Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crying Fools

Her Turn:

Mothers Day almost came and went without a word from Eric. I’m not a mom (or mum over here) yet and we agreed not to do anything for either mum’s or dad’s day. Still, it felt a little weird that we managed to go out to breakfast, see lots of babies, and walk through the flower market and have Eric not utter a word about what’s going on in our lives. He was noticeably silent regarding the implications of the day and I actually started to feel a bit bad about it.

I really tried to let it go. After all, I was the one who said I didn’t need any attention that day and I couldn’t give him a hard time for my own oversight regarding my feelings. My mom called late in the afternoon to wish me a happy day. She asked what Eric had done for me and I had to sneak out of the room with the phone and explain that he hadn’t said a word all day. She tried to be bright and sunny about it, but I think even she believed it to be a bit atypical of Eric.
Finally, when the day was over and I decided to hit the hay around 11 pm, I peeled down the covers to find a good American magazine (Oprah) and a card. The Mum’s day card was written as if it was the kid talking and it said how happy it was to meet me. OK, so sappy…but I burst into an unexpected flood of tears. I didn’t even know I was that emotional. I thought I was a bit blue, but nothing of the magnitude required to cause this strong outpouring of feelings.
Apparently the card and mag had been there all day long. Eric kept thinking I would take a nap at some point and discover it.
I think I cried for a solid 20 minutes. I was laughing and crying and sobbing all while Eric threw Kleenex at me and laughed with me.

His Turn:

Last Sunday we met some friends for breakfast and they presented us with a wrapped up gift. We opened it up to find a little white onesie for the baby. It was our first-ever-baby-item. I was looking at it and pulled it out to have a good gaze at how small it was when I was started to hear Eric choke up. We had all been focused on looking at the onesie and when we directed our attention to Eric, he just waved us away and said, “I’m a little overwhelmed…it’s all so real…stop looking at me.” He had wet eyes and couldn’t face us. Luckily, he was trapped on the inside of the booth and so he couldn’t ignore us. He just kept choking up and admitting to being “touched, overwhelmed, and happy.”
Gotcha sweetie! Want a tissue?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tadpole Diaries #2

April 2
Whatever happened in the last week to my belly? It popped. I thought that I wouldn't be really "showing" until week 20. I'm at 15 and after the experience of post Bali gastro, I thought my stomach would be flat for several more weeks. But, no...overnight it grew. I woke up in the morning and my skin felt stretched out and taught across my abdomen. I took one look in the mirror and couldn't believe the overnight change.
I walked out to the kitchen and said, "Hey, Eric, look," and I revealed my abdomen. The widening of his eyes let me know that this clearly wasn't my imagination.

April 5
We had dinner plans tonight with some of our expat friends and I encountered a wardrobe crisis. We were going out to eat and I didn't want to be as uncomfortable as the night before when I wore my regular jeans to a comedy show. So...I pulled out my one and only pair of MATERNITY Pants! ARRHHHGGGG. You know, the very hip kind with the big soft stretchy band across the front. I then pulled on a long shirt and piled on a jeans jacket to hide the band as best I could. After eating a big bowl of Tom Yum soup, I couldn't have been happier to be in those pants. Those things are a godsend. I should have bought a pair of them years ago.

April 6
Today we ran some errands and ended up at the big American-looking mall searching for some maternity clothing for me to get through the work week. The two big department stores do NOT have maternity departments. Weird, eh? When I asked where the maternity section was, they looked at me as if I was diseased. "Oh, we don't have THOSE clothes" one of the young, well dressed, snobby girls stated.
We ended up in some upscale shop in our neighborhood and I got a pair of pants and a shirt. That should be good.

7 April
We visited a store called "kid central" on our shopping excursion and Eric found his way to the "pram" section of the store. When I came upon him, he was chatting with the sales clerk about a particular type of stroller. Eric had the thing on the ground and practically disassembled at that point. The saleslady was trying to discuss color choices, but Eric was checking out the "Manly" wheels and the independent front suspension. He was taking that thing around the store and trying a couple of quick turns and wheelies to check it's response. By the time I returned from trying on a pair of maternity jeans (SO UGLY!), Eric had selected to skip the parasol addition but definitely go with the attachable cup holder accessory.
Throughout the rest of the afternoon, Eric pointed out just about every stroller in the mall or on the street and made comments about it's "wimpy wheels, lack of apparent maneuverability, and absence of manly characteristics." Finally he spotted his desired stroller and I had to drive around the block twice so that Eric could get a better look of the thing in action. A guy was pushing it, so that probably gave it further credit.

