Friday, December 31, 2010

Fixed!

The New Year is looking better already, I finally figured out how to change the blog address to http://wontibesurprised.blogspot.com/

Here is to 2011 bringing LOTS of happy surprises!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Think I Can...

In one of those foggy days right after Rip died, I remember telling someone, "I'm not doing anything I don't want to do for the rest of my life."

My New Year's Resolution this year is a variation of just that, except I think I will phrase it, " I am going to do everything I want to do with the rest of my life."

Before we lost Rip, I would say my self-esteem was pretty bad. I never thought I was smart enough, skinny enough, or just plain ol' good enough. Instead of trying new things, I convinced myself that playing it safe was the better option. Basically, I settled.

I can think of nothing worse than living this way after everything that has happened. I don't ever want to settle... I want to make sure that everything I do with the rest of my life is something that I can be proud of, maybe more importantly something I think my son would be proud of.

When I was younger, my family was a big fan of the Little Engine That Could...I can't tell you how many swim meets and horse shows I did with " I think I can, I think I can" going through my head.

So I know that living my life to the fullest is a pretty broad and lofty resolution...but I think I can, I think I can.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life with an asterisk

I feel like I am living my life with one big asterisk beside everything I say. If I were to write out any conversation I have right now, for instance if I said "We had a good Christmas", I would then have to add "*but it was sad and we missed Rip", somewhere below.

This is completely my doing, I know nobody else thinks for a minute that whatever good time I have is not coupled with some sadness. I think it is mainly guilt that makes me feel like I have to add a disclaimer, like somehow I am not being a loving mother if I don't remind everyone how much I miss my child. Like having fun is somehow disrespectful.

What I am slowly coming to realize is that the asterisk is there whether I choose to voice it or not. Missing and loving Rip is a part of me now, just like my smile or my shoe size. I am a different person than I was before he was born. Are some of those differences for the better? Absolutely. Do some of those differences completely suck? Yes again.

The point I am trying to reach, and I think I am doing better about getting there, is that despite the sadness there can still be fun, good times.*

*and it is still okay for me to enjoy them

Monday, December 27, 2010

Who I Am

I woke up this morning in a funk. Partially just the normal "day after (after) Christmas" funk, compounded by the overall crumminess of my situation.

Right now, I mainly wish that I could have Rip back, which I also realize is not going to be possible on this earth. On top of that, my reason for getting pregnant in the first place has never changed, I wanted and want a baby...but my body (and probably my mind) is not ready to get pregnant again. So I here I sit in limbo, unable to do anything about what I want most in the world. Hence the funk.

In an attempt to be productive, I decided to clean out my wallet (mainly because this type of productivity did not involve getting out of bed). After going through many years worth of insurance and Bilo bonus cards, I moved on to the side pocket where I stick notes, pictures, etc.

The first item I pulled out was I notice from the Social Security Office, acknowledging that I had completed the final step to becoming Anne Hassold Harris.

The second was a sheet of photo booth pictures Parke and I took at a wedding several years ago. We are dying laughing in most of them, in the last one I am leaning into his neck while he hugs me close.

The third was a note from my mom, written on a birthday a few years back. It reads, "We all love you so so much, You've always had that special touch, No one else could take your place, with your smart little self and beautiful face."

Fourth was a note I must have written after we lost Rip, although I don't remember doing it. It reads "Dear Lord, please let me be a mom again to a healthy baby".

Finally I pulled out a very old piece of paper. It reads, "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don't forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this you will experience God's peace, which is more wonderful than the human mind can understand, Philippians 4: 6-7"

With five pieces of paper, my wallet managed to remind me of who I am, who loves me, and where to go from here. Not bad for a Monday morning, right?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Great Miracles

Where there is great love there are always miracles. - Willa Cather

I recently came across this quote and it gave me an overwhelming sense of peace. One of the many gifts I have received from Rip is the ability to see how much love surrounds me. Love for Rip, and love for and from my husband, family, and friends.

My wish for this Christmas and the new year is to surround myself with great love and watch the miracles unfold.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Lesson I Did Not Necessarily Want to Learn

I have a very vivid memory of leaving the hospital the day we found out that Rip was not going to make it and watching a woman walking down the street in a Santa hat. I remember turning to Parke and saying "How is she walking around like that when the whole world has just ended?"

And that was how I felt, and to some degree how I still feel. What is hard, just like that day, is that the world has not ended for anybody else. Even though Rip is all that I (and Parke, and probably the rest of our families) can think about, everyone else is getting ready for the holidays with the usual excitement and cheer.

I think the loss of a child, and maybe especially a baby, is first and foremost nothing anybody wants to dwell on. I know I used to feel awkward talking to someone after they experienced any kind of loss, probably even avoided the subject all together if possible. I also think it is hard for people to understand another person's pain. With Rip, Parke and I are really the only ones to know what it was like to see that positive pregnant test, to feel those first kicks at 17 weeks, to know that he got the hiccups every day at 7:00 am and 4:00 pm, and to know that the first moment of Rip's life was the best of ours. Even our feelings and experiences during those times are different.

I know that time (I've developed a real dislike for time by the way) will help, that this will not always be such a constant on my mind. I guess the only real lesson to remember is that everybody has something going on in their lives, and even though you may not really understand it, you can be there to help them through it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Remember When

At Rip's service, our minister said something that I've thought about many times in these last few weeks. He said (and a friend had to remind me he said it, so much of that day was lost on me), that one day when Parke and I are old and gray, we will be sitting there in a house filled with our children and our grandchildren, and we will be able to look at each other and say "Life is good".

Today is Rip's original due date, a day I have been dreading all week. Even though I knew for a good bit of my pregnancy that he would not be born in December, it is hard on days like this not to think of the "what-ifs".

This morning I got up, grabbed my ipod, and headed to the beach. My plan was to walk and mope around. What I did not realize was that it is FREEZING outside, even worse by the water. To warm up, I started to run. It was amazing, I'd forgotten how much I love the freedom of running. I felt healthier and stronger than I have in such a long time. And I felt Rip with me every step of the way. I thought about how much I miss him, but also how much of him I carry with me.

When I turned around, wind-whipped and exhausted but happy, the Alan Jackson song "Remember When" came on the ipod. What has always seemed like a pretty cheesy country song suddenly made a lot of sense. The last part of that song reminded me of what our minister said...

