Monday, December 31, 2012

The word of 2012 was "soon": My year in review.

I've had some big years in the past. Usually they're "big" in a bad way, marked by tragedy of some sort. This one was different, though... A mixed bag of supreme excitement and mind-blowing anxiety, and I didn't post about it nearly enough.

We moved back into our house while continuing to repair it from 2011's flood damage.

I started a new position at the factory job, as a supervisor over the temporary workers. It was interesting, with a ton of comedic moments as well as an insanely crazy amount of stress. I still have mixed emotions about that job, even though I don't regret that I got to spend way too much time with some awesome people, since it was basically my second home. Of course some people were shits, but that's the game.

I got to have an awesome trip with my best friends to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Then one of those friends moved to Hawaii. I miss her face. (And her awesome husband and beautiful daughter's faces, too!)

The Hubby left for boot camp, where after thirteen long weeks he became a Marine. On the flip side, I got to fly to California, a place I've never been, and I got a Marine for a husband. I could not possibly be more proud. As of this year I have two brothers in the Navy and a husband in the Marine Corps, along with a lot more extended family serving (or having previously served) in different branches of the military.

Amidst all of this, I was pregnant. With a baby girl. I had horrible morning sickness well past the first trimester, and after only briefly fading it came back with a vengeance at the end. This time it brought its buddy Heartburn, and he was a major asshole. With The Hubby being away at boot camp, MCT, and training in North Carolina he missed most of the pregnancy. We were together in August for his 10 days after boot camp, then I didn't see him again until Thanksgiving, two weeks after our beautiful daughter was born.

I just got to see him again over Christmas... He got PCS orders (these tell us what base he will be stationed out of), and they moved him straight into the barracks at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina after he finished his training. We have been waiting for those to tell us where we would be moving to so we can all be together again. So this past week I was in Jacksonville, NC with The Hubby househunting and trying to get things set up over there. We wanted to live off base, and success! We found and signed a lease on an apartment! He will actually be moving in there on January 1st, and as soon as the office that organizes the moving stuff approves it he'll be coming to move me, Baby Girl, the kitties, and all of our stuff in with him. I can't wait! I'll miss our friends and family here, but I'm more excited to be back with my husband and raise our little girl together.

It's been an insane year. Having a baby always ups the stakes, but our biggest ruler this year has still been the Marine Corps. With Baby Girl, I knew I had a November deadline and that I'd end up with a baby. With the military, nothing is official until it's in writing at the last minute, and even then it might change later. Most of the year has been spent waiting on information. I've been patient enough, but I was also dealing with quite a bit myself being pregnant and then caring for a newborn. So I really didn't allow myself to stress about the military stuff very often, and instead focused on the things that I did have control over--going to work every day, taking care of the kitties, having a healthy pregnancy and having a healthy, happy baby at the end of it all. I will definitely say it hasn't been easy, but we definitely have gotten through. And although I am still facing the question mark of when my family will finally be together again, I know that it is coming, and soon.

I can't wait to see what 2013 brings us.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lazy days.

It's hard to believe this is my life now... Granted, I can laze about watching movies or shows on Netflix like it's my job, but up until now it's only been on days off from an actual paying job. Or school, or whatever combination of the two I had going at the time. Since I started working, I've only ever been out of the workforce temporarily and had something else lined up every time. The only real gap was between my job at the shelter and the first time working at the factory, but that was because there was a massive amount of hiring and they were starting everyone in groups. And that was only a few days, really.

Now I have nowhere to be but with baby girl. I have nothing to do but make sure she is taken care of, healthy, and as happy as can be possible when you're surrounded by things you've never seen or heard or felt before, the giants you rely on speak a language you can't understand, your limbs flail about so uncontrollably that you're not even sure for a while that they even belong to you, and you can't help but shit your pants all the time. (Can you blame her?)    

Still, taking care of a newborn is no picnic, especially when you're doing it on your own. I really don't have time for much else, so I'm glad this is all I've got going on at the moment. Now I just set small goals to accomplish: Today I'll do laundry. Today I'll get all the trash out. Today I'll tidy up the living room. Today I'll check the mail (no mailbox at the house requires a trip to the post office). Even showering is a goal I have to set, and unfortunately for my poor snuggly child and any unsuspecting visitors it's not a daily one. I'm not totally on my own though, my parents and the in-laws are more than willing to take her off my hands so I can run errands and get some rest.

Yesterday baby girl decided that sleep and was for pussies and eating an ounce to two ounces every half hour or so was the fun thing to do. Probably another growth spurt, which is awesome but leads to one tired mama. Thankfully, my insomnia issue has all but vanished since she was born, out of necessity. I'm sure that my body figured out that functioning wasn't going to be possible if I didn't adjust, because she doesn't always give me much time to catch z's. I fall asleep a lot faster and sleep a lot deeper than I ever have before, and am able to tune out anything but baby. The cats knocked a couple of pans off of the counter one night and I didn't know about it until I saw them in the floor that morning. Didn't hear a thing. But if the baby so much as makes a peep I'm wide awake.

But I digress. Sleepless baby who is constantly eating. She tends to get clingy during these phases, and if I set her down when she falls asleep she instantly wakes up and loudly protests. Sometimes, though, it's successful and she stays down for a little while. Maybe only 10 minutes, maybe 2 hours. I'm not afraid to let her fuss a little while I do the necessary things if I know she's okay. But today she's just really wanted to stay with mama. And I've been okay with that. Most of today has been spent on the couch holding her, talking to her, and playing with her. I've set her down long enough to use the bathroom, grab something to eat, make and wash her bottles, but even as I'm typing this she's been right next to me. There are plenty of things I could have gotten done today... There's laundry that came out of the dryer 3 days ago that I could have folded and put up. And she was asleep on my chest/in my arms for a solid 3 hours where I could have done whatever, maybe. (She might have woke up as soon as I laid her down. It's always a crapshoot, really.) But instead I chose to just hang out on the couch, and just held her the whole time. I guess sometimes mama just wants to be clingly and snuggle, too. And watch her baby grow way too fast.

Friday, December 7, 2012

On a failed endeavor.

I wanted to breastfeed my baby girl. I didn't make plans for how long, was waiting until I got into things to decide when I wanted to also give her bottles (of pumped breastmilk, I had bought a pump), and did not get myself into the militant anti-formula mindset that some do. However, I very strongly wanted to breastfeed, to give her the best start, to do something so perfectly natural.

I was happy to be able to do so almost immediately after she was born, before they took her to the nursery to clean her up, weigh and measure her, and so on. She latched on without issue, and I was thrilled. Of course, she was as exhausted as I was, so she kept falling asleep. Couldn't blame the kid, she'd had a hard day, too.

Later, though, we kept having the same problem. She'd fall asleep almost immediately after latching on, even if she had been awake and alert right before. Then she started to refuse the boob. She wouldn't just politely decline, though, she'd scream bloody murder, back arched and everything. I thought at first maybe she was just frustrated at not getting anything (it takes a few days for milk to come in), but then I saw that I was leaking colostrum (the pre-milk good stuff that is produced until the milk comes in) whenever she would initially start to nurse. So all the pieces were there... I was making the stuff she needed, and she was able to latch. But for some reason she just wasn't having it.
Sometimes if I could get her to just latch on even if she was going ballistic, she'd calm down and nurse for a little while (and inevitably fall asleep, which was another battle), but for the most part that wasn't the case. It was just a heartbreaking scream-fest, and my baby wasn't eating. One nurse literally scared the shit out of my poor screaming child by grabbing her head and holding it in place while rubbing her throat to encourage swallowing. Baby girl's eyes popped wide open, she stopped screaming as she froze up, latched on, and then loudly shit in her diaper as soon as the nurse walked off. I think we both hated that nurse. But even that didn't work. As with any other time a nurse tried to help us out (and none of the others traumatized us like that, they really were trying to help), she simply latched on and then either fall asleep or came off screaming as soon as they walked off.

But basically, she wasn't eating much of anything. I'd whip out the boob, she might or might not latch for a minute, she'd start screaming and arching her back and otherwise have a meltdown, I'd console her, she'd fall asleep, I'd wake her up and try again, and the cycle would repeat. There were a few times we were somewhat successful, and I'll admit I straight up lied to the nurses and told them she was nursing for longer than she actually was in those instances so they wouldn't insist on bottle-feeding her. But that night I caved. That evil nurse briefly became my savior when she asked me if I wanted her to take her to the nursery for the night so I could get some rest. I was in full-on breakdown mode, sobbing right along with baby girl as I tried to console her, and I knew I had in that moment reached my limit. I told her to take her, and when she asked if I wanted them to give her a bottle or bring her back in when she was ready to eat again I said they could give her the bottle. I was such a wreck, I could hardly move, I was exhausted and still hooked up to machines because of my blood pressure, was still on medication that made me drowsy, my hormones were going haywire, and the child I loved more than anything in the world rejected what I could offer. I balled my eyes out when they took her out of my room, feeling exhausted, feeling like a failure, feeling guilty and weak and completely powerless. But the logical, realistic, practical side of my brain kept saying "It's more important that she eats than that she eats the way you want her to." And my mom was there with me through it all, too, saying "You're not a failure, you're not a bad mom. You're doing what you have to, and this doesn't mean you can't keep trying."

