Things I haven’t wanted to talk about

Clearly it has been some time since I have posted anything. I took my trip to Mississippi and another to Virginia Beach to spend time with family. Those trips were lovely, when I was able to manage getting out of bed and not bawling my eyes out (for reasons mentioned next). However, the larger reason I haven’t posted anything is because my pregnancy isn’t going very well. In fact, there is a problem with one of my babies that doctors still haven’t been able to figure out. I went in for a CVS last Monday, hoping to finally get some answers, but the doctor couldn’t perform it because the placenta is in an awkward place and there was no place for him to put the needle to the placenta without it going through the amniotic fluid, risking a water break at this point in my pregnancy and losing both babies. So, I have to wait a couple more weeks for answers until an amniocentesis can safely be performed. Then, I have to wait a couple of weeks after that for the results of that and doing the anatomy scan at about 18 weeks.

Other than that boring explanation, I don’t really want to talk about it. For lack of a more eloquent explanation, it just sucks too much. Suck city.

Yesterday, I went in for my regular ob-gyn visit, and had bad results from my 1 hour blood glucose test too. I am in “prediabetes” for gestational diabetes. So more suck city.

Seriously, I said I wasn’t going to complain when I got pregnant, but I feel pretty much like the universe just decided to test me on that resolve. I could deal with the GD issue on its own, but dealing with these other issues about the health of one of the babies and how it affects the other one… well frankly, I am not at all equipped to deal with it an a healthy way, so I just don’t want to deal with it at all.

That is all I am going to say about it.

What Is Keeping Me Up at Night, Part II

I haven’t wanted to write much about what has been going on in my church.  In part, I haven’t wanted to write much because I will admit, I am scared.  I am scared that the things I feel and the things that I believe will be used against me by others, much in the way this article describes.  I don’t feel like I am having a crisis of faith, I feel like I am having a crisis of church.  I still feel the same way as I did yesterday about my relationship with Jesus Christ and with God.  I still feel the same way that I did yesterday about the kind of person that I want to become and the recognition of all that I need to do and improve on to get there.

In the past few years, I have felt so much hurt and pain trying to figure out who I am supposed to be in the eyes of God when I have felt like the messages that I have heard at church about what my “role” is supposed to be seemed to not fit with who I was because of something like the legal doctrine of “impossibility”. It meant that I spent a lot of time prayerfully studying or otherwise trying to communicate with God on my knees about what he expected of me and who he hopes I will become.  The personal confirmations that not only was God okay with me not fitting in to those “roles” but that he wanted me to be proud of who I was, the things that I have learned, and help others to realize that they are okay too.  I felt really strongly that God was telling me that there was something more for me, that he wanted me to lead in other ways, and that I should be patient and it would all make sense one day, but in the meantime, don’t listen to other people at church who tell me there is something wrong with me or that I am not good enough.

Unfortunately, at the same time, David and I have been in a ward where we haven’t quite fit. That is actually okay with me. I don’t mind not being like everyone else, I never have been. I don’t expect to go to church with a room full of people exactly like me.  We learn from other people through our differences and our different range of experiences.  However, what made it harder though is that within that ward, we had a leader who lied to our faces in regard to a situation that caused a lot of pain to members of my family and close friends.  It has been hard, because I felt like that leader did not treat me fairly because he took the side of the person causing the harm, because he was a “close friend” who happened to be male.  Then that person in turn felt empowered used the language of the priesthood to abuse people that I love.  That person moved away, that leader was released from his calling, and I thought things would get better.  Then, that person moved back, lied about where he lived so that he could go to our ward all over again, and immediately I realized, it isn’t going to get better.

So David and I are now attending another ward. We did this honestly and openly, communicating with our bishop about our reasons. I am not a liar, and the last thing I will ever have anyone call me at church is a hypocrite.  If anything, I am too honest to a fault.  This brings me back to the top.  I am scared, because I feel like this person is the exact kind of person that tries to hurt other people by getting them in trouble with church leaders. So by me being honest about my views that I think that we need greater equality for women in the church, that we need to treat other people nicer, or even that I believe that as a matter of civil equality all people should have the right to marry a spouse of their choosing, I realize that makes me a suspect person at church.

