Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just an Update

I finished my last trial. Yeah! I wish it had gone better though. I've had 4 major trials lately. The first came out exactly as we wanted. The second did not come out well and I think the Judge was in error in refusing to allow certain evidence to come in. If that evidence had been introduced, I feel certain the outcome would have been different. The third case I disagree with a prior ruling (before I took the case) but I was stuck with that and just couldn't get out from under it. In addition my client hurt herself by certain actions that recently happened. The last case was just wrong - plain wrong. I can't think of anything I would have done different. The Judge completely ignored the teenager's testimony.

Our AC is FIXED. Yippee. The warranty company ruled our case an "emergency" given my blood pressure, swelling and pregnancy. So they authorized a company two counties over to come on out and even paid overtime. The repair person replaced several parts, but said we really won't be able to tell anything until the unit gets up to "full power." It ran almost 8 hours straight to get our indoor temp from 85 down to 72. Now it comes on and off and appears to be working well. Ahhh -- relief. It's supposed to be in the upper 80s this whole next week, so I'm glad to have it fixed. And to have my bedroom back to normal.

I need to find some place to get my blood pressure checked. My ankles and fingers are really swollen. I had the intense urge to clean, organize, sort, etc this morning. Nesting, maybe? After cleaning, my back is really sore and I'm having some cramping. I'm taking a break now and then will pack the hospital bag and install the car seat later. I went to the grocery store Thursday evening so we're all set there too. Then we're all ready......just in case.

Husband is taking Daughter to gymnastics this morning. Then a wonderful friend offered to take Daughter for several hours this afternoon and give us a break. Tomorrow is church. Monday I'm meeting with a friend and her two children to let the kids play and exchange kid's clothes. She's giving me boy clothes and I'm giving her girl clothes.

Update complete --- I'm working on several blog posts and maybe I'll have time to get to that tomorrow.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whine, wine?

Wine Whine, wine, whine -- Not this kind.

This kind Or specifically this kind
Although I'd really like the first kind about now.

Our AC is STILL out. It was the fuse again. The first company is a one-man and son operation. The wife of the owner ended up hospitalized so they suggested we call someone else. These things happen - hard to get irritated. So we call the home warranty place and they call another company (the one who came out last time). They replace the fuse (again) and it blows immediately. So now we have to figure out the cause. It could be 1 of 3 things. So they ordered all 3 parts and will replace them sometime today or tomorrow. We've begged them to do it before the weekend. I absolutely can NOT live any longer without AC.

The weather here is pouring rain. We need rain. We are in a drought. However, over 5 inches in 1 hour is way too much. Plus it is humid. Like a sauna. I've been living in my bedroom with the window unit. My daughter sleeps on her blow up mattress on the floor. Except when she is talking in her sleep, rolling onto the floor, climbing into our bed, etc. My husband complains it is too cold - but won't get an extra blanket. And I can't get out of the darn bed by myself for all the crap all over the floor - extra fan, daughter's bed, etc.

I'm 1 cm dilated, 50% effaced, soft cervix and blood pressure is very high. I'm ready. This baby, while not appearing to have dropped, is sitting so low that I'm waddling even more. I hurt. I'm tired. I'm ready to meet this little boy (so I can give him a piece of my mind ---- just kidding!).

My supposed "last trial" scheduled 2 weeks ago is finally over. Except we're arguing about the Order now. And I've tried 3 other "emergencies" - all old cases that have flared up. I had one yesterday - was supposed to have been Tuesday but I was handling something else then. I finish it today - although it was supposed to be done yesterday. I'm miserable.

The senior partner came in and forbid me from doing anything else. He told me he'd handle emergencies. Thank you !!! He's old enough to be my father, and sometimes falls into that fatherly roll. Fine with me in this case.

My brace bracket - same one as last time - just came off. Okay, it was my fault. I took a bite of my daughter's twizzler (again). I called the ortho just to see if it warranted a trip in. It does. Blech. I don't have time for this - as much as I'd love for them to just take it all off.

We have no food in the house and our house is filthy. We're not cooking - who wants to heat up the oven in the heat. And I'm not cleaning - we're living in our bedroom anyway. So guess I'll do that this weekend - grocery shop, clean, finally pack my hospital bag and install the carseat. I also promised my daughter we'd see a movie at the theater (it's air conditioned there!)

Our roof at work needed replacing. So they are doing that this week. I work on the top floor. Bang, bang, crash. I swear someone is going to fall through and land on my lap any moment. It makes phone conversations very difficult. The entire office shakes often.

Last night I went from court (all day) to church to home. Where I showered and crawled into bed at 9 pm. Collapsed on my husband and just cried. I have to give him credit - he's learning how to deal with his hormonal wife. Lots of hugs and no comments. Just one question - what can I do to help? Often times my answer is nothing. But I'm glad he asks. He's also learning not to take offense when he asks, "what's wrong? Do we need to go to the doctor?" and my response is "no damnittoallhell. This baby is staying put. He won't come out. Tell your son to stop kicking me. Make him stop and come out now." Yeah, right. Our son listens about as well as our daughter (ha ha).

When I disappear for several days, you'll know the baby is here. Otherwise I'll be around. I figure my daughter was late and had to be evicted (induced) so I could be here another 5 weeks. On the other hand, murphy's law says he'll come this weekend - since I'm not ready, our back up child care is out of town, it's a holiday and we're expecting flooding rains. So we'll see..........

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ups and Downs

I am riding on the see-saw of life. Up and down...up and down...

Friday was great. I had rented "Hairspray" which was quite stupid. I turned it off halfway through and went back to watching the Olympics and home improvement shows, while eating my chocolate ice cream and playing on the computer. I went to bed at 11 and.......(celebratory horns)....I slept until 6 am. I honestly can not remember the last time I got 7 hours sleep, straight and uninterrupted. I even went back to sleep for another 2 hours after the obligatory bathroom break.

When I got out of bed, I went to my spa appointment. Three hours later I had a wonderful pedicure, pre-natal massage and facial. I stopped by my favorite restaurant and picked up a delicious salad and sandwich. After eating my lunch, I took a nap. Then I woke up and met a friend to go see Mamma Mia. Great movie! When I got back, my daughter and husband were home. So my evening ended with lots of snuggles and hearing all about my daughter's day. Definitely on the up swing of the teeter totter.

On Sunday, things swung the other way. I woke up feeling sick. Made it to church and home where I took a nap. Ate Ritz crackers all afternoon. Felt a bit better that evening. My husband suggested some red meat, thinking my iron might be low. So we went out and grabbed some steak. It was good and I did feel a bit better after that. When we got home, I insisted it was still hot in the house -- but I'm pregnant and always hot, so no one listened. Husband finally checked the thermostat and it was blank........again. So we spent the next several hours, calling people, reading things on the internet and looking everywhere for the elusive fuse that was the culprit last time. Many frustrating moments later, and legs now covered in mosquito bites, we gave up. Called the home warranty company and got told that their computer won't "let them" give us the same company that we had last time - it's all random. So it's back to game-playing with them. At least our window unit in the bedroom works.

