February, 2004

Item lost in the hard drive crash : list of potential baby names.

Now dreams.

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25 Feb 2004, by


Yesterday morning my iBook hard drive started crashing. By yesterday afternoon it would not boot. This is a catastrophe of such magnitude to me that I cannot even begin to describe it. I am completely, utterly dependent on this little machine, and of course I had no adequate backup system in place. I have never had a massive hard drive crash before, and my iBook was so reliable in every way that I honestly failed to envision such a thing ever happening. I realize this is all my fault. That knowledge helps me not at all, nor does it bring me even the smallest bit of comfort. I am so completely lost without the stuff on my iBook that I find it difficult to even write about it. The only reason I’m saying something here is because I don’t want everyone I know to think I’ve suddenly gone insane or turned into a complete bitch or fallen off the face of the earth. Please don’t talk to me, please don’t look at me, please don’t tell me you sympathize. I am crushed. I don’t know how long it will be before I am not crushed. I will resurface when I don’t feel so completely shitty.

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I had really planned to do a fragment last night and I had been looking forward to getting a chance at it, but it looks like I’m not going to nail it this week. Pregnancy caught up with me. I had a bad night Wednesday night and Thursday felt really sluggish and in pain at work all day. By the time I got home I was beat. Some days are like that. The groin pains I talked about earlier are apparently round ligament stretching. According to what I’ve read they’re supposed to have stopped by now and be mostly a second trimester thing. Instead of stopping they’ve changed. Rather than coming when I move from one position to another and being sharp pains, like they were, they arrive whenever they want as a dull persistent throbbing. They wake me up out of sleep and start up at random intervals, even if I’m completely still. Not a change I’m pleased about. Last night I took a lukewarm bath and that seems to have helped. Nothing like letting the water carry the weight for a while. I was able to sleep comfortably and well last night, though I’m still waking up several times a night to go to the bathroom, of course. So, while I meant to be writing for fragment I was sipping warm tea and groaning in pain, instead. Alas. Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to.

Also on the pregnancy front, I’m done eating the huge meals now. Heartburn has started kicking in and made a nibbler out of me. Last week both times I ate pizza I regretted it, and I’ve already started in on the TUMS. I don’t know what pregnant women did before TUMS. There are so many things you can’t take while you’re pregnant, and TUMS is totally safe. It’s probably just as well that I can’t carry on gorging myself at every meal, I need to slow it down with the weight gain anyways or I’ll be very uncomfortable. I also have to eat several hours before I lie down or I’ll get reflux. Yech.

I’ve also noticed that I need to be extra mindful about my back. Apparently the stress of the additional weight on my back has made it extra susceptible to being put out. The bad sleep night was a combination of pain from the sides of my abdomen and middle back aches. I found myself at 1 in the morning doing down dog and bridge to try and straighten myself out again. I know I’m not supposed to be doing long down dogs at this late stage as it’s a bit of an inversion, but I kept it short, and really I find nothing unkinks my back better than down dog. I love that pose! I had to miss yoga this week, and I wonder if that has contributed to me having more problems with pain the past few days, but there could be no connection between the two. After all, I’m at the stage where discomforts of this type are just par for the course. Luckily I’ve had no swelling yet. I’m still wearing my wedding ring and my regular shoes. I’m thinking that the cold is helping with that, and I wonder if I’ll start swelling up when it gets warm. I’m craving the warmth anyways…I’m so tired of the cold. Even if it does help, I must admit that going to yoga is increasingly seeming like a futile exercise, since there’s so little I can still do. I told Kurt last week that I feel as though I’m in a different class, because I have to substitute so many poses. Everyone in the room is doing plank and I’m just rolling along with cat and dog stretches. Everyone else does updog and cobra and I do Baddha Konasana. I do squats when they do forward bends. I can’t even get into child pose anymore, which I hadn’t realized would happen. I substitute half dog for the resting pose, which feels great, btw.

Well this post has been pretty heavy on the whine so I’ll close with a pleasant discovery. After I had the first couple of charley horses a few weeks ago and remembered how horrible it was to get them all the time and to wake up in the night with them I decided to read up a little on this very common pregnancy symptom. The recommendation I found was to never point your toes when you stretch (something I always do) and instead stretch with your foot flat and your toes pointed back towards you. Since then, whenever I’ve felt the first tingling of leg cramps, I’ve immediately stretched with my toes pointed back towards me and it has worked! I haven’t had another charley horse since! Who knew the solution was so plainly simple? Hurray!

