Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The many names of my life

When I was born, my Mom and Dad were together. My Mom was never married to my Dad, but apparently she liked him enough to have 2 children with him (now I am sure you are going to wonder, as do I, how she could like my father enough to have 2 children with him, and not marry him given her propensity to marry). Since my parents were together when I was born, I took my fathers last name on my birth certificate. Well, my parents didn't work things out I guess, because when I was 2 years old...he left. Never to be heard from again (details about this are being released in a future posting).

A few years later, my Mom, who was married twice before I was born, fell in love with an older man and married him. We then took his last name for a while. Well, that marriage didn't last long and needless to say...it didn't work out.

She really feel in love with her next husband. This time it was true love; I mean the kind that last forever. So, we again took our new "dad's" last name. The marriage however, did not last. Now, all things considered-this last name was the name I kept the longest (while the marriage wasn't too terribly long), and it was certainly the most pleasing of the 3 names to read and write. I kept this last name from the time I was in 6th grade until I was married 2 years ago.

When I got married, I changed my last name. And why not...I had no ties to the previous 3 last names I carried. I would say I am a feminist, however since my last name held no family bearing or emotional influence, I easily swapped it out for yet another last name (hopefully my last!). My Mom, married yet again and changed her last name yet another time (you might be wondering how the marriage is doing, given her serial marriage history...well, she is divorced).

My married last name means the most to me since it connotes a real sense of belonging, and allows me access to this exclusive group of wonderful folks (my husband and my in-laws). It also allows me to feel like I am part of something greater than myself. I am one of them, I am an accepted member of the family. It feels good, and permanent!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Love you too

Today, during a goodbye hug my mother-in-law said, "love you" into my ear. I was moved and a little shocked, I didn't immediately reply with a "love you too", but I did manage to say it. I felt uncomfortable saying it back though--which left me feeling bad. It is not that I don't feel it but more because I think I have an inability to let people in and therefore have difficulty expressing vulnerability and reciprocating love. The fact is I do love Jeff's parents. They are loving, respectful of our independence, and supportive. They don't preach or offer unsolicited advice and are morally sound people. I enjoy spending time with them, talking with them, and going places with them. They are good parents and awesome Grandparents.

It has more to do with me. I don't want to let too many people into my inner circle. I have trust issues when it comes to parents. Likely the result of my relationship with my mother (which is inconsistent at best) and the lack of relationship with any father. My mother certainly hasn't set many examples of healthy and loving relationships (in any of her 6 or so marriages...not for lack of trying though).

I am trying to work on my ability (often times inability) to express love and affection. Jeff and I talk often about my emotional distance from people and the low level of affection I show. I am going to try and take some step towards opening up, attempting to be more affectionate and letting parental units in.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The High has worn off

The happy, healthy baby/pregnancy high has worn off...and now I just feel fat, bloated and hungry.

How to talk to kids

I read about 15-20 blogs on a regular basis. Included in this list of reading is one of my good friends (private) blog. I am here to tell you that her most recent post was awesome. At first, when I noticed that it was a pasted article I was like...sheesh you could have just posted the link, then I realized that not very often do people click on links that get forwarded, and by the time they do often times the link is a dead end or the article is gone (new york times articles for example). And being one of those people who typically wont click on links...I re-considered my snap and hasty judgement and read the article.

Wow, what a great article! The article in summary talks about 'The Inverse Power of Praise'. This researcher and her team did a study of 5th graders (among other ages) that looked at 2 groups of kids. One group was praised for their intelligence and the other was praised based on their efforts. They determined that the group praised on efforts-- tried harder, took risks more often (even when failure was an option), and as a result succeeded more often than the group who was praised for their intelligence. Their summary was this-- "Emphasizing effort gives a child a variable that they can control. They come to see themselves as in control of their success. Emphasizing natural intelligence takes it out of the child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure." Moreover, they go on to say that even more effective is specific praise based on efforts. This specific praise regarding efforts helps the child come up with creative problem solving scenarios of their own, and are more successful in their attempts as a result.

