Let's start this post off by clearing the room of the squeamish-when-womanly-issues-are-about-to-be-discussed.
Gone? Okay, here we go.
I think I may have just had a miscarriage. Not as in "just this moment", but as in
"my period, which is usually a 2-3 day, 6 tampon inconvenience has been unusually heavy this time and yesterday, after a morning of doubled-over-in-pain cramping, I flushed away clumps of something. And then the cramps disappeared and my period appears to be back to normal, leaving me to wonder if I just had a miscarriage."
It's not my first miscarriage-- waaaaaay back, right before Annabelle joined our little family, I miscarried at 7 weeks. I wanted so badly to be pregnant at that time that if it hadn't been for the confirmation of the nurse over the phone I would still wonder if I had just wanted it enough to fool myself into believing I was pregnant. And then I think "Confirmation over the telephone? Of a miscarriage? At 7 weeks?" and wonder if I'm still not deluding myself. But that's a story for another time. I bring it up because there are so many similarities between this event and that one. Changes in my birth control, an unbelievable amount of stress, irregularly heavy and long period, immobilizing cramping, clumps, and then back to normal. Check, check, check, check, check, and check.
But there are differences, too. Differences that give me more pause than the similarities do. I had no idea, no hint, not even the beginning of a question that I might be pregnant until I saw the clumps yesterday. With the first miscarriage, and then again when I got pregnant with LG, I knew. I just knew. Days before clinical confirmation, my hand would find it's way to my stomach and the responding flutter of anticipation was confirmation enough. Notions of pregnancy and motherhood swirled through my head like leaves on the sidewalk. Skittering this way, tumbling back that way, slipping in here and there. But not this time. Maybe because of the move. Maybe because of the way motherhood has swallowed me up, leaving me barely enough time to do what must be done; crowding out those timid little thoughts of possibility. Maybe my life is too hectic right now to have felt those gentle tremors. Maybe it only happens that way the first time, when it's all brand new and there is only a vague expectation of what might come next.
The "after" is different too. The first time around, I was devastated. My heart ached for what was not to be. I felt empty. Vacant. Unused. Overwhelmed by emotion, I whispered the name that I had chosen into the darkness at night and tried not to imagine how life would have been different. I cried. Fiercely. Loudly. Primitively. I howled. I mourned. I healed.
With LG, my emotions were no less strong. From that first tremor, I loved as I never knew I could love. Fiercely. Primitively. Unabashedly. I smiled and dreamed of what was to be. I danced. I sang. I met the darkness of the unknown head-on -- worried, scared, thrilled, amazed, ready. I loved.
This time I feel distant. Puzzled. Removed. Noncommittal. Emotionally barren. There is no sense of loss. There has been no thought of, no desire for more children. Another child would be a surprise, an "accident"; loved unequivocally, wanted just as fiercely, but not planned. So this miscarriage, if indeed it is/was one, should give me no pause.
And yet, I'm pausing. Wondering. Remembering the newness, the softness, the sweetness. The feel of tiny fingers, the tickle of nibbling lips. The gentle, all-encompassing, choking, teary-eyed completeness of drifting off to sleep, babe in arms. Thinking about the what-if that could have been. If that's what it really was.
How's your Thursday?
I'm growing weary of this list. So here's the rest, Reader's Digest-ed. Or Campbell's-ed. You know, condensed.*
For all of you who haven't been playing along, here's the recap:
7. You can't spell "hurtle" without "hurl".
Upon finally arriving in California, waiting for a short eternity at baggage claim, loading all of our earthly belongings onto the rental car shuttle bus and then cramming it into the bread-box sized trunk of our rental car, we folded ourselves in for the final leg of the journey. Google suggests that the drive from Sacramento to Benicia will take approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes. The rental car clock read 4:48 pm when we pulled off the lot. We rounded the corner about 3.3 miles from our destination at 5:52 pm. 3.3 miles to go at 5:52 pm. Yes, those details are important.
Had I the time or inclination, I could probably figure out how fast BG was driving in order to make such good time. I'm sure there's a mathematical equation based on things like the distance, the number of traffic impediments and the speed with which LG proceeded to spew forth all of his stomach contents. That suggested dosage on the Dramamine bottle? That whole "...[take] ¼ to ½ tablet every 6-8 hours..." thing? Turns that you have to take more when the 6-8 hours are up. Otherwise? Everything eaten and stewed in stomach juices, yet not quite digested might just project itself in stunning Linda Blair fashion upon rounding one too many corners at hyperspeed in a car the size of a tuna can. Who knew?
6. A-hunting we shall go...
18 houses. 2 days.
