Thursday, September 29, 2011

Waiting game

Have a lot of interesting topics brewing in my head, but haven't been able to get fingers to keyboard for more than a few lines. So I'll just focus on what is REALLY on my mind these days!

Things I will miss:
* waking up to singing toddler heard through the monitor. such bliss not to wake up to screaming/crying! And its impossible to be grumpy in the morning when you wake up to "winkle winkle wittle tar. mamamama whachu are"
* being able to do bathtime/bedtime together, all 3 of us. We are going to have to tag-team it from now on, at least until the littlest one can go in the big tub.
* eating dinner together. Despite pickiness, food-throwing, screaming, and temper tantrums, the idea of eating as a family just feels RIGHT. I think we'll be eating in shifts again for a while.

Still waiting for any signs of labor. It is like a flip literally switched in me last Friday & I went from hoping the baby wouldn't come early to suddenly wanting it out immediately. I'm currently 3 days away from my official due date. Just had (hopefully) my last OB appointment. After months of being harangued about my (excessive) weight gain, my total gain has come in at...32 lbs. Right in range (25-35 recommended if you are normal weight starting off). There are some...changes...but since I'm not having contractions I consider them meaningless. They asked me to schedule an appointment and non-stress test for next week, which I grudgingly did, all the while telling the receptionist that I had no intention of coming in so she could make it whatever time she wanted! (I know! I'm usually such a pessimist, so this is uncharacteristically hopeful for me)

I submitted all that I need to for my grant on Friday. Still waiting on the review by sponsored projects & for someone (who?) to add my mentors to the system so I can add their biosketches. It was supposed to take 48 hours. Its been 8 days. Its frustrating me because I timed MY submission so I'd have this week to make any necessary changes before I left. Now, if there is an issue, I'll be likely dealing with it whilst in the full midst of newborn chaos. Ugh.

The good news/bad news of being uber-prepared...I'm kind of done with all my urgent work. I've spent the week obsessively re-checking over my grant documents, and half-assedly writing a paper that I hadn't planned to work on until December. The rest of the time I've been flitting about the internet & reading and commenting on a lot of blogs.

I have a date tonight with my husband (my parents are here to watch little guy), dinner at a place I've been wanting to try out. Only problem, its set for 8:30 PM---that was the only reservation we could get. It'll be my second dinner, no way I can hold out that late, we generally eat at 6:30! Also the late timing means no real break from the usual post-work chores (dog-walking, kid-feeding/bathing/bedtime). I'll be exhausted by the time we get there!

Huh. I can't believe that I am posting all this minutiae about my life. I considered just not writing today, but I want to stay in the habit of writing at least twice a week. Hopefully at least one of those will be ABOUT something.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In Between Days

I'll just come out and say it. I do not enjoy being pregnant. I did not particularly enjoy it the first time, and I have enjoyed it even less this time around.

My first pregnancy came after a long wait and a lot of heartache. I was overjoyed and disbelieving when I saw those two lines…and terrified that something would go wrong and take it all away again. Yet at the same time I was NOT one of those women that fully embrace their pregnancy symptoms, deliriously happy and grateful to be puking my guts out ‘round –the-clock.  As much as I was grateful to BE pregnant, and to have a medically uneventful pregnancy, I could not make myself enjoy the nausea, exhaustion, and discomfort. And I felt guilty about that. I knew how lucky I was and how many women would give anything to be in my position…yet feeling like utter crap just doesn’t do it for me. I was quite active and fit prior to my first pregnancy and had every intention of continuing, but this pregnancy thing knocked me flat on my ass and kept me there for nearly the full 9 months.  This time around was no different. I started puking at week 5 and that seamlessly transitioned to migraines, intense heartburn, shortness of breath, and now insomnia. I am used to being very active and efficient---it is SO hard to have to slow down, delegate, rest.

It’s not just the physical changes, though. My everyday emotions and tendency towards anxiety are heightened by the hormones. I am overwhelmed at all that needs to be done, and not having the energy to deal with it makes me feel like I’m drowning. Being a planner through and through, the unknowns of this time don’t sit easily with me. I realize this is an incredibly pessimistic mindset…that many people adore this time of expectancy and possibility. I just happen to really like knowing what is ahead. I like to research, to plan, to prepare myself mentally and physically for what is coming. This time of limitless “possibility” opens up way too many nightmares in my head.  What if What if What if?

And I can’t even have a glass of wine to take the edge off!

