Saturday, July 9, 2016

Keeping it Real

Look, friends. This is not a place for posturing. This is not a place where I pretend to Have It All Together.

So, in case you are also feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Stuff in your life, I'd like to share one single picture that demonstrates the current state of our living room.

This is the result of several weeks of traveling on the weekends. Of a summer that has so far been well-lived, full of fun and activity and travel. And also of the exhaustion that comes with a growing belly and traveling and working full time. It's been busy, and it's been fun, and this weekend is the first in a long time that we're actually home to work on what I've dubbed Mission: Reclaim The House.

This is just the entry/living room. The dining room, den, and nursery-to-be look quite the same. There's much work to do. And there are only so many weekends in which to do it. But right now, at the time of this writing, at this particular moment, I'm feeling hopeful and full of the possibility that we will Accomplish Great Housekeeping Things this weekend.

I'll update on Sunday night - hopefully the promise of a new blog post will keep me motivated. If I know I'm hoping to show off a job well done, maybe I'll find some energy reserves to do the job! 

Wish us luck.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Garden. 2016.

In the midst of grief and pregnancy, we found time to plant this year's backyard vegetable garden. It's a little bit healing and a little bit exhausting, but overall, it's a nice tradition to carry on, and we're starting to reap the benefits of what we (literally) sowed already. 

I wasn't allowed to do much actual planting this year (pregnant women aren't supposed to dig in dirt, apparently, something to do with possible cat poop. which, definitely possible in our neighborhood), but I did get to project manage and photograph the day's events :)

Dina wields the mighty shovel
Aww babby got me a birthday cake!
Will plans marigolds. Good for bugs.
Team Seeds In Planter Box!
Jack built a fire
Sonja gracefully mulches the garden.
Snow peas and tomatoes and basil and more!
Teeny turnip seedlings starting to sprout!

This year, we planted:
Turnips - Carrots - Beets - Marigolds - Basil - 5 Tomatoes - Padrons - Jalapenos - 2 other Peppers - Purple Beans - Green Beans - Baby Bok Choy - Rainbow Chard - Arugula - Blueberries

And, ta-da, a recent harvest!
Lemons, blueberries, snow peas, arugula, rainbow chard

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What I Thought I Knew About Pregnancy: Part 2

A while back, you fine folks were treated to a sampling of my humble pregnancy pie. That is, the things I thought I knew about pregnancy. Well, it's time for round two.

As always, if you're someone who does not want to know the TMI of pregnancy (mine in particular), maybe skip this one. I've included a handy page break for easy skipping if this isn't your bag. I'm writing about it on the internet because I like normalizing something that should be normalized. Let's not be ashamed to speak candidly about the wacky and awesome things that our bodies do.

Welcome to "What I thought I knew about pregnancy: part 2" - aka "Jesus Christ, there's more?!"

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Things That Are Currently Making Me Cry: Pregnancy Hormones Edition!

The author, after her third emotional breakdown
in roughly 12 hours. What is this mess?

All-night leg cramps

Indecisiveness about whether to hire a doula

The house being a mess

Being tired

Watching newborn babies being placed on mom's chest in childbirth class videos

Not having packed for a long weekend trip I leave on tomorrow

A friend reassuring me that she would come up for the birth I needed her

Not being in control of my emotions

Putting on underwear and pants

Worrying that my emotional roller coaster is a sign that I'm going to have PPD

Being tired

Failing to convince myself not to feel bad about waking up my husband when I flip over in bed for the millionth time

Not being happy about feeling the baby move because I just want to sleep

Seeing the sun come up

Feeling unprepared for a baby to come out of my vagina

Really nice people on the internet (ToastieSlack, I'm looking at you!)

Having 1700 pillow formations and none of them being comfortable

Recognizing that I often get anxious/emotional in these types of new/change situations but it still feeling totally new and overwhelming because HORMONES

Leg cramps

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Unknowable

About a month ago, my dad passed away. It took me two weeks to start writing this, and another two weeks to feel like I could come back to finish, but the one-month anniversary of his death feels like as fitting a time as any to come to terms with the feelings I've mostly been pushing aside in the hustle of returning to work and life and pregnancy and trying to forget and not forget at the same time. His death was sudden, and unexpected, though he had been in recovery from major cancer-related surgery. To summarize: everything was going relatively ok, he was stable, and looking at a long and slow recovery. But a recovery was in the cards. And then he crashed. His body couldn't sustain the trauma of the multiple surgeries he'd been through (there were a few surgeries following an infection that came on suddenly more than three weeks after the first surgery), and at around 3:30am on April 21, he was gone. The doctors said it likely took less than 15 seconds for him to pass, and that he didn't feel anything, as he'd been sedated and on a lot of pain medicine for over a week. It was less than 15 minutes between when they called my mom to tell her they were trying to resuscitate him and when he passed, moments before she got to the hospital. It's been a really tough road since then.

My sister said it very well this week:
4 weeks today and everything still feels wrong and fake and like this is someone else's life and from what I've been told it will feel like this for a long time. 
We're getting through each day one at a time and all that, but it's still sort of incomprehensible, and the grief comes in waves. The remembering comes in waves. The realization that this wasn't just some thing we were practicing for, some scene in someone else's life, comes in waves. And each time it's a shock.

