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Just Feeling Sub-Optimal

Yeah, I’ve been absent for a while. I still need to say something about Acorns & Pearls, and regale you all with our plumbing story from last weekend. I figure that if we absolutely must have household drama, the least I can do is to make it entertaining for the masses. Oh and there are also the final "after" shots of the bathroom pending.

But for right this moment in time, I’m just going to whine for a little bit. It is purely for therapeutic reasons, feel free to ignore me – it won’t hurt my feelings.

For the first time last night I really started to feel awkward. Originally I said "huge" to Bob, but that’s not accurate and was a failure of language skills more than an actual representation of the sensation. I’m awkward. Now, there are a couple of reasons why I shouldn’t really be complaining about this. One is that it’s not like I’ve ever been graceful. I’ve been chunky and somewhat clumsy my whole life. The other reason is that I’m two weeks from being in my third trimester, which makes "I’m awkward" a "well, duh" sort of a statement. But it doesn’t make it any more enjoyable.

Part of the problem is that all of the assorted physical changes are finally starting to interact with my usual chronic back issues. I’ve got a bunch of coping strategies for my back pain, chief among which is ibuprofen and a very good chiropractor and massage therapist. Problem is that a lot of that just doesn’t work right now. I’ve got a knot/spasm in my lower back (we’ll be polite and call it my lower back) that has been there for almost a month now. The massage therapist can’t really get to it because I can’t lie on my stomach. I can’t really stretch it out because things don’t seem to be arranged/attached in quite the same fashion (and my hips ache so badly that they’re driving me nuts all by themselves.) I can’t take ibuprofen at this point because n-said’s can make bad things happen late in pregnancy. I have this vision of being in chronic, escalating pain non-stop for the next three months. On the bright side, it only hurts if I move. :-)

I know. I’m sure that it’s not going to happen like that. But it wears you down, ya know? I’ve had these back issues for decades now, and it’s only been really bad for the last ten years.– you think I’d be used to chronic pain by now. But every so often I just need to wallow in a little self-pity.

I’m also short of sleep and grumpy. Last night was the first real "damn it, there’s no way I can lie down" night. Lie this way and the belly actually drags at my innards and is uncomfortable. Lie that way and the belly is comfortable but my back is stabbing daggers (no, it’s not sciatica thank God. That is the one back issue that I don’t have!) I also know this is only the beginning, and I’m sure that there are just dozens of people out there who will gleefully point out how much worse it’s going to get.

Here’s a question: why is it that if you’re pregnant and uncomfortable at all, everyone piles on to tell you
* how much worse it’s going to get;
* how much worse it was for them;
* how much easier you have it than so-and-so did;
* that should enjoy your discomfort now, because in a month x, y, and z are going to be a problem; and
* how lucky you are to only have x.
Is there anyone on the planet capable of just saying "wow, that sucks and I hope it gets better?" I’m beyond hoping for constructive suggestions, and would just like a little empathy – without the "I can top that" story attached. Believe me, I know what’s coming. I’ve read all the literature, and people have been dying to tell me awful stories for months. That’s why I haven’t told anyone at work except my supervisors. I would rather be cut off for a while longer from being able to ask about day cares and car seats and such if it means another week without the continual rain of downers that will descend as soon as it’s accepted public knowledge.

Sorry. Whining again.

I think that actually brings me to the real heart of what’s got my knickers in a knot. I’m not good at the whole "stoic" thing. I’ve joked for years that the day I stop complaining you should check for pulse and respiration. But I try really hard not to whine. I hate people who whine. But every so often, everyone needs to. It flushes the crap and bad feelings out of the pipes and leaves you feeling like you can face whatever the issue is with a deep breath and a fresh try. If you have a sympathetic listener, it really helps you to regain your balance.

But in this particular situation, responses seem to fall into one of two categories: 1) don’t complain – it’s going to get SO much worse; and 2) but you’ve been so good about not complaining (which really means "I’m pained and disappointed that now you’ve decided to burden people with your insignificant aches and pains. We’re not going to have to keep hearing about this, are we?) Internalizing everything (which is what I’ve been doing) is officially No Fun. But admitting to issues and either not getting any support or getting what I would classify as "negative support" is worse. Let’s see – she’s feeling crummy and knows that it’s not going to get any better, so let’s pile on a load of guilt about daring to complain. Thanks. That’s exactly what I needed to make me feel better.

So I’m whining here. Makes sense, eh? Complain on the internet for the whole world to see. Maybe I’m hoping for a diffusion effect – it’ll blend into the background noise and no one will notice.

