October in Purple

Today is October 1st, and everyone on daytime TV wore pink, and we all know why.

It’s breast cancer awareness month.

At the risk of pitting one great cause against another (because they’ve already been pitted against each other by being assigned the same month) – it’s also domestic violence awareness month, but very few people know that.

Why?

Personally, if we had to choose (and I don’t think we should have to choose, but for the sake of argument) I think we should be choosing domestic violence awareness, but I get why breast cancer gets center stage.

It’s easy to get behind fighting a disease.  A disease is a logical enemy.  It’s an other.  It’s not human, and no one is to blame for getting cancer.

But with DV – that’s perpetrated by our neighbors.  Our sons and daughters.  Our brothers and sisters.  Our moms and dads and grandparents.  It’s hard to rally people against DV when so many people out there are perpetrators or silent bystanders.

But we have to.  We need to.

Yes, 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer.  That’s huge.  But more than twice that are affected by domestic violence.  MORE THAN TWICE.  And that’s people hurting people – which means it’s 100% preventable.

I look forward to the day when everyone proudly wears purple in October to take a stance against domestic violence – and not just when there is a current scandal happening in the NFL.

No News Means No Baby

I basically wrote this post in my head last night while laying wide awake in bed because I took a nap way too late in the day because we got home lateish from our first trip to Home Depot as HOMEOWNERS.

It was very exciting, but so physically taxing for this 40 week + 5 pregnant lady that I sweetly had to ask some employees if there was a place where I could sit a spell.  The dude jumped into action and was like, “You stay right there” and he went and got me a chair and had me sit right where I was in the middle of the flooring aisle.  He then asked if I was ok (I think he was asking if I was going to pass out or give birth or both), and I assured him that all I needed was to sit until my husband was done shopping.

He left and then came back with a bottle of water for me.  How freaking kind is that!  And not only that, but he came back several times to check on me, and other employees asked if I was ok as well.  Never have I encountered such nice, helpful folks.  Really renewed my faith in the goodness of this world into which I am about to bring a screaming, pooping lovebucket.

And that brings me to the entire point of this post:

Don’t ever ask a pregnant lady if she’s had the baby yet.

Ever.

Like, not even if you word it differently.  Or if she’s your best friend.  Or your best friend’s Home Depot coworker.

You wanna know why?

Because, I’d think it’s safe to say, most 40-ish-week pregnant ladies would love nothing more than to just have the thing already, get to meet their screaming pile of joy, and get to reclaiming their bodies a bit.  We’re exhausted.  We’re cranky.  We’re feeling heavy as hippos.  We’re fucking done-zo.

And it’s because of that, that pregnant ladies are usually ready to squeal that they’ve given birth by SHOUTING IT FROM THE FRICKIN ROOFTOPS.  You’d have to be absolutely deaf not to hear.  Trust me.  They’ll be inundating your Facebook feed with pictures, videos, and stool samples demanding that you agree that this baby and its poop is the cutest poopy baby who ever lived, ever.

You won’t have to ask.

And if there’s no news – THERE’S NO BABY.  Say it with me.

Either that, or for some reason momma hasn’t told you because she’s simply not ready to.  Maybe you’re not very close to her, and not all of her friends and family have gotten to see the baby yet.  Maybe there were medical complications that momma is still dealing with and doesn’t feel like sharing.

At any rate – if the momma wanted you (yes, you) to know that baby was born, YOU’D KNOW.

You won’t have to ask.

And honestly, do you really want to ask knowing that the answer is most likely a thinly veiled, “Fuck off, the baby ain’t here yet and I hate my body and my life and omg, will this mucous ever stop leaking out of me?!

No.  Of course not.  Because everyone would like to avoid talking about excess mucous.

And don’t say that you’re on pins and needles waiting for this baby as a means of justifying your need to ask.  You know who’s even more anxious about it than you are?  You know who wins this one?  You know who doesn’t give a fuck how you feel about the baby not being here yet?

You guessed it – the momma.

