Monday, January 4, 2021

Oh hi, we're in a new year.

I suppose I should recognize the passage of time, and the fact that we've crossed the artificial border between Last Year and This Year, but frankly it all feels sort of nebulously fake still, so, well, I've been unmotivated. We are still quarantining with my in-laws, and closing in on 6 months of basically being housebound. Weekly trips to Target for driveup/curbside pickup, the occasional walk through the neighborhood or to a playground or park (if we get lucky and there's no one there), and, well, that's about it. I should get outside more, but it's cold and rainy and I am a weak Californian unaccustomed to the Pacific Northwest and its constant cold dampness. Sure, walks in the rain are fun. I remember enjoying that in college, in particular, for some reason. The novelty, maybe, given that Los Angeles isn't exactly prone to rainstorms. But the persistent dark, cold, wet weather is a little hard for me in terms of activating. I find myself staying in bed longer in the mornings (thank you thank you grandparents and beloved husband for taking the kids for that first hour or two) and generally dragging my feet when it comes to exercise or even just going outside. I should get better at that, but...well, ok. Maybe not. 

Anyway, I do have some fun and exciting things brewing in this new year, and I am trying to keep my resolutions simple and achievable, but motivational. Intentions that will serve me as we enter another uncertain year.

1. Shoot my shot. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and all that, right? This year, I'm committing to asking for what I want, putting myself out there, and just going for it. Too much is at stake for me to worry whether I'm ready or good enough, and I'm done messing around with imposter syndrome. 

2. Recharge. I need to put this in writing so that I commit to it, and make the time for myself to recharge. Ideally every night, but at least a couple times a week. Reading a book, taking a walk alone, taking a long shower...I need to do something regularly that fills my cup, that doesn't involve being touched by my children or doing things for other people at all. 

That's it. I want to take bold chances and do things that are restorative. Wish me luck.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Surprise, it's a birth story!

Oh hi. It's been almost a month since my last post, where I mentioned that I had planned to sign on to write Wes' birth story, but instead accidentally deleted the many, many words I'd typed over the course of several months' worth of tiny moments to write. Sigh. I guess I've finally come to terms with deleting that post, and feel ready to re-write some version of the tale. And today yesterday (took me a few hours to write this and now it's tomorrow), Wes is 6 months old, so it felt like a good time to get this story out of me already. Margie and I made him half a cake today (well, really a whole cake, but I cut the layers in half, and it's a 4-layer "half cake"), and gave him one tiny lick of frosting. He has two teeth, has mastered rolling in one direction, is doing okay with bedtime sleep training, LOVES eating baby food and teething crackers, and has a smile that lights up his whole face. His sister makes him laugh a lot. He thinks I'm hilarious, too. We've been staying with my in-laws for the last couple of months because of covid and needing childcare help, and while I am incredibly grateful for their hospitality, care, and companionship, it's heartbreaking that my family hasn't met this guy yet. He's good with FaceTime, but it's obviously not enough, and I'm hopeful we can make it work to see them soon, because wow does it make me sad to be so far from them as this guy just keeps growing. He is usually a bundle of smiles and happiness, though right now he's crying because he woke up and I haven't gone in to nurse him (sleep training).

But I digress. This was supposed to be a birth story. I don't really have it in me to do the super detailed paragraphs of prose, but I'll tell the story. It will probably end up being long.

My last month of pregnancy was the first month of shelter-in-place. To say it was weird is an understatement. Margie home from preschool, Will working from home, me trying to figure out if I was going to go into labor or get induced (gestational diabetes, yay), and our families not knowing how and when and if they would be able to come visit. We all assumed this would last a few weeks or a few months, tops. Sigh.

We eventually landed on our beloved nanny quarantining for two weeks and then coming to stay with Margie the day I was scheduled to be induced (one day before my due date), which was honestly wonderful from a planning perspective. We were able to be relaxed and calm about the whole going to the hospital experience, which was great for Margie. We had a day at home all together, hanging out and packing our bags and waiting for our time to go. I'm so grateful that we got to do that, instead of being home when I went into labor, hurried and stressed and in pain. 