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Guardian Unlimited Books | Ursula Le Guin Q&A. [Link taken from Neil Gaiman’s Journal]

A cool interview with an insightful author. It’s always a pleasure for me to read what Le Guin has to say, even if I’m not the biggest fan of her novels (though without being a huge fan I can safely say she’s worth reading). Which reminds me that I really wanted to post a few of the thoughts that came to me when I read The Dispossessed last summer in Europe and I never got around to it. What a thought-provoking book! I mean to go back and bring fresh eyes to the Earthsea stuff as well, sometime, but I imagine I might just get the chance to share that with my daughter in the not too distant future.

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Ok so it’s time for another pregnancy update, since I went to the doctor last week. I realize that I’ve documented this pregnancy in a much more haphazard way than the last one, so here’s one small attempt at rectifying that. This doctor’s visit was the last of my four week visits, and since I’ll be starting week 30 around Valentine’s day, we’ll be moving on to two week visits from here on out. Week 30 feels like the beginning of the end to me. I’m not sure why. Part of it may have to do with the fact that any baby born from here on now has an excellent chance of surviving so some of the premature labor concerns go away. In any other context I think 10 weeks would qualify as forever away, but in terms of delivering a baby it seems nigh instant. There’s a lot that remains undone, despite the fact that there’s a lot less that needs to be done this time around. I think we have all the furniture and accoutrements we need (provided we can get back some of the things we loaned out) for the new baby. I can’t say I’m quite ready for delivery, though. I’m not as eager for the time of birth to hurry up and get here for various reasons. One is I’m not ready yet. Another is that I know this is the last time I’ll ever be pregnant. Not that it’s anyone’s business, but Kurt and I have pretty much decided that we’re done after this one. Granted we may change our minds and granted things don’t always work out as you plan them, but our current position is that we’re not having any more kids, so I’m strangely relishing having a huge belly and waddling around. I’m not in a hurry for it to end, not just because being pregnant is kind of cool, but because the end of this process is necessarily stressful and dangerous. Labor and delivery is a pretty traumatizing process, and not just physically. I don’t care what anyone says about how beautiful and wonderful it is, it’s also difficult, scary and harsh. It’s not a barrel of laughs or a nice relaxing night out, regardless of how you frame it or how badly you want the outcome of the ordeal. Of course I have found that besides being painful and frightening in a thousand different ways it’s also completely worthwhile in a way few other things in life are, but that truth doesn’t make any of the other less true. At any rate, I’m comfortable with being in the last stages without being in a hurry to get the baby out already, which is a marked difference from the first time around. I started to be anxious and in a hurry when I got to this point with Sophia, if I recall correctly. Part of my reluctance to see time go any faster is knowing how horrible the aftermath of birth really is. I keep remembering about never getting to sleep and feeling grateful if I got a shower every three days. I remember exhaustion and confusion and pain going on for a lot longer than I thought myself capable of bearing. I keep thinking of our family harmony being completely shattered and having to work a new, uncompromising, demanding and uncommunicative being into what is generally a settled routine at our household. I spend a lot of time holding Sophia, afraid that in a couple of months I will always have my arms taken up by the new baby and be unable to cuddle her close without interference. I’m not totally convinced there’s enough of me to go around. On the other hand, I also spend a lot of time imagining myself holding a small baby in one arm and Sophia’s hand in the other, and how nice that will be. I look forward to their interactions and their differences. Will the new baby be physically precocious instead of mentally and verbally so, as Sophia is? They will have so much to teach each other about being in the world. When asked whether she will be a big sister, Sophia now answers with a simple, “Yes,” instead of wailing that she doesn’t want a new baby brother or sister like she did a few months ago. We are all slowly getting ready. I am grateful that there’s still time, as there’s still much mental and physical preparation required of all of us.

So the doctor said my weight gain was good (6 pounds) and the results of the glucose test came back ok, and my iron levels are acceptable. Everything’s fine. I asked her about the groin pains and she said that was a pretty common second pregnancy thing. She said my body’s just a little more tired and a little less strong than it was last time, and there’s less support for my burgeoning belly. She didn’t say I have been eating too much chocolate, although I know that I have. I have not been as good about my diet this pregnancy as I was with Sophia. I have been careful, but I have allowed myself to eat as I want to, and not let myself be ruled by what experts have proclaimed I should and should not eat. Outside the fact that the experts contradict themselves, I feel as though the whole thing is going to be hard enough as it is, without further complicating it by denying myself things I really want which won’t truly make a difference to my baby’s development. Maybe when my second child is emancipated he or she can sue me for what I ate while it was in my womb. On that day, I’ll sue back for lost sleep and I imagine we’ll probably call it even.

