwork, and watching the Season Finale of Downton Abbey (don't get me started on Downton Abbey...that is an entirely different blog post!) and just started to feel exhausted. So I toddled off the to bedroom, read a few pages of my book, and turned off the light. About three minutes later, I sat straight up in bed, struck by a feeling of horrible sadness. I found myself sitting there in the dark, with tears in my eyes, thinking about how sad it was that Thursday will be my last horseback riding lesson. How melodramatic.

My husband, whom you should know went to bed early due to being sick all day, mumbled something like " kay?"

"No, I blurted. "I can't sleep."


Now, I had some choices. I could sit there in the dark and continue to dwell on my inexplicable sadness. I could accept defeat (pregnancy insomina?) and go back to reading my book. Or I could just go to sleep.

So what did I do?

I choose this moment to bring up with my husband the issue of his weight. As in, my belief that he needed to lose some. Now I know what you're thinking - Are you serious right now? and What were you thinking? Who brings up such a sensitive subject at midnight with a poor, tired, sick husband?

Apparently I do. I launch right into asking him about his diet and proposing some exercise routines, all the while feeling his hurt and defensiveness emanating at me through the darkness.

So what do I do? I keep on talking. As I talk, I'm feeling angry and sad. I'm thinking stupid things like , Why do I always have to be the mean one? and Can't he see I'm trying to help? Right. You couldn't get more cliche than this.

This goes on for awhile. Me throwing out what I see as thoughtful, caring comments, but what I know are being received as darts to his heart. Finally, in a tired voice, he says something along the lines of, "Look, I'm sick and tired and I've been throwing up. Can't we just drop this?"

Logical, right? Right. Except now I'm buzzing with fury and contemplating sleeping on the couch. What? I am not making any sense.

Suddenly I blurt out, "Well you......"

"Well I what......?" Again, he isn't angry, just tired, exasperated, and a little hurt.

I, on the other hand, and fuming with the words I didn't speak - Well, YOU don't seem excited enough about this baby.

Wait. Back up. WHAT? Where did that come from?? He has been perfectly excited and extremely happy about this whole thing. What did I expect? Flowers? Kisses on my belly? Sympathy? Coddling? Stoking my hair?

Hmmm. Yes. Probably, all of the above. Now, logically, I know a bunch of facts. I know he has been sick and has been working hard and his parents have been visiting and we both don't get home until 7 or 8 (or later) at night AND that the fact that I have a sesame seed of a baby inside of me just doesn't affect him the same as it does me. Logically, I get all of this.

But, in the dark last night I wasn't logical. I was tearful, angry, hostile, and just.......well, bitchy.

Suddenly, it stuck me. Oh my god. Is this Pregnancy talking? Are these just hormonally-induced feelings? Is this complete lack of rational thought all the fault of that little sesame-seed bundle of cells? well, then I got more angry. Damn it. That's not fair. Chemicals are making me be a bitch to my poor husband? Well, goddamnit, I......

WAIT. Stop.

So I stopped. I never said any of those thoughts about him "not being excited enough" out loud. I just sat there in the darkness while his breathing slowed and I finally allowed him some much-deserved sleep.

And I marveled. Marveled at how things you read about emotionality due to hormones or due to the momentousness of such a big change actually do come true. I am a statistic in a book. One of those sappy books that says something like "Now remember, mommies-to-be can be a little difficult or unpredictable in these months. Treat her with care and give her lots of foot massages!" Oh gag me. Is that me?

Now those of you reading this who are slightly more knowledgeable than me might be thinking. Um, but you're only five weeks pregnant. Hormones don't kick in until much, much later.

If that's the case, keep it to yourself. Because I don't want to know about it if that Monster last night was just me being me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Little Bit Scarlett

My Grandmother was a Southern Belle. Truly. She was born and raised in a little town in Tennessee and she said things like "Oh my!" and "Ya'll Come Back Now, Y'hear?" She fell in love with my Grandfather, a skinny Italian boy with dark eyes and dark skin, at a train station during the war. They wrote intensely beautiful love letters back and forth (who does that??) until they could be together. Pictures of them together show a slender red-headed woman with a sassy expression and a tall Italian boy in uniform who was quiet and shy, but oh so proud of his bride.

By the time she was my grandmother her red hair had faded and was replaced with a drug-store red called "Strawberry Summer" (or something equally as cheesy). She was heavy, rounded, and had two chins, which embarrassed her relentlessly. But to me, she was feminine, soft to cuddle with, and knew all about makeup. I loved her. I later learned that she had a bit too much of Scarlett in her, and made my mom's life a little Hellish while my parents were married. But to seven-year-old me, that went straight over my head.

It was my grandma who introduced me to Gone With the Wind. I remember the day we watched it on her big box tv, me sitting on the orange-brown carpeting, much too close to the screen, mesmerized by Scarlett's enormous skirts and teeny tiny waist. I remember, at a few points, exclaiming, "Oh my god!" at parts that surprised or excited me. From behind, my grandmother's soft, Southern voice would say, "Don't take the lord's name in vain, dear."

Later, in 6th or 7th grade, I tackled the book. Now, you should now I was and am a voracious reader. So as a 13-year-old the book Gone with the Wind had two attractions for me. One, it was as big as my head with over 1000 pages and two, I still remembered watching the movie with my grandmother and so, while I read the book, I could see the colored pictures moving through my mind and hear Scarlett saying "Fiddle-dee-dee!"

