Monday, November 30, 2009

Bedrested Development

Today is Day 18 of my latest development, possible pre-term labor and bed rest. Because of cramping (read: contractions), it appears I am progressing in ways I shouldn't be. So I've been living on the couch for going on three weeks. Praise the Lord for the Internet and company-issued BlackBerry, but it's tough on The Boy.

Every day I wake up before 6, when The Boy's alarm goes off. I get Mirabella dressed from bed and give her "piggy tails" when she asks for them. At my daily 8:15 conference calls, they ask me how my jammies feel, but there hasn't been one day I've stayed in pajamas. I shower every morning, put on makeup and do my hair before taking my daily trip down the stairs to the couch. I've been busy with work, which makes me incredibly grateful; my relatively new found ability to work from home has enabled me to avoid taking disability. But, necessarily, I'm out of the loop. My team at work has been wonderful-- concerned about the right things, working with me however they can-- but I'm not nearly as valuable to them as I would be if I were there. And that feeling isn't unlike how I feel at home; I am not useful. I have completed 3/4 of our Christmas shopping, but there's not much more I can do.

Last week at a check up we discussed positive test results from an ultrasound that indicated the baby's birth was not impending, which is great. In the past two weeks, my contractions have gotten better (most days) and I haven't dilated any more. All good signs. So they told me to continue on bed rest for at least two more weeks, "ambulating" a little more to see how it goes. I still cannot lift Mirabella, which means I can't feed her without help, I can't put her to bed; I can't really be alone with her for long. We ambulated to my parents' house for Thanksgiving, which was really nice, but I had contractions most of the day and into the night. Saturday was a lot better and I was able to escape to get my hair done and even have dinner with The Boy, but it was a quick trip, then back to the couch. Last night-- out of nowhere-- the contractions came back, and they've been coming off and on today.

The uncertainty is probably the hardest part. I'm thrilled to know that the baby looks and sounds great. She is growing well-- a week ago she was 2 lbs, 12 oz-- which they tell me is good. My greatest fear, obviously, would be that she come very early and have to spend time in NICU and might not be healthy. Aside from that, and even though I long for the things I used to take for granted, I fear going back to real life. I don't think I can do it. The days I've been up a few hours, for the most part, have not gone well. I can't imagine re-entering work at a point where it's 6-7 days per week, frequent 12-hour days, plus primary care for my sweet little girl and the house stuff. I think part of The Boy fears I won't be able to come back in any capacity-- it's incredibly hard for him to keep up the pace, and it's gotten the best of his temper only a couple of times, which I was afraid of. I never want him to be resentful, but I'm sure it's hard not to.

It's all pretty complicated and, ironically, hardly restful.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm Every Woman

Today a co-worker asked if my daughter understands that a baby is coming soon.

"I'm not really sure that I understand it," I told her, "So, no. Probably not."

Tonight, when I asked Mirabella where her baby sister is, she pulled up her jammies and stuck out her tummy. "In a beddy, Mommy. Baby in MY beddy."

My days have been coming and going so quickly that, most days, I can't remember how far along I am in the incubation of Daughter, 2.0 (oh yeah, it's a girl). I'm also incubating my first project at work, due two days before Christmas, followed closely by my second project at work, due two days before the baby. Deliver a proposal on Friday and a baby on Sunday? Ain't no thang. Should it be disconcerting that I actually know what I'm in for, but I'm still looking forward to childbirth, sleepless nights and breastfeeding as a break?

I'm struggling with the lack of balance in my current life. Though I'm getting better at recognizing that the now is not forever than I used to be, I still have hopes for the relatively near future that look a whole lot different than the reality of my present. I'm not sure how I got to married mother of two-- I don't feel nearly old enough or grown up enough or ready-- yet here I've been. My youngest brother is getting married, my little sister is talking about college, my nearly two-year-old tells me stories from her day, I nonchalantly mention my husband of more than three years, all the while my second child flips and kicks and flails nearly non-stop in my growing belly and I'm the boss at work without ever actually being the boss of anyone.

I happened upon a discussion among coworkers yesterday about why men seem to age better than women, and I think it's because they don't tend to have to juggle quite as much as we do. Not typically as many roles, responsibilities, or hats. It's why I can get up well before 6, make breakfast and lunch, sing pre-school songs on the way to daycare, and deliver homebaked goods to a meeting I'm running in which I have to issue professional admonitions, all before 9 AM. But not without hearing, "You look tired," three times by 10 AM. A bit of wisdom: if you know a woman like this, please don't tell her she looks tired. Just don't.
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