This discovery basically slaps my current way of thinking in the face. It reminds me also that children need honestly and positive feedback the same way adults do. They are thinking beings, that are developing coping strategies and devising problem solving tactics at an early age.

All things about science and psychology aside, the article made me think about the kind of parent and person I want to be, and the words I currently use to talk to people, and that I really need to think about a words intended meaning AND how those words are being received (not only how I mean for them to be received).

It also reminded me that kids are not oblivious to the idea of intent, manipulation and coercion in our language, and of its use by adults to get what they want. It also makes me wonder how our parents raised us, and what types of language they used.

It made me think a lot, which I am very pleased about! Thank you anonymous blog posting friend! You can also find the link below--for as long as it lasts... http://www.nymag.com/news/features/27840/index.html

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A (not so) light warning

I went to my 20 week doctors appointment yesterday, and low (no pun) and behold...i gained 10 pounds in a month! I probably should have been shocked at this unfortunate, but true fact...But, it was not too surprising to me since I have been hungry every second of every day for the last month. Additionally, I had just returned for a wonderful 4 day feeding frenzy in SF (home of the most delicious and satisfying food on this coast) coupled with the fact that I haven't gone #2 for 2 weeks with any regularity. My doctor didn't seem too shocked at the 10 pounds and let me off with a light warning--advising me that one month of large weight gain is normal...multiple months of large weight gain...is very bad for your health and the health of my son. My husband on the other hand took her light warning with a little more seriousness.

Now, while I admit that I was slightly disheartened at having gained so many lbs in one months time; I was elated to hear that all other things were progressing wonderfully (and that overrode any disappointment or embarrassment i might otherwise have felt). My AFP test came back perfect, and my Ultrasound was great too. I don't know what all the tests mean-your placenta is here, your amniotic fluid is there, all structures are intact (well this one seems obvious), etc. etc. But I was happy that all results were 'normal', and she didn't deliver any other critical news. I have been slightly worried about 'something' being wrong since I got pregnant and was relieved to have this first level of testing over with, and the results tallied.

I felt like a baby making machine when I left the office. I was glowing with pride about being pregnant. More that anything I continuously feel lucky that my pregnancy is going so well, with very low risks, and so far with no complications or problems. I cant imagine (but think about you often, and am here if you want to talk about it) how difficult it is for some of my friends who are trying to get pregnant. I think regularly about the monthly hope and disappointment roller coaster they must be on. Hoping that this month it worked only to get your period, and be disappointed that you have to wait yet another month to try again (and if it were me going through that month after month-i would chalk feeling like a failure up there at the top of the feeling list). I am thankful for having been so lucky and saddened on their behalf. I do not take my luck or fate for granted.

Now, as for the 10 pounds...I am back on my healthy eating program of fruits, veggies, dairy, high fiber wheat free grains and low fat protein...BORING.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Monday, February 12, 2007

Blog Blunder

I broke a cardinal rule of trust. I shared something on my blog that my husband didn't know about me, something personal. A word to the not-so-wise (because if you were wise, you wouldn't have done this)...before you post something for every stranger on the web to read-share it with your husband first. That way when your husband finally decides to read your blog (for the first time, the first post ever), that this bit of new information isn't the shock of all shocks. And you don't hurt his feelings.

I think that in all the time I have known my husband this may be the first time he has ever been mad at me first. Now, he wasn't mad for long because his personality doesn't allow it, he is too good natured and just overall a wonderful human being to stay mad for long. I was thinking about what a great person I think he is today and how lucky our son is to have a dad like him-talented beyond belief (piano, guitar, singer-song writer, ukulele, producer, movie maker), smart, funny, easy to get along with, handsome, a great role model, and a hard working...I got choked up.

How could I have made such a silly mistake. I wasn't thinking, and I am inherently selfish. I am sorry.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Its a Boy!

Its a baby boy! Wow...what an amazing experience our ultrasound appointment was. I was nervous about the possibility of something being wrong. But, from what the tech could tell all parts and pieces were as they should be. The appointment was a mix of excitement and relief. I didn't think it was going to be possible to love something so much, so soon.

