Thursday, March 24, 2016

From the Ministry of What the F*cks

Right. So here's the story.

It make you go, "Are you f*cking kidding me?" Or maybe, "What the hell?"

If so, well, join the club.

I'm going to get right to the point. Until Tuesday, I was pregnant, just over seven weeks so. Then my doctor determined that it had stopped heading in any direction except miscarriage.

And so that night I took the little get-the-miscarriage-party-started pills. And it was a truly hellish night. And now things are better.

But here's the real crazy. I'm 46.

Now, 46 is a not a lot of years when you're talking about all of eternity. But! It is a lot of years when you're talking about pregnancy. Add to this that we've not exactly been burning up the sheets. So I was completely astounded, and so was Nick.

I realized it was not outside the realm of possibilities. But neither is winning the lottery or being hit by lightening.

What the hell? Exactly.

Since I went through this the year before last, I knew the odds were abysmal.  In fact, when you are this much older, they are this much abysmaller.

Miscarriage rates are 70%. Odds of chromosomal abnormality are like 1 in 16.

In fact, finding an outcome chart for pregnancy over age 45 was  hard. I googled "pregnancy at 46" and came up with Halle Berry and a bunch of fertility articles saying that even though you see celebrities doing it, what you don't know is that they're probably using donor eggs.

In other words: don't try this at home.

On a side bar, a friend said, "Are you kidding me? Good thing you didn't start having babies in your twenties! You could have like eight kids by now."

Anyway, I didn't exactly let myself get all hopeful. Which was good. Because at what would've been somewhere early in the seventh week, it just stopped being.

But first I thought: What if this works? Oh my hell. I'm going to be exhausted for the rest of my life. My back already hurts and it's only the size of a pea. We will need a goddamn minivan. How will I give my kids enough attention and deal with a newborn? How will we do this? And I will definitely need to buy me some boobs when this is all said and done.

I also thought: A new little human! A smooshy snuggly baby! Fortunately, Maude hasn't gotten around to giving my Ergo and sleep sacks to Syrian refugees. There's a reason we still have our monitor and stroller. Another sibling for my kids! Awwwww. Hooray!

Once again, though I believe in choice, I knew I personally couldn't terminate unless there was a chromosomal abnormality. If I got to 11 weeks, I'd have a CVS. If there was going to be something wrong, I wanted it to happen early and resolve itself.

And then it did.

So here's my soapbox. To start a miscarriage, you can take misoprostol, which is generic, and inexpensive (at least with insurance). The doctor had me stick four little pills in my vagina. As I understand it, you can also take them orally.

But in any case, it's four pills.

For an abortion, they apparently have you take a different pill beforehand to make your uterus inhospitable, and then you use these to open your cervix and start the cramping. And according to my research, if you are early enough in your pregnancy, apparently misoprostol can be sufficient.

I feel like abortion is sold to us as whole, pink, recognizably human babies being chopped up and dragged out of women's vaginas. The women could take them out and put them in Hannah Andersson. But no! They choose to murder them instead!

Now, given the choice, I'd have had this baby, and in November, somewhere approaching Election Day (which I found funny, considering how hostile some of the candidates are to reproductive freedom), I'd have wound up with a whole, pink, recognizably human baby coming out of my vagina.

A baby I wanted, a baby who would've had a loving home and family.

But let me tell you what expelling that seven-week-old-no-longer potential baby was like. It was (in the privacy of my own home) a lot of cramping, a decent amount of blood, and some tissue.

That was it.

The reality of terminating an very early pregnancy is nothing that would work on a poster. It's nothing that women should have to jump through hoops to beg for. It's definitely not something that should require a woman to go to a doctor once, then return two days later for.

It's four little pills. And some tremendously horrible cramps, and in my case three hours of the worst body-wracking chills I've ever had, although to be fair, I've never had malaria or dengue fever.

And then it was over. And my body immediately started feeling better. I stopped being so tired that I'd be unable to leap out of the way of a speeding truck. My back stopped hurting. I stopped feeling queasy all the time. I started feeling more like myself.

