Monday, January 28, 2013

A sick day

I sometimes wish being a mother was as glamorous as those black and white, retouched newborn photoshoots.  But then, I suppose, we'd have boring stories to pass on to our children.  We wouldn't want that, would we?

Last week Andrea got sick again.  It seems to have been a constant thing this season.  Just when she's on the cusp of recovery from one thing, another bug comes in to take its place.  With each passing illness, I feel more worn down and drained.  How I wish I could be sick in her stead.  Managing myself is so much easier that managing her, and seeing her suffer is heartbreaking.

Tuesday night was an interesting one.  Andrea faded in and out of sleep for hours, and during episodes of consciousness she'd sing to herself until she felt drowsy enough for slumber.  I laid awake listening to her lullabies, wondering what brought about this night of toddler insomnia.  The next morning she awoke happy as usual, but began to run a fever within a couple hours.  I spent subsequent hours holding Andrea, watching Nick Jr., and contorting myself to find positions that were both comfortable to me and comforting for her.  I'd stroke her silky hair and tell her I would take care of her.  She'd respond with a distant expression and demands for more Dora.

At about two o'clock she began to thrash in my arms, unable to find a comfortable position to relieve her of her misery.  Hysterical sobs followed until they climaxed with otherworldly amounts of vomit all over me, herself, the couch, you name it.  I held her for a few minutes until I was sure she had finished, and then I begged her to allow me to clean up.  She agreed as long as it meant me holding her constantly.  I pulled her soiled clothes off and left them with the pukey blanket on the couch before tiptoeing to the bathroom to remove my clothes as well.  I asked Andrea if she wanted to shower with mommy and she insisted a bath would be better.  I sat her down to run the bath water and listened to her sickly sobs.  "Annie snuggle you!"  She kept saying, so I picked up her naked body and sat in the warm water.  She nuzzled her head beneath my chin and instantly fell asleep.

Never being one to nap long on another person, I anticipated the child to wake shortly.  However, I could feel time passing, and as the bath water went from relaxingly hot, to warm, to tepid, to cool, I knew I had been sitting in the bath for far longer than I'd planned.  My legs cramped, fell asleep, woke up, and recramped.  My arms shook from nervousness, chills, then exhaustion.  My backside hurt so horribly from the hard surface below and the pressure of two humans above that silent tears seeped from my eyes.  But I couldn't move.  I just couldn't let myself wake that sick girl from the one moment of peaceful relief she'd had all day.

Then, Andrea began to fart in her sleep.  I could hear the soft poofs.  I could feel the warm breeze.  I could smell that distinct scent.  Please do not poop on me! I thought while staring at the reflection of her little bum in the drain lever.  Please please please please please!  I could still smell the vomit in her hair and I didn't think my pregnant nose or stomach could handle poop too.

Then I heard some soft knocks at the door.  I knew it was my sister, unaware of my current predicament, coming for our weekly date.  I sat in silence and hoped she'd soon give up and leave without taking offense at my lack of communication.  But my phone started to ring in the other room.  Over and over, Gavin DeGraw announced an incoming call until my text tone signaled a voice mail, and all was silent until above me I heard the doorbell upstairs.  She was getting a key from the landlord.  Great.

Had the sound of the doorbell not stirred Andrea to consciousness, Tessa would have entered my home to find the couch covered with puke and soiled clothes, and me, naked and pickled in the bathtub, holding a flatulent, feverish, and asleep child.  Thankfully, Andrea did wake up, and I was able to jump out of the tub, get to the door wrapped in nothing but a towel, holding Andrea wrapped in nothing but a towel, before my landlord arrived, to inform Tessa that our afternoon date was not going to be as fun as she'd planned.  Bless her heart, she came in anyway and did my dishes so I had an empty sink available for the rinsing of some rather chunky articles of clothing and upholstery covers.

Yes, being a mom has it's ugly moments, but I'm sure Andrea's future boyfriends will enjoy hearing this story someday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The mysterious smell

That pregnant moment when the smell of your own body keeps you up at night.

