Coincidence? Or Conspiracy?

     

                                         Y’all are gross. Seriously.

When Adam and I went to go visit his family a few weeks ago prior to heading up to his cabin, we were planning on staying with his older sister. As we were heading down the stretch of highway between the last ferry and his hometown we got a phone call telling us plans had changed. 

While his sister and her family were out that afternoon, their adorable chocolate lab puppy had chosen the one carpeted room in the basement to have an accident in. 

The carpeted room was the guest room, where we were going to be staying. And the accident? The accident wasn’t just pee my friends (is it ever just pee?). No, instead Finnegan had diarrhea all over their light beige carpet.

So. Carpets were cleaned, dogs were quarantined and Adam and I stayed with his parents instead.

Case closed, yes? Yes.

UNTIL!

Fast forward to yesterday. Adam’s twin sister is visiting from back East, and she, Adam’s older sister, his nephew and his dad are all coming to visit us for the weekend.

We went down to Vancouver to meet them on Sunday and had a lovely day chokablok full of IKEA, antiquing (Again! We have antiqued TWICE now! Adam bought an ugly chair! More on that later!), eating etc. 

We left Gus at home, after taking him for a big walk and swim earlier that morning. Around dinner time we started worrying about how long he’d been cooped up inside because it’d been around 6 hours since we left. 

Look. I know that right now, you think you know where I’m going with this. But don’t get ahead of me! I’m not going there. You know why? Because being responsible dog owners, Adam and I had left him with plenty of food and water and made sure he had time to do his business outside before we left.

Nonetheless, we texted a friend and asked him to go by the house and let Gus out for a pee break just to be safe.

Around 7 the friend texted back that he’d been by the house, Gus had gone out for a pee, was still topped up with food and water and they’d had a good play session in the backyard.

See? SEE! You didn’t know where I was going with this at all! I’m positively full of tricks and surprises! We had covered all of our bases and everything was fine, no dog of ours was going to poop on the carpet.

Gus sorted, we had dinner in the city and then headed back home. All of us. To our house. Where everyone was going to sleep. Some of them in our guest room.

As soon as I opened the door, I smelled something. The smell wasn’t a poop smell though –  I would describe it as “farty”.

I even said to Gus as I was greeting him, “So, this is how you spend your day? Sitting here farting in my living room?”. I went around and opened some windows, trying to air out the dog-fart smell before everyone else got there.

And then Adam went into the guest room.

(Yes. YES. Okay, you were right. We’re there.)

Adam went into the guest room. This one.

Except now, it now looked something like this:

Internets, that is not a fart.

Two separate houses. Two separate dogs. Two separate guest rooms with two separate beige carpets. Now forever bound together in history after being identically befouled by canine fecal expulsions.

The only difference? Finnegan is 70 pounds. Gus is 180.

Friends, that is approximately 2.5 times the diarrhea. But I guess that’s the deal when you buy a giant beast: you get 2.5 times the love, but also 2.5 times the poop.

(You know what? Last night I would have probably forgone some of that love in exchange for less poop. No, I take that back. I would have DEFINITELY traded love for less poop. Seriously. Is this possible?  Make me an offer.)

Whenever I find myself at this point, staring at a mess of dog shit sprayed onto my carpet and knowing that it’s not going to go away unless I put on the gloves and start mucking, I always think of my friend Lisa.

Lisa is not a dog person, will never be a dog person. Her husband is however, and they have an ongoing argument about whether or not to get a dog. When they visit he’ll hold Gus’ big face in his hands and say, “Seriously honey, who wouldn’t want this?”. In return she’ll glance doubtfully at the drool smears on my walls, the thin layer of dog hair perpetually covering my floors. “I just think dogs are too much work” she’ll say, “They’re dirty and messy and gross.”

I can’t deny that, no dog owner can deny that, and that’s why so far she’s winning the argument. And so far, to my knowledge, she’s never had to scrape still-warm dog feces out of her guest room carpet with guests looking on in horror as she yells at her husband to bring “Towels! MORE TOWELS!”

So, that’s was our night! Up to our elbows in GUS. It was almost 10pm by the time we discovered PoopFest 2012 and we did the best we could with warm soapy water and the remnants of a bottle of Spot Shot I dug out of my cleaning cupboard, and then this morning I went and rented a steam cleaner.

As of this afternoon all evidence had been removed, our carpets are cleaner than they were before and since I was planning on doing them before Baby comes in October anyway, I wasn’t too bothered by getting it a few months early.

The only lingering issue is that these two incidents – the diarrhea in the guest room there and the diarrhea in the guest room here – they are so similar, so eerily mirror-image. They resemble each other so completely, right down to the location of the “accident”.

All of it has me wondering, PoopFest 2012: Coincidence? Or conspiracy?

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The Diabeetus

On Wednesday it was beautiful outside – sunny, warm and not a cloud in the sky. Naturally, I decided to spend the entire morning in the hospital waiting room.