Remember when thirty seemed so old
Now looking back it's just a stepping stone
To where we are,
Where we've been
Said we'd do it all again
Remember when
Remember when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when

Rip will always be my little boy, and I will always love and miss him. I will always wish with all of my heart that he was still here. But I also expect to get old and gray (well, maybe just old), to have a full life with children and grandchildren, to have many "remember whens", and to be able to say at the end of it all that life is good.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Whatever Works

My mom and I were talking this morning about how different people are when you lose someone you love. I have now read many, many books about the process of losing a child (some of them really good, some of them not so much) and I get that there are certain stages that we all go through but I think whatever gets you through those stages is very different for everyone.

I call the stage I am in now my bubble wrap stage. Most of the time, I feel like there is almost a shield between me and the rest of the world. I kind of bumble along in my little cocoon, not exactly feeling numb but just insulated from anything going on around me. I am actually pretty content in my bubble wrap phase but every once in a while something will pierce through and pop the bubbles (the other day it was some red and white mints that I ate in the hospital) and I am a mess.

It's those messy times where I've really learned what really works to help get me through all of this.

One of the things that has surprised me is how much looking at pictures of Rip has helped me. As the weeks went by, I found myself forgetting things about him and that scared me. Without really thinking about what I was doing, I ordered pictures we had taken on Rip's first days. When they arrived in the mail a couple of days later the first thing I noticed were his ears. He had the funniest looking ears I have ever seen, they had a weird little divot in the middle that made them look like the world's tiniest elephant ears. It was the first thing I noticed when I held him after he was born and I could not believe I'd forgotten about them. Even though of course I cried looking at the pictures, it also made me smile that I never have to forget again. I have the best elephant ear shot beside my bed, and it makes me so happy.

Those pictures are helping me get through this bubble wrap stage, and like I said, whatever works.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Won't I be SURprised When...

Recently, it was pointed out to me that I misspelled "surprised" all over this darn blog...which is just soooooo typical. And even though I've fixed the misspellings on the actual page, I can't figure out how to change the name of blog to include that all important "r"...which is also soooooo typical.

Either way, whether I am "suprised" or "surprised", I think I will be thankful to look back at all of these posts this time next year and see how far we have come.

I also now understand why nobody seemed all that "surprised" when I never won a Spelling Bee.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Good Grief

I like to do things fast. In school, I was almost always the first person done with my test. I like lists of tasks that I can check off. I always wake up in the morning with my head swimming of things I need to do, thinking I will never get them done, and knock them out by noon. My speed reading is legendary (well, not really, but several people know about it.)

The thing is, with all of these things I can do so quickly, it is mostly just so I can get to the end. For example, with the books, I almost always read the end of the book first. That way, I know the outcome, knowing full well through whether the hero will be saved or ruined. Then I get them there as quickly as I can...it's not knowing how the ending is going to go that stresses me out, so I get there as fast I can.

If there is one thing I have learned in these past three weeks, it is that you cannot get to the end of grief quickly no matter what you do. I was a psychology minor in college, and listened to all of those "stages" the experts listed when it came to loss. I probably even finished the test in record time. What I did not realize was that you could go through your anger, sadness, denial, and acceptance all within an hour (if not a few minutes) and then do it all over again. Thousands of times. I did not realize you could literally be on your knees crying so hard you can barely breathe, only to be laughing an hour later.

I am not "good" at grief. I want it to be over. I want to read the end of the book and find out whether or not I turn out okay. But no matter how hard I try I can't outrun, check off, or get to the end of grief before it is done with me. Doesn't mean I have to like it though.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Two Things...

When I was pregnant, I wrote a lot on here about what not to say/do around pregnant women. I completely understand that there is just no appropriate thing to say/do when someone has lost a child. Nobody is going to be able to tell us what we want to hear (that this whole thing never happened), but most people are so sincere in saying that they are so sorry for our loss that it does actually help. That being said, in the past two weeks I have experienced two circumstances that I just thought I should write down as what, under no circumstance, should you do when someone has experienced the loss of their baby.

My first encounter with "what not to do" occurred when I got back to work. I received plenty of hugs and warm welcomes, all of which made re-entering the work place much easier. Even those that did not know about Rip were so sympathetic when they heard the news... that is until I ran into a woman I did not know very well from another office.

She knew I was pregnant so she asked how the baby was doing. While this is always hard, I can hardly blame people for asking a totally understandable question. It was only after I explained what happened that she came up with a real gem. "Oh" says she, " at least it was just a baby and not really like you lost a child." I'm really not prone to violence but let's just say she is lucky not to have a black eye right now.

As bad as that was, I think this second situation was worse, if only because it occurred with a "professional". Parke and I went to see a grief counselor, with my hope that she could provide us with guidance and better ways to cope. What she did was talk for the full hour about how life was really about loss... how she in fact had lost two husbands, a father, and a girl she went to college with...how her daughter has also lost a child but that she (the trained grief counselor) had been too sad to go to her daughter...and then just when I thought I could not be any more depressed she ended the session by sticking her iphone in our faces so that we could watch a two minute video of her happy healthy baby granddaughter squealing and laughing...just in case we did not realize what we had lost, I guess. Then she charged us one hundred dollars and asked when we would be back. Needless to say, we won't.

I realize I am a little on edge right now, and probably a lot more sensitive than I will ever be again. And I know these people probably meant well. But honestly folks...

So, that is my vent for the day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't you know I like my life that way...

You will probably think I am crazy after reading this post, but as Pat Green says, if this is crazy then I like my life that way.
My mother-in-law was kind enough to get us fuel for our gas fire as an anniversary gift. The "gas guy" came by yesterday to fill the tank while I was not there...by the time I did get there the house smelled strongly of gas. I figured blowing up the house at this point would be the last straw for a lot of people, so I called the company.
They were little to no help, had me running around turning on and off gas and finally asking me to re-light the pilot light to the darn fire. I am not mechanically inclined under the best of circumstances and I can barely get myself dressed right now so you can imagine how thrilled I was to be playing with fire.
So there I sat, my big head directly in the fireplace, mashing every button in sight trying to get this alleged pilot light to do its thing while the whole place still smelled terrible, no clue whether I was making things better or worse.
I lost it. I screamed and yelled and shook my fist at God, let Him know I could not handle ONE MORE THING.
And the fire came on.
And then I heard very clearly, "you will have another baby."
And then I cried some more.

