Author Archives: iamequipoised

Let’s talk about pregnant rage.

If anybody out there is paying attention to the timestamp, you might get an early clue as to why it’s time for an ugly post. It’s four in the morning. I’m exhausted. I’m frustrated. I’m stressed out. I’m really angry. I’m in the bathtub trying to relax so I can return to some semblance of rest, but it’s really not doing anything in the face of my uncontrollable emotions. My inability to compartmentalize and move on could well be due to pregnant hormones (I’m about six weeks from D-day now), or it could be due to an inherent inability to let go. I can’t even remember what my emotions felt like before pregnancy, so I wouldn’t know. And the secret is that it doesn’t matter. Even if this is all about hormones, these emotions are impossible to deal with.

I have been exhausted for weeks. I can’t get a full night’s rest anymore because I’m always uncomfortable, horny, and on the way in or out of the bathroom to pee. I can’t sleep in or take naps because Cash got fired (story for another day) and I’ve been pulling endless extra hours trying to make ends meet on my paycheck alone. I have all this pent up anxious energy. I feel this incredible need to be prepared and yet have no ability to get prepared. I am not making enough money. I do not have enough energy. I can’t summon enough strength to do everything alone. His constant bad attitude brings me down whenever I’m home and pisses me off whenever I am able to get productive.

I feel like I’m in this struggle alone. I try to convey how much I need help to Cash, but I don’t think he is hearing what I’m saying. He hears criticism, as if I were saying he is a lazy deadbeat because he isn’t contributing monetarily right now (for a full month now). What I’m trying to say is that I’m desperate and afraid. I’m frustrated that I can’t enjoy any of these last few weeks of my pregnancy because I’m always working or exhausted. I just don’t understand how he is spending every day. I’m the only one working (ten and eleven hour days now). I’m the only one cleaning. I’m the only one researching and preparing for labor and parenting. I’m scared because I feel like this lack of support is going to continue after the baby is born and I don’t think I can manage it. I’m angry because I’ve been trying so hard to be supportive during a difficult time in his life but I feel like being supportive has only led to me being unsupported during a similarly difficult time in MY life. He always has this bad attitude. I’m way too tired to fight with him and nag him all day. I want harmony in our home. I really need him to step up before the shit hits the fan when the baby is born and it feels like he is totally ignorant of that need.

His response is always we are fine, we will be fine. We have been doing fine, it’s true, but I feel like he is totally oblivious to the great cost at which doing fine has come. I feel like I am paying the cost all alone.

And no, being woken up at three thirty in the morning by his too loud records does not help. It only reminds me how miserable I am, how little he notices, and how easy he finds it to enjoy himself when I’m not around.

My life just sucks right now.

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Ruminations on my Return

So clearly it’s been a while since I posted! I’m planning to post more often soon, but you’ve got to break the ice sometime right?

This post is being written from my mobile phone while sitting in a hospital waiting room, so please pardon the visual boredom and lack of layered text today. Why am I in the hospital? Well it’s due to my reason for taking a blogging break recently: I’m pregnant! I’ll be filling in the beautiful, freaky, terrifying, fulfilling details on that over time. For now, suffice it to say we are having a baby girl in January 2014 and we are overwhelmingly pleased.

So today I am having my one hour gestational diabetes screening. You come in, drink a kid’s size bottle of gross flat orange soda type drink, and wait around for an hour. Then the lab draws blood and analyzes it for blood sugar levels to determine your likelihood of having or developing GD. It’s routine, done in every pregnancy.

I’ve had a glucose test before. A little over a year ago, I was in a much sadder place from a self-worth perspective. I had been trying to get pregnant for over two years without success. I knew my weight (approximately 190 lbs) was a large factor in my failure to ovulate, and my total inability to lose weight was making me feel like a worthless failure. I’d just returned from a beautiful wedding in Jamaica, during which I really enjoyed myself but got very few photographs I felt like I could look at without crying. Taking pictures is absolutely one of my favorite things to do, so my weight dampening that joy really hurt. And my lifestyle was also a contributing factor. I was eating unhealthily, living in an apartment I hated, trapped in a cycle of frustration and failure to make the changes I wanted in my life. I was fed up. Something had to change.