This baby has watched too much gymnastics. He spent all day yesterday doing major flips. I think it was a large reason why I was so nauseous. Besides the kicks to my ribs and bladder, he also likes the nerve that causes my back to spasm. I was quite miserable last night -- but only 4 more weeks (or so) until he is here. I didn't get anything done on my "to do" list but oh well. There will be time enough for cleaning when that nesting instinct that comes right before labor hits.

And now I just realized that -- duh, the reason I feel so light-headed might be because I forgot to eat breakfast this morning. So I'm off to find something to eat - and maybe to swing this see-saw back up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Do You Hear That?

Do you hear that..........nope, me neither :)

"That" is the sound of silence. My husband purchased a "Mom-to-Be" spa package for me and I scheduled it for tomorrow. A prenatal massage, facial and pedicure.

Husband decided to take advantage of my being gone all day to head off to his folks for a last-chance golf game. His folks live about 1 1/2 hours from us and with the baby due in 4 weeks, he is going to stick close to home after this.

For the last two nights, DH has asked me if I want him to leave tonight or tomorrow. I kept telling him I didn't care -- but finally I realized he wanted my blessing to leave tonight. I got wise pretty quick and gave it. So, 20 minutes later, DH, my daughter and the dog all headed out the door. I was right behind them -- only I went to the grocery store for chocolate ice cream, chocolate ice cream shell topping, caffeine-free pepsi, and blueberries in whipped cream.

I am now in my jammies, hair in ponytail, glasses on, sprawled out on the couch. I have a chick flick to watch tonight. I will then go into my bedroom where I placed clean, fresh sheets, and I will sprawl out across the entire bed all by myself.

I figure that with a new baby on the way, this may be my last night alone for a VERY long time. So I'm planning on totally enjoying myself. Oh, and since DH "forbid" me from changing the laundry, carrying the laundry up the stairs, going down the stairs at all to get anything, cleaning the house, re-arranging the baby's clothing, installing the carseat, or anything else that required effort -- well I have a good excuse to do absolutely nothing. Except answer the phone when he calls - which he will often. He's a bit paranoid that I will not be okay alone or that I'll go into labor. Fat chance of that -- ruin my last night alone and miss my spa day tomorrow? NO WAY!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let Us Eat --- Food Issues

In one of my recent posts, several people commented that they also had food/eating issues. I'm curious as to what everyone is referring too, so that I can see if my issues are similar in nature and in cause. So if you're up to it, comment away.

Meal times pre-divorce were pretty stressful. We had to be on our best behavior. It was a tense time because it was one of the few times that our entire family was together. You never knew what type of mood Dad would be in. Table manners were pretty important. I distinctly recall having to eat in the laundry room with the dog one time because of my poor manners. We could serve ourselves but had to try a little bit of everything. Whatever we took, we had to eat. We also had milk with every meal. There was one time I had to sit at the table until I finished - it took me hours. I was finally allowed to go to bed but I think I was re-served the food for breakfast.

When we were disrespectful or bad, we got squirted with liquid soap or forced to eat a bar of soap. Disagreeing with anything was considered talking back which resulted in soap. I got soap a lot. The soap made me get sick. I think that may have started my gag reflex issues. I do remember getting teased and accused of being "dramatic" if I got sick or gagged after the soap. Probably part of why I hate getting sick today.

When my parents divorced, my dad had little knowledge of how to cook. He expected me, as the oldest, to "teach" him or to cook for him. That was stressful too because I really didn't know what I was doing. He soon found a live-in girlfriend that cooked though. Except on Fridays - those were take-out days. I liked Fridays.

With Mom, she had Toilet living there. Who is a self-professed cook. Throughout my childhood, they ran the kitchen part of a bar one time; ran a lunch truck that drove around and served food to construction workers, and Toilet had other jobs as a short-order cook. They did some catering too. Mom and I both worked at a convenience/deli type store for many years, so we learned how to slice lunch meat, make sandwiches, cook hot foods, and prepare deli/fruit trays. At home, however, meals were frozen food, hamburger helper, hot dogs or TV dinners.

I like the flavor of most things - onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatos, celery, olives - I like the flavor of each them. But I HATE the texture. It makes me gag. I just can't swallow those things.

Toilet is Polish and brought some new dishes with him to the relationship. He also has VERY specific ways that things should be cooked. Prior to him, Mom would try to accommodated my Sister and my's preferences to some extent. She would cook our cheesesteak in a separate pan or on a separate side from the onions. She would make our omelets plain. She would make half the stromboli or pizza plain for us. It wasn't a big deal. When Toilet moved in, it wasn't good enough. We had to deal with it - pick the stuff out or off. Toilet had to have sauce on everything - chicken, rice, you name it. He couldn't possibly let us have our food prior to dumping the sauce in - that just didn't happen.
Toilet didn't care that we didn't like those things. We had to eat them and politely. We could never do anything good enough. We were frequently called "ungrateful" and "slobs." Again, lots of teasing if we gagged, grimaced or made faces. It is hard enough to eat something you don't like, harder when someone is in your face teasing you while you do it. Making vomiting noises and pantomiming getting sick. I remember Toilet doing that all the time and then making fun of me as I left the table crying.

Mom and Toilet had very specific brands of food they wanted. They would only drink Pepsi and a certain kind of coffee. Sister and I were not allowed to have soda - not because it was bad for us, but because of the expense. We could have milk. water or kool-aid. Snacks were also limited.

I recall Toilet playing jokes. He was a huge practical joker, but his jokes sometimes (often) turned mean. One time, he hid an anchovy under the cheese in his homemade pizza (to which he still refused to limit onions to just one side). His children were visiting for that rare occasion. In the middle of dinner, he said, "how do you like the rattlesnake meat?" We all laughed. He pulled back his cheese, showed us the anchovy and said "see it's in there." I gagged and got sick. He laughed and made fun of me. He was always telling us there was stuff in the food. He'd get nasty with it - goat testicles and other such parts. Then describe in gross detail what was in there - while we were eating. Then he'd eat whatever the food was, pretending that the ingredient was in there, in a gross fashion - licking and smacking gums/lips, waggling tongue out, etc.

I asked my Sister what she remembered about meals. She remembers most of what I remember. However, she also recalled two things that I forgot - both of which I'm sure have contributed to my food issues.

First, Dad and Toilet are both overweight. However, that didn't stop them from referring to my mother as "fat" and then calling me that too. My sister was the "skinny minny" - she got made fun of for that. We were not given snacks often because we might get fat. Whenever we were given extra money, we spent it on junk food. We would raid the change jar and go spend $5 - $10 on candy. My mom and I were both encouraged to flirt with the customers when they had the kitchen in the bar and the lunch truck - to show some cleavage to entice the customers. I had to stay skinny so my chest was shown off more.

Secondly, we were given snacks as rewards by Toilet. If we went to the farmers market with him and were "good" about helping him pick out porn, we were bought pretzels. If we didn't cause a scene when he sat around exposing himself, we were allowed ice cream. He would buy us a candy bar, or other special treat for other things. I remember going through a phase where I stole gum from him constantly. I was confronted. I lied. I said the dog ate it. Toilet knew but with a wink, let me off. A few months later, Mom caught me walking in from school and searched my pockets and purse - found gum wrappers. Toilet convinced her to "let me off." I can't remember why I was let off, but I can only imagine.

