Saturday, November 21, 2009

You can't always get what you want...

But, it sure is NICE to get what you want. Okay, fine, I'll concede that some of the richest, most valuable experiences come out of times when you don't get what you want...but that's "rich" and "valuable" as in "Oh, wow, I CAN feel joy in the midst of all this deep emotional turmoil, in the mire of my own fear and pain!" Let's just say that's not the same kind of "fun" as "I want a pony" and - bam - you get a pony.

It's not that I believe in destiny or fate, that there are certain lessons I am supposed to learn in my life. I guess I've just finally started to accept that everything that happens can be useful, can be something that enriches my life. I don't mean to say that in practice I actually accept these "lessons" with grace. Sometimes, more than anything, I want to throw myself to the floor, beat my fists and feet against the ground, and shriek about how everything is so unfair.

Ha ha. I wish I were joking.

Yet...yet...I guess I do feel...thankful for the year of trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant. (That's probably only possible to say because I am now, in fact, pregnant.) I feel that through this my...perspective, my life, really shifted. There are many concepts I understood intellectually before but really only realized with my actual heart, my actual deep unspeaking, feeling self, going through the pain, disappointment and fear of this experience. In a word, I suppose this lesson is "submission" or "acceptance" to the fact that there are many, many, many, many things we do not control.

Now, to clarify, I didn't and don't feel "baby crazy." (Whatever that belittling expression means.) I like kids and know definitively I want children, but it wasn't that every month I didn't get pregnant I was like, "Oh, god, no baby!!! How can I be complete without children?!" It was deeper, scarier than that. It was like, "Okay, I have made this major decision about how I want my life to go, about what I really want to experience. I am willing to take these particular risks, even if they are daunting and I know it will forever change me to do this."...And then, that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what you want, what you hope for, what you're willing to risk. None of it...because you have absolutely zero control and, in these black moments, you realize that a lot of life is like this - outside your control. That, in fact, the deepest, most important things in life are outside your control.

This is probably mainly because the most important aspects of life involve hope, love, and people. People are complicated and inconvenient. Hope is terrifying and love never looks like what you hoped for. Don't get me wrong, life is empty, stupid, and pointless without these's just...they are unwieldy, and truly connecting - really hoping, really loving - is risky and offers no certain outcome.

Therefore, saying, "I'm ready to have kids, to do this crazy, terrifying thing"...and then to realize my will has little to do with anything, was an experience that brought up a lot outside of the specifics of having a baby for me. When you stand, tiny and ridiculous, in the dark, gaping vastness of the universe and say, "I want this," you realize how little you are, how insignificant your desire is in the larger play of forces, that there is no guarantee of anything. Ever. And this experience feels like it will break you, that simply knowing how enormous, unknowable and utterly uncontrollable life is will surely ruin you. Realizing that if happiness doesn't look like what you expected, you are not sure you will recognize it.

So, in the last year, I've really come to believe happiness in life has a lot to do with how we deal with all those things we do NOT control, maybe it's even more important than all those things we do plan, decide, act on, make happen. I think I might have thought this before, but it was only - trying to - let go and move through my sadness, my fear, really opening to it, without resisting that I...I don't know...actually truly realized this.

I feel like some religious convert, but one who doesn't believe in god or fate or even some driving force like karma. I believe instead in simply trusting my experience...and, I guess, the good sense of my future self. I mean, I will deal with what is happening now...and I'll trust the future me to deal with whatever happens later. Maybe this sounds lame or simple...but it is hard for me...but also really freeing. To confuse my supposedly non-religious take on this, it's like that gospel song about laying your burden down at Jesus's feet...only I've taken Jesus out of the scenario. I say, ditch the whoever's feet you want. I mean, if Jesus works for you, great. But maybe you can just set it down in some random place - in the woods, on a street corner.

I just know this: I do not want to live my life trying to fix, to control, to manage, to force my life to adhere to some rigid vision I have...and to be disappointed when it doesn't. It's exhausting and there's no time to enjoy the good things that actually happen that way. I don't want to live my life like I'm trying to outrun some fear or some sense of my own mediocrity. I don't want to live my life like I'm trying to prove something. I'd rather just turn around and face those awful, soul-sucking thoughts, I wish I'd finished a book. I wish I were thinner, taller, stronger. I wish I'd moved to that place...etc. etc. etc. I'd rather just see these things, really let myself feel that terror, that insecurity, than be driven by it.

I don't know exactly how you let those things go, I just know you can. I just know that acceptance is giving up any expectation that this moment will be different than what it is. That you let go of your expectations over and over and over. And that that's really the only way to be truly happy. Some things in life are just hard and shitty. Wishing they weren't or trying to fix them...just doesn't really work. That's all.

