July 17th 2013
21 weeks pregnant.
I am feeling much better than I had been last week. Although I understand that it isn’t uncommon to have such drastic emotional swings, I sometimes worry about the likelihood of experiencing post-partum depression. My mother and brother were both bi-polar and I feel like having bypassed that torture, I may be in line for some depressive retribution. I’ve read articles and blogs about mothers who suffered from this affliction, varying in degrees from general non-interest in their child to thinking the devil wanted them to kill their offspring. While at this very moment I find it hard to believe that I would ever experience anything that would make me want to ignore or hurt my baby, I have seen firsthand how quickly my moods have switched. I suppose there is no true way to predict whether or not this will afflict me; all I can do is be aware of the warning signs and post them in a non-threatening manner on the fridge – “Dear Andy, Please immediately remove the baby from my care if I am seen holding a knife near him. Love, Lori”
Among my other concerns is my unreliable vehicle. My car went back into the shop this past week. It has definitely become a money pit. The new issue involves the steering. Basically, while driving, the power steering feels as though it is just randomly going out. We took it to a shop and they drove it and hooked it up to the diagnostic machine and even put it on the lift, and their best suggestion was to get new tires and an alignment. Now I know I have needed new tires, but I was holding out for something to come through, like winning the fucking lottery. But having had professionals recommend the purchase of new tires for my safety, I went ahead and bought them this past weekend. Unfortunately, the car is still doing the same thing. Guess it wasn’t the tires. Now on to the next possible solution, which hopefully won’t break the bank and send me into another depression.
Last Thursday was the anniversary of my mother, Lark and Julie’s deaths. Most people know, but for those of you who don’t, my mother murdered two women and herself in July of 2005. I was exceptionally close to all three of them, probably least close with my mother. Needless to say, I have struggled with the ramifications of my mother’s actions and find that although time has lessened the pain, it has not extinguished it. I think the collaboration of this anniversary happening the same week as the 20-week ultrasound contributed to my mental instability. Lee Kyle visited the night of the anniversary and brought me a beautiful quilt he had made for the baby using my father’s old clothes. It was such a beautiful and thoughtful gesture that I felt somewhat guilty for being so upset earlier in the week. He had spoken with his family after the ultrasound and while they were extremely excited about the baby, they also began posing many questions about guardianship and parental rights. I could tell that their inquiries had made him nervous. I explained that he is going to be listed on the birth certificate as the father, and will therefore have legal rights to our child. If anyone is risking getting fucked by the situation, it is Andy, although he maintains that he is secure in our chosen situation to co-parent the child.
In terms of preparing for the arrival of the baby, we have begun tackling some of the things on our to-do list. We met with a dog trainer so that we could discuss the combining of our two households. I have two beautiful dogs – Brando, who is nearly ten years old and Harlow, who is six years old. Andy also has two awesome dogs – Delilah who is five years old and Kara who is about a year old. Thankfully, Andy has a separate living space in the house, so the four dogs’ only cohabitate when we choose. This is generally for small periods of time throughout the day and never when they are unsupervised. They all get along 98% of the time, but every now and then Brando has to assert his dominance which can be pretty terrifying. Luckily his bark is always worse than his bite (knock on wood) and this scenario involves him growling and pinning down one of the girls, while I rush to separate them. None of our dogs have people aggression which is a complete blessing considering that all of them are rescues of some sort. The trainer explained that the behavior Brando is exhibiting is completely normal, and while it can be frightening, it is his way of establishing dominance in the pack. Andy and I must continue to assert ourselves as the lead alphas, which I’ve had no problem doing. My goal is to have them all acclimated and comfortable with one another by the time the baby arrives. I think with some continued training and understanding, it will be possible.
Next on the list, Andy and I went on a tour of the Touro Hospital labor and delivery area. I had been in this area of the hospital before when Ellen delivered Juniper, so I felt like a pro. I did get to watch an amazing demonstration of all the shapes the hospital bed can morph into. The thing was like a Transformer; I was shocked (and saddened) that it doesn’t have the ability to make me a sandwich quite yet. That will be the 2014 model. Andy fully acquainted himself with all aspects of the delivery room and he was remarkably comfortable there. He actually likes hospitals. I think he would make an excellent nurse. It was a bit surreal standing in one of the delivery rooms, knowing that in a few months I’ll be having my son there. Hopefully my labor will be as short and sweet as Ellen’s was.
This past weekend was quite busy. A dear friend of Jackie and I came to visit New Orleans for the first time. Katya flew in from San Francisco (although she actually lives there, France and Germany) with her two-year-old daughter Masha. It was wonderful to see her and to meet her adorable little girl. The last time we had all been together was before the birth of Masha when Jackie, Andy and I flew to San Francisco for her art opening. She was lovely as ever and we had a great time. It was fun discussing parenting because she has such an interesting view in that she is raising her two daughters in different countries with different partners. She is quite the Renaissance woman. We discussed the American culture of child worship and helicopter parenting, as well as the need for most people to identify gender immediately upon meeting a child. She was able to spend a good part of the day with Andy and I, and she even met Lee Kyle and Clint before she left. She adored Lee Kyle, as I knew she would.
Andy and I also had our initial sit down meeting with the doula that we are hiring for the birth. It seems like she is going to be a really good fit. She is very knowledgeable, easy to be around and has a great sense of humor. She is the kind of person that he or I would normally have a drink and shoot the shit with. I feel so much better knowing that we have not only found a doula that we like, but that she will be available for the baby’s birth. I know that utilizing her is surely going to help the whole labor situation go more smoothly. It relieves me to know that we will have someone with us for the entire time I am laboring who will have a clue as to what the hell is happening. I love and trust Andy, but I am also aware that when I am in pain or distressed he is often the first person to feel my wrath. I think Kisha (the doula) will significantly reduce the stress that we are all experiencing. Also I will probably be on better behavior around her. I don’t want her to know just how crazy I can be.
In final news, I tried to jog this past weekend, “tried” being the operative word here. I failed miserably. I probably made it less than a tenth of a mile before being overwhelmed by the feeling that my lungs were going to explode, and promptly giving up. It was a hard pill to swallow but I know I must accept my physical limitations. It’s all worth it, right?