I did keep trying, but had the same results. So after leaving the hospital I started using the pump, wanting her to still be able to get the benefits of breastmilk even if she wasn't getting it directly from the source. But again, things kept getting in the way of allowing me to pump as often as I would need to in order to keep up my supply to keep up with her needs, and she was getting formula a few times a day. In order for exclusive pumping to truly be successful, you need to pump either before or after every feeding, or at least every 2-3 hours. But I ran into issues, because pumping takes forever, feeding her and getting her settled takes forever, and that first week we were constantly on the go, and my pump stopped working the very damn night my milk came in. It was replaced the next day, but that was still a VERY uncomfortable few hours. I was trying so hard to do it all on my own even though I was staying with my mom and she was always there to help, but I wore myself out and what got pushed aside most often (aside from my health lol) was pumping. The most I pumped was six times in one day, and I only did that a couple of days.

Then I came back home after a week at Mom's, because The Hubby was coming home for Thanksgiving. That's when pumping really started taking a hit, because I kept pushing it aside in favor of spending time with him and helping him with baby girl. He only had a few days home, but after he left I decided to stay home, just me and baby girl, instead of going back to my mom's. There's no place like home, and all. But without someone to help me out, pumping dropped down to 2-3 times a day, and then down to 1-2, and now I'm on my second day of not pumping at all. She hit a growth spurt and started "snacking." She'd only eat a little bit at a time, and she was eating a lot more often. Plus she's been awake more, and when she's awake I'm holding her and interacting with her. Can't hold her and pump, and if she's left to chill by herself for very long while she's awake she starts fussing. So the only time I could pump is when she's sleeping. But she's been taking longer to get to sleep, and half the time she wakes back up as soon as I lay her down. The past few times I tried to pump I wasn't getting anywhere near as much as I had been, so I knew my supply was way down. It's hard to increase it once it's been allowed to drop, and the past few days she's been so clingy and fussy I haven't been able to pump any. I actually got her to nurse a couple of times yesterday (I've kept trying every once in a while--for the most part unsuccessfully), but I know she wasn't getting much and when I tried again it was back to "not gonna happen, Mom." So basically we're just using up what's left of the breastmilk I have stored in the fridge, then switching to exclusively using formula.               

I was putting quite a bit of pressure on myself, wanting everything just this once to work out easily. But it hasn't. It's frustrating that I couldn't even make it 4 weeks before giving up on not just breastfeeding but pumping as well. It has been difficult enough for me to deal with all this that I've been crying while typing most of this out. Re-living it is hard, going through it was devastating. But to me, it's more important that baby girl has a sane-ish, somewhat-rested mama. There were too many times where I knew I had enough time to either pump or get something to eat myself or wash bottles or do laundry, etc., but not more than one of those things before she woke up. I question what I could have differently to in order for things to have worked out, but ultimately I did what I did and that can't be changed. She is still growing, is perfectly healthy, and is just her own little perfect self. Why did I ever think that a child of mine would cooperate? I must say that it totally sucks that feeding her just got a lot more expensive, however. Le sigh.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A birth story. (Or skip to the bottom for the payoff.)

So, yeah. That blood pressure thing? Was in fact pre-eclampsia, and since the day of that next doctor appointment was the 39-week mark of my pregnancy, when he came in he said that I needed to have the baby ASAP. The only cure for pre-e is having the baby, so BAM! That's what I did. And if I do say so myself, I did it like a boss.

The appointment was scheduled for 9 a.m., I was admitted to the hospital and in a room by 9:45 (my doctor's office is right across from the hospital), and by about 10:30 they had started the pitocin. Lucky me, I was already in early labor--I had been having contractions all that morning, but I was extremely confused by them. See, they tell you that you need to go to the hospital when your contractions are 5 minutes apart and a minute long. Mine were never 5 minutes apart or a minute long, and I was joking about it with my mom while waiting for the doctor before the appointment. My back was hurting a little with each one and I felt crampy, and after a while I finally said "Should I be timing these?" I started trying to time them, but although they were extremely close together they weren't really consistent and I gave up on that.

Once I got hooked up to the machines and all (BTW, birth plan totally went out the window when pre-eclampsia showed up and put me and Baby G at risk! I'm glad I wasn't dead set on any specific plan of action, I was realistic and had very little guilt that things didn't go as I had hoped they would.), the awesome nurses confirmed that I was in fact in early labor, and that I was "blessed" with super-fun cluster contractions. Instead of a single contraction every few minutes, I'd have a series of them back-to-back, then a short break, then repeat. Lucky me. When the pitocin started working its magic, this little complication led to me agreeing to pain meds, which I had really wanted to try and go without. But the fact that I wasn't ever really getting a break from the contractions wore me down. They skipped Demerol and started me on Stadol to try and take the edge off and help me rest between contractions (HA! There WAS no "between contractions"! There was only "try to breathe normally for a second before the next one peaks."). It didn't even begin to touch it, it's like they had done nothing pain-wise. But it did make me drowsy, so that's about when I started selectively ignoring everyone in the room. My eyes didn't want to stay open, so they kept thinking I was sleeping. Nope. I heard everything that was going on around me, but was totally focused on my body (in a fuzzy kind of way) and the massive amount of shit that I was talking in my head but too lazy to say out loud. I mean, it's not like I could really do anything, I was too doped up to move very well, not to mention that it's difficult to move anyway when you're 39 weeks pregnant. So I did what I do, and mentally eviscerated everyone around me with sarcasm.

But everything was moving very quickly. The contractions kept getting stronger, and it seemed like no time after getting started on the Stadol I was grumpily agreeing to the epidural. Apparently my grumpiness about that paired with my drowsiness made me uncooperative as well, because it took them forever to get the epidural started. Apparently I wouldn't sit up straight enough. Apparently that's important. But while this process was taking forever, I was being told not to move while having a contraction. Which was pretty much the whole time they were trying to get the epidural going. Cluster contractions, remember? So I'm damn proud of myself for powering through during that time, when all I wanted to do was throw an elbow back into the face of the anesthesiologist who was taking for-fucking-ever. They kept saying I was leaning over and needed to sit up straight. I'd try to sit up straight but the way I was positioned was making it difficult. They had moved a chair over for me to rest my feet on, but it wasn't in the right place directly in front of me, it was at an angle. Of course, I was busy pretending I was alone in the room and therefore did not choose to pass on this information. Instead, every time they said I needed to be sitting up straight I thought, "Make me, motherfuckers, because I couldn't if I tried." They told me to let them know if I was having a contraction, but I didn't see the point in passing on that information either because when I'd tell them they'd just say "Okay, just don't move!" With all the helpful people telling me "Oh, here comes a contraction! A big one! Oh, it's starting to back off now!" I was pretty sure they knew when contractions were happening anyway. I still don't understand why everyone felt the need to tell *me* when I was having a contraction, because I promise that even after the epidural I fucking well knew it. I think the epidural did for me what the Stadol was supposed to have done--it took the edge off. But I still felt every contraction from start to finish. Even after they gave me a second dose of the epidural when the first stopped working, I still felt it all, it just wasn't as bad and I was more able to cope. In all seriousness, this is why I didn't want pain medication in the first place. It never tends to work for me. My experience with medication in general is that it takes some pretty serious stuff to have any major effect on me, and I prefer not to mess with serious medications. But the fact that I wasn't really getting any break between contractions made me feel it was necessary.

I think I got the epidural somewhere between 2 and 3 in the afternoon (there was a clock on the wall, but holy shit was I high from the Stadol). Did I mention that's when my water broke? During my non-struggle to sit up straight? Because that's when that happened. No going back at that point, baby had to be born within 24 hours of that occurrence. But when I said things were moving fast I meant it. I got to the room around 9:45. There really was no time frame where I was relaxed and chill, able to handle a bunch of visitors or anything. It was straight to intense. Pitocin around 10:30. Stadol a while later (not sure anymore what time that happened), epidural/water breaking at 2 or 3 pm, started pushing around 4:30-4:45pm, and my lovely lady Alyson came into the world at 4:55 pm on November 9, after I had only been in the hospital for 7 hours. Not too bad for a first-time mom.

She was perfect.  

6 pounds, 18.5 inches long. She loves naps, can sleep through just about anything, and hates being naked. She has her daddy's nose, and her mama's ears. She also has an old man's mannerisms and receding hairline. She's going to have bad eyesight if she keeps staring at light fixtures and sticking her fingers in her eyes. She sounds like a chipmunk when she gets really mad, and she smiles as she poops in your hand. It's still a beautiful little gummy smile. Her favorite place is on your chest, and she doesn't cry for no reason. She's a very versatile kid so far, but will adamantly refuse to do anything she doesn't want to. (Like breastfeed, even though she has proven time and again that she is perfectly capable of doing so. But that's a whole 'nother blog post.) Based on the number of people that were in the waiting room "waiting" on her to make her appearance, she has to be one of the most loved babies in the world. I adore her, and she definitely stole her daddy's heart too when he came home for Thanksgiving. I'm already amazed at how fast she's growing, and can't wait to see her full personality start to emerge. She seems pretty cool so far. We're both doing fine, and every time things get a little hairy I just remind myself "Hey, we're both new at this. I'm new as a parent, she's new as a person, we're both just trying to figure things out. We'll get the hang of it." Maybe she'll get the hang of it anyway, I think the parenting thing is just one surprising thing after another for the rest of the kid's life. But in any case, I'm in love...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Well played, Baby G.