When we arrived at the hospital, around 3pm, we were delighted to run into Nurse Kate (from Margie's birth) in the parking lot. We were giddy with anticipation and the joy of seeing a friendly face, and she escorted us into the building (we were all masked but social distancing wasn't really a thing yet). We were taken to the delivery room quickly, since they were expecting us, and settled in for the day. They started me off with a dose of misoprostol and fentanyl (wow, fentanyl is the good stuff. I can see why it's addictive and nobody should be allowed to self-administer it. wow.), but nothing really started happening. I was feeling chipper, and excited that Kate and our other friend Bry were both working (we had definitely tried to plan for this, but there was no guarantee). They weren't assigned to us, but it wasn't too busy so they were able to come and hang out, and our other nurses were delightful as well. It felt like a big clubhouse of women, coming together to socialize and get a baby born, and I definitely felt a sort of high just from being in a room of friends, laughing and talking, as if we weren't in the early stages of a pandemic. 

After several hours, and another round of miso+fentanyl, we amped it up to a foley balloon and catheter. Now, originally we had considered a plan that would have me getting the foley and going home for 12 hours to begin labor at home before returning...I am very glad we did not do that plan. I can't imagine waddling around the house with a balloon in my cervix and a catheter taped to my thigh, Margie hanging all over me, as I went into labor without medication. No thanks. The balloon did its thing, but eventually we moved on to pitocin and an epidural. The pitocin moved things along, albeit slowly; I had gone from zero to 5cm over the course of about 24 hours, and it was time to make things happen. 

At about 3pm or so, on April 14 (my due date), someone manually broke my water, and labor picked up. Within the hour, I was at 7cm, but then it became harder to get the baby's heartbeat on the monitor. The doctor checked me (still at 7cm), and suggested we place an internal monitor and have me move onto all fours for better tracking positioning. The nurse started to place the monitor, and was going to have me switch to all fours, when the doctor decided to check me one last time before leaving. It had only been about 90 seconds, but suddenly I was at 10cm and ready to push! Apparently the reason they were having trouble getting a heartbeat was that Wes was in the birth canal trying to be born. 

After only two rounds of pushing, Wes was born. It took less than 10 minutes (barely more than 5 minutes, really - they call it "two pushes" but technically it's like, 6 pushes, 3 at a time?) and when they pulled him out and handed him to me, I couldn't believe it. One minute I was pushing and they were exclaiming that they could see his head, and the next, I was being given a baby. I remember thinking, "what?! already?! I'm done pushing (possibly forever? since this is likely our last baby? I'll never push again? that was it?) and somehow being disappointed that it had happened so quickly (after 24 hours in the hospital, but still). It was super smooth, with no tearing, and as Margie had encouragingly requested, "fast as a shooting star." 4/14/20 at 4:59pm. 

I delivered the placenta without much fanfare, and we have a nice video of the placenta coming out and the doctor explaining all the parts of it (we did the same when Margie was born, though we didn't capture the actual delivery that time), and it's pretty neat to see that now. I nursed Wes just a little, and he latched easily, though I'm not sure he was getting much at that point. Eventually, the epidural had worn off and the nurse said it was time to see if I could get to the bathroom on my own. I had no trouble walking the few feet to the toilet, but once I sat down I instantly got very dizzy. I mentioned this to her, and she asked if I thought I would pass out, and I remember thinking, "no, of course not oh yes actually I am going to pass out this is what it feels like when you're going to pass out I guess" and she shoved an alcohol wipe under my nose to wake me up. She told me to try to stay with her, and moved me back into the wheelchair, since I could not walk to the bed. I felt ok after a minute, but when she asked if I could stand up and get back in the bed, I think I may have laughed. At the very least, I said no way.