So please, don’t ask.  Be patient.  The momma can’t plan for this, and so neither can you.

Now get this baby out of me so I can start drunkenly Facebook feed-bombing about how my baby is cuter than your baby.

Riding the Moody Train

I think it’s time to admit it – this pregnancy has turned a corner.

I’ve been getting a little moody.

Usually, I love the heat.  I am a California girl, and I had been living in the central valley for the past 5 years.  I’m now realizing that what made living there in the heat even remotely bearable was that AC was pretty standard in both public and private dwellings – overused, even -  and because I wasn’t pregnant with an exothermic squid.

Recently, it got warmer here in Oregon than it was in my homeland, which doesn’t happen very often.  And we don’t have AC in our box-filled second story oven.  Result: I get a little moody, drenched in sweat, and exhausted from doing exactly nothing.

I’m starting to not see the point of clothing.  Or having to get up to use the bathroom.

The heat has also been causing my normally dainty hands and feet to swell like Johnsonville brats in a beer bath on the 4th of July.  In Hell.

I’ve taken to soaking my feet in ice water while doing nothing.  It helps on days that end in killmenow.

Speaking of beer baths, there’s this random cooking show that comes on TV in the middle of my day spent waiting for death, and today they were concocting delicious-looking cocktails paired with mouthwatering, listeria-laden deli meats with a side of E Coli-infused hollandiase sauce.  I wanted to punch someone and then put the entire contents of the show in my mouth.

In an attempt to stay alive, I’ve been trying to waddle down to our complex’s pool when it’s empty or nearly empty, which is never.  The water isn’t heated, but it’s still not cold enough.  Maybe next time I’ll bring down a tray of ice cubes to add to the mix.

I must say, being submerged in water feels pretty damn nice.  It actually reminds me of what it must feel like to be in the womb – all safe and suspended and weightless.  You’d better count your blessings while you can, Little Duck.  Cuz if being expelled from my uterus is anything like me having to heave my now heavier-than-ever body out of the pool, you’re in for some hard times, my friend.

I vote for staying in that pool until my due date.  It would definitely solve a number of my current issues.

Trying to sleep has been fun.  If by fun, you mean setting my feet on fire, mashing my calves in an electric mixer, and pounding a mallet on my bladder.  Either that, or by shoving bamboo under my rapidly-growing fingernails.  Either one.  You know.

The most interesting part is trying to turn my Moby Dick body over in the middle of the night without a) waking my husband, and b) falling out of bed.  The process is quite simple, actually.  Step one: wake up for the 1000th time to a full bladder, which isn’t really full, it’s just being squeezed down to the size of a raisin.  Shove my arms against the mattress in an attempt to right myself.  Try again if needed.  And a third time.  Waddle to bathroom, trip over the cat in the dark.  Pee – in the toilet this time.  Waddle back.  Gently lower myself into bed onto the side of my body whose hip burns the least.  Decide this side still hurts like a motherfucker (this word has gained new meaning since getting pregnant, btw), and begin the classic 8-point turn while holding up my belly with one hand, lest its dense weight slosh over before the rest of my abdomen, causing severe pain and discomfort.  Lastly, gently punch unborn baby back into a reasonable position that chokes my liver, rather than my bladder.  It’s not like I am using it, anyway (the liver, I mean).

So yeah, I’ve been having to waddle for quite some time.  I get it now, you guys.  My muscles are being stretched in ways they should only be stretched by Gomez Addams during foreplay.

And I know pregnant ladies complain about not being able to see their feet, and I suppose I get that.  My abdomen has never stuck out quite this far before, even after eating a few burritos.  But you know what concerns me more?  I haven’t been able to establish a visual with my ladygarden for far too long.  I mean, I can sense her, I know she’s there – but how is she?  I can’t tend to her anymore (because god knows I am not even going to attempt to approach with anything sharp with the aid of a mirror – everything being backwards and objects larger than they appear…), and that makes me sad.  She’s about to go through her biggest performance to date and she won’t even look her best (leading up to it, anyway).

