Gangsta Mittens
Words combined to express thoughts. Pictures displayed to convey emotion. Opening my brain to the world.

Sep
19

Man… I’ve been “dreading” this day since I found out I was pregnant… The same thought would go thru my mind… Who in their right mind would let me head home with a baby that i just met?  Well, for now, that’s not our reality.  We’re heading home, but The Dictator will be here for a long while.  Can it hurt this much to be separate from someone you barely even know?  Anyone that knows me can agree on one thing Monica likes to be in control.  I have NO control over any of this.  I mean I’m rational to know that there is no way I can take a 1.5lb baby home and make anything successful come out of it… but if money wasn’t an object I would damn sure try to buy one of each of those machines and hire enough staff to work from my house to take care of him round the clock… but again, that’s not our reality for now.

So where does life go from here?  The Dictator’s room can “comfortably” fit two skinny nurses, BJ and a half a Monica.  And that’s if we’re all standing really really still.  There’s a shitload of machines that beep constantly, a table with a computer, and a bunch of stuff that I’m scared to death to knock over.  The nurses are great about sliding out of the way to make more room but realistically, we just kind of go in, stare, maybe touch him a little, ask a bunch of questions and just walk out.  It’s not the kind of place where you can just hang out.  I’m not sure how this is going to sound, but to be honest, I’m not about just sitting around and staring at my son struggle fight for his life.  I want to pick him up when I see those arms flailing… I want to gently move his hand when i see him reaching for the tubes that monitor and feed him… i want to comfort him when he appears to be crying… But for now, that’s all we have.  A few minutes a day to say hi, comfort and talk to him.  I try to keep it in perspective.  I mean if he were where he was supposed to be right now I wouldn’t be able to do any of those things either.  So it’s kind of like i’m getting a sneak peak.  but clearly this is less than ideal.  BJ’s job has been great about giving him time off this week, as has mine.  My gig is temporary thru the end of November, when i accepted the position it was perfect.  Work til November, chill for a month, have a baby, chill some more, then get a real job.  But what now.?  I’ll likely head back to work next week and so will he.  In my mind I liken it to dropping a baby off at daycare… parents do it all the time.  We’ll do morning visits and come by after work and if I can’t sleep i’ll come by in the middle of the night.  24 hour access has many privileges.  But for now it honestly doesn’t make sense for us to bring our lives to a screeching halt in that sense.  Financially… good lord financially… I’m scared to see the first bill.. we have health insurance… all three of us are covered… but this… this is going to be expensive.  Likely about $14,000 between now and december.  I can’t even get my mind around that number… But it will be fine.  It has to be really.  I’m not letting myself worry about that.  My son will be at “day care” all day, and I will spend time with him when I get off work, and his daddy will do the same.  As time goes on and tubes get smaller or are removed, we will get to do more.  The NICU encourages lots of skin to skin contact.  So we’ll be able to spend time with him laying on our chest.  and then as he progresses further, we’ll get to actually assist with his care… those are the days I want to  be off work.  When we’re in a bigger room… one big enough for a full monica… when I can change  a diaper of comfort my crying baby… looking forward to those days are what will make these first several weeks a little more bearable.The lesson is to learn to look to the future while living completely in the moment.. to be cautiously optimistic about what is to come, while being completely satisfied with the here and now… essentially, the lesson is to learn to do the impossible.

Sep
19

I guess I should really start on the 16th, because that’s where things went a bit haywire.  I had spent the last couple days feeling kind of meh, but it wasn’t unusual.  Some days had been better than others, but I assumed that I had hit a slump.  That Tuesday, the 16th, I just wasn’t feeling well.  There was a heaviness in my pelvis and I felt bloated and gross and just generally meh.  But i was pushing thru.. and there i sat at work… miserable.  I must’ve gone to the bathroom 800 times to try to relieve the bloating.  Finally I decided to email my doctor.  in addition to the bloating i was now starting to get cramps in my stomach and it was getting annoying.  Google said it was just my uterus expanding (yes, Google itself told me that… if you don’t believe me then write your own version of this story).  I bought that.  so I got up and changed positions… closed the door and lay on the floor in my office… anything to make this annoying pain stop.  In my email to my doctor I specifically assured her that I was not feeling my uterus tightening (a symptom of pre-term labor) because Google also told me how to check for that and I was all clear on that end.

I finally couldn’t take the discomfort… took an early ferry home… took care of a sick cat, made dinner, and laid down on the sofa until BJ came home from work.  The cramping in my stomach wasn’t letting up… i stood… i sat… i laid on the floor some more with the sick cat… nothing was helping.  I kept trying to go to that bathroom to do something… anything… but nothing was going on.  We went to bed and i told BJ i wanted to sleep on his side (closer to the door because i kept having to get up to go pee because I kept drinking water…

Around 5am on September 17th I had my brightest idea ever.. i would eat an apple… because apples move your bowels and since clearly i needed to poop (my latest Google-assisted diagnosis).  So i ate an apple and went back to sleep POSITIVE that I would wake back up cured.  6:30… POOP!!! but no relief… i laid back down and decided that i couldn’t go to work in so much pain.  Tried to sleep some more and then, for some reason… I decided to make an emergency appointment.  It wasn’t because I thought i was having a baby… it was because I just wanted to pain to stop.. could i take a tylenol?  could i take something stronger… i just wanted my cramps to stop for a little bit.