We were able to view 3D and 4D pictures. They made a video for us to take home and printed out a roll of pictures. Baby E. likes to sleep with his hands over his head, and he was active while the camera was rolling. He also got the hiccups while we watched. I was able to also confirm that the movement I was feeling in the upper right side of my abdomen was his feet.

Daddy was a little taken back by the experience as well. I think for both of us it was pretty overwhelming. As real as a pregnancy is for me, seeing your baby and listening to his heartbeat, watching him move like a little person on the screen...there is nothing like it.

After the appointment is when the emotional gates opened up. I think the relief of everything being ok, seeing him on the screen and realizing how real this all is, and then leaving the office just hubby and I...that was all it took for me to start bawling.

What a great day...one that I will not soon forget.

Friday, February 9, 2007

If you didnt watch Greys Anatomy last night, dont read this post.

I watch Grey's Anatomy weekly, I always DVR it, but I always stay home to watch it because I don't want to miss a beat.
Well until last nights episode...that is the exception so far. I watched it and wish I hadn't; what a disappointing ending. The end of the show was Meredith getting accidentally pushed over the edge of the pier/harbor and falling into the water. We don't see a splash or know what happened to her but that is the assumption. This isn't what made me mad though. I like suspense and I like cliff hangers, although it is frustration to have to wait until next week to see what happened. I understand the need to create suspense.
All during this episode a little girl (7 years old) is by Meredith's side and won't leave. She is lost and cant find her family and has clung to Meredith. At one point Meredith says to the little girl, who hasn't said a word the entire time "you don't have to talk, I don't talk when I am scared or angry or upset (or whatever), but I need your help", and the girl of course helps. How kindred spirit-like.
The part that made me mad was that at the end of the episode, the little girl looks over the edge where Meredith had fallen and doesn't see Meredith, and then just walks away! Of course, we don't know if she is walking about for good, or walking away to get help. Its ambiguous at this point, and of course, that is intentional. But, if they are trying to mark some sort of parallel between the little girl and Meredith I think they are way off base. And as a devoted fan of the show, I think it is irresponsible to infer such behaviour from Meredith.
She isn't the abandonment type, in fact she has fears of being abandoned. She also doesn't seem the type to walk away from her problems. She ignores them until she is done processing them and then deals with them.
Maybe the reason I am so upset by all of this...is that there is a remarkable similarity to me and Meredith in the way we process hardship and emotion. I wouldn't want someone leaving a conversation or situation with me and thinking I was the walk away type. But, maybe that is how we are perceived to others. Maybe while we are processing and dealing with issues internally, it looks like we are indifferent. Hmm, maybe I like this episode after all.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Poetic Justice?

I am a very literal person. I like to know what people are saying, and similarly I like to be understood. I rarely mince words, and like to know where people stand and I like them to know where I stand. To achieve that feat, one must be versed in the language and able to articulate yourself clearly. There is also a more subtle thing at play often in language and conversation, and that is assumption and intent. When you aren't clear about something, often times you assume that a person means something, when in fact they don't mean that all.
The reason for this rant, is that yesterday I was reading an article about an ATF agent who went undercover with the Hells Angels, and now fears for his life. A few years ago my book club read a book about a similar scenario however a different outlaw motorcycle gang was infiltrated-- the Mongols.
My dilemma is this-when is it OK to not follow a words true meaning, to lie and deceive and to digress from a words true intent. I realize what a naive questions this is-given the immorality of the gang members actions, etc. However, does that make what the undercover agents are doing right?
By going undercover, we are asking these outlaws to trust us (the system). Now, these folks are already a distrusting and skeptical group-so that isn't an easy request. Over time, the undercover agents build that trust brick by brick, slowing grow relationships, and one of the undercover guys actually reporting a feeling of kinship and true acceptance.
Then after we have infiltrated their minds, families, and connections using deceitful words and fake actions--then they are exposed and brought 'to justice'. I don't know what the meaning of justice is, but I can assure you that these gang members will never trust another sole for their entire lives. Additionally they will pass on the inability to trust, the skepticism of the 'system' and an overall disdain and (further) disregard for human life.
Now, again, I understand that the outlaw motorcycle gang members are criminals, often times violent criminals with actions such as rape, child abuse, and spousal abuse under their belts. However, they are still human beings.
While I feel bad for the ATF agent who now fears for his life...where was his common sense when he went undercover and saw what these criminals were capable of. Where was his long term planning for his kids, family and safety...? Hmm, sounds like he got burned the same way the outlaws did.
Since I don't feel that true justice is being served in a scenario like this, perhaps this is what they call poetic justice? You decide.