I think we have a stroller picked out. I think I had nothing to do with it.

8 April
Had my 16 week OB appointment today. Awkwardly, Eric and I ended up on the same slow elevator with my OB on the way to his office. The elevator is one of those junior size ones - like the kind in Europe, or a really old building in New York City. Anyway, by the time we made it up to his office and plunked down in the waiting room, I had to confess to Eric that I was nervous about this man delivering my baby. My OB is very shy. Painfully shy - almost mousy. He slouches when he talks to me and can't look me in the eyes. After riding silently in an elevator with him for about 10 minutes I wondered what the hell he'd say to me when I was screaming in pain.
Eric's only comeback was, "I'm sure he's a lot better in his professional role."
Lord, let's hope so.

After the appointment, Eric and I walked to the coffee shop across the street where we shared a sugary muffin and enjoyed a coffee and chai while watching pregnant women pop in and out of the OB building and women's hospital across the street. Every belly was a different shape and size. The only thing that was evident is that pregnant women look really weird! It's a look that gave us both the giggles after a while and I decided that I should probably just embrace my own odd shape during this time as I'm sure to get laughed in the very near future by complete strangers watching me from coffee shops.

April 12
There was an open house for an apartment that we were going to look at today to possibly rent, but we forgot about it and missed it. It is easy to do as the rental open houses are only 15 minutes long. That's standard here.

If you want to buy a house, the open house lasts just 30 minutes. People don't have Realtors to purchase a home, only to sell a home. So, if you miss the open house, good luck ever getting in to see it.

Today Eric and I went to an open house and auction with our friend Natasha who is trying to buy an apartment. Her hubby was playing golf with friends and she thought handling the auction and her 2 year old daughter at the same time would be too much. So, we stepped in to help. What an experience to go to a home auction....an auctioneer stands on the street with a microphone and takes bids for the home. Housing is crazy here and the prices are through the roof. Most standard 3 bedroom, 2 bath homes in the city are no less than a cool million. This was an apartment...a small 700 foot, 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, no laundry, small kitchen on a busy street and it went for the asking price of 430K. Wow! " Do I hear 440? Going once, going twice..,." The majority of homes and apartments are sold by auction just like this.

After the bidding ended and Natasha had bowed out at the 390K mark, we went out for coffee. In our lives, coffee is a quick experience where one breezes in, orders, reads the paper while sipping coffee, and then leaves. In this world with a two year old, it's about taking the sugar packets in and out of their containers over and over without getting tired of that boring activity, pulling out various things from the diaper bag and flinging them to the ground while watching mom and company pick them up. Then the activity turns to wanting desperately to hold on to everyone Else's spoon and flinging spoon about madly while accidentally stabbing oneself in the eye with said utensil. With subsequent tears, crying and cooing to follow spoon incident, our two year old companion feels that wandering around the patio area and staring at other diners sounds like a good plan. Gentle coaxing child to return to table results in her grabbing the umbrella stand near us and shaking vigorously. Whatever leaves and such were on said umbrella are now raining down on various diners in immediate vicinity. Our table remains happily sheltered under the umbrella. Looks are thrown at us.
While walking out, the two year old hits her head on a table. More tears and holding. A Count Dracula stuffed figurine on counter provides adequate distraction from crying but child does not want to give stuffed Dracula back to coffee shop.
The 2 block walk to the car takes 20 minutes as we stop to look at every leaf and piece of paper on ground. Preventative measures are taken on two occasions as child attempts to run into street. Getting child into car seat is another 5 minute interval.
Total time elapsed for coffee: 1 hour, 15 minutes.

I'm beginning to think we should have just gotten a dog.

