Monthly Archives: July 2009

I get by with a little (ok, a lot) of help from my friends

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Quick hello and update from Puerto Rico, where we’re working on updating a guidebook.

This time last week I was preparing for the second (3 hour!) glucose test.

Francisco and Mom went with me and fasted in solidarity, Staci, Allie, and Marina sent encouraging and informative messages.

And after drinking more glucose brew and getting poked by needles four times, the results came back negative.

Yay! Thanks, everyone.

Nothing I expected*

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*2 parts good; 1 part not so good.

Let’s get the not so good out of the way first.

This week was the glucose test that every pregnant woman has to take. Cutting to the chase, my results came back as a “possible positive” for gestational diabetes, so I have to spend three fun-filled hours taking *another* glucose test this week… one that involves drinking MORE sugar (which was disgusting enough the first time around and sent me straight home for a three hour nap), as well as having blood drawn a total of four times.

Now there are a few things about this news that bother me, besides the obvious (turns out gestational diabetes is relatively common and typically disappears after birth). First: I don’t engage in any of the behaviors that elevate one’s risk profile for this health problem. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink soda, I don’t eat fast food, I don’t eat really sugary food, I exercise, I eat tons of vegetables and whole grains rather than processed, yada yada. And that really makes me cranky. Second: For some reason, this news made me feel like a big loser. Like I’d done something wrong and should feel ashamed about it. (Note: I don’t feel this way about other people who have gestational diabetes, just about myself). Third: How can every other indicator of my health be, the midwife’s words, “perfect”? Fourth: Now, every time I’m about to have something with sugar in it, I think “Nope, shouldn’t eat that.” Today we went to a Bastille Day celebration and there was this table with the loveliest display of little pastries. I would have LOVED to gobble down a small piece of gateau de chocolate, but nope. I held my head high and kept walking.

Ok, now that I’ve got that out of the way….

This week, I had a couple of compelling realizations. Compelling because they were entirely unexpected.

By this point in the pregnancy, I fully expected to be struggling with two emotions, neither of which I really planned to discuss with anyone:

1. a bittersweet feeling about the fact that life-before-a-child with Francisco was ending

and

2. a deep and persistent sense of urgency that no fewer than one billion things needed to be taken care of before my energy/time/whatever ran out.

Curiously, neither feeling has manifest itself, and I’m really grateful–and surprised–by the relative sense of peace I’m feeling. Sure, I DO have about one billion things to do, but that’s nothing new and I don’t feel as if time is about to run out.

The secret? It’s all about naps.

It’s a big week coming up: a 6 hour pre-birthing class that’s mandatory for couples who want to have their baby in the birthing center. A trip to South Carolina and then on to Puerto Rico for a guidebook assignment for Fodor’s. And, of course, the glucose test, part 2.

Grrr.

You Sexy Thang!

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On Saturday, I had “a moment” with the clerk at L ‘Occitaine.

She was asking me all sorts of questions: What’s the due date?; Do you know the baby’s gender?; and How has your pregnancy been?

I don’t know why I opened up to a total stranger, but I found myself telling her that pregnancy has been (mostly) amazing, and this encouraged her to open up and say the same. We agreed we’d never felt healthier, fitter, or sexier– and that we’d never really felt any of those things about ourselves before, certainly never expected to feel them after gaining 30 extra pounds, and for that reason, were still in slack-jawed awe.

I’ve bitched about people crossing the privacy line– touching me, asking inappropriate questions, and the like–but there have been a few encounters that have just made my day. A few weeks back, Francisco and I were walking in the West Village when a cranky looking woman walking her dog stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, changed her expression completely, and said to me “You look radiant. Congratulations!” Given that I don’t think I’d even taken a shower yet, I was particularly pleased. Then, tonight, as we were walking to the grocery store, a woman rolled down her car window. She *had* to talk to me. “You are SO beautiful,” she said. And as if that wasn’t enough, “You look great.” I’d just woken up from a three hour nap (totally knocked out by the glucose test this morning–disgusting), gotten out of the shower, thrown on a sun dress I bought at Marshall’s for $8, and had my worn out flip flops–the only shoes I’ve worn for three weeks–on.

