The trip to the bathroom that changed my life

August 11, 2011 § 32 Comments

Robert and I walked through the door, herding our love-deprived cats out of the way, heavy bags in hand. (A quick side note: the cats were totally not love-deprived–they had been well cared-for over the weekend while we were away. Thanks, sister!) We unloaded our arms, loved on the cats for a moment, and chomped our way greedily through the Publix subs we had picked up on the way home.

My bladder couldn’t stand it any longer. Robert likes to call me a camel–I can hold it like a damn champion. It started in grade school when it dawned on me just how gross the school bathrooms were, and just how much I preferred the cleanliness of our toilets at home. My strength only increased as I grew older and developed even more finely my disgust for urine-sprinkled seats, poorly-flushed bowls, and questionable wet flecks on toilet handles. Because of this extraordinarily strong bladder I have trained, I sometimes miss the early cues and warning signs…leaving me in an incredible lurch when a visit to the bathroom is not only necessary but immediately imminent. On this particular evening, the night before Robert’s 28th birthday, I found my bladder beginning to send uncomfortable urgent signals to my brain. I shot up off the couch and announced probably too loudly, “I have got to pee!” (As though I had been physically restrained by Robert. He shook his head and gave me an amused smile. He hates it when I wait until the absolute last minute before the need to go becomes an emergency.) I ran to the bathroom.

On the way, I had a thought.

While I sat on the toilet, I decided to keep myself occupied. I put my urine to work.

And then I counted to one-hundred twenty while I washed my hands.

I glanced over to my right and knew just then: this trip to the potty wasn’t going to just be any ol’ trip to the potty. This was the trip to the potty. The one I’d remember forever. The one that took place at 7 p.m. on June 5th.

The one where I found out that I was pregnant.

The positive sign was faint–I hadn’t missed my period yet. But it was there. Boy, was it there.

I grinned. I whispered, “Oh my God….” I laughed.

I grabbed the stick (wiping it off to make sure it wasn’t gross), snatched up the instructions, and walked back to Robert. I tried to hide my smile so that I didn’t give the surprise away. I handed him the instructions and the test, and he responded, “What am I looking at?” I laughed and pointed to the results indication on the instructions. His eyes lit up, and his grin rivaled mine.

“Happy birthday to me,” he laughed.

We hugged, cried, checked the test over and over.

But there it was, plain as day: we were going to have a baby.

I’ll be honest, friends. I took six home tests. On July 12th, I had my first prenatal appointment, which included another urine test. So technically, I took seven pregnancy tests. They all came back positive.

Baby Hab. is due on February 16th, although I’m hoping for Valentine’s Day. 🙂

I’m 13 weeks along, as of today. My absence from the blog can be explained by my overwhelming need to wait to make my online announcement about Baby Hab.’s conception. Robert and I told our parents and siblings on June 18th, and we called the rest of our extended family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins) on Father’s Day the 19th.

When I had to change my graduation plans on June 21st, I realized that I would have an incredibly difficult time not writing about my pregnancy before I intended to. So I decided to take an unannounced hiatus. In that time, you all have been incredibly supportive and sweet. Many of you have contacted me through comments to check on how I’m doing (great!), and a few of you even e-mailed me privately to extend a word of encouragement. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.

You may or may not recall from the June 21st blog post about graduation that one of the reasons I listed for slowing down was so that I wouldn’t cause any harm to my body. The baby is why. I didn’t want to endanger my pregnancy for the sake of attempting to meet this impossible new deadline. I know I’ve made the right decision.

So, to answer the potential questions I think I can rightly anticipate:

1. I’m feeling better now than I had been earlier. Around my fifth week, I started experiencing morning sickness and motion sickness. (By the way, that term “morning sickness” is a damn filthy lie. My nausea lasted all day long.) I never actually vomited, but every day I felt like it was imminent. These past few days have improved. My hunger pangs don’t feel like hunger, though–it’s just increased nausea. It’s incredibly difficult to force yourself to eat when you’re afraid you’ll be sick. (Today, though…blech. I woke up feeling really yucky. I’ve pretty much just kept myself on the couch today.)