April 17
Tax day came and went in the US and we didn' t have to do anything except fill out an extension. Taxes will be a pain come July when we can process our Australian ones, but I'm happy to put it off until then.

Sitting on the couch last night, watching yet another episode of West Wing, the baby decided to make itself known. Eric likes to sit next to me on the couch and put his hand on my belly. He will sit like that for hours if I'd let him. But, as it would happen, the babies first kick happened when Eric's hand was on my belly. So, WE felt the first kick. Awwwwww.

I called Eric at work this morning and he was proud to tell me that everyone in his office now knows about the kick. Is this really the news that we've resorted to telling people? Apparently so.

April 19
Dreamed last night that I had the baby. It wasn't September, it was right now. Yes, I had a baby at 18 weeks and it was fine. It weighed 1.81 kilos, which is 3.99 pounds. But in my dream, I did the math conversion and came up with 3lbs, 43 oz. I know that doesn't make sense. Did I mention that I was sleeping when I did this conversion?
We named the baby Dell. Yes, Dell.
Perhaps I am spending too much time on the computer.

April 20
I have cried 5 times today - once when I heard some sad news from a friend, once when I got really frustrated with something at work (I hid in my car), once when reading a sad story in the on line startribune, once during the evening news, and once during an episode of the west wing. I could cry right now just thinking about it all. Hormone torment.

April 21
18 weeks along...
Spent part of yesterday on a wonderful bike ride through the city. There are gorgeous trails near our house and we have done an inadequate job of exploring them...until yesterday. It was a warm fall day, a perfect 65 degrees, and we rode through falling leaves along the shore of the Yarra river. This is one of those times when you kick yourself for not doing something sooner. Why did we wait so long to find that trail? I remember last summer in MN when I rode with Christine almost every weekend and it was like I was seeing Minneapolis for the first time. I had no idea we had all those beautiful trails in MN, and then I move away within one short summer of finding them. Now I discover this beautiful bike path near my home and I probably shouldn't even be on a bike.
Eric kicked my butt on the bike ride by the way. I was a huffing and puffing ball of goo who looked somewhat ridiculous in her bike shorts. I tend to be somewhat competitive and it did hurt my ego a bit when I had to say, "I'm tired, and I think I need to turn around and go home now." Whaaaaa.

April 22
Mother's Day is around the bend and if my card is going to make it to the US on time, I had better get it in the mail.
This gets me thinking about that particular day....
Mother's Day has been a strange holiday for me for the past several years. It's been a little bittersweet actually and I'm not sure I can explain it well, but I'm sure there are others out there who feel the way that I do. Surely I can't be alone here.
Mother's Day is a celebration of my own wonderful relationship with my mother - yet it is also a time when restaurants are filled with children and parents and grandparents. For the past several years, I felt like it was a holiday where I was somehow displaced...somehow "missing out". It wasn't self-pity so much as self-loathing. Where was my life going? Would I ever have children? Would I ever be a mom? I would look around at these happy but tired looking moms and their smiling (or crying) kids and get a tinge of jealousy. Certainly I would never have felt this feeling if I'd had kids in my 20's.
I get this feeling twice a year - Mother's Day and the day that I read about an event my high school throws for the alumni moms and their kids.... "Breakfast with Santa."

For many years, I have longed to be a full participant in these two days.

April 24
It's 9:30 at night and I am madly craving spice cake. Spice cake with cream cheese frosting. I want it so badly that I can taste it. How I miss the US and the 24 hour grocery stores!

April 28
In the middle of my work day, in the middle of a pacemaker surgery, at a time when it was impossible to leave for any reason, I desperately wanted saltines with cream cheese and kalamata olives.

