Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Why I F*cking HATE Being Pregnant: A Rant

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Hey, yeah, so... SURPRISE! I'm growing another human being. I bet you are just as shocked as I am. Even though we actually intentionally made this happen, it's kinda like... well... WHOA.

Before I delve into my personal pregnancy hell, I feel it necessary to point out that I am not a completely heartless asshole who realizes the pain, sorrow and heartache that many families endure through infertility, loss and complications. I am one lucky motherfucker to have life growing in me, healthy life, and I know I should count my lucky stars. To anyone who has had a heart-wrenching experience, I sincerely apologize deeply for your suffering.

I am grateful for this life in me, just not the goddamn process to get there.

So, if we are being honest, it is safe to say that it is NOT socially acceptable to convey anything more than mild dissatisfaction about heartburn or frequent urination while pregnant. It seems as though society has assumed that you are an angelic, uber positive matron saint when growing a human and that everything is rosy and glowing and vibrant and wonderful.

I'm here to tell you, in no uncertain terms, FUCK THAT SHIT.

Some women DO truly enjoy pregnancy and have very few negative experiences, pains and suffering. They are the elusive pregnancy unicorns, and good for them. But just because some people think it's great, doesn't mean that is my experience, or another woman's. And people look down their noses at a woman who has anything negative to say about it.

  • Well, why did you get pregnant then? ('Cause I keep scouring Amazon but they NEVER have my biological baby available for delivery. Not even with a Prime subscription. SMH.)
  • You had to know what you were in for. (So... that means that I'm supposed to enjoy the misery? Here, you sub in for my body for a minute and see if deciding to have a child means it's TOTES cool to feel like complete shit for 9 months. I'll wait.)
  • Why wouldn't you hire a surrogate? (Um, I looked under the bed and we didn't have $20,000. Dammit.)
  • Can't you just keep it to yourself? (Sure, but if you ask me how I'm doing, why I can't meet up with you, what's wrong, why am I so green/white/pale, or perhaps ask if I've had any morning sickness, then you kinda opened that can yourself. If you don't actually care, then don't actually ask mmmkay?)
Those are just a sampling, but you get the idea.

So... what's so awful about pregnancy, you ask? Why do I fucking HATE being pregnant with a passion? How on earth could something so joyous seem to turn me into a venom-spewing demon?

Well, for starters, all that VENOM SPEWING. I'm well into my second trimester and I fucking puke. EVERY DAMN DAY. Often. And it's hot and it burns and I can't lean forward after eating or else I get food V2.0. On the strongest anti-nauseant available. They have some cute little medications that have antihistamines and B-vitamins in them called Diclectin. That shit made me sleepy and did fuck all for my nausea and puking. As did the second line of defence, Maxeran/Metonia. And of course, with any medications come risks to this little human growing... but when you have a four year old and can't just curl up in bed for 9 months, Mama needs to find some options. (Cue the entirely different group of judgers who are drug-free in their pregnancies and assume I am worse than Satan for poisoning this child. Thanks. Ok, moving on).

I'm sure before I endured pregnancy I assumed puking often wasn't THAT horrible. I mean, you get a cute little human at the end. Indeed, if we are lucky and things go well, we WILL get that human. But I can tell you that my body is utterly exhausted from all the vomiting. It's so gross. And when I'm not ACTUALLY vomiting, I feel like I am ABOUT TO vomit, or else just feel like there is a live wire in my stomach.  Yesterday Baby D was kind enough to tell me I was disgusting after puking multiple times in the Benjamin Moore parking lot. The entire highway got to witness the glory. Such joy.

POOPING. OR NOT POOPING, I GUESS. Ahh, pooping. Such a lovely, functional, necessary thing. When I get pregnant:

My Body: "Huh? What? Pooping - what's that? Sorry, no comprende. That doesn't happen here anymore. Save your energy. Just puke if you have to. Consider your bowels to be a concrete landmine until sometime in late 2018". Um. Okay.

Me: *consumes any and all forms of approved fibre, laxatives, suppositories, enemas and milk of magnesias approved and available*

My Body: "Nah."