In other words, pregnancy stopped taking over my entire body.

It's not over emotionally, in that despite my best efforts, I'm still sad. I am really, really sad, even thought I keep telling myself it is for the best. Everything is easier this way.

But loss is never easy, whether you are voluntarily letting go or not.

But physically, it can be that easy, at least in the early weeks. And then it is over. No politician, no doctor, no objecting pharmacist should have any say-so in whether it is that easy or not.

Everything else is hard enough.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How to surprise a rabbit

Have you ever stopped to wonder about the sex of the Easter Bunny?

I never had. All those years of believing in the Easter Bunny, and it never occurred to me to wonder if it was a boy or a girl. In fact, without ever giving it any thought, I'm sure I grew up saying "he" and "him." Of course.

Then last week, my kids were all, "Mama, is the Easter Bunny a boy or a girl?"

I almost automatically said, "A boy." But I didn't. I paused.

(And also, I was thinking, it doesn't actually matter, because he or she is actually fictional, and yet we're going to perpetuate this weird lie about a giant bunny that travels the world to hide candy around your house for as long as you are willing to buy it...And when I stop to think about it, it is kind of creepy that a big rabbit sneaks in while we sleep. But then again, he or she does bring Cadbury eggs...)

So I said, "I have no idea. I've never seen the real Easter Bunny. What do you think?"

They weren't interested in speculating. What they were interested in was hatching a plan to find out.

Jordan decided that he would hide under the couch all night, and then when he saw the Easter Bunny, he'd ask.

India, on the other hand, was all. "I'm not going to ask. I'm going to jump out from under the table and check."


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Neuroscience for beginners

The other day I stopped a kid from stomping on another kid's toy.

A friend of my son's had asked if he could leave the toy with me for safekeeping while he ran around on the playground. I solemnly agreed to watch it. So there it sat next to me on the concrete.

Until this other kid came along and reached for it. I told him who it belonged to and said he could ask the boy if he could play with it.

He immediately raised his foot and brought it down on the toy.

I reached out and grabbed his ankle, mid-stomp, and said, "That's not OK." (You ask me to watch your toy and I will watch it to the end, let me tell you.)

He took his foot back and ran off.

A couple days later I was talking to another mom about it. I said, "Why would you stomp on your friend's toy?" She said she thinks he might have impulse control problems.

She gave the following example. She was at a birthday party with her son; this particular child was there as well. The parents gave all the kids cupcakes, and as soon as he got his, he took it and smeared the bright green icing all over his face.

I was horrified.

Because you guys, all I could think was, oh my god, THE BUTTER. The butter on the guy's nose. 

Look. I save dessert for last. I wait to open presents. I don't grab or hit.

I don't carry a hammer around in case I get the urge to whack the car of the occasional asshole who speeds up to get through the crosswalk even though my entire family is already halfway across the road.

(I am sure it'd be be remarkably, if briefly, satisfying.)

But! Every once in a while I say or do something that would've been better not said or not done. Sometimes things fall out of my mouth or just kind of...happen without a pause for reflection.

The butter. The butter. On a stranger. There but for the grace of god went I without green icing smeared all over my face.

Are those impulse control issues?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's

So the way the blogger reconnection happened is that one night I was out with Nick and some of his colleagues and I asked for a dry martini with lots of olives. And I got this.

It was perfect. So I put it on Facebook. Look at this most perfect martini which is basically a big vat of olives surrounded by gin.

And then Kris and Megan were both all, oh, you love martinis! We must drink martinis!

They, however, like their martinis with vodka. Which I vaguely knew was a thing but had never really thought about.

I mean, I'm fine with vodka. But I myself wouldn't choose it.  For me, martinis are gin. And gin is good.

Here I was going to say that I grew up on gin, but one, that sounds terrible, and two, it's not strictly  accurate.

Please know that I didn't grow up swilling any alcohol. But it was the 70s and there were lots of cocktail parties and as such, lots of gin.

I don't know if this was the same in America. In fact, I assume it's because we lived in countries that had been colonized or occupied by the British: India, Bangladesh, Egypt. Those colonizers needed those gin and tonics to survive malaria in the godforsaken outposts.

