The Six Week Check-Up

She started walking two days after,
running within a week.
Each day she ran those miles faster!
Physically, she would quickly peak.

She ran to combat it,
her becoming a disaster.
She was afraid to bring it up,
she was scared they would ask her.

But even more afraid of that,
she feared that they wouldn’t.
They had to bring it up,
she knew that she couldn’t.

It was hidden inside her,
like a wire wrapping her psyche,
cutting into her brain,
she felt the pressure, tightly.

It just might kill her,
if that wire tightened more.
It would shred her to pieces,
it would sever her core.

You look great! They said.
Her appearance fooled them.
She looked healthy. Strong.
She smiled and wooed them.

But she was not okay.
She was sick, deep inside.
She felt weak. Embarrassed.
The disease was easy to hide.

She was wearing herself to the bone,
running from fear, running for health.
She could not be trusted to be alone,
not with the baby, or her own self.

She wore a mask, to appear in control,
as the docs droned on and on.
They didn’t notice the void behind either eye hole,
or their patient, so withdrawn.

Everything looked good, or so they said.
Amazing! Bravo! Congratulations!
Smiling, the doctor shook her head.
But there were serious internal complications.

They never asked about it,
which she thought was bizarre.
She smiled and left.
And cried in the car.

Don't wait for the doctor to ask you about postpartum depression.  Bring it up yourself.

Don’t wait for the doctor to ask you about postpartum depression. Bring it up yourself.

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I Am Equally Terrified of Having More Kids and Not Having Any More Kids

So, there’s the tantrums.  And the screaming.  The “Mine!”s and the “No!”s.  The bazillion toys with annoying musical themes.  There’s the feeding and the changing and more feeding and more changing.   There’s the blowouts and the spit up and the adult-type vomit that begins at a much earlier age than you would expect. There’s the cleaning food off the walls and off the floor, out of the crevices of the couch, and strewn across every square inch of the car.  There’s the wiping of snot off of faces, off of walls, off of everything.  There’s the cost.  Of formula. Of food. Of daycare.  Of clothes.  Of parties.  Of braces.  Of college.  Of cars.  Of housing.  Of weddings. There’s the “Don’t lick the window!”s and the “We do not eat cat hair!”s and the “We don’t pee on the dresser!”s.  And, for the love of all that is holy, there is the LACK OF SLEEP.  And I hear it doesn’t get any easier when the kids get older.  Maybe they don’t wake you with their cries, or their morning renditions of Elmo’s Song, but they still wake you, with the worries.  Late teen/early twenty-somethings doing God-knows-what with God-knows-who on a college campus.  The impending insomnia tires me out even more than the current insomnia does.

That’s what really scares me.  The exhaustion.

But, there’s the cuddles.  And the “Look at that!”s and the gasps of awe at observing something new, the quirky insights and the questions that make you think, even though they came out of the mouth of a human being that has been around for a shorter number of years than my current smart phone. There’s the laughter and the silliness and the finding happiness in the little things, every single day. There’s the joy that exists in me, that is multiplied exponentially when I see the same joy exhibited by them.  There’s the comfort in the feeling of being a part of a whole.  There’s the learning what’s important, from those teeny-tiny monsters, those miniature Buddhas-with-attitudes. There’s the being ridiculously happy just from watching them be themselves.

That’s what really scares me.  Missing learning and growing from a unique perspective, missing another eye-opening lesson about what life is really all about.

Now that I have two little peanuts, who are similar in the important ways, but who are already oh-so different in every other way, it makes me mourn for who else could have been.  It makes me wonder who else could still be.

more kids

10 Things Pregnant Women Do Not Want To Hear Coming Out of Your Mouth

It’s highly likely that you will encounter a pregnant woman at work, at home, at the gym or via your Facebook feed.  While she may enjoy engaging with you on topics such as hobbies, families, work gripes or nursery decorations, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that she may not want to engage with you on everything and everything under the “pregnancy topics” umbrella.

In order to prevent any mishaps (i.e. her hormonal self losing her shit and punching you in the face) – here’s a list of things she’s sure to NOT want to hear coming out of your face.