So I went to the doctor. She told me most of what I already knew–that I most likely did have PCOS, that my weight was contributing heavily in my failure to ovulate, and that if I can get it under control my chances of getting pregnant are good. She recommended a specific diet (the South Beach Diet), and an additional piece no one had ever suggested before: Metformin. A drug normally given to diabetes patients, Metformin helps people with insulin resistance regulate their blood sugar. Not all women with PCOS struggle with insulin resistance, so my doctor wanted me to undergo a glucose test to see if it was one of my personal PCOS symptoms. Turns out it was. She put me on Metformin in August 2012 and my life started to change.

I’m not exactly sure how big a role Metformin played in my diet and weight loss success. I was absolutely more successful than I’d ever been before. But I was also more dedicated to diet and exercise than ever before. I had the benefit of an extremely supportive running partner. I did notice that being hungry stopped transforming me magically into a horrendous grump when on Metformin.

Regardless of the reasons, the regimen worked. I lost thirty pounds by December. I started ovulating. My cycle regularized (mostly). And on May 6, 2013, I got my first positive pregnancy test.

So here I am, taking my GD test at 27 weeks, 6 days pregnant. This is one of the most universally dreaded screening tests in pregnancy. It’s long, boring, uncomfortable, hungry. But I’m reflecting on the feeling of coming full circle here, of returning to the apex. It’s been fourteen months since I crossed that threshold of being fed up with my life and taking control of it. I’m so glad that I did. Now, unlike my last visit to this part of the circle, I’m hopeful and excited to see what the next cycle is going to bring.
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Fear Paralysis

I have always taken great pride in being busy, working hard, and completing a high quality work product. This is a lifelong quality that I am immensely grateful to my parents for instilling in me.  I am deeply offended when people suggest that I do not take my work seriously or do not try to do my best. By no means am I perfect! But I strongly believe I deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Although I never relish being told that I have made a mistake, I do thrive on constructive criticism. I am proud to say that I would rather learn and get better than have people walk on eggshells for fear of offending me. I feel that in general I bounce back pretty quickly from unpleasant sessions of criticism. But I am rapidly coming up on my two-year anniversary at my current job, and something that happened yesterday has me convinced that I will need to move on soon.

I won’t (indeed, ethically can’t) go into details. The gist of the situation is, I was asked to do something that included providing a document to another party. I did not recognize the document and was understandably hesitant to send it out of the office without being absolutely sure of what it was and why we were providing it. I went on an expedition to figure this out, ultimately asking my boss the question. She flew off the handle at me, angry that I had even considered the possibility that she had made a mistake. (Literally, she said “You are here to check if I made a mistake?!?” I replied, “Sure, I think everya mistake.” “REALLY?!? REALLY.”). She asked me if I could accomplish this “simple task” or if I needed to just give it back to her to do herself. I told her I was simply asking a question. She said, venomously, “Yes.”

So I went back to my office and proceeded to complete the task, and she sent me an equally venomous email about how she was insulted by my behavior and does not need me to “second guess” her. Not to mention, she CC’ed the other associate on this email although he was not in any way involved with the situation. She later went into his office, closed the door, and spoke with him for about an hour. She later opened the door and spoke about case-related matters. I know from experience that it is entirely likely she was discussing the situation that involves me, while purposely excluding me.

I really wanted to reply to the email. I even prepared a draft reply. (Having shut my office door and proceeded to quietly cry for about an hour). But, I do not believe it is prudent to fire off an email to your boss when you are upset. So I decided to wait for a day to pass to see if I would cool off. In the meantime, I went about my work for the rest of the day and received a few more emails from my boss that were much more professional and minimally polite.

I have not cooled off.  I feel she was way out of line. The gist of my email (which I still have not sent) includes (a) an apology for any insult, and a statement that n; (b) an explanation of the specific reasons why I had questions, which I failed to articulate in the row yesterday; (c) a statement that I believe my value as an attorney, in part, lies in making sure errors are not made and that I am sorry to see my employer does not appreciate that; and (d) a statement that I am likewise insulted by the implication that my actions in of service justify the negative implication that I was  “second guessing” or “incapable of a simple task.” I feel it is phrased as neutrally as possible (but not entirely neutrally). I feel I have the right to contribute to this conversation. But I am terrified of clicking “send.”