As an adult now, I have a bad gag reflex. I am very sensitive to textures of food. If I eat with someone who had bad table manners, I'll gag and get panicky and sick. Same with anyone who smacks their gums, especially if they have dentures or have no teeth. I hate food jokes. I can't handle anyone talking gross about food at the table. My weight is a big struggle for me. It fluctuates wildly. I am happier when I'm skinny but hate the attention I get. I'm definitely an emotional eater - when I was dumped by a long-term boyfriend in college, I stopped eating anything but toast for weeks. I have a very bad tendency to get obsessive about food and exercise. I tend to go in fits and spurts - I get okay with my body image and then go through a bad spell. I'm just hoping that I can keep a handle on losing weight in a healthy manner after this baby is born.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Need.....Not Alone.....Not that Bad....Confront-Forgive

(from Wordle)

I have issues with admitting I "need" anything. I beat around the bush all day long. I have gotten a million times better at accepting help when offered though. But to "Need" anything is still tough. I need (pun intended) to work on admitting I need.

No surprise then as to how T went today. I was able to talk in T (when asked) about my anxiety being high, being nervous about delivery, and my concerns. But to actually say "I need" help with what I can do if I do panic -- that didn't happen. I think my biggest fear is having people say they won't or can't help - being rejected. Which is stupid with the instance I just mentioned because I know she would. Similarly I keep meaning to talk to DH really, really specifically about what I need from him during labor and delivery. With him, I know what my fear is -- it seems worse if I tell him what I need and don't get it, then if I just hint around and don't get it - then I can blame it on myself (like usual) - I get to keep control.

I just finished a book (autobiographical collection of diary writings) - Stolen Innocence by Erin Merryn. I go through cycles where I don't want to read anything specific about abuse versus when I want to read anything I can get my hands on. Years ago I would read any details of abuse - the more descriptive the better. It served to tell me that I wasn't alone in what happened. It served to tell me that others had it "worse" and that they survived, so I could too. Then there was a period where I couldn't read anything specific. Then there was a period where I would read it and say "ah you didn't have it that bad. Suck it up and be quiet." I can't tell you why I ordered this most recent book. I was on a book ordering frenzy and there was this sale online so I ordered about 20 books of all different types.

This book was a diary of a girl from ages 11 - 18 (shes 23 now and was 18 when she published the book). She was abused by her older cousin. The "what" of the abuse is similar to what happened to me. She had flashbacks, panic attacks and depression for many years. She also struggled with self-injury. I read the "what" of what happened and had some nightmares the first night. Pregnancy makes dreams more vivid so it wasn't a pleasant night. But I felt "not alone" and also like I was "okay" in continuing to experience the after-effects of the abuse - since she had.

I still have frequent thoughts that it was "not that bad." Because what happened to the girl in this book was similar to me, I was curious to read about the reactions as she told what happened. Some of her family felt she made a big deal out of a "teenage" thing. Her abuser minimized things. Her parents and professionals did not. In my own family, my mother was of the "not that bad" camp and my father, who only learned of things many years later, was of the "how can you let that happen and still keep a relationship with him" camp.

I'm sitting here trying to think if there is a single recovery-type book I have read in which there is not a chapter on forgiveness, or where the person writing has not forgiven their abuser. In this particular book, Erin Confronts and Forgives. She emails her abuser and sends it. He responds and they correspond back and forth for awhile. At first he denies but later there is more acceptance on his part. Not really excuse-making. Later forgiveness is offered by Erin if he can promise that he will never do it again. She leaves acceptance in his hands and there is not a further response from him. I was struck by the fact that Erin is so candid in her letter with the effect of the abuse. I have tried to write similar letters and get caught in admitting the effect on me - I don't want to give Toilet the pleasure of knowing how badly it affected me. Erin also writes that there is "a chain of fear and control" hanging over her. She writes to her abuser, "It had to be you. I realized I am getting nowhere. It has to be you to take that control and fear you had on me for so long and let me know it's all right, let me know you no longer can hurt me the way you did before. Let me know I can begin to heal...."

That just baffled me. I don't see my recovery hanging in the control of my abuser. I am determined to do all the healing I can without his involvement. Yet, every single thing I read has the forgive part. And often some form of confrontation. So I'm back to struggling with those concepts

Sometimes it feels like I continue to deal with the same issues over and over and over again. I wonder if it is every truly over.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anxiety Rising

I have a difficult time with table manners. My mother's parents were super strict about table manners. For all of my childhood I was told stories of the "nail chair." If you did not sit up straight at the table, you were threatened with the nail chair. It was a wooden chair with a nail driven in through the back and poking through. If you slouched, the nail would poke you in the back. I never saw the nail chair, but I was convinced it existed. When I visited my grandparents as an adult, I mentioned something about it. Everyone laughed at my thinking it was a true invention.

My mother was a tiny bit more relaxed about table manners - but not much. My father was in sales and Sister and I were often paraded out for dinners and times when my parents entertained. I know to sit up straight, elbows off table, one bite at a time, napkin on lap, etc. It's just second nature to me.

Sister is extremely laid back about table manners. She has started getting onto her children about chewing with mouths closed. I'm more strict - chew with mouth closed, elbow off table, no talking with mouth full and do NOT, under any circumstance, chomp or chew loudly. My husband was not raised with table manners. His brother would steal his food and grab leftovers off the table. BIL is autistic and that was one area in which his parents did not discipline him. So Husband learned to eat quickly, lean in close over his plate and chew as rapidly as possible. He is a LOUD eater. It drives me bonkers.

On good days I ignore it. On bad days I have to go eat elsewhere. Toilet was a loud eater. He had dentures which he left sitting out in the bathroom. He smacked his gums, slurped his food and chewed with his mouth open. I hate that sound.

Sister's oldest are missing teeth. They think it is fun to play with the missing spaces. I guess that is normal. But they like to stick their tongues out their missing spaces and waggle their tongues - gag. Toilet did that too. At dinner when my Sister, etc visited, the kids did it twice. I gagged and had to leave the table. Sister knows why that bothers me. She doesn't like it either and got onto them for it.

Yesterday I had an emergency custody situation arise about 3 pm. Teen says that Parent A is abusive, alcoholic, etc. I represent Parent B. By 3:30 I had met with the teen and determined this was more than a child not wanting to return to A's house after a fun-filled summer with B (something I see a lot of this time of year). I called opposing counsel and gave her office a heads up that I would be filing something and approaching the Judge. Faxed over what I intended to file and called on my way out the door to say I was leaving. No answer that time. Got to Judge's chambers and was complete up front and honest about the flaws in my case (there had been one prior allegation which was investigated and dismissed). Told him attorney was involved. We called attny's office - no answer. And no one had attorney's cell. So Judge signed an order allowing child to say with my client 1 night, and we are returning for a hearing this morning. Opposing counsel called as I was leaving courthouse. My ears are still ringing. She attacked my professional integrity and me personally. Told me I had to put everything in writing to her and that I was unethical. I ~KNOW~ I did nothing wrong. Despite that knowledge, I came back to the office, spent about an hour looking up the rules on ex parte (1 side without the other) communications with judges and consulted with some colleagues. Everyone agrees I followed standard procedure and even went beyond. So why am I letting this attorney get to me? It's that old refrain of low self-confidence and wanting everyone to like me. I also hate, despise, loathe being called a liar. I think that is probably true of most abuse victims - I pride myself on my honesty nowadays and when it is doubted I hate that.