Luckily there was a 10:30am appointment with a doctor that I had never heard of… so?  I was gonna get tylenol clearance!!  I laid back down for a bit, got up, showered, got dressed, told the cat i’d be right back.  Threw my ID, health insurance card and one debit card in my pocket, and headed to my appointment.  By this time the cramps (yes i still thought it was cramps, sue me) were getting worse.  I took the route that required the least amount of time on the highway because it just didn’t feel safe… i arrived at the appointment, parked a block away (because i wasn’t paying for parking in a damn lot) and walked my crampy self to my appointment… I signed in.. agreed to a flu shot and sat and waited in the waiting room… the pain came and went… i took slow deep breaths and quietly suffered thru it…

My turn came… i gave a urine sample and sat and waited to talk to the doctor.  She asked some questions… i said my cramps came and went… started in my belly, moved around to my back… then it would subside.. and that i had been going to the bathroom a lot… a lightbulb went off… bladder infection!!  Yes, that was probably it!  Lets get another urine sample!  cool… that makes soooo much sense… But first… since you’re here… let’s do a quick exam of your cervix… *shrugs* sure why not… what woman doesn’t like a good pelvic exam?!

The doctor performing the exam came up looking like a ghost (that’s an ungood thing).  She said she needed a second opinion and could i just lay there while she went to get another doctor… *sigh* fine.. sure… whatever…

10 – 15 mins later the next doctor came in… first speculum wouldn’t stay open and pinched my skin… second one was cold as hell, but it worked… She quickly removed it, did an exam with her hand… took some sort of sample and told me very bluntly “we’re going to admit you to the hospital”… uh what? Apparently my cervix had dialated a couple centimeters (you know… from all the CONTRACTIONS i had been having) and my amniotic sac (“water”) was pushing thru the opening… *looks at the camera*  Oh…

So genius me is like cool… i parked a block that way… i’m gonna move my car (because i wasn’t paying for a damn parking ticket) and then i’ll go in.  She gently touched my arm in a way that clearly said

So i called bj, told him i was being admitted and walked a half block the other way to the hospital.  They checked me in in RECORD time and immediately put me in a bed and elevated my feet above my head… Shit got real, real quick… i was in pre-term labor, and they were going to do everything they could to keep the baby in.  BJ showed up and they hooked me up to like a million IVs.. What do i do if i need to go to the bathroom?  Oh… use the bedpan… ugh… so unpleasant.

sometime around 5pm or so i felt a gush of water… fuck.. my water broke… up until then the idea was that as long as the water was in tact, the baby was in a safe environment and maybe we could keep him there for a couple days… because i was going to be there for a couple of days… BJ, call my job… tell em i’m out the rest of the week… cool ok… chill for a couple days… keep the baby in… but then… water everywhere… ok so… let’s keep the baby in 24 more hours.. that way more steroids for his lungs… The doctor from the NICU came in and delivered so much bad news about babies delivered at 24 weeks i wanted to simultaneously cry, scream, pull his eyebrows off his face, and beg him to say at least ONE positive thing… but instead i took it all in… thanked him… assured him i didn’t have any questions… and tried to forget everything he said.  I don’t even know where the packet of info he gave us is… I told myself that I was NOT having this baby today or this week so that shit he was talking didn’t matter…

a little bit of time goes by and now i’m on drugs to take the edge off the contractions.. The best nurse in the world, Carly, told me that if i felt any pressure along with the contractions to just let her know… *shrugs* whatever… I’m on drugggggsssss (disclaimer – they weren’t really that good).  Shortly after she left the room i went to shift my position to get comfy… water shot out (TMI) and then.. pressure… i pressed the emergency button and tried to calmly explain what had happened.  She was back in that room in 3 seconds and about 7 seconds later the doctor, and the team from the NICU descended on the room (the shit was kinda cool except for it was the worst possible thing ever).  I was specifically instructed to only listen to Carly, BJ and the doctor.  The doctor told me that the next time i felt pressure not to bear down yet (they were still getting into place).. the pressure came… i told them as calmly as i could what was happening… i was tense… Carly told me to relax my face… my sarcastic side wanted to say RELAX YOUR FACE…. but it just wouldn’t come out… I relaxed let it past and then the next wave of pain came… i told them again… someone grabbed my leg and they told me to bear down… It didn’t feel good… at all.. I think i expressed something to that extent… BJ was on it… he was the only voice i heard… you can do this… i know you can do this… do you think you can do it… yes… i know i can do it… good… good… it was time to bear down again… The baby’s head is out… his body is out… you did it!!!  huh?  did what??  I just fucking had a god damned baby!?!??! Someone said ‘the time is 21:05’.  That… relax your face.. and you can do this sum up that entire experience for me.  There was no time for an epidural.. there was no tough decisions that needed to be made in the heat of the moment… only a beautiful, but terribly premature baby boy that was on his way to the NICU.  I sent BJ off with him and just laid back to try to take it all in… and pass a placenta and all this other gross stuff… The Dictator had arrived and was still making all the rules…