Me: *consumes decaf coffee, waits, consumes caffeinated coffee, waits, exercises, waits, prays to the fecal release Gods, waits*

My Body: "Solid effort. Nah. We got you covered"
My Body: *vomits*

Yeah. So.

HEARTBURN. Burny, raging, painful reminders of all that spicy stuff you just ate. You know, white person spicy like multigrain bread and ranch dip. Or just looking at orange juice. Even with twice a day medication, my esophagus is just a waterpark consisting of purely lava. And the slides defy gravity and go uphill. Super fun. 24/7.

DEHYDRATION. You'd think that drinking liquids is sort of a natural, no-brainer-type life supporting activity. And while I AM actually fairly bad at hydrating at any time of my life, apparently my body feels the output of vomit somehow fills the daily-liquid-in-the-esophagus quotient for my body and essentially gags or refuses adequate hydration. I try. I drink. Some. If I drink when I eat, I puke. If I drink too much at all, I puke. If I drink and lay back or lay down, I puke. This snazzy little pregnancy bonus has led to 5 hospitalizations for I.V. fluids/nausea meds. You'd think I would learn and just drink, but I enjoy going 30 minutes away, paying $40 to park, and sitting or laying for 6 hours while I get rehydrated. SO MUCH MORE CONVENIENT than just, you know, keeping a goddamned Gatorade down.

FATIGUE. Like, next level fatigue. Like, I've struggled with fatigue for years due to a number of health conditions, the dog or Baby D or insomnia keeping me awake for large chunks of the night. But this. THIS is like no other level of knuckle-dragging survivalism. I regularly fight back tears because I feel like my body is going to collapse into itself. Exercise can help at times, but if I ride the endorphin wave and skip the chance for even a short nap, whoa Nelly, the rest of the day results in an increased level of vomiting and sensory processing issues.

SENSORY OVERLOAD. At first I thought I was just cranky. Then I realized that I have far far less tolerance for things like loud or repetitive noises, rough fabrics or repetitive touch, lights. Seriously. It's like my sensitivity dial upped itself to maximum and nothing I can do seems to stop it or lessen the agitation it creates for me, no matter what I try to do. I just need to lie down in a dark, quiet room. It's brutal. And I am much shorter with Baby D which sucks and makes me feel terrible, but I'm working on it and she's a pretty chill and understanding kiddo, so we work together on it.

ANEMIA IN PREGNANCY. Oh yeah. I've been dealing with this for years, and about a year ago my ferritin (iron stores) were at 12. That's low. I started 'roiding myself up with bovine-blood-sourced iron pills (*hurl*) to help because every other supplement under the sun seemed to have no effect. After months and months of taking the pills I finally reached 32, which is still kinda shit. It's suspected iron deficiency below 50. Well, when you are pregnant, your body creates up to 50% more blood to keep the little human alive. And aforementioned little human leeches all they need from mama's blood supply, so guess who is anemic again? All my levels are dropping or are at the literal lowest "safe" number. I know that low iron affects me immensely, more than most, and more than the ranges of acceptable blood work. So iron infusions will likely be in my future to hopefully save me from pre-term delivery again, and improve my chances of not hurtling down the rabbit hole of postpartum depression and anxiety (low iron FUCKS YOU UP, Bruh).

PEEING. ALL THE TIME. ALL NIGHT. ALL OVER THE PLACE. And don't get me started on the hormonal mood swings, body pain, painful kicks, breathlessness, itchy skin, boobs the size of an independent nation, nipple sensitivity, leg cramps, strangers trying to touch your body, and a slew of other "joys".

I will likely write another post of the complications I've already endured that are both potentially fatal. I successfully dodged the first bullet after my family doctor told me that yes, the FEARED THING could happen and the embryo COULD burst and I COULD die, but what can you do. (Side note: A FUCKING early ultrasound. That's what you can do. Christ. And she said this in front of my 4 year old as I burst into terrified, hormonal tears.)

