Soapbox: What I Really Do

Legislators in my area believe that the bottom line in a school is how students perform on standardized tests. They are under the impression that shifting instruction so that students spend more time in front of a computer screen and less time under a teacher’s direct care will help boost those crucial statistics. Because they believe that a computer program can educate a child as well as a person, they see no reason that a teacher should earn more than about $30k, have job security, or the right to have any input into his or her contract or work conditions.

There is so much I could say. It has all been said before. I don’t think there’s anything that I could say that would convince someone who doesn’t want to be convinced. I mean, if you believe that teachers are overpaid, glorified babysitters who get out of work at 3 and have all summer off to work on their tans, then you’re the sort of person who will just put your fingers in your ears and go “na na na” if I try to tell you the truth.

But I wonder whether these people have ever had a troubled teenager in their lives. What if they personally knew a brilliant, charming boy with high test scores and skills worthy of a starting spot on the football team, who hasn’t earned any credits in three years because he’s spending every waking moment working to support his impoverished family and can’t squeeze out the time to sleep, much less do homework? What if they knew a beautiful, witty senior, trying to graduate as she is diagnosed with MS, migraines, and brain lesions only weeks after watching her father kill himself in front of herself and her siblings, all of whom now blame her for his death? What if it were their pregnant granddaughter who couldn’t afford prenatal care while she tries to pass classes in a language she is barely able to read while trying to maintain an abusive relationship with her gangbanger boyfriend? What if it were their grandson who was so angry at being neglected and abused throughout his childhood that he can’t help himself from getting expelled from a steady string of high schools, who is now being bounced from foster home to foster home and as a sophomore has given up all belief in the value of education or respect for fellow human beings? What if it were their child who slipped away to the locker room to cut herself viciously, then dripped blood all the way down the halls to the nurse’s office to await the inevitable news that she would be going away to the state mental hospital yet again? What if it were their child whose #1 reason for coming to school each day was to get something to eat, because there’s never any food at home and the school provides two meals a day?

What if they didn’t know ONE of those kids — what if they knew dozens? What if every morning when they went to work, they assumed the role of mentor/coach/”the only person who ever smiles at me” for dozens of children whose problems might be as run-of-the-mill as a fight with the girlfriend, or whose very lives might be on the lines? What if they were these kids’ advice-givers, secret-keepers, role-models, pep-talkers? What if they were the only person in these kids’ lives who gave a damn, and they were trying to save their lives in only 87 minutes every other day?

Would they feel like they deserved more respect then?

Would they feel like they ought to be paid a living wage?

Would they believe that a computer program could do the job just as well?

You can’t put a dollar sign on what good teachers do, and you sure as hell can’t measure it with a standardized test. I’m not asking you to try to measure the immeasurable and pay us according to how many wounded birds we take under our wings; I’m just asking that you not insult us by pretending that our worth can be quantified based on how well students — students like mine, like the ones I described above, like the ones you find in EVERY school — perform on a bubble test.

And that is one reason that I am voting against Propositions 1, 2, and 3.

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Anticipation

“Shout” by Suneko – click image for source

When I first told R that we were pregnant, he expressed his desire to shout our news from the rooftops. We were both so thrilled, so excited, so blessed to have this second chance. And after last time, when the first time we got to share our news was when we had to tell friends and coworkers that we’d had the miscarriage, I felt like I wanted to do things differently.

At the same time, though, I was feeling a little gunshy. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to proceed. The hardest thing was thinking of family. There was never any doubt in my mind that I would tell immediate family that day, but at the same time there was this lingering sense of guilt. Last time had been so devastating. Wouldn’t it have been better, part of me wondered, if they’d never known? If they hadn’t had to share that burden of loss?

