Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Trouble in Paradise

I think it's in everyone's best interests for people sailing off to Looks Like There's Really Gonna Be a Baby After Infertility land to occasionally share the less blissful aspects of the experience. So while this is not exactly a complainy post, if you're feeling particularly discouraged by infertility today you might prefer to just read the first item, and then go eat a cookie or something. Or just go straight to the cookie.

1. I got name book, and have been looking through it. I may have chosen a particularly stupid one, but I also think my training as a linguist makes it extra annoying to read such books. There are the cases where names are listed as being derived from, say, Latin, when they are clearly not. There are the cases where a name will be listed as derived from, say, Russian, but the Russian word means something entirely different than what's given. But that's just me being pedantic. Here's one that illustrates a more serious problem:
Tapas (Indian): thunder.
Ignoring the fact that Indian is not a language, imagine some country couple with few global cuisine options in their little town. They chose this name 'cause it's just so purrrrty, and fail to understand why the city cousins are constantly mocking their child, pelting him with olives and fried squid. Caveat lector, man. Which is a Swahili phrase meaning joyful lion.

2. Okay, the Trouble. Lately I've been subject to hormonal rages. At least, I think that's what's going on. Something minor will annoy me, and then I seem to fall into a cascade of increasing anger. Soon I'm fuming and snarling, which makes Mr. Bunny defensive and angry, which makes me angry and hurt, which results in us sullenly watching movies, waves of mutual annoyance emanating from us. Which fills my head with visions of myself in a cheap flowered housedress, frying bologna at the stove, virgina slim dangling from my lip, while a squalling, dirty-diapered infant sits in playpen, ignored by his father, who's watching football on a big screen TV. Also there's a dead refrigerator on the porch, and a truck up on blocks in the front yard.

Alarmist visions aside (dude, we don't even have a porch), I have noticed that I'm starting to interpret everything through a lens of Anxiety About Parenting. If Mr. Bunny doesn't do the dishes, I become convinced that there won't be an equitable distribution of labor post Bun Bun, and I'll be forced to choose between living in filth and running myself ragged trying to keep up. If there's some task that needs doing and yet I keep not getting to it, I become convinced that my entire world will fall into chaos. The more anxious and distressed I become, the more I think of the correlation between IF and postpartum depression, and the more I envision myself as a shrill, neurotic, divorced parent.

It's grey and freezing, my house is in disorder because of the renovation, I'm a control freak and don't have childbirth planning to keep my mind occupied, work is tense, and anxiety about parenting is normal. Some of this is situational, some of it is hormonal, some of it is just part of the experience. But I resent this bullshit. I want to get back to my 24/7 schedule of lovin' on my fetus.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bun Bun's V Card

This weekend we celebrated Bun Bun's Achievement of Viability. I know--it's a range, not a date, and we were very clear with him that this does NOT mean he should come out now (because, um, the house is a mess), but it IS a big milestone. First I had myself a (prenatal) massage. Mr. Bunny and I both love a good massage, so we go together every few months. I haven't had one since early in my pregnancy, though, and because my favorite part is lying face down while someone wales on my back and shoulders, I was curious to discover what it would be like now that lying face down is not an option. We went to a place we've been a million times before, and I just assumed that because we'd booked a prenatal massage, the therapist would be expecting to give me a prenatal massage. So I was surprised when she told me to lie face down on the table. But I was like, Hey, what do I know. Maybe it works fine, and gave it a shot. Bun Bun immediately protested. Oh NO YOU DI'N'T! Bun Bun will NOT be steamrolled! When the therapist returned, I explained the difficulty, and DUH, she had no idea I was pregnant. In case you're curious, a prenatal massage involves being propped up slightly on a wedge, on your back for part of the time and on your side for part of the time. And being kicked by a fetus most of the time, but that part might only happen if you squash it first.

Then Bun Bun got carrot cake. You know, indirectly.

The official 24 week date.

Then we watched TV.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Get thee to a BunBunery!

The Bunny household is going through some changes as we get hip to the reality of maybe possibly having a baby. It started when I convinced Mr. Bunny to spend some of the money we saved up for IVF on renovating our bathroom. Unlike many of y'all (I'm lookin' at you, Misfit), we have zero skillz in the home repairs department, so are paying some nice people to do the work. While I'm sorry to brag about blowing our wad on toilets and drywall when many of you are hampered in your family-building options by finances, I'm pretty excited about this and can't contain myself. The old bathroom was SKANKY, featuring a closet that perpetually grew mildew and a bunch of fixtures installed by blind monkeys.