I think I’ve attained maximum “pregnant glow”. About two weeks ago I was flooded with compliments about how pregnancy suited me and how good I looked from all kinds of people. It’s really nothing I did, I guess my circulatory system finally opened throttle and gave me that flush people instinctively mistake for good health and good looks. My hair is looking great, but of course it’s been doing that for a while. I wear it down a lot, and luxuriate in the fullness and shine. I also feel, and I’m not sure how to describe this without making people feel uncomfortable, ripe in a way I don’t remember feeling last time around. My breasts are huge (far larger than they were last time at this point – I’m already wearing my nursing bras and have been for a month) and just last week I lost my belly button so my lower half is bulging out fully, and my genitalia is really, well, pronounced. I’m all kinds of fruit hanging off the vine waiting to be eaten metaphors. It seems strange, if my biological urges and hormones are all tied into reproduction of the species, and that’s pretty much already happened, why am I feeling so sexual and sexualized by my body’s transformations? I don’t remember this at all last time, but maybe it’s because I was so anxious and uncertain about everything that was happening to me and nothing shuts of my sex drive quicker than stress. Or maybe it’s that all pregnancies are different. Or maybe it’s just that I understand now about creating life on a level I didn’t understand before. Whatever the reasons might be, I’m absolutely in love with my body and completely ready to enjoy it (and sex) right now in a way I had not expected to be. It’s odd, but it’s not bad, and I hate to fall into mother goddess cliches here, but it’s strangely empowering. Maybe there’s a reason all the ancient fertility goddess images look distinctly pregnant.

As for other effects of pregnancy, there’s a marked increase in my distractability, too. In the time it takes me to open a new tab for a URL I forget where I was intending to go or what I was going to look at. I feel as though I should write everything down, just in case. However, when I do write things down the notes are cryptic and unhelpful. They say things like “dreams” or “nov. 5” or “Suite 405” and I have no idea what they mean. I stare at them for a bit and try to remember what they can possibly relate to, then throw them away. I can walk from my cubicle to the water cooler with nothing but an empty cup in my hand, and when I get there, I’m not sure why I left my cubicle. I retrace my steps and start to sit in my chair, remember I’m thirsty and raise my cup to my lips. Oh yeah. Cup’s empty, need water. So that’s what I was doing over at the water cooler. It’s amazing I can get anything done at all, really.

This child is different from Sophia. For one thing, it moves around all the time, way more than she did. For another it doesn’t seem to constantly get the hiccups the way she did. Its movements are more abrupt, too. It comes much closer to hurting me more often than Sophia ever did.

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This morning as I was fastening the belt on Sophia’s car seat she was singing “Polly Wolly Doodle” or the portion of that which she knows, which is the chorus. When she had run through it a couple of times and stopped, I casually observed,
“We like music, don’t we?”

Contrarian as she is, she immediately replied, “No. We don’t like music.”

“Well, I like music,”I amended.

“No!” she insisted,”You don’t like music!”

I raised my eyebrows, “I don’t?”

“You don’t like music,” she affirmed confidently.

“Well, if I don’t like music, then what do I like?”

“You like pancakes!”

“Yes. Yes I do. I like pancakes.”

“You like pancakes in Sophia’s room.”

This refers to a game we play with her dishes, wherein she declares it to be “foodtime”, goes into her closet and pulls out all her toy dishes and serves you “pancakes for dinner” and tea. I don’t know why it’s always pancakes for dinner. Once, around Thanksgiving of last year, she served turkey sushi, and once a couple of weeks ago she served king cake, but nine times out of ten it’s pancakes, even if you ask for something else.

“I like to have pancakes for dinner in Sophia’s room. I also like to eat pancakes at the restaurant,” I tell her, trying to jog her memory about going out for breakfast last weekend.

“Noooooo, no pancakes at the restaurant! At the restaurant we have jello!”

Her memory had been jogged alright, but instead of to last weekend she was remembering Wednesday night, when we went to the Chinese place and they brought her a big plate of jello after her meal. She was, as usual, absolutely right.

“That’s true,”I conceded,”We eat jello at the restaurant.”

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5 Feb 2004, by

Another week, another fragment. This is almost becoming like a habit, isn’t it? Before I let you at the scene I just wanted to comment that I spent two or three days thinking about this scene before I wrote it, and I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not, because nothing came out the way I planned it. For one thing the scene is far shorter than I had intended, and I didn’t even get to the real action of the scene before it ground to a halt. It was kind of strange.

This week’s fragments (they’ll be italicized in the text) are :

  • the moment when he
  • back to the car
  • nothing wrong with

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