I’m sorry, my dear friend.  You’re on your own now.  I’ll see you on the other side.

Psychos, I’ll leave you with a memento of happier times before The Fall.  This was taken several weeks ago when my list of ailments was considerably shorter.

AAF_0250

 

How I Combat The Crazy

Heyo, Psychos!

I wrote a fabulous guest post on Crazy Good Parent!!  Please go check it out here.

Thanks so much to Janice for allowing me to share my story about how cancer, yoga, and impending parenthood are all intertwined for me.

If you feel like a chicken without a coop

Brian and I often chat online while he’s at work and I am at home eating muffins.  He likes to check in on me to make sure I know just how much he loves me more than he loves designing planes (which is marginally, but I’ll take it).

Last week, he begins his daily chat with this:

B – Dude.  I’m a genius.  I have something for your blog.

Now, usually Brian rolls his eyes when I declare this is going on the blog! so, at hearing this, my interest was definitely piqued.

Me – What?

B- Check your email.

I checked my email, starting reading, and began laughing to the point of crying.

Me- Did you write this?!

B- Yes.  I’m so proud of myself right now.

He had written very special alternative lyrics to the song Happy by Pharrell Williams.  Before I get any more specific, allow me to back up and give some background.  Most of you know I enjoy a good poop joke.  Jamie Lee Curtis really doesn’t lie – when your colon feels good, you feel good.  It’s really that simple.

Now, my colon has a history of having a rough time (or not having one, as the case may be).  Yet another parallel between my cancer experience and this pregnancy is that constipation has been an ongoing challenge, and that’s putting it very delicately.  I’ve been working with my doctor and trying various remedies, and we may have found a regimen that doesn’t leave me feeling miserable every day.  On Mothers Day, of all days, I was given the best gift ever – an empty colon.  I was singing in the bathroom when I heard Brian sing back.

Me- Sing that again!  What was that?

B- …because happiness is a poop!

Me- You’re so right.  Sometimes happiness is a poop!

And unbeknownst to me, this idea grew in Brian’s head, and instead of designing planes, he rewrote the lyrics of Happy to describe a particular brand of happiness.

In B’s words, it is something for pregnant women to sing when they’re constipated.

He gets me so well.

So please, play the video whilst following along with the new lyrics.  We hope you find it as amusing as we did.

 

 

 

Crapping by Pharrell Williams and Brian

It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Sunshine she’s here, you can take a break
I’m a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don’t care baby by the way
[Chorus:]
Because I’m crapping
Crap along if you feel like a chicken without a coop
Because I’m crapping
Crap along if you feel like happiness is a poop
Because I’m crapping
Crap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m crapping
Crap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do
[Verse 2:]
Here come the push trying to take a shat, yeah,
Well, I’ll give it all I got, and won’t hold it back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you it’ll take some time, yeah,
No offense to me, it smells just fine
Here’s why
[Chorus]
Hey, come on
[Bridge:]
(crapping)
Bring me down
Can’t nothing beat my brown
My level’s too high
Bring me down
Can’t nothing beat my brown
I said (let me tell you now)
Bring me down
Can’t nothing beat my brown
My level’s too high
Bring me down
Can’t nothing beat my brown
I said
[Chorus 2x]
Hey, come on
(crapping)
Beat my brown… can’t nothing…
Beat my brown… my level’s too high…
Beat my brown… can’t nothing…
Beat my brown, I said (let me tell you now)
[Chorus 2x]
Come on

 

 

 

Week 26 – Doctor’s Orders

Last Tuesday, Brian and I had our first appointment with our new midwife.  We switched because our health insurance switched due to Brian’s job (long story).  The short story is that we liked her.  Yay!