Ultimately, we decided to tell immediate family and my close friends right off the bat. I didn’t wait to tell my friends at work; they’d been my suppport system (and in many cases, prayer circle) throughout our fertility and miscarriage struggles, and I wanted them to know and be a part of our good news, too. And from there, it began gradually trickling out. When I had the bleeding issue and was on “take it extremely easy” rest, I had to tell my building principal so that she would make some accommodations for me. Then my main administrator asked me directly how I was doing, and while I could have avoided mentioning the pregnancy, I didn’t. At this point, I think quite a few of my colleagues know; I know several of R’s do as well, but not yet his principals. (Less of a priority; the pregnancy isn’t going to affect his work performance much until it ends.)

Keeping this blog has led us to tell some people, too. As some of my old friends found and reconnected with this blog, I’ve been giving them the password. After all, the password isn’t to keep our news private — it’s to give me a thin veil of privacy in case my students stumble on the blog. (I’ll come back to that soon.)

Now, though, I’m anxious to climb on top of the house with a bullhorn. According to some sources, we’ve made it from embryo to fetus, which is the last big scary transition before birth. (I won’t have that confirmed for another couple of weeks.) I think my more perceptive students can tell that I don’t feel well; my energy level is noticeably low, and on days when I forget eyeliner it’s pretty apparent that I’m not sleeping well.

Next weekend, I meet with my BSWP fellows. They were an amazing part of my miscarriage recovery, as it turns out, and I want to tell them in person. There’s a joke or superstition that the BSWP Summer Institute makes people get pregnant; we already had one pregnant gal, and then another announced her pregnancy a few weeks ago. I’m excited to get to add to the crop, but also a little nervous because one of my friends from BSWP has been struggling with infertility herself, and having been on the receiving end of “someone else’s good news,” I’m a little cringey.

There’s also the issue of more extended family. That’s a more complicated area than I want to get into here.

Then there’s Facebook. About 23 of my FB friends are on a special list called “Bluebirds,” where I post links to my protected posts and occasionally post a pregnancy-related status. These friends are close friends, people who helped us through our fertility struggles, and people who are “in the know” about Tecumseh Batman. There aren’t any men on that list at this point (except R), for no real reason other than I felt stupid publicizing posts about bodily changes and problems to dudes. While I have a lot of FB friends who are not people I ever see or think about outside of FB, I’m anxious to tell many of my “real” FB friends about our good news.

And finally… there’s my students. I want to wait to tell them until I’m in the second trimester (so, mid-late October). Part of me wants to wait until I’m showing, but who knows how long that’ll be; I already had a “carb bump,” so TBB has some growing to do before s/he shows up at my waistline. And since this is my first pregnancy, I’m not showing anywhere near as quickly as my friend B (lucky duck!). But I don’t want to wait too long, because the majority of my students are in semester-long classes, and so if I don’t tell them before Christmas break they won’t find out at all. When my friend A was pregnant, she put out a “suggestion box” in her classroom so that the students could suggest good (or hilarious) baby names. I would love to do that (cuz you know, I don’t like names or anything, SARCASM FONT) or maybe even a “guess the actual birthdate” game.

(Does that make me a horrible narcissist? I don’t want to be Mamazilla… but this — THIS — is the big thing. This is the thing I want and care more about than anything else in the world. Forget graduate degrees and bigger salaries and awards and fancy cars. I want my children. I am so excited about this that I could absolutely explode. So I hope that blogging about every little thing, and wanting to let my students play baby shower games, isn’t completely insufferable. On the other hand… I don’t much care…)

So I guess my current timeline is:

  • Extended family: Anytime. (And if you’re close family reading this, and are wondering if you can/should spread the word — be our guest!)
  • BSWP Fellows: Next Saturday at our fall meeting.
  • Closer FB friends: This weekend at the earliest (after BSWP knows)… maybe wait until after next dr appt?
  • Extended FB friends and students: ???

Before I sign off, everyone’s favorite feature: The TMI Report! Last night I disregarded the advice about not drinking anything before bed — and only had to get up once! At 1 AM on the dot. I don’t know how my body does this. I went to sleep much later than usual last night, too, so it’s not like I’m waking up three hours into the night or anything. And… my bedtime snack was two stool softeners washed down with a glass of Metamucil! #thuglife #iamsosexy #worthit #unnecessaryhashtags

Ugh

Last night was not a good night.