For completely unrelated reasons that will be the subject of another post, I really do not feel that I’m in the position to start looking for a new job right now, either. Neither do I want to “job hop” or leave my first attorney position in a negative light. My unsent response email closes with the phrase, “As always, my goals are to be helpful, to serve the client, and to grow professionally.” I fear doing anything that will jeopardize that. Plus, now I feel like the moment has passed and I will be perceived as stubborn and petty if I hold onto it.

I would rather have this discussion in person. There is inherent danger in putting job dissatisfaction in writing, especially to be sent directly to the person who pays you. And conversations are supposedly easier to manage and ultimately move past. The problem is, every time I try to approach my boss in person she reacts very poorly, and inevitably sends me an email that is just as hurtful afterward. I have lost all faith that she intends to establish any meaningful dialogue with me regarding our conflicts. It is this point that is pushing me over the edge. I feel I have been very realistic and patient with the fact that every employer will do things you do not like. But I am not sure how to continue to manage this situation with no hope of improvement.

So, I’m currently left in a state of turmoil. No matter how much I try to take my mind off of it I am struggling to find peace. I have no doubt that the anxiety of this situation impacts my work and the rest of my life, too. Just, ugh.

 

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Room to Breathe

So since my last post I went on a truly incredible vacation, I fell off the good health bandwagon, I endured a lot of frustration at work, I moved into a new house, I got some great news, and I recommitted to my diet and exercise routine (and just now I recommitted to blogging!). But today I’m writing about atmosphere.

When we moved into our apartment two years ago, I was still jobless and had no idea when or if I would have any income. It was the cheapest place I could find that would fit our family. It had a bedroom, a loft-style room, a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It had carpet everywhere but the kitchen and bathroom. BAD carpet. I came to find out it was susceptible to disgusting mold, and bugs, and creepy neighbors, and general awfulness. But at the end of the first least we could not afford to move and had to stick around another year. By last month I felt like I was not going to survive this place. I dreaded going home (and I dreaded being at work), so life was pretty miserable. I would try to just curl up on the couch or in bed and pretend the rest of the place did not exist. This led to a bad, self-perpetuating cycle of the apartment getting grosser and grosser and me getting more and more stressed out about it. Cash felt the same way, so as much as I found it difficult to take pride in my home he found it difficult to help me do so. It was a bad situation. And let me tell you, it was number one on the list of things that had to change before we have a baby. I would never put an infant in that environment.

All that complaining, and I am deeply cognizant of the fact that millions of people in this world live in vastly less palatable circumstances. I don’t think that people who were born and raised in the middle class–people like me–understand the significant impact of the intangible experience of poverty on human life. Of course I can in no way be said to have lived in “poverty” because of my bad apartment. But I felt like it was a taste of how exhausting and fruitless the simplest actions can feel, when you cannot afford comfort at home. It makes cooking harder, which leads to unhealthy and expensive restaurant food, which leads to reduced savings and inability to invest in your future. It makes cleaning harder, which leads to poor health, more frequent medical visits and bills, and again, reduced savings and inability to invest in your future. It makes staying organized harder, which leads to difficulty keeping important documents together and can also lead to missed payments, missed opportunities, etc. You probably get my point by now.

I am especially aware of the atmosphere factor the last few weeks because we moved into our first single-family residence at the end of April. Wood floors (a priority for me because all four of my pets are shedders), fenced backyard (again important for the pets), enough room to appropriately organize (not just “stash” and “hide”) my things, a clothesline, a shady neighborhood off the main streets! It’s an old place and it has its little faults, but I love it. It feels like home, a feeling I haven’t had in a long time. My time at home is restful, not stressful. I am proud of it and I enjoy doing all the little things that keep it nice…all the little things I could not bear to do in the apartment.

We are so lucky we found this place, and that we are in a position to afford it. I know that millions of people could not dream of what we have: just a little room to breathe.

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Not Enough Information

Please be advised, this post will include clear references to the following sex and gynecological conditions. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing medical advice or fetish eroticism… Heaven knows I haven’t felt all that erotic, and all of creation knows I’m not a doctor and you should not take medical advice from me. I’ve just had an extraordinarily long, frustrating few weeks and I’m jumping back into my blog with extreme candor! Consider this your opportunity to click on to the next blog if you  don’t want to proceed. No hard feelings.

