Thursday, September 29, 2005

Progress of the lump

I can feel the baby move now. Not kicks or things like that, but the lump in my lower belly sometimes rolls over or pushes from one bit of area from another. The baby is quick, and alive, and at night The Husband sings to my tummy. I have tried to let him feel the baby move, but the lump is too small yet. No one can feel it move but me. I am thuroughly enjoying not finding out the gender, as I can tell how much this really, really bothers people who are into gender stereotyping. A baby really doesn't care about weather its a boy or girl for the first couple of years. Only people determined to hang pink bows or blue trains on things care.

My refusal to gender-type the lump isn't well recieved by most of society. So many people now know what they are having that nursury furniture and baby clothes tend to be far more pointed about gender than they used to be. A sea of blue and pink awaits you in all baby catalogs, with green, yellow, and purple more difficult to find.

I was relieved when I finally decided that decorating the baby's room in primary red, yellow, and orange wouldn't be too difficult if I told everyone my nursury theme was baby quilts. Quilts to me represent comfort, and baby quilts are sort of traditional, and people would think I was being clever and tasteful. The online catalogs filled with hearts and bears and trains had depressed and stressed me out. I remebered when my mom was pregnant, how she spent hours in wallpaper stores poring over catalogs of border paper for each child, and how she used to make all the sheets and comforters and wall hangings and bumper pads and all not just for her children, but for some of my cousins as well. I could never do that. I failed to inherit the decorating gene, and even if I had I don't have the time to sew. My over-exposure to wall paper stores, and the fact that my mom made me help her strip wall paper ensures that I hate wall paper. I chose red and yellow and orange because that room is already red, and therefore I won't have to repaint the whole damn thing.

I was happy to reveal the decorating epiphany to The Husband one night, thinking he would be impressed. "I found I theme for the baby's room!" I exclaimed as he climbed into bed.

"A what?"

"A theme. For the baby's room. I decided on quilts."

"Why does the baby's room have to have a theme?" He was puzzled; after all, the husband has never really been around babies. He's an only child of much older parents, and his cousins are all a generation older than he. His family is small, and so he didn't grow up with the steady progression of new babies in his life like I did. He has no idea of the tyranny of social pressure that is about to descend on us once the baby is here. Everyone has an opinion about the best way to treat babies. I thought on his question.

"Because if we don't theme the baby's room, old ladies will yell at us."


I yelled downstairs to my sister. "Sara! Tell Winn that old ladies will yell at us if we don't theme the baby's room!"

Sara hollered back "It's true! My room had clowns! They were creepy! You have to find a theme!"

The husband looked appalled and confused. Clowns? Baby room themes? His desire to sing his favorite bits of "Pirates of Penzance" to my abdomen was out for the night. The husband is totally with me on the whole not gender typing the baby idea, because he knows this will decrease the liklihood of us getting frilly dresses or little baseball uniforms when what we really need are bottles and diapers and bibs and things. He loves me for my practicality, and the whole idea of themeing a baby's room doesn't sound practical to him.

I await the day our mothers descend on us from four hours away to tell us what to do with the baby with increasing dread and sick glee. They have radically different philosophies; my mother was a huge hippie when I was younger, insisting on everything natural (this relaxed considerably as she had more kids). The husband's mom wouldn't leave the hospital until she was sure the nanny was at their house, and she certainly didn't breastfeed. She raised her son according to some scientific method that was supposed to make him smarter. My mom was pretty much into the very passive form of parenting. The grandmothers are going to have a train wreck of conflicting advice, and will probably ignore that we don't agree with either of them. I suppose this is the way it is with many families. I'll be more interesting next week, I promise.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

With a properly placed lever...

My 18-year-old sister has a full time job now, and we're all pretty relieved. For those who might have lost track, Sara moved in with The Husband and I two months ago. We're trying to help her get her start in life; she's taking a year off between High School and college to figure out what she wants to do with herself in the long run. I'm excited about her job at a local grocery store because this job will pay her decent wages for her age (three dollars over minimum per hour), and even better, this place will actually extend a health care plan to her after 90 days - I was so, so worried about her having no health care.

Having my sister live with us has been great, if sometimes nervous-making. I've been sick for a month now, and she was there to help keep the mess in the house down to a tolerable level and to cook sometimes when the thought of cooking made me ill. Sara made friends right away with others her age in the neighborhood, and likes to stay out late. I worried a lot at first about that - we do live in a huge city - but The Husband reminded me again and again that Sara is an adult now, and in charge of her own life. I reminded him again and again that Sara's not been properly looked after for ages, and lacks good judgement. "How good was your judgement at 18?" I asked. The Husband refuses to admit that he was ever immature.

It's hard not to baby my sister sometimes. She's very into the grafitti scene, and because she is smart and quick and talented has already met a few big name artists. She hasn't told me about any of her art, because she knows I don't want to know. A huge part of street art's appeal is that it will always be illegal, and a thrill to create. One of her favorite artists signed her shoe one night, and she proudly scanned that shoe to show all of her friends back in Nashville.