Anyway, I can say I'm glad I had this experience and, yes, it's probably partly because I did finally get what I wanted. And it IS nice to get what you want. I know I feel deeply happy...and peaceful? Certainly things working out makes me happy, but I think it's bigger than that. I feel such...relief to realize I am not going to break, that sadness, disappointment, loss of control will not destroy me, render me unhappy. That whatever happens - this is it - my life...and it's all I have.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Haven't I Said Enough about Puking???

I am beginning to think that I will always feel queasy. I know it sounds overly dramatic, but I kind of can't remember what it's like to eat food without feeling barfy afterward...or feeling a kind of hunger every hour that rapidly transforms to an uneasy, upset stomach if I don't eat quickly enough. Or knowing that I need to drink so much water...and water makes me feel awful.

I know, I may be complaining...but I realized today that I am T I R E D of this. I feel worn out by it. I guess I can handle this kind of thing for about...five weeks with relatively good humor. Let's just say that my good humor is worn thin by my morning ritual of gagging and heaving up a little stomach acid into the kitchen garbage can each day as I try to make it to the cereal before I puke.

Maybe this is because I've gotten like three headaches in the last four days, one of which included visual distortions...and it lasted all night. Every time I woke to pee (so, like five times), my head was still throbbing. Anyway. I'm tired of this whole first trimester thing. I am grateful I am pregnant, but I am also tired tired tired of these particular symptoms. Oh well.

My head is hurting again. Yikes.

On a positive note, we have a very kind little gift fairy (what other way to describe this?) sending gifties. It makes me happy to have such a sweet, lovely friend. Today we got a baby towel with little monkeys on it that almost made Kiyomi cry. Very sweet. Thank you, Madam L.

I have all these plans - not even elaborate, like "put away the laundry" - but every day when I get home, I just want to lie down. Ho Hum. I guess I'll just go with it. I just may not get those Christmas presents done in time.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Lie

So, I've been living a lie for the last 13 weeks. Um, apparently I don't know how to count??? So, the way this pregnancy is counted is by COMPLETED weeks. God in heaven. How am I supposed to learn these things? So, today is called 12.2 - meaning I have completed 12 weeks and two days. Well, today is the second day, so it's not - technically - completed. The funny thing is, I am actually in my 13th week, but does it count? I mean, am I still in my first trimester or what??? (This ends at the end of the 12 week.) So, in actual time my 12th week ended on Thursday...but in pregnancy counting is this my 12 week? I am at a loss. I suppose it doesn't matter much...but I would sort of like to know if I've left the first trimester - just for precision's sake.

To make it complicated, one of my pregnancy books says that the chance of miscarriage takes a major drop at the end of the 12th week. So, I'd think, taking into account the way weeks are counted, maybe next week? However, another one of my books has a nifty little chart where you can look up the date of your last period and it maps out all kinds of things - your due date, when the sex can be determined...and the date where miscarriage drops off radically. That date, for me, was yesterday. Friday the 13th. I am confused.

Fortunately, all of this only matters because my attention to detail is bordering on pathological. I can work on that.

The more obviously exciting news (that some of you may wonder why I didn't lead with - hey, remember my obsession with detail, folks) is that we heard the heartbeat yesterday. It was pretty soft and very fast. The midwife had to take a few minutes to find it. We'd hear it for a second...then Cletus would dash off to the other side of my uterus. The midwife was like, "It's shy."

Back off, lady, let's not start projecting personality traits onto little Cletus, whose bones haven't even calcified yet. I mean he's pretty flexible still - literally.

Ha ha. I'm sort of kidding. I mean, it was an innocent comment...but I kept thinking about it. We think a lot about the baby's sex...but what about shyness? Am I afraid of a shy child? Or an outgoing child? What if our child isn't good at math? Does that matter? What if it's tone deaf...or terribly clumsy? I'm not sure I's just overwhelming to think of all the possibilities. There are so many aspects to each person's character... Some character traits are bound to be challenging for me to deal with. That comes with the territory. I guess each kid is what it is...and you both shape that...and sort of don't have any control over parts of it. I mean, they ARE their own person. C R A Z Y.

This whole parenting thing is going to be very...interesting.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Out of the Non-Gay Closet (Except that it is still gay)

First, I don't even know what to call this kind of indigestion. Is it heartburn? It feels like a cross between heartburn and something choking me...from the inside. Hmmm. So, based on my last 24 hours of heartburn, I think anything salty, spicy, or tangy gives me heartburn. So, basically, anything with flavor. Nice.

My friend Shannon outed me to the custodian at work today. She was all, "Well, she's pregnant..." Nice. This may be interesting. Here's why: Alejandra (the custodian) asked me once if I was married a LONG time ago. I think I said, "I'm in a relationship." Well, if memory serves she then asked me about my "boyfriend"...I kind of side stepped that question. I mean, I just didn't feel up to the whole, "I'm with a woman" conversation. Plus, at the time, I didn't really know if she chatted (read: gossiped) with other teachers, and there are definitely some folks at work I like to keep in the D A R K about anything personal. Anyway, now, several years later, I really love Alejandra, but we never talk about real personal, I'm wondering what fun, awkward conversations await me in the coming weeks. This will be amusing.