The reason I decided to write this post (yes, there is a reason!), is because on my recent trip to Mexico, I decided to re-read GWTW. I borrowed a falling-apart copy from the library (because it's so much better that way!) and trekked it along on my carry-on.

What did I discover? First, it is still a damn good book. I was riveted. It is a soap opera on a much grander scale that makes you never want to the book down. Two, the historical components were so much more interesting the second time around. Learning about the Southern values and worldviews, the position of Southern women in their "weak but secretly strong" roles, and the perspective on the South as something that was doomed to fail, but yet represented something so beautiful and pristine to the people who lived here (all the while ignoring the dark undercurrents of the fact that their lives were supported by enslaving others). Finally, and what I actually what to blog about today, is the fact that when I read GWTW a second time, my own personal perspective of the characters had changed so dramatically. Remember that I was 13 the first time I read it and now am 31 (whoa, isn't that called a palindrome?). So, I am in fact, a different person, with different views on life. But, as a psychologist, I can't help marveling at how very differently I saw these people - their motives, their actions, and their values. Let me give you some examples:

Scarlett O'Hara

Of course we'll start with Scarlett. When I was 13, I was fascinated with her beauty and her femininity. I was crestfallen when she got sunburnt and blistered from working in the fields (the horrors!) and I was ecstatic when she rises from the ashes in her velvet-curtain gown. How beautiful!! But, mostly, I just thought she was a complete bitch. I thought she was mean to everyone around her and couldn't understand why she would do the things she would do. What was she thinking?? Also, I thought she was a complete idiot for the way she obsessed over Ashley. Couldn't she see that he didn't want her? Why was she so spineless? Suck it up, get over him, and be a stronger woman, damnit!!

This time around? I realized that Scarlett is so much more complex than all of that. She is fighting against societal rules that she sees as stupid, but still values because she was raised in that culture. She does things that hurt others, because that is the only way she sees to save herself, her family, and her home - Tara. She is fearful and silly...and so makes decisions that she later regrets. And Ashley? Well, now as a grown woman, I have a bit more empathy for the complexity of relationships. Ashley represented something different to her, something that she couldn't really understand. And poor Scarlett...what I didn't realize as an innocent girl of 13 who thought relationships were black and white, is that Ashley shamelessly led her on throughout the entire book! Now, to 13-year-old me, that was NO excuse for acting like a weak, shallow woman, but to 31-year-old me, I realize that things aren't always so simple.

Ashley Wilkes

Let's talk about Ashley Wilkes. As a girl, I thought he was a boring character. Simpering, helpless, and nowhere near as exciting as Rhett. But, I did think he was blameless in the whole Scarlett-Ashley obsession. Now, I realize I was right about the simpering and helpless part, but completely wrong about the blameless part. Ashley completely led Scarlett on the whole book! (Insert passionate indignation here!) So, not only was he too weak to actually DO anything about it, but he was betraying his wife the entire time. Wow. But, the one thing that I did appreciate about him the second time around, is that he is one of the only people besides Rhett Butler who can see through the bullshit of the South to see that their lifestyle is not sustainable and not morally right. The problem is, he doesn't care enough to do anything about it.

Rhett Butler

If this were a Twilight-love-triangle, I am definitely Team-Rhett. I have been since day one, when I watched him on my grandma's old TV, telling Scarlett he didn't "give a damn." But, although the reasons for my team allegiance have changed somewhat from girl-me to adult-me. As a girl, I thought Rhett was just the "bad boy" in a delectable way. I thought he led Scarlett along on a leash and toyed with her (oh, how sexy). I couldn't understand why he ultimately left her and HOW he could walk out on her. What was he thinking?
Now I realize that Rhett Butler's story is the most tragic story in the entire book. He falls in love with Scarlett, who couldn't give a "fiddle-dee-dee" and mostly just sees him as a means to an end. He waits patiently in the background, all the while managing to be there just when she needs him most, until she finally agrees to marry him with a "But I don't love you, Rhett!" He hides his feelings toward her so she won't feel guilty for not loving him. He then transfers his love to their daughter, whom he loses, ironically, based on my previous posts, in a horseback riding accident. Then, when Scarlett finally realizes she DOES love him (well, duh!), her pride stops her from telling him. And so, in his famous Frankly-Scarlett-I-Don't-Give-A-Damn moment, he walks away from her, in order to protect himself. *gaSp* Yep. I am officially team Rhett.

A side note: When I was in Mexico, I was perusing the hotel's take-one, leave-one library and found a book called Rhett Butler's People, a book that retells GWTW from Rhett's perspective. I am currently reading it and my little heart is bleeding all the more for poor, gorgeous Rhett.

Melanie Hamilton

Oh, little Melanie! Who Scarlett described as having no breasts or hips - the body of a 12-year-old girl - and not enough sense to hide the fact that she knew things about books, music and poetry. What did I think of her as a girl? Well, I couldn't give her the time of day! She was even more boring than Ashley! So useless, weak, and completely clueless to what was going on around her! She let Scarlett have an imaginary affair with Ashley right under her nose. She didn't realize that Scarlett couldn't stand having Melanie around, and through it all, she just smiled and talked about things like "sisterly love." Gag me.