Somehow they got me back into the bed, and that's when the fun really started. I was still dizzy, and had to lay down with my eyes closed. I was cold, but feverish. Started getting uncontrollable shakes. They started in on my fundal massage, and I was just splooging clots out...apparently some very large ones. Will reports that they were golf-ball-sized. The nurses and doctor seemed concerned, and tried a few different things to stop the hemorrhaging. I don't remember what they all were because I was pretty out of it; I remember asking for blankets, mostly. I don't remember feeling stressed out or scared. They had hooked my epidural back up, I think. Or maybe given me fentanyl. It was 6 months ago and my memory is pretty blurry. And the post-visit summaries are...long and kind of hard to read. But I know that they tried a few things before eventually resorting to the ole "doctor sticks her hand up into your uterus and literally scrapes out the remaining blood clots with her hand" trick (I couldn't feel a thing), which worked. The whole thing probably lasted about 10-15 minutes. Will remembers that suddenly there were a bunch of people in the room when I came out of the bathroom and was put back in bed, and then just as suddenly, when the bleeding had slowed enough, they all left. That whole time, he had Wes and had given him a bottle (baby's first formula!) and really just was a champ taking care of Wes even though I know he was stressed out.

I spent the next several hours laying in bed hooked up to a variety of IVs that I don't remember - except the big bag of iron, because that was, well, iron-colored. Once I had perked up a little, we started ordering copious amounts of delicious hospital food (seriously, the selection was great) and our friends did a socially-distant sidewalk dropoff of burgers and milkshakes. 

I wasn't feeling great, emotionally, and we had a great visit with a doctor who was able to prescribe me Zoloft to start in the hospital. I don't know if it's the pandemic, the second-kid, or what, but I am really grateful to have had that help. I recognized some of those "first 3 weeks" hormonal rollercoaster feelings that I had had with Margie, and I thought that since I was already feeling them in the hospital, and I knew we were going home to zero extra support and help in person (thanks, covid), it was better to address it head on. I remain really grateful for modern medicine and my personal (privileged) education and destigmatization of mental health. 

Anyway, Wes was a happy, sleepy baby in the hospital, and really remained a great lil sleeper for the first several months (he's still pretty good, just going through a bit of 6-month old "oh I can get snuggles instead of sleeping alone? I'll take that, please!" at the moment). Bright eyed and bushy tailed and just a very mellow lil dude. We love him very much. 

Margie is a loving big sister, and is starting to enjoy interacting with him (though she still does not like how drooly he is, and has decided that his middle name should be Goo-ball) (he still doesn't have a middle name; we have not agreed on one yet, nor have we found the time to discuss it at enough length). It's wild to see them together. Sometimes I can't believe we have two kids. I can't believe Margie is four. I can't believe Wes is 6 months old. I can't believe it's October. Every day is still a bit of a blur, and time stretches on and shrinks down predictably (it's "the longest shortest time", after all). But I'm grateful for our little family, and our health, and that in general, we have two happy and well-adjusted (adjusting, I suppose) kids. 

We're doing our best to give them a full and joyful life amidst the awfulness of covid and racial injustice and the general political shitstorm that is our country right now. Every day is a new chance to try again, and every night is another opportunity to stay up way too late, carving out tiny moments of quiet time to myself. It's a bizarre time to have a new baby. I miss my family, and our friends, and home. I grieve the maternity and newborn experience I wanted to have and will never have again. I am exhausted and sad and grinding my teeth constantly even though I try to stop. I often have two children touching my body, and rarely have more than 5 minutes to myself in any given day (hence the staying up way too late). I smell like maple syrup from the fenugreek supplements I take to increase my milk supply.

But we keep moving forward, and making the best choices we can with the information we have, day by day. And here we are.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Conversations with my preschooler: God

Before I begin, I want to acknowledge that today I was going to post Wes' birth story. Yep, we had that baby. He was born in April, right in the early days of the pandemic, and I spent 2.5 months typing up the whole thing in way too much detail. I typed in the little scraps of time I had when my brain and fingers were both available, here and there, in stolen moments. For two. and. a. half. months. And tonight, somehow, I accidentally deleted the whole thing. I don't know how. But that's why his birth story isn't up yet. He's 5 months old. I'll start over and I'll write and publish it, hopefully soon, but it's going to take me a minute to sit with the loss of that piece I'd written before I'm ready to rewrite it.