My husband told a mutual friend that he would be free to play basketball in the evenings after Labor Day (when his Bible study ends). Then last night I got a call from the pastor's wife asking me give Husband a message about a meeting he has Wednesday for prospective Sunday school teachers. I brought up the messages and he says that he knows if the baby comes early he'll have to give these things up - but no harm doing them until baby gets here. In the meantime, I'm hearing the continuing refrain "I'll put all MY stuff before you." I'm biting my tongue - no need in continuing to argue this over and over before baby gets here. I need to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Husband got home at 9:15 from Bible study. I was a bit irritated. I hadn't gotten home until 5:55. I had called and asked him to make me a sandwich. He knew about my rough day. I ran in, grabbed Daughter and ran out to take her to gymnastics. Ate at her class. Came home, struggled getting her to bed (she was wired) and was finally getting ready to get in shower when he got home. When I was doing Bible study, my class was 1 1/2 hours long. If I wasn't home in 2 hours, he was chomping at the door, ready to get out and go to his basketball game or calling me to see where I was. He told me that "1 1/2 hours was plenty time for a study and 30 minutes for socializing." Yet he regularly is gone 3 hours. I really don't care except on nights like last night when he knows I have had a long, hard day - and except for the double standard. It feels controlling.

It's another busy week. Yesterday I was able to go home for lunch. Today I'll likely have to eat out since I'll be in court all day. The partner who covers for me when I'm out and vice versa, is out all week with his new grandbaby. I have added 2 additional trials this week - both emergency matters. My blood pressure is through the roof, my anxiety is up, and my stomach is a mess - whether from anxiety, meds switch, end of pregnancy sickness, heartburn or all of the above.

On the good front, I have a T appt this afternoon and had already planned to ask for help with relaxation/anxiety reduction suggestions for labor. Now fingers crossed I am out of court and can get over there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Back to a Quiet House - general update

My sister and her family have come and gone. We had a great visit, although it was quite busy and hectic. We sent the guys out to play golf and go to the movies while we entertained the kids. BIL still gets overwhelmed easily with too much noise and activity. I am exhausted after preparing for their visit and cleaning up after they left. We're just lying around doing nothing today.

On Thursday evening, my mother called. I have only spoken with her once since July 4th. She asked lots of questions about the pregnancy and stuff.

She said "now you know I need to come visit after the baby is born." Then said that she didn't have a lot of money but wanted to get something for the baby and for Daughter. She asked for some ideas When Daughter and each of her cousins were born, Mom made this bright colored quilt. I wonder if she'll do that again? In some ways, I'd rather she put the money into making more of an effort to come visit rather than buy things. But that's her.

I did ask her how things were - a pretty open ended question. She told me all about some employee who had stolen money from their store. Nothing personal. I know from Sister that Toilet is having a $130,000 surgery to have a pacemaker and a defibrillator installed. And that he has been denied disability and is still out-of-work. So Mom has him on her medical insurance and they are living on her salary alone. I have no idea how much insurance will cover for the surgery but I can imagine they are up to their eyeballs in debt. I don't understand why he can't go get a job somewhere. But of course he wouldn't do that.

Only 5 weeks left of pregnancy - if I go on my due date. I'm having more and more trouble walking and I get out of breath so easily now. I carried more sideways with my Daughter, but this one is up and down. I can definitely tell my lung capacity is limited. And the heartburn is awful. I live on Tums. I alternate between wanting him here NOW and saying "WAIT, I'm not at ALL ready."

Sister and I did go shopping and buy some adorable boy clothes. I also got my Daughter a bunch of quiet activity items in the Dollar Section - things she can do with me while I'm nursing or not up to full activity yet. Lots of card games, workbooks and stuff. I also bought her a Baby Alive doll - it wets, eats, drinks, has diapers, cries and looks pretty realistic. We are going to wrap it up from her brother and give it to her at the hospital.

Had some triggers this weekend but will write about all that stuff tomorrow. It's time to switch the last of the 6 loads of laundry.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Med Switch - Good 'Ol Boys - Rants - Raves - General Stuff

Figured I'd better post something since I've not written since Monday, and likely won't again through the weekend. Wouldn't want anyone to worry ;) I've been in Crazy Land - AKA med switch, too much to do, out of control and a trial. My Sister and her family are coming in tomorrow - driving through the night and will be here about 6 am. So I'll be busy for awhile yet.

I think the med switch from lexapro to zoloft is going okay. I've been a bit nauseous in the mornings, but I've been sleeping a tiny bit better at night - well except for last night, but that is due to the (1) nightmares and (2) three glasses of sweet tea I had at lunch (yum).

I've not been following midwife's orders on eating. I did for 2 days. I became quite compulsive. I was starving throughout the day. I realized that I was becoming compulsive and not respecting my own feelings. I decided that it was healthier for me to put on a few extra pounds during pregnancy, than to starve myself and my child and revert back to bad coping habits. I was proud of myself for recognizing my own needs and for honoring my feelings (go me!). I also called that midwife a few choice names in my head but I'll spare you those thoughts :)

I have been in a custody trial. Home-cooking is how I would describe it. Note to self - do not go outside of your district. Do not go up against an attorney who is a "good 'ol boy" from in-town -- especially when the Judge on the bench is also a "good 'ol boy" and up for re-election. In my defense, the first attny on the other side was also an out-of-towner. According to this judge, a counselor who has seen the child, a Social service investigator who has investigated both parents and seen the child, and financial irresponsibility of one parent are irrelevant in determining what is in a child's best interests. Huh?? This morning I even dug out a navy blue maternity suit with conservative blue heels and put my hair in a twist - thinking maybe my black dress and jacket with open toed heels offended him yesterday. I did balk at putting pantyhose on - I mean I am 35 weeks pregnant! It didn't do me any good. Now I have swollen feet from wearing close toed shoes and a big sore around my mid-section because this darn skirt is too tight. I can't get to wait home and get all these pins out of my hair too.

I had my typical "in the midst of trial" nightmares. Where I'm the client on the stand being asked personal details about my life. Where I'm fighting for custody of my daughter and being asked to defend myself as a mother. I hate those dreams.

After getting my butt kicked all over court yesterday, I came home and had to go grocery shopping. Since I was shopping for my family as well as 5 additional guests, one of whom is a growing boy, I decided to have my husband go to push the cart. So my daughter, Husband and I head out. It was quite interesting. My husband wants the brand-name stuff - no generics for him. I can't justify spending $6 on shampoo when the $3 stuff works just as well. But if I want to get 2 gallons of milk he thinks it is unnecessary. I told him that he could decide how much we got of any item, IF he agreed to go shopping Sunday afternoon after our guests left so we'd have food for next week. See, I hate shopping so when I go, I stock up. We came home with $200 worth of food. And I did get my 2 gallons of ice cream.

My daughter was upset at giving up her room for guests. I couldn't figure out why. Normally she jumps at the opportunity to sleep in our room with us. Finally she confessed that she just didn't want anyone else sleeping in her "pretty princess" sheets. I assured her that Uncle probably wouldn't be upset at missing out on pink sheets, so we'd just put a different set on her bed. All is good now.