So I've made it to the 38 week mark, and I still don't hate this! I do, however, hate that at my appointment today my blood pressure was elevated enough to warrant a 24-hour urine collection and BEDREST. Super fun stuff. I can handle peeing in a jug for a day, that's whatever. But what I really wish Baby G understood was that today was the first day I was really going to be able to start my *get shit done* phase. Last week I finally finished out my last day of work (yay!), then my sister came to stay with me for a few days since she was out of school. The plan was for us to get some packing done, but instead we preferred a bunch of lazy days watching movies and chowing down on junk. I stand by that decision.

Today's plan was for me to go to the doctor appointment, then go home and get busy catching up on cleaning, laundry, and more baby-clothes sorting. (...I've accumulated quite a bit...). Little by little this week I was going to knock out some projects, as much as swelling and shortness and breath allowed. Instead I was ordered specifically to "keep my ass in bed." No cleaning, no dishes, no laundry, no going to Walmart, no driving around to relieve boredom, just "ass in bed." I love my doctor's blunt honesty and sense of humor, but I know to take this seriously. It's just highly unfortunate timing I guess. I'll take the little brown jug back to the hospital tomorrow afternoon and get blood drawn, then have to go back to bedrest until my follow-up appointment Friday morning. Hopefully all will be fine then, and I can carry on with my original plan to *get shit done.* But in the meantime, I *can't do shit.*

Thankfully my mom will be staying with me until it's baby time, although she'll still be going to work during the day. For however long I'm on bedrest, she'll be the one *doing shit* for me. After baby is born I'll be moving in with her, and she'll be taking off of work to help me out. Between her and my sister, I should have plenty of assistance and opportunity to rest. I'll stay there until I either kind of adjust to life with a newborn or simply can't tolerate living with other people anymore. I love my family, but I'm more likely to hit that second threshold first. I very much enjoy living on my own, and I've always been a person who likes to be left alone to do my own thing. But I know that a new baby will likely be a bit overwhelming, and considering my history of depression I accept that I could definitely use the help and support dealing with all this without the husband available for backup.

Speaking of Hubby, he's currently in his school and set to graduate next month. Hopefully he'll get to come home for Thanksgiving, so right now I'm just hoping with all my might that Baby G arrives before then. She's due the week before (as in next week...) and my doc generally won't induce before 42 weeks without it being absolutely necessary. So I hope she comes on time or early, because if Hubby does get to come home I'd rather it be to our sweet new baby girl than a very large wife that's a little, um, on edge... or screaming obscenities in a hospital.

Well folks, that's all for now!      

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If only I could strut properly.

Maybe it hasn't been difficult enough. Maybe it's been too easy for me. Maybe I don't know enough.

Maybe I'm just an idiot, one of those idiots who causes eye-rolls in everyone she meets. Probably a few would *begin* to think that after I make this statement:

Pregnancy is sexy.

I don't necessarily mean that in a sexual manner. Confused yet? I know I am. What I mean is that (for me, at least) despite the swollen belly... the constant trips to the bathroom... the inability to find non-maternity clothes that fit, keep the lady bits trimmed, or see my toes... and the way even my balance and the way I walk has changed... despite all of these things I feel more alive, more primal, more in tune with my body than I have ever felt before. I think that is "sexy." You can change it to "empowering" if it makes you feel better. One of the sexiest traits is confidence, which in my opinion is based in self-awareness. You have to know yourself to believe in yourself, amiright? And I've never known or believed in myself better than I do right now, at 28 weeks pregnant with sleep deprivation, a hectic schedule, and a very active little girl. One whose constant kicks, turns, bumps, flutters, bladder-stomps and occasional (but hilarious!) hiccups remind me daily of what this body of mine is capable of.

I can bring a life into this world.

Pregnancy is a beautiful, natural, and instinctive creature. It does what it has to do to get what it needs, what it desires, whatever it takes to follow through with this amazing and terrifying process. Much like the fetus we carry and the child we deliver, it just knows what it requires. We go back to basics.

Our emotions and senses are heightened. We're hungry again. We become fierce guardians of ourselves and what's ours. We strive for closeness to those we care about, and learn to distance ourselves from those who bring us harm. Sometimes this is contradictory, and it's usually not easy. We glow. We plan. We nest. We love. We rage. We weep. We grow.

I'm not a total idiot. I know this is not even close to every woman's experience, that it is a tremendously different experience for each person, for each situation. But this is mine. I battle depression, my husband has missed most of this pregnancy while he has been in training, I hate my job, I'm stressing over insurance, I'm stressing over moving, I'm not sleeping well, I *waddle* everywhere, and I can't say enough how much I miss my husband (obviously enough for him to warrant two mentions in the same paragraph)... Yet I feel so damn powerful because I know that no matter what, I can get through this. I'm terrified, but I still believe in myself and my body. And that confidence is sexy.

(Of course, ask me in 10 more weeks if I still feel so positive carrying a limb-flailing watermelon.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Maybe I'm just heartless, but I'm glad I'm not that clingy.

I've been on a lot of message boards lately, looking for information and maybe some support. Pregnant with a husband incommunicado in boot camp is not always a breeze to handle. Especially when you absolutely passionately hate every single day you have to go to your job, but are forced to continue out of necessity. The husband is earning an income, but is unable to access it to send me money until after graduation. I've hated my job viscerally for quite a while, but supporting The Hubby so he could quit his job to prepare for and go to boot camp was more important, and I still believe that was the best thing for us to do. At the moment, though, I'm feeling trapped. So I try to find people in either or both of these situations (pregnant, significant other in boot camp), to try and get something in the way of information. It's not an easy feat, and frequently I am more annoyed than anything. The pregnancy sites are *fairly* helpful, but the sites for family members of recruits are a bit of a mixed bag. There is a lot of really good information, but there is also a lot of whining.

I understand, to a point. Parents are going to have a difficult time when their child leaves the nest. Significant others are going to have a difficult time when their loved one goes away. This is all made a lot more difficult by the fact that our recruits don't get a lot of chances to communicate. Nobody should ever, EVER count on getting a damn thing from a recruit in basic training, because expecting things leads to disappointment. I expected NOTHING. The letters I get (and trust me, I've gotten a lot up until the past couple weeks) are the happiest parts of every day that I receive one. The only thing I expected from The Hubby wasn't a letter, or a phone call, or him being able to support me financially or emotionally (or whatever else these people are expecting); all I'm expecting is for him to come home a United States Marine, and I'm even prepared for the worst in that department. In fact, as a spouse I had to write out and sign a statement spelling out exactly what him doing this meant, and that I FULLY UNDERSTAND: He will be unable to support me financially while he is in training. He will most likely be deployed at some point. Basically, this will be extremely difficult for me. (But look at what he is going through!!)

What it all boils down to, no matter how much they say they take care of Marine families, is that Corps and country come first. These men and women made that choice... And Parents, they are in fact men and women, no matter if you still think of them as your "baby." They are not allowed to serve their country until they are legal adults. Some of them may be immature adults, but if they're tough enough they will make the cut and become Marines in the process. And we will be so damn proud of them. (Please replace with Army/Navy/Air Force titles as needed--I'm proud of my recruit, but this applies to ALL branches of the military.)

As I sat in that recruiter's office that day and wrote the short statement acknowledging how difficult the coming months would be, I did fully understand it. I knew it would be tough, but I would make it happen. Whatever it takes to get him, and us, through this. I did not expect to be an exception. Even after we found out I was pregnant. I did not write out the part saying that I alone would be responsible for paying our bills and think to myself, "Yeah, but he'll still be able to send me money because we're married." Even when people kept saying "But he should be able to send you money because you're married." I want to smack those people, because "should" means absolutely shit, and I love it when people remind me that I haven't seen my husband in almost 3 months and that I'm stuck at my job for that much longer. People, please remember that the military is a function of government. I'll believe the check is in the mail when I open the goddamn mailbox and find it there. I don't care if even the recruiter says he should be able to, or if it happened that way for someone else in the same platoon, a different platoon, or a different branch of service. I believe nothing until I see it. So when I see people griping on message boards on how they're in tough times because they--by choice--haven't worked for years and have 3 kids and they're freaking out because they don't have any money because their SO is in boot camp, I feel for them, but then I have to ask myself "What the fuck? How did you think this was going to go?" Maybe I'm a bit cynical, but while I hope that they do in fact take care of Marine families like they say they do, I can't help but think they're not Marines yet. They are recruits. There is a big difference. Not all recruits become Marines. Why would they waste effort on people that might not make it? (Of course your recruit is going to make it, though, so they might as well make that exception, right?)