———————–

Except… maybe some hard feelings. The year is 2013 and we females have been around for all of recorded time. Yet every woman I know (including me) prefaces conversations about their own health with the phrase, “This may be too much information, but….” In fact, the title of this post was originally “Too Much Information,” until I took an anonymous, blog-bound, principled stance against such nonsense.  (Color me courageous, hmm?)

I’m not blaming anybody. I am blessed with a husband who will uncomplainingly go to the drugstore late at night to buy me tampons or yeast infection medication, even though I know he is embarrassed by the much less daunting prospect of standing in Victoria’s Secret while I shop. I’m not offering solutions. I don’t know why we still feel socially restricted from speaking of normal (and bloody frustrating) bodily functions, even among good friends. The point is I’m tired of it, I’m feeling cranky, and you’re all about to get an earful of my personal information (custom be damned)!

This story begins happily. Last weekend my beloved Cash and I made love well and vigorously, because despite the stress and anxiety over conception that leaks into this blog making a baby is, in fact, a good time. Yay us! But we may have overdone it just a smidge because a couple of days later I started feeling under the weather.

In specificity, I suspected the beginnings of a UTI. (The last few moments of urination were painful and too warm). Many women are plagued by frequent UTIs, but I am mercifully not one of them. So I did a little research–surfed the internet, quizzed my best friend who is a nurse in training, etc. I did not particularly want to go to the doctor because I was leaving for Italy in 9 days and I did not feel up to the rigmarole of trying to get an appointment/get diagnosed/get formal treatment. Besides, I prefer not to take antibiotics unless they are really necessary; I don’t intend to contribute to the superbug

 problem! My ad hoc research tended to indicate if I drank the equivalent of the seven seas I might (might) be able to get rid of my UTI before it really got started. And so, I began to guzzle. Aside from peeing ALL THE TIME, I did feel quite a lot better!

Sadly, the second day of symptoms was significantly more uncomfortable than the first day, and I found a bit of blood at one point.  So I decided I needed an actual medical opinion and probably a urinalysis to identify the pesky bacteria causing me problems. My OB/Gyn’s office got me an urgent appointment with the nurse practitioner the very next afternoon.

All of day and evening 2 I was stressing out. I was worried that my simple UTI was not a simple UTI. I should be ovulating soon and I was so frustrated that my condition (whatever it was) and subsequent treatment would get in the way of making love at the right time. I also got it into my head somehow that I was suffering from prolapse and would have to have surgery to fix it. (This hypochondriac reaction was probably colored by some medical records I had to review recently, rather than anything to do with my own issues.) I never used to be a hypochondriac. I’m still not much of a germophobe. But gynecological issues seem so wrapped up in my long term happiness that every small thing causes my mind to go into anxiety overdrive.

I woke up on day 3 and my symptoms had effectively disappeared. By my appointment that afternoon I felt 100% normal. I told the nurse practitioner the whole story and she said I might have managed to kick it with my excessive fluid intake. We did a urinalysis just to be safe, and I was told to continue drinking a lot of fluids to ward off any additional symptoms. The test came back negative so it seemed like I was in the clear. I was so relieved! I was also pleased with myself for beating that UTI off with wave after wave of water/tea/cranberry juice/anything watery and unsweetened.

Then that evening, I started feeling off again. This was a really mild “off.” My plumbing just didn’t feel normal. I am not at all sure I would have even noticed the onset of symptoms a few years ago…but over the past eight or nine months I’ve gotten into the habit of paying such close attention to my body. I knew that consuming so much water and cranberry juice can alter your body chemistry–that’s why it helps the UTI symptoms. And I knew that altering your body chemistry can throw off your natural balance in the baby factory. So I thought, maybe I just back off for a few days and everything will return to normal. Sadly, my discomfort only grew.