1) Oh my god, my labor was absolutely horrifying. Worst pain of my life.  She is perfectly capable of visualizing worst-case scenarios in her own head without any help, thank you very much.  No need to tell her some godforsaken story that will haunt her for the hours/days/weeks after she hears it.

2)  I only gained 17 pounds during my pregnancy.  I totally craved organic apples and rice cakes the whole time!  Yeah, you’re a freak of nature.  And also?  An arrogant braggart.  Step away from her and her Cheetos or she might place that crinkly bag over your head and strangle you with it. That is, once she creases the bag into a v-shape and finishes pouring the last of the crumbs into her mouth.

3) Oh my, your bump is getting bigger every day!  The cousin to the “You must be due any day!” comment.  Believe it or not, pregnant women are pretty attuned to their bodies and can tell when their skin is stretched to the limit, their organs are getting mashed and wedged into every available space inside their bodies and can really feel that extra 30+ pounds they are carrying with them every time they take the stairs.

4)  How long are you planning to breastfeed/pump/?  Or any other questions or advice at all related to the why/how/when/where she is going to nourish her child.  It’s none of your freaking business.  Until you’ve lived INSIDE her body and/or have analyzed her genetic makeup and/or lived through her exact life situation, you are in no position to offer unwanted advice or analysis.

5)  Are you supposed to be eating/drinking/doing that?  Unless she’s drinking a six-pack of beer or chain smoking cigarettes, I’d say it’s safe to assume that she’s making sensible decisions for her unborn child, based on advice from her doctor.  If you’re questioning something as ridiculously benign as feeding her baby salty/fatty Cheetos, refer to possible consequence as described in number 2.

6)  When I get pregnant I’m going to _________________.  (Insert eyeroll here).  Yea, shut it.  You have no idea what you’re going to do. Even if you’re already had one, the second (or third or…) time around can be a whole different ballgame.  In reality, you will do what the baby tells you to do. It’s nature’s prep for when the baby is here and is in charge in person.

7)  We’re out of donuts in the lounge.  The horror! The horror!  Even if she’s never enjoyed a peanut-covered donut is her entire life, there might be a day during her pregnancy when ALL SHE CAN THINK ABOUT is swallowing a peanut-covered donut, and hearing the news that the peanut-covered donut-eating-opportunity has been stolen from her can be devastating.  Don’t be the messenger.

8) How are you feeling? Pregnant. She’s feeling pregnant. Exhaustingly, whalishly, hormonally pregnant. She feels like shit and wants to stab everyone around her in the eye with a fork.  Even if she feels happy, she also feels like crying.  Frankly, it takes physical and emotional energy she doesn’t have to fake a smile and tell you she’s feeling just fine.  Don’t steal precious energy away from the baby by asking this question. Unless you want to harm her baby.  Stop harming the unborn babies!

9) Hi Mommy! Okay, hearing anyone other than your own flesh and blood call you mommy is just disturbing as hell. It’s not even sort of cute. Pure creepo, right there. If it’s said in a high pitched voice, it makes her think you might actually be psycho enough to try to murder her in her sleep. Stop creeping her out.

10) Shrimp. Raw chicken.  Mangoes.  Or any other word that conjures up even the notion of a smell so offensive that it makes her literally gag just from hearing the utterance. I realize you may not know ahead of time which word will cause this response (especially if it’s something seemingly ungagworthy, such as the word “dust” or “wall”), so just let the bobbing Adam’s apple be your guide.

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10 Things Pregnant Women Do Not Want To Hear Come Out of Your Mouth

Rocking Her

The woman got the call and listened to the numbers being given to her.  Her eyes widened, her heart sped up.  She couldn’t believe her good fortune.  Only a few months into the process, when last time took three years.  So soon?!  She was by herself, in the bathroom, away from the crowd.  She hung up the phone, elated. She looked in the mirror at herself, in her pink puffy dress, her dark hair swept up into a voluminous bun, her lipsticked mouth hanging open.  She went into a stall and clicked the lock. She smiled. Then she second guessed.  Did the lab tech say 70? Or was it only 7?  So she called back, standing inside the stall.  And the lab tech giggled as she recited the joyous news for a second time.  And then a third. Her husband, on his way to meet her, called the same lab tech, who got a kick out of telling the numbers for yet a fourth time.