Now? Well, now I realize that Melanie was the strongest character in the book. She is the only person who was strong enough to help Scarlett and to understand her. She protected Scarlett and stood by her when no one else would. She knew everything that was going on, but made choices to protect her family. Not to mention, she was educated and proud of it! Go Melanie. And the scene with Melanie, who had just given birth with NO doctor, NO medication, and probably significant tearing (remember those hips of a 12-year-old girl) in the middle of the Civil War, standing at the top of the staircase with a confederate sword, prepared to kill a Yankee soldier? Well, damn. That girl wasn't weak!

Ooookay. Now I somehow have written a huge post about Gone With the Wind. Not really sure how that happened? It seems very random (especially to those of you readers who have never read the book or seen the movie. You probably glazed over long ago. Did you even make it this far??). Maybe I just wanted to write about a post about something not related to pregnancy because I have flooded the blog with the P-word recently. Or maybe I was thinking about my grandmother. Either way, it's something I've been thinking about ever since I read the book again. It is so interesting how our perspectives can change so completely as we mature and grow. Do we begin to see people as more complex? Or do we give in more to stereotypes? What about the people in our lives that change with us? Are we able to step back and notice their change and appraise whether it is good or bad?

Do any of you have any childhood books or movies that you watched again as an adult? How did your perspectives change?

Gone With the Wind, Mexican Style

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Still Pregnant.

Take notes:

It's Sunday Night. I'm still pregnant.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sun in Slow Motion

So, in the midst of the mildly-important aka earth-shattering news of this week, I have neglected to write a much-deserved post about our trip to Mexico. I think I have to write this post because, in my heart, I feel that Zihua played a part in this baby coming to be. Hmm. After I wrote that sentence I realized I mean it in two ways. First of all, I believe that being there, being relaxed, happy and just.......the zenlike person I am in Mexico contributed a big part of why this cycle was successful when the others weren't. (Although I keep laughing that the joke is on the baby because when she decided to burrow in for implantation, I may have falsely advertised the calming soothing environment of my womb and she'll be in for a rude awakening now that she meets my-womb-in-LA). But aside from my superstitious beliefs that Mexico aided in implantation, I also think that the little town of Zihuatanejo has brought my husband and I to where we are now.

You see, we originally went to Zihua for our Honeymoon in 2005. A year and a half later, we went back "recommit" to our marriage. The first year hadn't gone so well (*insert long, painful story here) and we ended up geographically separated to give ourselves some distance. Coming back to Zihua was a sign for us. Then, in 2011, we went back with our two best friends. We were walking along Playa La Ropa at sunset and witnessing the moment they got in engaged. Also, although it has nothing to do with my relationship with my husband, the last time I went was to take my mother for her 60th birthday, along with my sister and my aunt. A trip for las mujeres. So yeah. Zihuatanejo is dear to my heart.

So, here's a quick little trip report for you. If you're interested in reading about babies and pregnancy, then you can just gloss on through and look at pictures of sunsets to keep your mind occupied...because this post will be purely Mexico infused.

We boarded the plane on Thursday morning, still in husband checking his software that was supposed to Demo while we were gone and sending emails to his employees, me checking blogs and FF. The almost 3 hour flight slowly eased us away from stress and turmoil, and when we unloaded off the plane onto the hot tarmac and into the muggy air, I was stripping off clothing and stress without a thought. We breezed through Immigration with a Buenas Tardes and a smile. Grabbed our luggage, greenlighted through customs (I am NOT allowed to press the button, I always get a red light), and jumped into a taxi.

The taxi driver was a funny little man who was confused by why this white girl in his car could speak Spanish and wanted to have a conversation about Obama and immigration reform. I indulged him and tried later to translate for my husband. Random.

And then we arrived at our hotel. Oh. My. God. Amuleto is a little pearl of a hotel perched up above the bay, south of town, so that the beaches, palm trees, and sailboats look like a painting of real life. The hotel only has six rooms and each is a mini-paradise. We were greeted with margaritas and guacamole (the best I've ever tasted) in our room and then left to sink into decadent bliss. We spent the first afternoon lounging in our in-room plunge pool and then watched the sunset from our private balcony up above our room. We felt like looking Down onto Heaven. I feel like the cadence of our speech was slowing and our voices were becoming gentler. In Mexico, the Moment intensifies and everything else seems inconsequential.

We then wandered down to have a 5-course Valentine's Day dinner. Seriously? When we got back into our room, the bed was turned down, rose petals were scattered, and the mosquito netting was tucked in. What can I say? It was Valentine's Day. We "enjoyed."

The next day we literally did nothing ALL day. Unless you count an amazing massage by a woman who not only gave a Hawaiian-style massage, but also reflexology and cupping. In our room. Wow. We debated going down to the beach, and normally I would feel pressure to "do something" or "make the trip count," but instead I just burrowed into my book and made friends with the sunshine on our balcony.