So...I realize that makes me sound crazy and I don't care. If it takes me melting down (no pun intended) over a fireplace in North Charleston, SC to feel God again then so be it. I know that I will have so many more days of breaking down and crying my eyes out, but I also now know that we are going to be okay. That's my kind of crazy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Good Mama

Growing up, I was one of the best dressed little girls around. My mother made sure of that.
When I was in elementary school, each outfit was picked out the night before (complete with matching hair bow) and every afternoon when Mama picked me up the question was the same, "Did anybody tell you how cute you looked?" I would roll my eyes and say no (although 9 times out of 10 they had), to which she would reply, "Well, they were thinking it."

As I grew older and came to appreciate the power of looking good, my mother went right on making sure that "they were thinking it." Each milestone in my life was marked with the perfect outfit. My friends were in amazement when I was the only person that they knew that still got a "trousseau" when I got married (which was really just a bunch of cute clothes).
When I was pregnant and on bed rest in the hospital, Mama rushed down each week with Old Navy Maternity bags bulging because as she put it, "nobody ever feels better from looking bad." And it was true, I was the cutest girl on the Labor and Delivery ward.

One of the hardest parts for me after Rip was born was how little I got to do for him. Even before he got sick, the nursery changed his diapers and fed him and even when I got to hold him there were so many wires that he never really felt like mine.
When things got bad and we knew we were going to lose him, I'd done very little that made me feel like his Mama. That last day in the NICU, our wonderful nurse gave me the best opportunity. She let me pick out his outfit. I went through bags and bags of clothes at the hospital, making sure to find something comfortable, cute, and just a little trendy. When I held him that day, he finally felt like mine. I knew that I'd done something for him that showed how much I loved him, something only the best mothers did.

After we lost Rip, I still looked like I just had a baby. My swollen chest and pouchy stomach were just a constant painful reminder. Getting dressed and finding something that fit left me sobbing.
The day before the funeral, my mom and sister took a very sedated me, put me in a dressing room and went to work finding the most figure flattering dress TJ Maxx had to offer, complete with sky high heels.
To say I was dreading the day of the funeral would be an understatement. Somehow I got up and in to my new dress. I made it through the service and to the receiving line. The weather was perfect and as I stood there with the sun on my face, I felt peaceful. I felt like myself, even a little pretty.
I know that clothes and outfits are just materials and all of this may sound a little petty. But behind each outfit is the security of my mother's love. That is what she taught me, and what I tried to give to Rip on that last day. Because I know that is what a good mama does.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why I Wish Life Was Like A Cooking Show

I spent the morning lying on the couch while Parke watched the Food Network, and I realized I would really prefer life to be like a cooking show.
The beauty of these shows is that they are generally only allotted about thirty minutes to create something from nothing.
The first part is when everything is raw and not so good. In my case, this would translate to bawling my eyes out 24 hours a day, sitting around in my pajamas, with little or no motivation to do anything (aka this morning).
But then in the blink of an eye, you are at the fifteen minute mark. Here, something raw and not so good has started to simmer, now you are starting to get somewhere. Maybe this means I am up and dressed, tearing up a time or two, but basically holding it together.
And then with or without the BAM! (depending on whether or not you are an Emeril fan), you have the finished product. You have hours of mixing, stirring, and baking, all of which have produced something so much better than you started with...but nobody really seemed to have to do any of the work. It just kind of happened, all in thirty minutes or less.
And that is what I wish would happen, I could just say the magic words and I would be "there" wherever there ends up being...the place where we are healed and better than we were to begin with.
I know that is not an option, I know that even Emeril himself actually has to do all of those hours of hard work to come up with the perfect meal. But it would be really nice if he (and I) didn't.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Today Sucked

Today was just a really sucky day. I've pretty much been crying since the minute I woke up. Parke and I got in a stupid fight. We are both just too sad and worn out to be much help to each other. I feel lonely and scared and like this whole situation is pretty much unbearable.
Everyone keeps telling me that this is just going to take time, that one day it will get better and I hate that. I am not a patient person, I don't want to have to go through days and days of miserable. I want to fast forward through this whole awful process, fix it for me and for Parke and for our families.
My basic feeling is that this just was not supposed to happen and for today at least, I don't want anybody to comfort me about how or why it did.
So, bottom line, today sucked.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Heaven Help Us

As a Christian, I have always been pretty vague. A "yeah, sure I believe we all go to heaven and God, yep he sounds like a good enough guy" kind of Christian. I have had times in my life where I have been closer to God, and I have had times where I felt like I pretty much had it all under control.
Since Rip has been gone, one of the things I have been so surprised by is my desire to read the Bible. At first I just could not figure it out, I was so angry at God for taking my baby, why in the world would I want to read all about Him?
But then it started to make sense. If I truly believed in God, then I truly believe my child is now in Heaven. Not that I have not questioned my faith these past few weeks (I have), but at the end of the day that is what I believe. I believe Rip is in Heaven with God and I, as his mother, need to know as much as possible about where he is and who is taking care of him.
I would never have sent him to daycare without doing plenty of research, or left him with a babysitter without a background check...so why would I not learn everything I can about his new home?
Learning about God and Rip's Heaven is the best way I can continue to be his mama. And thankfully, everything I've read leads me to honestly believe that my baby is well loved and still perfect in every way. And that makes me so happy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Good Stuff

Today is my third wedding anniversary. Before we had and lost Rip, I was terrified of being happy, or I guess I should say I was terrified of sounding too happy. I was so afraid that God would hear me and realize nothing bad had happened to me yet, and BOOM! happiness gone.

When I was pregnant, I never talked about how excited I was. I did not take fun pictures of myself, I treated the ultrasound pictures like they were expendable. I tried to stay on the down low, hiding out so that nothing bad would happen. But then the worst thing imaginable happened anyway.

Don't get me wrong, I know that what happened to Rip (although I may never understand it), did not happen because I was too happy or not happy enough. It just makes me sad that I was not swinging from the chandeliers, shouting about how excited I was for this baby, because that was how I really felt and I should have shared that feeling with the world.

That same goes for this anniversary. It has been my policy never to act too in love, to be wary of public declarations just in case it were to all go south. These past few weeks (months really), my husband has shown more strength of character than I could ever have imagined. He took care of me in the hospital, he took care of Rip when I could not after my surgery, and he has held me every night since Rip passed away. How could I not love this person? I should want everybody to know how good this man is.

I don't mean to sound like a cheesy "love/live life to the fullest" campaign, but I don't know how else to put it. Life is too short to be afraid. Terrible things happen, but I will try my hardest not to miss out on all of the good and exciting just so those terrible things won't know where I live. That just really isn't how life works.