When the couple saw each other at the party, they gave each other a knowing smile, and a hug.  I love you, they each said.  The I love you, while true, was a private code that meant I’m so excited to start this journey with you, again.  And the couple celebrated, with mocktails, two parties at once.  One public, one private.

A few days later, another call, from another lab tech. Not as happy, not laughing. The lab tech had a shaky voice and said things very slowly.  She took forever to spit out the numbers.  Hurry up!  the woman wanted to say.  Just say it!  But instead she said, Okay. Okay. Okay.  And a few days after that, another lab tech said I’m sorry.  And she gave the woman the Tragic Numbers.  Numbers that left her like the word looked.  Sliced apart.  Numb.

The good news is that the woman came home to a nursery that was already full. Full of her One.  She cracked the door and crept into the nursery while the One slept, so beautifully curled up, on her side. She settled into the rocking chair, with her cocktail in hand, and stared and stared and stared, filling her heart with her One’s scent, her One’s contentedness. She breathed in her One’s perfume and tried to breathe in her One’s serenity.  And it worked as well as it could.

He came in and saw her rocking and staring and knew she had been sitting there for a long while.  He opened his mouth to ask her what she was doing, but he stopped himself.  He knew.  After looking at her for a bit, he turned and looked down at their One, and he bent over and rubbed his One’s back and after only a second, she awoke. She sat up, instantly covered in smiles, even though she had been disturbed from her slumber.

The woman realized that deep down she’d been hoping her One would wake, and she greedily scooped her up into her arms and hugged and hugged and hugged her.  Her One sleepily squeezed her right back, and their bodies encircled each other.  And it felt good.  Her One warmed her and relaxed her and alleviated her pain.

But, her One’s great comfort also profoundly saddened her, because for while she sat in the chair enjoying her One, she knew she losing her Two.  She pretended that she was rocking her One to sleep, when both he and she knew that her One was really rocking her.

rocking her

Badges of Honor

I have been practicing yoga for almost 5 years now – I began on the recommendation of my family doctor, when I was struggling with anxiety.   From the moment I started, I was surrounded by teachers I connected with and have missed very few weeks without attending a session ever since.  It has changed my life; it has made a tremendous difference in improving my anxiety and mental health.  It has also tightened and toned me up a bit, which is not my purpose for practicing but is a nice added bonus.

I practiced yoga throughout our struggle to conceive, and was lucky enough to be able to continue throughout the entire duration of my pregnancy with Baby Grouch. For as much as I practice, I oddly only have one yoga shirt, which I love.  It is long and fits perfectly, so I never have to think about it, adjust it or mess with it.  Or rather, it used to be that way.  I stretched out the belly from practicing while carrying the baby, but haven’t yet found a suitable replacement so I’m still wearing the same coral shirt I’ve had for years.

The only problem with this, is that now, when I’m in shoulder stand, my shirt, that used to stay snugly on my hips, now slides up to my boobs and exposes my belly. And there’s not much I can do about it, once I’m in shoulder stand, other than stare right up at my stomach, since my hands are pinned to the floor and turning your head in this posture can damage your neck.  So, at least once a week for the past year, I’ve had a few minutes to stare at my post-baby saggy pooch.  The fat underneath my belly button has been stretched out, so when I’m upside down, the skin sort of crookedly hangs a bit over my belly button.  It’s not very pretty.

I think everyone’s heard the cliché about mothers who are “proud” of their stretch marks, their flabby underbellies.  They’ve “earned their stripes” yada yada yada. It used to annoy me, and still does, a little.  I can understand being proud of your children, or proud of who you are as a mother, or the choices you have made.  But, what’s the deal about being proud of your inability to get back into pre-baby shape?  I didn’t get it.

And now I sort of do.  Except, I still don’t think PRIDE is the correct term.  You can’t really be proud of something you have so little control over.  The timing of your conception, how easy or hard your pregnancy was, and how long you were in labor are not anything to be proud of, in my opinion, since our bodies, for the most part, are going to just do what they do.  For the most part we did not earn anything, other than being able to truly appreciate a cold salami sandwich and a stiff drink after 9 months of abstaining.