The following day we spent repeating the first, minus the massage and plus an intense few games of chess (and by intense I mean I quickly lost in bewilderment). And then we wandered downtown for dinner. I love downtown Zihua. It really hasn't changed since our first visit in 2005, except the addition of some cute tile roofs over the little stores. Locals walk around on dates, overdressed for the hot weather (by my standards), with the girls highly-feminine and curvy and the boys looking like they just won the lottery. Old men sit around and just.....well, sit and watch. People sit in shops and seem to demonstrate that you can work in your shop, but still have a life. I mean, work doesn't have to be so much work, does it? Why not braid your friend's hair or hold a sleeping child while you do it? I always marvel at the size of some of the stores. As in, you just need a tiny cubicle in which to sell 5 purses, 16 bracelets and a smattering of keychains and BOOM, there you go, you have a business. The streets downtown are hot and thick, different than the breeze above the bay. The air smells......ripe and pungent in a way that you don't want to breathe too deeply and yet it makes you feel alive and lets you know yes, you ARE in Mexico. And the music from the plaza is just a bit too loud and the announcer screaming to the crowd is oh-so-cheesy, in a small-town-forgotten kind of way. I walk around with a cheesy grin on my face the entire time.

When we got downtown, I was on a mission. Last time I had wandered away from the touristy Aristan's market and found a place that sold bubble glass and talavera for half the price. I had found this place on El Viaje de Las Mujeres and so me, my mom, my sister and my aunt wandered into this huge store (belying the tiny cubicles mentioned earlier) and found dusty shelves of everything you could imagine. An awkward boy of about 14 nervously waited on us and mumbled about his mother "being back soon." He blushed at everything I said to him, but by the end of the trip was practicing his English with me. This time, i was determined to go back because my cat had broken two of the glasses I brought back. Damn cat. My husband wandered after me, complaining as I drug him farther and farther into darkened streets that had been torn up for some construction project and never put back together. But then.....I found it. just the same. The boy was there. And so was his mother. Oh my god. This woman. As soon as she found I spoke Spanish, she decided to give me philosophical life lessons on everything from marriage to prostitution to parenting. Yep. She even wrote down a little dicho for me to use with my clients. She seriously spoke to me for about 30 minutes and responded to everything I said with "école!!", which translates to somewhere around "Exactly!! Damn right!" in my Gringo-understanding. Finally, after a moist hug, she let us go.

We had an enormous dinner of pozole and parilla and then headed back up to our room where a large Spanish (or Argentinian?) group was having a late dinner, playing guitar, and singing love songs. Some one set off fireworks for a wedding somewhere and we watched from our balcony. Is this for real?

Our last day was more of the same, except in reverse. I could feel myself gearing up to leave and rolling up the barriers around myself so I could go back to the real world. I wish I could bring a piece of that back with me (and I try) to be the person I am there. I don't have to practice mindfulness when I'm there, I just live it.

Anyhow, have I rambled enough in my over-the-top prose? Well, you get the picture. I freakin' love this town.

I will leave you with some more pictures......

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dos Por Uno

This post is going to be a two-for-one. Lucky you!

Post #1

We told.......everyone! No, I'm just kidding. We told our families. I told my sister first. I asked her if I could stop by her house on my way home from work because I "had something to give to her." When I got there, I told her I had her present on my cell phone and she said "On your cell phone? Still not suspecting anything. Then I handed her my phone with a picture of my digital "Pregnant" test. Her reaction was Hollywood-movie perfect. HUGE gaping face ending in a "Whaaaaaat?" with a giant smile. I mean, you'd think she didn't know we were trying!

That same night we told my husband's parents, who are visiting from out of town. We had hoped to wait a few days, but as soon as we all sat down, they asked right away, out right. We just couldn't lie. Now, I'm not particularly close with my in-laws....I mean, we get along well and I like them, but they're not my parents, if you know what I mean. But, when I saw their faces and how happy they were, I got teary eyed and a little choked up. It was suddenly real.

Then, today, I told my parents. I wish I could have told them in person, instead of two separate phone calls. The phone calls just weren't the same as telling someone in person. That being said, both of my parents were ecstatic and excited and wanted to know when I was due, how far along, how I was feeling...all of the questions that made me feel like a pregnant person. So yeah. Now it's out there. People know. Here we go!

Post #2

Another thing happened. I went riding today. Now, I've mentioned here and here how important horseback riding is to me. And how I know that I will have to give it up at some point during my pregnancy. Numerous all-knowing websites have told me that horseback riding during pregnancy is a no-no. But in real life, most of the women I know who are avid riders/trainers and mothers have ridden throughout most of their pregnancy. For me? I always knew that I would stop riding once I got pregnant. Just not worth the risk. Now that I'm pregnant (*gaSp*-did I just say that?), I was wondering whether to ride through my scheduled rides in March or just stop at the end of this month.

I had two more rides scheduled for February. Today was one of them. I was still undecided as I drove up for my lesson. Today we worked on extended canter and downward transitions to trot - with no stirrups. Now, downward transitions trot is the most awkward, bouncy transition out there. If you don't know what you're doing, you get bounced around like a rag doll. Normally, this would be no big deal for me. Today? Without the security of the stirrups, I found myself getting tense, rigid and scared. Yes, scared! The fear and tension made me bounce all of the place, which made me feel like I was going to fall off, with then of course, made me scared again. I haven't been scared riding in a long time.

And then I realized. I was scared I was going to fall off. Scared I was going to fall off and hurt the baby. Whoa.

And the fear makes a rider dangerous. It makes you ride in unsafe ways. Now, as soon as I realized what was happening, I relaxed and just rode. I rode like I know how to ride. But those few moments of fear opened my eyes wide. I am not just ME anymore. I'm Me+One.

So what did I decide? I am going to ride one more time to finish out the month and then call it good.