I felt like it was probably the beginnings of a yeast infection (itching), but I wasn’t sure (zero discharge). I’d only had one before, and the first one had been different and more severe (worse itching, significant discharge). By Day 4 I was freaking out again. Why should I have to go to the doctor again when I’d just been cleared? Of course, my nurse practitioner had not been informed of these new symptoms because I didn’t have them when I saw her.  But the difference between Day 4 symptoms and my prior yeast infection made me nervous. I felt so pressed for time: I was leaving for Italy and (hopefully) ovulating in less than a week. Even if I gave over the counter yeast infection treatments a shot, I wouldn’t know if the experiment was successful until I was in a foreign country.

On the other hand, I had to do something. My symptoms were going to be a distraction at work the next week and I frankly can’t afford to miss out on more billable hours right before vacation. Out of my anxiety, I unfairly yelled at Cash for not knowing more about women’s health. Eventually I sent him to get me a pack of Monistat 1-Day. When he returned, we had a calmer discussion about how I do wish he would take a more personal interest in the medical requirements of conception, even if not women’s health generally. I feel like I’ve explained the ovulation cycle a hundred times and I doubt I’ve explained it for the last time. I don’t think he means to turn off his brain, but he hasn’t really committed the information to long-term memory so far.

Back to the point, the Monistat seems to be working even though it’s only day 2. Next time I will actually be going for the less potent 3-day dose, because the 1-day dose felt very strong and uncomfortable for the first few hours. Fingers crossed I’ll keep feeling better! The instructions in the package recommend against intercourse during treatment, but unhelpfully they don’t indicate how long treatment lasts. The dose itself is administered just once, but it takes up to a full week to fully cure an infection, so it’s anybody’s guess. Anecdotal internet reports suggest waiting until a few days after symptoms subside.

Vacation is in 4 days. Estimated ovulation is in 3. I might still miss the mark on ovulation and that makes me pretty unhappy. After the past several weeks, I was really looking forward to the chance to build my family. But, the consolation prize is a trip to Italy with my husband and two good friends, and that ain’t too shabby! So, the story ends happily, too. I hope this post will help someone out in the future, although it is anecdotal and unscientific and can’t offer a whole lot more than moral support. Then again, let’s not underestimate moral support.

UPDATE:  I woke up the morning after this post feeling fine. Less than 12 hours later my UTI symptoms were back with a SERIOUS vengeance, bad enough that I left work to go to the nearby urgent care center even though I have a doctor and good health insurance…COULD NOT WAIT. Then I peed pink. They’ve diagnosed me with a UTI and this time I took the freaking broad-spectrum antibiotic. Let’s hope it works.

UPDATE 2: On the second day after starting the broad-spectrum antibiotic, I feel better again. I don’t feel totally normal, but I am not suffering anymore. But I got a call from the lab that did my second urinalysis today and they said they really didn’t find “much bacteria at all” in the cell culture. The person I was talking to was the nurse at the urgent care center, so not the doctor, and not the person that actually analyzed the cell culture. She couldn’t tell me what the heck “not much bacteria at all” is supposed to mean. Does it mean it was a UTI? It wasn’t a UTI? WHAT? Because whatever it was, it was not normal. At this point I’m not sure what else to do but wait any see…and I’m leaving the country in 2 days. Urg.

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I love this post, because it describes why Winter has always been my favorite season. It is associated with so many things that make me feel whole–this is especially true when the winter is cold, snowy, and dark…but is that any excuse to let go of that wonderful feeling when the weather doesn’t cooperate? Of course not. I am the master of my perspective and I can have my spiritual winter despite climate change, dammit!

But I still love snow.

Turtle Rock Farm

In the “old days,”
which, now,
aren’t so long ago,
we prepared for winter,
settled in to winter,
enjoyed coming in,
reading,
sitting by the fire,
cracking pecans,
playing dominoes,
even bundling up
and tending to animals
in blizzard conditions.
The snow and wind
(not so welcome, the ice)
were expected
and broke the monotony
of one cold day
following another.
After the snow,
we enjoyed getting back
to winter’s monotony;
settling back in.

Unlike other parts of the U.S.,
here,
these winters
are not monotonous
enough.
They’re not cold enough
to have to settle into.
Temperatures are warmer,
luring us
outside
where it feels like
we could do the things of spring.
But not yet.
It leaves one uneasy,
unable
to settle.

So today
I’m trying to remember
how to settle into winter,
even if there isn’t much of one.
We are waiting for our first snow today,
hoping…

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