She comes home at night and tells me about warehouses where a dozen or more young artists live, splittling the rent in a concrete-floored space where there's only a stage and sleeping bags around. She tells me about meeting a band of gay boys who perform electric-pop versions of video game music. She tells me about dancing with drag queens and the store in Cabbage Town with spray tips and crashing art parties way out in Buckhead. Sara is having the time of her life. I try to keep an open mind and not flinch when she tells me that she wants to live in the warehouse, or the funny story about her buying a bike for $40 off of a crackhead and painting it right away in case it was stolen.

Sara's old enough to take care of herself, I have to keep reminding myself. I know I'm doing the right thing by staying out of her way, but giving her the tools she needs right now to succeed - she has a stable place to come home to every night and plenty of food. I'm taking her to the dentist to fix her neglected teeth, and showing her why keeping a ledger is a good idea. I need to be respectful that Sara's finding her own side of Atlanta. Her territory overlaps with mine - we both can't think of living anywhere but our side of town - but her side of Atlanta is more daring and younger and full of risk and art and a good deal dirtier. I have loaned her my very nice digital camera and she can use my internet connection as much as she would like. When you are 18 you can make your own destiny shiny and new every single day. When you are 18, all you need is a big enough lever, and you can move your whole world.

Sara's going to be OK, now that she has a good job within walking distance to our house. She's a hard worker, and no matter what happens, I know that being a good worker will carry her through this part of her life well. She plans on moving out before the baby is due. I hope she doesn't feel too much pressure about that.

My stomach now pokes out in a round. The texture of my belly has changed, from soft and squishy to harder and dense - I've built up strange new connective tissues in my abdomen. The baby makes me tired all the time now too, but that's most likely part of the anti-nausea medicine I've been given. I fall asleep before 9 most nights lately, but I have been feeling a little bit better. I managed to cook last night for the first time in quite a while. I'm worn out from being so sick, and from the new job, but I'll be OK. Come visit next month, we miss you.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Some of the most beautiful weather of the year is here, but I haven't been able to enjoy it. I've been too sick for anything but sleep. This landed me in the emergency room Thursday with dehydration - I have Hyperemesis Gravidarum, (HG), a rare and severe form of morning sickness. I'm at my new job today, but I'm weaker than I've ever felt. Luckily most of my job is the sit-down sort-and-file type of things right now. The sickness - and the medicine used to treat the sickness - has left me exhausted.

In some ways the diagnosis of HG has made me feel a little better. I've been so sick, and was worried that everyone must be this sick, but I was just some sort of terrific whiner about it.

The huge Labor Day party I usually enjoy at DragonCon was very subdued this year. Attendance was way down becuase of the hurricane and gas prices. I couldn't stay up late because I kept falling alseep after violent vomiting. I attended maybe 6 panels in the 3 days I was there. I saw lots of my friends, but only briefly, and about half the people I usually enjoy seeing weren't there at all.

Did I mention that I'm exhausted?

This will get better soon. I know it will.

Friday, September 02, 2005

All the new Beginnings

September has come at last, and with it comes the good news of my healthy pregnancy, my new job, breezes to cool the city, and the fun of our annual labor day party at DragonCon.

I haven't been in contact with many people over the last three weeks. Pregnancy made August quite difficult. I went to New Orleans two weeks before Hurricane Katina hit, for my big professional conference there. Usually I love New Orleans, and usually my conference is something I look forward too every year. On this last trip it was all I could do to attend one or two professional events a day, and crawl back out of the elevator to my hotel room where I could be sick in private. I never thought I would be so sick from pregnancy. Oh, I had heard stories from people about how ill you could be, but I just didn't think that would happen to me. I thought I'd be able to travel around laugh and just be happy to have a baby inside of me. But no. I've been damn near green for a month. And the moniker "morning sickness" is a total lie. I've had days where all I could do was sleep and sit up. Last weekend I vomited dry toast and water. Dry toast and water.

Now the city of New Orleans is gone. I watch the news with horror at the working poor - those who could not afford a hotel room to flee too - bake in the steamy heat. I know how lucky I am. I feel guilty about buying a new dress last week for the party. I can't even give blood - mine is full of baby hormones right now.

I ended the old job last week. It was alright (except for the part where I nearly lost my temper on Tuesday, and the part where Cafe Intermezzo took an hour and a half to serve my going away party food). I had one last business trip up to Nashville, and was thankful it was my last. I was only 10 weeks pregnant, but I had to stop once an hour on the way home that night to pee. I'm so glad I don't have to travel any more.

The new job is better than I had even hoped it would be. I'm back in academia again, at a place I'll call Comfortable U. Comfortable U. has never had a full time archivist before. It's a suburban campus with a small town feel - the student population here is under 5,000, and so the staff all seems to know each other. I was given a tour yesterday by the library director and introduced to a lot of people and everyone seemed concerned about making me feel comfortable. I do feel comfortable. This is fabulous. I have a decent starting budget and room to really shine here. I will, for the first time in a couple of years, get to feel like I'm doing my job *right*, like I'm really getting to work *well*. The people here are low-key and quiet, and happy to have me on staff.

I'm the only full time person here who is not a baby boomer, but after my big professional conference I feel better about that. A survey was recently taken of our profession, and baby boomers outnumber all other age groups in my field by 2 to 1.

Georgia is overdue for a graduate program in Archival Science. Public History programs are not turning out people with practical experience to work in archives. I heard Clayton State was going to start a program for archivists, but it won't be open until 2007 at the earliest. That's not early enough.