But damn, I felt sexy.

Richard

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The last time I saw Richard was around this time last year.

In the interim, I’ve had exactly one hair cut, a $20 deal a few blocks from home, a cost-saving measure at the height of my concerns about the recession. Afterward, I realized why one of Francisco’s favorite lines from “Schindler’s List” is true: “Nice things cost money.”

So last week, I sucked it up and trucked downtown to see Richard, who’d make it all right.

Richard, who’s straight, married, and has a child, likes to chat even more than he likes to cut hair, I think. He takes an hour to razor bob the ends of my hair, far longer than I think the job actually requires, but it’s because he stops a lot, scissors poised in the air, talking about marriage, parenthood, and other things–like travel–that we have in common.

“So, what’s new?” he asked as he started to trim. “Well, I’m having a baby in September; I guess that’s new.” It was just the admission he was waiting for and it let us pick up where we left off last summer, talking about how inept he feels about… well, just about everything.

“My wife wanted a C-section,” he began, telling me a good part of the story of his daughter’s birth. “But the doctor said he wouldn’t schedule one just because she wanted one. When she pushed the kid out, the nurse handed her to me. I just looked at our kid and thought, ‘What am I going to do with this?’ I wanted to give it back. I was just in awe of my wife- in awe that a woman could do what she’d just done.”

He went on to tell me how hard it’s been–marriage, parenting, the whole package. His wife accused him of having an affair: “I mean, how does she think that’s even possible? I work, I take the late train home, I eat, I go to bed. I don’t even have energy for her. How could I possibly have the energy to have an affair?” She bought him baseball tickets for Father’s Day and then went along. “I mean, really? It was supposed to be a guy’s day out. We were supposed to have beer. And suddenly, she’s asking me to go buy her an ice cream. Don’t make that mistake,” he tells me.

As he talks, I’m mostly quiet, not looking at him because I’m facing a window instead of a mirror. I think we both like it like that. I marvel that he tells me these intimate details of his life, of his flaws and foibles and fears.

And this is why I love Richard and will continue to make appointments for him to cut my hair instead of the better looking, far more stylish fellow dressed in a natty linen suit who was clipping away when I arrived. I love his honesty, even as it sometimes scares me.

Ballerina with a Gun

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Ah parents.

We want so many things for our children.
Things we didn’t have for ourselves. Opportunities we didn’t seize. Every conceivable possibility that exists.

Our hindsight makes us brilliant. Our regret makes us sentimental.

We imagine our children will be prodigies, uniquely equipped to offer the world something particularly extraordinary.

Here’s what I’m building up to…

I should have kept a list of everything Francisco said he wants Mariel to be. What follows is partial, based entirely on memory:

-a pianist
-a judo expert
-a surgeon
-an ambassador
-the president (“the first female, biracial, bicultural president who’s the daughter of an immigrant who doesn’t even know what his immigration status is”)
-Secretary of State (“well-rounded, like Condolleezza Rice, but with different political tendencies”)
-a human rights lawyer
-a documentary filmmaker
-a professor at a prestigious university
-a famous writer
-an intellectual with an equally developed competency and proclivity for the arts AND athletics
-any of these, of course, should also be accompanied by the ability to dance salsa and casino, to speak several languages fluently, and to be able to cook (for pleasure, not for patriarchal ends)

He has been careful to note on more than one occasion that he does not want her to be “soft,” by which he means vulnerable to any kind of victimization. For that reason, she should also be able to handle a gun with ease and expertness, and for that reason, we should take her to Colorado, where my dad lives, and have him teach her how to handle different types of pistols, shotguns, rifles, muzzleloaders, and whatever other types of guns exist.

We laugh, sometimes, at this composite picture: the tiny ballerina in a pink tutu, tied with a martial arts black belt, wire rim glasses indicating her scholarly erudition, a gun poised delicately in hand.

It’s rather sick.