I'm getting ready to leave. Headed out to pick up the Munchkin. We both need showers and new clothes. Tonight I am sending my husband to the parent-teacher meeting while my daughter and I go to a business outing. This is another example of my giving up control. I am anxious about Husband not getting all the information I want from the teachers and not remembering every detail. But I'll make it.

And so now I will attempt to put my swollen feet back into my heeled shoes (or run down the back stairs barefoot) and head off for the weekend. Oh yeah, I'm taking off tomorrow too - spending time with Family. All my work, anxiety, panic will just have to be stuffed down a little while longer so I can enjoy my weekend. It will all be here when I return on Monday anyway.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I hereby Cancel Mondays

I hereby proclaim Mondays cancelled. All Mondays.

* Lost a battle in court on Friday - The other attny should have won - legally. But just on principle and because he's a dirty rotten scoundrel, I hated to lose. The client wasn't happy either.

* Clingy DD - our DD is being clingy and has decided she wants ALL the baby stuff to be hers. She doesn't want to share anything that used to be hers. I understand and am trying to give her extra hugs and attention.

* An indecisive husband - still can't make decisions. Where to eat? Shall we get the armoire or not? Hasn't done anything that I've asked him to do as far as insurance and the new baby. I'm freaking out because the baby will be here SOON. He turns his inability to make a decision into concerns about finances. But I tell him to go make a damn decision about finances and a budget and we'll live with it. But get off his butt and do something about it instead of just whining. Major argument - he stays home all day and pouts. I accomplish a zillion things on my "to do" list, while dragging around clingy, whiny toddler. Then when I wince at a braxton hicks, he yells at me for doing too much.

* 2 am - I finally have a night where I fall asleep as soon as I hit the bed at 10 pm. Only to wake up at 2 am panicked because I didn't feel the baby move before bed or when I laid down (he's usually active then). Realize he didn't move much at all yesterday - probably I was too busy to notice. I jump up, drink OJ, pace around, lie on left side and wait. DH stirs and I decide to tell him what is going on. He freaks - it's my fault for doing so much. Then shuts up and asks to feel. Then lectures me about making sure to ask about this at the midwife appt. I finally feel baby move and go back to sleep.

* Monday morning emergencies at work - more of the summer, getting ready to start school, custody drama. One parent didn't return the child. Mis-interpretations on schedules. Child doesn't want to go back to other parent at end of summer. Blah blah.

* And to top it all off - OB APPT - with the midwife that I don't particularly care for. Last appt I gained 0 pounds....BUT I weighed in on the doctor side on a different scale. This appt I was back on the midwife side and had gained 4. So an average of 1 pound per week over the last 4 weeks. But I'm up 31 total. The midwife was smart alecky about it - asked me if I knew how much I had gained. I told her 31 total. She asked if I was concerned about that and I said No. She said she was. Then quizzed me about what I'm eating, how much, exercise, etc. Really lectured me. I just sat there - left and cried. I'm supposed to eat healthy, but eat every 2 hours. One midwife says I can have diet products, the other says no. I'm supposed to be resting with my feet up, yet I'm supposed to be exercising too - and working a zillion hours a week.

I'm supposed to find time to exercise, and get ready for this baby, and work to wrap things up here, and try to take off time after baby, while still maintaining my salary. With a husband who is more concerned about making sure he gets time off at Christmas (because it depresses him to work then), Tgiv (so he can hunt) and hunting, and making sure he has time to work out himself. AGH

I also switched meds (lexapro to zoloft) on Saturday. Honestly I have no idea how it's going. All I know is that the world is caving in and I don't have any idea how to manage. Except to crawl in bed and start over tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Plan for Birth - and a question

Today was my refresher lamaze class. It was a very small class. Three couples signed up, but only 2 of us showed. The class was taught by a Church friend. So I felt very relaxed and comfortable. I took the class because I know that this time I do not want any IV drugs (I'm still open to an epidural!). Also because I am delivering at a different hospital and wanted to learn some about the differences in approaches - and to take the hospital tour. I figured the reminders about breathing strategies would be good too. Most of all, though, I was wondering how I would do this time.

When I had my daughter I was still in denial about the effect of the abuse. I actually thought I was "done with all that stuff." Just prior to getting pregnant I did a brief stint of therapy - about 6 months worth. It was helpful but not really resolving. The counselor was very nice, but she let me be in charge. She didn't push at all. She accepted what I said at face value. She couldn't read me at all. (unlike my current T who is way too good at reading me and going beyond what I say - too good sometimes!). One really good thing did come out of that therapy stint -- I realized that I needed to cut Toilet out of my life. Up until then I played the "happy family" game.

I found out I was pregnant in May and told my mother in June that I wanted no further contact with Toilet. There wasn't any huge fight or blowup. I just realized when he was referenced at "Grandpa" (gag) that I did not want him around my child at all. Before then I thought it would be perfectly fine to closely supervise him with my children. When I became pregnant I knew any contact would be bad. I had one tough conversation with my mother and that was it. I was convinced I was "done with that stuff."

Other than that conversation, I did not really experience any effects of the abuse on my pregnancy. At least none I recognized. I enjoyed my developing body and had a really good, and unstressful, pregnancy. There was only one somewhat-triggering event I recall. A church friend was working when I went in for delivery and she arranged to be assigned to me. I was thrilled to have someone I knew in with me and she was great. She did the intake interview, during which they ask all sorts of personal questions. As an attorney, I understand the legalities behind them. And I can see the medical purpose too. But I still didn't like answering, "Have you ever been physically or sexually abused?" I said, "yes" and she cleared her throat and said "which one?" However, other than that, I was fine.

About 6 months after my daughter was born, I finally admitted I needed some help. I acknowledged some post-partum issues with depression and started taking medication (zoloft) for the first time ever. I then threw myself into being the "perfect" mother, wife and employee. My stats at work were off the charts. I had home-cooked meals ready almost all the time. My house was spotless. I ran the children's program at church. And at the end of the year, my husband and I were in counseling. A few short months later, I had horrible anxiety and panic attacks and ended up in individual counseling.

This pregnancy has been entirely different. Not just physically, but emotionally too. I haven't been as relaxed, about the body changes. It's been a tougher pregnancy. Emotionally I've been in more turmoil. All the medication adjustments have been tough. Just when I felt comfortable in the medications I was taking, I had to quickly get off them. I have not been able to exercise and am in the worst shape I've been in for over 6 years. I am much more emotional and have cried more the past 9 months than I have in the past 9 years or so.

So today was lamaze class and I realized that my panic and anxiety are going to add a whole new dimension to this labor and delivery. At this hospital, I am encouraged to move around during labor. I will have a midwife with me. I will labor, deliver and recover in one room - which is quite small.

Pain medication will be a fine line for me. The IV drugs (stadol-demoral) I had last time is absolutely off the table. It made me feel entirely out of control and hallucinate. On the other hand, too much pain causes me to feel out of control and anxious too. So I'm leaving the epidural option open.