Pretty Much Sums It All Up

Here is an email my mother wrote to her friends and colleagues after Rip died, it makes me sad right now but I know one day I will be glad I kept it...

Hey Best Girl in the World,
I haven't sent this to you before because I don't want in any way to make this awful time harder for you. I wrote this originally to send out to my work people, but since that time others have sent it on to church, etc. It has helped me not to have to go over details or ask a lot of questions. You can use parts or none of it, and remember it was sent from my so much less important than yours perspective. I love you so much more than you can imagine and want you to do whatever possible to get through this as easily as you can so if it would help, send something and if not, don't.
I'll talk to you later,
LoveMama

Dear friends,
As most of you know by now, my family lost our much beloved and anticipated baby last week when he contracted a bacterial infection one week after his birth on November 11. While we are heartbroken at the loss, so many of you have been a part of this journey with me and I wanted to share our story with you here in the way that real friends do.
Anne is my oldest daughter, and her pregnancy was a hard one, including hospital bed rest for 5 weeks before the planned date for delivery. She passed that time with a happy determination to do whatever it took to get her son here. Many of you sent gifts to help entertain her and I spent many hours there describing you all to her and telling her so many stories of our working together that she felt like she knew you. It was a happy time for us even in the middle of a stressful situation. When the big day was finally here, we went down to Charleston on Wednesday, Nov 10 to be there when the baby was born on Nov 11 at 7:30 am.
We literally jumped up and down outside of the operating room when we heard his first cries. He was perfect- a combination of both his mother and father, although of course I will tell you here that I did think he looked more like "our" side.
We celebrated his arrival in the same way most families do, with lots of tears and joy and photos to record it all. I left on Saturday to come back to Greenville, planning to return later in the next week when they both came home from the hospital to stay.
On Sunday afternoon I got a call from Anne that the baby had begun to run a fever and would be transferred from the current hospital to MUSC which has state of the art facililities for premature babies. I immediately headed back to join them and will never regret making the decision to be there.
Leaving Greenville, we could have never guessed how the week would unfold, or that by Saturday we would be attending a service honoring the short life of John Robert Harris. ( As the minister said at the church that day, those who knew him well called him "Rip".)
Like all of you, I have devoted the majority of my life protecting my children from harm, and I am nothing if not a woman who likes to be in control of every situation. So when we were told the diagnosis and that we would soon be given our baby so that Anne and Parke could hold him while he took his last breath, it was unbearable to think of seeing my child suffer in this way. Part of my writing this down for you is to tell you this: When I faced the darkest hour and had no sufficient strength of my own, God was there. He held us when nothing else could. I know it as sure as I am writing this. His Grace was sufficient, just like we've always heard. Never doubt that it is true.
As for me and my family, we are heartbroken but determined to heal and life will go on-- just as it should.
People have assured me that crying is a necessary thing in these situations, but I have to say I think it is highly overrated. I have cried so many tears sometimes I think I will get dehydrated, and I am pretty sure some people have begun to avoid walking my way for fear of setting off another round of tears.This grieving stuff is hard work, but every day gets a little better and there is so much hope in the future.
So many people keep asking how they can help and I have really tried to pay attention to the things that do, mainly so that I can help someone else one day.This week has been a horrible nightmare in many ways, but I wouldn't have missed a minute of being there. When I think of the sweetest moments, it is the doctor who cried when he gave us the diagnosis, the man in the hospital waiting room who gave me his blanket in the middle of the night, the friends and family who came to be with us at a time when it would have been so much more comfortable for them to stay away.
So what can you do for me?You can be the one who sheds a tear for someone else's pain. You can be the one who gives up your own comfort to comfort a stranger. People need other people-- you can be the one to go along side them even when you don't know what to say.
When I think of our baby, it will always be with love at the perfect gift he was, and awe at how one tiny 5lb 4oz little boy changed my life forever in only one week. I know God has a purpose for each life, and some people live for a long time without ever making a difference to others. It is my hope that maybe in your journey with me as friends Rip Harris can make a difference in yours.
Thank you so very much for your friendship, kindness, prayers and support. They all mean more than you can ever imagine.
Sincerely,
Kim

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

She's Come Undone

I swear EVERYBODY I run in to has a baby. Particularly if I happen to be in Target. Every single person in Target has a child, and most of them are acting like really crummy parents. They yell, or worse ignore, their kids and all I want to do is grab them by the collar and scream in their faces " DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO HAVE THIS KID??? ACT LIKE IT! NOW HAVE A NICE DAY AND ENJOY YOUR NACHOS AND CHERRY SLURPEE."

But I don't, instead I pray to God that I have taken enough Ativan to get me out of the store without having a major meltdown.

My latest thing is just this crippling fear that I won't be able to have any more children. That Rip was it and I did not even realize it. I feel like if someone had told me before Rip that I could not have kids, I am sure I would have put on quite a show of moaning and groaning. But I would not have really known what I was missing. Now I know. I know the moment that baby cries your life changes forever. I know that my husband is the best father in the world. I know the sheer terror and absolute love of being a mother. And now I don't think I can live without that.

If I am lucky enough to do this again, I won't take one minute of it for granted.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On Bed

Grieving for my child goes against everything that I am. My natural state of being is that of a happy, optimistic, it will all be okay kind of girl. It is hard for me to be so sad and to cry all of the time when I want so badly to be happy but, for today at least, I have to experience grief.

I woke up crying today, occasionally I will just get huge waves of how much I have lost and it seems overwhelmingly sad. Parke had made plans to play golf but offered to stay home with me. I don't want to be "that girl", have never been "that girl", so I made him go.
I crawled back in bed, hid under the covers, and felt exactly like the poster child for one of those depression commercials. After a while I decided I did not particularly want to be "that girl" either.

I have been through a lot, I deserve a day to just be sad...so I decided to have a day on bed. In bed was too sad, too hopeless. The bed needed to be made, the dog walked, the downstairs tidied, and the Thanksgiving left-overs thrown out. All tasks complete, I am now on the bed with a good book, limitless movie options thanks to our new direct TV, and my dog.

