Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lucky Me

This was going to be a nice, neurotic little post about how I'm freaking out about the idea of having an actual baby in the house, how I still can't wrap my head around the idea, all that sort of thing. With some weepery about newly-discovered stretch marks thrown in, for spice.

But I just got off the phone with the Department of Civil Service -- I have been working for the state -- who told me that, contrary to what I'd been told by my own HR department, my insurance was canceled at the beginning of February. Not March. Close observers will note that it is FUCKING LATE FEBRUARY ALREADY. WAS ANYONE PLANNING ON TELLING ME THIS INFORMATION AT ANY POINT?

I am hopeful it will get resolved quickly and only require me to resubmit all my bills for this month or that, worst case, it will become clear in time for me to retroactively join Sugar's insurance, which was the plan for March (but costs more than mine -- let's not even get into the extra month of imputed income taxes, fuck you, DOMA -- and so would be nice to avoid as long as possible). Of course, that isn't even remotely the worst case.

Also, I am not going to insert the boilerplate here about how grateful I am that I can get on Sugar's insurance, because dammit, we're married, and having that relationship recognized in basic ways shouldn't be something we have to say "thank you" for every time.


Now do you want to hear about my stretch marks? Sure ya do.

They're on the part of my belly below my navel, which I can't even see in our one full-length mirror (which I rarely look in, as it isn't in our bedroom) without the extra effort of hauling my belly up to look. Consequently, I didn't see them until today and was blissfully ignorant of any marks other than the almost-cute dots over by my hips. Apparently, they've been there for several weeks. I am not best-pleased, although I know that's irrational. Partly, I don't like how they look (vertical, purple, angry); partly, it's unnerving to find out that I don't even know what's happening to the front of the outside of my own body.

(You'd think I'd be used to the idea that I don't know what's going on with my body by now, wouldn't you? What with the endometriosis and the cyst-riddled ovaries and the surprise cervix? I guess I don't learn.)

You might also think -- or hope, at any rate -- that I could be classy enough not to complain about stretch marks, sore hips, and exhaustion, given my great luck in being pregnant at all. Even if whatever the Bean is doing to my cervices does make me wonder at times whether we're having a unicorn, whining about it isn't seemly. I realize that.

As long as we're on unseemly topics, might as well go for broke:

I haven't been very interested in narrative in the past few months. I haven't wanted to watch movies and, very odd, I have scarcely been reading. (And I am always, always, always reading.) I couldn't figure out why until the other day, curled up on the couch with Sugar, watching something perfectly innocuous. Without realizing it, I had slipped into that state where you are so immersed in the story that you forget you exist outside of it. I love that feeling. More than anything else, that's what I read for. It is so freeing to forget myself for a while.

And then the Bean started kicking. And I jolted back to myself, immediately into a state of anxiety. It was like that moment when you wake up...and then remember you have an exam or a funeral to go to, that you got bad news yesterday, that the world has weights for your shoulders. Every time this happens, it takes a few minutes to calm myself back down, to remember to not be scared about the approaching unknown -- or at least try not to be scared. The truth is, I am pretty scared. About labor, yes; but even more about what comes next.

I am terrified at the idea of this baby actually being here. What was I thinking? What if it's all a terrible mistake, this parenthood thing? A bit late for cold feet on the subject, I know. And of course it is only part of my brain that's terrified -- much of it is excited and (guardedly) happy -- but boy is the scared part loud all of a sudden. Despite the very deliberate nature of all this, despite having pictures of the Bean as a blastocyst, for heaven's sake, I often feel like I'm having one of those dreams where you are suddenly in labor, never having known you were pregnant, and you're trying to figure out how this happened.

The IF-style kicker to all that, of course, is how damn guilty I feel for ever having thoughts like that, for ever allowing something other than pure gratitude into my heart. The sucker punch is knowing how deliberate all this was. We conscious conceivers -- lesbians, IFers, that sort -- talk a lot about how whatever situation has made us unable to have children easily has the silver lining of making us sure we want them, careful in our decisions, grateful in our parenting. To some extent, that's true, I think. But right now I am a little envious of those people who are surprised by pregnancy, who get to react it and know they are doing the best they can, rather than always knowing the decision was intentional and perhaps sometimes fearing that their choice was not the right one.