I’ve been waking up about twice a night to use the bathroom — once at about 1 AM and once at about 3:30 or 4 — and it’s taking a toll on my wakefulness the next day. I read something the other day about this problem that recommended cutting back on fluids for the hour before going to bed, so I tried that last night in the hopes that I might get some more sleep.

Ha!

Instead, I spent the last night of Week 9 getting up over and over again, seemingly every ten minutes. I know for a fact that I was up at least five times, probably screwing with R’s sleep, too — especially the time I got back into bed and elbowed him in the face. And my 1 AM “wakeup call” was especially great; as I tried to fall back asleep, I began to feel nauseated and had to get up for crackers before I could turn back in. (You gotta love being in that state where you’re too sleepy to really know if you’re sick or not, and go back and forth between waking up or trying to sleep through it.)

This morning I had planned to get up at 5 so I could take a nice long shower and eat breakfast before heading into work to prepare for my classes. Instead, I pushed the snooze button in my sleep about a dozen times, had to prioritize food over clean hair (hey, it happens), and still got to school 15 minutes later than originally planned. I’m sleepy. My digestion is all screwed up and causing all kinds of fun discomfort. Yesterday I couldn’t stop eating to save my life: breakfast at 6, lunch at 9:45, second lunch (kinda like a hobbit) at 12:30, granola bar at 3, pickles at 5 (don’t judge; I’ve been addicted to these pickles for ages), dinner at 6, sour candies from 7:30-9 (while watching a movie)… and then crackers at 1 AM. (Probably because of the pickles and sour candy.)

That being said, I can’t complain. I’m ten weeks pregnant.

According to BabyCenter:

Though he’s barely the size of a kumquat — a little over an inch or so long, crown to bottom — and weighs less than a quarter of an ounce, your baby has now completed the most critical portion of his development. This is the beginning of the so-called fetal period, a time when the tissues and organs in his body rapidly grow and mature.

He’s swallowing fluid and kicking up a storm. Vital organs — including his kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver (now making red blood cells in place of the disappearing yolk sac) — are in place and starting to function, though they’ll continue to develop throughout your pregnancy.

…From crown to rump, he’s about 1 1/4 inches long. In the coming weeks, your baby will again double in size — to nearly 3 inches.

Then again, BabyCenter also described my early pregnancy chest as “blossoming breasts,” which is some of the purplest prose I’ve read in a while (and I teach English!) so… yeah. 🙂

Grin and Bear It… or Just Smile

Today, an office aide (a student I didn’t know personally) came into my 1st period class with a note for a student. It was shortly after 8 AM and my kids were doing “study stations,” which meant a chaotic, noisy, but productive lesson. I had applied 90% of my brain to the immediate requirements of herding cats freshmen and being “alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic,” and so the office aide got Mrs. Baker on autopilot: a welcoming smile as I reached for the note.

She grinned back. “I love delivering stuff to your room,” she said. “You always smile at me.”

She flitted away, but my mind had slipped out of gear. What a little thing, to have made an impact on this girl — something I didn’t even think about.

The constant interruptions of the office aides with their call slips to this administrator or that counselor, with fine cards and compliance letters, is an infamous aggravation; some teachers even put signs on their doors instructing aides to place the slips under the door rather than interrupt class. I can only imagine the facial expressions on some — many — most? — teachers when yet another office aide walks through the door with yet another reason for another student to miss classroom time. I bet that aide doesn’t get many smiles.

