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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Outta Sorts-n-Stuff

Greetings, KuKd Mommy-os, Daddy-os, and Inquisitive Guests!

* * *

Today I felt out of sorts. Not downright depressed or anything, just kind of anti-social and weird and worried about stuff. Does anyone else ever get in funks like that? I forgot to even run a brush through my hair or put on Cherry Chapstick - the two main components of my morning beauty routine - before hopping the bus to work. Then, upon arriving to work, I was determined to have as little human interaction as possible, which is admittedly hard if you're a teacher. So I slipped into my office and slipped back out, zombied my way through classes and a workshop, ducked into the student union to grab a plate of chicken-n-veggies, and inhaled it while scurrying off to catch my bus home.

Human interaction avoided, with the exception of a few students: check.

* * *

I saw Juno this week, The Movie That Everyone Loved But Told Me I Ought To Wait a Few Years Before Seeing. My mother was so concerned, in fact, that she called on her way home from the theater and left a message on our machine, which I still remember clearly:

"Hi honey! Dad and I saw Juno at the mall today. Great movie, but whatever you do, don't go see it! Wait a few years until you're ready. Oh, and the main character really reminded us of you."

Now, having seen it, I'm pretty sure she didn't mean the main character was like me in terms of looks, not that I wouldn't love to believe I look like Ellen Page. Must be the profanity, the baggy sweatshirt, and the shouting demands for the "spinal tap" during labor. Anyway, I'm also pretty darn glad I waited - yeah - "a few years" before seeing it.

Juno:
it's witty, sad, gritty, and funny as hell - well, funny if you share my own twisted brand of humor. The characters in it are cool in a slightly annoying, edgy cool-person kind of way, similar to Superbad. It also tugged lots of tears and made me keep getting up and running into the kitchen for nose-blowing paper towels. Just lots of baby-related drama. If you're an infertility-fighting sister in particular, this movie will strike you hard.

But, as my mom says: "Wait a few years until you're ready."

* * *

Yesterday I got a one-hour massage as an early Valentine's day gift to myself, since - rest assured - THIS gal is not going to be slipping into that black bustier-n-stirrups getup from my springtime Victoria's Secret jaunt of last year (gawd...was that really a year ago???). Oh, it'll come out again to play, once I'm no longer of walrus-like proportions. Assuming that day comes.

Oh, how tiresome it is to hear myself think and talk about my own occasional bouts of irrational panic. This one I'll mention briefly because it perhaps relates to today's anti-social, anti-hair-brushing behavior. It happened while I was halfway through my massage, lying on my side in a darkened room with Enya-esque music in the background. My brain should in some faraway Zen-like place, but instead it kept wandering into whatever that space is where paranoia lives, where we overthink ourselves into muscle-tensing funk: I haven't felt the baby move since this massage began, not once.

The thought hit me out of the blue, and even the masseuse - incidentally a younger girl who looked like Ellen Page - noticed it:

"You feel tense all of a sudden. Am I hurting you?"

"Nuh-no, I'm fine. Just, um, thinking about stuff."

That evening, and all day today even, there was some occasional flicking and flitting around in there, but none of the full-on fetal gymnastics I've gotten used to. Why isn't he moving with gusto, all the time? It just puts me in a funk when he doesn't, and then the fact that I'm in a funk puts me in an even greater funk, because I just don't want to be one of those ever-worried types that gets pulled into funks really easily. Sigh.

Did I always worry like this? I seem to think not. Gawd, I'm irritated with myself.

* * *

One of my fellow KuKd momma's daughter Annika died...oh...some-odd years ago from nec-ro-something, that horrid thing that I can't spell or pronounce, where a preemie baby's intenstines stop working. Anyway, she (the friend) now has another baby named Theo, and I asked her once how her past experience with Annika affects her relationship with her new son.

She sent me this really lovely and fascinating response, which I went back to reading last weekend. Not sure what compelled me to relook at this, other than the occasional thoughts I've had lately about how to integrate baby-past with baby-future. Here's an abridge of what she said. Isn't it gorgeous?

Having Theo makes tangible the fact that my life has kept -- and still keeps -- moving forward, and I know more concretely now that I'm not stuck in an interminable spiral of grief. But I also think of the gifts Annika gave me, all that I learned from her life. Having and losing Annika made me into the mother that Theo has, probably a different mother than Annika would have had.