When we got to the clinic, I was informed to hold my bladder until I was called, but that if I absolutely couldn’t hold it, I should check in with the lady at the desk first.  Oh yeah, I thought, no problem.  I totally went before we left.  Unfortunately, it continues to surprise me at how quickly my bodily conditions can change.  Within 15 minutes, I was dying.  I waddled to the front desk and asked the ladies what I should do.  I felt like I was 5 years old asking Teacher permission to use the potty.  They looked at me funny, asked if I was pregnant, and told me to just go and to pee in a cup just in case they needed a sample.  I returned to my chair with a little brown bag and told Brian I had a present for him.  Crisis averted.

This was mainly just a checkup and most everything looks and feels good with baby.  We were sat down to watch a short video about preterm labor, and it scared me for two reasons.  One, preterm labor is scary and two, the 80s hairstyles.  I think we used the humor of the latter to get through the terror of the former for those 8 minutes.

In all seriousness, I’ve had two people close to me comment on how either they were born or birthed a child right around where I’m at now in my pregnancy (26 weeks), and that both terrifies and amazes me.  Terrifies because I look at where I’m at now and how much more growing Little Duck has to do, and it seems impossible, unthinkable that such a little squirmy worm could live outside me at this point.  At the same time, both of those babies lived and are very healthy and I am amazed at what modern medicine can do for us.  Looking at it this way, it gives me some comfort knowing that amazing things are possible if my Little Duck decides to make an early appearance.

I decided to do the glucose test at this doctor’s appointment, and my midwife ordered some other blood tests to be done at the same time.  Let the record show that there were no snacks (the glucose most definitely does not count) provided at this blood draw.  For some reason, I’d heard vague horror stories about the glucose test over the years, and I can’t remember specifically why.  For those who don’t know, they give you a 10 oz super sweet, syrupy drink that you have to drink within 5 minutes, then you wait an hour and get your blood drawn to test for gestational diabetes (pronounced a la Wilford Brimley).  Now, I have a hard time drinking any substantial quantity very quickly, save from water.  I could never guzzle, and forget kegstands.  Needless to say, it took me the full 5 minutes to drink this stuff.  The first few gulps were ok, but it had this ghastly lime aftertaste that just got worse and worse the more I drank.  And then I started to burp and it was all downhill from there.  At least I didn’t have any adverse reactions after drinking it, and hey, I passed the test.  I hope Little Duck thoroughly enjoyed that sugar rush, cuz I ain’t doing it again.

Remember how I talked about body issues from my last post?  Well, my midwife basically said that I’m not gaining weight fast enough.  I responded by saying that I just eat when I’m hungry, even if that means it’s 3:30am, and I’ll continue to do so.  My reasoning is that my body knows what it’s doing.  The other note to take away from the visit was that my vitamin D levels are a bit low.  I blame the Northwestern cloudcover; California would never have selfishly deprived me of my year-round sunny D.  The recommendation was to either take a supplement, eat more dairy, or get some more sunshine.

Basically, putting all these recommendations together in my head, I picture myself in full sun on the beach in a bikini, hugely pregnant, belly hanging over, wearing a floppy hat and ginormous round sunglasses and eating the biggest ice cream sundae you’ve ever seen.

Doctor’s orders!

Lost In Transition

I’m feeling all the feelings, you guys.

I had a mommy friend ask me if I wanted advice.  She had written a list of things she wished she had known before giving birth.  I said yes, and I read it.

Then I cried.

This thing really has to come out of me.  And it’s going to hurt.  Like, a lot.  Breastfeeding might be hard.  And painful.  Projectile poop really does exist.  All this responsibility…

Even though I’m the type of person who always wants to know all the good and the bad stuff, it was still pretty overwhelming.

I asked myself, how am I going to handle all this?

That voice inside me shrugged and said, one day at a time.

I’m also having some feelings around body image.

My body hasn’t changed much throughout my life, with the exception of cancer and the resulting surgery.  This week marks the highest weight I have ever been.  I knew it was coming, of course, and I know it’s healthy and it’s supposed to happen.  And I’m cool with it; it means that Little Duck is growing and my body is growing with fe.  At the same time, I felt a pang when I saw the number on the scale.  I’ve never been one to weigh myself, like ever, because I’ve never seen the point.  But with the pregnancy, I’ve wanted to track my changes and so I’ve been weighing myself once a week.