However, I would like to share (for those of you not following me on Twitter), an enlightening conversation I had with Margie today. She just turned four, and we have some really interesting chats these days. I tweeted it, and you can view the original thread here if you like.
This morning, my 4yo wanted to talk about Passover (because it’s Rosh Hashanah, so she’s thinking about Jewish holidays, I suppose). And she LOVES the Passover story. She has such a greater understanding and more interesting questions than she did last Passover, only 5mo ago.

For example, she wanted to know HOW Moses talked to god if he couldn’t see him. And where is god and who is god, etc. The classic intro to religion stuff. We are not a religious family, and I believe in choice, so I told her that everyone can believe different things.

I explained that Moses could hear what he believed was god’s voice. “Like Elsa can hear the spirits!” Exactly. And that we don’t know for sure where god lives, but some people believe he lives up in the clouds. “Like Mary Poppins!” Yup.

And that some people believe that god isn’t real, and that the world can be explained with science. And some people believe there are many gods. Some believe god is a man, some believe god is a woman. And some people believe in a combination of things.

She was thoughtful for a while and said, “well I believe that god is real and lives in the clouds like Mary Poppins, but I ALSO believe that god is pretend because I never seen him before. I think he is real AND pretend.” My little skeptic.

She asked what I believe, and I was honest. I don’t believe there is a god living up in the clouds, but I do believe there are magical mysteries in the universe that we don’t always understand with science. And that I am ok with just not knowing the answer.

I asked what she thinks god looks like, what she was imagining when she is thinking about him right now. She thought for a minute and said, “I think god is blue, like a will o the wisp, because they are spirits and god is a spirit.” Logic checks out!

She also thinks that Moses looked like Elsa because he could hear a spirit too. I think she’s a little freaked about the idea of god, like she is with Santa. Interested in learning and talking but doesn’t want him coming anywhere near her. It’s fun to have these conversations!

She is so thoughtful and creative, I love hearing how her brain is turning these things over and mixing them up and around with the Disney stories she loves so much. We talked about the Passover story again. She likes hearing about the matzah and Pharaoh and the plagues.

She was curious about the death of the firstborn (I don’t think we’d talked about that one before but I figured she could handle it now). “Why Pharaoh didn’t want to die though? Everybody dies.” I said he didn’t want to die just yet, he has a lot of living he wanted to do still.

She also likes the part about the Red Sea, where the water splits apart so the Jewish people can walk across the bottom (“like Moana when she gives the heart back to Te’Fiti!”). We talked about traditions (“like Anna and Elsa in Olaf’s Frozen Adventure!”) and prayers.

We talked about how singing the prayers is a way to remember the traditions and say thanks, even if we don’t believe we are actually talking to god. And that it’s ok for people to believe different things about god.

“But people think that god lives up in the clouds?! That is ridiculous! That’s where MARY POPPINS lives hahahahaha!!!!” She’s still not sure what she believes. She’s 4. But we talked about not laughing at people who believe something that we don’t.

And I love that she believes that god is “both real and pretend” - that is such classic 4 year old logic and I just love it. It’s like how her dolls and stuffies and puppets are somewhere between real and pretend. Make believe at this age is so wonderful.

It’s fun to be able to share stories from the Torah, talk about the holidays, tell traditional tales of our ancestors, with this hybrid context that she innately understands. That some of it is real and some of it is pretend and it’s ok if that line is a bit fuzzy.

Now she wants to watch the Rugrats Passover special and talk about god some more. Sounds like as good a way as any to spend the morning of the new year. The apple cake I made (@smittenkitchen recipe) should go nicely with it.

