Blood, beards & baby showers.
September 11th, 2013
29 weeks pregnant.
This past week has been an intense series of ups and downs, punctuated with a wonderful celebration. I feel like time is starting to go by so much more quickly now, and while that does seem to promise some physical relief from the new uneasiness of pregnancy, it also terrifies me. There are days when I cannot wait to meet Wilder and then there are times I worry about the impending responsibility of his arrival. My sleep schedule has become unsatisfying to say the least, and I know it is only going to get more difficult to sleep at all, let alone sleep soundly. Whenever I am sleep deprived I feel so much more emotional. Of course I worry about how I will handle myself in those first few weeks of Wilder’s life, so I’ve been trying to be more mindful of my reactions to others. Also the physical discomfort has been wearing on my patience. I was fortunate enough to have Misty work on my growing body and fix some of its current issues. My left shoulder was completely out of whack and thankfully she was able to remedy it, giving me instant relief. Not to mention addressing the tightness of my other major muscles. She has been a lifesaver to me in many respects, but she also happens to be one of the most talented body workers I’ve ever known. I don’t take for granted how lucky I am to have people who I not only trust with my well-being, but that I also love being around. So this is what it’s like to wait till your mid-thirties to have a baby. Point taken, psoas muscle.
Spending time with Misty last Wednesday allowed me to catch up on how our close friend Jackie is doing. She and Jackie had recently attended a meditation retreat and I was delighted to hear all the (hilarious) stories of their adventure. Jackie is one of my closest friends and recently we haven’t seen much of each other because we both have such unforgiving schedules. She is in the midst of a very trying time as the man who is one of her dearest friends and teachers, Herman Wallace, is currently fighting an aggressive form of cancer. Herman has spent over 40 years of his life in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit. Jackie has been collaborating with him for over ten years in an effort to raise awareness and end the misuse and torture that is solitary confinement in the US. (You can learn a lot more about her and Herman’s work at hermanshouse.org) Jackie is one of the most amazing people I know. She has the courage and resolve of a true radical, yet she deeply appreciates a good poop joke. It is difficult to see someone you love struggle through a hard time, especially when there is little to control in the situation. I know she will come out of this struggle as a stronger person and it astounds me that she has the ability to handle trying times as gracefully as she does. I feel extremely fortunate that Wilder will have her in his life, as I couldn’t imagine my life without her.
Moving on through the week, things didn’t seem to be getting much easier. In fact, Friday was a real motherfucker. Andy called me while I was at work just to chat and we had a pleasant conversation. He called back almost immediately after we had hung up and I knew something was wrong. He was very upset and explained that two of the dogs had just gotten into a bad fight. I asked if he wanted me to leave right away but he wanted me to wait a few minutes while he assessed the situation. [Quick back story: After moving in together we had dog trainer come over and help us with ways to get all four of our dogs acclimated to one another. My two dogs live upstairs with me as Andy’s live downstairs with him, but while we are home we often allow them to play together in the yard (always supervised). For the past few months they have been getting along brilliantly, and I suppose both he and I have let our guard down a bit. Brando is my oldest, a sizable male at about ten years and Kara is his youngest, a very feisty female of about one and a half years. They are the two we have had to watch the most because of dominance issues.] Andy called me back and asked that I come home immediately because there was a lot of blood everywhere, which we later determined was mostly from him. I grabbed my things and headed out. Upon reaching my car, I received a call from the main office informing me that our group health insurance would not be going through, and therefore I would not be offered any benefits through the company. This means I’m back to square one, where my private insurance does not cover any portion of labor or delivery and I make too much money to qualify for any assistance programs. (Only have a baby if you are rich or poor, nowhere in between). Bring on the tears. So I headed home feeling anxious and depressed. It was a macabre scene at home. Both Brando and Kara were pretty beat up, but Brando had gotten more of the injuries, because as it turns out, Kara is pretty tough. Andy had a huge gash in the middle finger and a puncture on the back of his right hand. He was debating on whether or not he needed stitches, but I sent him off to Urgent Care immediately. Better to be safe than sorry. He was pretty upset that his own dog was the one who had bitten him, and I explained that it wasn’t a purposeful action. He’s a newcomer to the dangers of a serious dog fight, but I’ve been to the ER a few time in the past when I’ve gotten in the middle of something I shouldn’t have. Never an easy experience.