April 29
The baby kicks a lot and it tickles and I love it. Generally it kicks whenever I strap on the lead suit that I have to wear in the cath lab. I pull it tight across my abdomen, double the layer with a second heavy lead over the belly and then pull on the lead vest. It's heavy and it hurts my back, but based on the scare that I had earlier, I figure I don't have any "points" left and I must wear all this gear to protect the kid. However, I think it squashes the kids living room and it kicks at the lead shield during the procedure. It provides entertainment when I am bored during a surgery. Mainly it seems to kick when we are using the radiation..how does it know? This scares me every time and I begin to wonder if I should quit tomorrow and stay out of that damn cath lab. During one particularly long surgery when I was clad in every sort of protective garment imaginable due to the patient having Hep C and HIV, I began to make a list of all the jobs that I could have that would be worse for me at this time in my life.
1. Worker in a Nuclear Power Plant
2. Flight attendant
3. Scuba Diver
4. Surgeon
5. Interventional Cardiologist
6. Jockey
7. Radiation Technologist
8. Interventional Radiologist
9. Astronaut
10. Firefighter
11. Policewoman
12. Paramedic

There are probably more, but that is the list so far. I made it to make myself feel better, but it didn't really work.

May 1
Eric and I are flying home for a visit on May 23rd. yippee. I've never started packing so early. We can hardly wait and have begun the countdown calendar.
In order to travel back to the US on Qantas airlines, I needed to get a letter of approval from my OB and we had to get travel insurance for all THREE of us. Weird.
Unlike our US health insurance, Australia insurance only covers us when we are within Australia or in New Zealand. Anywhere else we go, we need travel insurance. The Aussies don't understand why we need to get insurance to travel to our own country. "Aren't you Americans though?" They are perplexed. After having lived in this system for a few months, I can see how confusing it is for them. "We don't have public health care, " I have to explain, "All insurance is private." Thus begins a long line of questioning about what we do when someone doesn't have insurance...ahhh....the debate goes on. Are we the only country in the world like that? I feel like I'm in a Michael Moore movie.
So...I had to fill out some forms, guarantee that we would be back before I was 26 weeks along in my pregnancy since that is the limit for most travel insurance, and then pay a fee schedule for US travel.
Now my doc will be putting me on some sort of low dose heparin (blood thinner) and then I get to wear those sexy thigh high compression stocking for the 30 hour flight. Comfy, eh? I know that you are all jealous.
Forgive me if I'm a little cranky when we deplane in St. Paul.
Oh, and yes, the flight is 30 hours. The only ticket we could get takes us from Melbourne to New Zealand, to LAX and then on to MSP. It makes a person wonder if going the other way around the world would be faster.

May 2
Eric called from the grocery store. "Want anything special," he asked. "Gummy anything, " I replied. He came home with gummy dinosaurs and sour gummy snakes. Now I don't want anything gummy anymore.

May 3
My belly button used to look like a small upright oval, now it looks like a giant cheerio.

May 4

May 6
I'm klutzy and forgetful. I tried to do a nice presentation to a doctor this morning after seeing a patient and I ended up dropping all the papers on the floor...twice. The patient printout is a giant roll of information and the thing capsized out onto the floor like a giant roll of toilet paper. I tried to compose myself, but when it happened the second time, I just stated, "Sorry, I must have taken my awkward pill this morning." It got a chuckle, but I think the man just felt sorry for me.

May 7
20 Weeks! Halfway baby. We went to our official baby ultrasound scan today. It's like going to the premier of the best movie ever. We were seriously giddy and excited beyond reason. The kid was sleeping and laying on one arm while waving the other one. One foot was out, the other was tucked back. It sleeps like me. We got to see the fingers and toes, heart, brain, bladder, bones, and face. On close inspection of the feet, the kid had a giant big toe just like Eric. I asked Eric if he had endured a lifetime of ridicule due to his enormous toes. He stated that I was the only one to ever even notice it and he sounded mildly offended. Maybe that should be the last time I tease him about it.... Naw....

May 8
My coworkers want to know if it is a boy or a girl. When I told them that we didn't find out, there was mild disappointment. Then my coworker Donna declared that she had a magic crystal that would determine the sex of the child. She opened a silk bag and pulled out a pendant that she then rubbed on my belly and waved over me. (Yes, this was at work). She asked questions of the crystal and after serious deliberation, it was declared that I was having a boy.
Just for the record, crystal-totin' Donna says it's a boy.

May 10
It's Saturday. It's beautiful here with the leaves changing color for fall. Eric and I are excited for our trip home and even more excited for this baby. Despite the hormones, the cravings, and the general tubbiness, I'm really really happy. Ahh....second trimester bliss. Love IT!!!!