Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Oh, Hai!

I cannot believe it's been almost a month since I've posted anything. I realized recently that I have been incredibly lucky in that I was finished working at this point in my last two pregnancies. Having Zuzu at the end of June and Coco in August meant that I had summers off to lie around, do kick counts, and go to multiple doctor appointments per week as needed without having to schedule that around teaching, prepping, commuting, grading, or meetings.

I'm also trying to prioritize activities like napping and going to bed early, which is hard. Last week I made myself stay up late two nights in a row to plow through grading. This is not unusual for me, as I'd rather get it out of the way, but it resulted in me being so exhausted and emotionally unstable the following days that I realized it is just not something I can manage at this point. So that means I need to be managing my time better and fitting all of it in during normal daylight hours because I just can't stretch it into late nights and continue to function very well. And that means that I haven't been blogging and a few folks have wondered what's up (and feared the worst).

Let me say that things are still fine here. I'm in week 33 of this pregnancy, which means next week I'll hit 34 weeks 3 days (the day I lost Eliza) and my anxiety is feeling that anniversary. My keep-me-up-at-night worry has shifted from placental abruption (although that's still there) and is now mostly centered on cord accidents. Baby has been flipping from breech to head down and back. She's currently breech and I want her head down, but I also worry that all this somersaulting is going to knot the umbilical cord or wrap it around her neck/wrist/ankle and kill her.

Another doctor I saw briefly in the Maternal Fetal Medical center looked at my history, asked a bunch of questions, and then suggested that I'd had preeclampsia with Eliza. I was aware had many of the symptoms (particularly the swelling) but my blood pressure always runs quite low. There was never an official diagnosis or determination of cause of death for Eliza. There's also nothing that can really be done to prevent preeclampsia, although a baby aspirin can apparently help (which I'm already taking). It's not exactly new information, but it has made me hyper aware of any ankle swelling and it has reminded me that I may need to slow down and take it easy, even when there are things I don't want to miss out on.

So that's the pregnancy update. NSTs and modified biophysical profiles are going well. I had one NST that took a while for her to meet the heart rate accelerations they are looking for and it stressed me out a bit. I need to remember to bring a snack or a lemonade or something to those appointments. I definitely feel glad to be going twice a week; I'm scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays from now until delivery. The other good news is that as baby continues to get bigger, I'm feeling more movement (still all around the edges of the anterior placenta). I will take it!

* * *

In other news, I went to KC last weekend to visit my best friend and see Rachel Cargle speak. If you're not following Rachel Cargle, you are missing a challenging and important voice in anti-racism work. She writes primarily to an audience of white women, encouraging us to unpack white feminism and look at the ways in which we are (purposely or cluelessly) complicit in perpetuating racism. She does this not because she feels compelled to do white women a favor, but because she is actively trying to make the world a safer place for people of color, particularly women of color. She has also created a fund to pay for black women to go to therapy, prioritizing the mental health of those for whom existing in the world is more of a struggle than white women can possibly realize. She was a powerful speaker and while I intellectually have read and learned many of the things she mentioned regarding the problematic history of white feminism, it was both motivating and humbling to hear the message again coming from a woman of color.

* * *

I was in a terrible mood yesterday. My allergies have been so bad. My nose basically was so stuffed up that it sounded like I was talking and purposely plugging my nose, and my sinuses felt so much pressure it was like my face might just explode at any moment. Plus I started coughing on the stairs on my way to class and peed a tiny bit in my pants (thank goodness I was wearing black and it was only a tiny bit, but STILL not exactly making me feel like a competent professional as I head into a classroom to talk about Jane Austen).

I took out some of my frustration on my Missouri House State Representative, Dean Plocher, who went ahead and voted to allow guns to be concealed and carried on college campuses in Missouri with no required training or regulation. I can't even tell you how opposed to this I am. I felt a little better after leaving him a voicemail, even though I probably sounded like a crank caller with my nose completed clogged with snot.

* * *

I've been reading a parenting book I've found very helpful: How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber & Julie King. It takes effort on my part to follow their advice, but it actually works very well. I have noticed, though, when I am tired/not feeling well/cranky that I DON'T want to follow their advice and I just want my kids to do what I say the first time I say it. Unfortunately, my children's behavior is in NO WAY influenced by the mood Mommy happens to be in or the fact that Mommy's sinuses feel potentially explosive, so I really need to work on making these habits more automatic. Still, I highly recommend the book, and lots of it is skimmable (like the stories from parents) so it's a fairly quick read, though I still have it because I'm actually going to write myself up a little reminder cheat-sheet and hang it in our pantry to reference when I find myself thisclose to screaming at the small people in my house to put on their mother-effing shoes.

* * *

Here's some boring news: I'm really working on drinking lots and lots of water. I thought I'd been doing okay, but I was feeling so fatigued a few weeks ago and my doula asked me how much water I was drinking and I pretty quickly realized the answer was Not Enough. I used to have this app on my phone that was a little plant that reminded you to drink water, but I wasn't great at updating the app in real time and when the plant would wilt and look sad it made me feel really guilty (stupid cartoon plant) so I deleted it. But I do need a water tracker of some sort. My goal is to drink 80-100 ounces a day. This causes me to have to pee all the time (plus the aforementioned incident while coughing), but it does give me more energy and also keeps my amniotic fluid levels where they need to be, so lose/win/win.

* * *

Zuzu had some major girlfriend drama at school earlier this week when another girl in her class said her "Caroline Poopy-Pants Poops in her Pants." She told me all about it, VERY indignantly, and said, "AND IT ISN'T EVEN TRUE!" To make matters worse, another girl in the class laughed when her best friend said that. But Zuzu and her other friend didn't think it was funny! And Zuzu told the girl, "That really hurt my feelings!" She also reported it to the teacher. Anyway, Zuzu reported the next day that she had decided to forgive the insult and be friends again with that girl, so she seems to be navigating the treacherous world of first grade insults as well as can be expected.

* * *

The other day when the girls and I were in the car, we had the following conversation:

Zuzu: When we cut down trees, it hurts the earth. But we need paper so we can draw. So, it helps us. But it hurts the earth!

Me: Well, good paper companies will plant a new tree for every tree they cut down so the earth isn't hurt too bad.

Coco: (very somberly) One time, Sadie ate sand from the sandbox.

* * *

This morning, Zuzu asked me if I knew the most dangerous animal in the world. I guessed hippo, but she told me it's a fly because they carry diseases that kill 226 people a year. Is that true? It's so gross. And now I have officially reached the stage where my kid knows more than I do.


  1. So grateful for this update -- I've been checking regularly and worried that something might be wrong when we hadn't heard from you for awhile . . .

  2. Hmmm wouldn't mosquitos kill more than flies though?! Malaria and all...

    I actually just told my mom today that I give up on Matthew and shoes. 4 kids (newborn factored in) it turns out is a dealbreaker on how many times I can handle asking Matthew to put on his shoes. (Last week I was all "yay teamwork, everybody doing your part so we can get to school on time..") I just put them on him as he eats breakfast and it makes my morning so much better. Maybe when we don't have a screaming baby I will deal with it again. The book sounds awesome and I have seen it recommended before.
    Fingers crossed these last few weeks fly by!

  3. Lol, hippo is a good guess but I think it’s a mosquito (Zuzu is on the right track carrying diseases)
    Koda flipped all around from breech to head down over and over. So stressful! He had no cord issues/tangling though.
    Have you tried compression socks? I wear them to work still and they help with ankle swelling.
    I often realize when I’ve lost my shit with my kids that they are acting crummy, but really the problem is that I’m tired. The parenting advice like in that book does help me lose my shut less often and less dramatically.
    Keep hanging in there!! xoxo

  4. What is it about 1st/2nd grade and dangerous animals? My 7yo asked me last spring if I knew what the most dangerous animal was, and I asked her if she meant "most destructive" (in which case "humans") or "causes the most human deaths per year", and when she confirmed the latter, I triumphantly told her it was the tzetze fly, which is a malaria vector.

    She was super impressed. I have maintained my aura of authority for a little bit longer...

  5. I'm glad you're back! I missed reading your posts.
    I'm going to look into that book and maybe relate it to my almost-teenager because the not listening is being recycled every 2 years it seems. As for the shoes, that's a battle I don't think I'll ever win, lol.

  6. So happy about this update! Have been checking your site every second day. The Rachel Cargle event reminds me that I need to do exactly that more often...thank you!