But my biggest annoyance is the ones who talk about how pitiful they are because they miss their kid or their SO. I can't handle much of the boards dedicated to wives/girlfriends because of this. Some of the parents of recruits from our platoon, although dealing with missing their sons (all males at San Diego), are grown enough to be looking for answers to their questions and being otherwise proactive--organizing meet and greets for family day, organizing fundraisers, sending protein bars to the recruits with notes attached about the website so all the recruits' families can know that support is available. The wives/girlfriends are focusing a lot on how they can't go to the movies or restaurants or participate in whatever activity because that's something they do with their husband/boyfriend. I just want to ask them what they plan on doing in their lives when their recruits become Marines and get deployed for months and months at a time. Life does not stop because he is away. It continues whether you like it or not, and wallowing in self pity doesn't help you or him either one. Show your Marine (or Marine recruit) that you are proud of him, and that you will support him by keeping the home front covered while he can't be there. They're under contract folks, if you don't like the life then you're the one that has to GTFO. He can't, and shouldn't have to because of you. If you just lay the pitiful tales on him all the time, you're just making him miserable when there's nothing he can do about it, and he'll most likely get in trouble for your behavior if you take it too far. This makes you a selfish asshole. In my opinion.

I'm not saying I don't have my bad days. It's actually been getting harder for me the closer I get to him coming home. I miss him, I want to get this all rolling so we can really get somewhere, and I want him to meet The Belly That Holds The Baby. Pregnancy hormones and depression aren't helping, because it seems I've gotten a pretty good dose of them lately. But I hope that I never become like some of those people I come across on those sites. My independence makes me happy, and it makes me better able to handle the separations that will happen. I miss him like crazy, but I'm so proud of him, and he deserves and has my full support. Maybe I am just a cold fish for not balling my eyes out day and night, wailing over letters. But I don't think so. I'm looking at boot camp as training for the both of us.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

All the awesome I haven't been posting about.


It's been a while since I posted anything. Again. I had high hopes that my blogging would be more regular with the Hubby (my primary distraction!) away. Instead, I have managed to fill that space by remaining in a constant state of "busy," and have completely neglected the blog. In the month and some change since I last posted, I have had just a couple of "free" days, and I have TOTALLY just spent those days vegetating in front of a TV that is constantly playing Friends dvds. I'm not going to lie, after work every night is spent roughly the same way.

Because it's been such a crazy busy time for me and I haven't posted about, well, anything since The Hubby left, I'll just do a quick sum-up of the most important parts.

I went floating on the river for the first time ever. I had an absolute blast! I love being on/in the water, I don't know why I've avoided this every time before when someone has invited me to go. Except then I remembered, because I ended up with a HORRIBLE, excruciating sunburn... on the tops of my feet. Everything else was fine, I had applied and reapplied SPF 100 sunblock all damn day, but somehow the tops of my goddamned feet were murdered. I swear I applied it there too! I was lucky enough to be off work the next day, so I spent the whole day tottering around the house like Frankenstein's monster anytime I simply could not put off getting up off the couch any longer. My feet were so burned they were hugely swollen, and bending my ankles was NOT an option. It was a painful, miserable week and a half before I could walk comfortably. Or wear properly laced and tied shoes.

The trip with my friends was to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and it was an absolutely perfect beach getaway.

It may have rained most of the time, but there was enough rain-free space each day for some valuable beach time. The rest of the time was awesome for just spending time with my girls! Plus, I was sunblocked up again, despite the constant cloud cover... no burn for me!

I finally got over the morning sickness, and have finally started gaining some weight (though not much yet, trust me I'm working on it!), only to experience one of the OTHER symptoms of pregnancy nobody talks about honestly... Hemorrhoids. I believe they started "popping up" during that gulf coast trip. All that sitting in a vehicle for long periods of time was a killer, and once I got home I discovered exactly why the trip home had been becoming more and more painful. Fortunately it wasn't too bad of a case, despite being painful and uncomfortable. I could manage. Still. Fun stuff.  They're not bothering me much any more, though.

My awesome sister came and stayed with me for 2 whole weeks! I still had to work and all, but we had such a blast together. I loved having her with me! Plus she was there for a BIG pregnancy milestone...

And sorry, here's where I move from simple summary to the big release of info.

My first ultrasound! They of course made sure everything was fine with Baby G, and yep, everything is just fine. Perfectly healthy! :-)  (Note: we have been calling fetus Baby G because it's the initial for our last name--it does not stand for any first name we have picked out! I just did NOT want to refer to it as "peanut" or "bean" or anything else along those lines.) But now we also have a sex to attach to the name...  


I'm so excited! No name picked out yet, but even after we do pick one we won't be sharing it until after she's here. If we meet her and her name doesn't fit, we can change it without having to deal with people getting pissed because they wasted money on something being personalized with her name or initials. Plus we don't want to have a bunch of people who aren't raising her trying to have a say in her name. But what matters most right now is that she's perfectly healthy. It was hard getting really good pictures of her in there. I have an anterior placenta (meaning it's attached at the front of the uterine wall), which means there's a lot more tissue in between my belly and Baby G, and the pictures were all a little bit distorted. It's also made it a lot harder for me to feel her moving and kicking until here very recently. I started feeling some of it at that u/s, when I was 19 weeks along, but later that same week I could feel it a little bit stronger. Still not much, though. Then this past week, at 20 weeks, I could feel her a little more, but still not very strong.

Then yesterday? Amazing. I was laying on the couch, not wanting to move because of the heat. When temps are at 100 degrees and above, like they have been the past couple weeks, my window units are having a hard time getting the temperature down in the house. Yesterday the temperature in my living room hovered around 78-80 degrees during the majority of the day. It was even hotter in my dining room/kitchen, where I only have a box fan set up. So I just lounged around on the couch all day. Just as I had finally decided to get up and shower and head over to visit The In-Laws, she just started rolling all up against my belly. She was moving all around in there, and I felt it all. I still couldn't feel it much with my hands, but I could *just* feel the nudges. On the inside, though, it felt so intense and amazing! There was no question she was ready, and strong enough, to make her presence known. I just stayed there on the couch, not moving, not wanting her to stop, grinning like an idiot with happy tears streaming down my face. I so wished The Hubby could have been there, even if he wouldn't have been able to feel much from outside my belly. I felt her a few more times later last night, then when I was trying to go to bed she kept pushing down low, around my cervix. Now THAT was uncomfortable. But I'm glad I can finally feel her little explorations. She's been back at it a few times today with the kicking and rolling around, but she's for the most part kept it at a reasonable location. For the most part. 

Also at this point, I'm counting down the days until I'm able to bring The Hubby home. He's made it through boot camp so far, and I am so damn proud of him. There are still 27 days until his graduation (26 now that it's after midnight and I'm still typing this...), but I know he's going to make it, and he'll be coming home a Marine. A Marine with mad shooting skills, at that--he got the Expert score in shooting, the highest level you can get! I'm one proud wife! I can't wait to see him, and for him to be able to see my ever-expanding belly! I'm proud to be carrying his daughter.

...Even IF she's using this little foot a bit excessively at times. ;) 

Monday, May 28, 2012

I wish I could be more specific.

One of the things I don't typically talk about regarding my experience of depression is one of the scariest aspects of it. I have no trouble talking about the feelings of emptiness, apathy, irritation, exhaustion, sadness, and anhedonia (where I don't enjoy things I typically do--like spending time with friends and family).

The most nerve-wracking things I experience, though, is a sort of self-destructive tendency. I'm not typically a person who does any physical self-harm. My primary target is more mental and emotional--I'm after my self-worth. I'm after my life. I get these urges to do things that will certainly ruin me, my interests, and/or my relationships. This is the most difficult thing for me to deal with because not only am I during one of these spirals not interested in the things I am usually interested in, but there gets to be a point where I very strongly want to do or say something that will actively destroy the sanctity of it. My thinking gets pretty malicious in these circumstances, and it scares me. If I acted on these impulses, they really could have a serious and negative impact on my life. And sometimes instead of taking an action that will lead to disaster, I want to neglect to take an action, which again would lead to disaster. It's hard to give examples, because it's always something a little different. But mostly because the shame I feel for thinking the way I do during these phases is crippling.

It's one thing when I throw my typical smartass-ery and cynical thinking at things/people/situations I don't like or am irritated by. Usually I am able to balance that stuff out internally, by reminding myself to find the positives, and externally, by keeping my damn mouth shut. But during the depths of depression, it's a lot harder to find balance. The thing is, I still know that whatever it is I'm thinking about is wrong and dangerous and destructive to my health, my sanity, everything. It's just a lot harder for me to work the thoughts and feelings out of my system than it is on a typical non-spirally day, possibly taking weeks instead of a few seconds.

A grand total of ONE time I took this destructive tendency and talked through it with a close, nonjudgmental friend. She was totally supportive and understanding, and just having that outside perspective that wasn't experiencing the distorted thinking I was helped me tremendously. This is one of the primary reasons I think counseling could be very helpful for me. The majority of times I have had a typical, everyday problem, the anxiety over the problem disappeared and my idea of a solution appeared as soon as the issue was bounced off of someone else. The one time I shared with someone my thoughts/impulses while in a destructive-mode, it cleared itself up within a couple of days. All it ever takes is for someone from an outside perspective to see or hear what I'm heading towards, and it's over. It knocks it out of my system. It's like once I say it out loud I can hear how ridiculous or destructive the impulse is, and my head clears. Unfortunately, I don't typically feel safe talking about these things, because either I worry that they wouldn't seem like as big of a deal to whomever I'm talking it out with or that it would be viewed as devastating, catastrophic, and would ruin their opinion of me. There is no in-between. And I worry that I wouldn't be able to get across how much I fully understand how horrible and destructive this impulse could be. But with a neutral other party (such as a counselor), there is no feeling of judgment.