2. My energy dropped down like you wouldn’t believe. I couldn’t keep my eyes open most of the time. Lately, though, I’ve started to feel my energy start to pick back up. I still knock out around 2:30 and sleep for about ten minutes (deeeeep, dream-filled sleep), but I spend most of my days awake now.

3. I haven’t written much on the dissertation. I’ve got almost 20 pages of writing on the last chapter, but I have really pumped the brakes. And I don’t feel guilty about it. At this rate, I’ll probably defend sometime in September, which is well ahead of the deadline to graduate in December. (Oh…I’ll be eight months pregnant at graduation, ha….)

Okay, that’s about all I can think of–please feel free to ask any other questions as they come up! 🙂 I’ll either answer on the blog, or (if it’s of a more personal nature) I’ll contact you privately.

Thanks again for your continuing support. I’m thrilled to be back.

I’m Sorry Dad: Happy Father’s Day

June 15, 2011 § 10 Comments

Yesterday, I went to Hallmark to purchase our Father’s Day cards. As I tried to find a humorous card for my father-in-law and a touching card for my father, I came to one conclusion: the humorous cards are lame and the touching ones are pitiful.

Dad, the miles may separate us
And we don’t tell you we appreciate
All you do for us

But today is your day.
Happy Father’s Day.

Father, you go unappreciated
Every day
We may not tell you
How much you mean to us
But on this day

We want you to know
We love you
Happy Father’s Day.

They may as well say, “Dear Dad, sorry I’m a shit daughter. Here’s a card. Hope it helps.”

I ultimately gave up on my efforts to find a humorous card for my father-in-law and miraculously located the only two non-apologetic Father’s Day cards and headed to the register miffed.

For Mother’s Day, the racks are awash with “you’re a superhero, Mom” and “you’re the best” and “we wouldn’t know love if we didn’t have you” cards. The trouble I have when choosing a Mother’s Day card is narrowing down all the wonderful choices and choosing the one that feels like it’s talking about my mom.

For Father’s Day? Year after year, we’re offered cards jockeying for the most apologetic, the most shamefaced. I realize that not all of us have an ideal relationship with one or both of our parents, but is it appropriate to approach Dad with our tails tucked between our legs and heads low? I figure that if you recognize your relationship with your father is strained (perhaps because of physical distance or not expressing gratitude), then you can deal with that in person. Don’t put it on a freaking card! How passive-aggressive. How empty. How lame.

For instance, my dad and I have always had a strained relationship. We just have. On my end of things, I’m trying to be more patient when he pushes my buttons, and I’m trying to avoid the temptation to push his. I’m trying to contact him more to let him know about my academic progress.

But those efforts and associated feelings of guilt don’t need to be on a freaking card. It’s an empty gesture. “Hey Dad, I obviously owe you an apology, so I’m going to do it on a card. See you next year.”

This Father’s Day, why don’t we focus on the positive things our fathers have done for us rather than the negative? And if you just don’t have a positive element to focus on, then perhaps it would be best not to say anything at all.

Happy Early Birthday!

May 29, 2011 § 4 Comments

Today, I worked. Hard.

This evening, we got together with Robert’s family and celebrated his birthday a week early (literally–his birthday is next Monday).

I was able to take the evening off and actually enjoy our time with his family. I didn’t think about my dissertation once…unless someone asked me directly.

I’m truly grateful for evenings like this one. I’m grateful that I have a good relationship with my in-laws. And I’m grateful that Robert comes from such a truly loving family.

Happy early birthday, honey. I hope you enjoy your weeklong celebration!

Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you!

Mmm...birthday cake from Shakes! That's vanilla custard in the center, folks. Delish!

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