LG and I probably made it through less than a dozen of the properties our realtor took us to. BG was more valiant and staunchly marched through them all. In the end, we wound up making an offer on the first house we saw.
Pretty, no? A little on the ridiculously-large side, but pretty, nonetheless. Oh, yeah, our offer was accepted. So this is the new house. Ta-da!
5. Welcome to California. May we quarantine your stuff?
Yes, seriously. Apparently Philadelphia is a hotbed for the dreaded Gypsy Moth. California, it turns out, is anti-Gypsy Moth."Gypsy Moth free in '53!"An appointment has been scheduled for an inspector from the Department of Food and Agriculture to inspect the following for Gypsy Moth evidence:
"Keep our trees strong and stout! Keep those Gypsies out, out, out!"
Wheeeee! The fun continues!!!!!
- Flower box
- Ladder Huh. The 5 footer we kept in our closet?
- Garden tool Singular?
- Lawn chair Again, singular?
- Wheelbarrow For all that hauling of dirt and manure from one end of the balcony to the other?
- Lawn chair Oh, here's the other one.
- Lawn furniture So why so specific for numbers 4 & 6?
- Lawn mower For the lawn we grew from all the dirt and manure we had to haul.
- Picnic table Fit so nicely on that lawn!
4. Did I mention the Almost Two Year Old?
3. 375 boxes.
And that's just counting the ones they remembered to put little green stickers on.
2. 4000 sq feet.
1.75 tree-houses could fit in this place. If it weren't for Anne's timely advice, I'd still be lost.
1. And finally, the number one reason I've been so bad about posting lately?
I got nuttin. But at least I'm done with this stupid countdown. Somebody slap me upside the head if I start something like this again, please!
*You don't have to laugh. I think I'm funny and sometimes that's enough. This is one of those times.
So the flight to Phoenix wasn't really all that bad, once we got in the air. LG fell asleep about 15 minutes before we *finally* took off (thank you, Dramamine. Suggested by LG's pediatrician, so don't get all "I'd never resort to drugging my kids" on me. And anyways, guess what? You probably would. Or you should be giving "how-to" seminars on remaining oblivious to the comfort of the people around you. Either way, keep it to yourself and we can all stay friends, all right?) and stayed that way for a good 2 1/2 hours of the flight. I'd happily calculate the percentage of the flight that this blissful 2 1/2 hours of sleep comprised, except that would require an advanced degree in Physics and probably wouldn't hurt to have a working knowledge of nuclear thermodynamics. Crossing time zones is bad enough when everyone is playing along. Landing in Arizona, which should be x hours different from where you started, but could actually x or x minus 1 (or it could be x or x plus 1 if you started on the other side of the state), depending on the time of year and where you actually land (the Navajo Nation is down with DST) makes the Changing of the Watches Upon Announcement of Final Descent especially challenging. Just trust me when I say you won't have time to figure it out AND find both of your shoes AND squeeze into the aisle where you have a fighting chance of standing upright before the doors have opened. Personally? I LIKE standing under the overhead compartment with my ear touching my shoulder as those who chose not to reset their watches/wear shoes parade by me with their smug little smiles on their faces. Each whap in the nose of a shoulder strap/rolly-wheel/elbow serves as a reminder of my true superiority. I will not be rushing madly from gate to gate, wringing my hands in consternation. I will not need to gingerly tiptoe up the jetway, scrutinizing every inch of "carpet" for errant screwtips, safety-pins and half-chewed bits of Jolly Rancher. I will not be the one standing slack-jawed under the monitors, glancing frantically from flashing screen to wrist and madly calculating, "Carry the one, add the four...". No sir, with my toes snugly socked, shoed and tied in, I will graciously smile as I weave through the wailing masses, peek casually at my watch and calmly proceed to my gate. I have the correct time. That semi-permanent kink in the neck isn't looking so bad now, is it?
So as I was saying, the boy slept most of the way and was pleasant, bordering on charming while he was awake. We snacked, played on the "puter" (rhymes with hooter, no "s"), watched a little George, and before too long, we were in the midst of the Shoe-Finding-Watch-Setting Cha-Cha-Cha. A mesmerizing dance, if one has time to watch, but we had bags to retrieve, a carseat to unbuckle, blankies to find, watches to set, and shoes to tie. Oh, and a new game plan to form since we had missed our outbound flight to Sacramento, what with all the fun we had on the tarmac in Philly.