I may cry fifty times today, but that is okay. I may actually enjoy some of my day on bed, and that is okay too. Being on bed, rather than in bed, gave me hope. And for me, that is what my day to day life is all about right now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What Did Not Help

Somebody gave me a book recently that is supposed to comfort mothers after the loss of a child. You read something from their experience and then you are encouraged to write your own feelings about whatever the subject of the day might be.
I have been dutifully writing each day, journaling my hurt, despair, lack of understanding etc. I have written to Rip about how he looked and how much we love him. As hard as it is to imagine, I can in some way see how I may need or want to look back at these memories years later.
So I was good with the book until today. Today the book asked me to write down what I had been looking forward to experiencing with my baby, and now never would. I am really not a fan of bad language, but I hurled every word I could think of at the stupid book before physically hurling it across the room.
After a minute I retrieved the book from where it landed under the bed and gave it a piece of my mind, told it exactly what I thought of such a ridiculous question. I felt much better.
I know that anger is a stage of grief, a necessary emotion that helps you to heal. So today, I am angry...I am angry with myself, the doctors, God, and anyone else who dares to cross my path. And I am really angry at that stupid book.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What Helped

Our friend, Phill, wrote this song after Rip died. He based it on the story of Job from the Bible, I have been amazed at how it pretty much sums up how I have been feeling. I've listened to it a lot, sometimes it makes me cry and sometime it gives me comfort.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0puGMMmnbbs

After

I used this blog as a way to vent through my pregnancy. We lost our little boy, my perfect Rip, eight days ago. There is nothing I can say to express how heartbreaking, devastating that has been. There are no words to adequately say how much he was and is loved, how he taught Parke and me more about life in seven days that we ever thought was possible. All I can say about Rip is that from the minute he was born he was a miracle.
Today is my 30th birthday, a day I was dreading so much. Yesterday (Thanksgiving), was much harder than I thought it would be...the holidays have always been such a fun and exciting time for me, the loss of Rip was almost too much to bear during a time I am used to being so happy.
This morning I woke up, made Parke coffee (something I have started doing since we lost the baby), got back in bed and cried. Parke comforted me, told me it was okay to cry. My mom called to plan our day of Black Friday shopping, everyone just wants to make it better. I buried my head down deeper in the covers and decided maybe I could just skip my 30th birthday all together.
Then the dog threw up. In the bed.
Parke ran to get paper towels, tripped and fell down the steps.
So there I was, no option but to get up and deal with my sick dog, groaning husband, and soiled bed spread. And I think that is what life, and yes, God, gives us. We can be in the worst situation imaginable and life makes us get up and clean up dog puke.
I am still lonely, confused, and so so sad. I am also, at times, hopeful and thankful. I am going to try to keep up this blog during my 30th year. I want to see how much my life changes by the time I turn 31. I hope to have love, laughter, and maybe even a baby to fill my year. For now, the bad outweighs the good, but there is some good. By this time next year I pray, pray, pray the good will outweigh the bad.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You have got to be kidding

I just noticed that somebody on Facebook posted that their idea of "heaven" was a trip to the gym followed by some sugar-free ice cream. SERIOUSLY??!! What has the world come to when people think the ultimate reward involves diet food?? It's heaven people, live a little... (I mean, as much as you can when you are technically dead).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Down but not out...or how to look good on bedrest

Now working my way to week two of bedrest, I have learned a few things about what it takes to stay sane when you are not able to do anything but sit on your big duff all day. For me, the key to making it through the day without chucking the remote at Matt Lauer's big stupid grinning face (which would be impossible anyway because the remote is one of those annoying hospital things that is attached to your bed) is to try to keep up appearances. I soon realized that I would be seeing more people while I was on bedrest than I usually see in any given month, so this was not the time for me to let myself go into greasy hair, sweatpant mode.

Here are just a few tips in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation:
1. If you are able to shower..shower. Maybe even two or three times a day. This will make you feel like a new person, you will never again be so thankful for the opportunity to shave your legs and slap on a little moisturizer.

2. Demand that someone change your sheets daily. I know, this is not something I thought much about in "normal" life either...but seriously do it. When you get up for your shower only to look down and see half of the chicken salad you had for lunch yesterday has been hiding under your left butt cheek you will be darn glad it won't be there all day.

3. Choose an outfit that does not make you feel like someone off of "What Not to Wear". It may be cute and carefree to throw on some old clothes and run to the grocery store in real life, but when you are sitting in a hospital bed it just looks pitiful. A further recommendation is to put on something with color, even though vampires are in right now, you are no Bella Swan.

4. Now that you are clean and back in the bed, take the time to put on some make-up. You have nothing else to do and slapping on some "dramatic eye" wear will not kill you, it will only make you stronger.

5. As a grand finale, put on your best dangly earrings. Even if you have ignored numbers 1-4, you can distract and dazzle even the most critical of visitors with some shoulder-length sparkles.

Bonus** If you are willing to go the extra mile, have someone give you a pedicure. Nothing says invalid like nasty toenails. Use a bright color, another terrific distraction and a necessary accessory for your anti-embolism hose.

So that's it! I hope that you don't end up in this situation, but just in case, don't give up hope. I would also like to issue an apology to Matt Lauer, I don't normally want to smash your face in...just when I wake up to find I am laying on some old deli-spread.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Little Saturday Pick-Me-Up

For whatever reason, it seems like a lot of people in my life are going through some hard stuff. I feel sure that 2011 is going to be MUCH better for eveyone. In the meantime, here is a YouTube clip that never fails to crack me up...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtX8nswnUKU&feature=related

I don't really know why this tickles me so much, but there you have it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sounds of Success

My room at the hospital is connected to the OR where all of the c-section births take place. The result is that I get to hear, on average, 1-2 little screaming, squalling babies come into this world each day. At first I will admit I was a little horrified but have since decided that hearing these goings-on is actually pretty inspiring. I even decided that I could begin to use them as practice for my own upcoming delivery, a sort of visualization process if you will.

I first learned about visualization as a technique for success when I was in high school, playing on the field hockey team. I sucked at field hockey. So much so that once my coach tactfully told me that her feelings would not be hurt if I decided to "pursue other endeavors." Unfortunately, I didn't catch the hint and enthusiastically assured her I was in for the long haul. I am sure that she was thrilled.

So, on our way to yet another game where I would most likely be riding the pine, my dad told me about how the great athletes will visualize themselves scoring goals/points/what have you and that studies have shown the technique to be just as powerful as physically practicing. Having possessed a strong imagination from birth, I spent the next fifteen minutes visualizing myself scoring goal after goal, I may have also thrown in an ending or two where I was hoisted on the shoulders of my teammates while the opposing team clamored for my autograph. There may have been a small portion of my visualization that involved a write-up in the paper about the local field hockey phenom.

Probably needless to say, I did not score a single point in that game. I don't think I scored a point that whole season. I did, however, continue my visualization techniques and ended up improving quite a bit, even getting a grudging acknowledgement from the coach by the end of the season.

