Awhile back, I posted that I have a low lying placenta. I was initially freaked out by reading all of the risks associated with it and, more specifically, with placenta previa. Luckily I haven’t had any bleeding so there has been no cause for concern. I was told that 99% of cases end up with normally located placentas by 28-30 weeks. So at 30, almost 31, weeks, I went back for another ultrasound. My placenta is still lower than they want. They want it 2+ cm away from the cervix and mine is 1.4 cm away. It seems like such a small difference, but I guess when 2 cm is the magic number, you’re dealing with quite small measurements. They scheduled me for another ultrasound on Sept 12 because there is still a chance it could move that extra .6 cm. However, I am resigning myself to the idea of having to have a scheduled c-section, because it’s my understanding that would be protocol with a low lying placenta, as it is with previa. I didn’t originally want a c-section because it is major surgery, the recovery is longer, there will be more of a disruption in bonding post-birth (I really want to do skin to skin and nurse as soon as possible, but I don’t think that’s possible with a c-section), and I want to know what going into labor feels like. At the same time, with labor and delivery becoming more and more of a reality, I am a bit scared of being able to handle the pain. Of course I know I will get through it if given the chance to deliver vaginally, with or without epidural (likely with if I’m honest with myself), but I’m nervous. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, so I will ask about options then.
Monday was my 30th birthday. At one point, I was feeling a bit bummed about my birthday, not because I was turning 30, but because I felt like it would be just any other day. Growing up, we always made a big deal out of my birthday. I am an only child, so that is probably why. Anyway, I would have a party, my parents and I would go out to the restaurant of my choice for dinner, and we would celebrate with my mom’s family when we vacationed with them and again with my dad’s family when we drove 12 hours every summer to go visit them. I usually had 3 birthday cakes as a result. So my birthday was not simply a day, but a series of events!
J’s family never made a huge deal out of birthdays, so for years, my birthday has been calmer. Adult life and living apart from most of my friends probably contribute to that as well. That’s fine, but I wanted to commemorate my 30th birthday with a little something extra. As happy and grateful as I am to be pregnant, I couldn’t help but think about how my previous ideas were out the window. I couldn’t really have some kind of drunken party (well I could have, but I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it) and any trip I could think of was inappropriate (e.g., Disney World, Vegas). I was especially feeling sorry for myself because J went to Vegas with his best friend and to his first UFC event (he’s a huge fan) for his 30th.
Anyway, I got over feeling sorry for myself. After all, I have the best present in the world by getting to experience my dream of pregnancy and, soon, motherhood. Then, I made the decision that we should have a date day that I had wanted to have for awhile. There’s this mall that is out of the way (technically out of the city) and it has a big movie theater with a fun looking arcade attached. The arcade isn’t just your typical movie theater arcade with some racing and shooting games. It has games like skee ball and wack-a-mole. I thought it would be a fun, playful thing to do, a sort of “anti-30” birthday. So we played a bunch of games, went to see the movie Elysium, and capped off the night with pizza. It was a fun day! We did that on Saturday.
Unfortunately, on my actual birthday, I woke up at 4:45 am with horrible heartburn. It was so bad that I threw up. I chalked it up to pregnancy symptoms and later did a little research to find out that when the baby and uterus squish the stomach in the third trimester, heartburn and vomiting can happen. I kept vomiting though and it was uncontrollable. Add in some diarrhea and it turned out I had the flu. I realized I’d have to take the day off work, but I needed to access client files so I could cancel my appointments (no one else has a key to my desk). J didn’t trust me to drive myself since I couldn’t stop heaving long enough, so he drove me to my office. We were almost there when I realized I didn’t have my keys (couldn’t believe it!). He was very patient with me and turned around without complaint. Once we got the keys, we made the trek back to my office and he waited for me to call my clients. He ended up leaving for his work 2 hours late (which would normally drive him nuts) and I made my way to the couch in the basement where it was nice and cool. I spent the rest of the day and evening sleeping and puking. I think I set a personal record for the number of times I puked in a day. Not ideal, but I suppose I will remember my 30th birthday!
