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.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Unknown

Yesterday, we unpacked some more bags from our quick trip to Tahoe. We baked bread. Made stock and soup. Picked flowers in the garden. Did laundry.

Today, we unpacked some more. Ran the dishwasher twice. I cleaned the stove. Friends went grocery shopping for us, so now we have fresh produce. Read this article about how coronavirus may impact pregnancy and delivery. Found it alternately helpful and terrifying.

There's just so much uncertainty right now, that even the days that are full of fun and lightness and snuggles and giggles and up with me in tears at one point or another. We've been taking really nice family naps and dealing with the "I don't want to turn off Daniel Tiger" tantrums, and spending time together in a way that is honestly a blessing, given that these are our last weeks as a family of three.

I don't have much more to say about how things are going in week 1, though I had lots of coherent and thoughtful things to say earlier when I was washing dishes. Funny how those nicely worded smart things just dissipate by the end of the day.

I have a Non-Stress Test and Strep B swab appointment, as well as a phone appointment with my doctor, tomorrow. I was supposed to have an ultrasound to check both the size and position of the baby, but they postponed that until next week. Why? Will has what may just be a cold/sinus infection (stuffy head/face, sinus pressure), but may be coronavirus (super low fever, dry cough and fatigue), and since his doctor has him in the "person under investigation" category and I live with him, they consider me to be possibly be an asymptomatic carrier. And given that, they don't want me coming in for an appointment where I'd be in close quarters, "face to face" with an ultrasound tech for an hour (vs the NST where they'd gear up and put the monitors on me and leave me alone in the room). I can't get tested because the likelihood I have coronavirus is too low, and tests are being rationed carefully. I agree that they should save the tests for those who really need them, and I was feeling preemptively guilty at the idea that I might take a test away from someone who needs it more. But it's still hard not to know, to be assumed to be a risk to others until proven otherwise, but not able to prove otherwise.

It's disappointing, of course, because I was really looking forward to an ultrasound as reassurance, and to help inform any future planning for labor and delivery. But I also want to prioritize the health of the medical staff as much as possible, and since there's no reason to believe there's something wrong (baby is moving a lot, and as long as the NST goes well tomorrow, we assume all is fine), it's safer to play it safe.

The unknown, the constant reevaluating and planning and replanning and trying not to plan at's exhausting. But tomorrow is another day (I remind myself) and overall, the days have been going nicely. We're doing things, even if we're not doing all the things on my checklist. There will be time for that (I remind myself) when Will feels better. When Margie's not coughing so much she can't sleep well alone. We will get through the chores and the piles and the house will start to feel ready. Picking up baby gear from the storage will count as an essential errand (gotta have the carseat), and hopefully one of us will feel well enough to pick it up in the next week or so.

It's hard to stay hopeful, unless I'm just burying my head in the sand and pretending that this is all normal and fine, and I don't think too much about how long it will last or what will happen when the baby is ready to come. It's all ok living in the moment, but I'm a planner and we have some major changes coming. For now, I'll try to channel my inner Elsa (Margie would approve). This feels a bit too optimistic for my mood, but maybe it'll rub off on me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Weird times

It's been almost a year since I last posted. It's been a busy year, I guess, but frankly, I just haven't made time to blog. I've had ideas, but not inspiration. I've been meaning to write in a journal for the new baby (hi, oh yeah, I'm 36 weeks pregnant), and have completely failed. This pregnancy has been so different from the last one, from physical stuff (more and different aches and pains) to mental (so much more tired, so many feelings about how our lives will change). I haven't been documenting this pregnancy nearly as much or as often as the last one, and I feel like this poor kid is already getting the short end of the stick in terms of attention. And in these weird times, well, there's a new and added complication.

There is so much information flowing around, most of it terrifying, and I have to force myself to close Twitter and stop reading news frequently throughout the day. The uncertainty is what gets me. I do best when I have a plan, and it's impossible to make a plan right now - not a real one, anyway. It's hard for me to live one day at a time, especially when we're physically isolated from our friends, family, and local community. It's weird to imagine this going on for months or years, each of us isolated in our own homes with just our nuclear family units, afraid of and unable to help each other in person. We'll find a new way of living; we are already trying to start. Of course.