I feel good about my decision. But I was also sad driving home. I don't mind giving up my other love affair with wine, but giving up horseback riding means giving up something special I do for myself to help myself feel calmer and more balanced. It was the first thing I gave up as woman-without-a-child so I can become a mother. That's a big deal. Kinda gives me shivers.

I think I'll take up hiking again.
p.s. As of tonight, I have officially missed my period.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


So I'm still holding my breath here. It's been such a weird experience. I always envisioned getting a positive pregnancy test, screaming, crying, and jumping around. Followed by a sentimental moment in my husband's arms. But, I think I've ruined it for myself. I've read too much and know too much. So instead, I am biting my lip with cautious excitement. Wiggling in my seat with apprehension. But no screaming and crying.

The closest I got was last night in my car, singing at the top of my lungs to Lovefool by the Cardigans. Not typical for me and NOT a pretty sight.

Little things keep slipping out. Like when I said to my husband, "We'll have a baby by next Thanksgiving," or "The test says I'm still pregnant. Whoa, I'm pregnant?" But it's still hard. I think it will feel real when we tell our families. Which, incidentally, I think will happen this weekend. My husband's parents will be in town visiting, so there's no way we will be able to keep it a secret (we're both terrible at keeping secrets). So once we tell them, of course I'll want to tell my family. And then, after's out in the open and will feel oh-so-much more real. Wow.

In the meantime, this helps:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Now What??

I wrote this yesterday. Got the courage to post it today.

So I'm writing this post, but I'm not going to publish it yet. Basically, I'm not ready to put it out there yet. No one but myself and my husband know. it goes. We were in Mexico for four days. The whole time I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be amazing if we found out we were pregnant while in Zihuatanejo?" Zihua has a lot of meaning for us and is connected with a lot of milestones in our life...starting with our Honeymoon. So I thought, what better place to find out we're having a baby? Unfortunately, no positive tests (tested way earlier than normal, from 7dpo-10dpo)....but I didn't worry about it. I felt relaxed, calm, and happy. I wasn't concerning myself about the TWW. No symptom spotting. No real notice at all except peeing on a stick every morning (oh and abstaining from Mexico-drunkenness).

So then we got home. Today, our first morning back, I was dreaming all morning about seeing two lines on a pregnancy test. I could see them so clearly in my dream. I woke up feeling foolish, but decided to just go ahead and take another test. So I peed, set a timer for 2.5 minutes, and started brushing my teeth. At one point I glanced down, thought I saw something, and then told myself I was crazy. When the timer went off, it was there. A barely-there, thin little line, too faint to even tell the color. My lower lip started to shake like a cartoon character and I had to sit on the toilet. I felt like I was still in my dream. I felt silly about waking my husband up for such a faint, faint scratch of a line, but I couldn't help myself.

He rolled over, peered at it bleary-eyed for what felt like an eternity and then said, "Well there's definitely something there."

Shit. Thanks hon, now what???

So what else could I do? I started getting ready for work. When I was all ready to go, I decided maybe I could pee again. Ha. Now we get to the pathetic part. I sat on the toilet, willing my bladder to release, and peed just long enough for 5 seconds of stream. I think I managed to pee all over the test too. Nice. I figured the test wouldn't work, due to limited urine and poor aim. But - two more lines showed up! Darker AND pinker!

I showed my husband again and he compared the two (what a champ) and agreed. And then we just looked at each other like, Now What?

I mean, they're both faint. Nothing to swing from the rafters for. Nothing certain. So what do you do? Should we have cried and hugged and had meaningful talks about our lives changing forever? Should we have stayed home from work to celebrate the amazingness of some barely-there lines? Nah. Not really. We hugged and looked at each other bewilderingly and then I got up and went to work.

Today was a 12 hour day. I'm STILL at work. And all I want to do is stop at the store and buy two more packs of pregnancy tests.

My life could be about to change. Or, it could be a worse crush of hopes than ever before. Who's to say?? Can't wait to find out.

Today's Update? Last night's test was considerably darker than the first two. As in, no need to squint at all. But this morning's? Looks pretty much like last night's. Still dark, but not noticeably darker. Is that a problem? Should I stop comparing? Ugh. This is the danger of testing before your period, huh? I remember when I didn't know all of this stuff about chemical pregnancies and a positive would have been a positive. But now, somehow, I find myself waiting again. Just waiting with a lot more nervous excitement.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Privilege - Part 2

Ok, so I was going to respond to each of your comments on my previous post but you are all such insightful people that you inspired me to drag this out into a second post. Bear with me* here while I flex my philosophical muscles.

First of all, I want to agree with Lorna that where you live in Los Angeles just helps to make all of this social stratification that much clearer. The West side in particular. We wander around to our little Farmer's Markets and cute little cafes and then gardeners and house cleaners and nannies ride the bus over to help peoples' lives live more smoothly. Before living where we live now, we were in a small guest house of a large mansion (basically the pool house) and it was shocking to live in that neighborhood (Willow from Buffy was our neighbor!) and see how the neighborhood would change when the home owners went to work. Suddenly the neighborhood was invaded by pickup trucks and Latino gardeners, pool boys and nannies would descend to make sure that people could serenely not worry about these more concrete parts of their life. So yeah, where I live, it's hard to not see the divisions. In Montana, we were all poor. Except the few "rich kids" who moved there from California. But they were the minority, not the expected.

