Monthly Archives: May 2007

Old Topic

Way back here, I commented on a book I used to like, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. I got a new comment on it last night, from Mai, who has a very cool blog about books, and grad school, and elementary school book fairs. Seems I missed the part in the Northrup’s book where she also tells us that we give birth prematurely because we don’t like being pregnant and don’t like gaining weight. I don’t need to tell you all what I exclaimed when I read that! *%*$*$*!

Mai, I’m glad you threw the book away and realize she’s full of [more words I don’t want to write in public].

From my Window

This squirrel really likes his bird food.

Amazing Nose

The discerning smell pregnancy brings is amazing. Unfortunately right now, it’s the scent of my neighbor smoking on his porch that is affecting me. I can’t exactly ask him to stop, however, because he’s in his yard and he’s really what ought to be a sufficient distance away from me.

Woah – Watch out for Connecticut

Connecticut Becomes the Fifth State to Support Armenian Genocide

Okay, perhaps we’re being completely irreverent here, but my husband and I couldn’t help but laugh wondering who cleared that headline for publication!

Rational thoughts

I am annoyed when the counter woman at the corner coffee-shop calls me “miss” three times during one transaction. As in, “Can I help you, miss?” “You have $3.80 left on your gift card, miss,” and “Here’s your decaf early gray, miss.” Yes, I know it might be a regional thing. Yes, I know I look younger than I am. And yes I know I have bigger things to worry about. But I just cannot stand it. I’ve never liked it, but I noticed in the fall that at a certain point, when I got to a certain size, it became “ma’am.” So, now that I’m back to “miss,” I wonder what on earth she is thinking. Nothing at all, apparently. Why the hell do I come here?

Whenever I get a new prescription, I worry that the pharmacist messed up and that I’m actually getting a prescription that will cause a miscarriage or birth defects.

I am worried that my pregnancy fogged brain will make me forget some key piece of information in preparation for my cerclage so I’m thinking I’ll call the doctor’s office this week just to make sure I really know what’s going on, and will write it down.

I’m no longer scared of ghosts or cemeteries after dark.

Rereading the Anne of Green Gables series now, after learning that one of L. M. Montgomery’s sons died at birth, has been very cathartic. Much more so than books explicitly about loss.

Last night

I could hardly sleep because in thinking about how confident I feel about this pregnancy, I couldn’t stop wondering if Natan would have had a better chance with a different doctor.


Okay, so somehow even though I wrote down June 8th for the cerclage, I have been thinking June 6th ever since. It’s Friday June 8th, at 8am. I’m glad it’s first thing in the morning. But it’s two weeks from tomorrow morning, not yesterday.

Baby looked good on the ultrasound. Couldn’t hear the heartbeat with the doppler, but I didn’t get too nervous about that. She brought in the ultrasound quickly and the heartbeat looked good there. He or she measures 11w 1d plus or minus 4 days. My dates put me at 1ow 5d, so there’s no real difference.

For some reason I feel really confident right now – I’m a little scared because a cerclage is not risk-free. I have no regrets that I’m getting it, even though I feel like the progesterone shots are more important. But I’m certainly not willing to risk anything on my hunch.

Have I told you all

that my cerclage is two weeks from today?

Holy crap am I getting nervous. One of my reasons for not wanting to be drugged during labor is that I’m HORRIFICALLY afraid of having a needle inserted into my back, but here goes. I’ll be having a spinal. Of course I know the odds of this going anything but smoothly are very low. Yet I also know that odds haven’t been working in my favor this past year for the most part. I’ll try to think instead of how odds have gone in my favor in the childbearing field these past few years – 1) finding a partner and getting married in grad school – I only know of 1 other person in my cohort to have done so, and 1 or 2 in every other cohort, so I’m lucky there; 2) getting pregnant – overall odds of getting pregnant in any given cycle, 20-25%, but for me I’m running at 100%. My doctor has never had a complication with a cerclage she performed, so let’s hope I won’t ruin her record.