My back hurts. Heck, my back has hurt for the last month, and it’s got nothing to do with being pregnant – just with being me. My hips ache. I can’t sleep worth a damn – because my back and my hips ache. My damn pants won’t stay up because a belt doesn’t work real well when you don’t have a waist. The seat belt in the car fits worse than usual – now it sits across my belly at the bottom and across my throat at the top. Riding in Bob’s car makes my back worse. I itch. I would commit an act of violence to be able to sleep on my stomach for just one night. I’m told that my moods are unpredictable and that said unpredictability is unacceptable. I’m tired of people telling me what they’re "not going to let me do" as though I am some sort of idiot or child. Then there are some other things that I’m not going to go into because they’re not mine to share in public, but are the ones that actually make me feel like crap and that we’ve made a terrible and irrevocable mistake.

Oh, and since I’m ranting? I am already sick of the question "so when are you going to have the next one." I answer that we’re not, and I INVARIABLY get the knowing smile and "we’ll see." Hey dipshit – are you going to offer to write the check for daycare every month? We don’t have any option to telecommute. "Work from home" means "unemployed" in our house. If he quits, we don’t have enough money to pay the mortgage, the car payment, or buy groceries. If I quit, we don’t have health insurance or money to pay the rest of the bills. That means finding almost another $900/month somewhere to pay for daycare – and they think I can find another $1,800? But apparently everyone knows better than I do what’s right for my life and my budget. I know they mean well, but the condescension sticks in my craw.

On the plus side, my feet don’t hurt any more than they usually do, and all my shoes (both pair) still fit. My wedding rings still fit. My sense of smell is back to normal. All of my digestive processes are usual. No heartburn. No cravings. I haven’t needed to buy any maternity clothes yet, although I might buy a longer belt (my pants are too big, my belt is too small.)

I’m tired of trying to be a hero – work my usual 40 plus hour week; keep the house minimally at our usual state of clutter; keep up with the laundry; plan and implement necessary projects (pulling the nursery together, planning the downstairs bathroom re-do before Mom comes to stay with us, order wood for the winter and figure out where to stack it, clean the basement so that we can get the chimneys swept, etc.); figure out all the baby related stuff (classes, diaper service, research car seats and day care, figure out what we need to register for, get a registry, start looking at names, etc.); still manage to stay up until around midnight like I am expected to do; oh yeah – be pregnant; and keep a smooth smiling facade with my mouth shut so that Bob won’t need to be disturbed by knowing that perhaps this is all a little too much for one person. It reminds me a lot of our usual prep for Pennsic – I end up putting so much effort into planning and getting us packed that by the time we actually get to Pennsic I’m too exhausted to actually enjoy myself.

I just don’t have any solutions beyond "suck it up." I don’t really like that one, but it’s all that’s on my plate right now. I guess I’m disappointed because while I didn’t necessarily expect to enjoy this process, I did expect to at least have portions of it that were interesting, or exciting, or at least a shared experience with my husband. Instead it’s something that is just to be endured as quietly as possible.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I’ll be more entertaining next time. I promise.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 19th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
Wow, that sucks and I hope it gets better.

Just a couple of hopefully useful comments.

1. Chronic pain is debilitating. Even if you're one of those who manages it well. It requires energy to manage, and thus is very tiring. So just because you're "used" to it doesn't mean that it doesn't suck.

2. Creative sleeping options. Do you have a recliner or comfy chair you can sleep in? Throw an opened out sleeping bag over it to protect the upholstery and sleep there. Alternatively, can you have Himself build a pillow nest around you that supports you in all the appropriate places? Sleeping in the bathtub probably won't help, but you might be surprised at the creative things you can do with furniture to make yourself comfortable.

Jun. 19th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
We don't have a recliner, and unfortunately I've *never* been able to sleep on my back or propped up. It makes bad head colds a real bitch. I've also got this stubborn thing going right now about refusing to be driven out of my bed. We'll see if that lasts.

I've got lots and lots of pillows, and have been doing reasonably well with them. In a pinch, the doctor told me I can take a Benadryl, but I'm saving that for a special occasion.
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Fair enough. Just passing on what worked 18+ years ago for Zeph's mum.
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
Understood and appreciated. I've heard a lot of people use the recliner solution, especially later on. I should probably try one more time to teach myself to sleep like that before it's really critical.

Mostly I just needed to have a really good, self-pitying whine and hopefully have a couple of people say some version of "there, there." That should hold me for a while.
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
Mostly I just needed to have a really good, self-pitying whine and hopefully have a couple of people say some version of "there, there."
And you're perfectly entitled to it too. There's something remorseless and relentless about pregnancy -- it does what it wants to do with complete and utter disregard for what the pregnant woman wants. That can be immensely frustrating and annoying (and really set off people with control issues!) I've been on the receiving end of the "I want my body back now!" rant from several pregnant friends in the past.
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
"and really set off people with control issues!"