It’s not just the number on the scale, but a combination of that plus how I look and how I feel.  I’ve always been fairly petite, and sometimes it’s tough for me to see my waistline disappear.  Honestly, it depends on the day.  When I first started showing, I was so happy and excited.  This is real!  Look at me, how cute I look!  I feel so special!  And sometimes, a lot of the time, I still feel like that.  But on the days when I feel achy and bloated, I wonder how big I’m going to get.  Where is my limit?  What will my body do?  It’s the not knowing that can be unsettling.

What I’ve concluded is that my body is changing faster than my thoughts and emotions can catch up.  And I have to keep telling myself what I already know to be true – that my body knows what it’s doing.  Trust it.

Even when cancer invaded my body and I felt like it [my body] had betrayed me, it still let me know what was going on.  And when I stop to think about my progress during this pregnancy so far, I realize that my body has done all the work unaided.  All the medical procedures I’ve had have been purely for screening purposes.  Of course, if my body needs medical help along the way, that’s all well and good, but overall, my body’s in charge.  And she knows what she’s doing.

Lastly, I’ve been feeling all pent up.  I really need a project (besides growing life) and what I’d really like to be doing is decorating and organizing a house, but we’re just not there yet.  Not only are we not there, but we’re crammed into a one bedroom apartment with boxes stacked everywhere.  I feel closed in, it feels cluttered in here, and I have no idea how we’re going to fit a baby in here, let alone all the baby crap.

I know this situation is only temporary, and our next move, if it’s not a house, will definitely be someplace bigger and quieter.  We’ll only have to have the baby here for one month max, if at all.

It also doesn’t help that I am not currently working, or otherwise have something to do with my time.  I’ve been looking for work half-assedly, mostly because, while I do want to be productive and useful, I don’t want the added stress of having to learn a new job, and I certainly don’t want to have to sell my soul to any job – and that’s even if anyone offers this 5 month pregnant lady a position in the first place.

I hate how the American work force – and the social service professions specifically – expect you to bend over backwords just to work.  The job openings I’ve seen aren’t only full time, but the descriptions are peppered with lines like: must be able to work evenings and Saturdays, shifts subject to change with little notice, must be able to drive to multiple locations, may be exposed to clients with violent tendencies, must give up first born child to Satan, etc.  I’d be hesitant to take jobs like this even if I wasn’t pregnant, and forget it now.  I’m not even sure I’d want to keep a full time job after I have the baby, anyway, so that adds to my lack of enthusiasm.  Don’t employers want healthy, happy, well-rounded workers who have lives outside of work?  Sheesh.  Jobs are just jobs, and I want one that I don’t have to be married to.

That said, I do feel incredibly fortunate that I am being supported by my husband right now.  I have the privilege of having the choice to work or not, and for that I am very thankful.  I also feel a bit guilty about not contributing financially to the household, and a part of me really does want to get out there and do the profession I love, but Brian totally understands my priorities and he’s supportive.  I’ll keep looking for work, and if I find something that fits our needs, then awesome.  If not, we’ll adjust and get by together.

So.  It seems as though my theme for the moment is transition.

But, now that I think about it, am I ever really not transitioning?

Adventures of Week 20

On Tuesday, we got to see our little fetus again!  I had been looking forward to this visit for several weeks, which is awesome and crazy because it’s only the second time I’ve ever actually looked forward to having an ultrasound.

IMG_6691

B and I got to the doctor’s office right on time, and I was gulping water in the car on the way.  I’ve been able to perfect the art of making sure my bladder is juuust full enough by the time I’m called in for the procedure.  If I’m too full too early, then I have to pee or risk soaking my socks.  If I’m not full enough (not usually my problem) then they yell at me and make me wait.  And I don’t like to be yelled at.

We sat down in the waiting room and one of my first thoughts was: Yessss!  No blood draws today!

Which was quickly followed by:  Frick!  No blood draws means no snacks!