I had to get my regular bloodwork done, as well as an ECG, and tests for gestational diabetes, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia (I see you giving me the side eye! The last two are STANDARD I’ll have you know!)

Originally I wasn’t even going to do the gestational diabetes test. In my midwives practice very few tests or diagnostic procedures are mandatory. They tell you about the test, explain the risks/benefits, then allow you to make your own decision. I had heard a lot about the test – basically you fast overnight, then go to the hospital and your blood taken. After that you drink a large bottle of sugar syrup that tastes like concentrated orange drink from McDonalds, and then have more blood drawn 1 hr and 2 hrs after.

(Oh! Also! If you’re me you forget both your phone and a book and spend those two hours alternately reading ancient copies of “Parents” magazine and eavesdropping on the posse of old men sitting behind you.)

Sounds fun, right? So why was I thinking of not doing it in the first place? Oh you know, because this is a list of risk factors for developing Gestational Diabetes:

  • You’re obese (your body mass index is over 30).
  • You’ve had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
  • You have sugar in your urine.
  • You have a strong family history of diabetes.
  • You’ve previously given birth to a big baby. Some use 8 pounds, 13 ounces (4,000 grams, or 4 kilos) as the cutoff; others use 9 pounds, 14 ounces (4,500 grams, or 4.5 kilos).
  • You’ve had an unexplained stillbirth.
  • You’ve had a baby with a birth defect.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You’re over 35.

I have exactly none of these. NONE. In fact I am the polar opposite of some of them (I was technically underweight pre-pregnancy and I have always had really low blood pressure).

Still, with all the shit that’s gone down in my pregnancy thus far, I thought it would be a good idea to just do the test and get it checked off the list. Truthfully, I just wanted a test result to come back good for a change.

HA!

Do you see where this is going? Has my heavy-handed foreshadowing given it away yet?

I have motherfucking gestational diabetes.

And because I am a woman of action, here’s what I have done about it so far:

Panicked. Spent way too much time on google. Cried about it at 2am to my bewildered and exhausted husband. Googled some more. Wallowed. Cried. Cried in the shower. Cried while talking to my midwife. Cried while pulling out weeds in the backyard. Examined all of my eating habits for the past seven months. Berated myself for having four ice cream cones in Victoria, that Australian licorice last week – (because that’s probably what did it, right?). Cried while hanging laundry on the line. Cried while vacuuming (it makes me feel better to clean when I am in these states, okay?).

Because seriously, WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

I was so upset I didn’t even know how to coherently express myself. Every time I started to say “I have gestational diabetes…” I broke into wailing sobs mid-sentence and it sounded more like “I have gestational diaeeeee eee eeeee!”.

I think what upset me most (other than how Dr. Google told me I would have a 14 lb baby, or a dead baby, or be diabetic for the rest of my life, or that I should pretty much just give up now because I have already failed at being a mother before I’ve even had the damn kid) is the preconceived notions I have about diabetes and the fact that other people might begin applying those – consciously or unconsciously – to me.

It’s never pleasant to come face to face with your own prejudices, and I have to admit when I think “diabetes” I think of stock news-reel footage of obese people shot from the shoulders down. Monstrous forms scarfing down fast food and bucket-sized soft drinks. I think of people who haven’t eaten fresh vegetables in years, people who think doughnuts are an acceptable breakfast.

I know that this image isn’t fair, that what I’ve described isn’t the reality for all diabetics or even most diabetics, but I’ve realized that this the image I associate – without even being aware that I’m doing it- with diabetes. And now I am worried that image is attaching itself to me.

I felt the need to protest, to justify, to explain that I DO eat well, I DO exercise. I worried that this meant I had failed somehow in this enormous task given to me.

These are some of my most unattractive character traits, the propensity to judge; to think the sky is falling; to curl up in a fetal position and wail that it’s just not FAIR, dammit!

I didn’t want to write about this. The diagnosis embarrassed me and my reaction embarrassed me, and although I have been told several times now, by several different medical professionals that this is not my fault, that GD is oftentimes simply a fluke, a unique reaction between pregnancy hormones and insulin, despite all of this I am blaming myself. How could I not?

I could not stop going back over every single thing I ate since becoming pregnant. Feeling guilty for the morning sickness months where simple carbs were all I could keep down. Feeling guilty for the occasional cone of gelato and that coke I had at lunch one day. I scrutinized every indulgence, every treat, and meted out the blame accordingly.

In short, I was over reacting. Being melodramatic and self-flagellating and feeling uncomfortably sorry for myself. Listening to me try and explain myself through hiccuping sobs yesterday, Adam looked at me in bewilderment and said, “I have no idea why you’re being so irrationally emotional right now. You need to think of this a bit more logically.”

Ohhh! LOGIC! Of course!

Hi Adam, have you MET me?