Gin became my drink of choice in high school. But being calorie conscious, I'd drink gin and soda water rather than tonic. Which is silly, you know, because we took chloroquine tablets. I had no idea I could've just been drinking my quinine.

Anyway, this is not about quinine but about gin. Although I do enjoy a nice tonic water.

I like my (gin) martinis very dry. Very very very. I mean, vermouth is nice as long as there is just the tiniest, vaguest wee bit. A suggestion, really.

Nick says I'm just pretending with the martinis because I like a pretty glass. When really, I should just admit that what I really want is a bucket of gin.

Which is not entirely true. I'd be delighted with a bucket of olives as well. 

So now you know: When it comes to alcohol, I'm an 18th-century British slum dweller.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Three introverts walk into a bar...

A couple weeks ago, I caught up with two blogfriends over fabulous martinis.

The truth is, I never knew either Kris or Megan in person all that well. But I felt like I knew their hearts, and they felt like they knew mine, and when the opportunity to catch up presented itself, I jumped.

There aren't many people in my current world who were part of the microcosm that was the DC blog scene in the aughts.

Ten years ago, blogs were rather new to me, but as it turned out, I was late to the party, as people had been blogging for years. In fact, the DC blog scene was on the wane, although I didn't know it.

For me it was fresh and exciting, and I was single and heartbroken, and I threw myself in with wild abandon. I could pour my heart out, and not burden my friends. There were strangers on the Internet who would actually read what I wrote!

I started going to the DC blogger happy hours. I made blog friends, in person and virtually. Like Internet dating, which I'd also thrown myself into, there was an entire world of people out there that I wouldn't have known otherwise. The blog scene became a huge part of my world.

But unlike Internet dating, many of us were telling people, up front and in public, what was in our hearts.

And so I got to know people, in an odd and very intense way, well before I actually met them in person. There are still people I care about that I've never actually met.

Lucky for me, I did meet Megan and Kris in person. I read their blogs, and I loved how funny and real they were. In person they were just the same--hilarious and so very candid.

They, like many others, had been blogging for a while before I started. Their posts were eagerly awaited. They got lots of comments! People were in awe of them! Kris presented at BlogHer! She was famous! She knew really really famous bloggers!

Like many others, they stopped, while I was still fully immersed. Actually, Kris briefly started another blog (hooray!). And then she stopped for good.

I missed knowing what was going on in my friends' lives without seeing them in person. Do you know how perfect blogs are for introverts? You can know all about your friends actions, feelings, kids, and such, without leaving your house!

Best ever. And then it was over.

But fortunately there is Facebook, and we are friends. And so, as Kris and I realized when catching up a couple weeks ago, seven years can go by without seeing each other in person, and somehow it doesn't feel like it.

But it had been that long since we had actually shared drinks and stories. It was fabulous. They're both still hilarious and so very real. They just don't write their feelings on the Internet for all to scrutinize anymore.

We reminisced about the bloggy days, and the characters in them.

The blog world was a weird and intense place, much like down the rabbit hole. You could know such personal things about people you didn't actually know. We talked about the intense moments. I remembered when Kris's father died. When her cat Bug got cancer. When Megan ran into that guy at the airport. We talked about Stacy, with whom Kris was in-person friends.

It may sound odd to talk "remember whens" for events you weren't actually part of. But they felt so real. When you read heartbreaking things written by a terrific writer, you are right there in it with her. And I was, over and over. Oh, I was.

For me, getting into blogging helped heal me at a time when I needed a great deal of...well, everything. I needed to write my feelings. I needed support. I needed to feel connected. I needed people who understood.

I got all those things and more. I made some dear, dear friends. Friends I may not see in person often enough, but who I love nonetheless.

Sometimes I feel dorky still blogging, like I'm sitting at the party eating the last of the onion dip long after everyone has left. But my blog has been such a part of my life for so long now, I'd miss it if I let go.

It sounds cheesy to say that falling into the blogworld was a gift, but it was. And I am so lucky for it.