Pride isn’t the right term, at all.  But, honor is.  What an honor it is, to have the privilege of becoming pregnant, to carry around your baby as he or she grows inside you.  What an honor to feel every kick, every hiccup, every movement.  What an honor it is to give birth to a child, no matter how laborious or exhausting the process.  And a stretched out pooch is my mark that resulted from me being able to experience all of those positive things.

It’s an honor to have a child, to be exposed to her freedom, to experience her joy and to witness her little personality emerging before me.  To be humbled and honored by the process and the person does not mean that conception, pregnancy, or labor are not difficult.  And we all know that parenting is hard…..really hard.  So, it’s okay as a mother to take a moment to honor myself, and my mental sanity, even if that means exacerbating the paunch by indulging in Doritos and wine on a semi-regular basis.  There’s something to be said about making sure to honor the part of you that demands to be happy and satisfied.

So today at yoga, I was reminded not to dwell on the pooch or be disgusted by the saggy skin.  But, to embrace it and remember that I am honored and lucky to have stretched out my favorite shirt, as well as my abdomen.

What’s your badge of honor?

yoga

Bow To Your Thighness: 3 Guiding Principles For Physical and Mental Health

I’ve always hated my thighs.

In high school, jeans shopping was a complete nightmare.  I know what you’re thinking, “Isn’t it always?” or “Wouldn’t we all rather stick our heads into the yawning mouths of lions or alligators or piranhas than shop for jeans?” To which the answer is a resounding YES.  Yes, we certainly would. Hell, wouldn’t we all rather stick our heads into the ASSES of these animals, if it meant we’d get out of jeans shopping ever again?  I’ll let you answer that last question on your own. 

I cringe when I think about the multitude of shopping trips needed, hours long, to find a single pair of jeans that I thought I looked not-like-a-lumbering-mastodon in. My mom patiently (or fake patiently) sat there while the sales lady brought me pair after pair after pair.  I didn’t want jeans that were too tight, because then people would see how big these thighs were, but jeans that were too baggy made them look even bigger.  The Flabby Flank Conundrum. 

It was also the mid 90’s and our entire generation was wearing everything ultra-baggy. When you only wear jeans and hoodies in a size XL, because, for some reason, THAT is what is cool, even though you really fit into a size S or M, you don’t really learn what kind of clothing is most flattering for your body.  I was essentially plucking random jeans off the shelves and hoping they magically fit. It was like trying to find a tactful and well informed politically inspired status update on Facebook. Highly unlikely no matter how hard you search. My thighs are still hard to squeeze into many normal-person sized pants, but now I can usually spot jeans with a size 10 thigh hole and a size 6 waist without shedding too many tears.  In high school I hyperfocused on the sheer bulk of my two trunks; I realize now that it doesn’t really matter how big my thighs are.

Except when it does.

Yesterday I went running, in shorts.  Cute little blue and yellow running shorts with a white stripe down each side.  And about 1/2 mile in, the ensuing chafing reminded me why I never run in these. You don’t have to deal with this crap when you’re primarily a winter runner, like I am.  Rub. Rub. Rub. Rub. Rub. Raw. Raw. Ouch.  I have a good friend who would get embarrassed when her thighs would “clap” (and cheer her on!) really loudly while she was running.  I was embarrassed that there was no way that would EVER  happen to me – since that would require them to be separate entities.  In the past I might have cursed the chafing and my thick thighs, but now I chalk it up to simply choosing the wrong garment.  I should have worn the ridiculous looking spandex. 

No matter how much you hate a body part, there becomes a point where you know it isn’t going to get that much better. No matter how toned I get or how much weight I lose, my thighs are always going to rub together.  So, I have to let it go and honor my physical and mental health by remembering to stick to my Three Guiding Principles.

1.  Work on Creating A Positive Self-Image

My thighness isn’t going away.  It’s genetics.  And, since I want to be happiest of happies, I’m going to work very hard on not caring about my damn thighs because I have approximately 93472 million more important things to care about.  I will look like a complete buffoon in spandex in order to think less (thus care less) about what I look like.  This is the runner’s paradox.  