So, as Hilljo so astutely pointed out, this really is about privilege. And, being aware of your privilege. And believe me, I am. I know that we are where we are today as a result of a mixture of working hard, being lucky, and being who we are. I mean, yes, we both grow up as some country kids in Montana, but both of us grew up with one parent each who graduated college, being told we could do things with our life, and not having to experience prejudice for how we look. So yeah, just by being born we had privilege. And now? Now we're swimming in it. And our kids? Well, they'll probably attend some bilingual private education school and travel abroad. We are going to have to knock them off their privileged little high chairs. But Hilljo's point about re-labeling my guilt about this position as "awareness" is freaking brilliant. My husband and I are always having arguments about my guilt. He thinks I should accept that we worked our asses off and that we earned it. When I talk about my guilt having what I have, I think it makes him feel bad, as if I don't appreciate all that we've created together. But relabeling it as awareness helps me to realize that that is all I am doing - trying not to forget. Not to forget where we came from. Not to forget where people still are. Not to forget the differences that exist. And all this is all the more important when you realize we have to teach theses lessons to our children.

The timing of this post is ironic, because in Amanda's comment she talked about the different ways in which people travel. Which, in the US (maybe not so much abroad?) even to travel is a privilege. But she described young people staying in beautiful places.....beautiful places that are unnecessary to really experience the place they are visiting. First of all, I wholly agree. When we travel, we usually stay in hostels, or a small local hotel. We don't expect comfortable beds, a swimming pool, amenities......and I like it this way. I'd rather spend our money on the trip than the place we lay our heads at night. But this upcoming trip to Mexico, we're doing it differently. For the first time. We're staying in a luxury boutique hotel that has ALL of the amenities and more. I rationalized it away by saying, "Oh, it's a Valentine's Day trip" and "But we're only going for three nights, so we can splurge" and "We got free airline tickets so we can spend the difference on our rooms!" But really, I think it scared me a little. Are we changing? Are we no longer those kids who backpack around to hostels??

I guess it all comes down to balance. As Gypsy Mama said, it's about awareness. If you are aware and conscious, you don't need to become a buddhist monk and change your entire lifestyle. But, Hilljo made more one more point that I want to comment on. I do do something with my life that makes me feel more conscious, aware, and less-guilty about my position in life. I work with underprivileged kids who've been abused and traumatized. Most of my clients are immigrant families who do not speak English, and are still trying to find a place in this crazy city. I do a lot of advocacy, outreach, and support. I give my time and my energy in my job. And yes, it is a job, and I do get paid, but I definitely take a pay cut working for the county that I wouldn't have to take if I worked for a different clientele. So, yeah, I guess that is my way of finding balance.

In sum, thanks for bearing with me* on a second post about this subject in some selfish effort to better understand the recent changes in my life and how they affect who I am. Damn. All this because of a stupid swimsuit? It better be cute.

Thanks to all of you who commented so thoughtfully. It helps :)

*When I wrote this, I wasn't sure if it was "bear with me" or "bare with me" and so I googled it. What I got was "The common expression is "Bear with me." "Bare with me" would be asking someone to undress with you. Ha.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Two Scraps of Fabric

So I don't do a lot of self-disclosure on this blog, but I'm about to share something that is (oddly) a little embarrassing to me.

Awhile ago I bought a swimsuit that I really liked. I can't remember how much it cost exactly, but I know it was a splurge for me - maybe a little over $100? It was a cute turquoise and white striped bikini that was a bit "smaller" than I would typically buy. As in, it didn't cover as much of my bum as I would have liked and came down much lower on my tummy than even some pairs of underwear I own. But I looked damn good in it. I began to realize that part of why I looked better in it was actually because it had less fabric. Less places to cut in, less things to pooch out, and more just me being me, with no restriction. Ha. I mean, come on, I was a size Small, I might as well enjoy it, right?? Anyhow, then a sad thing happened. You see, I don't take very good care of my things and I carelessly threw the suit in the wash. Bad move. The turquoise somehow bled into the white, leaving the white stripes looking an odd yellowy-pee color. Yuck. I tried to fix it, but nothing worked.

Fast-forward to yesterday. I was laying in bed with my husband in a decadent mid-afternoon nap, and we were talking about our trip to Mexico (my favorite subject nowadays) and he said, "You remember that blue and white swimsuit? Do you still have it? Are you sure it's ruined? Can't you just wear it as is?"

Ensue minor meltdown from me.

After I calmed down from mourning the pee-yellow and turquoise swimsuit, he said, "Ok, so why don't you just find out what brand it was and then order another one?"

Yes, I had actually saved the swimsuit in hopes that it would repair itself magically in my underwear drawer.

So I hopped out of bed, grabbed the suit (which my husband was secretly hoping I would put on, just for a trip down memory lane) and logged onto the website. BAM! I realized that this suit was an EXPENSIVE suit! With the cheapest swimsuits coming in around $200 and the more expensive around $375. Shit. But still, my husband whispered, "Buy one."

So what do you think I did? I bought one. This one. Navy blue and white stripes, to commemorate the original.

So far so good, right? Maybe. Did anyone of you click on that link and check out the price on that tiny little swimsuit? Yeahhhhh. Not only that, but to get it in time for our trip in three days, I had to go for over night delivery. And so now we arrive at the point in my story where I admit something "embarrassing."