Work has been rough lately. Not my day-to-day stuff; not what I do or with whom I do it. The big picture, though, is bleak. Our district has been having some trouble, and the brunt of it is falling on teachers who had nothing to do with any of it. Recent news has raised the general temperature of the school’s employees to the “frustrated-to-outraged” zone. We are all stressed out. Some have begun to doubt the trustworthiness of this vessel on which we are sailing. Some are considering exit strategies. “Keep your chins up,” our leaders plead. “Think of the kids. Keep doing a great job for their sakes.” And we do, because that’s our creed, that’s our calling — because that’s what we believe in. But morale is affected, even if it’s invisible to our students.

Over the past few years, I’ve had to learn how to care less deeply about problems, to choose my battles carefully. This is one battle where I’m choosing to stand back and let others with more time, energy, and passion fight the dragon. This is important, and it affects me and my friends, but there are other soldiers and I have other things I must attend to.

In the meantime, apparently, I smile without knowing I’m doing it.

Maybe I’ve always been quick to smile.

I know that I’m not yet the teacher I want to be. I fail at some things, am weak in others — but I’ve grown to understand that in one area, at least, I am successful: my students feel as though I am happy to see them, that they are in a good place when they walk into my room, that I know and care about them. They know that I have a smile for them, even when they are being little douchebags-in-training, Stalker McCreepsters, or have “forgotten” their homework for the ninth time in a row. It’s not conscious. It’s just something I do. And maybe, without even knowing it, I’m making a little bit of a difference for someone as a result.

25

Today is September 25. If our projected due date is correct (which, yes, I know… it almost certainly is not) that means that in exactly 7 months (differing lengths of months notwithstanding) we will have a baby.

MIND. BLOWN.

Did you know… on April 25 in the year 404 BC, the Peleponnesian War ended when Sparta defeated Athens? (Also… who here thinks they actually know the exact correct date that happened? Didn’t our Gregorian calendar come into being some time after this?)

On April 25, 1939, DC Comics debuted Batman. Now there’s a namesake for you. Tecumseh Batman Baker. Whatcha think, hon?

Some people who were born on April 25:

  • Renée Zellweger
  • Hank Azaria
  • Al Pacino
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Edward R. Murrow
  • Oliver Cromwell

April 25 is also the latest possible date for Easter. In 2013, Easter will be on March 31; it last fell on April 25th in 1943 and will not be on that date again until 2038, when Tecumseh Batman is 25 years old. The other day I learned about something called a golden birthday, which is when you turn the same age as your birthdate (so if you’re born on December 6, your 6th birthday is golden). If this kid is born on the 25th, his/her golden birthday will be on Easter. Fancy!

Also fancy: from April 25, there are 250 days left in the year. It’s like a magic date!

This has been a completely frivolous (perhaps even inane) post. Thank you for your patience. 🙂

Happy Birthday

Today would have been my Grammy’s 96th birthday, which is hard to fathom. I wonder what she would think of our world and our lives if she could sit down with me today for a cup of coffee. I am sometimes very sure that she is still in some way here, paying attention; other times, I don’t know if that could be the case. Maybe it’s just that she was such a strong, important part of my life that her presence is an indelible mark on my consciousness. She is deeply missed.

Today’s sermon was about music and harmony and how sometimes music says things or means things that can’t be quite expressed in words. I guess I don’t really know what Grammy’s favorite music really was, but I know that there are some songs that are imprinted on my memory as being connected to her. When I was little, I would sometimes call her and sing this to her…

I Just Called to Say I Love You

She had this little case of audio tapes, shaped like a tiny jukebox, and there were two songs in particular that I remember singing along to in her car.

Detour

Tennessee Waltz

(YouTube isn’t wanting to embed for some reason — sorry. They’re worth a listen. I hope you’ll click through.)

Happy birthday, Grammy. Love you.

Grammy holding me, 31 years ago.

Photo Nine = Nein :P

I think we need to figure out something else to do with these photos. The light is continually awful in this spot. And I also need to try to not look like I’m stoned in the next one. For the love of Pete, don’t zoom in on my eyes. I’m not going to say it’s the worst ever picture of me, but it’s sure not getting framed or anything.

9 weeks - terrible photo of me! :P

Information

Back to the first half of the doctor’s appointment.