We've also started clearing out the BunBunery, though we left some stuff in it until the renovation is over. And since we were ordering something from our favorite furniture place, we threw in a piece of baby furniture. It arrived a few days ago. I didn't expect that to be an emotional event. It's a changing table dealie, so not actually that thrilling--it's not like we're talking about a cradle full of storks or whatever. Plus, when I got home from work, it was sitting draped in plastic amid a bunch of other shit draped in plastic and covered in dust. But when the plastic came off, and we stood there looking at the first object purchased with our actual child in mind, in the room where he or she will actually Mr. Bunny pantomimed changing a squalling baby, and I was totally overcome.

This is a recurring experience, I'm finding. It's not like I am EVER not thinking about the fact that I'm pregnant. And now that I get regular reminders that being pregnant is not just some abstraction, but involves an actual fetus inside my body, it's not like it doesn't feel real. I guess it's just that those years of trying made me so focused on the goal of pregnancy, so focused on longing for this crazy-awesome experience I'm currently having, that it can be hard to remember there's something even better ahead. (Insha'Allah.) And when something brings that reality home, it's pretty much mind blowing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh job, why must you exist?

Most of the time my job is pretty mellow. I've got my anxieties, but they are familiar at this point. It's like, Yeah, this knife in my ribs is painful, but I don't really remember a time before it was there... Last week totally sucked, though. It reminded me of life before everything was wonderful and perfect. I even snapped at my husband all weekend, which I don't think has happened since Bun Bun came on the scene.

You see, my department is trying to hire a shiny new professor. And one of the people we're interviewing is my best friend (BFB). So that's odd on a number of levels. They are levels I won't say anything about because while I'm cool with my colleagues finding this weblog and learning that I think they're ASSHOLES or my students finding this weblog and learning that I think they're LAZY and ANNOYING, I do have my moments of being all ethical about confidential shit. Suffice it to say, hiring people generates a whole lotta contention, and none of it is fun to be near. I imagine it's like working for any small unit that's part of a larger unit and is very concerned about its fate, and is full of strong personalities and competing interests, yet must reach some kind of consensus...basically, a bunch of monkeys flinging their shit around and hooting. I'm trying to keep my emotional distance, but people keep dropping by my office to air their feelings, and of course I've got my own complicated opinions about what's best for our little department.

Mainly, it's just WEIRD to be all stressed out again, after five months of not giving a shit about anything except my fetus. I guess I thought I'd achieved a higher state of consciousness, in which I was surrounded by a bubble of motherearthgoddessI'vegotababyinme-ness that petty bullshit couldn't penetrate. But no, I was just lucky. Anyway, I know you are all EXPERTS in managing stress, so lay it on me! How do I shake it off?

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm a lucky girl

No, not because I'm pregnant. ANYBODY can do that, right? Right? Hey, who just virtually slapped me?

No, I'm lucky to have some kick-ass friends. I've written before about J and OBF (Other Best Friend). They are both super amazing people. In the past month or so, each of them has given me a baby-related gift that totally made me burst into tears. Not just because I'm hormonal, but also because these gifts say so clearly I love you, and I am happy for you, I GET you.

J's gift requires a bit of backstory. I have a small collection of Holztiger wooden animals. They look sort of primitive on the internet, but in person they are really beautiful. They are also super fun to play with because they stack really well. See Figure 1 (showing about a third of the collection).

 J is an engineer. When he visits, he always spends some time stacking the animals, and creates incredible structures, usually while quite drunk. Not long ago he sent me this, with a card reading I saw this and thought it should be added to your stack. WAAAAH! Tears.

And, at Christmas, OBF sent this.

Which turned out to be a tiny hand-knit cardigan with little appliqué elbow patches! ELBOW PATCHES, PEOPLE. Oh MAH GAWD! Where can I get me a baby PIPE?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Am I making a terrible mistake?

I'm visiting my family in Albuquerque in a few weeks, and my brother sent some recommendations for hotels. After I told him which one I'd selected, he informed me that it used to be a hospital. A psychiatric hospital. A children's psychiatric hospital. So it's obviously filled with the ghosts of children subjected to various kinds of torture. And this means that by staying there, we are most likely committing ourselves to participating in a horror movie.