I feel like the same lesson can apply to this pregnancy. Already, it is clearly not what I envisioned (which, just so you know, was hopping around through 9 months looking fabulous while graciously downplaying other's compliments at how wonderfully equipped I was to have a child). I am sure this next month will not land me any awards either. But, with the help of my little screamers next door, I can continue to visualize the perfect pregnancy I am having in my mind...no full page spreads in pregnancy magazines, no articles in the paper...but certainly East Cooper Hospital's Most Improved Mother of a sweet baby boy (and maybe just a few balloons).

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Nurse Ratched

I have learned very quickly that a day in the hospital is almost completely determined by the calibur of your nurse. I have now been here for almost a full week, have yet to have the same nurse twice, and good lord there are some personalities out there!

Don't get me wrong, a majority of them are GREAT at their jobs. I find that they basically split down in four groups...

The first and most common (and best) is the sympathetic nurse. I certainly do not want people fawning and mewing over me, but yes, a long stay in the hospital is not the most fun thing in the world and it is nice to have someone realize that. The sympathetic nurse is gentle when administering tests, asks about your personal life (but not too intrusively), and certainly does not act as if you are a huge pain in the fanny for landing yourself in the hospital.

The overinterested nurse is kind of a pain. They will come in your room and just sit and chat when all you really want to do is log on to Netflix to watch another season of Grey's Anatomy. And when you finally do get to settle back to your show they will inevitably come back in to see what you are watching, usually during your show's most enthusiastic sex scene...awkward.

The third group is the mean nurse. I had my first mean nurse last night...I asked her for some water and you would have thought she had to go pull it from a well. She also informed me that she was pretty busy and might be a while if I buzzed for her...when I asked her what to do if I really had a problem (with the vasa previa time is of the essence if anything goes awry), she suggested I not have a problem while her other patient was in labor. Helpful.

Even worse than the mean nurse, by my standards, is the ditsy nurse. I have had a handful of these and give me the mean nurse any day. At the hands of various ditsy nurses I have been: pinched during an attempted blood pressure reading, left hooked up to machines hours past the allotted time, had to redo tests because they "forgot" to turn on the machines, awakened at all hours of the night, and had hospital food left in my room for days at a time. Although you will remind these nurses of what you need, they will forget as soon as they run out of the room. They often say things like " I just plain forgot about you!" This kind of thing does not seem like such a big deal until you literally cannot do for yourself...then it gets pretty irritating.

All and all, nurses are great...I'm sure if they would just ask for my help they could all be perfect 10's (ha ha).

Monday, October 11, 2010

She's got legs, and they have abused them

With what could very well be the final indignity of being put in the hospital, I am now wearing compression hose. For those that don't know, these are the opaque white thigh-highs that are allegedly used to prevent blood clots...I think they are just form of cruel and unusual punishment. I look like a nurse from the 60's with a geriatric flair. I am not kidding, these things are awful...just add some varicose veins and wrinkles and you may as well start calling me Gertrude.
So now, in addition having to discuss my bathroom habits at length each day, I have to sit with my leg above my head while a member of of the hospital staff wrestled these aggressively tight stockings up over my aforementioned measly calves and burgeoning thighs.
I did just start to wonder if the compression could start to keep my legs from getting any larger...hmmmm, if these hose will allow me to eat a few more peanut m&m's then disregard everything I just said!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Vanity fair?

My legs are the one thing about my body I have always been at least semi-proud of. After nearly thirty years of walking on my toes and a good fifteen doing a good bit of running, my legs and my calves in particular have usually been a point of pride for me. My legs have never been really skinny, or unusually long, but they were strong and muscular and that made me feel healthy.

A mere three days of bed rest has pretty much killed that image. My once bulging calf muscles have been reduced to some extra skin hanging off a pitiful looking shin. You know how homemade pudding has those little dimples and wiggles in the most enticing of ways? Well, that effect is not quite the same when it appears on you upper thigh. My new lack of muscle tone has left my upper leg with more craters than the moon. Ewww.

My vision of health was finally shattered last night when they had the physical therapist come move my legs around for "exercise"...I ran a half marathon less than a year ago! Anyway, I know that all of this is temporary and I have plenty of time to get these toothpicks back into shape, I just wanted to document the current state of affairs in case anyone was thinking of using me in a Nair commercial in the next few months.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

And so it begins

Finished my first full day in the hospital, here are just a few things that I have observed thus far...
1. Despite appearances to the contrary, the pudding is actually quite good
2. The hash browns, however, are every bit as rubbery as they appear
3. Any time they tell you they are going to let you sleep, they mean that you will not be physically shaken awake. You will instead wake up to strangers standing over you without announcing their presence
4. There is no such thing as a comfortable hospital bed...
5. But the water pressure is great

So that's about it for Day One...only 34 to go!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A shocking turn of events

So, at 29 weeks pregnant with five weeks to go, I find myself at East Cooper Hospital for the long haul of this pregnancy. It would be an understatement to say that Parke and I were shocked when the doctor calmly said that based on some recent developments, it was time to think of a hospital stay. Shocked would not even describe our reaction when I asked her when and she said "now."
So surreal when I went home and threw a bunch of clothes in a bag and left for the last time in what is likely to be at least five weeks...even more so when I realized the next time I come home I will have a baby.
It has all happened really fast, but as scary and unsettling as it has been it is not nearly scary and unsettling as these past couple of months when my constant thought and worry has been that something terrible would happen to our baby. While a hospital stay is certainly not ideal, I feel like I can breathe for the first time in weeks. I'll take it.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Bad Idea

I've decided the internet is like crack to the pregnant woman, and probably just as dangerous. Even if I did not have the whole "don't go into labor or your baby will die" thing going on, I still think that I would be a nervous wreck about half the stuff out there.

The first and most obvious no-no's are the miscarriage, lost pregnancy sites and stories...these are just the WORST. If you want to make a hormonal and huge woman lose complete control and bawl for an hour, well then these are the stories for you.

Second and almost as bad are the "what can go wrong" scenarios. I realize that even some of the most respectable sites need to post this kind of information for the poor souls that go through this stuff, but for the most part you don't need to know what can go wrong unless it is actually going wrong. I never even heard of vasa previa before I was diagnosed (which turned out to be bad enough), but I was already at panic level 10 about all sorts of incompetencies my cervix may or may not have.