I don't want this to just be a post about grief, though I know that the overwhelming permanence of it all is normal, and all ways of processing are normal, and of course it's my right to write an entire essay on how this just doesn't fucking seem normal and I find myself just unintentionally believing it's not true. That it's not real, that in a few weeks he'll come back from wherever he's been and we'll tell him the stories of how we rehearsed our emotions and how much work we did and he'll be proud of us for trying so hard and loving him so much. I try to teach myself that this isn't some fire drill, and that it's real and true and forever, but I don't really know how to teach myself, and if I'm being honest, I don't really want to. I hope that someday I'll come to terms with it and not just cycle through not believing and then realizing my mistake over and over again.


As far as I'm concerned, nobody knows for sure what happens after we die. There are theories, and there are strong convictions, but I'm not convinced of any certainty here. It's the unknowable.

In the days and hours before my grandma passed about ten years ago, she had moments of (morphine-heavy) lucidity where she talked about how her long-since departed sister and husband were waiting for her. She was ready to join them, and they were ready to take her. Where, I'm not sure. She mentioned something about them waiting under the trees, so I've always pictured a dreamy forest, dappled with near-dusk sunlight and that sort of misty fog you see in dream sequences in movies. It was comforting for me to think that maybe that was a possibility -- even if it's just the drugs, or the way brain synapses fire when you're about to pass on. That there was a chance that death is a welcoming, warm embrace from your loved ones and not just a light switch turning off.

My dad and I often talked about the insanity of certainty in the face of the universe's expanse. How absolutely ludicrous it is that the universe just keeps going. That outer space just keeps expanding. Into what? Where is the edge? And what's on the other side of the edge? Obviously, it's something that is conceptually just too great for our minds to conceive. We'd look up at the stars, realizing that what we see is already gone, that what our brains could understand was barely the beginning. I like to think that he knows now, or that he's learning now. That there's some secret unlocking of the mysteries after you've passed (to where?). We agreed that it was impossible to know, and silly to feign assuredness.

But even if I imagine my dad hanging out with the philosophers and Bowie and Prince and his beloved dog Charlie, and having a never ending view of the stars, learning about life's mysteries, I still miss him. I think about going to Yosemite to scatter his ashes next month, and I wonder if I'll ever be able to visit my favorite park with a full heart again. I wonder if he can really talk to my unborn daughter through some silent cosmic portal. I wonder if these moments of breathless emotional floods will become less frequent, and less intense, if the moments of levity will become the new normal. I wonder if I'll be able to have a normal life, and how guilty I'll feel if I "move on" - even though I know that's what he'd want.

It's impossible to believe that he's just gone, and not a phone call or a short flight away in LA. Even when I picture his body laying peacefully at the mortuary, it's hard to reconcile. I still remember the last week we spent together when he was recovering from surgery and wish I could go back to our mutually-pained walks up the stairs and to the end of the block. When we fell asleep on the couch watching nature shows and tried to come up with foods that didn't sound nauseating. It was such a weird time to spend together, and of course I'm grateful that I had the chance to spend so much concentrated time with him, not knowing it would be the last time. But I'm still fucking pissed that it was the last time. It shouldn't have been the last time. And I say these words, and I feel these feelings, and even still it doesn't seem possible.

I was unable to speak at his memorial, an amazing music festival of a tribute full of family and friends and light and music and food. I was unable to speak because it's easy for me to turn into an emotional wreck in normal life, and I knew that with that and the pregnancy hormones, I'd just fall apart (I was right). I was unable to speak, but I had the cantor read something I wrote, that you can read here if you want to. I still have a hard time speaking about my dad being gone. It's easy to relay the facts, with a sort of "yeah, it was and is incredibly shitty" shrug. It's nearly impossible to talk about how I feel without breaking down, and it's unthinkable to talk about the rest of my life devoid of the dad I loved, and will always love, so deeply.

It's been a month, and it's still tremendously difficult. I hear it will slowly get better, and that I'll even be ok with it getting better. That it won't feel like ignoring or forgetting, but healing. I don't quite buy it yet, but perhaps that's yet another mystery of the universe that I'll understand when I get there.

I love you, dad.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

What I thought I knew about pregnancy

I'll admit, I was a little cocky about pregnancy. I know a lot of pregnant women and moms. I've done a ton of research. I've read the blogs. I've thought about pregnancy pretty much since I was a kid. I was pretty sure I would rock this thing with minimal surprises.

And while I have generally known what to expect, the symptoms and experiences have been a little different than what I thought they'd be. If you're someone who, like me, thought you knew what you were in for, maybe this post will resonate with you. If you're someone who does not want to know the TMI of pregnancy (mine in particular), maybe skip this one. I've included a handy page break for easy skipping if this isn't your bag. I'm writing about it on the internet because I like normalizing something that should be normalized. Let's not be ashamed to speak candidly about the wacky and awesome things that our bodies do.

Welcome to "What I thought I knew about pregnancy" - aka "TMI: All the stuff going on with my body".

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Quickening

I was worried I wouldn't feel anything, or that I wouldn't recognize it when I did. I hit the 16 week mark on Monday, the point at which "sometime, over the next few weeks" I might start to feel a lil fetus moving around in my uterus.

I kept thinking I was feeling something.

But this morning, it actually did feel different. I know, I know they always say "oh, you'll know." But I was skeptical! I didn't know what I didn't know! I figured it would just feel like gas, but a little different.

It feels like...pop rocks, on the left side of my belly. Or like bubbles (ugh, just like they said it would). I don't know about a goldfish, but my friend described it as being "like the wingbeat of a butterfly but like if you swallowed it and now it's in your abdominal cavity", which is very accurate.

It happened this morning for about 5 seconds, and then this afternoon for a full couple of minutes. And it was totally trippy.

Bring it on, 2nd trimester! Bring. It. On.

And is it just me or does The Quickening sound like the name of a horror movie?