I cannot imagine what you could possibly mean by that... ;-)

"And you're perfectly entitled to it too"

There - that's what I wanted. Now if I could only get a little of that attitude at home without having to solicit it with a baseball bat...
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Hmmm.... perhaps when I see himself next I could drop a hint or two. Wrapped in a couple of pounds of C4 so that he notices them. :D
Jun. 19th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
*hug* If I could be there hugging you for real, you know I would.

I hear you...it sucks. And I went through the same crap with people that you are experiencing. The condescending remarks, the war stories, all of it. The thing that bugged me the MOST was the blithely daffy "Oh you're going to have a bundle of JOY soon" which made me want to crush kill destroy. The bundle of joy was making my feet swell & kicking me in the bladder & making me pee myself...thankyouverymuch.

Well...the bundle of joy is truly a joy...so that part is all true. She's a friend and my pride and in about two weeks she's heading to Japan, & the list of good things that comes from the 9 months of awkward & pain is so immense, I couldn't begin to enumerate.

In truth, I don't understand how anyone has "war stories" about pregnancy. Here is MY truth...just a few months away from the experience, all I remembered was anecdotal in essence. I remember the situation, but not in a vivid "I lived through it" kind of way. What comes after (& what comes after is joy and life and a LOT of laughs 'cause babies/toddlers are constantly, unintentionally hilarious in a thousand ways)...it tends to wipe away all memory of the pain.

So, complain as much as you need to. This forum is great for that. No one will judge & if they do, just hit "delete". Your body and brain are experiencing a monumental change & some of that will be permanent. Change on that level, in such a short period of time, is bound to be traumatic. It's not healthy to think that it can be anything BUT traumatic & life-altering, so go ahead & feel the way you need to feel.

I have faith in you. You're strong and VERY smart, and you'll be okay in time. You don't have to save the world...just be yourself & you'll be just fine eventually. In the meantime, I'm here listening. ;-)
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
I know you would hon.

I don't (yet) mind the whole "bundle of joy" thing. I get that - just don't expect me to enjoy the intermediate side effects. And to be fair, I don't really have that many of them - knock on wood. So you can add my self-imposed guilt about whining, because I know that I've got so much less to feel self-pitying about compared to so many people. I'm good at guilt - I should have been Catholic :-)

I don't know why people feel the need to share horror stories. I think it's supposed to be some sort of bonding/welcome to the exclusive club thing. Maybe I'm just wired differently from a lot of other people, but I don't really find the stories of how much worse off someone else was to be uplifting. I just find it to be a diminishment of how *I* feel - like it's not valid in some fashion. Or maybe I'm just oversensitive. That's always a possibility.

Thanks - sometimes I just need to rant and clear the system out.
Jun. 19th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, that sucks and I hope it gets better. :^)

I've found the phrase, "Wow! Thank you for deciding what's best for me!" is a good conversation-stopper when people think they know your life better than you.

(Well, that and "F*** off," but it depends on the situation and to whom one is speaking...)

It will get better.

(Otherwise, I wouldn't have done this twice...)
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
We'll see how it goes. I suspect that response two is *probably* inappropriate in the office. On the other hand, the outer ranges of my vocabulary can't touch some of what comes out of the General Counsel's office.

"How nice for you" in a tone that would freeze lava is also decent.
Jun. 19th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
1) HUGS!

2) Screw 'em all. You just be you, and if anyone gets sick of the complaining, let them go be an ass somewhere else.

3) I won't even pretend to understand what you're going through. You do have my support, though. And, as they say, "this too shall pass". I don't think that helps now, but you will be pain free soon enough.

4) more hugs! You keep on whining here, and we'll remind you just how much you're loved and that we don't mind.
Jun. 20th, 2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks hon.

My version has been "this is a temporary situation." But I understand now why you tend to apologize for "downer" posts. You want/need to vent, but you don't want to be a burden and you don't want to say something that might make people stop liking you... So I will attempt to take some of my own advice and lean on people when I need to.
Jun. 20th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
My therapist has pulled me up on the "gee, I really shouldn't complain, other folks have it worse" line, pointing out that just because some other folks do indeed have it worse doesn't mean that I am not allowed to be unhappy about (fill in the blank).

So you not only have my full permission to complain, you have my licensed therapist's permission!

Summer is upon us, and I have a more flexible schedule after July 4th. If you would like or need some physical help with something around the house, or help with baby stuff research or the like, let me know. (I need an excuse to come see you guys anyway.) I'm actually starting to get a handle on my own place, and it's always been much easier for me to work with someone else's stuff than my own anyway. 8)

Jun. 20th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
It's always easier to work on someone else's stuff. You should see me organize other people!

We keep talking about a get-together so that people can see the house (because almost no one has), but the talking about and doing haven't intersected yet. But I have good intentions...
Jun. 20th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
If nothing happens before September, ask me sometime post baby. One tends to get lots of help before and right after the baby arrives, however, sometimes help a little later than that is good too. You have my cell number and my home number, (and probably my work number too).
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )