Sunday, March 30, 2008

FWIW: Despite the insanity at work, I finished the book I started a year ago.

F'ing Work

Work has been nutty lately. One of the myriad things that sucks about my job is being unable to talk about it. As a brief, non-violative-of-canons-of-ethics description of the recent suckage:
  • I am currently staffed on seven active matters, four for paying clients, three pro bono.
  • One has been a major national news item of late. This is never good for the lawyers involved, myself included, as it usually means many horribly long nights, which are even less awesome when pregnant, especially when in what appears to be the only second trimester to be unaccompanied by the mythical burst of energy of which others speak.
  • Another was previously a major national news item. It hasn't been lately, but the mindset of the people at the top working on it is still fraught with that same sense of urgency. This makes everything about said matter urgent, whether it's urgent or not.
  • Another was a minor national news item a while back. It eventually settled and seemed to have gone away. I always thought settlement was the end. I have since learned that this is not the case. I have also learned that insurance companies can suck to have to deal with.
  • The last paying client matter is unlike the rest, in that it will never been anything that anyone cares about other than the companies involved. The client is paying too much to resolve a matter that just isn't worth it. But it isn't my job to point that out. I just hope I don't have to spend time in arbitration in Texas this summer. It's hot there.
  • One pro bono client has an asylum interview this week -- unlike my other cases, this is about a lot more than money so the stakes are, well, real; another seems to be correct that she may really be screwed, and no one at the shelter she lives at will take a damn message; and the third failed to give me the zip code for her PO Box and isn't answering her cell phone, which makes her tough to reach.
Sadly, I prefer being crazy busy to being slow. So, all in all, this has been a nice change of pace.


I never really thought I'd get to sixteen weeks. In my mind/heart/whatever, pregnancy ended sooner than that. I still haven't really figured out how to tell people and am secretly hoping that someone else will do it so I don't have to. Oddly, it's working so far. Word has been spreading at work, and I've been getting cryptic emails lately from people asking if I have any news. I usually just respond with a date. Again, it's working so far.

I had to go shopping this weekend to buy some clothes that fit, or at least fit better. I was down to four bottoms that fit without one of those belly band things, and three more that worked with it (always very professional to walk around a law firm with your pants undone), and I was scared people would start to notice that I was rotating the same outfits week after week. I almost had a panic attack standing outside the store -- complete with rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, light-headedness, sense of world fading to black. If P and a friend of mine hadn't been with me, I am pretty sure I would have run away. It was way too much for me, and I found the whole experience horribly unpleasant from start to finish.

I feel an odd ambivalence about having people know, which ties in to the clothes issue. If no one knows, and something goes wrong, I will find a way to get through it. What horrifies me is the idea of something going wrong and having to tell anyone else. I feel like people want to know about one another's issues as much for themselves as for the other (or at least that is the case in my family), and I have no interest in comforting anyone else if something goes wrong in my life, which I know will be expected, even if the person doesn't recognize they are in fact expecting as much. So I have been taking advantage of the fact that I, generally, don't really look any different, hiding in looser sweaters and wearing my regular pants/skirts, in the hopes that if no one knows and something goes wrong I can go about my business, crying in my office with the door closed, and shutting them all out.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Daytime Mommy

My mom left on her annual sojourn west days after we gave her our news. Normally, she calls a few times (maybe once every week to ten days) during these trips. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I often tune out what she says on such calls, since they tend to be dull updates regarding how lovely it is to get a break from not having any real responsibilities, and to get to do so in a place that is far warmer than where I am.

This year, her calls came at the same interval as they always did, but the calls seemed different. She didn't drone on and on about herself and her "exciting" life. Instead, she actually asked about me. And seemed to be genuinely interested in hearing my answers. We talked about morning sickness, and the fact that she never really had any. And she talked about the cravings she had when pregnant with me. And how her pregnancies with me and my brother were really different, enough that she knew he would be a boy since I was not. We had real conversations. The kind I imagine other women have with their mothers and think nothing of but that to me are extraordinarily foreign.

The real key: she was sober. I can't think of the last time I had two calls in a row from my mother in which she wasn't wasted and slurring her speech so badly it was hard to know what she was talking about. She sounded like what I, as a kid, called "daytime mommy" (a marked contrast from "nighttime mommy," who largely just became "mom" when my parents split up and no one kept from from getting drunk before 8pm anymore). It was weird. I almost convinced myself that she had realized that P and I were unlikely to let her hold our child, let alone spend time alone with him/her, in her present state and decided it was time to sober up. Or, even better, that her happiness at our happiness was enough to subdue the need to pour herself successive glasses of wine to numb the feelings she has spent her adult life numbing. Alas, her return home this week proved that one wrong, but it was nice to have daytime mommy back, even if it was just for a brief period.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maybe I'll Actually Finish It Now

Niobe tagged me ages ago to do the book meme that's been circulating, and I started to do it then (and by "started" I mean I identified the closest book), but I never actually opened blogger and typed anything. Of course, by the time I sat down to do so, I had a different book in closest proximity. Unsure which to use, I figured I'd just use both.

The rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people

When I first set out to do this, I was evidently feeling ambitious and thought I was close to finishing the book I've been reading on and off for close to a year. So the closest book was the book I had just selected to read next, mainly because I wanted to see the movie and hate seeing a movie based on a book prior to reading the book. The relevant selection:

But despite his aversion to money and conspicuous consumption, Chris's political leanings could not be described as liberal. Indeed, he delighted in ridiculing the policies of the Democratic Party and was a vocal admirer of Ronald Reagan. At Emory he went so far as to co-found a College Republican Club.

But it's been weeks and I still haven't finished the other book, so Into the Wild still sits on the coffee table, waiting to be opened for a longer period than it takes to identify and type three sentences on page 123. Sitting closer to me now is the book I really do hope to finish this weekend. The relevant selection there:

The PLO had a bagpipe band in Beirut. I once heard it perform as part of an honor guard reception for Jesse Jackson when he came to visit Arafat in September 1979. The bagpipers were Palestinians who had defected from the British-trained Jordanian army, where they apparently acquired their musical knowledge from Scottish advisers.

I committed myself in 2007 to actually finishing books, rather than merely starting them, as is more typical for me. And I did a decent job, From Beirut to Jerusalem notwithstanding (and I will finish it). Because I have refused to let myself tried not to start reading anything new until I have finished the last, though, I have read very little in 2008. Fifty pages to go.

Sharing the love:

1. Sushilover at Life After D&C
2. Kelly at Just Breathe . . .
3. Laura at Elephant in the Room
4. Future Mommy at How to Have a Baby
5. Ta at RoTa

And anyone else who wants to do it, consider yourself tagged too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Our house has four bedrooms: one is bigger and is our bedroom; two are the same basic size and serve as the office and guest room; the fourth is smaller and is, well, the room that shall not be named but is currently used for storage. In the years we have lived in our house, we have given thought to using it for various purposes, but, knowing what we eventually wanted it to be, we hesitated for fear of resenting the loss of our walk in closet or second floor laundry room or exercise area. So it has become the dumping ground for everything that has no other away. And since the fall, we have struggled to talk about it at all. As with everything else, I live in perpetual fear of speaking words aloud, certain that uttering the words will bring a curse or jinx upon me and leave us where we were last fall when we let ourselves plan ahead and think about the future. P jokes that we should call the baby Voldemort, agreeing to bear whatever curse may befall from naming he who shall not be named but will eventually live in the room that shall not be named.

I have trouble telling people that I am, well, you know, and instead have developed an intense need to speak in euphemism and innuendo. I find it easier to tell people by email and without words at all (such as by sending an ultrasound photo) than to actually say words like "pregnant" or "expecting," words which give me the willies even writing them here. I couldn't even bring myself to tell the head of my department like a normal person when I decided to tell him yesterday. I emailed him an ultrasound image and a semi-joking question about what I needed to do to make the news official, then appeared in his office a moment later.

We are thinking that to avoid this problem with respect to telling long-distance friends and family, we may create an email address for our dog and let him share the news. Maybe if dogs write things, the hex won't take.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I feel like I have a big backlog of posts that I wrote in my head while our internet connection was spotty, but now I'm super busy at work and haven't had time to write them down. Hopefully later this week.