And of course I’m still anxious that things might go wrong before June 6th. But assuming I’m still pregnant with a jumping bean by then, if anyone has any tips on surviving a spinal, let me know. And happy cerclage stories would be nice too. I am much more cheerful about the weekly progesterone shots.


So I am doing quite poorly at this getting back into a regular pattern of work thing. I’ve been trying to push myself, but realizing more and more that my old strategies for getting things done just don’t work. And the longer it takes, the more frustrated I get. I feel like if I just had tasks to get done I could do them. Easily. Not only could I do them, but they really might help the days to go by faster, and when it comes to the end of the day, I might actually feel I’ve accomplished something. If writing a dissertation were anything like the other forms of “school” I completed (even grad school before reaching candidacy or even the research phase where I had to abide by the archives’ operating hours) and I had exams or reading assignments or papers to write, I could do it. External deadlines, external pressure, that would help. I tried thinking about my chapters as individual papers and I tried setting my own deadlines. But the only real due date I have is next summer, as in 14 months or so from now. That’s a hell of a big due date since I have to turn in a book-length manuscript but somehow it seems so remote.

These complaints might sound like normal ones for a dissertator, but the thing is, I know that if Natan had lived, I might be struggling, but at least I’d be doing so happily. I thrive when I’m too busy. If I’m otherwise content, I thrive on little sleep. I was incredibly productive in the fall, completing a chapter, planning for the next one, reading through all my notes, making plans, constructing arguments. I sat down one afternoon in late December, with my computer on, my notes around me, my file boxes open, ready to write. I worked for a couple of hours, sitting in my chair, when suddenly our cat, Tom, got stuck in the blinds and broke them. I shot off an annoyed email to Josh in complaint, and stood up to check the damage. That’s when I felt a gush, and when I checked it was blood. And since then, I haven’t been able to get back to that moment before – to that morning when I felt really good about what I was doing, the progress I was making. Honestly, I can’t even remember anything I accomplished in the weeks before I went into labor, or any of the preparations I made for this chapter. It’s the most important chapter of my dissertation, the one with the most innovative and new material, so I knew it was going to be a dog to organize. I realized yesterday that I had started a system of highlighting important things in my notes and then logging that information onto a spreadsheet. I’d done the same thing for historical newspaper articles. I had a solid plan. I’m not disorganized, or at least I wasn’t disorganized, so you’d think I should be able to pick up where I left off. But I didn’t even remember that I had been doing it, so I didn’t know to look for it.

I might be making excuses. I can’t just pick up where I left off, because I’m not really sure where I was. And I’m acutely aware of having lost five months, so it kills me to have to go backwards. The problem isn’t just files, the problem is I lost the momentum, I lost the creative process that was pushing me forward.

I’m not sure any of this post is making sense. Grieving is so hard, for more reasons than the sadness. I can’t depend on any of my feelings, any of my thoughts, any of my reactions to even normal daily events to be what they were before. I can’t count on any of my tactics of self-motivation to work, on any efforts at self-control that would have worked before to be effective. Not only is working harder, but everything is harder.

I’m trying not to be hard on myself, but the thing is all I want right now is to feel like I’m accomplishing something on a daily basis, but I can’t seem to figure out how to make that happen. And it annoys the hell out of me when people ask how my work is going because even as I think about it constantly, right now it’s the last thing I want to talk about. And it only adds to the pressure I feel, but unlike before, the pressure doesn’t help.


Just a quick post before we get moving on the day because I need encouragement.

Yesterday T., who is going to be a meteorologist, was showing us pictures of some tornado chasing he did this spring, and saying things like, “that wall cloud was two miles away,” “see how it’s trying to form funnel clouds,” and “that one was right over us!” It was great to see his pictures, and his excitement about them. But then it got me thinking about how much it would terrify me if my kid wanted to chase tornadoes. I thought about what I would do if my son wanted to accompany his uncle some day, because what kid wouldn’t be really fascinated by storm chasing? And that son I was thinking about was Natan, and I somehow knew that he would have loved tornadoes too. I got really sad that he’ll never have the chance to see one.