Shannon felt terrible, needless to say. She was like, "I thought everyone would know." What silliness. No one knows. I told her that I plan to tell people when they look at my big, fat pregnant belly and say, "'re...???" And I will say, "Yup, I'm getting fat. I mean, I'm pregnant!"

Well, I'm going to get back to my full-time indigestion. Fun times.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sleep Disturbance and New Age Music

So, I want to talk a little about sleep. I want to say right now that I don't mean this as a complaint. It feels silly complaining about sleep stuff when several of my friends with little tiny babies are getting sanity-threatening levels of sleep, as in very, very little. (I can't wait for that part of this child-rearing experience!)

Still, none of the pregnancy books really talk about this. Here it is: I wake up about 15 times during the night. Then, it is hard to get back to sleep. I wake up and can't fall back to sleep because

-I have to pee
-our insane cat Peeps is clawing at the window
-I am having fantasies about euthanizing our cat Peeps
-I need some water
-I drank water and it made my stomach hurt
-my stomach hurts for some other reason (apparently, I have morning sickness when I sleep)
-one of the other cats is running up and down the house like a tiny wildebeest
-an invisible being in another dimension sneezes...well, really, sometimes I am not sure why I wake. I just do.

It's very odd. The worst part is, in general, my stomach is a little icky at night. Trying to fall back to sleep when you always have some indigestion or stomach pain is...a challenge. So, I'm trying to look at this as an opportunity to practice the mindfulness training I just completed. Hmmm. So, this is what I try to do when I can't sleep:

-just "notice" Kiyomi's loud mouth breathing and let it go
-just "notice" my irritation with her loud mouth breathing and let it go
-let myself just feel the sciatica-like pain in my ass and hip I've been having for 3 weeks now (maybe it's piriformis syndrome) without resisting it
-let myself just feel the stomach pain without resistance
-do progressive relaxation - starting by focusing on my breath
-just "notice" how much I can't breath because of all the mucus
-try to let go of the 1,000 other random thoughts, like what I'm going to do with that boy in my 6th period who is like a monkey on crack and other sundry irritations.

This sounds like a lot of complaining. Actually, I feel pretty positive. And, though it is a challenge at night, I definitely feel that my ability to relax and focus on my breath has gotten better. In fact, I feel downright happy most of the time. (Despite the fact that this week was the pukiest to date - I threw up three times. Okay, two of those times, I didn't have anything in my stomach, but WHEW throwing up nothing but a little stomach acid really takes it out of you!) I just want to document this experience, and this sleep thing is something I hope to forget soon...

Okay, one more negative thing. My mouth has tasted absolutely disgusting all week. Whatever I eat or drink seems to linger in my mouth and create a very yucko aftertaste. Blech. This, in turn, has lead to a LOT of gagging and dry-heaving this week. I've moved more into that dry-heaving phase and away from simply gagging. Nice.

Oh, one other thing I've been wanting to note, so I won't forget. Basically since the start of my pregnancy, I find that I'm kind of winded when I'm talking for more than a few minutes to my classes. I get all out of breath and my heart rate seems high. It's really odd - something that happens fairly consistently...and something that never used to happen. I know my blood pressure is nice and low, so apparently this isn't really a long-term stress reaction. It's just so odd.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been forcing Kiyomi to do yoga with me each night. Lately, I've had some very mild headaches, so the yoga is very mellow - mostly lying down and in seated positions...with a lot of shavasana and a little seated meditation. In the mostly dark of the living room. Basically it's like foreplay for sleep.

Anyway, it's inspired me to create the lamest station on Pandora... I'm trying to JUST get chanting - not Gregorian style. really wants to play a lot of new agey music that I DO NOT want. So, I'm trying to train it...what I'm realizing is that mostly people want actual music stations, even if the music has little twigs breaking in the background and lots of synthesizers, Carlos Nakai on the flute, the sound of water running over rocks, and other super woowoo instrumentation. I mean, apparently people don't just want chanting. I guess I get it, but boy it would be great if I could force Pandora to give me what I want!

Well, Friday the 13th is coming - it's the start of my 13th week (fun, eh?) and my next birth center appointment. I think we'll get to hear the heartbeat! Exciting!!! It is also the official end of my first trimester...which I hope means the barfing will subside soon! At least in time for turkey and pie. Incidentally, we waited too long to sign up for centering with our month at the Birth, we're with the June group. My due date's only two days from I guess it's not that big a deal. PLUS, the time is MUCH, MUCH better...maybe this is an auspicious sign?

Time to sign up for other birthing classes, too, I guess. I suppose it's time we decide which method we're interested in...

So, Pandora just played a song called "heysatan"...what???