Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Turns the Other Cheek

Part of the deal with this whole Vasa Previa nonsense is that I will deliver early. No going into labor for this woman in her thirties. Since the doctors know this, I was scheduled to receive a Betamethasone shot to help with Yoda's lung development, just in case early is... too early.  My first appointment was scheduled for last Friday.

A woman in her thirties is naturally curious, so I looked online to see where this shot was going to be... administered.  In my belly?  In my eyeball?  Who knows?  It turned out that my butt was the body part of choice.  What I also discovered in my searching was that I would need another shot 24 hours later-- it's a two dosage kind of deal.  Math has never been my strong suit, but I know enough to know that 24 hours past Friday is Saturday.  And my doctor's office isn't open on Saturday.  So I called to sort it out.

'Oh,' the nurse said when she realized the error.  'Well, you could just take it home and have your partner give you the second dose on Saturday.'

I laughed and said, 'You obviously don't know my partner.' 

For giggles, I called L and said, 'Hey, how would you feel about giving me a shot in the butt on Saturday?'

L was silent for a second and then said, 'No thanks.'

I sent a text to my friend C, who happens to be a doctor.  'If I came over on Saturday morning, would you be willing to give me a shot in the butt?  Yes, I am serious.'

A woman in her thirties knows she has a true friend when the immediate response is, 'Yes, but let me come to you.'  It turned out, however, that her services would be unnecessary.  My doctor called me to reschedule to this past Monday and Tuesday.

I thought that was the extent of the butt-shot drama, but if there is one thing I should have figured out by the ripe old age of 33 it's that there are no limits to dramatic potential in any situation. My OB's office has an open area for blood work, but I guess I assumed that since this particular visit would involve me pulling my pants down, I might have a little privacy.  I was wrong.

'Just enough to... you know... get to the fleshy part,' the nurse said, and I smiled at her.  I know all the nurses quite well by now, since I'm what you'd call a regular at the OB.  Lord knows I've got plenty of fleshy part, so I dropped trow, and she had at it.  Just then, another nurse I've gotten to know walked by and stopped.

'Hey, R!' she said.  'How's everything going?'

I looked down at my exposed butt cheek and back at her.  'Swell,' I said.  'How are you?'

It was about three hours later when I started to feel... yucky.  Sicky.  I will spare you the gory details, but I think by 3:30am L was starting to think I might have been some sort of prototype for that scene in The Exorcist.  I thought it was just something I ate, but when I woke up and looked in the mirror I saw that I had a weird rash on my cheeks (the face ones). Like in that Baby Jane movie.

When I called the doctor, they determined I wasn't having an allergic reaction, but some kind of intolerance.  I had two options.  I could forgo the next shot and spare myself another night of sickness and Bozo-cheeks, or I could deal with it and get another shot, for the sake of the baby. 

Ah, the things the body of a woman in her thirties goes through.  This dilemma was obviously a no-brainer, but it got me thinking about how Judy Blume left out this chapter in Are You There God, It's Me Margaret. Maxi pads aren't the half of it, as Margaret surely knows by now.

I walked into the office Tuesday and, without waiting to be prompted, pulled my pants down to expose the other butt cheek. 'Do it, would you?' I said.  'But make it quick.'

And just as I was about to get stuck again, the same nurse from the day before came walking by.  'Hey, R!' she said.  'How's everything going?'

This time I turned to stick my butt at her and said, 'Peachy.  How are you?'  And all was poked, and right with the world.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Teaches an Old Dog Old Tricks

It's no secret that I love my dog Daniel. Dan the Man, Daniel the Maniel. He is a good boy. He is our first child in many ways. Our first, much easier child.


Except lately. Something incredible has happened in Pleasantville over the last few weeks, and it involves a string of 70-80 degree days and sunshine. The snow is gone, the barbeques are out, and the weather people are feeling quite bored and unsure of themselves. I maintain that this is what March is supposed to look like, but the native Minnesotans look at me like I'm crazy.

And then there's Dan. Don't get me wrong-- Dan LOVES the sunshine. As long as he's out in it. If he's not, he revolts. He sits back on his haunches and says, 'I will not sit in this house right now, I will not do what you say, I will only stare out this window and look cute until you take. me. OUT. SIDE!'
Daniel is such a good boy that I don't think it occurs to him to chew up our shoes or hide Anna's toys in protest. Instead, he does what he he knows will DRIVE ME EVEN MORE CRAZY. He refuses to go to the bathroom. That's right. He sits in the mud room and stares at me three times a day as if to say, 'Look, lady. Anna really knocked me down a rung in the hierarchy. I know you've got another one in there. It's the least you can do to take me on a walk to go to the bathroom.'

When Anna first arrived, I wrote this post about Dan's picky bowels. I thought we'd turned a corner in this whole 'doing your business when it's time to do your business' thing. But now that the snow is gone, Dan is back to his old ways. Back to square one. Back to training him with a leash in the backyard, back to locking him up when he refuses to go.