2. Work on Fitness

These thighs look better the more toned they are. The stronger they are the better I feel.  These thighs have squatted me through stress-relieving yoga during my depressing battle with infertility,  squatted me through prenatal yoga, even with the additional pounds from Baby Grouch, and accidentally trained me for a marathon.  They’ve taken me from point A to point B my entire life and I need to appreciate them by taking care of them.  So, I will continue to run and squat and thoroughly tire them out.  This aging, post-baby body demands it.

3. Be Gluttonous

Just not every second of every day.  I will eat leafy greens, and fruity fruits, organic grains and beany beans, but I am not willing to give up on what makes me happy and balanced and fun.  I do not want to be the boob sipping soda water and munching on carrots at girls weekend. I do not want to be the one who can’t agree to go to a restaurant until I’ve ensured they offer grilled chicken and zucchini.  Bor-ing.  I will be as healthy and fit as I can be, whilst indulging, on a somewhat regular basis, in mounds of nachos.  And pizza. And most definitely, wine. 

How do you bow to your thighness?

English: Mannequins wearing jeans in Sânnicola...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parenting: Reasons To Panic #1 – Jogging With Baby

So, I’m trying to get back into shape.  Pre-baby shape.  Which I’m quite sure is a fairy tale notion.  My core is a disaster.  My pelvis is broken.  (Full disclosure: It’s really NOT.  It’s just offset enough to FEEL like it’s broken and there’s nothing that can be done except steroid injections, which I haven’t yet tried, but am quite sure I will have to if the pain gets any worse.  Inhale. Exhale.  Complaining completed.

Bah.

But, I figure I should do what I can before Baby Number 2 starts cooking, if we are to be so lucky, because if things are this bad NOW, I can only imagine how I might feel after 9 additional months of swelling and enlarging and hormoning.

So, I decided to get off my ass and go jogging.  In the heat of May.  Something I don’t typically do because I overheat in anything above 55 degrees.  My running season is October to April.  My aerobic activity of choice is running outside, whilst catching snowflakes in my eyelashes.  Once it hits 50 degrees, I’m stripped down to a t-shirt by mile 4.  But, I figured I just ran a marathon 3 weeks ago, I should be able to go for a short, 6 mile trot.

English: Female Jogger on Coleman Avenue in Mo...

Of course, I had the baby with me.  “No problem, I have a stroller/jogger!  I’ll just bring her!” I thought this was a grand idea until I started to panic about the following:

The baby is going to overheat!  I was ROASTING.  Granted, I always overheat when I run, but mid-way through I started to panic that Baby Grouch would combust.  How much do babies sweat?  How much of a breeze was she getting?  How hot IS IT out here?  How long does baby sunscreen last?  When you run you usually feel about 20 degrees hotter, right?!  It’s not really as hot as I FEEL, right?!!!  I started sprinkling her with ice water out of her sippy cup.

The baby is going to get Malaria!  There were approximately 83 billion mosquitos out.  I don’t want my child to get infected with Malaria or West Nile or Yellow Fever.   I had to walk a few times and dump water on my head and gasp for breath, and each time I panicked because the mosquitoes were swarming my child.  I flailed my arms and batted away.  An ungraceful, maternal, totemic dance.

The baby is going to get fussy!   I started to panic about mile 2.5.  How on Earth did I think a LOOP made sense?  There was no shortcut home.  I’m dying of heat exhaustion and this run is going to take me for-ev-er!  Of course at this point, Baby Grouch was sleeping.  But, still.  What is she woke up screaming?  Around mile 4.5 she DID start throwing her hat/toy/burp cloth out the edge of the stroller.  I ran over her doll once.  At one point I was jogging while holding all three items in my hands.  NO TIME TO STOP.

The baby is going to get sunburned!  Her arms are showing! She keeps pulling off her hat – her head is showing!  The canopy isn’t QUITE long enough – her face might get burnt!  The canopy is too long – I can’t see the baby!  The baby needs to be covered with a blanket to protect her from the Sun! The baby is overheating, I need to take the blanket off! I figure all the bending over and rearranging, though panic-driven, was probably good core work.

