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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

30 weeks Ė 6 days
~ Death in the family

Before I start my regular journal entry for this week, I have something to say to my critics. If you enjoy my journal, you can probably skip down the page to the line of asterisks which separates this note from the entry.

An open note to my critics

Recently Iíve had a couple of folks tell me how boring my pregnancy journal is. Fair enough; you are entitled to your opinion. However, Iíd like to address those complaints.

It would seem that what is boring to you is that I talk about what Iíve done, and how the social and emotional process of pregnancy is going, and not about physical discomforts. Your comments have indicated that you want to hear more about the physical process of the pregnancy. Fact of the matter is, thereís not been much to tell. Each week, I get bigger. I eat. I sleep. I have very few physical discomforts or problems, and those that I have dealt with have been of an intimate enough nature that Iíve declined to mention them on this family-rated site. [I will gladly share it offline, on request.]

We seem to live in a culture that is oriented to trauma sharing. Baby showers are populated with ďoh you think your birth was hard, let me tell you about MY birthĒ one-upsmanship. I do not believe that women do this to one another out of malice, but because somehow, we are socialized to gravitate towards gory details Ė whoever struggled the most and survived, wins. I have few to none of those stories to share to date, and what I do have to share; I am generally disinclined to emphasize for the simple fact that there has been much more good about this pregnancy than bad.

Iíve been generally happy, healthy, and comfortable. If that is boring, then thereís just not much I can do to make it more interesting. My journal is just that, it is a record of my pregnancy and my musings as they come to me. If you have constructive suggestions, I welcome them. If you have questions, Iíd love to hear them. If you just want to let me know you are out there, reading this, and wanted me to know that, email me. By all means, if you enjoy this, email me that, too. Above all, please be happy for me that Iíve had such a blessedly uneventful pregnancy.


This week didnít look the way Iíd thought it would.

Friday morning, I got a call from my Aunt Betty (actually my great-aunt) to tell me that my cousin Tim had died Wednesday night. Tim was my (late) great-aunt Emily and great-uncle Bobbyís son. Tim was in his early 50ís. He just went upstairs to his bedroom in the middle of fixing some cheese for himself, stood at the end of the bed, and dropped over face down, dead. My family has a funny way of dealing with bad news. The reason Betty didnít call on Thursday afternoon to tell me was because she didnít want me not to be able to sleep because of the bad news. I wasnít terribly close to Tim, so thatís a little perplexing.

What was more perplexing to me was my reaction. My initial response was along the lines of ďOh gee, that sucks. Howís Uncle Bobby holding up?Ē Within an hour I was crying uncontrollably, not for a cousin I didnít know well, but for reasons I canít really explain. When I called Beth to try to get a grip on myself, she recounted a story from her first birth. Shortly after sheíd birthed her first son, Ryan, Senator John Heinz was killed in a small airplane accident. She cried and cried and cried, because she realized that this tiny baby that she was holding in her arms, nursing at her breast, was a vulnerable human being who would someday, hopefully later than sooner, die. Maybe thatís why I was crying. Mortality is a funny issue to deal with when youíre pregnant.

My mom passed away in 2000. I have been surprised that I havenít missed her more throughout this pregnancy. Mostly Iíve just been struck by the inconvenience of it. I think thatís actually a little weird. So, maybe I was crying for her. Maybe I was just crying because I needed to. I just donít know [If you have thoughts on it, feel free to email me.] Anyway, the emotional unrest that news of Timís death set in motion pretty much wrecked my day. I know Matt wasnít quite sure what to do with it, but he was good about just holding me for a while when he got home. He really can be such a sweet man.

Saturday morning I was aware of needing quiet time, so Matt and lounged around together. It feels like itís been a while since weíve been able to do that. Once we got moving on the rest of our day, I noticed it was a nice warm day, so I thought Iíd get out there and do some garden maintenance, so I weeded the overgrown flowerbeds. My next door neighbor, Maria, popped her head out to ask if I should really be doing that. I told her the activity felt good, and, besides, I needed the exercise. She also said how cute I looked pregnant. Thanks! Thatís always nice to hear! It felt really good to get something physical done. . . until later.

By evening, I was one hurting lady! My body felt really sore. I realized Iíd stooped more than Iíd squatted, and my back was protesting mightily. Fortunately, I keep a rather large supply of Epsom salts in the house, so a nice long soak helped a good bit. Still, the tightness and soreness lingering in my back put a bit of a damper on the rest of the evening, and I learned my lesson about stooping!

By morning, I was all better (thank goodness for body pillows and wedges!), and I was off to teach HypnoBirthing to a couple from my Yoga class. I love teaching this stuff! Kylene and Dave are really great folks who are eager to learn, which makes teaching them even more fun. Coincidentally, the OB they are seeing for their pregnancy turns out to be the same OB who agreed to provide hospital assistance for me, if I were to require that. In some ways, that makes it easier for me to tailor their class, because there are some obstacles they are less likely to encounter. I still cover the information, but it just gets a different flavor depending on the individual needs. Since time is short for them, the class is condensed into two longer days of teaching. Theyíll still get the requisite hours, just not spread over a month Ė theyíre due about 10 days before me!