Which has got me thinking a lot about patience. A woman in her thirties is supposed to have a grip on this very important virtue, but even L has noticed that mine has run out when it comes to Dan. I'm shorter with him than usual, more annoyed. I went to bed last night thinking I was turning into a mean dog-Mom, one who only recognizes how much her dog has given to her once he's gone.

So I've made a promise to be more patient with Dan as we figure this out. He's still my baby, even though he's not my baby, but you know what I mean. He's counting on me, the same way Anna does, and the same way Yoda will. And it's not his job to help me figure out the balance between the three-- it's mine.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Gets Stung

Recently, I wrote a book. I guess it's technically my third book, though I am considering the first two as practice toward what Malcolm Gladwell would call my 10,000 hours of experience trying to get good at something. This one happened quickly, during naps and nights when L was traveling, when I most definitely could have been vacuuming or crafting or whatever else it is other moms do. The point is I did it-- I wrote it-- and I felt good about it.

Last month, after I finished my first round of edits, I decided to start querying agents. Any wannabe writer who has done this knows that it's a daunting process. Basically, you contact agents and try to dazzle them in about 100 words. You say something like, 'Hi. I wrote something and I want you to sell it to a publisher and make me a billion dollars.' Sometimes you get a form letter back that says something like, 'We don't feel this is the right fit for us.' But mostly you get silence. It's intimidating, but part of the process.

Except this time. My first round included an agent who represents two authors I very much admire, both of whom are bestsellers. No, I will not say who she is. What I will say is that when I got an email from her that said, 'I'm so happy you considered me for this project. Would you consider sending me the first fifty pages?' I might have peed my pants a little. And I couldn't even blame the pregnancy.

I poured over the manuscript, sent it off, and waited. Four weeks I remained glued to my computer, constantly checking my phone for a missed call. On the bad days, I imagined her laughing as she read it, showing it to her colleagues as an example of the worst book ever written. On the good days, L and I would fantasize about the advances, the movie deals, the vacation home in Phuket. But most days, I tried to keep things in perspective. It was a bite, nothing more. Aside from a few nice daydreams of my children being able to brag to their friends that their Mom is a writer, I didn't allow myself to get my hopes up.

The rejection came on Wednesday. It was a personal email, including a few niceties and suggestions. But what it boiled down to, she said, was she 'wasn't in love with the writing.' Wasn't in love with the writing. Ouch. I woke AB up from her nap early, just so I could make her smile and take away the sting.

Barring serious tragedy, I give a woman in her thirties a seventy-two hour time period for self-pity. They do not need to be consecutive hours, but seventy-two is the limit. After that, it's time to get on with it. (Such a sensitive woman I've turned out to be...) I reflected on this particular rejection and decided that it warranted no more than three hours of boo-hoo time. So AB and I went to Target, went out for dinner, and called the few people who I'd let in on my little secret. L's first words: 'She's stupid'. Friends' first words: 'Aw, honey.' This is why I love them both so differently, and so much.

And now I'm on with it. My three hour boo-hoo fest included questioning the agent (Wasn't 'in love' with it... was she 'in like' with it?'), questioning my approach (Isn't self-publishing where it's at anyway?), and of course, questioning my ability (Who are you kidding? You SUCK.) It's exhausting, living in that state disappointment and uncertainty. I don't like it one bit.

But all of that is over now. A woman in her thirties doesn't give up after the first sting. She picks herself up, dusts herself off, and keeps going. Her kids are going to call her a writer, dammit. And they're going to be proud.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties is Snowed In

P-Ville is a confusing place to live sometimes. Last year at this time, we were working on our 1000th foot of snow. Okay, that is a slight exaggeration, but last winter was rough. When I would say things of that nature to the natives, I would be greeted with , 'Well, that's Minnesota for you!' And then I would secretly cry inside.

(Last year, this time)

Believe me, I'm not complaining about this year's mild winter. But I don't understand how yesterday's 'blizzard' (3 inches of snow, maybe?) made everything in the Twin Cities grind to a halt. No school? No work? Come on, Minnesota, this is nothing. Right? And it was so pretty!

I can't speak for other stay-at-home Moms, but I will say that for me, a day cooped up inside is not good. Not at all. I've endured enough snide remarks about how being a stay-at-home Mom must be sooooo boooooring to know that the perception for some might be that AB and I spend the majority of our days staring at each other, watching the minutes tick by. Um, not if I want to maintain my sanity.

Yesterday, for several logistical reasons, we were snowed in until about 3:30. It was at about 1:15 that the not-good things started happening. Think Jack Torrence in The Shining, if you're looking for a visual. The part before the ax, but after he's had the conversation with Lloyd at the bar. Something needed to be done.

So I pulled out my camera. A woman in her thirties who is snowed in needs to find a way to keep herself from going crazy, and this was the only way. We bounced:

We slid:
We daydreamed:
We wrestled for Mommy's iPhone:
We ate:
And we survived.