Anyway, Shana Tova. Happy new year. May the memories of those we’ve loved and lost be blessings, and may we channel the strength of our ancestors to build a better future for our children.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Breaking my heart

The last week has been rough. Margie knows that baby brother is coming soon, and naptime and bedtime (and really any time she can't be glued to my side, except when she's watching Daniel Tiger) have become rough. They're not even battles -- she's not fighting so much as collapsing. She doesn't want to be alone. Her stuffies don't count because they're not "real persons". Choice quotes from this week:

"I only want to be with the girls." (me and her)
"I am so lonely when I am alone in my room."
"I don't want to sleep alone in my room because there are no real persons here with me."
"I'm just not sleepy enough to go to sleep."
"Mommy now, mommy later, I just want mommy all the time"
"But we can just have a sleepover here in my room, you don't have to put your laundry away."
"In my room I am lonely without a grown up real person."
"Mommy mommy mommy mommy mommy moooommmmmyyy"

And tonight, on the 3rd (4th? 5th?) time I walked her back to her room, we had a little chat, and it turns out she's worried about us being gone at the hospital. I mean, I know there are layers of recognition that she won't be the only kid, and that she will have to share me, and that Big Changes Are Coming. She professes to be excited about them; she told me the other day that she's worried that he'll pull her hair and that he will be mad when she does something without him, but when I asked if there's anything else she's worried about, she said, "No, I'm just excited to be a big sister." But I know that a very normal part of all this is her realizing that things are changing, our relationship among them.

Already, she knows there are things I can't do (give her a bath by myself, carry and throw her around, bend over to reach things on the floor), and I know that translates into her insecurity and worry. And she is simultaneously SO SO EXCITED for her Yaya (her former nanny) to come stay with her while we're at the hospital, and also - according to tonight's admission - feeling worried about us being gone. She asked me repeatedly if baby brother is coming tomorrow, and needed reassurance that we will not sneak out in the middle of the night and leave her alone.

As much as we really, really need her to sleep in her bed at least for the first few hours of the night, it's hard to chalk it up to willful disobedience or manipulation. I know these are real feelings she's going through, and especially with the lack of her normal routine of school and whatnot, things are all imbalanced. So much for that parenting advice to "keep their routine as normal as possible before and after the baby comes". We've been trying to keep a somewhat consistent routine, but it's hard while during the quarantine. I don't know what's going to happen when we bring this baby home, but it's definitely going to be hard.

At this point we're trying to make things as easy for her as possible. Trying not to let ourselves get manipulated too much, but also trying to do what's easiest and best for all of us. Trying to be gentle on the whole family with expected weirdness and in an unprecedentedly weird time. It feels like such a fine line between preparing your kid for big change and talking about it so much they get anxious. We felt like we were walking the line well, but she knows it's coming soon and now apparently at sleeping time it's all she can think about (you know, in addition to standard 3.5 year old bedtime procrastination).

Anyway. I'm due on Tuesday. Induction scheduled for Monday. This time next week, we'll be home with a baby and everything will be upside down in a new way. I'm sure we'll have all new sleep-refusals since she's already told us she wants to sleep with baby brother. But that's a problem for next-week-us. Tonight, we're wrapping up hour 2 of walking her back to her room every 5-10 minutes, reassuring her that we're not going anywhere and she's a big girl and we're proud of her for staying in her bed. Soon enough, we'll go to bed and bring her in with us and we'll all snuggle up for the night.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Learning at home

My kid is in preschool. I feel incredibly lucky to not be beholden to a homeschooling curriculum like so many of my friends who are trying desperately to continue their children's education while trapped at home (and also trying to work from home full time! it's madness!). With only about 1.5 weeks left to go of this pregnancy (and let's be real, even starting 3 weeks ago), I don't have the energy to make a color-coded daily schedule with school-like activities full of enriching preschool curriculum. I can barely keep track of the different types of Zoom calls and classes that are available for us to call into (and there are so many good ones!), much less like, keep to a schedule.

But I still want her to learn! 3.5 year olds are little sponges and they learn whether you have a curriculum or not - and Margie is a curious, talkative kid. I'm finding it really fun and satisfying to just make little mini-lessons out of whatever we're doing, following her lead and exploring things she asks about or wants to do anyway.

