Sunday, February 21, 2010

Post-Shower Blues

I'm in a really weird place right now. We had the baby shower yesterday, and it was really great. It was nice to have so many friends show up and I felt really loved.

Today I just feel ... strange. I don't know--maybe it's post-baby-shower letdown. I still need to figure out what to buy, and I still don't want to buy stuff too soon, but I'm getting kind of frantic to have everything in place so that I can stop worrying about it. I've become kind of stuff-obsessed, probably because I still can't envision how this is all going to work out. Not that I think it won't work out, but I just wish I could picture it, you know.

Oh, and my mother in law really upset me yesterday. My sister, my dad, and several of my friends went in together and put together a fund to hire me a night nanny. They’ve gathered enough to pay for seven nights, and they think they might be able to get a few more. This is a really great present. It doesn’t have to be seven nights in a row—I can spread it out over several weeks. But it does make me feel strange, because the night nanny is really most useful if I’m pumping or using formula instead of breastfeeding, and I still don’t know how that’s going to work out, and I have this fantasy that I’m actually going to be able to breastfeed my babies and all will be well. Then again, last night at 4 a.m. when I still wasn’t asleep and was feeling frantic, it occurred to me that having a night nanny come once a week for a couple of months is probably an amazing thing. And once I got over the idea that now I was going to have to buy the expensive items on my registry myself, I realized that this is probably a really fabulous present, because I will buy the stroller and car seats myself, but I would never splurge on a night nanny myself.

So what does my MIL have to do with it? I ended up arriving ½ hour late to the party (which annoyed me, but I couldn’t rush my friends who were driving with us, because they had traveled down from B’more to come to the shower). Apparently, before I got there—but while a lot of my friends were there—my sister asked my MIL whether she wanted to contribute to the night-nanny gift. And not only did she refuse, she gave my sister a dressing down in front of everyone, lecturing about how she would NEVER contribute to something like that because SHE had twins and SHE didn’t have any nighttime help and so on. (I didn’t get the exact quote.) So she really upset my sister, which just pisses me off. Because my sister has been WAY more supportive than anyone else in my family about all this.

And speaking of my sister, she took me out to dinner last week and told me that she might be splitting up with her husband. She’s already moved out into the guest bedroom, and I think it’s just a matter of months before they separate. The reasons are hard to explain (and when I tried to explain them to J he got really frustrated with me). The short version sounds like a cliché—she’s spent her whole life trying to make other people happy, and as part of that has pretended that she’s fine and not “damaged” (her word, not mine, because I think we learn and grow from our scars) by our rocky childhood (hers much worse than mine), and basically has been faking a happy family/happy marriage for years. But the thing is, it’s hard to explain why the marriage isn’t working. Her husband is a great guy, and she loves him. So there’s no villain here. She just wants out, and it sounds to me like it’s really going to happen. And it even sounds to me like this might be really good for her. I’m so glad that, after all these years, she’s taking a stand for herself and being a bit selfish.

But—to be a bit selfish myself—this really sucks. She and her husband and my nephew have been a HUGE source of stability for me. I mean, for god’s sake, J and I have been planning on executing a will naming them as the guardians of our kids if something happens to us. We love them as a couple, and I don’t know what happens to our tiny little family unit we’ve created here in DC if they split up. The truth is, this family unit right now consists of me, my husband, and my sister and her family. After all my broken/fucked up family problems, I've settled on creating a new family for our children. So it's hard to see that fantasy dissolve.

And it also just makes me sad. Because I want her to be happy, but I’m not sure this will make her happy, and I know it’s going to devastate her husband and hurt her child and I love them, too. And there’s NO ONE I can talk to about this. It’s not like I can talk to J’s mom about it, and I don’t think most of my friends would understand. (Though at least now that the shower’s over I can talk to them about it. I didn’t want anyone to feel awkward at the shower.) The truth is, the person I talk to about stuff like this is my sister, and the last thing I want to do is lay a guilt trip on her when she’s finally finding herself.

Okay, now I’m sitting in my chair bawling. I think I hadn’t realized how upset I was about this before now. It’s just that everything seems to be going topsy turvy right when I need stability more than anything.

And it doesn't help that my body's frequent temper tantrums have me completely disoriented. I ended up staying up too late last night, then was awake most of the night with back pain and burning, screaming, excrutiating heartburn that no drug seemed able to touch. I'm having trouble even finding foods I can eat. Had macaroni with butter and parmesean for lunch today--how sad is that. So then I ended up sleeping all afternoon today, and now it's dark outside and I'm just disoriented and fussy.

I’m worried that I’m going to end up freaking out when I’m stuck at home with the babies. I think I need my job more for structure than for stimulation. When I'm home for several days in a row, especially alone, I get into this funk where I don't know what I should be doing or feeling.

So I’m kind of a mess today.