For now, I'm excited to be in the second trimester. Mainly just because it's a quick and easy way to mark of the passage of time -- some time has passed, and now there is less to go. Certainly not because I have any sense of safety. I am also starting to look fatter (not so much p-word, but I look especially lumpy if I wait to long to pee), so I'm realizing that we should probably start telling more people before they ask. If anyone has any creative suggestions, let me know. We were hoping to be able to tell people as we see them, but the next time we'll see one of our groups of friends is at a baby shower for one of them, and that just feels like the wrong place to tell people -- it's not my damn event. And a lot of our other friends live far away, and we're not likely to see them for a long time.

Separately, I had my monthly pee-in-a-cup/blood-pressure-check/weigh-in appointment yesterday, and it was pretty uneventful, which was fantastic in itself. I've gained 2 pounds so far, though I think it looks like more -- I loathe bloating. I heard the heartbeat again -- 158bpm. Everything seemed fine, which felt surreal. They set up my next three appointments while I was there, which seems very future-oriented, which still seems strange to me. Assuming I'll still be pregnant in late May seems decidedly optimistic and wholly inconsistent with the uber-guarded and reserved approach I've been taking about this whole affair.

They also told me to call today to schedule my "big ultrasound" for the week of April 14. The echoes continue for me between this pregnancy and the last -- my due date for the last was April 13, and that same week we'll get to find out if this one has all his/her necessary parts. And my due date continues to be September 14, which is one year to the day after the D&E. Strange.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

36: Damn monsoon

We have a large TV room that adjoins our smallish kitchen. We have a dining room but don't use it as often as we should -- mainly when we have company. So we eat a lot of meals sitting on our couch with our plates on the coffee table. This is not ideal for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that it's not so good for anyone's back to spend so much time hunched over like that.

Since we bought this house, we have been saying we needed a better solution. The ideal long term solution was that we wanted to open a pass-through into the kitchen, add some cabinets, and extend the counter into the TV room as a bar-style table with bar stools. But that clearly involves a lot of effort. So our short term plan (which I expect will be the only plan) is to get a table and chairs to put at one end of the TV room. But there's not a ton of space because of the door to the back porch and the door to the half bath. And we want a table big enough for four people (in no small part so that we can both sit on the same side and watch Jeopardy while we eat). And in three years we hadn't found anything even remotely acceptable. And I was sure we'd looked everywhere.

Somehow I forgot we had an I*kea, or forgot that I*kea sold things that could be useful, or something. (Admittedly, I've never been to I*kea.) Apparently I*kea had the perfect table all along. And this was going to be our weekend to make the drive out there to get it. Until the Noachian flooding hit, making the thought of going outside, much less driving 45 minutes to pick up a piece of furniture that would have to be loaded into and unloaded out of the car, decidedly unappealing. Damn monsoon. I wanted to stop eating on the coffee table!!!


So our internet connection is finally up and stable again (plus, Com*cast put in a new cable modem and phone line today), so there may be another flurry of posts from me.

Last Monday, at 12w1d, I had my NT scan. We weren't sure we were going to do it, but decided to do it in part because our insurance said they'd cover it (here's hoping they actually do) and we wanted the extra peek at the baby. We went to a different ultrasound place than last fall and were much happier with the experience, and not just because of the better outcome. They had snacks and drinks and magazines. The wait was short, the staff was friendly, and the place just felt more welcoming -- less like a factory and more like a place I didn't mind spending time.

Everything looked good. The baby looked like a baby. It was pretty unbelievable. The heartrate was 167. S/he had two legs and two arms, and at least one hand with all its fingers (we didn't get as good a look at the other). S/he looked a bit cramped up in there, so after a while the tech had me empty my bladder, after which s/he was moving all over the place, stretching and doing what P was sure were sit-ups. We got to spend 30 full minutes watching him/her move around. I most definitely cried a little. And we got five pictures. Here are two:

The tech thought the first was a better profile shot, but this one sorta cute since s/he's sucking his/her thumb (or at least putting hand to mouth):