During class we reviewed different labor/delivery positions. Nearly every one of the suggested labor positions had my husband behind me. Now the back rubs and massages were great. But in the midst of labor, I am unsure how I will cope with having someone, even my husband behind me. I told my husband today that if someone was behind me, it needed to be him, and not anyone else. I needed his hand on my back or shoulder at all times - so that I would be aware of where he was. And if I was not entirely alert and "on guard," I needed him to be aware of where everyone in the room is positioned and alert me if anyone is going to come near me or touch me.

I already know I will not be using some of the labor or delivery positions. I told my husband which ones I will not use. I wanted this class because I wanted to try them all when I was calm and not in labor and see how they made me feel. So that was a good experience. I also told my husband that he needed to keep talking to me. Keep breathing with me. Keep me focused on something. Have me count or keep my mind engaged. That way I am less likely to become dissociative or let my thoughts wander to not-so-safe things.

We went out to eat after the class and tour and my husband asked me what he needed to do to help me feel more comfortable during labor/delivery. He also asked me what I wanted him to say or not say to the doctors/midwifes/nurses about my panic/anxiety. I was really blown away by his questions. He is not usually so perceptive. I was pleased he even thought to ask the questions. I mentioned making sure there weren't people totally surrounding me or hovering. That people explained what the were doing before they did it. That if things got hectic, he stayed calm and explained to me what they were doing. Avoid long periods of silence where my mind can wander. I also told him it was fine to tell the midwife/nurse that I had issues with anxiety and panic.

I'm still pretty apprehensive about this whole thing. Did anyone else deal with panic/anxiety issues and pregnancy? Any tips? Things that worked/didn't work. Things you thought would be fine, but ended up bothering you? I'd appreciate any advice you have.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Crying Update - Bad News - Good News

This is part 2 to this morning's venting post.

Apparently I clenched my jaw so much last night that I popped some brackets on my braces. I called the ortho and told them it was irritating my gums, but since I was supposed to have the braces off on Tuesday, maybe they had a suggestion that would work until then.


"You're not getting your braces off on Tuesday........It's just a regular appointment. But you can come in today and we'll fix that bracket."

Begin waterworks - definitely pregnancy hormones this time.

So I go on over there - 1. to have the bracket put back on and 2. to find out what is going on.

Apparently I misunderstood. The appointment Tuesday was to re-check this last adjustment and, IF all was well, then we'd schedule to have them off.

#$%@#*^% The Good News is that red eyes and looking like crap warrants sympathy. The ortho took pity and did the adjustment. Then promised me I could get the braces off in three weeks. He's going to lump some things together too to shorten the process. So on September 4th I get my braces off. Then 1 week later I get my first retainer, and the week after (assuming I'm not in labor) I get the second retainer.

Chocolate dairy queen blizzards also help with foul moods. And in my defense, the proceeds from today's sales go to the children's miracle network. (see Miracle Treat Day info here) I decided to buy a larger size and contribute more! The cashier took one look at me and said, "You want a chocolate xtreme? I can make that with chocolate ice cream too if you'd like." I love a woman after my own heart. YUM!

Cry Me To Sleep

Voices of Strength has a CD called Mindful Lullabies.** I really like it. There is one song called Cry Me To Sleep by Jason Spooner (click here to hear a snippet). I heard those lyrics over and over in my head last night.

I was caught up in the "it wasn't that bad" syndrome for many years, prolonged by my mother telling me that very thing over and over. When I started working with domestic violence victims, I heard them say the same thing, "it wasn't that bad" or "I deserved it" or "if only I hadn't...." It infuriated me. I suppose it could have been worse but it WAS bad enough. Most of the time, though, I couldn't get that through to them.

Someone (can't remember who) put it this way - you wouldn't tell a parent who lost one child "it could have been worse - you could have lost two." You wouldn't tell someone who lost an arm "it could have been worse, you could have lost both arms." It just doesn't work that way.

With the abuse and my childhood, I still have moments where I just don't "get" how bad it was. It's hard to comprehend when you lived so many years thinking that kind of environment was normal. But you won't find me saying "it wasn't all that bad" any more - not with respect to the abuse anyway.

Fast forward to last night - I was miserable. I had not slept well the prior few nights. I did not get to go home at lunch and put my feet up - actually I worked through lunch. When I got home I cooked a real meal - first time in weeks. All while my son delighted in wedging his foot under my rib cage. It hurt. I also found it difficult to breathe. I don't do well with problems breathing. It triggers anxiety attacks.

My husband had a church meeting and I stayed home and put a movie on for my daughter and I to watch. Then I put her to bed, collapsed on the couch and just cried. I kept wiping away the tears and saying, "stop this. You are pregnant. Lots of people would love to be in your shoes. Think of Y who lost twins. Think of J who just lost a baby. Think of K who can't get pregnant." I finally realized that my thoughts were a twist on the "it's not bad enough - you don't have a right to complain" train of thoughts.

My mother and father didn't allow tears or self-pity. My father didn't allow it at all. My mother only allowed it for herself. My father's famous words were "quit your crying or I'll give you something to cry about." My mother always said, "wait until you're an adult. Then you'll really see what there is to cry about."

My husband came home and I didn't put on the happy face per se. But I did hide the tears. He asked what was wrong and I just said I was tired and sore. He tried his best to cheer me up by reading me some stuff from a book he found interesting. I give him an "A" for effort. Then he wanted to watch a show on stalking monsters in the wild, followed by a show on vampires. Sorry, not tonight. So he went in the bedroom and I cried some more on the couch.

I thought I was all cried out. Went in to get ready for bed and the closet door flew open in our bathroom. All by itself. Our house is old and the floorboards creak. I guess the door wasn't latched and when I walked by it wiggled open. Freaked me out though - I screamed bloody murder. My husband came running and then asked a zillion questions about why I had been so startled. He laughed at me for being so scared (a big No No).

When I calmed back down and went into bed, he was sound asleep. I cried some more. I know I could have woken him up and he would have tried to comfort me. But it wasn't him I wanted. Husbands are great but I wanted a mother. Not my mother - just a mother. A real mother. A mother with arms to hold me, hands to pat my back and tell me it would be okay. A lap to lay my head in. Someone to hug me.

The good part of crying myself to sleep is that once I fell asleep I actually slept good. I think I got a good 6 hours - which is super right now. I also feel like I've released some of the tension I've been feeling. On the bad side, my eyes are wicked sore and I have a headache. I also must have clenched my jaw last night because it is tight too.

I find it ironic that I couldn't cry for years - and now I can't stop. I still, however, keep it all to myself. If you saw me in person and asked me how I was doing, I'd say "okay" or "good." Baby steps I keep telling myself - just take it slow.

I do wonder how much of this is normal, how much is pregnant hormones and how much is being off my regular meds and the depression and anxiety being high.

**The Voices of Strength website has great resources, including links to radio shows geared toward survivors of any sort of trauma.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dear Me at 16

I've read several blogs where posters have written their younger selves letters. You can see some posts like these at the Beautiful Dreamer and Heart to Heart blogs. I've tried this exercise before and gotten stuck, but it never hurts to try again.

Dear Me at 15,

Don't do it. It's not worth it. You can take that whole bottle of ibuprofen. It won't do anything except make you throw up. You can drink that bleach too. It will burn like fire going down, and it still won't do anything but make you sick. I know you think it is the only answer, but it isn't. You have lots in store for you and your future is going to be better than you can imagine.