I like to think she gave him the gift of a better mother: a mother who not only loves him the way all mothers love their children but who also understands the enormity and the preciousness of his unique life. Everything changed when she died. Annika's mother probably would have felt torn between motherhood and career; Theo's mother doesn't question his supremacy. Annika's mother would have been impatient with all the not-sleeping and night-waking; Theo's mother thinks mere exhaustion is a small price to pay for his well-being. Annika's mother might too often have listened to her head more than her heart; Theo's mother won't make that mistake.


I know, I know. It's about the most poetically lovely thing a person could possibly say. Now, had this come from one of those pink-n-lavender grief pamphlets, it probably would've gone in one ear and out the other. But as it is, this one came from a trusted friend who I happen to know shares the same disdain for frilly sappy things as I do. And she's a lawyer, for God's sake; a real honest-to-goodness lawyer with an analytical head on her shoulders. You can always trust lawyers, right? ;-)

It got me wondering, though: will my experience be the same? That is, will Zachary's death make me into a better mother for this next kid coming up, or at least hopefully coming up, provided he starts kicking with gusto again so I don't inadvertently kill him with the anxiety-chemicals oozing from my mind?

I hope so. I wondered that today, on and off. Just another odd thing that may or may not have contributed to my funk de jour.

* * *

Anyway, I'm outtie and off to look up chocolate-dipped sugar cookie recipes. Seems like an appropriate thing to make.

18 comments:

lis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lis said...

maybe these will help

http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/01/best-cocoa-brownies/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+smittenkitchen+%28smitten+kitchen%29

they sure helped me out a bit this week.
im sorry you are in a funk. i haven't been able to shake mine. i am constantly spelling words wrong and confusing grammar and i have shown a complete inability to process spoken information. and you are pregnant. and teaching? good god you should be happy to make it to work with clothes on!
im sure you are torn between what was supposed to be and what is, i know i am and that is not always the most soothing place to be. i hope sugar helps...xoxo
a new reader

Alena said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Alena

http://ovarianpain.net

Hope's Mama said...

I watched Juno when I was pregnant with Hope and you know, loved it. I'm not sure I could watch it again now for a good few years, if ever.
And I too always worried I was going to kill Angus with bad thoughts and worry. Turns out I didn't, but I still wonder if it is going to leave him a little messed up. Either that or the gross home doppler over use (you thought of getting one to keep your mind at ease in the final weeks - it did help for me).
And gorgeous email from Annika's mum. She's spot on. Having walked the same path as her, I'm not sure I could have said it any better herself.
Wishing you peace for your final weeks with this little one inside you, Monica.

B said...

My husband tried to buy Juno on sale for £3 recently. I looked at him and said 'you do realise we won't be able to watch that for, like, years?'.

He looked at it and put it down again.

Shame, 'cause it really is a good film.

Anyway, hi! I dropped in here a while ago and am enjoying reading. I hope everything is OK.

angie said...

I loved Juno, but always end up flubbering and crying and the cringe-able moments where Juno first talks to the parents who are adopting her baby are well cringe-able and uncomfortable and made me see Juno as a teenager, which is easy to forget.

And as to your question, yes, I get in funks like that. Overwhelmingly anti-social and unimpressed by human interaction. Or something. I take a lot of baths and do a lot of crosswords puzzles, and eat hard-boiled eggs, and watch shows like Paranormal State or Ghosthunters, and think--damn straight I'm haunting someone when I go. *sigh*

I wonder what the deal-io is with those days where it is simply flutters and no rolls? They freak me the hell out too, and I drink a shitload of orange juice and poke him. He always makes his kick count, but not with the same gusto. I think very loudly, "You are grounded, Thor."

With love. XO

Sonya said...

Hiya... I totally relate. When the sun shines it's like butterflies are floating out of your ears, but at the very thought of clouds... the entire world can drop into a bat-filled dark place that's depressing and leaves me feeling resentful. At least that's what it's like for me.. ;)

Juno was great. I adored all the charactors - hard to do that in most movies. Surprisingly enough, I cried in the movie 'Up' when the cartoon charactors lost their baby. And in "Marley and Me"...

Did they NOT have movies with miscarriages in them a few years ago or did I just NOT notice them?

*~*Lis*~* said...

I still haven't seen Juno - and I"m pretty sure it came out after my KUKD drama was over and my kids were already here. Meaning my KUKD drama really isn't over I guess.

I like to think I'm a better mother to my kids than I would have been to the 3 I don't have. I still get frustrated with them like any other mother would, but behind it all is the realization of how lucky I am to have them.