I am simultaneously impatient to move onto the next phase and dreading the potential (OK, let’s face it, inevitable) chaos. I definitely wanted to have a second child. I want my son to be a big brother and have a playmate. To have “kids”.  But I also feel that we had finally gotten into a rhythm. Things are GOOD. I love being able to give my son my one-on-one attention, and I feel sad for him that he only knew it for such a short period of time. There are a lot of moments of our days that I absolutely cherish, that I am going to miss. I know it’ll smooth out and we’ll settle into a new normal…but the transition is going to be hard on all 3 of us. The whole process has been tinged with an ambivalence that resulted in a bit of denial early on, and a longer bit of depression later on that has finally mellowed to acceptance. 

Because it’s happening.  Soon.  And there ain’t a damn thing I can do about it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

...And I'm not ready for this sort of thing

I found myself googling "mid-life crisis" this summer. Part of it was turning 35.  But that (come on, its just a number) wasn't entirely the issue. I felt unsettled, and strangely disconnected from my life. Objectively, good things were happening. But I kept getting this "now what" feeling.

Finally it dawned on me. For as long as I can remember I've been striving, striving, striving. Education, overeducation, training, career, meeting a mate, planning a wedding, struggling to build a family, buying & fixing up a house....there seemed to be one thing after another to aspire to, and I rose to each challenge, rode the temporary high that came from fulfillment, and moved on to the next.

Now here I was, done with education & training and having received an offer for a job at my current institution. Married for 6 years, in a  little townhouse that we've finally fixed up to a reasonable status. A healthy, happy toddler and his little brother on the way.

Oh my god. This is my life. This is IT. I'm an adult.

And its not how I pictured it. Obviously, in my earlier fantasies, I imagined I'd be overcome with deep inner happiness to have finally arrived at this place. Calmly and joyfully navigating my fantastic marriage, fulfilling & successful career, fully enmeshed in making a comfortable & beautiful home, and the ultimate joys of motherhood. Mmmm....yeah. Not so much.

Anyone who's been here knows what I'm talking about. Parenting a toddler is physically and mentally exhausting. Work---even work you have studied and trained years for--can be boring and demoralizing at times, not to mention the endless anxiety of competing for ever-shrinking funding in the current academic climate. Marriage is hard, especially when both parties are stressed and tired.  And the house---don't get me started about the absolute crock of the "american dream of home ownership". Cue financial worries. And aging, ailing and financially needy parents and the resultant family drama.

This isn't adulthood. This is EXTREME adulthood. And it all kind of comes on at once, doesn't it? Has me sometimes overwhelmed, wanting to run, hide, get away and get back to my old life.  Or jump ahead a few years to where I'm sure everything has worked itself out, and I'll be calmly and joyfully navigating my fantastic marriage, fulfilling & successful career, fully enmeshed in making a comfortable & beautiful home, and the ultimate joys of motherhood. Oh wait....

I'm coming to terms with the ultimate "secret of adulthood". That life is full of bad weather and happiness is not about sourly enduring until the sun comes out, but of cheerfully weathering and even ENJOYING the storm.

So Ana change her own mind.

Monday, September 19, 2011

And so it begins....

I set up this account in January. Yes, January. I've procrastinated on this for 3/4 of a year---long enough to gestate a human child...and in fact, that is exactly what I've been doing. I wrote and re-wrote this opening post a million times, and never had the nerve to publish. I realized that if I don't do it before having this baby, its extremely likely never to happen.

As an introduction, I'll simply start with the Ws:
Who: Ana (not my real name). mid-30s, married, mother of a 21 month old son with another boy on the way and of course my first baby--a 45-lb mutt that rarely barks but sheds more than I think is reasonable. I am a full-time working professional in academic science and healthcare employed at a big-name university on the east coast.

What: Really, anything that's on my mind. At this point, I don't have a "theme" or a "gimmick" for this space, but I'm willing to go with the flow and see if I settle on something. Topics I'll likely touch on include: parenting, academics, marriage, and infertility. Sorry but you won't see any pictures of my family. This is going to be as anonymous as I can make it, so that I can be open and honest in my writing and tackle the tough topics.

Why: I'll get more into this in a subsequent post (gotta save up something!), but in a nutshell...
1)I wanted a space to process the thoughts and emotions involved with finally (and frighteningly) feeling like I have arrived at my adult life.
2)I've found a lot of support over the past few years in the blogging community---I read and comment on quite a few sites regularly and would love to deepen the connections by really adding my own voice (whether or not anyone is listening!)

Yes, I skipped some Ws.

Here's another one, in case there is anyone actually reading....