The days of cuddling have come to an end

When our puppy Annabelle was still very small, right after we first got her, she slept next to our bed in her very own puppy sized dog bed. We didn’t have to do much to keep her out of our bed because she wasn’t even tall enough to climb up into it, but it wasn’t very long before our weak moral values kicked in and could you resist this face? I thought not.

So we caved and we let her sleep with us and this is when the cuddling began. It turns out that champion dog cuddling is a forte of Mr. E’s and he and Annabelle spent many hours spooning innapropriately together and cuddling and giving each other doggy kisses.

Often times during these lovely cuddling sessions of theirs I woke up with puppy legs and claws poking me in the back and after it became apparent that our dog was at least half goat I couldn’t help but notice that her long skinny legs were taking up more and more room in the bed formerly known as mine and I wasn’t really enjoying being shoved over to the edge of a the bed by half a goat and her best friend, my husband.

So eventually we really got tough on little lady belle and she had to start out the night in her cage, but sometimes Mr. E would let her out in the morning and then you know, there would be more cuddling. As long as I wasn’t getting awoken with a morning full of crusty bearded dog kisses I didn’t really care, and lately since Mr. E has a job and I don’t he wakes up at some ungodly hour and lets the dog out to do her doggy business and then he lets her back into our room and then she’s allowed to climb in bed with me where we snooze away the morning hours together. She likes to try to sleep on me but remember, I’m a hard ass, and I certainly don’t allow anything like that to go on.

This morning cuddling arrangement was working out fine except for the fact that she didn’t understand that her bed hours were really restricted to the hours between 5 am and 10 am and that also our bed wasn’t a trampoline and that I also don’t really love changing sheets every two hours even though she does love covering them with her muddy puppy paw prints. But you know, I thought maybe this was just the price one paid for the puppy cuddling. I know she loved it because she did her patented puppy sighs of contentment whenever she really settled down to snooze and I know I loved it because every time I’d find myself with puppy breath blowing hot in my ear I would think to myself “You know, happiness really is a warm puppy.”

But then last night I heard Mr. E doing his patented bad dog yelling (which often makes me laugh, I won’t lie, and I think it might have the same affect on Annabelle) and when I asked from the other room if the dog badness involved anything of mine, it was with a sinking heart that I ran into the room and saw that Belle had been chewing a blue ink pen in our bed and there was now blue ink all over the sheets, the pillows, the quilt my dead grandmother made by hand and the velvet patchwork quilt someone gave us for our wedding.

And that was the moment Annabelle’s days of cuddling came to an end.

Of course she will still get to do her share of spooning and happy sighing with us on the couch, I’m not made of stone here, people. And let’s be honest, the baby was pretty much going to ruin her life and kick her out of our bed in about six months anyway, so she might as well find out now that life is hard and cuddles don’t come easy.

I’m pretty sure I won’t miss dirty dog feet poking me in the back every morning but I am certain I will miss the happiness that only a warm puppy can bring.

The Bug

When we first went to the doctor after we found out about The Bug (or Baby E to be, but we call it The Bug) they asked us all these questions about our family health history and we answered no to all of them, for about seventy trillion diseases, most of which I had never even heard of. For some reason I had forgotten to write down on my forms or even to bring up that my sister has Down Syndrome until well into the interview and then when I remembered and casually mentioned it the whole tone of the thing changed and we all of a sudden found ourselves signed up for ALL THE TESTS, including the very scary very often wrong test that tells you nothing more than that maybe you need to have more tests but which again, is very often wrong. We went home to freak out a little about that test and to ask Dr. Google if a sibling with Down Sydrome means you have an increased risk of having a child with Down Syndrome. (the answer is unclear, but probably no, you don’t have an increased risk, since 99% of the time it isn’t handed down genetically, it’s a chromosomal problem). It never even occurred to me think about any of the other tests we took, I was too busy emotionally preparing myself for the big scary often wrong test to be wrong and scary and tell me that maybe The Bug had Down Syndrome.

So my doctor called me at home yesterday and the first thing she said was “We got your tests results back.” And when your ob calls and tells you IN PERSON that she got your test results back, the first thing your brain thinks is “Oh fuck.” Let me just assure you that it is never good news when the actual doctor calls with actual test results.