So it was decided that BG would grab as many of the bags et al as he could carry down the aisle without permanently concussing any of our fellow passengers and hurry off the plane to find the nice young men in their clean red coats that had been promised to meet our flight at the top of the jetway (per flight attendant instructions reason... 9, paragraph 7, line 8). I would remain behind to gather LG, his carseat, and any
worthless crap miscellanea that had worked its way to the floor. We would meet at the first door on the left past the second hallway, knock twice, and respond "the crow flies at midnight" when prompted through the mail slot. LG, not wanting to miss out on the cloak and dagger fun, decided at that moment to shroud us in a veil of noxious gas.
Stepping quickly over the prone, gagging bodies of our flight mates, BG grabbed our carry-ons and went in search of the elusive Boarding Pass For The Next Flight Out. I quickly changed LG, deposited his bundle of toxic waste into its hermetically sealed package disguised as a plastic grocery bag, and had collected the rest of our belongings into an innocent pile before the customers and crew regained mobility. Unfortunately, we were seated far enough back in the airplane that a fair number escaped before our plan was set into motion. Finally off the aircraft, LG and I found BG queuing with 1,600,000,073 angry fliers and one yappy dog for the attention of the two trainees that the airline had decided to sacrifice to the snarling masses.
Good times, people, good times.
Fortunately, one of them had managed to get the part in the manual where it instructs you to "take your head out of your butt" and began printing and dispersing Shiny New Boarding Passes. The other one followed his lead and began calling groups of people by destination, further expediting the process. Within 15 minutes, we were amongst the lucky ones, waving our SNBP's above our heads like treasure maps, seeking the Gate B5. 45 minutes was all the time we needed to grab a bite to eat, catch up on the scores, and reset our collective dispositions. We were a happy crew, all but skipping as we pre-boarded.
Our boarding passes positioned two of us in row 3 (alas, not first class, but at this point we weren't complaining), seats B and E. The third ticket, BG's, was for row 27, seat D. The nice young man in row 3, seat A jumped over the carseat as I began buckling it in, generously offering to trade for my E seat. True, I might have asked LG if he was feeling any better. I might have handed him the travel sickness bag and used a stage whisper to tell him "It'll be all right, baby. No need to cry. Here, Momma's going to put your toys right here beside you and she'll just be over there." I might have muttered something about how bad the timing was for that stomach virus to be going around just before we left. It's been a couple of weeks now, so my memory isn't completely clear. Miraculously, we wound up with seats A and B.
We settled in as BG headed towards the back. The glint of a Rolex peeking from the sleeves carefully starched white Armani shirt alerted me that the inhabitant of seat C had arrived. Due to the addition of the passengers from our delayed Philly flight, his frequent flyer upgrade to first class had fallen through. When I mentioned that BG had an aisle seat back in row 27, you would have thought I just handed him the Hope Diamond. He beamed his way to the rear of the plane and sent BG up to join us. Funny how traveling with a kid will compel all sorts of people to accommodate you...
Leaning back, stretching our legs in the spacey-spaciousness that the bulkhead row affords, we smiled contentedly and laughed about the snafu(s) of the morning. And God, or fate, or karma, or something heard us.
And the pilot came over the loudspeaker to make an announcement.
Ladies and Gentlemen, blahdy blahdy blipp blipp blippety blah, missing lightbulb, blip blippety blahdy blah. Blah. It should only take 20 minutes, blip blippety blah. Blah blah blahdy blahdy blah blah blip.
. (space left empty because there is no word in the English language sufficient to
. describe the feeling of pulling ones eyeballs out of ones eyesockets)
The 2 hour flight to Sacramento? The one that started just a little past 1pm PDST ? The one that landed at just past 4pm PDST? The one where we got to sit on the plane for an extra hour because it apparently takes the entire mechanic crew of "Good-Ole Airways" to screw in a missing lightbulb? And some of the crew had taken the day off and gone to Nogales to find a good deal on rugs and Cuervo? Crew members they had to wait for to come back and sober up because everyone knows that you can't screw properly when your drunk? That flight?
The flight was delightful. The crew was delightful. The magazines and in-flight entertainment? Delightful. Could be that BG slipped something into my soda as he passed it down to me, I don't know. Doesn't matter. We were finally in the air and nearing the end of the journey that had started nearly 12 hours earlier. They could have released a swarm of hornets, a rabid pack of dogs and made me eat a pound of scrapple and I would have found it delightful. Turns out there comes a point after your head has reached maximum capacity for frustration that it just explodes. Right after that? Everything is, in a word, delightful.
Next time? The journey continues at hyper-speed as BG defies the laws of gravity, physics, and CA posted speed limits in a Pontiac G6 or similar. I'm pretty sure it was the or similar.