Monday, February 5, 2007

In 18 weeks I've learned

I have learned a lot in the past 18 weeks, about a variety of topics related to motherhood, parenting and the HMO system. Beware bitching and sarcasm ahead.
I learned how to research and locate a hospital, medical group, doctor and midwife.
I also learned that pregnancy prepares you in weird ways for what I think some parts of motherhood will be like.
Lastly, I had the displeasure of learning that there are too many options available to us as consumers. A perspective that leads to indecision and uncertainty when making a choice.

How to research and locate a hospital, medical group, doctor and midwife that your insurance plan accepts, and is in line with your ethics and values:
1. When you first find out your are pregnant, if you know you are keeping the baby-don't hesitate! (if you aren't sure about keeping the baby-then do not read further, as you have other more critical decisions to make) Otherwise, get to work. There is no time to get adjusted, or find your groove. And forget the fact that you have morning sickness, can't eat, and haven't had a cup of coffee for longer than you can ever remember going in your previous life. You need to start researching and making decisions about the next 9 months (10 really, but lets not rock the boat of social norms yet (that is going to be discussed in topic #3)).
2. If you have insurance, consider yourself lucky, and get on the phone. Yes, you may wait for 10 minutes on hold, with an operator who doesn't know jack...but do it anyway. If you are using an HMO like most of us, find out what your plan covers and what hospital and medical groups you can chose from.
3. Find out what hospitals are in your area. You can do a quick search on the Internet for hospital in your city.
4. Go to each hospitals website, find out about their birth centers or maternity departments. Do they have a Midwife option, or can you only select an OB in the provider finder list. Also find out what medical groups they are associated with, and if your selected OB or midwife is affiliated with them. Get as much info as you can and use that to help you make a decision about the type of hospital environment you want to deliver in. There is also the home delivery and free standing birth center option, but since that isn't an option for me, I am going to leave these out.
5. Call you insurance company back, and make the switch if possible. You can only change medical groups while you are in your first trimester, so don't hesitate.
6. Make your first appointment with your new OB/midwife. Take the appointment seriously. They typically will want you to wait until you are 10 plus weeks along, but you can force a sooner appointment by saying you have concerns about the viability of the pregnancy or feel at risk. This is critical to get the appointment as soon as possible, because as mentioned in #5, you only have until your 12th week to change medical groups, and if you don't like the doctor, you may be limited to similar types of doctors (doctors who all share the same ideas) within that group.
7. The other thing to remember is that the first appointment is typically not even with the OB, its with the Nurse Practitioner. She is there to field the questions you want to know about the delivery, the common practices of the doctor and the medical group, your freedom in the delivery room and with your baby after delivery. This appointment is not the time to be shy, or coy. You must be direct and prepared.
8. If after your first appointment, you don't like the doctors views-change immediately. Do not hesitate. While this may seem like an insignificant issue since women all over the world give birth without the assistance of doctors and hospitals (which is what I thought until well into my 14th week)--it is huge. When American women give birth there is a procedure that doctors and midwives are supposed to follow regulated by the hospital, medical group, and their conscious
and experience. They need to follow hospital procedure (e.g. you must have an IV when you check in, you can't walk around once you reach the labor/delivery room, you cant have music or candles, your husband can/cant spend the night with you, your baby can/cant spend the night with you) and then the opinions or experiences of the OB/Midwife (their quickness to give an episiotimy, their feelings on breach delivery and the use of C-section, and their use of forceps and vacuums, as well as their availability on weekends, holidays, nights, etc., and who they use when they are not on call).
9. Once you have found your niche office, enjoy your appointments! This is a fun and exciting time-and it goes quickly.