I was supposed to meet up with Nina (Mattís stepmom) after teaching to sort through baby clothing, but we mustíve had a miscommunication about timing. Kylene and Dave were really on a roll, so we went a little later than planned, and it turned out Nina wasnít thinking of going past dinner time, so, oops! I guess weíll just have to reschedule that one. Probably just as well. I think I needed the rest! I was going to have to get up pretty early to get to Reading for the funeral the next morning.

Monday morning came, and I was up and out of the house before Matt so I could get to Reading in time for Timís funeral. Dad and I picked up Aunt Betty and headed to Forest Hills. It was a brief, private graveside service, and the interment of his ashes would happen after the family left. Fifteen minutes was all it took for the pastor to say what he needed to say to send him to final rest. Funerals are such an odd phenomenon. No matter how long or short a personís life, so little time is required to formalize the end of it.

After the services, the family went to Old Country Buffet for an informal funeral luncheon (ok, not generally my top choice of eating establishments, but it turns out to be pretty good when youíre pregnant and hungry). It was good to catch up with other cousins I hadnít seen in a while, really, since my wedding in 2003. Uncle Bobby looked terrible that day. To lose your wife and your son in the same two year period has to be tough. Iím glad he has his companion, Aletha, to support him as he grieves. It would be terrible to go through this alone.

I waited around at Dadís for a while. I just wasnít ready to turn around and go home just yet; I think I might even have fallen asleep in the recliner for a bit. I did head home in time for a later evening supper, but I arrived home in an emotional state. I know I was feeling pretty drained, which usually is a recipe for disaster. After a late supper with Matt and a conversation about how itís not good to start important conversation with me after 9 pm, especially pregnant, we went for a full moon walk, and got into a discussion, which had me in tears, and even more drained. I just donít know why we do that.

Tuesday, I woke up unbelievably tired. I knew I had stuff that needed to be done, and I just didnít know how I would do it. Jen came over to help me out with folding and putting away laundry. I knew weíd done a lot of laundry on the weekend, but I had no idea how much until I saw that it had taken two able-bodied women two hours working diligently together to get it all away. Ok, so I donít feel so laundry challenged now, because I know itís not just me! I also had another wonderful client in the office that day. Iím just so grateful for going out on a high note from the office!

Wednesday was a nutty day. I had my energy back, so I ran some errands. With a few other stops, Costco and Trader Joeís were the main parts. I think I have a love/hate relationship with Costco. I love that I can get a couple of months worth of toilet paper and mouthwash at the same time, and I hate the long lines that are completely unavoidable. Besides, walking into Costco without a list is just asking for your bank account to be sucked dry, so I only go if I know my targets! I unloaded only the few perishables (canít beat the price on three half gallons of organic milk), and then got right back in the car for the Trader Joeís run. I love that store! Of all things, I put ďjuiceĒ on my list. Somehow, that translated to a case of cranberry juice and a four pack of organic stuff from Costco and nine bottles from Trader Joeís. I have no idea how that happened. I guess I wonít need to make a juice run for a while!

I thought I was running well on time, and I was, mostly. I got home from aforementioned errands, thinking Iíd have plenty of time to unload the car. When I looked at the clock, unfortunately, I had all of 10 minutes to get perishables out of the car and feed myself before yoga class. Oops! I canít remember the last time I wolfed down cold macaroni and cheese like that. Urgh.

Thursday also did not quite turn out as I thought. I was scheduled for a prenatal at 1:30 that afternoon at the midwivesí Elkton location, but I got a call that morning that they had a mom in early labor and theyíd keep me posted. Shortly after, I got another call: could I come to the Philadelphia location ASAP so Iíd be sure to get seen? Sure. I can do that. So I hopped in the car and headed to Philly. I didnít realize how much I needed that time with a midwife that day.

I had a lot of concerns, and I thought Christy would tell me I was just being a nervous nelly. Mostly, I get worried that my husband isnít transitioning well, and lately Iíve been upset about how little time we seem to spend together. Well, Christy did not say I was being a worrywart. In fact, she was concerned, too. She gave me some great tips on how to have conversations about spending more together time (specifically NOT oriented to ďgetting things doneĒ) and prescribed a date with my husband on my record for the day. These are the things that I wouldnít imagine having time or space to discuss in the average 12 minute OB visit. Iím so glad I have that opportunity as part of my regular prenatal care.

I was going to have lunch with Hedra, who was working from home for the day. I stopped off to pick up lunch. Just as I arrived at the traffic light to turn to meet her, she called to say that the girls had fevers, and it was up to me whether I wanted to risk it. I figured I probably did NOT want to risk it, given that pregnancy is not a great time to get sick and then not be able to take meds, so I declined lunch. We did get a chance to chat by phone, which helped to further put me at ease about my concerns. Iím so glad sheís going to be at my birth!

The one thing that day that did go as planned was my massage in the afternoon. Iíve decided that a bi-weekly massage is not a luxury at this point, it is necessary self-care. I arrived at my massage and paid for all four scheduled massages through Thanksgiving. (Iíll decide on the schedule for December when we see what Smallumus seems to be intending regarding birthing time.)

Today is Friday, and Iím waiting for the guy to come to do yearly maintenance on our furnace. I got a call at 7:30 this morning to say heíd be here between 11 and 12. Then, I got a call saying that would be more like 1 or 2. The plumber just called to say heíd like to stop by to verify that the parts he has to fix our shower are the right fit. Me. Iím just sitting here, finishing writing, and waiting as my day unfolds, once again, not quite according to plan.

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