Then there is the basic info, which can be just as alarming depending on your situation. For me, the most chilling of these are the "how to know you are in labor" symptoms which, as discussed ad nauseum, I am NOT SUPPOSED TO DO. This list includes things like "backache", "pressure", and "abdominal pain". Well good lord, I have all three of those all of the time and I am pretty sure they are due to the 3 lb infant practicing his tai-bo on my insides and the 22 other lbs that have joined him. Nonetheless, every time I read labor symptoms I am left wondering if I should "call my practitioner immediately".

Finally, there are the more touchy-feely of sites that insist that your attitude, stress level, ability to read Shakespeare, etc. all directly influence your child's demeanor BEFORE HE IS EVER BORN. Well, if that's the case, this kid is a lost cause. He is probably going to need Paxil out of the womb. Suffice it to say I have not been at my calmest these past 7.5 months.

Every week I promise myself to stay off of these sites but the very next time I have so much as a twinge I am right back on the net. My name is Anne Harris, I am a pregnant woman and internet addict...my last hit was approximately five minutes ago .

Friday, September 24, 2010

Red in the Face

One of my newest pregnancy symptoms seems to be an extreme tendency to blush at inappropriate times, namely at work.

My job is for all intents and purposes as a secretary, and I have been busting my behind for the past 2+ years to show that I can do much more than make copies and answer phones. I think all of my hard work is a bust now that I now have the world's worst tendency to get hot and flustered at the drop of a hat. One minute I am fine and the next I am in the middle of explaining something to someone "superior" to me and my whole body goes hot and gets beet red and my eyes feel like they are going to explode.

It's not even the kind of blush you can kind of wave away and pretend like you are just having a little hot flash, it's like the kind of blush where your eyes are watering and wooshing sounds start in your ears. I look like a COMPLETE fool. And of course then the person says, "Ooooh, have I embarrassed you?" or just looks at me like I have lost my mind, at which point I really do get embarrassed and turn a nice shade of puce.

I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a big deal, but good lord, it's really hard to get people to take you seriously when you look like a fat, red sweaty tomato. Not exactly the image I was going for...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My best friend's third cousin's dog is dead...or why I now listen to country music

This whole vasa previa diagnosis has been a pretty traumatic event in my life. Even though I know it is highly unlikely now that we know about it, I still have a tendency to feel like something terrible is going to happen at any moment. I spend hours lying around with my shirt up watching for signs of movement, and heaven help the kid if he doesn't jump to it, because my next step is drinking ice cold water to get him hopping...or eating something spicy, which usually just results in giving him the hiccups. I usually try this around 2:00 am when I can't sleep. I am definitely not winning mother of the year.

Anyway, one of the many ways I have found to distract myself from the whole business is by listening to country music. I went through I country music stage in high school, even attending a Country Music "Fest" at one point, but have generally moved away from it since then. Until now. I tell you what, if you are going through something in your life, just tune in to the local country music station. These people have it BAD. Their moms, cousins, girlfriends, or cats are all dead. They have no jobs, no money, and no choice but to drink mass amounts of tequila. Despite it all they are quite proud of their cars, yards, and the US of A. They also display an impressive faith in God. All in all, these people are on to something.

So, realizing that I am just going to be a nervous wreck until I have this baby in my arms, in the meantime I thought I would let you know I am getting quite a lot of comfort from my new musical genre. I mean, at least my best friend's dog did not run off with my husband and I'm not drowning myself in "straight tequila night"s...right?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Vasa Who?

Control is a funny thing. I have always been someone who likes to have complete and total control over any given situation. I knew going in that pregnancy/parenthood was not really a "controlled" situation but these latest developments have really thrown me for a loop.

Yesterday I was officially diagnosed with vasa previa by the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor at MUSC. This was a terrible experience, mainly because the doctor had one foot out the door the entire time she "explained" the condition to us. Her basic diagnosis was that I lived too far from the hospital to do anything if I started bleeding before my scheduled c-section and that I should try to eat a lot of red meat so my iron count would be high if me or the baby bled out. As you can imagine, my panic level was through the roof by the time we left.

Luckily for me, cooler heads prevailed (mainly my mom's and Parke's) and I was able to get an appointment today with my regular doctor. The nurse at my doctor's office said the magic words, music to my ears, "don't worry honey, we are going to get you a plan."

Now, I know plans rarely if ever go accordingly...but even a rough draft of a plan seems better to me than feeling like I have a ticking time bomb in my stomach. The only plan I have right now is to run around with a bloody steak in my mouth, so yes, a plan B sounds great thanks.

My automatic assumption is that the baby will be fine, because in my life everything has always turned out fine. I have always had faith that God is in control, and I still believe that...but there is that slight doubt that maybe I have been TOO blessed. People have terrible things happen to them every day, what if this is it and my blessings have been used up? I know in my heart that is not the way He works, but it is harder to wrap my head around the concept.

So back to control. In the midst of all of this, the copier machine at my office jammed. This was the kind of jam that involves taking out small parts and pieces with the machine blaring it's protest the whole time. The rest of the office decided to put an "Out of Order" sign on it until we could get professional help.

Two hours of taking the copier apart and putting it back together, I fixed the darn thing. It would be sad to try to describe the sense of elation I got when the screen confirmed that yes, it would copy again. My life may feel completely out of control right now, but the copier has never run so smoothly. And sometimes that is all you can do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Team Unfortunate


So, this has nothing to do with pregnancy, I just thought I should save it so I could always remember when the Twilight craze went too far...yes, this cat is dressed as Edward Cullen. At a fashion show.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

My body, next on Animal Planet


I guess everyone has that moment where the realization they are pregnant really sinks in. I'm not talking so much about those happy, glowing moments where you feel your child move and are filled with love and excitement...I've had those, and yes, they were great.

This is more the moment where you catch glimpse of yourself and it finally sinks in that very round, large woman is actually you.

My moment happened earlier today, while I was innocently minding my own business, going to see a matinee with a couple of friends. I was actually feeling pretty cute in my new Old Navy maternity skirt and fitted tee. Before walking out the door I may have even been feeling a little smug, here I was, 5 1/2 months pregnant, and I wondered if anyone could even tell.

Oh, they can tell alright.

My little dream world crashed down around me when I was standing next to my tall, thin friend in front of those darn reflecting windows.

Seriously, I looked exactly like one of those snakes that swallowed a huge egg and then topped it off with a couple of Hostess snowball cupcakes. And did I get shorter? Who was this squat thing standing around in the dumpy skirt and too-tight top?