But, right or wrong, what is there to do but go forward in faith that it will all work out?

With that in mind, we have ordered a mattress for the crib. The stroller (so expensive and trendy that we won't discuss it, but I love it and am telling myself that it's a lot cheaper than the car we don't have) came in the mail today. Last night, we went to meet the Bean's probable pediatrician, whom we liked a lot. She recently parted ways with her practice partner and opened a new office next door, I assumed over something mundane like money disagreements. But from the way she talked last night about the search for new partners, for "more intellectual doctors...who like to discuss medicine," I wonder if there isn't a more interesting story behind the split. As you might imagine, I prefer intellectual doctors myself, and I'm happy to have found her.

I almost wish, seeing how small her hands are, that she were my doctor. Tomorrow brings my first cervix check, which I hear is a barrel of laughs. To answer the question on everyone's mind: yes, just as with pap smears, I get two. Lucky, lucky me.


  1. Wow. You nailed the guilt/ambivalence thing about lesbian ttc'ing! We will have to discuss further. But hello, insurance?! I am hoping you get that straightened out before long.
    Inquiring minds need to know what stroller, as this was the only item I ended up guiltily splurging (insofar as one splurges via other people & registries) on.

    Good luck with your cringe-y appt tomorrow! I hope it goes quickly. Which half moved closer to you? is this the G/G practice?

  2. Ugh, insurance is such a pain, doubly so if they're going to drop you and not even tell you. What the heck is wrong with that?! Imputed income taxes SUCK HAIRY DONKEY BALLS. No two ways about it. Since we've been covering each other, something that would cost other teachers in our district $60 per month, we've paid an extra $400 in lost income per month, not to mention the hit that "making" an extra 9 grand is going to do to our taxes next year. F*&^ you DOMA, indeed.

    I so agree about the guilt that comes from perhaps not wanting enough this child you spent so much time and money and effort on. I'm already feeling that and am not even close to delivering. I think we're stuck with the little bugger now, though.

    I hope tomorrow is both fast and non painful. Maybe one day they'll devise a non-invasive way to check? A tiny camera perhaps? That seems awkward, though. And I don't know that I care to see my cervix on screen, thanks anyway.

  3. Wow, it's been a busy few days, problem-wise. Sorry about the insurance. What a nightmare! I hope you can get it sorted out quickly. As for the stretch marks, you're allowed to be pissed off.

    I didn't experience any ambivalence at all when my daughter was born, but found myself in a blind panic the night before I found out that my first round of post-baby IVF had failed. Suddenly I wondered what on earth I had been thinking trying so hard to get pregnant with a 1-year-old and a few months before an international move and starting a new job. It was terrifying to realize that I might be pregnant (I wasn't) and that everything would change radically. Of course then when I found out that it hadn't worked, I was crushed. Go figure. I guess there's no pleasing me.

    I'm sure that once the baby is actual (i.e., you can see, smell, touch, hear, and taste the baby) the ambivalence will pass. Hang in there.

  4. I think that your comment about DOMA and not having to be grateful for every little thing that should come with being married actually applies (in a positive way) to the fears about pregnancy--it's ok to not be totally sure of yourselves or completely certain at all moments that this is absolutely the best thing to do ever always and always. Doubt is fine. I think that the positives and the joy will far outweigh the negatives, so don't worry about it. Also, Bleh to your insurance. Jerks.

  5. Serious "... and die" to your insurance.

    I was super-extra-anxious with Bug, but by the end I was so darn uncomfortable that I was too unhappy to be anything but eager to be DONE. I think it's nature's way of preparing you. So here's hoping for two weeks of distracting, extreme discomfort, following which, everything will be JUST FINE.

  6. Ugh. Sorry about the insurance mess. I don't understand the health care system south of the border at all, except that it always sounds expensive, even when my friends have health insurance.

    I am hoping it is totally normal to have moments of WTF were we thinking?! during pregnancy, as I have been doing exactly the same thing for the last week or so. Hitting the third trimester really brought it home that we are having this baby, and there is no turning back. And even though it took us three years to get here, I still think it's ok for me to experience these feelings of ambivalence. It is, after all, a huge life change, and one that you can't possibly prepare for until it's actually happened.