The Baby Is Going to Get Hungry/Thirsty!  I was worried about overheating so I offered Baby Grouch the sippy cup with water once every mile or so.  This may or may not have been a good idea, seeing as she puked up water and strained squash out her nose about 14 minutes after we got home.  My eyes burned as sweat poured into them while giving her a bath, and were still doing so while I cleaned the carpet.

OMG, Running is SO HARD.  I hadn’t ran in 3 weeks, and I could feel it.  My legs felt great, but my head felt fuzzy and lightheaded and horrible.  My face was abraisive to the touch, gritty with salt.  I tried to just focus on my legs. I had thoughts like, “Once you stop running, you have to start completely over again” and, “What the hell was I thinking?” and “I’m so not cut out for running”. And, “You can’t stop running because you have the BABY”.  Also, I got a blister on my hand, which was a first for me, as far as running injuries go.

I hope I don’t see anyone I know! The temperature outside was ovenlike.  I had to take off my shirt, despite the jiggly pouch.  And the early 90’s tribal tattoos on my back.  I had to roll my capris into bootie shorts, despite the expansive thighs.  You know how you look at someone and McJudgingly think, “Why are they wearing THAT?” This was exactly what people were thinking of ME as I was undulating down the sidewalk, pushing the stroller.  I crossed my fingers and hoped I didn’t see any students or parents I knew, but I took the risk because if I didn’t cool my chubby body off enough to keep moving, my child my overheat and get Dangue Fever and starve to death.  

Whew.

Ever had a jaunt with baby that scared you to pieces?

A Comprehensive Pre-Pregnancy To-Do List

A pregnant woman

A pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pregnancy preparedness: Things you’ll want to do before you get knocked up – in no particular order.

1.  Start telling strangers in line at the grocery store and strangers you’re connected with on social media that you are pregnant and that you are  planning to formula feed.  Take notes when they give you loads of valuable advice about infant feeding.

2.  Stare at your naked self in the mirror and pinch the flabbiest part of your belly.  Sneer at it in disgust. Then, try to imagine that your flabby belly will never again be this toned.  Pat your (soon to be thought of as toned) flab and tell it you’ll miss it.

3.  Google childbirth worst-case scenarios.  Develop extreme anxiety.  PANIC.

4.  Stock up on your favorite seasonal treats, since you don’t know what will be available when you crave it most.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT eat your Thin Mints.  You will need them later.  TRUST ME. Scavange boxes from your friends and family if you can.

5.  Drink copious amounts of vino.  You’re really gonna miss this stuff.

6.  Attend a natural childbirthing class and ask questions like, “What is the herbal equivalent to an epidural?” and, “How many six packs do I need to drink to help my milk come in?”

7.  Keep a box of tissues in your purse at all times.  When you want to be pregnant, everyone else around you will become pregnant. Teenagers, nuns, your eccentric uncle.  EVERYONE.

8.  Go to yoga.  You’ll need the core strength to sustain a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and recovery.  You’ll need the breathing exercises to offset the breast-feeding advice, childbirth horror stories and immaculate conceptions going on all around you.

9.  Kegels.  Yes, you need to do them.  Start ’em now.  Do them in the car, do them at work, do them when you empty the dishwasher. You’d better get used to multi-tasking.

10.  Drink more wine.  Relish it.

11.  Research baby products and read each and every review.  Buy fifteen books reviewing the products and then buy three more books reviewing the reviews. Create an elaborate wish list.  Go register for products and get so annoyed with the process that you just scan the first two items on each shelf. (*Note – those choices will work out just fine).  Pass along books along to the nearest pregnant sap.

12.  Sex it up.  If you’re struggling with conception, sex will quickly turn into a chore you have to complete in between laundry and online banking.  Once you get pregnant, your husband will worry about poking the baby.  Right after having the baby, you’ll worry about breaking your pelvis.  When the baby is older, you’ll both choose sleep over sex.  It’ll be a couple years before you’re both in the mood (and that’s when you’ll start trying for your next baby).