So, evidently the fact that I am pregnant is no longer only apparent when I am lying on my back, feeling that joyful kick. Nope, it has more or less is being announced to the world every time me and me big belly leave the front door. That's right world, I look like Frosty the Snowman and I am proud of it.

For the record, I did not bother to look in the window when we were on our way out. I was pretty sure my "fitted" tee was losing a battle to the vat of popcorn and gallon of cola I'd just consumed, and nobody needs to see that.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Name Game

One of the first things people start to ask when you announce that you are pregnant is "So, have you decided on a name?" This question gets more and more urgent the further you progress, as if naming the baby will somehow be the vailidation that there is actually a baby in there and you didn't just "biggie size" your Whopper meal.

More than one new parent warned me against sharing our chosen name with the world before the ink was dry on the birth certificate. I could not for the life of me figure out why, obviously our friends and family were very eager for this information so they would certainly be thrilled when we made the big announcement.

Wrong, dead wrong.
We decided to name our little boy John Robert, we will be calling him Rip. I relayed this news excitedly to friends and family, finally what they had all been waiting for...

After months of saying she did not care WHAT we named the baby, it was OUR baby, my own mother was the first to weigh in.
Mother (in voice slightly strained with panic): "Just remember, this is for the REST OF HIS LIFE. Why don't you just try it out for a little while and see how you feel?"
Me (much less excitedly than 30 seconds prior): "Mama, I think we are pretty sure that is going to be his name."
Mother (forcefully): "I just really think you should think about it, THIS IS FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE."

My sister was more to the point when she made her opinion known in a succinct text message: "Don't name your baby Rip, it reminds me of a poot."

Various other friends and family members have been more passively aggressive about our choice, "Well, he could always go by John or Robert" (i.e. He could always go by John or Robert when he is old enough to have some sense and realizes what morons his parents are)

So lesson learned. If you don't want to think of your child's name as a bodily function, best to do the big reveal after it is no longer acceptable for others to voice their opinions. I'll keep that in mind for child number two (I'm thinking VanWinkle Harris).

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Here I sit, with two bags of chips...

Somewhere along the line, I learned the little sing-songy phrase, "Here I sit, on two little chips, come and kiss my pretty little lips"...well, according to my last doctor's appointment, nobody is going to be kissing my pretty little lips for at least five more months. I have been placed on "pelvic rest", which basically means no extracurriculars in the bedroom. I feel like I have to point out here that my husband did not seem that upset by the news, which I found pretty offensive.

The latest development came after one of the more frustrating doctor's appointments that I have ever had. I was in for my big 20 weeker, which for most women means you can find out the sex of the baby. We went in knowing that we had a bouncing baby boy on the way, so I was ready to settle in and enjoy the show.

Just as an aside, I find ultrasound rooms awkward, there you are with your shirt jerked up around your neck and jelly smeared all over your body while everyone else stands around fully clothed. Makes me feel at a real disadvantage in the event of a emergency situation (fire, flood, what have you).

By law, ultrasound techs cannot make any diagnosis, they have to wait for an actual doctor to let you know if anything is wrong. We knew almost immediately that something was not right. No, not because we are ultrasound savants and noticed something alarming on the screen (the little guy looked fine to me, waving his arms around to beat the band). It was mostly that our particular tech did not let the law stop her from making all kind of tskking and mmmm-mmming sounds. Parke and I immediately went on high alert, peppering her with questions as to what exactly was wrong. After comforting comments like,"I don't know how to say this without making it sound scary" and "I can't say, but I haven't seen something like this in so many years I don't remember the name of it", Little Miss Subtle went to retrieve the doctor.

So, there we sat for upwards of 30 minutes, waiting on the doctor to come in and drop the bomb. We sat for so long the goo dried on my stomach and hardened into a little mold of my belly button.

Finally, the doctor flies in, makes a diagnoses that involved a lot of hand motions, that to me looked like when paper beats rock (thankfully, there were no scissors). What it basically boiled down to was that while the baby is fine, his umbilical cord is all wonky and in a place that could cause me to have a C-section. Also, no sex, running, lifting, taking hot baths, getting hot in general, or doing anything remotely fun(in additon to not being able to eat or drink anything found outside of the organic food section). And then she was gone.

So, now it is the weekend. Obviously and most importantly, I am beyond thrilled that our baby is fine. That said, this really sucks. I am basically allowed to sit on my rapidly growing behind and watch TV while my husband (helpfully) is surfing. Here I sit, with two bags of chips, with nobody to kiss my big fat lips. At least there are salt and vinegar...yum.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things that are never socially exceptable to say to a pregnant woman (Part 1)

These are just a few things that have been said and done to me in the past five months. This post is "Part 1", because I have 4 months left, which leaves plenty of opportunity for people to say stupid stuff. Let's review...

Scenario One: Oh, wow! You are 2 minutes pregnant?! Let me squeeze the fool out of your stomach.
Reason why it is Unacceptable: If I am not currently feeling my child move, there is absolutely no good reason for your hand to be on my stomach. I am informed on a weekly basis that this thing growing inside of me is the size of grape, so whatever you are grabbing is most likely the McFlurry I couldn't pass up on my way home from work. Hands off. This rule applies double if I met you in the last five minutes.

Scenario 2: Whoa, you are really getting HUGE!
Reason why it is Unacceptable: I really would think this should be self-explanatory, but no. Here is a tip, if you would not say it to a woman who is not pregnant, probably pretty unwise to a woman so hopped up on hormones she she is capable of almost anything. Including commenting on your recent weight gain.

Scenario 3: My niece/cousin/neighbor once removed just had a miscarriage at (insert your week of pregnancy here)
Reason why it is Unacceptable: Okay, pregnancy is one of the most nerve wracking times of a woman's life. And while I am certainly sympathetic towards your grocery bagger's recent misfortune, there is absolutely no reason I need to hear about it in my current state. This also holds true for any of the horror-filled birth stories you may have experienced. I am happy to hear about how they had to take out all of your internal organs to save your little bundle of joy, but let's save it for another time, kay?

Scenario 4: Does your face break out like that normally?
Reason why it is Unnacceptable: Seriously people. Pregnancy is full of lovely little gems that nobody talks about until they happen. The fact that you could cook french fries on my face is just one of them. If you want to get into the large purple vein running down my right boob we can, if not, best just to tell me I am glowing an move on.

So, I hope we have all learned a little something from this. Basically the same rules apply for pregnancy as they did in kindergarten..if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.