Gee, I wish this was an option for me at this point. Instead, I've been dealing with the emotional strain of being in the middle of one of these self-destructive phases by myself. Again. Luckily, I'm coming out the other side of it now. All it took was a little reminder of the person I actually am, versus the person depression makes me feel like I am.

Please look out for your friends and loved ones when they're on the verge of doing something stupid, or seem like they're out of sorts. Even if they don't tell you exactly what's going on, sometimes just that reminder that they're not acting like themselves at that moment could be exactly what they need to move out of it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today? A good day.

The past couple of days have been kind of hazy. After my post the other night I've been pretty drained. After I got off of work last night I went home and proceeded to be bored out of my mind and totally uninterested in watching TV, reading, blogging, internet site-hopping, cleaning--pretty much any of my normal activities. And yes, I am that boring. Work has been so-so the past couple of days, so there wasn't anything in particular occupying my mind, either. I went to bed early, even though I still wasn't able to get to sleep any earlier. (2-3 A.M. has been the earliest I can get to sleep for a while now, no matter what time I go to bed or how tired I am.) Today, though, I had a game plan. We recently opened a new bank account, so last week I switched my paycheck to direct deposit to the new account. Unfortunately, this meant that my check this week was coming in the mail. I was very much needing for it to arrive today, so I went to the post office (we don't have a mail box here--no mail carrier) under the assumption that it would be there.

And it was! A victory for the postal service, my employer (no angry phone calls), and my need to eat and pay bills. Also in the mail was my first letter from The Hubby. I was (and still am) so excited! I thought about just going back home at that point and ripping it open, but I knew that if I did that my butt wasn't leaving the house again. I desperately needed to deposit that check and go get a few groceries, so I just set it next to me and continued on my way. Every stop sign and stop light had me thinking about opening it, but still I resisted. For safety, y'all. I made it all the way to Walmart before I couldn't wait anymore. I opened it up right there in the parking lot, read it 3 times, carefully folded it up and put it in my purse (apparently I didn't want to be separated from this tiny point of contact), and got out of the car cheesing like a maniac, because all is well with The Hubby. I smiled all the way through the store. Luckily for those around me, it did soften into a smaller smile rather than the crazy grin it started off as, so I didn't get any more "looks." I just appeared a little more friendly than usual. They didn't have to know that the letter song from Blue's Clues was running through my head. (Also, if you happened to click that link, I hope that it gets stuck in your head for all of eternity, and that you were only *mildly* traumatized by the, um, altered ending.)

Just to top the day off, after shopping and picking up something to eat, something else made me smile as I was driving through town. I watched as a bird gracefully swooped over traffic, dropped down a couple feet, and shit on the windshield of the car in front of me. It was beautiful.

Today has been marvelous. Now I'm going to go take it down a few pegs by cleaning. Or pretending to, anyway.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I promise that not all future posts will not be pregnancy-related, or after baby is born all kid-related. This one in particular I'm not even sure what to classify as...

I've been blaming a lot of crap lately on being pregnant. I'm in my 13th week, and I guess fatigue is still typically a problem at this point. Quite a few things I've read say that my energy level should be picking back up soon, with the end of the first trimester. I guess technically week 14 is the start of the second trimester, and the "easiest," more fun part of pregnancy. That's what everything (and just about everyONE) says, anyway. I'm sure it will start getting better, but right now I'm miserable.

The reason I'm not sure how to classify this post is because I feel like I'm getting really bad. I feel myself spiraling down, and I'm not sure what's going on. I'm starting to worry about it. It started really hitting me this week: the insomnia, the constant need to sleep but never feeling rested when I do, the bizarre dreams, the irritability, the lack of interest in anything or anyone, wanting to quit everything. And let's face it, folks, I don't really do much right now anyway. My entire life is work, and trying to sleep. I have a few things I'm looking forward to *tremendously*, though. A trip with my friends is happening in a few weeks, within a week or two I'll get a letter from The Hubby (then I can start sending him the numerous letters I've already written...), soon I'll be finding out the sex of the baby, and then there's traveling to The Hubby's graduation and being able to spend a few days with him. But with each of these happiness-inducing events I seem to counter it with a negative, and that was an "indicator."

At some point I'll be quitting my job, which I'm very much looking forward to. The excitement I feel at that prospect is another one of my little "indicators." Mostly because the "excitement" is not necessarily sprouting from happiness at the idea of languishing towards the end of pregnancy and maybe being a stay-at-home mother but is instead the product of negativity--I'm wanting out of this job. It's not really a bad job, and theoretically with the job description change some of the pressure is supposed to be coming off of my shoulders. In theory, I should be enjoying my job more, because what it's becoming is more in line with what I like doing there... being out on the floor helping out, talking to people, solving problems. Instead, it seems nothing is making me happy right now. I'm not liking dealing with people at all right now, I'm not caring about their issues, I'm constantly irritated--bordering on outright angry.

I've been thinking it's just from the fatigue and job stress, and that maybe it's just a pregnancy thing, but I'm worried that the pregnancy thing (mainly the hormones) is evolving into a full-blown depression thing. Which I do NOT want or need right now. In fact, this was one of the things The Hubby mentioned being concerned about before he left. He specifically said he didn't want my job setting me off into one of my "spiral things." The fact that he used the same term I do (spiral) shows that he pays more attention than I think sometimes, and that he knows what my triggers can be. It made me love him even more. Especially since I know he was most concerned because he saw me heading toward it already, and knew he wouldn't be here when I hit the bottom.

Oh God, I think I've just hit the bottom. I'm crying as I type this.

I'm worried (obviously). I wanted more than anything for this pregnancy to be happy and healthy, not plagued by depression and stress. I don't even know what to do right now. I am absolutely falling apart, right at this moment, and feeling like unlike the past times I've hit the bottom there is nothing I can do to change things.  I can't quit my job, because I won't be able to pay bills. I can't wish this pregnancy a year into the future, and I think I wouldn't want to even if I could. I can't change the fact that so much of The Hubby's future in the military is a question mark at this point, until he gets through basic training and finds out what MOS he'll be going into. I can't change the fact that I feel so isolated right now, because I don't want to be a burden to any-damn-body. I can't change the fact that that issue right there has been one of the things that kept me battling depression on my own for so long. I have never wanted someone I cared about to look at me and my issues as "yet another thing" to worry about or take care off. (For some reason I picture an eyeroll accompanying that "yet another thing"... Wonder why?)

I think I'm going to go to bed, and try to keep reminding myself that depression lies. Because it does, even when it's whispering those vicious little barbs that sound so right, and it sounds so sad about it. Depression doesn't want your life to be worthless or helpless, it just is, and what a shame. But when you listen closely, you can hear that smug, condescending tone the demons of depression use, and you can slowly start to remember that those thoughts were wrong last time, and that you did in fact make it through and experience happiness again. You'll (...I'll) make it through this time, too. It just sucks for a little while.

Hm. I think I've figured out how to classify this post.

Friday, May 11, 2012

On pregnancy and the need to slap people.

Pregnancy has not been a walk in the park for me, but I'll live. Almost immediately after peeing on a stick and it saying "Come on, really? You're going to act like you don't already know?", the vomiting started. And continued constantly. I was so dehydrated from the constant throwing up and inability to eat anything that I had to sit in the waiting room at the health department for another half hour downing a bottle and a half of water before I was able to pee a tiny bit in a cup so they could confirm what I had known in the back of my head for a few weeks. Something just felt different. Even though many of the symptoms of MWW were present, they were a little off. Funny how most of the MWW symptoms are the same as pregnancy symptoms, eh? A little cramping, fatigue, sore boobs, skin issues, bloating... Only the main event of MWW never started.

I was super excited. Well, as excited as possible what with all the hurling going on. Whether I have anything in my stomach or not doesn't matter, because it seems I have a lifetime supply of stomach acid to throw up. (Pretty sure I'm going to end up with the heartburn symptoms later because of that.) Within a weekend I had lost about 4 lbs, and I have continued to lose weight since then. Absolutely nothing worked. I tried eating crackers, eating crackers before getting out of bed, eating this or that, avoiding this or that, getting out of bed slowly, acting casual while getting out of bed to see if I could trick my body into forgetting it's supposed to be throwing up, sleeping in every position to see if that would help, eating some peanut butter before bed so my stomach wouldn't be empty in the morning, etc. For every person that suggested I eat some saltines? Fuck you. You should be slapped. You don't even have to be pregnant to have heard that helpful little tidbit, you moron, you honestly think that wasn't the first goddamn thing I tried? And if it's been weeks of sickness, do you really think you're the first person to make that totally original suggestion? The ones smilingly saying "I don't know what to tell you, I had absolutely zero problems during pregnancy, my pregnancies were so easy and perfect and all rainbows and happiness that the sun practically shone out of my vagina," are also unhelpful and deserving of slaps to the face. "Well, bully for you, Bitch!", is all I want to say. But I digress.