The past few years, in a way that I hadn’t even considered before have taught me we really have a long way to go before we can claim equality in our church. As a woman, there is a 0.0% of anything that you say or feel having to be taken seriously by anyone with any sort of ecclesiastical authority in the church. Sure, sometimes you have priesthood leaders that do care and listen to you, and that is great, but if you don’t, then there is no penalty for that priesthood holder in an earthly ecclesiastical sense, but there absolutely can be a penalty for you, the woman.

I don’t have it figured out, but every day I plead with God to help me know what I can do to make the church better in my limited capacity. I pray for church leaders that they might commune with God so that they can make it better too. In the meantime, I go to church, but right now I don’t feel like I am a part of anything. I am not really a member of a ward. I don’t have a calling. I just go and sit and hope that God still realizes that I am just trying to do the best I can with what I have, and that he won’t hold anyone else’s faults against me.

What is Keeping Me Up at Night, Part I

   As exhausted as I feel during the day, I find myself tossing and turning at night trying to fall asleep while one million anxious thoughts race through my brain.  Assuming all continues to go well with this pregnancy, I am starting to realize how much of my life is going to change and the parts of that change that I am not entirely prepared for.  Part of the reason for that anxiety is because I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around the fact that we are having two kids at the same time.  The financial, emotional, and physical ramifications for all of that are now hitting me hard, mostly when I am trying to fall asleep.

When you spend over $30,000 out of pocket trying to have kids, you think that is the financial tricky part.  But no, two kids at once means the cost of all those things I mentally calculated in my mind now just doubled.  Look, David and I should not complain when it comes to our financial situation. We both have good jobs and a decent income.  Does it just seem this daunting for everyone?  I mean, I don’t understand how people do this.  I was just ball-parking childcare the other day, using a highly rated facility close by to get an idea of the numbers. With two kids, it will cost us over $600 per week for day care.  We don’t live in a big city anymore, and I have no idea how people there pay for it because $600 in Durham probably means its like $1,200 a week in DC. At that amount, it is probably easier for us to just pay for a nanny, but how exactly does one go about finding a nanny?  I have 0 friends in the local area that happen to employ one. No one in my church congregation is helpful to me in this regard, because no woman works full time and has young kids. All of my professional women with kids friends live far away.

Look, I realize my hat and British high street clothing budget is about to reduced drastically to approximately $0 per month.  I realize that I am no longer going to be able to blow $500 at Nordstrom on skincare products just because someone nice is helping me and I possess an inability to say no to nice salespeople. I am okay with that. I am not going to lie, part of me is sad to realize that I am going to have to give up those things, but it is worth it for those kids (or at least it better be). I am not one of those people that thinks my kids will need every new thing, and I am fine with them wearing second hand clothes from other family members.  But it is still daunting to realize these two enormous expenses are coming at the same time. It isn’t even just the daycare. It is the fact that we probably now need a newer, bigger car. It’s the fact that our huge Bradford pear trees in the front yard now are diseased with fire blight and we will have to pay thousands of dollars to cut them down. It’s the fact that for some ridiculous reason this dumb country called ‘Merica still doesn’t have paid family leave, like every other industrialized country in the world, so I have to figure out how I can take as little time as possible off of work, which means the whole child care crisis thing comes back to the front of the concerns. I have to figure out how to preserve as much of my sick and vacation leave as possible to use that so I can get paid on my maternity leave.

I realize that this post might spark the kind of rage in people that this lady’s column did yesterday in the Daily Mail.  Again, David and I are not poor. We are incredibly privileged.  We don’t know what it is like to have to worry about food on the table, etc. Whatever problems I am complaining about in regard to having to worry about financially sustaining two new kids at one time is only a minor inconvenience compared to what most people have to face. Every day, I read about income inequality in the US, and it really makes me upset and I don’t want to equate my problems with the problems of people who have to do a lot more with a whole lot less.