So there's also this fear that the little baby is plotting my death, though kiddo can't really help it so I'm holding no grudges. It's just fairly frightening to know your body can turn on you so fast and the possibility of expanding our family could end up with the Hubs and Baby D on their own if I died. Hopefully very unlikely at this point, but still possible. Yay?

Geriatric pregnancy looks soooo good on me. Have I mentioned that I fucking hate being pregnant to you yet?

It doesn't help that I am an older mom and it can make it really tricky to manoeuvre with this big bump and my walker and stuff. You know how it goes.

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Random Compliment... So Appreciated

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We went out for dinner tonight... the Hubs, Baby D and me.

Baby D is always super stoked for the kids' treasure chest at Swiss Chalet because, well, free toys. Or, treasure I guess.

I am a disgusting fiend when it comes to that dipping sauce. I will dip anything and everything in that hot salty bath. It's revolting. I leave a trail of little dipping dishes behind me in disarray. The servers are exhausted from the excessive trips to the kitchen to fill my trough with the sauce. There can often be few survivors in my path.

But I digress.

When we arrived, Baby D was quick to survey the treasure box and to select a pack filled with jewelry. A rainbow bracelet, ill fitting ring, and sticker earrings lit her eyes up as we proceeded to our table. She was quite pleased with her find. I love that I can ask her to go with me and she never hesitates because of that treasure box and the inevitable Skittles delicacy offered at the end of her kid's meal.

She excitedly put on the bracelet and ring while I tried to carefully peel off a pair of sticker earrings from the backing. It was harder than expected, but I didn't back down in the face of adversity. Baby D's puppy dog eyes watched me intently as I painstakingly peeled and scratched. I assumed it meant they had some decent staying power to them at least, so they wouldn't end up in her hair in 2 seconds flat (I was correct, they lasted at LEAST 60 seconds).

She proudly showed off her ears, and we acknowledged their neatness, but also said we love her and she's wonderful with or without decorations on her.

Boring feminist parenting aside: I amp up the importance of superficial things like clothes, hair styles and accessories, jewelry, etc., as being merely decorations on us. They aren't what makes us beautiful, and we aren't better or worse with or without them. Everyone is so quick to praise a young girl and tell her she is SO PRETTY with whatever she has of those things...  I personally think that is bullshit and it encourages and reinforces the idea that she ISN'T pretty and wonderful as her own self, without the glittery shit. People mean well, but it reinforces the having-to-improve-your-looks-to-be-validated stuff that I abhor. And little girls are also so much more than pretty. If you tell my kid she looks incredibly brave, or strong, or powerful - THEN you've won my heart, dear friend. Anyway...

She was quite excited and showed her new earrings and those left on the cardboard backer with the family at the table beside us. The Dad said they were very pretty but that he didn't have any. The Hubs offered him a pair, which he politely declined, then Baby D suggested that the other Daddy go get himself a pair from the treasure chest at the front. He explained he was too old to enjoy the gifts, as they were meant for kids, but we praised her good problem solving skills.

Fast forward near the end of dinner. Baby D was tired, I was oblivious to the time change and realizing it was actually an hour past her bed time, and we were all fading. But dinner went well. We all chatted, reminded her not to talk with a mouth full of food, reminded her that the protein in her chicken strips had to get in her belly before the Skittles could, and all that.

At one point in the meal the neighbouring family was brought an extra sauce of some kind (I was proudly on sauce six. So gross. I know. #sodiumlover), and Baby D proudly said "Hey! I can give them this!" proudly about to share her plum dipping sauce she hadn't used. (My love for Chalet dipping sauce is only surpassed by Baby D's love of ketchup and all vehicles used to get ketchup into her mouth. She comes by it honestly).

We stopped her politely by explaining that it was really nice of her to want to share, but that people that don't know each other generally don't share open food. That it was different from trick-or-treating because people give out sealed food. But I told her it was very kind of her to want to share. She really gets kindness and she genuinely has a good heart. Of all the preschoolers I have met, she's one of the best at peacemaking and sharing toys/food/art supplies, etc.