* * *

Wanted to note that I realized there IS someone I can talk to. Called my BFF in Boston who I sometimes forget I can hit with this stuff, even though her life is very different from mine. It was really nice, and I'm feeling a bit better.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mashup of Email Rants

I haven't been able to get my shit together and blog for weeks, so instead I thought I'd just pass on a mashup of email rants I've sent out in the past week:

God, I'm losing it. My doctor today confirmed what I suspected: I'm basically experiencing full-term pregnancy . . . with six more weeks to go. As of three weeks ago I already was carrying about 7 pounds of baby (3.3 and 3.6 pounds). I can't eat without getting stomachaches, nausea, and heartburn, and I can't digest what I do manage to eat. I can't really walk that well, because my knees are getting tweaked and my legs and feet hurt. And nighttime is the WORST. I can't sleep, because my back and hips are killing me. And turning over totally sucks. Sometimes I'm just happy to have morning come so I can give up on trying to sleep. Every three or four nights I get a decent night's sleep, but it's a real crap shoot otherwise. I've thought about trying to sleep in my recliner, but I can't recline it very far before the dizziness/heart pounding starts, which tells me the babies are sitting on my vena cava. And I worry that it'll hurt my upper back and neck so badly it won't be worth it. AARGGHH. Very frustrating.

And my work responsibilities just WILL NOT LET UP. This storm last week really messed me up. I was supposed to have oral argument on Wednesday--and I already was upset that it had been scheduled this late in my pregnancy. Now it's been canceled and likely will be rescheduled in MARCH. And it's not like I can easily ask someone else to handle it. The issues are incredibly complicated and I know the case really well, but it would take days for someone else to get caught up (and that person still might not really get the argument). So as long as I'm hauling my gigantic self into the office a few days a week, I'm really in no position to say I can't walk across the street and argue a case in court. But I REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to do it. Any teeny amount of stress is kicking my ass at this point. On top of that, I have two briefs (that are interrelated and therefore hard to separate and reassign) due in March. I'd like to just knuckle down and focus on them, but other shit keeps cropping up that needs my attention. And I'm actually feeling so crappy that I'd love to just stop working altogether.

Oh, and I have all this baby stuff to get done too, like meet with our day care person (I think we found someone!), and find a pediatrician, and take our parenting classes, etc. And CRAP, I keep forgetting that I need to meet with our personnel specialist and call the disability people and figure out how to get all of my leave paperwork taken care of, too.

And apparently my pregnancy hormones have finally kicked in. I was snowed in all week last week, which you'd think would lead to blogging, but I was so cranky I couldn’t even get started at it. At first I thought it was stress over work, then I thought it was cabin fever. But finally I realized that it could be those third trimester hormones kicking in. You know that PMS feeling where you're so agitated you just want to start screaming at everything and nothing? That's how I'm feeling almost ALL the TIME. Add in the random panic attacks (also for no reason--simply a physical reaction to having twice as much blood, my doc says) and I'm not good company.

The rest of the time I’m weepy and sad. My sister suggested that I put together some baby pictures of me and J for our baby shower this Saturday, and I got all upset, because there really ARE NO baby pictures of me. (Totally true. My parents took a ton of pictures of my sister, but when I was born they took almost none. My mom had a nervous breakdown after I was born. And those that she did have of me she managed to lose in one of her many moves over the years. I have maybe two or three pictures, which just happened to be in a school project from 7th grade that I had kept. For a long time I thought my dad would have some pictures (given that he’s an amazing amateur photographer), but when he sent me his CD archives a few years ago I discovered that aside from the ONE photo of me in the hospital, there are no pictures until I’m more than two years old.) Anyway, I ended up sitting on the couch crying about this, asking myself why no one loved me as a baby. Like this isn’t the oldest of old news. But there’s something about being an almost-mom that brings out the strangest thoughts about my own parents. Who suck.

We're making progress on getting the house ready, but that's been kind of stressful, too. Especially now that it seems that--despite everyone's assurances that "lots of people will want to buy you stuff"--no one seems to be buying us anything off our registry. I feel horrible and greedy for feeling so disappointed about this, but I spent weeks putting together that registry (which is okay, I guess, because it's still a good shopping list) and it feels weird to have it ignored. My shower is this Saturday, and it doesn't seem like many people are coming. Again, normally I'd be cool with this, but it's also a little strange. I keep telling myself that it's okay--we have a little bit of money (from last years health care flex account) set aside to buy the essentials, and we have been given a TON of secondhand stuff. In fact, I suspect I have more clothes than I'll be able to use in the first few months (though it's hard to tell for sure). But I’m still feeling let down.

Rest assured, I will somehow get through all of this. But I’m struggling like I never have before. I feel like I’m clawing my way on hands and knees to the finish line, and I’ll be lucky to make it across in one piece.

So . . . how’s everyone else doing?