    Just because we had to work hard to get pregnant doesn't mean that we then have to behave as though everything else must therefore be all sweetness and light and sunshine and kittens. We are, after all, only human.

    I hope your anxiety eases up once the Bean comes and all is well.

  7. I confess that last night, when Mr. Bunny and I were sitting on the floor trying to figure out how the hell our newly arrived car seat functioned, I had a true moment of WHAT THE FUCK HAVE WE DONE! (Different from my already described moments of "oh shit, can I do this?") But last night I had a dream that Bun Bun was here and I was surprisingly competent and handling her, and that made me feel better. I think in my case it's 9.5 parts fear and .5 parts ambivalence about saying farewell to my hip and trendy child-free life. ANYWAY, I totally agree with the others: you can feel however you feel, and aren't obligated to see nothing but rainbows. My awesome sister in law is the best parent I've ever seen, and is very comfortable voicing her ambivalence and conflict etc. She also noted that she didn't feel that magical overwhelming love for her kid until she started getting some actual sleep (a few weeks in), so if that's how it goes down for you or me, let's not beat ourselves up about it, okay?

    I do think both the stretch marks and the anxiety will fade to a lighter shade of purple, if they never disappear.

  8. i think mama/mummy's comment sums up the insurance situation. sucks hairy donkey balls, indeed. i hope it doesn't take too much effort to work it out.

    as for the guilt, i think it's a different kind of guilt for me. i feel guilty that i INTENTIONALLY decided to conceive a child that tam and i obviously are far from being ready for, and for intentionally trying so damn hard to make this baby happen. and it was my decision. this is something i got tam to go along with. what were we thinking wanting to have a baby when we have one income, tons of debt, and a one-bedroom condo?

    but then i feel the bunny kick me ever-so-lovingly and i figure we'll find a way to make it work. regarding kicks to the cervix, though, i'm sure that they'll hurt a lot more when we get as far along as you are. for now, 12 weeks behind, they are irritating as opposed to painful.

    and as for the narrative thing goes, feel you there, too. we finally went to see black swan this weekend and the bunny was doing some heavy duty kicking so i made tam feel. he made her jump, and then she moved her hand saying it was distracting her from the ambiance of the movie. and i was thinking to myself, yeah, it is, isn't it? i can't do anything anymore without being reminded that there is someone living inside my belly. kinda strange and a little horror movie-ish. it's magical yet bizarre at the same time.

  9. Oh sweetie...everything you are feeling I am, too. I am filled with absolute terror at the changes about to occur, the changes we spent 2+ years trying for! Terrified the house won't be ready, terrified I will resent the changes baby will bring, terrified this was some horrid mistake and what the hell were we thinking????

    From what I hear, though, it's pretty damn normal to freak out. So I just try to remember this when the walls cave in.

    You are going to be great :) HUGS.

    Oh, and I'm sorry for your upcoming internal - major ick...

  10. I feel comfortable in my ignorance-is-bliss second trimester cluelessness. The brief "WTF!?!?!?" moments I have about becoming a mother easily slide down my back as I put on my roomy winter coat, look at myself sideways in the mirror and think..."yeah..I don't even look pregnant.." At this point in my pregnancy, ignorance truly is bliss.
    This post was honestly insightful. Shroe was right that you nailed the guilt/ambivalence thing on the head. How do you settle such conflicting emotions, all while trying to wrap your head around the fact that in a few short weeks you're going to be up to your elbows in runny yellow poo? I really enjoy reading about your progress, your moral dilemmas, and your honest attitude around it all. Kudos to you for at least knowing exactly how you feel, even if you aren't always sure about what to do with those feelings.

  11. oh- and I totally want to know what type of stroller it is too. I am tempted to spend more money on a stroller than I would on a used car too.

  12. So sorry to hear about your insurance woes and the whole imputed income thing is B!TCH! I paid huge amounts of money on sub-par insurance for years, simply because it was cheaper than going on S's (vastly superior) plan when the extra tax burden was calculated.

    As for your guilt/ambivalence, I am totally there with you, as the non-gestational (soon to be unemployed and staying home with the child) carrier. The fact that I don't earn enough to pay for child care and therefore will just not work really gives me pause. Like WTF were we thinking!?

    I too am curious on the stroller. This was the only large purchase we actually made ourselves, because we wanted to be certain we got the correct one.