Yet, it is still hard trying to fathom how all of these things work out.  It frightens me not to feel fully prepared for something, because I am an insane planner.  However, this isn’t like prepping for the perfect week in London. This is so much harder than that, because there are so many unknowns, and I don’t do well with dealing with uncertainty.  I feel like the whole infertility thing helped me be more welcoming to whatever life presented itself, but at the same time, that was just worrying about what David and I, two capable adults with decent full-time jobs, would do to be happy without kids.  And now, I have to plan for two little beings that are entirely dependent upon us. That stresses me out. 

GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL Time

The dreadful days of summer television temporarily go on hiatus beginning tomorrow with the start of the World Cup. It means for the next few weeks, I have DVRed games to look forward to when I come home from work every day. Sure the U.S. team is unlikely to make it out of their group, but I am excited nonetheless. I like cheering for the U.S. in the context of the World Cup. I think this team is more likeable than in years past. Maybe it is because I personally never was a huge Landon Donovan fan, or maybe it is because I love it when the U.S. actually manages to look cosmopolitan in some way, but I love all of the dual nationality players on this year’s team. Seriously, we have someone on the team who goes by the name Mix (short for Mikkel) who is half Norwegian and who looks like this:

I think there are five or six German Americans? Having them on the team means that we benefit from Germany’s excellent youth soccer training system and good old American athletic genes.

But yes, in spite of all that youth and international talent, we probably are not going to make it out of the group stages. If we do, maybe I can convince David that if we have sons we should name them Jurgen and Mix. I would also consider Jozy.

So who else will I be cheering for in the World Cup? Well, basically teams that have Chelsea players, methinks. I can get behind the home team Brazil with Oscar, Willian, Ramires, and even good ole’ David Luiz even though he is PSG bound. I happily will cheer for Belgium and Eden Hazard, Lukaku and Courtois. Even though he is no longer in his prime, I still have a soft spot for Torres of Spain (and Azpiliqueta and I guess Diego Costa may be in Chelsea blue next year). The African side I most likely am to root for is Ivory Coast because Drogba is still pretty great.

I think a couple of those teams possibly can go the distance. I would cheer for England with Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard, but there is no way they are getting past the quarterfinals, because they never do. I do hope they beat Italy, though.

Let the matches begin!

Remembering

File17

I do not hail from a long line of warriors. We are cooks and healers, not fighters.

The above picture is of my Pa-Paw, taken in England, on the eve of his shipping out for the shores of France. He was there on that D-Day, not shooting up the Germans so much as tending to the wounded allied soldiers. He was a medic. That didn’t stop him from nearly dying in the fighting. On the first day Allied soldiers crossed from Belgium into Germany, Pa-Paw was nearly blown up. His prognosis was grim, and he was toe-tagged on the return ship from Europe, because doctors expected him to die on the journey home. He made it, and after months of rehabilitation at Ashford General Hospital (now the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia), he was discharged and sent back to Mississippi with a bus ticket.

My Grampy served in the army and was there at D-Day as well. His role in the army was that of a cook. Although he escaped significant injury on the battlefield, while in Europe, he came down with severe appendicitis, and had to have his appendix removed without anesthesia in a field hospital in France.

Both of my grandfathers are long gone from this life. Sadly, Grampy passed when I was too young to have heard his accounts of World War II, but I have a feeling he would have addressed it with the same reverence and tears that Pa-Paw did. Their sacrifices, I still cannot fathom, but I have been thinking about them a lot today on the 70th anniversary of D-Day and thinking about how they so willingly made the choice to risk their lives to save the freedom of others. I love them for that.