The point of all of this is that my Cystic Fibrosis test came back positive. This means that I am a carrier of one mutated gene that if combined with another mutated gene (from the father) causes CF. I don’t have cystic fibrosis because it’s only one gene, not two, and unless you get two mutated genes, you won’t have CF.

So Mr. E has to take a blood test. If he doesn’t have the mutated gene, then our child has no chance of having CF. If he does, then there is a 25% chance that our child would have CF. Supposedly the chances that we both have this gene are 1 in 841. I have been assured that these are Vegas odds, somehow they sound terrible to me, but I am trying to remain optimistic, even though I am also sort of freaking out. The extra fun part of all of this is that of course the CF test is the one that takes two weeks for results to come back. So I am imagining that the next two weeks will be super fun. So far it’s been a laugh riot.

I told someone yesterday, “I’m not even a parent yet and this already sucks.” I am trying not to worry – everyone says not to worry. The chances are very low. But I really don’t know how not to worry. I do know that this won’t be the first time I’ve needed Mr. E to get us out of the crap I’ve gotten us into and that if there’s anyone I can count on to rise to the occasion it’s him. And that even if the test comes back positive we will deal with it together and we will do whatever it is that we have to do and I know Mr. E will be there for me no matter what. I do know that for sure. There’s no one else I’d rather have by my side going through this with me. No one else.

I feel like a selfish and ungrateful person for saying this but the thing that keeps running through my mind is that I just don’t want to be dealing with this. It sounds stupid to say but until someone takes your normal no scare pregnancy away from you, you don’t appreciate it. Now I just want normal back. I know many parents out there are dealing with worse and that this is a tiny scare compared to real life every day for some people, but I still can’t help that what runs through my head every time I think about this is “But I don’t want to be dealing with this. I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE HOW IT IS. I don’t want this.”

Even though so far I am the one with the sucky gene and so this feels like all my fault, it is important to note that I recently bought my first fasten in the front racer back bra and I can only put it on if I lay it on the bed and back into it, such is the confoundation (is that a word?) that my brain encounters every time I try to put it on any other way. So I am sure that in addition to my sucky genes I have also passed along some super smart smarty pants genes to this kid.

BTW, the other scary often wrong test came back negative, so there’s nothing to worry about there.

Blackberry Spice Cake With a Side of Bitter

Um, let’s see. Today I’m up at the crack of dawn because I am in the middle of making a blackberry spice cake with cream cheese frosting for Mr. E’s company picnic. Yesterday I talked to my mom and she let me know that I could go ahead and make cupcakes from a box for this picnic at which the culinary highlight will be ballpark franks but then when Mr. E’s career goes down in a spiralling ball of flames and we find ourselves destitute and out on the street and science and the very fabric of our universe as we know it is never the same again after he is unable to gift the entire world with his superior lake mud knowledge, well, then I can be secure in the knowledge that it’s all my fault for not bringing a homemade dessert to the stupid fucking company picnic.

God, what is it with mothers? They can just get to you like no one else on earth. I swear my mom’s voice is like a dog whistle to me – I can hear things in that woman’s voice that no one else on earth can and I know I’m not imagining it. She doesn’t even have to speak – all it takes is the tiniest throat clear from her and I know she hates my hair, my shoes, my makeup, AND she thinks I’ve gained weight.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday about she always felt really self conscious growing up about money, how her mom made her feel so bad that they couldn’t afford the things she wanted, and how it made her feel poor as a kid, and you know Mr. E never had a lot of money growing up either since he had aproximately nine hundred and eighty seven siblings, but he never really felt it, and he thought it was because his parents never made him feel shitty about it. They told him all the time he couldn’t have $100 sneakers but they never made him feel guilty about the fact that he was asking for them or that they couldn’t afford them. They never made him feel like an asshole for asking. My parents never bought me anything I wanted either, everyone else had an Esprit bag and I had my old backpack from the year before and it killed me to be so hideously uncool, but it wasn’t because they didn’t have the money, it was because they thought it was stupid to buy something new if I already had a perfectly good backpack. And the thing is, they never made me feel bad about asking for stuff either, but it had nothing to do with money. It was because they felt completely and totally justified in saying no. My mom thought I didn’t need that bag and my mom was never wrong. Never is, never has been, never will be, at least in her own mind.