All in all I have lost about 10-12 pounds, and have never looked forward to gaining weight so much in my life. That will mean that baby is growing healthy and that I'm able to eat again. I've only just gotten to where occasionally I can eat before I go to work. I'm not sick every day now, as of last week it was about half and half. And although I was totally miserable for the first few weeks, my apparently amazing willpower meant the only porcelain god I prayed to was the one in my own home. No getting sick at work (couldn't do it, because then everyone would know and I'm not really wanting to deal with that), no getting sick out in public, no getting sick when visiting the families, no having to pull over to the side of the road to grace the grass with my stomach acid. It wasn't until my second prenatal appointment, where we got to hear the heartbeat, that I threw up somewhere outside of my own home. I have been keeping a trashcan in my car for a while now, and it got put to good use that morning. And my car is my second home, so I'm going to say that doesn't count either.

Then there was the time I threw up in the trashcan in our kitchen, because The Hubby was in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the trashcan contained some used kitty litter from when he had cleaned out the litter box, as well as the empty, fume-y can of Scotch Guard since we had just gotten new living room furniture, and various other chemicals from the housework that had gone on the day before. All that was inhaled as I gasped for breath between heaves. Worst. Experience. Ever. My throat burned, I was shaky as hell, and I was terrified that I had seriously fucked up my chances of having a normal kid. Or remembering what a door is. The jury's still out on the whole "normal kid" thing, I guess. Although any child released from my womb is already at risk of being a bit odd, so we may never know.

Another infuriating symptom is that my skin exploded. (Figuratively. Sort of.) Acne like I have never known before has plagued me incessantly since this whole shebang kicked off. Granted, I've never had the best of skin, but I've never been this broke out all over before. It's awful, and I hate it.

Then there's the fatigue. This paired with the "morning" sickness means all I do is work, sleep, and vomit. I've been a night owl for a while, and the shift I work definitely doesn't help, but I can't imagine trying to work days right now and having to deal with the nausea and vomiting. I have always been someone who had to eat before going to work, and I haven't been able to for a few weeks now. I'm not even hungry then. I only take snack stuff to work, because the idea of an actual "lunch break" is a joke for me. By the time I get off work I'm starving, so I eat, but I'm exhausted, so then I sleep. The past couple of weeks, though, have been different. I'd been staying up later to spend time with The Hubby before he left. And now I'm staying up later after he's gone in order to take care of the things that he had been taking care of during the day while I was at work. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. All taking place after 9-ish PM now. Still, it's so hard for me to get up early, because that just means more vomiting and fatigue and longer awake-time without being able to eat.

I'm hoping that now I'm starting in the second trimester of all this fun-ness I'll be able to start experiencing less of these pesky symptoms. Really I just want to be able to eat regularly again, so the nurse won't say to me again at my next appointment "You've lost some weight again... Are you sure you don't want us to prescribe you anything so you stop getting sick?" The thing is, right around the time baby showed up in the picture I had just started to cut way back on my soda habit, and my job description changed so that I was thankfully able to be up on my feet a lot more at work rather than sitting in front of a computer screen. And we weren't buying as much junk food, because The Hubby was having to watch his weight and stay healthy too. That, paired with the nausea/vomiting and work schedule that restricted my ability to eat was going to lead to some weight loss. Although I have to admit 10 pounds in a couple of weeks is maybe a bit excessive.

I really want to make it through this without having to take any kind of medication (except the prenatal vitamins, of course). I hate taking medicine anyway, but I really feel like even though it sucks the nausea isn't bad enough or debilitating enough to warrant medication. If it was seriously interfering with work, maybe, but again, I have yet to actually throw up at work, and I don't think I'm going to. It seems to be on the down swing now, so hopefully it'll start to fade and I can start chowing down like a pregnant woman's meant to.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Big day.

Today was the day. I dropped The Hubby off with his recruiter, to be transported to a hotel so that tomorrow they can fly him to San Diego. Such a relatively short plane trip (compared to how long it would take to drive the distance...) takes him so far away from me, in so many ways. The next time I see him, he'll be a Marine. The next time he sees me, I'll look like I'm smuggling a bowling ball in my shirt, since I'll be over halfway through this pregnancy and all. Gotta make sure my hair looks DAMN good! Seriously though, I'm feeling so many different emotions right now. Naturally. Hormones aren't helping, and *gee golly bonkers* are they ever kicking in here lately!


The other day The Hubby was looking the title for his car, because he's hoping it can get sold while he's gone. The plan is to use the proceeds to go towards an engine for the car he wants to be his daily driver. It's his (current) dream car, and he's got it ready to go except for that pesky engine. So the title search began. We looked and looked and couldn't find it. I got frustrated, because *clearly* this was my fault. *I* must have misplaced it. It was the only explanation. Then I got more frustrated, having to abandon the search to puke my guts out for a minute. Ah, pregnancy. I come out of the bathroom, The Hubby has apparently abandoned the search and is watching TV. I plop down on the couch, promptly knocking the laptop off the arm of the couch and onto the floor. My reaction? Stare in shocked silence for a moment as Hubby gets up and picks the computer up off the floor (I'm too stunned to move), then I suddenly burst into tears. An explosion of tears. Hubby comforts me, and tries to figure out what's wrong (in my head: "What do you mean 'WHAT'S WRONG????'"). He tries to shush me, oh-so-helpfully begs me to calm down... I head towards the bathroom to wipe my face and blow my nose. He hugs me, and I say "I'm just horrible! The title is missing, *clearly* it's my fault [I may have been a bit sarcastic at that point, sue me.], and then I practically destroy our lap top!" Sobbing all the way through this pitiful rant. Finally, I get cleaned up, calm down, and sit back down with The Hubby. After a few minutes he turns to me and lovingly says "I found the car title." First I started crying again. Then I started laughing.

He smiles. "Do you think your moodiness hormones are finally kicking in? You just went from vomiting, to Hulk-smashing the laptop, to crying hysterically, then crying some more, and now you have the giggles. All in 10 minutes." I couldn't help it, I started laughing again.

He was totally right. It was ridiculous. We've still been joking about me being careful not to Hulk-smash anything... He's worried about the TV while he's gone. Just imagine. A cat vomits on the floor, I destroy all our electronics. I stub my toe, the trashcan goes through the kitchen window. I hate to say it's a distinct possibility, but there you go.

There was more I meant to share, but it'll have to wait for another post. Since my main distraction is on his way to boot camp, I'm sure I'll be posting more often. For now, though, I'm tired. Big day and all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A heartbeat, a promise.

I have a secret to tell, and a promise to make. The secret's been needing to come out, but the inspiration for sharing it now came from (of course) one of Mama Kat's writing prompts. Writing for that prompt is a few weeks late, but I simply wasn't ready to share at that point.

You see, folks, The Hubby and I are going to have a baby, and I'm so happy it's ridiculous. We haven't told many people yet, because I wanted to give it as much time as I could stand. I always planned on waiting until that end-of-first-trimester mark, just in case, but in our special circumstances that milestone would fall way too close to The Hubby being gone away to boot camp. And maybe it's just me, but announcing a pregnancy after The Hubby is out of state seems like a recipe for disaster. However, announcing it before he leaves comes with its own set of risks as well... This is where the aforementioned "promise" comes in. Really, though, there are multiple promises about to be made (promises are easy to make at this stage, before fetus becomes screaming infant/screaming toddler/screaming child in public/screaming teenager). In any case, I compromised and have waited to inform the rest of the world until we heard a heartbeat. This morning, we heard a heartbeat...(!!!) So here come the promises.

To my unborn child,
I promise not to give birth to you in jail. Please let me explain: When informing someone of or confirming the pregnancy to someone, every time someone says "But isn't The Hubby leaving soon?" (Very soon, actually... he leaves this Sunday.) what I will want to say is "OH MY GOD, HE IS, ISN'T HE??? I HADN'T EVEN THOUGHT OF THAT AT ALL." What I will want to do is hit them, hard, for asking stupid questions. This could land me in jail, so I promise not to do that. This question has already happened once. I think what I will do in the future is give the short answer, "Yes", and let them keep talking and pushing long enough to realize what they are implying about my capabilities through their shock, sympathy, flabbergastery. (Shut up spell check, it should totally be a word.)

I promise to try to be patient with those people, and all the follow-up questions they will have relating to my (obvious) inability to handle my life and a pregnancy without The Hubby living in the same state. (The simple answer for you, Gentle Reader, is that I have absolutely no idea what to expect, Hubby-wise. The only thing I know at this point, with him going into boot camp under an open contract, is that he will go to boot camp, graduate the end of July--which is WAY before baby due-date--and have 10 days of leave before needing to return for combat training. How long his combat training is, and any information about his schooling/how long it takes/whether he'll be "home for baby birth"/where he'll be stationed/when I'll get to move with him depends on information we will not receive until the end of his boot camp, or possibly later than that. Obviously there are a lot of unanswered questions at this point. However, that is something that I have absolutely zero control over. I am choosing to focus on the things that I do have control over, because whether he's able to be present or not, I'm still going to have a baby. With his amazing decision to make this commitment to improving our lives, we both accepted that there would be things he would have to miss. If this is one of those things, so be it. If we didn't both feel I was able to put my big girl pants on and deal with life all by my poor little self, he wouldn't have enlisted. But I digress.)