I know that you are reliving the abuse you thought you'd forgotten, through nightmares and flashbacks. This summer will be tough. But you will survive. This is your last summer of the status quo. After this, summer will be filled with work. You'll both love and hate work. You'll dislike having to work all the time and not being able to run around with friends. But on the other hand, work is an escape from the house and an excuse not to be at home.

Keep up the schoolwork. I know you don't see the point now. But good grades mean college which is your ticket out. Stay focused on activities - you'll figure out ways to finagle rides - you always do.

Be wary of the opposite sex. I wish you could see that you have value apart from the physical side of relationships. Some day you will meet some pretty good guys of the opposite sex who are interested in the real you, one of which you will marry.

You will make it. I could tell you what the future holds, but you'd never believe it. Just know that the survival skills you have been developing will help you in the future. Your future is bright. You will find happiness and true love. And no it won't be with you-know-who, even though you can't imagine living without him right now.

You will have children some day - wonderful children. You will have a great career, that will bring you happiness, a sense of purpose, and, at times, heartache.

Your eyes will be opened about your mother. Your relationship won't be as strong - but it will be more honest. I won't tell you what will happen with your father because you'd never believe it. Stay close to your sister. Your relationship will suffer strain over a few years, but in the end it will be stronger than ever and she will be your best friend.

Just a small tidbit about what you are doing now. At this moment you are in your own office, sitting in a black executive chair, looking out not one, but two, windows. That brings you a sense of pride and comfort at your current age. But now you realize that what you do is not who you are. What really matters is that at the end of the day, you get to go home to a beautiful little girl who says, "I missed you Mama" and a husband who kisses you and asks, "How was your day?" You are also expecting your second child, who is delighting in moving and kicking inside.

So hang in there - wonderful things are in store for you. Soon you will hear this verse from the Bible (and in the future the word "Bible" won't cause you to cringe) - you won't believe it now. But it's true - Jer. 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

You from the future

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tag - At this Moment.....

I was tagged by Strong and Determined on her blog. She asked if anyone wanted something "light and not too serious," which sounded perfect for this Tuesday morning.

1. I'm tired of: not sleeping
2. I need to keep: going home at lunch and putting my feet up
3. I am listening to: the clacking of keyboard keys and the hum of my computer monitor
4. I wish: for sleep, a healthy baby, health and happiness
5. Chocolate is: a necessity
6. I have lost my respect for: liars and cheats
7. I last ate: cut up fresh fruit
8. Someday: I will stop letting anxiety rule my life
9. I will always remember: those that have stood by me in hard times
10. Love is: an elusive concept, but I'm working on it
11. Today is: hot and humid and muggy
12. Tomorrow: will be hot, humid and muggy
13. Party: not right now thanks - no energy
14. Where is your cell phone? In my purse under my desk
15. Tired or Energy: tired - see #1
16. Are you wearing jammies? Nope - I wish I were
17. Upset at? not knowing why my anxiety is up
18. Last beverage: Pepsi
19. Last phone call: a client
20. Last time you cried? last night
21. Fallen out of love? Yes - it's painful
22. Laughed until you cried? Yes - A good friend raves about the Bucket List and I had to watch it. There is a good part about laughing until you cry.
23. Met someone who changed your life? Several - some for good, some for not so good.
24. Most interesting thing you've done today? nothing interesting yet. But the best thing was morning snuggles with my daughter - even if it was 6 am and I wanted to sleep some more
25. Favorite number(s): 4, 8 and 16 (I'm a tad bit OCD with numbers)
26. Current mood: anxious and nauseous
27. Last people you hung out with: family (in-laws)
28. Dream Car: one that is paid for and doesn't give me problems, with enough room for everyone and our stuff
29. Hair: Dark brown with lots of gray/white - the dark brown courtesy of Loreal #50B; the gray courtesy of my preschooler
30. If you could have one thing, what would it be? see #4
31. Birthday: yep I have one of those :)
32. How's your life? tolerable at the moment; hectic
33. Last time you held hands with someone? about 2 hours ago when my daughter and I were crossing the daycare parking lot
34. Last hug? a huge hug goodbye from my daughter
35. Ever crawl through a window? oh yes, my bedroom as a teen was in the basement - very suitable to sneak out
36. A weapon to suit your personality: a lead pipe or something else that makes a suitable cracking noise; a taser gun
37. Where's your mom? Knowing her she is drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette, emailing her siblings and whining
38. Morning or night? Definitely Night
39. Last movie? Bucket List
40. Scars: Physical - too many to count, emotional - too many to count
41. Thing about the opposite sex you first notice: whether I feel threatened
42. Dye your hair red? yes - my hair has some natural reddish highlights. I used to dye it dark auburn; I still try to enhance the highlights
43. Worst personality flaw? too many to count - controlling, closed off, detached (but getting better)

I tag anyone who wants something light and fun.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I Am (Not) what my Mother Wanted me to Be.

Beautiful Dreamer's post here and the comments (especially Austin's) and Austin's post here made me think about how I portray myself, how I want to be perceived, how I perceive myself and how so much of it is related to my mother.

The first time I ever remember being really emotionally affected by my mother was when I was quite young - I'm guessing 4 or 5. I said something to my mother - either "I hate you" or "I don't love you." Either way, she started crying and I didn't know what to do. She told me that I had hurt her feelings. I don't know why that memory stands out so strongly to me. But it does.

I am older than my sister by 2 1/2 years. I was expected to act like the "oldest" and to be the "bigger" one. My mother started back to work when I was in 4th grade and my sister was in 1st. I was in charge of getting us both up for school and making sure we walked over to a neighbors, where we ate and waited for the bus. Then I had to keep an eye on her again after school for a few hours. I can not believe my mother left us home alone at that age. I remember many days calling her because we were fighting. I'd get in trouble for not managing the situation. My sister learned to manipulate me - she knew that if she threatened to call Mom at work, I'd give in, just to stay out of trouble. I was constantly told "you're the oldest" and expected to be in charge. I wasn't offered tips or suggestions - just told to figure it out on my own.

When things got really bad with my parents, I was the one my mother cried too. I was the one that held her when she cried. Patted her back after bad arguments. Tried to diffuse tense situations. When my father moved out, I was the one that was supposed to "take care of him." I cooked dinner at his place and helped him do laundry. I also kept an eye on my mother. Listened to her vents and complaints.

Later I was the one who stayed calm during crisis situations. I was the one who put all my feelings and emotions aside and thought things through logically. When my sister's boyfriend died tragically, I was the one who slept beside my sister so she wouldn't wake up alone, the one who thought to crush up a sleeping pill in her orange juice so she would get some sleep, the one who disguised my illness and passing out until the funeral was over, the one who arranged everything.

When Toilet's ex-wife initiated legal actions against him for child support, I fixed it. When sister was in a car accident, I took care of the details. When mom's work sent her paperwork to fill out, I completed it. My mother would say "I'm so glad I have you to lean on" and "I'm so glad you take care of things."