It's officially 6:45 in the morning, but I've been away for almost two hours already  With how long it took me to fall asleep last night I'm guessing I got a good four hours of sleep.  This is probably the hardest part of pregnancy for me.  You see, I'm a tummy sleeper.  In the first trimester this is not a problem as the baby is the size of a lime and completely unnoticeable   But now the baby is the size of a turnip, and my little cantelope belly is too uncomfortable to lay on.  I try to fall asleep on my side but, based on Andrea's pregnancy, it's going to take me a few weeks to acclimate to the new position.  Until then, I'm expecting many more sleepless nights.  Unfortunately, sleeping on my side is only half reason for tonight's insomnia.

Early this morning I woke to an odd smell.  My pregnant nose found it repulsive and yet appetizing all at once.  I tried to ignore the odor and shift away from Paul in case he was the source.  The smell persisted.  I tossed and turned some more trying to find a comfortable position to drift off in. (but I got that cantelope belly, remember?) Half an hour passed, and I realized my mind had woken up.  Sleep, I told myself.  Just sleep.  But soon my thoughts on sleep morphed into a Christmas song which led to me planing next years Christmas tree color scheme which got me to thinking about slip-covering the pillows on the couch which prompted thoughts about painting my kitchen table and so forth.  It was official; my brain had turned on, and once my brain turns on sleep becomes impossibly elusive.

So there I lay, thoughts racing to all corners of the earth until I got a new whiff of the stench.  My brain focused all channels to my nose and began to analyze.  I turned toward Paul.  He breathed a heavy sign onto my face.  Hormones and senses pulsing from my uterus identified tomato, beans, basil, onion, hits of green (probably peas), and almost twenty-four hours since his last brushing.  As unpleasant as it was, it was not the mystery odor.  I turned away from him and smelled my comforter.  Hints of my own deodorant mingled with hints of Paul's meandered along my nasal passages (we both have the habit of stuffing blankets beneath our arms).  I fluffed the sheets ever so slightly to smell the warm nests which our bodies had settled into.  Essence of feet, lotion, and a puff of stale drifted from the sheets and disappeared into the night.  I laid there in the stillness and willed myself to ignore and give up on the unidentifiable stench.

Then, I got a tickle in my nostrils.  I looked over at Paul in panic as I tried to force down the impending sneeze.  I rubbed my nose and scrunched my face and braced for impact and then. . . Eureka! (and ah-choo)

Garlic!  The smell was garlic, freshly used at dinner, oozing from the pores of my own nose.  Having been months since I'd cooked with fresh garlic, I had forgotten it had a nasty tendency to manifest itself in ones body oils shortly thereafter.  Solving the mystery of the putrid and now understandably appetizing smell grossed me out even further as I watched the clock, waiting for the magic hour when I could get up and wash last nights dinner from my nose.

I hear Paul shuffling around in our bedroom which means the hour is upon me at last.  Farewell!

Monday, January 7, 2013

That pregnant moment

Being pregnant is an extraordinary experience.  There are so many sensations that one rarely, if ever, feels in non-pregnant life.  Sometimes I wish Paul could experience some of these feelings if not to sympathize more enthusiastically, but to not miss these moments that only a woman can comprehend.  Teenagers (and I suppose some adults too) have latched on to an internet phenomenon called “that awkward moment. . .”  I’d like to begin my own phenomenon here on my lowly blog called “that pregnant moment. . .”  I’ve recorded a few in the last four months.

That pregnant moment when you find yourself crying while watching Piglet’s Big Movie.

That pregnant moment when you’re driving and glancing nervously around the car wondering where you might throw up should the urge become too overwhelming.

That pregnant moment when you’re at the OBGYN with your husband trying to explain the purpose of that lamp beside the exam table.  (You should have seen his face when told him.  It sent us both into fits of laughter.)

That pregnant moment when the smell of your husband’s breath keeps you up at night (even when he’s brushed his teeth).

That pregnant moment when trying not to pee yourself while unlocking the front door nearly becomes mission impossible.

That pregnant moment when you bring up the size of your uterus at a family dinner.

That pregnant moment when your daughter tries to imitate the sounds of your teeth-brushing gags.

I think that’s probably a good start.  I’ll add more as occasions arise.  In the mean time, school starts today and while I’m excited for the learning, I find going through school as a mother much less fulfilling.  It seems so unimportant when Andrea is at home playing with her stuffed animals and having every mommy ducky “stay home with Annie ducky.”  Hopefully, I can stay motivated this semester and not fall behind.