I started in my OB-GYN office, where we did a ton of paperwork and talked about family history, timeline, testing, etc. One of the questions was about chicken pox; I’m supposedly immune, as neither my sister or I have ever had it. The nurse told me that she would sleep a lot better at night knowing for sure that I was immune, because getting chicken pox while pregnant can be fatal or, at best, REALLY awful. I agreed, and they added it to the test order. I mean, I’m pretty damned sure I’m immune. But it doesn’t hurt to be extra cautious.

She also spoke to me about the tests that they can do — a little while down the road — for birth defects like Downs Syndrome, etc. I told her that we weren’t interested in that at this point. I honestly don’t see the point; all you can do if you get a positive result is to worry and be upset for the entire pregnancy, or get an abortion. There’s no way in hell we’d do the latter, and I see little merit in the former. If something is awry when Deuteronomy arrives, we’ll deal with it then.

Family medical history, etc…. it was nice being able to say “no” to practically everything… The only time I felt cringey was when she asked what my normal, non-pregnant weight was. I’m afraid that my pre-pregnancy weight is not really what I’d call “normal,” but it is what it is. For the sake of information and honesty, I’ve been in the 180 range for some time, and was actually in the high 180s before I knew I was pregnant. Now, fully clothed, I’m weighing in at 193; I’m honestly not entirely sure how much I weighed before I conceived, so I’m not sure how much I’ve gained. Not a lot, though. Part of me was kind of hoping that I’d lose some weight this trimester due to feeling sick, but it hasn’t happened (and I know that’s an idiotic thing to hope for).

For the next several months, they’ll have me come in about once a month for a checkup.

My next appointment is at 12.5 weeks; they’ll do another ultrasound (probably TV again) to make sure that everything is on track and that we successfully navigated that embryo-to-fetus transition. I’ll also have the full “lady doctor visit” at that time to make sure Deuter’s host is in full operating order.

At 20 weeks we’ll have the fun visit, with the full anatomical ultrasound. At that time we’ll be able (barring hyper modesty on Deuter’s part) to tell whether it’s going to come with a pink hat or a blue hat.

At about 26 weeks (I think) there’s the electric kool-aid acid test gestational diabetes test. That might have been 30 weeks; too much information flying.

Starting at about 30 weeks, I’ll begin going in every 2 weeks.

Starting at about 36 weeks, I’ll go in every week.

My nurse, J, is very opinionated. While her formal answer was “We want you to have the best possible birthing experience, and we want you to have things the way you want to have them, as long as it’s medically appropriate” (which is the correct answer, of course), she also basically laughed at me when I said I didn’t want an epidural, and made very rude faces when I said that I had originally (like, last pregnancy) planned on using a birthing center rather than a hospital. I mean, I get having your opinion, and I don’t even necessarily completely disagree with her rationale behind it. But knowing that I liked the idea, shouldn’t she keep her enormous negative reaction to herself? She told me that I should have the baby at a hospital, preferably St. Lukes, and that I should get an epidural as soon as they offer it. Now, I know that some of you reading this are poised to tell me that I should run, not walk, away from this doctor at this point… but wait just a second while I finish my thought. We had a conversation about it, J and I, and I was satisfied — so far — with where we ended up. However, if she’s going to be the primary nurse in there with me during delivery, I think I may have investigate a doula or something to run interference! (She also said that in her experience, the more detailed your birth plan and the more interventions you insist you are not going to have, the more likely it seems to be that everything goes wrong and you end up with a C-section. So, opinionated and superstitious!)

(My doctor is way cooler. I think — no insult to my many friends in nursing; this is probably a good thing — that nurses are just naturally opinionated. And heck; I don’t mind candid talk — I’d rather hear what she actually believes than some rehearsed line. I don’t have to believe it or anything.)