A true Parran/Douglas baby if i ever met one…

Sep
19

a person who tells people what to do in an autocratic way or who determines behavior in a particular sphere…

If ever there was a fitting definition… Back in late April 2014 we found out that we were expecting a baby… no small feat considering we had tried IUI and were going thru classes to start the expensive ass in vitro process.  But somehow, after BJ accepted a job on the other side of the country, we managed to conceive on our own, and in the middle of quitting jobs, starting new jobs and cross country moves, we were going to be welcoming our first child into the world.  Excited is an understatement…

but this post is about The Dictator… Almost immediately I was forced to learn that I was no longer in control of this ship… the ship being my body… As stereotypical as it may sound, I love fried chicken… or rather i did, until The Dictator showed up.  The Dictator did not enjoy fried chicken.  In fact he thought it was gross.  At first I thought it was a fluke.  I grabbed some Popeyes… a favorite treat, to celebrate being pregnant and allowed to eat crappy stuff and say cute things like “i’m eating for two”… the Popeyes wasn’t delicious… POPEYES IS ALWAYS DELICIOUS… i chalked it up to a bad batch or it was the wrong temperature… something… and then i tried again… and then i realized all chicken was gross, nasty and vile… jerk chicken, baked chicken, chicken sandwiches, it was all just gross… but you know what was amazingly yummy?  McDonald’s Filet o Fish sandwiches… who in the hell eats those things?  Me and The Dictator… secretly… on the way home from work so no one would know my shame…

Dictator… a person who tells people what to do in an autocratic (taking no account of other people’s wishes or opinions; domineering) way or who determines behavior in a particular sphere…

That’s who was living in my body and from the moment he and I became acquainted I learned that he was in control.

Jun
24

I guess I’m talking about it publicly now…

The husband and I are scheduled to have a baby in January… It feels weird even typing that… i’ve been extremely cautious with what i say in public because people are extremely judgy… and there are few things that i hate more than being  judged.

I would say that the most interesting thing to me thus far has been the “advice” i’ve gotten from men.  When we first made our announcement to family i was told that we weren’t supposed to tell anyone til 12 or 13 weeks… my gut reaction was “who the fuck are you to tell me what I can and can’t tell people”… but i chilled out and calmly tried to explain that while there are lots of couples that choose to wait because so many things can happen in the first semester, we decided that now was a good time… he didn’t seem to get it so i just smiled politely.  I’ve been told that this being (henceforth referred to as “the Dictator”) is indeed a male and fortunately this means that i will never have to worry about a penis being in my child… *blink*  That one left me speechless for so many reasons… First off, as a woman who enjoys sex, I would hope that (some day) my child will have a healthy sex life, and if that includes penises (penii?) so be it.  Second, the Dictator’s gender has little to do with his/her proclivity for penis.  Third, what the fuck kind of shit is that to even say?

I just had someone welcome me to “the greatest club ever”… *looks at the camera*  So let’s get one thing clear.  I think it’s awesome that I’m pregnant.  I’m interested in some day meeting this person and seeing whatever the man upstairs has in store for the dictator.  But i don’t consider this some exclusive accomplishment or something that sets me above everyone else… For the past couple of years I have spent a great deal of time trying to come to terms with the fact that I might not ever be able to have my own child… the idea that I was somehow less than or excluded from this “club” because of that potential fact is probably the most annoying thing ever. I promise you that I understand the importance of reproduction.  I know why we need to procreate.  But, while i acknowledge the miracle that is reproduction, I don’t really think it’s any sort of status symbol or exclusive club or whatever… i mean there are parents who kill their children, parents who sexually abuse their kids… are they part of this exclusive club too?  There are childless people that do all sorts of amazing things for all of society… are they somehow an outcast?

I admit that I almost feel bad about my view on this impending motherhood… I don’t gush or fawn like other people seem to do.  I’m happy… i truly am, but i don’t want to talk about it all the time.  i don’t want people touching my stomach… i HATE when people touch me… i don’t like the idea of picking out names… i don’t like the idea that there’s a human growing inside me… it’s just all very odd to me.  I hate that i have a constant need to preface/disclaim all this with how grateful i am… i dunno.. this will be an interesting journey to say the least.

Apr
02

Sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone to grow… I did that the summer of 2008.  Took a job in SF despite my concerns about my father’s health.  Yes it was only 10 weeks… but it was the scariest thing i had done.  And it was bad… i mean my biggest fear came true… i lost my dad while i was gone… and it hurt… and then i dealt with it… i went thru the stages of grief… and i made it thru it…

I’m about to step out of my comfort zone again… leaving behind the (more) certain and the “easy” to try something new… to do something different… to live my dream.  A dream i’ve had since 1999… it took 15 years and lots of twists and turns… but now it’s here…

I hate being vague, but that’s all i can do right now… all i know is that I’m ready.  i’m excited… and i’m scared to death.  but i’m not alone.  i’ll never be alone.  and really that’s all i need.