The Final Countdown

This is Carl’s version of a home-made card. 🙂

It helps, I believe, to work at a church with an in-house print shop. And if he were here, I’m sure he would even correct the glare in the picture and also tilt the image so it appears perfectly straight, but he’s at work, and I’m kind of lacking in the motivational department today (pretty much everyday).

The first trimester was the worst physically, but this last stretch is no picnic either. I’m so doggone bored, but that doesn’t mean I have the energy or focus to work on anything for more than about 15 minutes. I wake up 3-5 times every night, and sometimes I wake up so hungry that I have to go downstairs to eat something, and by the time I’ve eaten something I’m too wide awake to go back to sleep. The nausea comes and goes in little waves. I have strongish contractions a couple of times every day, but they never develop a pattern or get too exciting. I wake up with milk stains on my pajama shirts. And not to be gross or anything, but if you want to know what it feels like to be about 9 months pregnant, it feels a lot like being a damp paper bag with a 5 pound weight inside. You stand up carefully.

Also you have a lot less patience for people and a basic inability to feel much interest in other people’s lives and emotions. In other words, I am rapidly sliding into Honey Badger territory.

Not that it was a particularly long slide to begin with.

On the bright side, the anniversary yesterday was nice and chillaxing. We’ve been spending too much money lately, so we didn’t exchange gifts or do anything super celebratory. Just a nice dinner in (steak, mashed potatoes, asparagus, garlic bread), dessert out (red velvet and butter cake respectively), catching up on old episodes (Extras), talking (life, church, baby). You know, the simple good stuff. Carl’s watched his way through most of Man vs. Wild and Dual Survivor, so now I fall asleep to Bob Ross expositions on “happy little clouds” and “maybe there’s an old oak tree here; I don’t know” and “any way you want.”

When I mentioned relaxation techniques for childbirth, Carl suggested bringing an iPod full of Bob Ross recordings. He might be on to something.

And honestly, that’s about all I’ve got. Life—which rarely moves quickly for me—has widened out into a kind of marshy bit just now. With reedy banks and the strong scent of mud. It’s not a bad place to be; I don’t mind it. But it’s different when you’ve been in a narrow channel for a while, trying to go places. When you read hiking manuals, they always tell you that if you have to drink unfiltered water, you should look for water that’s moving quickly. Still water is much more likely to make you sick.

But that’s seeing it from the hiker’s perspective. Really, it just depends on what you want to do with the water. If you want to use it as fuel, then yes, you need it clear and fast and simple. But if you want to grow a full ecosystem, you need the still, flat, marshy stretches of the stream too.

Really it’s all just a game of semantics. A game, but a necessary one. We live for the most part in a hiker’s culture, and it looks to me like stay-at-home parenting requires a pretty proactive mental approach, because you sure aren’t going to get much social support after the baby shower glow wears off. I was reading a book the other day that pointed out that in the United States if you want to file nails for a living you need to get certified, but if you want to be a nanny all you have to do is go on Craigslist.

That pretty much sums it up.

And since I don’t want to go mental, feel guilty for not earning a paycheck, or sorry for myself that when I do something notable (woot! Today I can fully sustain another human being’s life with BOTH hands behind my back) I do not get encouraging texts from coworkers… well, the only alternative is to pull on the swamp boots and grab the binoculars and get to know and appreciate the new ecosystem for what it is.

If I’m going to live here, I might as well enjoy the adventure, right?

Digital art by Andree Wallin

I’m sure it looks better when the sun comes out…


6 thoughts on “The Final Countdown

  1. Yes, it does look better when the sun comes out. And yes, the (initial slowness) and the lack of anyone’s actually noticing your notability is an adjustment. This reminds me of something Amy Scott said a couple years back. Basically, it’s the idea that mothers should focus a lot less on debating parenting choices and a lot more on building each other up and encouraging each other about the good things they see. In a very real sense, we are each other’s co-workers, and there ought to be encouraging texts. So, here’s one for you: You’ve made it through nine months of the marathon physical strain of using your own body to manufacture someone else’s. That’s three months of vomiting, three months of burgeoning enormousness, and three months of wet paper bag. And because of your sacrifice, there’s another eternal soul in this universe. Breathtaking. No wonder you can’t concentrate. You’re busy, very, very busy.

  2. My advice is….survive. Which you’re doing admirably. When in need of an extra boost…take care of yourself. Feed yourself something vibrant, write something new, take a long shower, do your nails, scrapbook, cook something nutritious and glowing that makes you feel like a kitchen goddess….and of course call in help whenever necessary. Moral support, good jokes, actual hired assistance, wrangled in spousal assistance…whatever you need. Hang in there. I think the end is hard, the nice thing is that it does go. Having your own body back will be a very good thing.

  3. Glad to talk to you just now. If nothing else, you always write with a flair that makes life sound fun even if real, and it’s fun to read! So…keep up the good work! Can’t wait to see that baby. It will all change into a whirl soon. Aunt Annie used to say, “If I could only find time to brush my teeth” after Andrea was born. Enjoy the boy before the waterfall!

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