Pregnancy prepares you in weird ways for what I think some parts of motherhood will be like:
Now, since this is my first pregnancy and I don't like kids that much, I can not be responsible for inaccuracies, or mistakes in judgement.
1. You soon realize that your body is no longer yours alone. You no longer have sole control over it. Your hormones are the first indicator of this-they are going nutz'o. No matter what you do, how you sleep, exercise, eat, or try to perk yourself up-they rule. This is a tough realization for some (me!!!) especially those with control issues. The best advise I got was to 'give it up to the higher power' (this saying is mostly reserved for conversations about God and religion as support for how to believe in things you cant see, etc. But, I would like to use it here, and have as little association with religion as possible. Indulge me!) The higher power in this case is your body and your hormones.
2. If you are able to 'give it up', you will soon thereafter come to the realization that never again will you have control over your time and many of the decisions that follow. This sounds worse than it is (as my wiser friends helped me see). However, when i originally spoke with a (less wise) friend about this idea-I was swiftly informed that I was selfish. Let me clarify that a parent makes choices and sacrifices for their children willingly and with love. However, that doesn't mean they are any less of a decision or a sacrifice. it just depends on the level of sacrifice and/or resentment in having to make the choice. I welcome the change and look forward to all that is new, but it took some time to get here and didn't happen over night. Don't worry about it, it will.
3. Refer to #1, and remember that your body isn't yours any longer and the fact that you have to get up 2 plus times in the night to pee isn't so bad. A good night sleep to me used to be when I could sleep 8 plus hours soundly all the way through! That is a thing of the past. The constant bladder disruptions are preparing us for motherhood, and for sleepless nights filled with disruption.
4. Everyone has an opinion about your pregnancy-from what you are eating, to what type of exercise you are doing, to the sex of the child and your birthing methods. Get used to it. This will never stop. After your child is born it will only get worse-with strangers judging your parenting styles from afar, to the pre-school teacher offering suggestions, to your mother giving advice about when she raised you. Figure out how you best handle other peoples unsolicited advice and opinions and use this time as practice.
5. Maternity clothes suck. Now, I have read what all of the pregnancy magazines say about only needing a few 'key' pieces to make your wardrobe shine. Bullshit. When you wear a size 12-14 pre-pregnancy, your wardrobe choices are limited to begin with, and maternity clothes are no different. Finding ones that are comfortable for your belly type, your body type and your budget type is a monumental task. Again, another thing to use in your arsenal for motherhood prep. I have 10 pair of maternity pants in my closet and 3 pair fit. A similar thing for tops. Which means i have to do laundry every few days. Yes, I can wear pants twice or more depending on the length of time worn, use, etc. However, I cant do that with the 4 pair of underwear I have that don't cut my circulation off, and the 1 bra I have (that incidentally is black...a whole separate issue). So, the lesson here is laundry will need to be added to your daily activity list once your bundle of joy arrives. Oh, and what about being environmentally aware... yeah right. You can forget cloth diapers!

There are too many options available to us as consumers:
My husband and I made our inaugural visit to BabiesR'Us over the weekend. Neither of us had been there before, and we wanted to share the experience together. We both left feeling overwhelmed and dumbfounded. Not to mention a little nervous. Now, that isn't to say we weren't oohing and ahh'ing all of the cutesy baby items. But, by the time we left we were exhausted. There is too much to chose from. Too many strollers, too many colors, too many car seats.
This is of course our own fault-free markets, supply and demand, capalism and the rise of the middle-class consumer. God Bless America.
Now, for me...when there are too many choices I get frozen with fear and thereby paralyzed. Which is where I am today. I know that I need to start researching car seats and stroller systems...but where do I start? So, instead I will complain about it for a while, and only after I have had my fill of sympathy will I move on to the next step of action.

If you have made it this far in the post...you deserve a cup of coffee! Please comment I would love to hear from someone who can put up with my ramblings for so long.