Today was our first day at home in this new world. We hightailed it up to a friend's house in Tahoe this weekend - postponing the inevitable, maybe. There was a big snowstorm expected, and we thought it would be good to get out of town for a few days, try out our new Subaru, and just kind of hide from Coronavirus for a little bit. It was beautiful and we are so so lucky to have had that option. But as of last night, we're home and getting ready to adjust to a new normal.

We're tired. Will wasn't feeling well today, and like I said, I'm 36 weeks pregnant, and even though Margie was unbelievably adorable almost every minute of the day, there were still tough tantrum-y moments and missed naps and physical and mental was a hard day, even though almost all of it was charming and fun and very mellow. I don't know what we would have done if we had to work, or if Margie was school-age and had to keep up with classwork. So many parent-friends are now in the position of having to work from home while also homeschooling their kids, without knowing whether or when things will go back to normal.

I keep hearing of schools announcing that they're closing for the rest of the year. I don't know what that will mean for our preschool and daycare situation, but it's unnerving. Mostly because it seems so...permanent, and so far off, and so hard, even though we are in a pretty ok spot to handle something like that. As it is, I'm off on maternity leave until mid-August. Will's work has been pretty flexible so far (they gave staff 3 weeks paid time off in light of school closures), and likely will continue to be. We have a comfortable home, stable income to support our family, access to food, etc. We will adapt. We will be fine. We are lucky. Extremely lucky.

But this is, as everyone keeps saying, weird times. What if this continues for a year? What if it becomes the new normal? There's so much unknown. And today, despite having two relatively healthy parents home and not working, with one relatively easygoing, cheerful, and easily-entertained kid, I felt so overwhelmed and confused that it felt like the right time to resurrect the old blog. I need a place to write down what we're doing, how we're adapting. To count our blessings and keep track of time.

So, some highlights from today:
- stayed in bed until well after 8am
- baked egg-free banana muffins (including a hunger-induced meltdown when I didn't leave her a big enough scoop of batter to eat because I was using it to fill the muffin liners she told me to fill)
- played wild and crazy puppet show games with Margie's farm animal puppets (often reenacting storylines from Daniel Tiger but with farm animal characters)
- watched videos of penguins wandering around an aquarium
- did not really nap, but did have some lovely snuggles
- unpacked some of our Tahoe bags and a box of diapers and wipes
- made pizza for dinner
- roleplayed/talked through the story of Frozen 2, many, many, many times (for example: "I'm so sad because our mommy and daddy died, yeah, they died, it's so sad. I wish they could be alive again. I gived you some of my magic so we can go on an adventure together to Ahtohallen and learn about my magic. I want to live with you in our castle in Arendelle so we can always be together, because we are sisters.")
- made bread dough to bake tomorrow

There's so much more to do - our house is filled with boxes and bags, and I have lots of ideas for ways we could spend our days at home. But when I write out the highlights and not just the task-based accomplishments, I realize that our day was quite full. There's no rush to do everything in one day, or even one week (though I felt some internalized pressure to be productive on day 1 instead of starting off with a "lost" day or something). The reality is that we'll likely be in this for weeks or even months, and I should take some time to slow down and adjust to the new reality instead of jumping into "fixing" it with productivity.

We have a long list of things to do to get ready for the baby, and we've told Margie that we're on an extra special long spring break to spend time with our families, take care of our bodies and be healthy, and get ready for baby brother's arrival. So far, she's asked if "since everybody is having time with their families and not going to school, can we have a friend over to play or scooter in the neighborhood?" And I told her that everyone's plan right now is to spend special time with their own families, but maybe another time we could see a friend. We're planning on a lot of FaceTime and special projects around the house, and deploying Daniel Tiger, Sesame Street, and of course, Frozen 2 as needed. We'll see. One day at a time. Weird times indeed.