Monday, June 17, 2013

PJ's First Haircut

PJ enjoyed his first haircut from Hairdresser Mommy this morning. He was an awesome guy about it and it was over in less than 5 minutes. Of course, it helps that it was a simple buzz job.

PJ about two weeks ago with his fly-away hair.

PJ after with his adorable ears and big eyes.

My little ham acting adorable (as usual).


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learning and Maybe Bettering

I read once in a book about mothering that each baby, each child, each adoption is a gift to help us, the mothers, learn about and better ourselves. I would add that fathers also learn about and better themselves, but I agree that moms, especially first time moms, are in for a real loop.

Of course I didn’t get that with my first baby, it took the shock of becoming a mother with our additional struggles of breastfeeding and postpartum depression. In those first few months with PJ I crash-and-burn-learned a lot. For example, I learned that when I listen to myself even (especially?) when it comes to my child, things go a lot more peacefully for us all. I also learned to carefully glean ideas from (which is another nice way of saying "shut out/ignore") "experts" and people who tell me I "must" (muss) and "should" (soll) do X, Y, or Z.

Now, with my second baby, I’m once again learning about and hopefully also bettering myself. I am pretty good at acknowledging and honoring my emotional boundaries but I still struggle…hell, this is my blog, so let’s be honest…I suck at acknowledging and honoring my physical boundaries. Combine that with my ambition and the fact that I actually like what I do for money at my job and, well, I tend to work too much, too long, and with too much effort.

It’s time for a confession, dear readers. I have felt like shit throughout the majority of this pregnancy. During the first trimester I missed nine weeks (!!!) of work because I was a vomit machine with never-ending nausea. I lost loads of weight. The single week that I drug myself through work I passed out in the women’s room while washing my hands and was caught by an unsuspecting but kind colleague I had never seen before. Medicine didn’t help, acupuncture helped a little, but in the end only time helped. It sucked.

As the second trimester rolled in, the vomiting stopped and the nausea broke into waves that slowly, slowly receded. I had three or four weeks during which I didn’t feel good but I also didn’t feel like shit. I was finally released to work part-time (and I worked more than that) and I went back on my low fructose diet. Then two weeks ago I felt like a nasty cold or the flu was coming on: body aches, low blood pressure, headaches that turned into migraines. I started to get dizzy; I hit the ground for the second, and then the third, time. Then the aches turned into bizarre flashes of pain first in my back and left leg and now in different parts of my body.  Neither the nasty cold nor the flu arrived, I just kept feeling like shit.
The good news is that our jelly bean continues to be healthy, active, and growing. My doctors are being proactive and are taking my symptoms seriously. We’ll get there and a healthy baby is worth it (I repeat to myself ad nauseum).

But this process of learning about and bettering myself is hard. You see, after two weeks of feeling this way (including a great, relaxing vacation in the north of Germany that didn’t help much) I went back to the doctor. After a variety of blood tests, we now know that I definitely have some sort of infection but we still don't know what kind of or where. Fun. Fun. Fun. And once again, for good reason, I’m not permitted to work.

I’m off for another two weeks while doctors try to help resolve if this is all pregnancy related or if something else is going on. (In case you’re wondering, I’m voting for that first option, permitting the baby remains healthy.) And, if we are setting reasonable expectations, I won’t be back at work full-time before my maternity leave kicks in and I may very well not be back at all.
Since I live in Germany, a country with a universal social net, my family is okay. I will continue to get paid my full salary. I cannot get fired or dismissed from my job. My benefits, including health care, remain in place. Logically this break from work makes total sense: I feel like shit and I’m in a country that makes it possible for me to focus on what’s most important, namely my unborn baby and my health.

The thing is that while I strongly believe in this system that I am paying into, I’m having one hell of a time having the system pay me out. And while I logically know that the company I work for doesn’t live or die based on my work, I struggle with myself that I’m not there, pulling at least part of my weight. Especially when I share with colleagues that I'm out again and I can hear their disappointment and sometimes their frustration underneath their kind words of support. Both make me question myself: "Am I really that sick?" and "Couldn't I just somehow slog myself through?"

I know the answers are "yes" and "not really, dumbass, you keep passing out" but I'm still struggling. My body and the baby I'm carrying within my body need me to respect the physical boundaries that I'm slamming against...but doing so feels uncomfortable and, well, I feel guilty.
And that’s where this essay ends. In the middle of our little jelly bean helping me learn about myself. The optimistic part of me hopes I’m also getting better but, for that, only time with tell.
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