Monday, February 22, 2010

Counting down to baby

I realized the other day that most of my writings over the last few months have focused on the negative. Gross! I suppose writing is my outlet, the place I barf up all the things that weigh me down. But I don't want to be Negative Nelly or Debbie Downer anymore. So let's talk about something really fantastic and amazing and wonderful and happy that's about to happen in my life:

BABY! BABY! BABY!

In just over two weeks, I'll be checking into the hospital for my second c-section. While I'm not thrilled about the idea of another surgical delivery (ouch!) and recovery (long, extended ouch!) I have started to feel giddy at the thought of holding a small, warm, cuddly little person in my arms. After discussing an alternative pain medication with my doc, I'm even starting to look forward to a few days in the hospital. Crazy? Maybe...but when was the last time you had a few days to just lie in bed with complete control over the TV remote and let people bring you food and pain medicine? And for the first day or so, I won't even have to get out of bed to pee! Don't even get me started on that oxygen tube in my nose -- my absolutely favorite part of my first hospital experience delivering Sweet Boy.

We made a final trip to Target this weekend to stock up on supplies -- diapers, wipes, booties, hats, breastfeeding stuff, baby shampoo -- yet I have a lot more to do to get ready both at work and home. I grabbed a breastfeeding book at the library to refresh my memory. We're still trying to decide between disposable diapers and all-in-one cloth dipes; we still have to launder the car seat and swing covers, get the car seat in the car, organize the nursery closet, and get a few things out of the attic. My head is reeling from all the to-dos I was hit with at work today. I feel a bit like I'm cramming for a final exam.

But as I lay in bed during nightly snuggle time with Sweet Boy tonight, I tried to remember back to those early days with him. That was so long ago, and he's so far from being an infant these days. He's so excited for baby, and I can't wait to share this magic with him. In addition, when Sweet Boy was an infant, Chris was working such long hours that he really wasn't present for the day-to-day baby stuff -- and when he got home each day, he was so tired from a 12-hour day and an hour commute that he still wasn't truly present for it. This time around, he will be. I can't wait to share it with him, too.

I'm excited. And happy. And blessed.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The other shoe drops

So, here we are, cruising through our lives, getting excited and buying diapers for our new baby, digging out from two blizzards, counting the days until spring and then summer...thinking everything has finally settled down after the topsy-turvy year that was 2009. We had yet another lovely weekend, took Sweet Boy bowling with friends last night -- a really fun, giggly evening -- and as we drove home, I caught myself thinking about how perfect my life is.

Then suddenly, whammo. The other shoe drops. The shoe we've been dreading for just over a year. But we weren't expecting it to fall from this particular foot.

Chris was laid off today. Without warning. Kissed us goodbye and drove himself to work on a sunny President's Day, and was called in to HR with the rest of his staff at 9:00, home by 11. They cut all but three in his department, all the highest earners, because the company is failing and they can't afford them anymore. Because Chris has been there 12 years, they gave him a small severance package, but most of the other people didn't get anything. Just a thank you, good luck, and a box to put their personal belongings in.

Whoa. I can honestly say I didn't see this coming, though I think Chris did and in his stalwart way has been protecting me. We sat on the sofa just hanging on to each other for a few minutes when he walked in the door (cracking jokes, of course, because that's how we handle adversity), and he told me he felt like he was dumped by the bitchy girlfriend he hasn't had the guts to shed. So ironically, today he feels relieved. And really, when I really think about it, so do I. We have worried about the stability of his job for years now, as the company seemed to hire and fire its top people with the seasons. He's slogged his way through a hateful drive up and down the highway each day for over 10 years. The company has pulled the rug out from under him on numerous occasions, as far as raises and promotions go. So yes. Good riddance, Boathouse Sports. And fuck you, too.

Today we will soak it in, tomorrow we will start to plan the next steps. My husband is a smart, energetic, engaging guy who can do whatever he puts his mind to. So now he just has to find something that makes the most of his talents. We've talked for a long time about how conservative we are, how we've both just clung to mediocre jobs all this time because we are afraid to jump from frying pan to fire. But now the frying pan has been flung aside, at least for one of us, so there's nothing to do but jump into the fire and hope to come through with only singed leg hair or minor burns.

What strikes me most about this morning is that the whole time he sat here with me, telling me about what happened, he kept asking me how I'm doing, if I'm ok. He's worried about me while his world just got upended. How I love this man. I know that we'll get through it. There's no question, no alternative.

Boom, now it hits me: In a strange turn of events, suddenly I'm the breadwinner. Sitting here on the couch, working on a shitty manuscript on my day off, knowing there's no such thing as even a cost-of-living raise in my future, pissed off about my horrible new healthcare package, wondering if I'll even have a job this summer, because I work for a failing nonprofit. And in less than one month I will give birth to my second child. Oh, Life, you funny little bitch.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Almost ready

Since the moment I peed on the stick and discovered I was pregnant, I have been nervous about delivery. Sweet Boy was very large -- 10 and a half pounds with a 14-inch-circumference head -- and he was born a week past his due date by scheduled c-section. I did not like the c-section delivery. It was not what I'd planned or imagined, it was not like those episodes of "A Baby Story" that I watched on TLC for years. I did not get to hold my baby right away -- not for 5 hours, actually -- and I will always feel sad about that. Oh, and there was the pain...weeks and weeks of pain as that incision healed. In my first pre-natal appointment this time, I told my doctor that I want to try a VBAC delivery. She smiled and said ok, but there was a hint of "this lady is crazy" in the smile. And as the pregnancy rolled along, I had to come to grips with another c-section looming in my near future. Then Sweet Boy and I stumbled across a live c-section birth on the Today Show (amazing what you find on the morning shows), and he sat on my lap to watch. He was mesmerized, not by the surgery or the drama, but by the simple fact that a baby was born, screaming and red and new and wonderful. Wow. He asked questions, but he wasn't frightened. After the TV birth, Sweet and I looked at all the photos from his c-section birth-day, and we marveled at his giant, chubby-cheeked head together. At once the whole process was simplified for me, the fear erased: When it's all over, I will hold my child in my arms. The pain is temporary, the scar will fade, the love will grow and grow. And with my big boy sitting on my lap, smiling at the thought of his little sibling joining us soon, I finally felt like, yeah, ok, I can do this again.