We can afford that suit. We can afford it because, well, we have money. Why do we have money? Because I worked my ass off in graduate school to get my doctorate and now I have a decent paying job. But mostly, we have money because my husband is amazing, brilliant and successful. A year ago, he started his own company which has taken off and he is doing really well. So, really, we can afford to have that swimsuit overnighted to us just so I can feel good on our beach vacation.

You may wonder why that is a problem? Well, to me, having money comes with some amount of guilt. Both my husband and I grew up what could be classified as "poor." Growing up in rural Montana, a lot of kids grow up that way. It's just little turning down the heat at night, wearing the same pair of jeans that aren't "cool" and so you get made fun of, not asking for things that you want... Basically, "Do we have enough money?" was just always in the back of my mind.

But now, living in Los Angeles, a world of extremes, I realize that growing up poor in Montana is nothing like growing up poor in city. I mean, we may have been living below the poverty line, but we had 3 acres and horses in our back pasture. We had a three bedroom home with a view of the mountains. Here, entire families live in one room. And, for the most part, the families I work with live in these conditions. Conditions where my client may have to go to the hospital because a bite from a rat got infected on her leg. And then, just four miles away, there is Rodeo Drive. So yeah, the land of extremes.

What does all of this have to do with me and my little swimsuit? I guess I was just struck by how much my world has changed. Even in the last four years, we have literally jumped some tax brackets. And I realize, that in the world we live in (LA), we are not "rich" by any means. But through my eyes, through the world I grew up in, I fell like we are. To bring this full circle, this new life brings with it guilt for me. For one, I look at my clients and the lives they live. But even closer to home, I look at my own family, who still struggles financially and it just feels weird...... to not have to worry about whether we can pay rent each month.

My husband (and most anyone I talk to) tells me that we've earned it and we don't need to feel guilty. And I know that he is right, but I can't help feeling a bit shocked when I think about how much I spent on two tiny scraps of fabric.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tiny Needles?

Ok, folks, so I want to poll the experts here: What's everyone's take on acupuncture?

The reason I'm asking is, I have two friends who are going through their own different and separate stories of fertility issues and both are going to the same acupuncturist who specializes in fertility. My first friend was referred to the acupuncturist via her RE, a big name doctor in Beverly Hills, as part of her treatment pre- and during IVF. My second friend hasn't actually started trying to get pregnant yet, but was recently diagnosed with pretty severe endometriosis and wants to get things figured out since they want to get pregnant soonish. Both have marvelous things to say about this woman and her treatments (regulating cycles, disappearing cysts, extremely warm and caring, etc, etc) and so I got interested.

Now I know I have no reason to think that I have any problems that are keeping me from getting pregnant other than mathematical probability, but I am having semi-irregular cycles coming off birth control and as far as I know, you don't need to have anything wrong to benefit from a little eastern medicine. Plus, I think it would be nice to have someone who could just look at my overall health and balance.

So my question is, is there a downfall? It's covered (mostly) by my insurance, the office is near my house, and so what do I have to lose besides an hour of my time?

I should say that I'm a little bit of a contradiction here in my views on acupuncture. In general, having been trained from a very science-focused, research-based perspective, I tend to be skeptical of non-mainstream medical treatments. But somehow acupuncture doesn't fall into that category for me? It has been researched more than other non-traditional arts (i.e., muscle testing?) and doctors tend to refer their clients as a component of treatment (or maybe they just do that here in LA?). Also, my mother had amazing success with an acupuncturist when she was in her mid-20s and diagnosed with thyroid issues. The doctor wanted her to have her thyroid removed or else take some pretty serious medications that she didn't want to take. With the help of acupuncture, the issue resolved itself and she's never had thyroid problems since. My aunt and both grandmothers all have had to be medicated for it, so I'd say my mom got the better end of the deal. (By the way, I've been tested twice and so far have had no irregular thyroid levels). Long story short, I guess I want to believe in acupuncture and that there are older medicinal approaches than just what Western medicine says is "research-based."

So anyhow, what do you think? I'm curious. And sitting here today at CD24 with still no confirmed ovulation (I did break down and buy my very first OPK and got a + yesterday, so at least something is happening), it might be worth it if she could get my schedules more regular just to avoid further freak outs about scheduling :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing?

I would like to start with a thank you and an apology. My last post was a bit of a descent into self-indulgent whining. After I posted it, I thought about it and realized what a silly little girl I am to be complaining about something as silly as schedules and planning a vacation when I compare myself to what other people are struggling with in this whole trying-to-make-a-baby thing. I mean, all I have to do is read any handful of recent posts on other people's blogs and I feel a little silly. So, I apologize for having a narcissistic, primadonna moment. But I also want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to those of you who commented for just getting me amidst my little spiral of feelings. When I started this blog, I wrote a post wondering what the point of blogging is. I think, on Monday, I realized that writing this blog is not just for me to have a chance to document this or to "pretend I'm a writer," but it also freakin' helps me feel better, damnit! So thanks so much ladies, and I apologize for future slips into self-indulgent moments of despair.


On an entirely different note, I wanted to blog about something that a postdoctoral candidate said to me today during an interview. I asked her what she saw as her "growing edge" in her fellowship year, and she responded that she hoped to continue to grow in her ability to "balance compassion and confrontation." I wrote this down because I thought it was a really nice twist of words that encompassed an area in which most of us need to continue to seek balance. I don't think social interactions could exist without one or the other. Can you imagine a world filled only with compassion? Ok, well maybe Pema Chodron can, but to me it just sounds a little bland and maybe a little depressing.