Here's a quick précis of our movie. It will start with scenes of us all tender and loving. (e.g., Fade In. Interior of a plane. An attractive young couple, reading. The woman is visibly pregnant. The man looks up from his magazine and gazes lovingly at the woman. He places his hand with prominent wedding ring on her belly. She looks up from her papers and they share a tender smile.) It will be revealed that we struggled to get pregnant and are so very happy to be expecting our first child.  We check into our luxurious hotel. I'll relax in the tub of our pristine white bathroom while my husband orders room service. The room service cart will leave our floor and descend ever deeper into the basement of the hotel. It will become damper and darker. There will be disturbing creaks and groans of machinery that sound like animals in pain. As the disturbingly blank-faced hotel employee pushes his cart down a long, dark corridor, surrounded by trickles of water, flaking paint, rusty pipes will be startled with abrupt images of pale children in straight jackets, in chains, skittering over the ceiling, heads on backwards, shit like that. You know what comes next. Pretty soon black water and hair will be coming out of the faucet of our bathroom. Ghost children will be terrorizing us, with particular interest in our unborn child. We'll try to figure out how they were wronged and how we can help them. Our investigations will lead us to some depraved doctor. This being New Mexico, he will have a particular penchant for torturing children from the local Pueblo Indian tribes. We'll bring his misdeeds to light. We'll believe that we have released the souls of the tortured children.

But everyone knows horror movies never end well. We will either be murdered, forced to live forever in the hotel, serving the ghost children, or I'll give birth to some kind of demonic monstrosity.

Mr. Bunny and I discussed how to proceed. We talked about being aware of signs that we had entered a horror movie so that we could act quickly. But we concluded that the thing about finding yourself in a horror movie is you can never tell until it's too late. And we discussed the fact that you can never save the ghost children, no matter what you think. Because they don't want their souls released, they just want you dead.

So what do you think? Should we switch to the Best Western? Or is it already too late?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's my fascination with your urine about, exactly?

Our lucky girl Kelly is waiting to find out if her first positive beta will lead to a fat, happy baby, or just more sorrow. Which is prompting me to ask something I've been wondering about for a while. Why am I so into seeing other people's positive pregnancy tests? I totally am, and have been ever since I started lurking in this community. I feel ripped off if someone doesn't post a picture. (Um, no pressure.) What the fuck is up with that? Is it because they are such a beacon of hope? Is it because many of us endlessly imagine seeing such a thing, and are so familiar with seeing the absence of  it? Is it because they are a tangible indication that someone has a shot at getting off I'll Never Have a Baby Island? Am I alone in my love for other people's magic urine? Thoughts?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't be fooled by the frocks that I got

I'm still, I'm still Bunny from the block / Used to have a little, now I have a lot / Hence the need for some maternity clothing. You see, classes start this week, and all my old professional garments seem to have shrunk. Or something. So I had to buy new stuff.

The problem is, I can't stand shopping in stores. I feel like sales people have gotten completely rabid these days. I need a lot of solitude in order to buy things, and those fuckers just won't leave me alone (unless of course I actually need something, in which case they are nowhere to be seen) long enough to think. And I can't stand seeing myself in a mirror, let alone having to make some kind of decision about purchasing based on what I see. TOO MUCH PRESSURE. So I first tried to make my necessary purchases via the interwebs. But it seems that designers believe a large bow front and center is essential in maternity clothing. What am I, a Christmas present? Are people supposed to rip my clothes off and exclaim with delight, I can hardy wait to play with my new Naked and Frightened Pregnant Woman? Point is, the offerings were few and inadequate, forcing me to brave...the MALL.

I went as early as possible so the sales people would still be quiescent, and there would be no other loathsome customers around getting in my way. Since I'd never set foot in a place that sold things for pregnant people, I was prepared for something extremely dramatic. Like maybe five or six people would swoop down on me and insist on rubbing my belly while I shopped, while asking about my due date and birth plan. It was not like that. I was completely ignored.

The surprising part was the sheer number of times I had to wipe away tears. Ultrasounds and fetal movement are wonderful for confirming pregnancy and all, but there's nothing like finding yourself in the dressing room of a store that sells pregnancy garments, surrounded by ads for pregnancy products, to really bring it home. I would see something and think of perhaps buying it, and then realize OMG I can actually buy that. Things the sight of which would previously have made me sick with sorrow, I could now purchase in a totally normal way. Having these things be within the realm of possible purchase for ME was just dumbfounding and totally choked me up.