At this point, what I want to do is take a tour of the birthing suites at St. Lukes and see what I think. I’m not opposed to the idea of a hospital per se — I’m opposed to the idea of giving birth in an operating room. That being said, if things go badly and I need more advanced medical care, I would much rather be just down the hall from an operating room than across the street or a mile or two away! It’s funny, but not, I think, a bad thing, how one’s perspective on things can change after a traumatic experience like last December’s. My idealism is tucked away a little bit, and I’m willing to consider that I may not have known absolutely everything that there was to know now. I still don’t believe that “modern medicine” has it right about childbirth, and that there are FAR too many interventions and everything involved. But R and I are also smart enough, and stubborn enough, to fight for what we want in an environment that feels more secure to our families and to us. And who knows? Maybe we do have Deuter, or future babies, in a birthing center. We’ve got months to figure this stuff out.

There was more, I’m sure… we talked a bit about billing… I asked her about my Super Unawesome Indigestion of Doom… and about being simultaneously parched and “the woman who couldn’t stop peeing” at night…

Anyway, I’m about to be late to book club, so I should go. More riveting blog posts later.

Vampire Weekend

R, you probably shouldn’t read this post. You too, any reader who is fainty around needle-talk.

This morning I knew I had to go in for blood work. The previous two times I’d had blood drawn, I had less than stellar experiences. The last time, the phlebotomist jabbed both arm-crooks multiple times (complete with twisting, poking, the whole hokey pokey) and never did get a “real” drop of blood. The time before that, they took three vials and I blacked out. Whee! So, knowing that I needed to prepare my body for this fun ordeal, I ate a really good breakfast and took care to be super hydrated before going to the doctor. The first half of the appointment was informative, and I want to write about it, but I’m going to save that for a little later. This post is about blood.

So I go down the hall after the paperwork portion of the meeting. I’ve got a full bladder because they want to do urinalysis as well to make sure I don’t have any infections or anything, but of course, they start with the blood. “Great,” I think to myself. “Now I’ve really got to make sure that I don’t black out, because I do not want to wet my pants here in the middle of the doctor’s office.” The frighteningly no-nonsense phlebotomist plopped me down in a padded chair and pulled not three, not four, but six big vials out of the tub. Without any sort of preface or questions about past problems with blood drawing, she strapped the big rubber band on my left arm and began tapping… and then began prodding… and then pinching…

“Are they hiding?” I asked through tight lips, looking steadfastly off to the right.

“Yep.”

“Yeah… they do that…”

“It’s because you’re a redhead,” she told me. “Your veins always hide. And you bruise easily. It’s weird.”

After a while, I guess she decided that she might as well take a stab at it (ha ha!) so in went the needle. This is not anyone’s favorite thing, but to me, the actual pain of penetration isn’t as bad as having it stick in there for several minutes. Nevertheless, as she twisted and moved the needle, I was… less than comfortable. I glared at my water bottle.

What felt like ten minutes passed. I didn’t look, but I was pretty sure she hadn’t ever reached for a vial. Then she pulled off the rubber band and handed me a piece of gauze to hold against the crook of my arm.

“Is the right arm any better?” she asked.

“Not generally,” I replied.

“That’s not the answer I wanted to hear.”

Not to be deterred, the right arm got the same treatment: rubber band, fist, tapping, prodding, pinching, a painful insertion of the needle, much twisting and shifting… and nothing.

Now I had gauze on both arms and was wondering what in the world was wrong with my veins. And then she said the words I really, really didn’t want to hear: “I need to find a smaller needle. We’re going to have to use your hand.”

AAAAACCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKK.

(This is the point at which I had to convince myself that I wasn’t going to cry, btw.)

As my tech went off in search of a freaking hand needle, the woman sitting at the next chair (oh yeah, I had an audience for this whole thing) told me she felt sorry for me — that they always got her vein on the first try. Bully for you, lady. Trade ya.

And then she was back, and there was a reverse-IV in my poor left hand (which is SO much more painful than an arm needle, btw) and then we got to enjoy the agonizingly slow process of trying to coax six big vials of blood through an itty bitty needle in a hand vein.