Here's is a world filled only with Compassion.

My boss walks into my office on a Friday afternoon and says, "So, I have been trying to find someone to cover so-and-so's maternity leave and I know that you have been working really hard here and are so stressed and tired all of the time, but I just wanted to offer you the chance to help out. In case, you know, it makes you feel better to be helpful and kind to others."

Me: "Oh wow, thank you so much for noticing my fatigue and stress. I have also noticed that you are looking a little weary from leading our team and managing so many details. You are right, I DO want to help out my colleagues. Thank you so much for the opportunity to work harder to help them out."

My boss smiles compassionately and kindly into my eyes and says, "Thank you" in a meaningful way.*

*This is only slightly dramatized from actual events.

Seriously, I think I need to work a little on confrontation. As an employee, co-worker, supervisor, and therapist, I can sometimes overload on the compassion. I learned it from my Mom. "Always be polite." Well, politeness and compassion without a backbone can turn you into a puddle of goo. Which then could land you on the bottom of someone's shoe.

How about a land of Confrontation?

My boss bursts into my boss and grunts, "Ok, here's the deal. So-and-so is leaving on maternity leave. You're the newest employee here, so you need to pull your weight and work harder so I don't have to."

Me: "Um, excuse me?? I hardly have enough energy to do what I'm already doing. How about YOU step up and help out a little instead of shopping online in your office?"

Her eyes narrow and my office constricts into a coffin-like space. "Shut up and do more work. We're done talking about this."

I guess I'd rather live in Compassionland.

And now, at the end of this post, I am supposed to sum up my ramblings with something insightful. I'm thinking maybe I should leave that to wiser folks than me, like Pema the nun. I guess I'll just say that I like finding moments of wisdom within a normal Tuesday. And I'll drop another thanks to the girl in the suit with the pretty hair who reminding me that I may need to work a little bit more on my backbone.

What about you?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Like a Horse and Carriage...

So, let me just say...I am not good friends with this Cycle. My plans for this Cycle were that I would ovulate normally and on time then settle down and calmly wait until Feb. 14th. At which date I would board a plane, fly to Mexico and find out if I was pregnant or not. If pregnant, well then, hooray! If not, commence with margarita and michelada drinking. Both options aren't too shabby.

Unfortunately, my body laughed at my plans. I'm now on CD20 and have yet to ovulate. Oh well, no big deal, right? And yet, that extends my fanciful little timeline and puts me in Mexico right in the middle of my two week wait. Again, some of you might be nodding your little heads and thinking "Good, at least she won't have to deal with her period on a vacation" or "Oh what a relaxing way to spend the two week wait."

Others of you, who have read my blog for awhile, may remember certain references to my affinity for alcohol. And then you will realize that my body's joke of a schedule is going to force me to abstain from drinking *gaSp* while in Mexico!

So, now, you may be wondering "Does this girl have an alcohol problem?" and "Can she even function without alcohol??" and "How the hell is she going to make it as a mother??" Yeah, yeah, I know. But I've realized, after spending about 50% of the time abstaining during this whole thing, just how much alcohol is a part of my life. A glass of wine at night is a ritual for me. About calming down, leaving work behind, slowing myself into the moment. Or, dinner and drinks with friends is about socializing, enjoying the experience, and being young and carefree. When family comes to visit we open a bottle of wine, or go to a new brewery, or go out for a nice dinner with - you guessed it - drinks.

Ok, so now you're not just wondering if I'm an alcoholic. You've probably pretty much confirmed it inside of your own Superego. Right? And I'll admit, my own jury is still out. But in my defense, we're not talking all-out-drinking-until-you-puke, hanging-out-at-bars, crazy-stupid-drunk drinking here. We're talking about expensive wine and really good food. I mean, they just "go together"......

So anyhow. Back to Mexico. When I realized I wasn't going to able to drink my Micheladas in Mexico I got irrationally pissed. Like, seriously, irrationally so. And theeeeeen I started to jump onto the "She's got a problem" bandwagon. What am I complaining about here? I will be in a gorgeous boutique hotel in Mexico and I will be abstaining for something I really, really want. I felt very petty and clouded within my irrational, pouty anger.

But then, I realized. It's not about the alcohol. Ok, well, to be honest, it is a little about the alcohol. But really and truly it's about being in control. Being in control of my body, in control of my plans, in control of my life. And during sometime as basic as making a baby, you are not in control. The silly thing is, I had just started to accept that fact about the fact that this will likely take longer than I had expected/wanted. I had been settling in and realizing that I can make this a part of my life and it doesn't have to be my whole life (you may have noticed less blog posts/comments lately as a result). I was feeling smug and satisfied about this decision. But then, my body. Just. Wouldn't. Ovulate.

Basically, my body is laughing in my face right about now. Plans, schmans. What plans?

So really, I think right now I'm just mad. Mad at not being able to plan things the way I usually do. Not being able to make things go the way I want them to. And I'm not even talking about the whole having-a-baby part. I mean, the process of getting there. It seems somehow cosmically set to teach me a lesson. As in, just roll with it. Stop trying so hard.
So, what do I take away? Should I be more zen about this? Should I discover serenity? I don't really know. I'm too mad to think about it just yet.