Let's get back to the promises. I promise to love you unconditionally. I promise to do everything in my power to be a good parent. I can't promise to be a stay-at-home mom, or that I'll always be working outside of the home. I can't promise I'll never put you in day care, I can't promise you we won't have to move a lot when you have a Marine for a father, and I can't promise that we'll have an easy life. Lives don't generally come with an "easy" setting. I can promise that I will not lightly make decisions regarding things that will have an impact on your life. I promise to be as fair as possible, and to try to remember what it's like to be a kid, and a pre-teen, and a teenager, and to let you make your own mistakes. I promise to support your dreams and give you what you need, but I also promise to not be your gravy train if disability doesn't render you unable to support yourself. Otherwise, you're going to have to make your own way in the world. I promise to do everything in my power to guide you towards being a decent human being, but to also acknowledge that there's a point where you make and have to live with your own decisions, whether I like them or not.

I promise to show you the importance of and the possibility for healthy relationships. I promise to embarrass you with my love and affection towards your father, and to not put you in the middle of any of the little conflicts that all couples face. I promise that by hook or by crook The Hubby will change your diapers, will be a dad and not a disgruntled "babysitter", will not look at you as an irritant or a piece of furniture, and will love you as unconditionally as I do. If any of these conditions are not met, I will reinforce my promise to show you the importance of healthy relationships over dysfunctional or half-assed ones. (Please note I don't fear this will be an actual issue, I just know a married couple or two where the dumbass male could care less about their child and I hate him for it, and hate her for accepting his behavior.)    

I promise to treat you as a human being, and to not post on Facebook, Twitter, or this blog about things that I wouldn't want people to comment on if it was me I was talking about. For example, if you're a boy child, I will not share if you are or are not circumcised. I am not going to discuss my child's genitalia with anyone whom it does not concern. Also, I will most likely not be sharing baby names because, again, I don't feel like it necessarily needs to be a group discussion.

I promise to read to you. A lot. I promise that you will know about cars, because The Hubby wouldn't have it any other way. Boy or girl, you will be helping change oil, change tires, and whatever else. I wish I could promise that TV shows for babies and children will not be shown, but apparently babies love that shit. I can promise not to loudly blast death metal to drown out the sounds of the TV while you're watching such filth. I wish I could promise to never use "foul" language in your presence, but I don't make promises I can't keep.   
Remember the last part of that last sentence, Dear Fetus, the part about not making promises I can't keep. It's still early in this pregnancy, but I'm so excited!

To my readers, whether frequent or occasional, this right here is the reason I haven't been posting much recently. There is so much I've wanted to talk about, but a lot of it ties into this pregnancy. Now that the secret is out, much more detail and updating is to come post-wise. I hope you all enjoy this journey with me...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The first title I had for this sounded a little too disturbing.

I don't feel like I'm asking much. This post is not an advertisement, this is not a ploy for attention from people or companies in order to get posts sponsored. In all honesty this is probably not even interesting to anyone except for me. So what is this post? It is a desperate, if silly plea.

Please, for the love of all that is marvelous, will all the razor blade companies simplify their products? All I need a razor to do is provide a close shave on my legs, armpits, and if I'm feeling reckless my ladybits as well. (Don't judge, you know we all trim the cooter fuzz from time to time.) I don't need a razor to moisturize, exfoliate, provide Secret Service levels of protection against my carefree hacking at rogue leg hairs, swivel like an awesome office chair, or buy groceries. I mean, if it wanted to buy my groceries that'd be fantastic, but in all seriousness it seems like it's doing more damage to my budget than it is trying to help by chipping in on some pizza rolls.

Razor blades are expensive, folks, but the expensive "good" razors seem to be more frivolous than effective these days. Let's talk about roles for a second. The role of a razor? Temporary hair removal. The role of shaving cream? To provide lubrication between your skin and the blade and decreasing the risk of razor burn and cuts, to raise and soften the hairs, and to soften your skin. The role of lotion? To moisturize your skin. Personally, I do not need all three products in one. Trust me, I have tried.

It started with my mom's disposable razors when I first started shaving. Of course my first act of shaving was testing the sharpness of the blades by running my thumb across them. As it turns out, those suckers are sharp as fuck. I did fairly well after that, with Mom's shaving gel (a men's shaving gel, at that) keeping my gams safe from razor burn and my general clumsiness. Then I rebelled, deciding I needed to establish my own razor identity.

Being a goddess, I decided to buy a Venus. The original one, with three blades, that introduced me to the pivoty head that "hugs your curves" and all that jazz. I loved it simply and deeply, for a long time. Then someone bought me a wonderful gift baskety thing for Christmas one year, which included some yummy-smelling lotions and body wash and a different razor. I tried it, I liked it. I decided it was time to expand my horizons, razor-wise. But then the prices of the refills skyrocketed. I refused to continue paying $10 for 4 refills, even for my beloved Venus. Especially when they didn't seem worth it anymore. The "moisture strips" everyone added seemed to make my skin feel greasy, and they were always peeling or clumping off... Often onto the blades, causing a higher risk of cuts. Another issue with the moisture strips and the extra crap blades are sporting these days is that they seem to put too much distance between the blades and the skin. Granted, you don't want to be shaving off layers of epidermis, but at the same time the blade has to get close enough to provide a stubble-free shave. You shouldn't have to push down on the razor and still have to go over a spot repeatedly in order for your skin to finally feel smooth. And in all seriousness, there's only so many safety features they can add to razors before people finally start to realize that companies think women are idiots and they should probably be selling helmets and foam suits to prevent us from hurting ourselves. But let's face it, ladies, if you're cutting yourself shaving all the damn time I think it's time to stop blaming the razor.

These are the issues I've been facing. Paired with the ridiculous prices of refill cartridges, I decided to try one of the cheapest refill-kinds my local Walmart carried. It was great, at first. The refill packs were much cheaper by comparison, but the "moisture strips" annoyed me and I was having to replace the blades a lot faster. As in constantly. Otherwise, I'd notice that the blade was markedly duller after a use or two. And after just three or four days of exposure to the shower, RUST would start to form around the edges of the blades near the casing! That's kinda scary. I gave them a good run, because of the cheapness factor, thinking maybe I just had a bad box (the original stick only came with one extra cartridge). Nope. They all sucked.

I tried something else, briefly (don't even remember what it was now, I had it for such a short time). But again, when I just can't get a close shave, it's time to move on. I bought some disposables, two simple blades, no "moisturizing strip", and I love them. I'm still going to experiment some, as I am ever the sleuth and have zero brand loyalty when it comes to bath and beauty products. Seriously, zero commitment to a single brand, scent, style, etc. I don't even go to the same person every time I get a haircut. Buying deodorant, body wash, shampoo/conditioner, razors, facial cleansers/makeup remover, mascara... it's a real nail-biting experience for me, and The Hubby usually has to shop elsewhere while I consider my options. I really hate to waste product, am extremely picky (if you couldn't tell), and am constantly searching for something that works better for me. Plus I'm extremely cheap. I think I've finally settled on Dove for my shampoo and conditioner, but that's about as far as I've gotten.

In any case I am happy with the disposable razors I am currently using, but once that pack runs out the game is on again. I'd say I'll keep you all posted, but at the rate I'm going I'll forget about it long before I post again.   

Oh, and the initial title I had for this post? "Why consider politics when you can consider razor blades?"

Saturday, March 24, 2012

I'm still here!

Wow, it's been too long since I posted. I've had a case of the lazies a lot going on recently, I guess. Right now I've been focusing on spending time with The Hubby rather than anything else. I haven't even spent time with my family since the end of January, but I'll finally be seeing them tomorrow. With this shift, I get up, go to work, get off at around 9 pm, and then had been staying up until about 1 am. A lot of progress is being made on the house; we have a new front door, complete with a bit of a porch, and drywall up and plywood down in the living room. We need to work on the ceiling some, including some new ceiling fans, but after that it should go pretty quick. Plastering, sanding, and getting the floor installed, slap a coat of paint on the walls and it's done! Well, minus furniture... We're revisiting the idea of bean bags as the sole furnishings in the room, considering our income at the moment.

I've also been sick as a dog this past week, and missed a day-and-a-half of work, so next week's check is going to be pretty damn slim. Ah well.

There are just so many changes happening in my life right now, or changes that I know are about to happen, I'm just walking around kind of shell-shocked these days. This year is already going by so fast, I can't believe it's almost the last week of March. That means it's almost April, which is a month away from Josh leaving for boot camp, which for me is the deadline for the house to be finished. I don't want people traipsing through my house without him here, and I'm pretty worried that if he leaves before it's done the work is going to stop anyway, and then we'll either be scrambling to finish it to sell it or having to sell it unfinished. I don't want us to have to do that... We need to make as much money from the sale of this house as possible. Granted, it's not going to fetch us much money, but all I want is enough to pay off our debt. I want as clean of a slate as possible when we go off in this new direction.

Anyway, not much to this post, I just wanted to touch base and let you know that I'm still alive and kickin'!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The majestic buffalo. (Or bison, depending on how particular you are.)