So we are about to leave and the Dad from the neighbouring table explains he just has to tell me something. I'm hoping that it wasn't that I should be ashamed at the sheer amount of sodium I just rammed in my gullet. It was not. I was so surprised, and touched.

He said that Baby D was so articulate and had such good manners that he wanted to say it was so nice to see. He said he was a police officer and deals with the public all the time. He said he's never seen such an articulate child that is so polite. He said he worries with what he sees today, and that his wife gets embarrassed when he comments to other families, but he just had to let us know. I said she had tried to share her sauce earlier and he said he heard the entire exchange.

I was honestly so touched. People rarely go out of their way to say nice things any more. He could have observed and carried on with his evening. He could have smiled and waved at her. But he let us know that he thought she was wonderful and that he thought we've done a good job teaching her manners. It was just so heartwarming. It made me so proud of her, of the wonderful little person she is, of all she is and all she is becoming. It was small, but at the same time it was huge to hear someone validate my thoughts on Baby D after sitting beside her for an hour and a half.

Anyway, not huge blog material, but just something really special. I'm so proud of her. And not simply because a stranger thinks she's sweet, but because I know she is. She has a good soul and a kind spirit and I always want to do my best to encourage that in her. Reinforce her. Lift her up. When I'm not a tired emotional haggard bitch myself.

Sweet dreams. Time to bloat with all the sodium. And to try not to be a bitch.


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Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Am Actually Proud

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I don't say that often. That I am proud.

I don't even know if I've ever said it but not really meant it. It feels like just saying "I'm Proud" is so cocky... and pretentious.

(Well THERE'S a sad, small glimpse into my confidence, psyche and upbringing. But anyway...)

I'm often proud of the people in my family. It's a pride I feel FOR them, and a happiness I feel for their accomplishments.

This time, I'm actually proud of ME. And it feels strange to type it. I don't know that I've even said it aloud. Maybe to The Hubs, but that's even doubtful.

This past weekend I competed in my second sprint triathlon. It's my third triathlon this year, (well, EVER) but the first one was a "short" distance. The sprint is longer and consists of a 750m swim, a 20km bike ride, and then a 5km run. Like, all at once. On the same day. Back to back. Moving non stop. (Who chooses to do this shit you ask? I dunno, seriously.)

Me and The Hubs had talked about triathlons in 2016. He signed up for an Olympic (Standard) distance lake race in the fall of 2017. I had (breathlessly, slowly, poorly) completed the Whistler Mudderella course in fall 2016 when other ladies there were talking about triathlon. It seemed interesting - the sports involved were far less likely to cause surprise injuries or rib sprains or torn quad muscles like the obstacle race bullshit always ended with me.

Me + FUN, not-typical physical exertion/race = FAIL

Source (I think, I'm not sure, I fucking hate Pinterest and its pop ups....)

The seed was planted, but I knew that I wasn't fit enough. Or strong enough mentally. I had finally put my butt back on a bike for the first time in TWO LITERAL DECADES in spring of 2016 and the idea of 20km seemed like a distant dream. It was the first bike I'd ever used with hand brakes! Then I was extremely ill with a chest infection for October, followed by a solid month of virus in our household for December.

The idea of completing something that seemed so massive just seemed impossible. Those around me (not The Hubs) were quick to tell me it would be stupid, that I do things like that and get hurt, that I couldn't do it. And so I believed that. I decided I wasn't capable.

And with all my aches and pains and health problems, I went on a run on vacation in January. And my stomach pain temporarily subsided. I felt so sluggish, out of shape, and pathetically slow compared to the patient (and not even REMOTELY out-of-breath) Hubs, but I did it. In the sun. There were walk breaks, but it was the only time on vacation when my stomach didn't feel terrible.

So we went for two more runs. And for a fleeting moment, I felt STRONG when I was running up an incline. It was quick, but it was an incredible feeling.

And so, that began my training.

Spin classes in the pouring Vancouver rain, running around an indoor track, and swimming. Oh dear lord the swimming. I still so totally and completely SUCK at swimming, but even there I've made leaps and bounds.