ME! Me who once cried after a long day of moving because there was ketchup on my burger. Me who loses herself for days in books, knee-deep in the minute intricacies of of fictional characters. Me who now has all of that predisposition towards hysteria and “end of the world” thinking PLUS a healthy dose of 7-month pregnancy hormones.

Yeah Adam, I’ll get right on that “logic” thing you speak of, right after I finish furiously scrubbing the floor with my bitter tears.

Anyway.

All of these histrionics are in the past. Towards the end of the day I spoke with my midwife, spoke with one of my friends who’s had GD, took a deep breath and then took the day off work and went to the lake.

Buoyed by cool water, I floated on my back, soaking up the sun. I swam laps around the water’s edge, getting close enough to the shore to see the spider webbed network of lily-pads close up.

I swam until I was bone-tired and my eyes weren’t red from crying anymore. I hauled myself out, sat on the shore and soaked up the last bits of sun and with it some much needed perspective.

I feel thoroughly foolish for my (over)reaction, I’m over it. This is just another teensy bump in the road, a small but manageable condition and far from the worst news a lady could get. No more woe is me, no more tears and pity parties. But also, unfortunately, no more gelato :(

So Internets, I have the diabeetus. I meet with our local clinic next week to get instructions, and to acquaint myself with the lovely little device that I’ll be pricking my finger with after every meal. I’ll manage this and I’ll do what I’m told and although in my unattractive moments it is tempting to bemoan this development, to feel like I’m ending up with every random pregnancy condition ever, it could be worse.

It could be worse. Despite the diabeetus I am going to have a healthy, happy baby and that’s all that matters.

Perspective= ATTAINED.

I’m just going to go ahead and let my good friend Wilford Brimley take it from here with my new theme song.

27 Weeks

                   

When you’re waddling around with a basketball belly, you get asked how you’re feeling a lot. Mostly by other women.

I think what most women are asking when they say this, is “What are you feeling? How does it feel?”

That’s what I always meant anyways, when I asked it. Before.

I wanted to know what it felt like to carry another life inside you. I wanted to know if these women, who always looked so serene and calm, were even a little bit scared or nervous. I wanted to know if they were worried about what their life would look like in a few months. I wanted to know if they talked to their babies, I wanted to know how their relationships with their partners had changed.

I was wondering how they could be going about their daily lives so innocuously, while at the same time quietly building a human being.

Now I’m on the other side, I’m looking back at inquisitive faces that don’t know how to ask these question because they’re too personal, too real, but I wish they would. Instead I end up giving the same unsatisfying answer I usually got, before: “I’m feeling great! How are you?”.

A quick exchange on the street or in the dairy aisle of the grocery store simply isn’t enough time to go into it, and do they really care anyway? Am I reading into things? Not everyone wants to hear the existential blathering of a pregnant lady, maybe they’re just making conversation after all.

But if I ran into me, (pre-pregnancy me, I mean) and she asked me that same question- “How are you?” – this is how I would answer:

“I feel strange, I feel like me but more somehow. I feel heavy physically, but not in a bad way, weighted down with happy expectation. When I make the bed in the morning I try and squeeze myself into that small space between the mattress and the wall, the space that I’ve always fit into easily but these days I get crammed in, stuck. My belly bumps into counters, I no longer know the limits of my body; where I end and the world begins.

There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

I do worry, but in an abstract way. There’s a loss of control that I’ve felt ever since our first ultrasound. I looked at the screen, that blurry picture of a tiny blob floating in space and saw all that had been done without my knowledge or control. Something bigger than me was happening. So yes, I worry, but in a curiously detached sort of way. About what out baby will look like. If they will be be messy like Adam or crave order like me. What his laugh will sound like.

Life does feel normal. That’s the most surprising part of all of this, how normal it all feels. I wake up and brush my teeth and get dressed and eat lunch and go to work and swim. Nothing has changed, everything has changed.

I like being pregnant. It feels good, natural. And as strange as it is to see my body expanding, it also just somehow makes sense. It’s not surprising, which is in itself a surprise.

Pregnancy hasn’t changed my relationship with Adam in any significant way (yet). There has, of course, been stress – stretching your life to fit a new person will do that. I think of it like growing pains, these arguments over car seats and where the baby will sleep, who will work and when. But this too, is normal. Trying to our mash our disparate viewpoints into something resembling a compromise.

But behind all of that is this shared bundle of experiences, this small handful of life that we haven’t had with anyone else. Whatever happens down the road, Adam and I will always have those weeks before we told anyone, when the baby was our happy secret. That morning where I threw up into the sink and my nose started bleeding, feeling that first strong thump.

Things are calm, tender. Normal.

I try and remember all of the things I would have liked to ask, before. But it’s true what they say, life *before* feels hazy, it’s receding. I’m forgetting what it felt like to have a flat stomach, to be slim .

Almost seven months is a long time, and it’s funny how quickly you adapt. How quickly you forget what before felt like.

27 Weeks. We’ve come a long way, baby.