13.  Read up on the importance of infant schedules and sleep training.  Try to do 100 pull ups, walk across hot coals, and hold your breath for 4 minutes under water.  These three tasks will better prepare you for the inevitable realization that carefully planned schedules and techniques won’t work out for you in any way, shape or form.

14.  Start slathering on the cocoa butter.  If it doesn’t prevent stretch marks, it’ll at least smell like coconuts and make you think of the beach.  Once you’re pregnant, keep using it but know that you’ll feel less like a Hawaiian Tropics girl and more like a beached whale.

15.  Start spending time with other people’s kids.  Their whining, incessant chatter, tantrum throwing and disgusting drooling will prepare you for what is to come.  Let me remind you that evolution has programmed us to love our own so much more than our neighbor’s.  Don’t be afraid, your own will be amazing.  A science refresher is always valuable.

16.  Relax.  Because we all know that unlike ovulation, balanced hormones or healthy uterine linings, this is the true key to conceiving.

Any other advice for those who want to be parents?

Call Me a Fanfaron This Week

Ok, I’m going to be a little boasty, braggy, hippity hoppity.  I can’t help it, I just might explode – this week has been sort of amazing.  I have had a lot of horribly dark weeks, and this one is shiny and bright and remarkably different than those.

FRIDAY: I am starting a support program for students on the Autism Spectrum at the high school I work in – we will be piloting it, starting in September.  A local news channel  interviewed me last week, along with a parent and student in the program, and ran a segment about the program on the 5 o’clock news.  Bonus: My excessive facial hair was not overly noticable, even with the high def cameras.

SATURDAY:   A record number of views today on my Accidental Marathoner post made my day!  I also got a piece of “fan mail” in the form of a message on my fb page from someone who had enjoyed the post.  The message said this:

Congratulations on your achievement! Besides it being your own personal achievement, you’ve inspired countless others you’ll never know. This is … a great thing in light of ALL the events of the past week. 4 of my children will run in the Illinois Marathon this coming Saturday (the first for all of them!). I shared your Accidental Marathoner blog with them….truly inspiring, very much the truth, they agreed. I just wanted you to know that what you write makes a difference.

Um, can you say BEST EMAIL EVER?!

SUNDAY:  I ran my first marathon.  Despite not running for two years before having my baby, and running the race 7 months post-baby (the point being: I did not feel NEARLY as strong as I think I should feel before running a marathon), I decided to just go for it. I had a great experience, and my time beautifully corresponded with the whole reason I ran the marathon in the first place.

MONDAY: Our news story aired a second time, on the local news channel’s morning program.  I could also walk down the stairs pretty comfortably – something I was not anticipating after the 26.37 miler the day before.

TUESDAY:  Baby Grouch got her 2nd tooth.  I know I had nothing to do with this, but I sort of feel like I do because I MADE HER (Double bonus:  I MADE A BABY –  still pretty excited about that).

WEDNESDAY:  I thought Saturday went well, but today I was completely overwhelemed with the number of views, replies and comments on my post in honor of Infertility Awareness Week.  This far surpassed my previous record on Saturday of most views on a post.  I had a lot of people share the Top 10 list, and there were so many women who said that this hit the nail on the head, that it said what they felt, but were often too afraid to say.  It is sort of amazing when you realize you aren’t alone, and there are so many others who understand you.

THURSDAY:  I dropped the cap to my water bottle, but then immediately caught it ON MY SHIN before it hit the floor and I lifted my leg up to return said cap to my hand.  Clumsy and yet SO coordinated at the same time.

And ALSO, I got my first piece of hate mail!  It was very exciting and occurred in the form of another blogger posting about how my Infertility Awareness Post pissed her off. HAH!  She didn’t actually point out much that she didn’t like about it, other than a) my agressive tone (absolutely guilty as charged, that was the idea) and b) when I said infertiles didn’t want to hear pregnant people complaining about their whaleish pregnant bodies.  Her huffiness made more sense when I noticed she had JUST written a post about how horribly whaleish she’s feeling because she’s got a big pregnant body (I’m paraphrasing here).  I get it.  Other side of the coin and all that.  I’m not offended that she got offended.  Plus, the fact that she hated it helped me raise awareness even more, so I thank her for helping me accomplish my goal.