I have very vivid memories of beginning to drown in a pool as a child. My mom couldn't swim so couldn't jump in to save me. I remember it all so clearly. And it's never left me.

So I learned to swim with my head above the water at all times. My front crawl (or freestyle?) was like that of a lifeguard, where I keep my face up and out of the water the entire time. It was exhausting. The back half of my body is angled down, and basically acts like a dickish anchor, impolitely slowing me the f*ck down no matter how hard I swim.

The short triathlon was hard. It was a 50m long pool and I took long breaks at the end of each lap. I still need breaks now after every 25m. Yup, But I'm doing it still. I swim the 25m in about 29-31 seconds consistently. Any slower and I seem to sink. Can't really go much faster. But I need a break at the end of the lap because I'm not breathing properly.

In April I finally forced myself to learn to swim with my face in the water, properly(ish), and it was AND CONTINUES to be wholly terrifying. No exaggeration, the entire swim is a full blown panic attack for me, every time.

This liquid is going to swallow me. (Source)

But I'm not giving up, motherfuckers. Nope.
Yippy kai ay.
I have no idea how that is actually supposed to be written and I'm too bloody lazy to google it.

So I completed this sprint triathlon. My swim was slow. And I have to put myself in a slow bracket because my overall time IS around 26 minutes. But my laps are fast so I'm gurgling and looking for the swimmers in my lane that are actual NORMAL swimmers who don't freak the fuck out and breathe normally but just swim more slowly. I have to haul ass and then rest at the wall. It's not ideal but that is where I need to be. I'm eating feet and then passing if I can, just so I don't sink, and even though I tell my lane mates my weird system, I'm sure I'm annoying them. But that is how it is, and I do all I can to stay out of the way.

I got my bike, and went for it.

I had completed a 55km bike race in July where shit went sideways for a multitude of reasons, and I thought I was having a stroke. Turns out it was a migraine with aura, which took most of my vision away for the last 5km of the race. I was worried that it would be another exercise induced deal at the triathlon, and was prepared to stop and leave the race if I had to.

This was the first race where I was able to pull and drink from my water bottle, and grab chews from my jersey WHILE CYCLING. Laugh if you want, but this was a big deal for me. Before I was too forward/arm heavy and would appear to be suffering from spontaneous electrocution on my bike before fantastically crashing to the ground because I'd tip sideways. I did end up stopping for water for a minute or two at the turnaround point aid station because the Gatorade I had was tasting slightly like ass and bad breath. Mmmmmmm.

It felt like I was moving much slower than my May race, but it turns out I actually went quite a bit faster. I didn't know until I was done. And that was on my hybrid bike. I still really want a proper road bike and clip-in cycling shoes. But baby steps for now.

Then, the run. I suck at running, but I have been trying to keep at it. I'm not the fastest, and my post-baby bladder sometimes likes to just fuck with me and decide I need an ISTA-PEE, regardless of my surroundings or proximity to an ACTUAL TOILET. But, I digress.

Actual photo of me on my last training run. (Source)

This run had hills. One really big one. And I HATE running up hills. I had to take a few walk breaks and figured I shouldn't be in the race. It felt like the opposite of those slopes on vacation. I stopped for water. I couldn't maintain my pace, and felt like I had blown it.

Then I forced myself up the last hill and in another half kilometre, I was done.

I looked at my watch - I had shaved 14 minutes off of my time from three months prior.

I thought I made an error on my watch. But I hadn't.
I actually started to cry a little. I hadn't passed Hubs based on our swim start times (before he had always passed me once or twice which was the motivation I needed to keep strong). I didn't know anyone else, had almost not signed up because I was literally so scared of the swim, afraid that I wouldn't be able to finish, worried that I'd be a joke to those who enjoy seeing me fail. I didn't sleep the night before. My already constant-in-every day anxiety was so insane. I hadn't been able to train as much due to illness, heat, air quality and scheduling with Baby D.

And I crossed that finish line STRONG. I was scared, but I was brave goddammit.
And I can say, for the first time in a very, very long time, that I am proud.

And that's a big deal.


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