For example:

Watch Rogers and Hammerstein's 1965 TV broadcast of Cinderella 3 times back to back.
(available for free via Amazon Prime)
  • Music/Dance: What is a waltz? How does it sound? How are they dancing? Let's count 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3!
  • Psychology/Relationships: Why are the stepsisters mean? Do we think it's because their mommy is mean to them? What is jealousy? Why do people get married? How do the king and queen treat each other?
  • Science (Magic): How does the fairy godmother change Cinderella's pumpkin into a carriage? (magic!) Why does Cinderella leave at midnight? (magic!) Does anyone else have magic in this story? (ok there's not much science here)
  • Story structure: Notice how the Prince and Cinderella say "Thank you most kindly / You are most kindly welcome" many different times. This helps them realize they know each other!
  • Empathy/Social Cues: How are Cinderella and the Prince looking at each other? What do their faces look like? Why? How do the stepsisters look? Why do they make that face?
  • Why are the noodles soft now, but they were hard before? (we cooked them in water and they soaked up all the water and got soft!)
  • Why do we eat chicken/yogurt/tofu? (protein! makes your muscles strong!)
  • Why do we eat vegetables? (vitamins! carrots are good for your eyes!)
  • Why do we eat cheese? (calcium! it's good for your bones!)
  • Why do we eat cookies? (they taste good! they give us fun sugar energy to get things done! they're a special treat!)
  • See also: cooking, learning about different ingredients, etc. Not sure what the "lesson" is, but maybe it's just a lesson in how we make food?
Paying attention to our neighborhood (a great one if your kid is also into Daniel Tiger)
  • Who are the helpers in our neighborhood?
  • When you hear a fire truck, where do you think the firefighter is going?
  • What is a city councilperson ("someone who helps take care of the people in our neighborhood", according to me)?

I don't know. Other stuff. Lots of letters and sounds and drawing and dancing. It simultaneously feels like cheating (because we're not planning educational activities) and being awesome (because we're turning playtime into learning experiences). We're doing our best. She's having fun. This shit is hard.

Any fun tips or accidental lessons you've had? Share away!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Some days are harder.

Today was a hard day. We stayed up too late last night, which was fun and different in the moment, but regrettable in the morning, even though Margie slept in until 8am. And I've just been tired and kind of down all day.

My blood sugar was all over the place; I just couldn't seem to control it (not that I was trying super hard). This whole social distancing thing has been really rough on my ability to keep up with a normal eating schedule. Because of the gestational diabetes, I'm supposed to eat certain amounts of certain foods at certain times,'s just hard right now. Partly because what we have in the house is unusual and gets limited (for example, running out of eggs or fresh vegetables) and partly because like most people, all I want is comfort food (and bread, fruit, and chocolate are on the "eat in extremely limited portions" list). And partly because time feels like an illusion and it's hard to remember to keep myself fed with specific things. I want bagels and cake and macaroni and cheese, whenever I want them.

I think today is the first day I've felt truly stir crazy. By late afternoon, all I wanted to do was leave the house. Per doctor's orders, we're supposed to be treating ourselves as "high risk" until the baby is born, which means staying home (walks in the neighborhood are ok but we're all still getting over this cold and cough and haven't really felt up for it yet). I miss grocery shopping (we've been advised to have others shop for us for now). I made an Instacart order that was close to $350 worth of groceries - that's how much we need to restock the basics that make me feel culinary freedom - but canceled it because I want to support the workers who plan to strike tomorrow (when our order was to be filled). We're eating leftovers and getting creative with how we use up things we have on hand, and we're eating well, but it's not the same as being able to pop over to the store as needed, or to have a fridge filled with fresh produce that you picked yourself. We'll be taking advantage of a good friend's offer to shop for us, but it feels weird to hand off a list this large to a friend. And like I said, I miss grocery shopping. I enjoy the process and the control I feel when I've stocked the kitchen to my liking. We finally were able to get some takeout this week, but even though it was completely delicious, the process of transferring our food into our own containers and immediately disposing of the ones from the restaurant felt unnatural and strange. And it's all a lot of work. We're doing so much cooking and so many dishes and there's just so much to do when you're home 24/7 with a preschooler, even if neither parent is working. It's exhausting.