I don’t think my mother has ever had a moment of self doubt in her entire life. I don’t think she ever feels bad about how she treats people or wonders if she should lay off a little. I really don’t. It’s just odd to me that a $15 Esprit bag could have made me so happy and so much less stressed out about school and yet it never even occured to my mom that maybe she was wrong, maybe she should buy me something I didn’t need, just because. Maybe she shouldn’t call her pregnant daughter from across the world and tell her that what she’s doing isn’t good enough when a lot of times she’s just getting by, doing the best she can, and sometimes that comes from a box. And unfortunately I don’t know that there’s a conversation in the world, at least not one that I’m capable of having, that would ever make my mom think twice about some of this stuff that she does or says to me. She is who she is and she never wonders if that’s ok.

I was talking to Mr. E about this last night and what I would really love to say to my mom is this. I would love to tell her that I am the type of person who has to work every single minute of every single day to let go. I’ve been trying to be more chill my entire fucking life. I have the people around me in my life because they are the people who tell me to relax, that it doesn’t matter, that I don’t need to research cakes from around the world and grind my own organic wheat and raise my own chickens, that I am still a good person if I don’t push harder, run faster, do more and more and more. There’s no one in the world harder on me than I am on myself and the last thing in the world I need is another voice telling me that I’m not good enough. The one I hear every day in my own head is loud enough.

One Girl In All the World

I read somewhere the other day that to have a successful marriage the most important ingredient is that you each have outside interests. And I know Mr. E is REALLY interested in a lot of things that I find not so fascinating. His outside interests run to super exciting things like license plates, the elevation of wherever the fuck we are at the time, the weather, birds, forest fires, the tuneless death spiral warblings of indie rock’s latest darling, exhilirating stuff like that. It’s sort of obvious that we see the world through different eyes because he’s constantly telling me to look at the view and I am constantly amazed that he’s been so busy looking at some mountains that are always there and never change that he failed to even notice the little flowers growing along the edge of the sidewalk or the color of someone’s mail box or that weird girls hair in the parking lot.

Anyway, I know that once upon a time I had some outside interests but I can’t remember what happened to them. I do know that most of them were on a channel that just got canceled and changed to CW and they involved either Buffy or Ben Covington, and also is it my fault that even though I am totally the one who liked Project Runway first Mr. E has completely glommed onto it? That should definitely count as MY outside interest especially because he often makes fun of it and does not take it seriously AT ALL.

My point is that I really, I do have lots of things I’m good at and that I’m interested in, like reading and cooking and shopping and I like running and growing stuff and making stuff and organizing, I love organizing, and also throwing stuff out. I’m crazy about the NBA. I can clean a mean bathroom and I love fancy hotels. I have lots of things I like, really I do. However most of these things aren’t things you really cultivate when you’re lying on your back wishing you could be struck dead if only it would cure the terrible nausea, the terrible terrible nausea that never ends. Now that I am starting to feel better I’ve taken a look around at the current state of affairs, and I would like to say I am not happy with things. I can’t train for a run right now, the doctor really doesn’t recommend that. I waited for two years for Charmed Thirds (the sequel to two of my favorite books) and when I got it on the day it came out it sucked hard. My basketball team is a group of parolees who play like shit. Food repulses me in general, movies like that dreck of Zach Braff’s are being shoved down our throats and I wouldn’t go to that if they were giving away the popcorn and have I mentioned I can’t train for another half marathon right now, and by the way, what we really really need in this world is a good crime fighting perhaps super powered teen heroine to really perk up all of our lives and I am sorry I tried but Veronica Freaking Mars just ain’t cutting it.

Perhaps Ugly Betty will save us all.

I would like to be the cute type of pregnant please, thank you.

Being pregnant after being on a diet for two years and losing 60 pounds is really hard. Incredibly hard. The getting fatter part that comes with being pregnant feels wrong, even though I know it’s how it’s supposed to go. I am eating as healthy as I can and I really haven’t gained that much weight, but I am still getting bigger and there’s a part of me that hates it, no matter how good the reason. Logically, I know I’m pregnant, and not fat, but it still feels like the past twenty four months are spooling past me in reverse, as I look down and see my stomach get rounder, as I have to shop for bigger bras. It feels so much like what getting fat felt like that it’s hard to take sometimes.