I turned to Brian.  “Do you think they’ll give us snacks if we ask?”

“Somehow I doubt it.”

“Well, they really should provide snacks.  Maybe I’ll write it on a comment card.”

“You do that.”

The ultrasound tech came out to get us and brought us into the exam room.

“Hi, my name is Li-”

“WE DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE SEX!”  I blurted out.  I was terrified that the surprise would be spoiled for us.

She laughed.  “Well ok then, I’ll tell you when to close your eyes.  You sure you don’t want it in an envelope for one of those gender reveal parties?”

“NO!  NO SEX!”  …and it’s impossible for our baby to have a gender identity at this point in development.  Yarg.  I cringe when I hear people use the term gender when they really mean sex, especially when it’s a medical professional.  I bit my tongue.

The experience of this ultrasound was pretty awe-inspiring.  I especially loved getting to see the interaction between me and the baby – when the baby pushed on my bladder, I could both feel it (very much so) and see the corresponding movement on the screen.  And when the tech pushed on my tummy and we saw my baby get jostled around and get all annoyed – precious.  This isn’t the first time you’re going to get annoyed by me, Little Duck.  I’m still trying to wrap my brain and emotions around the concept (that I understand intellectually just fine) that I am growing an independent being – something that moves of free will and can affect me, and me fe.  Blows my mindgrapes.

I was also fascinated by the physical development of my little duck.  We got to see all four chambers of the heart in motion, and when the tech zoomed in and slowed the picture, we could see the freaking valves!  I never knew heart valves could be so freaking cute!!  We saw the aorta, the stomach filled with fluid, all the little toe bones, and individual structures in the brain.  All this made me want to go and take an anatomy class, or at the very least, to look up brain development in my old psych books, which was the part I struggled through in my undergraduate career.

Overall, the human body amazes me.

Everything looked normal (and cute).  The only thing of note is that my placenta seems to be attached very close to my birth canal – to the tune of within 1cm.  I’m told that, as my uterus grows, that the placenta will creep farther away from the birth canal, hopefully enough so that I can plan on a vaginal birth.  Looks like I’ll have to have another ultrasound later on to check on the status of this situation.

After the ultrasound adventure, I wiped off all the goo as best I could (it never all really comes off entirely), and we went to see our midwife.

Where are all the snacks?!

She ignored my unvoiced thoughts and confirmed that everything looks normal and we got to hear the lovely whoosh, whoosh of my baby’s four chamber heart, complete with valves.  I expressed random concerns, mostly about being uncomfortable because I’m pregnant.  As before, her responses were varied versions of take Tylenol, power through it, nothing we can do.

Again – awesome.

“So, did you find out what you’re having?!” My midwife asked.

Uh…a baby!  Is what I wish I had said, because I cringe at that question, as if a penis or a vagina is the single most defining factor of what makes up a human being.

Deep breath.  “No, we don’t want to know the sex.”

“Oh, ok!  Well I might go and peek at the gender after you leave.”

Cringe.  Bite tongue.

The end of the visit was a bit sad – we had to say goodbye to our midwife because our medical insurance is set to change on April 1 (if everything goes well….please, everything go well).  At least we knew from the beginning that this would be happening, so we were well prepared for it.

So, I’m glad I got to see you again, Little Duck.  Feel free to keep kicking, but please aim clear of my bladder.

Week 16 checkup

I’ve never been excited to go to the doctor before, and it’s a very welcome change.  Before, my yearly exams were preceded by dread and anxiety, hoping that I didn’t get any bad news.  And then I’d always have relief afterwards that would last for most of the year…rinse and repeat.

But now…everything’s different.  I couldn’t wait to get back there and get more information about my little developing fetus.  Not only that, but I’ve never had a partner to experience these medical procedures with me before.  Having Brian there with me is incredibly comforting and a fun bonding experience.  For instance, I’ve had tons of ultrasounds and blood draws and pelvic exams, but Brian’s never seen any of that.  He’s never had the opportunity to really know what it’s like, to be able to support me and distract me and joke with me and celebrate with me.  I guess I never realized just how lonely it was walking through my cancer checkups by myself until my whole medical experience was turned upside down.