I did not cry or pass out or wet my pants. For this, I think I deserve commendation. And probably a steak dinner.

I blame R entirely for this situation.

I guess I’m going to have to give up my dreams of a life as a heroin addict…

Thirty Minutes

In thirty minutes, I will be done with parent-teacher conferences for the semester. It will be 8 PM. Conferences are always looong days, but this year they seem particularly long (thanks, physical exhaustion). Part of that is that we’ve had long periods of time without any parents showing up; I had essentially no one from 8:30 AM until 2:30 PM, which was easily the longest, sleepiest six hours of my school year thus far. So far the conferences have been, for the most part, very good and productive. As usual, the majority of parents who come in have students who need no intervention or extra help, and the majority of parents one would really like to talk to never show (and won’t answer the phone if you call home). Not that there’s any social commentary in that or anything. Had a couple of “bad” conferences, but that’s a story for another time and venue, I think.

Tomorrow I am off from work and have a doctor’s appointment of the less fun (i.e., no ultrasounds — man, what has happened to your definition of “fun” when it includes trans-vaginal ultrasounds?) variety. Specifically, we will be doing a lot of paperwork and re-enacting Anne Rice’s next novel, Appointment with a Vampire. I am not needle-phobic like R is, but I am in no way a fan of IVs or having blood drawn. If the needle doesn’t come right out, I don’t like it. Plus, I’ve had some bad experiences with blood draws; I’ve blacked out once, and when I was having infertility treatments they once jabbed both arms over half a dozen times without ever getting a vein. So! Not really looking forward to that, but it’s a necessary step in the process.

I am nine weeks now, as of yesterday, actually. I haven’t had a chance to take my 9-week photo yet because I haven’t been home in daylight since Monday, but I’m thinking I can take care of that tomorrow or Saturday. Not that there’s much, if any, change to observe. I feel like it’s slightly silly to take weekly photos pre-bump, but I’ve seen how quickly things evolve later on, and would like a fairly regular progression to look at. R, of course, wants to take daily photographs and turn them into an animated gif. But that would require both of us, y’know, being home once in a while….

Lots of indigestion still. Sleepiness. Rampaging appetite and feelings of dehydration. Food aversions and occasional mild cravings. (Mostly, I find myself desperately wanting things I can’t have: deli meat, Mike’s Hard Lemonade. And things I used to love, like Coke, don’t taste good anymore. Stupid tastebuds.) My body has set up a 1 AM wakeup call to use the bathroom, which is, as you can imagine, doing wonders for the fatigue (along with the cutting down on caffeine thing).

This is the point at which everyone should stop reading because I’m writing down another symptom for my own personal record, but it’s one that no one wants to know about, so yeah. Stop reading now. Or don’t, but don’t blame me when you have to look me in the face the next day.

I know that part of early pregnancy is that your digestive system slows down and speeds up. At first, mine had definitely sped up, leading to a lot of loose stool issues. Well, it’s currently in a swing the other direction — not all the way into constipation territory, but enough that yesterday I had a painful “experience” accompanied with blood (of the non-vaginal variety, thank goodness, but still, YUCK.) The experience left me somewhat uncomfortable for the rest of the day, and then was repeated this morning. The internet told me that 1) it was nothing to really worry about but 2) I should call my doctor anyway, so I did. After playing a rigorous game of phone tag (the nurse kept calling me back right when a parent would come in for a conference) I got a “prescription” for some over-the-counter medication called Colace. As I’ve never had any trouble of this sort in the past, this whole thing was new to me, but I ran down to Walmart on my lunch break and got a bottle. (My indigestion is worse than ever this afternoon; wonder if the pills are affecting it? Just my luck….) Anyway, I guess this is a pretty common pregnancy side effect, so — yay.

Ha ha. I was going to write that last paragraph without any euphemisms and I just couldn’t do it. Are you a prude if you can write about your digestive issues but can’t type the actual words?