While he was at the Urgent Care, I set about cleaning up the dogs and the house. Luckily none of our dogs appear to have any people aggression and both Kara and Brando patiently allowed me to inspect and clean out all their scrapes, scratches and bites with hydrogen peroxide. After getting them situated, I vacuumed and mopped all the floors and wiped down any other surface that had blood, sweat or slobber. I felt like a crime scene cleaning woman. Andy arrived home shortly after I had gotten everything in order and happily explained that the Urgent Care doctor had been wonderful. He received some surgical sutures and a splint to keep him from bending his finger. They also gave him a prescription of antibiotics, just to be on the safe side. He wasn’t home long before heading out to the bar to take care of some necessary business. He generally works on Friday nights but had taken off because he had an activity scheduled as part of the Beard and Moustache Competition. I spent his absence baking cookies for our baby shower, which was scheduled the next day. Of course I managed to burn my ever-expanding belly with a very hot cookie sheet. The night needed just a bit more suffering.
Andy and I were both a bit morose when we got up on Saturday. Over the past few months, we had been so happy and relieved that the dogs were getting along and the fight was a major setback. We spoke about the situation and decided that it would be in the best interest of all people and animals if Brando did not interact with his dogs anymore. While this is somewhat of an inconvenience for us, it hasn’t appeared to affect Brando at all as he is perfectly fine with the company that my other dog Harlow provides. As frustrating and scary as the situation was, it is much better that it happened when it did and has allowed us to implement a new schedule before Wilder comes. Wilder’s safety is our number one concern and I never planned on having him around all four dogs at the same time anyway. I am taking Kara to basic obedience classes in October and we will continue consulting with dog trainers regarding children/animal interaction. Having the dogs can be trying at times, but I can’t imagine my life without them.
I gave Andy a pep talk and we headed out early for the Beard and Moustache parade. It was a lot of fun and the facial hair was mind-blowing. Andy was set to compete at House of Blues and that is where I left him after the parade. I went home and prepared to arrive at our shower on time. The shower was unbelievably fantastic! A few of my close lady friends and my awesome cousin worked their asses off to convert the back room at Siberia into a virtual candy land. The decorations were adorable and the food was nothing short of delicious. Andy was under the impression that he would be arriving pretty late, but after a few hours at the competition he decided to head to the bar. Once at the party, he had no desire to leave. While having a baby shower at a bar may not be the most conventional of celebrations, it worked out wonderfully for us. We were overwhelmed at how many people came by (easily over 70) and the sheer support and generosity of our friends and family. The party was punctuated by a man being escorted out after trying to sell reduced price Tasers to party-goers (last minute baby gift) and the epileptic seizure of another man. The seizure was quite the situation. I felt awful because when I first saw the guy about to seize, I honestly thought he was a stripper hired for the party. Let me explain. I was sitting in the back room, shoveling food in my mouth when my friend Jenny asked me, “Is this person your guest?” while pointing at a guy who at that moment was walking down the hall and taking his shirt off. Jenny is an amazing individual and just the type to have a surprise strip tease at a baby party (she had a tattoo artist at one of Daphne’s birthday celebrations tattooing nothing but Daphne’s name on people- me and Andy have matching “Daphne” tattoos, along with about 8 other friends). As I was replying “I’m not sure if I know him,” the guy went down on one knee and then the other and started to seize. He had taken his shirt off and placed in his mouth, as apparently he must have known what was coming. Thankfully my little cousin Lisa is an EMT and she was able to help the guy until EMS arrived at the scene. The presence of an ambulance outside of the baby shower caused quite a stir with people who were just arriving. Andy said that he saw the guy on his bike the next day, so I am happy to report that he is alive and (hopefully) well.
For not drinking at a celebration, I sure had a wonderful time. I was happy and exhausted when we arrived home that evening. Lee Kyle came by and he opened all the presents while I made a list for the Thank You notes. Watching him open the gifts was surely a highlight of the whole experience. He is like a kid on Christmas morning and I think his sheer excitement and happiness made me regret for a moment that others didn’t get to see him in his glory. We talked about how fortunate we are to have so many wonderful people in our lives and that Wilder is going to have such an amazing life surrounded with astounding diversity. Lee Kyle headed out and I surveyed the nursery which had developed an air of “Hoarders” at this point and all I could do was smile. I slept very soundly that evening feeling love and admiration for all the wonderful people in our lives.
Sunday arrived and I found myself feeling a little blue. I realized that this feeling had to do with me missing my family. When I think about my mother and father, I don’t always feel sad. A lot of my memories of them are spectacularly strange and entertaining. Usually thoughts of my father bring up memories of his amazing stories and thoughts of my mother revolve around her in the dressing room at the strip club playing the role of “house mom.” Now that I am pregnant though, I sometimes find myself missing them when milestones happen such as the baby shower. I get melancholy when I realize that Wilder will never have the chance to meet any of my nuclear family. And I hope that he has a sense of humor, because if not explaining to him why they aren’t here might be a bit tough. But I have years until I really have to worry about that. In the meantime, I try to remind myself that while I may be the remaining member of my nuclear family, I have procured an amazing support group of people who are quite possibly the best family anyone could ask for. Sometimes, even when I feel sad and hopeless, a different perspective helps me to re-focus on what’s most important. Love.