First up for this appointment – a blood draw.  Ug.  I asked Brian to come in with me, for all the above reasons and because why not?  I mean, he did this to me, so he might as well feel my pain vicariously.

Fortunately, I got the same lovely phlebotomist I had had for my previous blood draws.  She recognized me, and I could tell she was trying to place me.  When we got into the room, she said, “Now I feel like you were…different somehow…?”  And I reminded her about the horror we shared during my last blood draw, where she ran into scar tissue from all my previous blood draws and had to stick me three times.  Together, we figured out that it’s best when she uses the kid-sized needle on my dainty little scar-riddled veins, and then I get juice and Goldfish crackers afterwards and everyone’s happy.

Thankfully, this blood draw went perfectly with one clean stick.  Boo-yah.

As Brian and I sat in the waiting room, sharing our celebratory juice and crackers and getting jealous looks from the two year old across the way, I couldn’t help but wonder if she treated all her patients that way, or if she babied me as the only adult who got the kid snacks.  Then I realized I didn’t care because yum.

Then we got to go see the midwife and we got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.  I think that strong little whoosh, whoosh sound is one of the most amazing sounds in the whole world.  Incredible.

She asked if we had any questions or concerns, and just like I thought, the responses were all, yup, that’s normal, nothing we can do, just gotta power through it.

Awesome.

Then she felt my uterus, and everything felt good.  I like having more information about my body, so I asked her to show me how to find it on my own.  So start down here, and work your way up…oop, and there’s your full bladder, so your uterus is….here, off to the side because of all that pee.

The phlebotomist gave me juice, what do you expect?!  But thanks for the extra info, really.  At least we’re all friends here.

In conclusion, it was a successful and fun week 16 checkup!  Thankfully, I got to pee again before we left.  And by ‘got to,’ I mean I insisted on it.

I’m looking forward to the next one when we get to have the big 20 week ultrasound.  Squee!

Amazingly Wonderful Worries

Eleven years ago today, I had my cancer surgery.

Today’s anniversary feels very different from the rest, in a good way.

Is it because the farther away I get from it, the less it hurts?  Partially.

It mostly has to do with the fact that I’m pregnant.  The cloud of fear and uncertainty that has been lurking for so long has mostly lifted, and it feels wonderful.  I feel like I can more fully leave my cancer behind, stop worrying about what my body can’t do, and look forward to what my body can do, what it is doing, and what that means for my future and the future of my family.  I am so blessed, and I just didn’t know how much until recently.

I say the cloud has ‘mostly lifted’ because I do find myself still worrying about how after-effects of my cancer and surgery could affect my pregnancy.  I suppose there’s a part of me that feels like this is too good to be true and that I shouldn’t get my hopes up, that my cancer could still rear up and kick me in the ass.  I suppose it’s normal that a small amount of fear like that will never go away.  And sometimes it’s hard for me to balance these continued fears and still make ample room for the joy and excitement I know that I also deserve to experience.  It does help that my doctor doesn’t seem too concerned about affects from surgery affecting my pregnancy.

Overall, my worries have definitely shifted, and I am grateful for the direction in which they have shifted.  After acknowledging my ever-present cancer worries and then placing them back in their box at the back of my mind, I get to worry about “normal” things now – am I taking good enough care of myself?  Is the baby developing ok?  Will delivery go ok?  Will fe be healthy? How the heck am I going to manage to be a good parent?  Etc…

I am thankful for these worries.  They mean I have something amazingly wonderful to worry about.

Which reminds me about something I’ve said before – that my experience with cancer and the resulting fertility uncertainty means that I get to be even more joyful than I would have been otherwise.

Eleven years ago I experienced one of the worst days of my life, and that’s ok.  It doesn’t define me, and I have allowed it to change me for the better.

Now get back in your box.  You’re distracting me from my joy.