I find myself making these ridiculous bargains, like “it will be ok if I don’t get fat all over” or “as long as I’m that cute kind of pregnant with skinny arms and a saucy little bump like that lady I saw in Target, I won’t mind it too much.” But I can tell you I’m only 5’1″ and I’ve seen pictures of my mom when she was pregnant with me and chances are even though I’m really a very healthy eater and I exercise there’s only so much room on this little body and I’m probably gonna be pregnant pretty much all over, it’s just probably how it’s going to happen. I picture my stomach taking over and sort of being in charge of everything for about three months at the end there. The rationalizing and deal making is so stupid I don’t even know why I do it, but I guess it just helps me to deal with the loss of control. Pregnancy is the ultimate loss of control, not just over your body, over everything. And I really really hate losing control.

The one thing that does make me feel better and that makes me feel actually sort of proud of myself is that I did lose sixty pounds before I got pregnant. Although at first I was mad at myself that I wasn’t at my goal weight when I got pregnant. Because I am an idiot and a perfectionist I felt like a failure because I was 125 pounds and not 120 pounds, probably because I’d been fighting for those five pounds for over six months and I couldn’t let them go. But I’ve been forced to let go of perfect in a big fat fast way, and so when I walked into the doctor’s office for that first visit something just came over me. It occured to me, in the parking lot, actually, that maybe, no, maybe my abs weren’t washboards, maybe I could have lost another five pounds, maybe I wasn’t quite at perfect, maybe I could have done more lunges or whatever the hell. But I could have been walking in there having given up one of the absolutely hundreds times I wanted to over the past two years, I could have been walking into that doctor’s office, pregnant, overweight, unhealthy, unhappy with my body and my life. And I wasn’t.

I think maybe that moment in the parking lot was the moment that being healthy became more important to me than being perfect, and although it took me a really long time to get to that moment, I feel like I earned it. And ss I get more and more pregnant I am trying to remember that I should feel not fat, but proud. I did a damn good job, even if it wasn’t perfect.

The most important meal of the day is kicking my ass

I need breakfast ideas. If I don’t eat just the right thing for breakfast, it makes me sick all day, and it’s starting to really suck. I just want to sit down with a cup of tea and a stack of buttered toast, but if I don’t eat protein with every meal, I get sick almost immediately afterwards. I also can’t eat dairy, eggs, beans, or most lunchmeat, like ham or turkey, especially the smoked stuff, because all the sodium nitrite in it WRECKS my insides. I can only eat fish twice a week, because of the mercury content. I can’t just drink my breakfast, like in smoothie form, because I’ll get sick almost immediately afterwards, and soy milk by itself (like on cereal) just plain grosses me out. I’m left with peanut butter, pretty much, and I’m getting really sick of it. For awhile there I had resorted to ham and cheese lean pockets every morning but I feel like I really can’t eat anymore of those. I miss my old stand bys of yogurt and oatmeal so much.
I’m thinking that I might try baking some muffins with protein powder added, but I can’t find a definitive answer on whether baking destroys the protein in protein powder. I figure it can’t hurt to give it a try. Or I can put the protein powder in some orange juice and have that with toast. Along with some more motherfucking peanut butter.

Damn you Liz Lange, damn you!

This morning, I witnessed fashion crimes committed in the name of maternity clothes that would make a grown man cry. It appears that in the world of maternity clothes, “wrap dress” actually means “large unflattering brown bag you wouldn’t be caught dead otherwise in except you are too pregnant to be picky, you big pregnant loser.” The one bright spot is that, despite the fashion atrocities being passed off as maternity “clothes”, it appears no one’s yet crazy enough to believe that pregnant women would wear skinny leg jeans. I’m hoping nine months is just long enough for me to sidestep that fashion land mine all together.

Also on the plus side, I just ate a very delicious salad. (Romaine, carrot shreds, craisins, mandarin oranges, parmesan, turkey, cucumbers, toasted walnuts, and balsamic vinegar.)