I cannot read this letter that Pa-Paw wrote to his mother while he was in England, holding up with the rest of the allies in advance of the invasion, and not still cry. He was a scared eighteen year old boy, but only concerned about the welfare of his family. Pa-Paw had so many ups and downs after his injury and based on the terrible things he saw in the war, but this letter reminds me of who my Pa-Paw was in a way that nothing else could.

Pa Paw's Vmail

We Get Spoiled Again

Let’s hearken back to a simpler time a couple of weeks ago when I could contemplate the activities of walking on a beach and swimming in a pool without having to account for a broken foot. That is exactly what I was able to do when we spent a few days at the St. Regis Bahia Beach for a little rest and relaxation after time in San Juan. My feet were so happy when they looked like this (only one blister from walking too much in Birkenstocks):
087
The lagoon-style pool was pretty much heaven on earth, in particular because we felt like we were the only guests there.
090088091
Of course, the iguanas that scurried about (particularly whenever there were poolside chips and salsa ordered) reminded us that we didn’t have the place entirely to ourselves.
103
I have stayed at three different St. Regis hotels now, and let me tell you, from the two that had poolside service, it pretty much is the best thing in the world. I have been craving that gazpacho every single day since we have left. It is the only kind of vegetables that I want to eat right now, and it really, really upsets me that I don’t currently live at the St. Regis Bahia Beach just so I can eat some daily. Oh, and doesn’t Erin look the cutest in her hat as we sit and wait for said gazpacho to arrive:
073
Of course, we were also beachside. The location of the St. Regis is interesting. It sits on the north coast of Puerto Rico, just north of the El Yunque rainforest. This means several heavy rivers empty into the Atlantic Ocean right by the resort, so the mixing freshwater doesn’t get the clearness and clarity of other places, but it is still beautiful and incredibly natural. Did I mention that it felt completely deserted? Because it did.
113
128
029
There were far more sea turtle nests on the beach (17 we counted) than people.
027
134
Terrible beach selfie:
137
What was part of the charm of the resort is that so much of it is a nature reserve, so the beach is lovely and feels isolated and also there are lovely shady walks through what feels like a rainforest (except for the obligatory golf course).
004
009
013
At night you fall asleep to the serenade of thousands of coqui frogs that cover the place. They are hard to photograph because they are so tiny and quick. This was the best I could do.
003
Seriously, though the entire setting of the place is just beautiful and calm.
065
067
063
071
The rooms are massive in size and the biggest payoff is the enormous bathrooms with walk in showers that look like this:
083
Before I put down my head on the comfortable bed to fall asleep to the sound of the coqui, I filled my belly with delicious food at the on-site restaurants. I didn’t know at the time pregnant women are not supposed to eat grouper, but do I regret it? No, I do not.
002
And again, as lovely as it all was, it was even more wonderful and lovely because of the time that we were able to spend with Erin and Matt.
001
If you were to ask my opinion about it, I would probably say that I cannot recall a moment in recent memory when I felt more relaxed than while getting the second best facial of my life to the sound of a tropical downpour in a rainforest outside. That spa experience pretty much sums up how I feel about the entire place. I am trying to think back on that now as I hobble through my daily existence.

The award for grace and elegance goes to…

So of course since my last post was about some long-awaited medical success, this post has to be about some new medical ailment. This kind of ailment is the self-inflicted kind. Yesterday, I was headed out to lunch with my boss and we stopped over at my house to check on Knightley, who has had some serious separation anxiety lately. I let him out and in the front yard, I had a fall when stepping down from the lawn to the driveway. One would not expect that to be an inherently dangerous activity, but I misjudged the distance, and fell down, scraping up both legs in the process and doing some serious damage to my right foot. It looks awful. This is what it looked like right after it happened as I waited to see the doctor:

foot

Today it is black and blue and even more swollen. The x-rays were not definitive about which bones were broken, but it is possibly three. I have to go back for more x-rays, but regardless of the outcome, I am in an enormous walking boot for the foreseeable future. It hurts a lot and there really isn’t any pain medication that I can take.

Seriously, I have terrible luck.