From my father - "take care of people"
From my mother - "the strong one" - the "level-headed one" - the one who "took care of things"

No wonder I married a man who had never lived away from home. It didn't matter to me - I knew how to take care of all the details. And I did, for a long time. Yet inside I longed for him to take charge in many areas. He's learning - he's come a long way in the 9 years we've been married. I'm learning to let him. I've come a long way with that too.

I long to be able to fall apart and let someone else take care of me. I'm learning that too. I've had to release control with this pregnancy - I just can't do it all this time around. I'm learning to let others help, and (gasp) even to ask for help.

I missed being a child because my parents put so much focus and praise on my being the "little adult." From my daughter I am learning how to play again. Today we sang silly songs, colored pictures, decorated each other with stickers, and had a tickle war while watching America's Funny Videos as a family.

I thought I was becoming who my mother wanted. She steered me toward being a doctor or lawyer and away from being a teacher (because of the $$ and prestige) but I'm sure not the type of attorney she wanted. She envisioned me making millions and doing some high-powered corporate stuff. She never would have wanted me to handle child cases - I might actually realize the extent of my horrific childhood. She wanted me to be a mother because that's what you are "supposed" to do, and because being a grandmother is a "status symbol" she wanted. She never envisioned me actually loving a child, expressing emotions toward a child, and restricting her contact with my children because it isn't safe. She never envisioned me setting up boundaries and obstacles. My mother wanted me to marry someone that would take care of me financially, but also let me rule the roost. She never envisioned my deferring to a man in any situation, letting myself marry for love and not money, letting myself be cared for, and that my husband might stand up to her and protect me against herself and her husband.

I have to keep saying to myself - I am not my Mother. I am not who my Mother says I am.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Who is in Charge Here?

(for more about photo, see here)

"You're large, but you most definitely don't feel in charge, since the baby seems to be completely taking over your body." That's for sure. When I can't get up from a reclining position by myself, when I can't roll over without massive effort and when my belly starts flip flopping all over, I often wonder who is in charge. This little one has already done his best to announce that HE is in charge - he's doing a great job of ignoring my requests to calm down and let me sleep. Just like his sister, this one is.

Not to fear - all this uncomfortableness is practice. "Can't get comfortable enough to sleep? Up all night to use the bathroom? Great practice for those frequent night feedings." I hate to tell that author, but I don't feel any better!

The best news though is that today marks a very important milestone - "The big news this week is lung development—baby's respiratory system is almost completely mature. That means if baby was born this week, odds are he'd be a healthy bouncing baby." Yeah!!!! I don't want him to come just yet -- we still have a lot of prep work to do. But it's nice to know that he'd likely be fine if he did. If he is anything like his sister, he'll be late and only come after forcible eviction!

One website says this - "The bones in your baby's skull are soft and are not yet fused together. In other words, now is not the time to teach him how to do a headspin while breakdancing." Somebody better tell this to the baby in my belly. Because he loves breakdancing, playing soccer and practicing karate. His favorite places to kick are my ribs and my bladder. Last night I sneezed, and........well you get the picture. My husband laughed, until I threw the pillow at him. I would have thrown the water bottle but that would have required rolling over - not so easy to do right now.

At night when I've collapsed on the couch after a long day, I pull my shirt up over my belly and watch Baby stretch. He can't move much while I'm sitting up at my desk. He gets his freedom when I'm relaxing at home. My husband and I love to watch him move. Sometimes we can discern what body part is poking out - or at least narrow it down. I've never seen anything as clear as the "supposed" picture above, but I can tell that certain movements are either an elbow or knee.

My daughter is just adorable with her soon-to-be-born baby brother. She keeps coming up to me and telling me to open my mouth. When I do, she blows a kiss down my throat, convinced it goes right down to my belly and hence to her brother. She asked once how he got in there, and we told her that he grew in there. She didn't ask further and I didn't offer. She also asked how he was coming out. I told her it was similar to when you go to the bathroom, but more pushing, and he came out the "front bottom" (her name for the area). She said, "ew mommy that hurts." I couldn't agree more.

This weekend is all about baby. It's our last free weekend for a long while. After this we start refresher lamaze, end of summer activities, back to school church things and hospital tours. My daughter officially starts pre-K (up to now it's been more about playing through the summer). Her real "classes" start when the kindergartners move out of her class and go onto school. The the rest of the 4 year olds move into her class and they start learning. She is super excited. I'm a little sad that my first baby is old enough to be in pre-K. She's proving to be a great big-sister shopper, insisting we buy something for "baby brother" every time we go through a store. And Daddy and Pop-pop better not say anything about his pink "boppies" (Pacifiers) because she insists "boys can too use pink boppies." Who am I to argue? (I'd lose anyway).

Husband is moving the crib and changing table up to the nursery. I'll be putting up curtains, washing the tiny baby clothes and starting to organize. We need to buy some organizing stuff and an armoire. Then go through all the baby stuff I packed away to see what we need to purchase. I don't know who said that boy stuff is less "fun" than baby girl stuff. These clothes are adorable! I can't get over the newborn diapers. Part of me can't remember my daughter being that small. The other part can't believe something that big is growing inside of me!

It is nice to have a happy event to focus on. Something to distract me from the anxiety, mom issues, panic and depression. I'm hopeful that I'll be more aware of post-partum depression issues and can nip those in the bud. And that being on zoloft ahead of time will help too.

So enough lying around staring at my belly. It's back to work! There is more shopping to be done.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Seeing patterns

Good News - my BIL should be home from Iraq next week. We are all excited. My sister, BIL and the three kids are scheduled to come here to visit in about three weeks. My sister is excited to get her husband back, especially in time to help with the back-to-school rush. However, she is also concerned as they had some marital issues before he left.

I, the older sister, get leaned on for sisterly advice. My BIL is trying to decide whether to re-enlist with the national guard. I think that he just needs one more re-enlistment in order to secure his retirement. However, he has been to Iraq twice already, other month - 3 month deployments around the globe, and threatened with deployment countless other times. It sure makes things difficult. My sister keeps encouraging her husband to pray about things, discuss it with her, and to ultimately go where God leads. My BIL says he is waiting to see "what he'll be offered." To him it is all about the money.

My BIL thinks that the decision is all his to make. He's said "Well ultimately it is up to me." He doesn't consider the effect on his wife and children.

My sister sees herself as an extension of the kids. She has been a stay-at-home-mom for so long. With her youngest entering kindergarten, she will return to the work force this fall, part time. It's going to be a huge adjustment. She will have an identity apart from the children.
My sister goes above and beyond for her children. She sacrifices herself in so many different ways.

It's always easier to make observations about other peoples' relationships. Much easier to be objective. In my BIL, I see my father. Not surprising that my sister has married someone similar to my father - sister was much closer to Dad than me, even living with him for awhile. BIL makes decisions for himself, and not necessarily for his family. He pretends to put his family first and gives lip service to doing so, but really doesn't. BIL is very concerned with what others think of him. He is a people-pleaser, trying to please all around him.

My sister is the antithesis of my mother. Her children come above and beyond everything and everyone, including her husband. She lets nothing come before them. While I admire her determination and resolve, it does go overboard at times. It leaves her husband on the outside looking in, and feeling left out.

I do wonder what my sister thinks of me and my marriage - wonder what patterns she sees. Maybe I'll ask her sometime.....