Perhaps I was linked into her post an effort to draw more readers to her blog.  If that’s the case, I guess the joke’s on her, because I’m really a half-assed blogger and I don’t have that many readers! She must think I care deeply about my readership numbers since she felt the need to point out to me that she wouldn’t have bothered complaining about my post publically if she had noticed ahead of time that I wasn’t a “big time blogger”.

FRIDAY:  A few months ago I entered my infertility story (the nice one, not the bitchy one) into a writing contest.  And guess what? I won a $400 prize package –  money towards a vacation destination and also money towards future services at the fertility center that hosted the contest.  Maybe enjoying a free weekend away will make my husband less annoyed that my face is constantly shoved into my computer keyboard.

I also utilized the word “fanfaron” which came in my word-a-day email this week.  I never remember to practice those words.

Ok, I’m done.  I’ll be humble again, now that I got that out.

For all you jealous types, don’t worry, I’m sure next week I’ll get rear ended, drop my cell phone in the toilet and my cat will pee all over the living room carpet.  Because, that’s how life works.

The Traveling Pants

So, 35 weeks into pregnancy, I’m feeling…..good.  Incredibly whaleish and crickity creakity (my sacroiliac joint, within my pelvis, and I are not on speaking terms) and heartburny… but still, good.  All the discomforts are to be expected and are overall completely bearable and worth it.  Without question.

Pregnancy viking, so far, I remain.

I have been lucky enough to be at my most-pregnant during the summer months.  Ok, there are definitely downsides to turning more and more into an aquatic mammal throughout the summer –  fingers and ankles can easily turn to sausages, the heat can prevent getting a good night’s rest (I’ve been sleeping with cold packs on my side, and often moving to the first floor or basement after waking up, baking, in the middle of the night).  But the pros, overall, outweigh the cons.  I’m a teacher, so since it is summer vacation, I’ve had the luxury of time – which is good because since I’m considered a “high risk” pregnancy, I’ve had two doctor appointments each week – and it sure is wonderful to not have to use up precious sick days or have to take unpaid work days so I can make them.

(Sidebar – my ultrasounds and non-stress tests have confirmed that this baby is VERY active – a “wild woman” she was called by one nurse, she has had hair on her head for a few weeks already, she often sucks on her fingers, usually has her ankles crossed like a little lady, and she most likely has my husband’s Greek toes (middle toe longer than her big toe) – these doctor appointments are so much more fun than the usual ones 😉 )

Another benefit of being pregnant on my summer off is that I  do not have to worry too much about dressing up for work during the summer – and can thus wear the same few tank tops, dresses and skirts the entire three months, saving me a lot on maternity clothes.  The only thing I’m willing to spend whatever amount of money on is maternity underwear.  There is seriously no greater invention – it is worth every penny.  EVERY PENNY, I tell you!  They make me happy just thinking about them and their stretchy comfortableness.

Any-hoo, speaking of maternity wear, I have to give props to a special pair of Silver brand jeans.  I purchased said jeans around the year 2000 or so, and wore them quite a bit, and then they ended up shoved in the back of my closet for a few years, forgotten.  I rediscovered them when we moved into our new house a couple of years ago.  The jeans a) still fit, and b) remained relatively in style.  Damn good purchase.  Well, little did I know that this was the purchase that just keeps on giving.  These pants have continued to fit, as I have grown, and grown…and grown.

I tried wearing one of my other favorite pairs of jeans a tad too long, with a belly band, and ended up ripping a hole on the inside of one of the thighs (aka my maternal fat stores).  Other pants either cannot be put on anymore, or must be completely unzipped, and still result in extreme discomfort, particularly when sitting.  But the Silvers?   They are like the mystical traveling pants (you know, the ones from the movie, that an entire group of female friends, who all were different shapes and sizes of lovely woman-ness, were able to wear comfortably).  These pants continue to stretch and conform to my changing body, with nothing but a simple hair-tie to hold the button at the top in place.

Pregnancy is amazing and mysterious and wonderful, and so are these damn pants.