Anyway, I managed to find some things sans bows. Mission accomplished: I will not be forced to teach in my underwear.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yes, Mom, I HAVE gained some weight.

While my department chair knows my status as Pregnant Professor, he's been asked to keep it to himself, and the rest of my colleagues haven't figured it out yet. This is because I haven't been visibly pregnant for long, but also because my department is small and we don't really see each other that often. When the teaching schedule for next semester went around recently, my chair apparently got some inquiries about why I will be on leave next fall. He responded with something vague and kept my terrible secret. I am not sure why anyone would give a shit, since my leave has no effect whatsoever on their lives, but a couple of my colleagues are insecure assholes, so who knows what crazy things go on in their tiny little heads. (Um, this is why it's important for me to keep this weblog anonymous. HI, I LIKE TO CALL MY COLLEAGUES ASSHOLES.) Anyway, after wondering why the hell my chair was telling me this, I became weirdly determined to keep my state a secret for as long as possible. We had a department meeting yesterday, and I wore my baggiest, most Bun Bump concealing garments. I'm pretty sure I got away with it, and I enjoyed the feeling of being a teenager trying to hide her pregnancy from her parents. I acknowledge that this is crazy. And passive-aggressive. But I feel like it's none of their damn business, and if wondering about it stresses them out, that's what they get for being crazy.

I suppose the other possibility is that I'm afraid to be outed as a pregnant person. That I don't want to deal with bullshit assumptions that this was easy. and whatever else.

But I'm pretty sure it's because my colleagues are ASSHOLES and I want to fuck with them.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Suck it, MacGyver

I've mentioned before that I tend to wear skirts and dresses more than pants, and what with the freezingness of the outside in winter, this means tights. Unfortunately, I'm super particular about my tights. They gotta be the cottony opaque kind with nothing "control" anywhere about them. These are hard enough to find as it is, but they basically don't exist in maternity version. So I'd been trying to get by with my regular tights, despite feeling more and more COMPRESSED. Yesterday it was just too much. I made it until lunchtime before ripping my tights off and executing the following brilliant tights-to-stockings+garters maneuver.

Please excuse the expanse of grotesquely pale thigh.

(Instructions: rip tights off, hack legs [of tights!] off, hack waistband off, cut waistband in half, staple each half into a garter because you are too lazy to get out your sewing kit, reapply stockings + garters.)


Except later I went to the bathroom, sat down on the toilet, and was fixin' to take a hearty piss when I recollected that I was still wearing my underwear. So, I dunno, maybe second smartest person on the whole earth?

Monday, January 3, 2011

On naming

It's my understanding that I'm required by law to provide a name for my child. SIGH. This whole bringing a life into the world business is nothing but work. Left to his own devices, Mr. Bunny would choose something totally lame. Me, on the other hand--I'm a fan of unusual names. Not crazy-unusual, like Whisperwindponyhead, just rare. So as I collect possible names for Bun Bun, I'm trending towards the odder ones. But there's not an unlimited supply of them. That's why I'm going to let CAPTCHA (the word verification thing we all know so well) contribute. Here are a couple of the top contenders I've collected while commenting on your fine weblogs.

For a boy:
Spiasmso. I know--everyone will call him Spasmo. But there definitely won't be another one in his class.
Prumrops. It has a classy British feel. The kind that will totally get him accepted to Oxford.

For a girl:
Nozess. When asked what her name means, she can be like, a female Noz.
Ponabfqa. True, people will misspell it because q is always followed by u in English. But they say you should choose a name that's pronounceable, and you can't beat a b-f-q consonant cluster for pronounceability.

Quishl. It combines all the ethnic flava of something like Keisha with the traditional primness of something like Nigel.
Bucket. Yeah--it's a word. But when captcha gives you Bucket, how can you not go with Bucket?

Do be sure to keep an eye out for me, as I'm sure there are many other great names just waiting to be randomly generated.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Suck it, 2010

In our house, the New Year's Eve tradition is to make elaborate paper hats after dinner. This is largely because we are old and can't stay awake if we don't have something to occupy us. Here's mine.

Yes, it is pretty bad ass, I agree.

Then we wear our hats while sitting around by the fire. Sometimes we have a spelling bee. We know how to party. When the new year arrives, we burn the hats in the fireplace.

There's nothing quite like burning shit up to allow for the symbolic release of all that was not so awesome about 2010. I am lucky--2010 brought me a lot of happiness, and if I stay lucky, 2011 will bring me a great deal more. I hope the same is true for all of you.