Covered in plaster, because he's our rebuild mascot.
This particular little sculpture was supposed to be for luck. The In-Laws had given it to The Hubby when he first got out on his own. It's a hefty old thing, and for the longest time it had been sitting on a shelf on the wall behind our couch, along with a few pictures and some other knick-knacks we possessed. Honestly we're not big on "decorating," so anything like that was of sentimental value and had been given to us from someone we cared about. Although we're still working on the house, any shelves we do put in will be purely for necessities, not looks. Nail holes in the wall would just be something to patch up later when we move, so we're not even worrying about it.

But back to the story, this particular buffalo was meant to be lucky, and I never ever liked it. I was constantly trying to get The Hubby to part with it, to no avail. It was awkward, and heavy, probably 5 pounds, and was always placed in an inconvenient spot. But the spot above the couch was the worst idea ever, in my opinion.

See, the wonder-kitties were always perched on that particular shelf. They'd jump from the windowsill onto the back of the couch onto the shelf then usually down onto one of our surprised shoulders. (Then down onto the stomach or lap then down to the floor, all to be repeated later, but I digress.) But they loved the hell out of that shelf, and trying to get them down always resulted in our pain, so we gave up. This is why I hated the buffalo's location.

Still, it surprised me when it happened. I was sitting on the couch next to The Hubby, watching TV, when one of the kitties jumped up there and while trying to slink behind the buffalo, managed to knock it off the shelf and onto my poor, unsuspecting shoulder. Unsurprisingly, it hurt like hell. That little bastard was heavy, and the edges that aren't rough were sharp, especially around the base. At first The Hubby laughed it off, until he realized I was being quiet because I was holding back tears. It hurt really bad, and it terrified me how close it had been to hitting my head instead of my shoulder. I had a cut and a giant bruise on my shoulder for days, so I wasn't seeing the humor in the situation yet.

Then I did. I mean, what's not amusing about it? I'm just sitting there minding my own business, and suddenly *buffalo!* It became the moment I thought about every time something inexplicable and ridiculous happened. Those moments where you just want to ask the universe "WHY?!", I could shrug off with "Because *buffalo*." It even became a running joke with a friend at work... Anytime things went insane, we'd just look at each other, shake our heads, then shrug our shoulders and say in a resigned voice, "Buffalo!"

Things don't have to make sense. If I can get mauled by a buffalo in my own living room, anything can happen. Because buffalo.

We still have him, by the way. He survived the flood and now I can't bear to part with him. He may be vicious, but he's a survivor, dammit, just like we are.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Drunk ninjas at midnight.

It had been a long day. My ability to sleep has been shoddy at best recently, and I knew I had to get up super-freakin' early the next day. I left work early, and called The Hubby to let him know that I was on my way home but needed to get something quick to eat and go straight to bed, because I'd be getting up at 4am. Usually we roll on into bed around 1 or 2... So I knew it was going to be bad. I got home a little after 9, and after eating and settling down some it was around 10 or 10:30 when I was finally able to try and get to sleep. A couple hours later, I was finally starting to fall asleep.


At first I thought it was one of the cats, somehow. You know how when they're scratching themselves sometimes on the down-stroke their foot slams against whatever they're sitting on? Repeatedly? Every damn time, as if they have no concept of self-control or force? Then I heard the thud of a cat landing on the floor, followed by claws scratching against the kitchen floor as she bolted into the bedroom. Damn Jugga. I was a little startled, but I wouldn't have thought anything of it if hadn't been for other kitty The Pants at the foot of the bed suddenly going on alert. Then I heard the banging again, and The Pants started growling, since she's our alarm system.

Someone was at the door. At 1 am. Aside from my tendency to not answer doors being knocked on by people who didn't show the courtesy of calling first, I was aggravated because of all nights it had to be this night. There wasn't a single person I could think of that would be knocking on our door at that hour without having called us first. And if it had been the police for some reason, they would have announced themselves. At least they should according to television and movies. So my plan was to ignore them until they went away. (It's always worked before.)

Unfortunately, they didn't get the memo and kept knocking. I nudged The Hubby awake, and went to look out the window to see if there was a vehicle out there. There wasn't, so no clues there. And the knocking still hadn't stopped--we weren't going to be able to just ignore this person. Finally, The Hubby goes to answer the door. I stayed huddled on the bed, cell phone in hand, ready to call 911 if necessary. I hear the door open, and then this guy starts talking and won't stop.

I couldn't hear it very well, not being in the same room, but what I did hear alternated between mumbled slurring and clear moments of the utmost sincerity.

"Hey man, mumble mumble mumble I just live right over there, and I just wanted to let you know that if you ever need anything, anything, I'm here for ya. Mumble mumble mumble. I really am a good person, and I just like to help people all the time. I'm always willing to help anybody."  There was more mumbling, and a lot of repetition, and at one point I heard "I'm so sorry, man, I'm not trying to make you mad or anything... Yeah, it is kinda late... But I just wanted you to know..." And more of the same a couple more times. Finally The Hubby comes back in, saying "He's so drunk. He kept pointing and saying he lived right over there, his eye was all busted up, and he kept trying to shake my hand."

Then the fun continued as we tried to figure out where the hell this guy disappeared to. There wasn't a vehicle around, so he wasn't driving (definitely for the best), but still... The Hubby looked out all the windows, trying to see where he had gone. But apparently he had just dropped off the face of the earth. We couldn't see him anywhere. I thought to myself, "Dear Cheezits, clearly he's a drunk ninja." The Hubby kept making a circuit of all the windows, and we were both wide awake. At 1:30 in the morning.

I tried so hard to get to sleep, and he decided to stay up for a little longer. I listened to the shower running, and eventually dozed off. Then I felt something hit and then touch my toes--The Hubby had kicked my foot on accident when he climbed back into bed, and thinking it was a cat he had reached down to make sure it was okay. I eventually dozed off again.

When my alarm went off at 4, I could have screamed. Thanks to a drunk ninja, I turned into a zombie for a day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Things from my car.

I am not the neatest or most organized person in the world. Especially when it comes to my car. My car has seen a lot of road trips, fast-food meals, and sports a bizarre collections of napkins, receipts, peppermints, and soda and water bottles. Seriously, there are napkins everywhere. The glove box and console are crammed full. It also contains a plate that had once carried food over to a barbecue a couple years ago, and once returned months later never quite made it back into the house. It did find a new home in the trunk, though, after spending a considerable amount of time in the back seat. At one point my 18-year-old brother was trying to sit in the back seat without breaking anything or contracting any diseases and even he, who leaves a trail of mess everywhere he goes, said "What the fuck, Beth?"

Recently my car also began sporting a funky new smell, which finally convinced me it was time to end my poor vehicle's suffering and clean it out. 

These were the treasures I pulled out.

Except for the cat. She just wouldn't get out of the picture.
In this glorious pile you will note there is a 13-gallon trashbag. It is full of trash pulled out of the car, including the actual trash bag from the tiny trash can I keep stuffed in the floorboard behind the passenger seat to keep the car clean. Ahem. Unfortunately it overflowed long ago. It turns out the ungodly stench was coming from the remains of a Mocha Moolatte from Dairy Queen (my mecca), which had spilled out of the trashcan and into the floorboard. I've spot-cleaned and Febrezed the shit out of it, so here's hoping the smell has been vanquished.

Please also note a scarf, a Bobble (water bottle with a built-in filter, which is awesome when you live in a town with usually yellow or brown water with floaties in it), an old gas bill (paid!), a pair of sandals worn once to change into after being in heels all day, a maroon 3-quarter-sleeve shirt I had changed out of in the car (was wearing a tank top underneath, so no free-boobing occured), a collection of CD cases including Korn, two different Five Finger Death Punch CDs, The Ting Tings (a most unfortunate and highly regretted purchase, I'll admit), and City And Colour. I'm a little inconsistent in favorite musical genres... Underneath that pile is a sweater I had bought for an ugly Christmas sweater party. You can just barely see one of the snowmen on the front of the sweater amidst the other crap. (When purchasing the monstrosity, I ran into a lady I used to work with. She thought it was cute. *facepalm*) Just to the left of that pile you'll see a collection of wrapped-up Coca-Cola glasses from McDonald's (the fourth one is currently being used to hold toothbrushes.) 

The tissue-paper-wrapped package to the left of those contains a couple of Christmas ornaments bought after Christmas that hadn't made it inside yet, either. Then there's the box of something I feel may be car-related, but although it's been happily stationed in MY car for months. The Hubby is keeping pretty vague these days on what its purpose was supposed to be. Probably because I've asked him a million times before and then promptly forgot his response, other than "Just keep it in there, I'll get to it later. It's no big deal." My fingers are crossed, how 'bout yours? On top of that is a cute notebook that I just had to have to make notes in, despite having other notebooks floating around and hating the fact that cute notebook is wide-ruled instead of my preferred college-rule. I always feel like I'm in kindergarten again when using wide-ruled paper. That poor, bare notebook.

The astonishing thing, though, is the amount of crap I left in the car. I didn't even touch the glove box and center console. My car is still sporting two different ice scrapers, an obnoxiously large umbrella, a tiny air compressor in case of low tires, a collection of pennies that I never, and I mean never think to use, and that goddamn plate is still in the trunk.