Brenna said...

I've watched Juno three times now. For some reason I didn't want to wait and saw in the theaters...though I was a blubbering, heaving mess during a few moments, to be sure, I still loved it. I heart Diablo Cody! But yeah, it can be a tough one for anyone dealing with IF.

Your friend's note is so beautiful. I can absolutely identify with a few things she says:
"Annika's mother would have been impatient with all the not-sleeping and night-waking; Theo's mother thinks mere exhaustion is a small price to pay for his well-being. Annika's mother might too often have listened to her head more than her heart; Theo's mother won't make that mistake."

I hope that's true of Adam, Joey, Paul and Tate's mom. And true for Zachary and his bro's mom, too. I can't help but think you're going to be pretty damned amazing at this motherhood thing, Monica! Funky days included.

xxoo
B

sbi said...

Although I have never lost a child as you and many of your readers have done, I successfully battled cancer and infertility to become a mother 10 years ago. The odds were stacked against me from the beginning, and my doctors were amazed I became pregnant, much less with twins.

My path to motherhood was littered with failures, uncertainties and loss. And because of it, I have never taken my boys for granted. I know how incredibly fortunate I am to have them in my life.

My boys do not live in a bubble protected by any harms or hurts. I haven't put them on pedestals, believing they are somehow better than any other children and above rules and consequences. But I do spoil them with love. I've earned the right, and so have you.

KuKd Chick said...

Wow, lots of peeps have already seen Juno. I guess I was just slow to jump on board. I'm glad, though, that other gals blubbered through parts of it and I'm not just turning into one of those permanently-on-the-rag types who bawls at everything.

Sonya - oh yeah, I cried in Up too. The cartoon marriage-montage is absolutely tear jerking in a million ways, including of course the most obvious way.

Lis - thx for the recipe link. Good inspiration.

Hope's Mama: oohh, you had killer anxiety chemicals leaking from your brain too? And your fetus didn't die? OK good. That gives me hope that unborn babies are stronger than I give them credit for.

Sbi - yes, your situation is similar. I think you're right: this sentiment expressed by Annika's mom comes from not just past pregnancy losses, but any path to parenthood that's "littered" with obstacles as yours clearly was.

Angie: Hard boiled eggs? I'll have to try that sometime as a soul-soother.

Sharon said...

Juno had a profound impact on me. I loved it and I so related to the adoptive Mom.
Its ok to get in a funk Mon, you've had some seriously hard times and they won't just disappear.

Michelle said...

I get it funks like this too! You are not alone. Maybe your little one was feeling a little anti-social as well and that is why he wasn;t moving around a lot.

I watched Juno waaaaay to soon and therefore did not appreciate or like it very much!

That is such a beautiful note from your friend. I feel like that. Like all those things will make me a different mom. I have worked so hard to get there or hope to get there...anyway that is what I think now...we will see.

BluebirdSinging said...

I watched Juno while I was still pregnant and at the time, I loved it. I loved it so much that I bought the extra special DVD version with the entire printed movie script included...

Then Maya died and I swore that I would never watch that movie again (along with Knocked Up). I recently sold them on half.com just to get them out of the house!

Reba said...

OH i so remember that horrid moment of realization...i can't remember when i last felt the baby move! then you think about it and you remember when you THINK the last time was, and it's a long time ago. ugh! i'm sure the little guy was just enjoying his mama's relaxing massage but seriously, the heart-gripping fear is terrifying. hugs.

Ya Chun said...

i have been antisocial this whole pregnancy -even so far as to not blogging much. I guess I am just looking inward??

I am also crazy with worry. I try not to, but it is hard to be blase.

it just is that way for us i suppose.

Kara's Mom said...

Thanks for including the note from Annika's mom. Sometimes I think about how differently I would have parented Kara, had she lived, than how I will parent my next children. Kara's mom would have been frustrated and impatient at many junctions in child rearing. Now, I will be so happy they arrive alive, no amount of sleeplessness, crying, screaming, whatever, could keep me from thinking about how precious life is and how wonderful it is that they're here. The death of Kara has made me see life as SO very precious and amazing, and I will be patient and kind and put my children before career, no matter what. thank you for this post.

pookiedoo87 said...

Juno is a beautifully awesome movie, and the soundtrack is amazing, in an upbeat antisocial kind of way.

And these cookies, totally the bomb!
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/shortbread-cookies-recipe/index.html