Today I just felt trapped in our house, which I know is partly attributable to the blood sugar up and downs, and partly due to the whole [waves hands] situation. And partly because Margie didn't nap today, so while I took a 1.5 hour nap (thank you, Will), things were off. And I am tired. At almost 38 weeks pregnant, I'm just tired all the time. I need to nap, I need to rest, which puts a lot of the parenting burden on Will. I am uncomfortable, but hoping this kid doesn't come too early. I want to be outside, but I also just want to lay in bed. I'm exhausted, but I can't sleep well. I'm hungry, but if I eat what I'm supposed to (and what I usually don't want), I'm not satisfied. I want to treasure this time when we're still just the 3 of us, and spend as much time as I can with Margie...but sometimes (usually) I just don't have the energy to match the kind of playing she wants to do. I find myself getting more frustrated, and more tired than I want to be. I'm not getting as much done around the house because I'm just so tired. I went out in the yard for 5 minutes to pick lemons and just breathe alone outside for a minute. It was both too much and not enough.

This is a hard time to be in, for everyone. Pregnancy is hard even in the best circumstances. Social distancing and isolation are hard even for introverts. And we are certainly not in the worst position, by any means, but today, I just needed to complain a bit. Here's hoping I can get some sleep tonight and let tomorrow be another day with a fresh start.

Friday, March 20, 2020

On being selfish, whatever that means right now

I fluctuate between feeling completely normal, enjoying the beautiful little moments where my kid conspiratorially tells me a story from Daniel Tiger ("he imagined he was in a cave with a real grizzly bear! and he said grrriffic! and the bear said bearrriffic! hahahahahaha!"). And the hard ones, where out of nowhere she talks about how she still wants to be a person when she's dead, she doesn't want to be a tree or something else, she wants us all to be persons so we can still be together and she can be a big sister still. I'm really trying to focus on enjoying this time together, just the three of us, which is truly a unique experience we were not supposed to get. So I'm to relish those "normal" moments and be glad for this time.

But then I also feel grief, a selfish sort or mourning for the maternity leave I thought I was going to have. I had so many self-care plans, for haircuts and foot massages and taking myself to the movies. For snuggling friends' newborns and walks around the neighborhood and getting things done around the house and having energy to enjoy my time with Margie before her brother comes along. I wasn't anticipating a week of quarantine in our house because Will may or may not have Coronavirus, to feel anxious and tired constantly, and to feel like every day was a day sadly lost to fear and unproductive hours rather than a day spent happily preparing for the baby and enjoying our family. I wasn't expecting the first week of my maternity leave to be like this.

If he has it, he has an extremely mild case so far. It's been about a week, and he has a super low fever, fatigue, and a cough. It could very well be a bad cold/mild flu. But in these times, you can't be too certain. The whole state is now under mandatory shelter in place rules, and if you're even suspected to have the virus, you're supposed to quarantine for 14 days. We're about halfway through that period, and really hoping things get better. Margie has a cough, but I have no symptoms outside of "holyshit I'm so pregnant and tired", so once he's better, we can get on some sort of schedule and get outside and start getting things done. But until then, we're basically locked inside our house (thank goodness we have a backyard), relying on friends for grocery deliveries, and trying to stay sane. Margie thinks we're staying home because she and Will are sick, and we're all (like everyone we know) on a special long spring break to stay healthy and take care of our bodies. We haven't figured anything to tell her beyond that, but with so much uncertainty, it didn't seem urgent to explain the concept of a global pandemic. I just don't want her to get a complex about being sick.

Some good tweets:

In addition to our families, we've had some wonderful friends checking in to see how we are doing. Offering to do Zoom playdates and grocery runs, and just to say hi. I so appreciate each one of those texts, and I've been feeling guilty and selfish that I'm not initiating more. I feel so self-centered right now, which is fairly normal in late pregnancy, but feels indulgent now. I just don't have the capacity to reach out and care for others, when I can barely care for myself and my family. But I appreciate every text and tweet and email, and I try to at least respond honestly and not superficially. Today my responses went from "doing ok, though Will is feeling sick" to "not so good!" so that's a start.

It was a weird day. Maybe tomorrow will be better.