This post might rub people the wrong way for one reason or another. As I was thinking these thoughts, I thought of how they could be misinterpreted by others. I do not mean to imply that life wasn’t worth living before or that I am defined by my impending role as a mother, that I am not a person unto myself. However, I do want to share my thoughts on where my life and my sense of purpose are headed.
Before actually TTC, J and I had a plan that we would start trying in the fall of 2011. So it’s not like we started trying out of boredom or desperation, it was because we knew we wanted children and we picked a time that worked for our careers and lifestyle. J wanted to wait until he earned his professional license and I had earned mine earlier in the year. I had decided that instead of trying in the spring or summer, the fall would be good so as to give me a carefree summer of fun times with friends and cocktails on the patio. Stupid looking back on it since I had another childless, albeit not carefree, summer after that. At the same time, I was getting bit bored, not of my life or my relationship, but just sort of lost in my sense of purpose.
I have always been someone who is milestone and achievement driven. I work toward goals and I look forward to and count down to events. For the vast majority of my life, I lived by school milestones, be it finishing a term or school year, or earning a degree. After 7 years of post-secondary, I felt a bit lost once I was done grad school and many of my grad school friends moved away as well. Then I worked toward my professional registration which involved accumulating enough supervised hours and passing two exams. It took about 1.5 years. Once all of that was done, there was relief, but there was also a sense of “what now?” I got into a routine of just working, cleaning the house (albeit not as much I should have), and relaxing. I didn’t think about it on a regular basis, but sometimes I just questioned the point of it all. Also, rates of burn out are high in my profession to the point that part of our ethics code addresses the need for self-care. Maybe it was taking on other people’s problems without seeing their later successes or the morale at my workplace, but the demands and stagnation I felt at work didn’t help.
I don’t view children as an accomplishment but they are certainly a monumental part of one’s life. They are a part I had always been looking forward to. I didn’t try to have a child out of boredom or a sense of it being the next logical step. It was a much more maternal and visceral longing than that. All that said, now that there is a baby on the way, I do feel a renewed sense of purpose. Now it’s not just the same old routines, day in and day out. I will have someone else reliant on me for love, survival, socialization, early education, etc. And I will re-experience the world through her discovery of it. All of this excites, and sometimes scares, me. Despite my fatigue, I feel reinvigorated.
Most of the books I’ve been reading since beginning to blog about what I’m reading have either been lackluster or “chick lit”. Because I like to read a variety of different styles and I don’t feel like the books I’ve been reading truly reflect my tastes, I thought I’d list some of my favorite books and welcome others to leave their own lists in the comments.
Here are some books I recommend:
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (author of The Kite Runner which is also very good)
- Still Alice by Lisa Genova
- The Book of Negros by Lawrence Hill
- Room by Emma Donoghue
- The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
- Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir by Marina Nemat
- The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
- Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel by Arthur Golden (haven’t read it since high school, but I loved it then)
- Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
- A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah
- Freakenomics by Steven D. Levitt
- Gang Leader for a Day: A Rogue Sociologist Takes to the Streets by Sudhir Venkatesh
I am probably forgetting some as I recently donated most of my books because I rarely re-read books and I needed to make room on our far too overcrowded bookshelf. Apart from Memoirs of a Geisha, these are more of my recent (in the last few years) faves. I read the last two after J did and might not have been exposed to them if he hadn’t bought them. Some are really riveting stories and I think all of them are thought-provoking.
My belly button is looking more like an asshole these days. It is quite small and puckered up. I think it is getting close to becoming an outie. I thought that my belly button felt shallower, but then I wondered if it was just my imagination. However, I recently took note of where my belly button piercing marks are. The one that used to be on the inside of my belly button is now decidedly out. I’ve drawn a little circle around it so you can see.