Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Plodding Along

My to-do list borders on out of control. Part of the problem is that I find something new to add every day. Working around the exhaustion and aches and pains of full-term pregnancy means I don't cross very much of my list on any given day. Yesterday I started a labor-inducing routine with acupuncture and I had insane, uncomfortable contractions all day long. As I was nearing bedtime I thought "what if this actually sent me into labor tonight?" and I realized how far I am from being ready-- just in terms of my to-do list. My hospital bag is not packed, my house is a wreck, I still have three papers to write for my class, I haven't finished making burp cloths. Because I was so exhausted and worn out from all-day-long contractions, I had to just go to bed without even attempting to accomplish any of those things weighing on my mind. The baby technically could arrive any day now, though I've done a good job at convincing myself he'll come late. Still, I need to be prepared. Luckily I did get one extra meal in the freezer yesterday-- I'm trying to stock it full so we're not eating Five Guys and Papa Johns for every meal after the baby comes.

In terms of school, yes, I do still have three papers to write. (I am waiting to get my first paper back to help me know if I'm on the right track as far as my teacher's grading is concerned.) BUT, I did finished my observations in the high school. I had two long days of observing, but they were incredibly educational, and I rather enjoyed it. As I suspected, after observing all different levels, I am still most interested in teaching upper level classes-- juniors and seniors honors or AP.
The first day walking in to school, I was immediately mistaken for a student by some security guard who thought I shouldn't be parking in a visitor spot (really?), which immediately made me feel self-conscious. I tried to assume an air of authority and confidence to counteract my youthful look, but it was surprisingly difficult. Walking to my car after school I passed a group of students and immediately heard a girl yell to her friends, "is that a student?!?!"
Once again trying to remind myself I'll be glad I look so young when I'm 50. (Though, ya know, I'm getting rather near 30 and I didn't think I would still be mistaken for a teenager.)

Friday, October 11, 2013

Block One: Complete

I am finished with my first block! After filling out a course evaluation and staying for a make-up session, I completed my yoga class. What a relief! Now I can focus on my more-important education class. On Tuesday I go to a local high school to observe English classes all day-- this will be one of two observation days. (Can I just note that I have to be there at 7 am? Seven. In the morning. I'm not sure how that is going to be physically possible.)
I also finished a group project for class on Monday, and can I just say I hate group projects? In fact, I'm not sure I know anyone who likes group projects. But we were all happy with the final product. The benefit of these group projects is they are all online. On the day your group "presents" you just post your presentation to blackboard, and the rest of the class has about four days to contribute to an online discussion of the topic. There is no physical class on presentation days. So the real bonus is there are two of those in November. I hope this means I will only miss one class (the week of Thanksgiving). And now I need to buckle down and write the four papers I have due for the class. My original goal was to turn them all in before the baby is born, and that still seems manageable.

In preparing for the baby, I will say that I am not currently making things easy for myself, because I am a hippie. I have been obsessed with this article I read on Salon a couple weeks ago that compares childbirth to extreme sports. I don't talk very openly about my opinions on childbirth (actually, my first and most important opinion is that every woman has the right to birth in whatever way she wants), but my intention is to have a completely natural, un-medicated, intervention-free birth. I totally get that this does not appeal to everyone most women. But one thing I loved so much from that article was a quote from explorer Peter Mathiessen about his expedition to Antarctica: “What draws me eludes me to the same degree…. A longing it most certainly is, but a longing for what?” I can try to explain my feelings rationally: my body does not react well to pitocin, I do not want to risk another spinal headache, I don't want the increased risk of a c-section, etc., but the reality is that I don't know what draws me to natural childbirth. There is a deep desire that cannot be verbalized. It is a desire to be connected to the primal nature of woman within myself and to feel that raw power.
But it means my preparation for childbirth is much more involved. I actually hope it will translate to an easier recovery this time around (my recovery with Bria was out. of. this. world. horrible, and I was so not prepared for that). So I hope maybe all this hard work and preparation will pay off when I still have school to finish after the baby comes. And this is why I can consider childbirth to be my extreme sports expedition also: I have no idea what to expect in that dark abyss of childbirth/postpartum recovery combined with school. It's a pretty accurate explanation of how I feel to say "here I go . . . into the wild . . . "

Friday, October 4, 2013

Home Stretch

I took my meditation final yesterday, and my yoga final is next week. Yoga has been such a disaster-- the class feels incredibly disorganized. Our final consists of us each demonstrating a sun salutation of our own creation, which at this point, I sometimes feel like I'm lucky just to be standing in mountain pose. Luckily I just found out my teacher will walk around the room observing us while we all do our sun salutations simultaneously. I was having nightmares about performing a solo sun salutation in front of my class. I still have so much to do for my education class, but at least I will only be on campus once a week from here on out. I feel like I can finally turn my focus to preparing for this baby to be born.

It's been interesting since this is my second baby, I should feel more prepared than I do. Because it's been five and a half years, in many ways I feel like I'm starting over. I mean, just from the practical side, we had to get all new baby gear since we'd slowly weeded out basically everything. But there are other details I just don't remember about last time. Our doula asked me this week if I felt like this baby was heavier (as a mother's sense of size is often most accurate), and I honestly have no idea. I do not remember what it felt like to be eight months pregnant. There is one huge change this time, however, which is that I am not filled with terror at the prospect of having a baby. The entire first year of Bria's life I was living on the edge wondering if we were both going to survive. And we did! I'm glad I have that piece of evidence under my belt so on tough days in the future I can remind myself, "hey, you've kept another human alive for five and a half years. you can totally do it again!" It also helps that I wanted this baby for a long time. Sam and I were flying by the seat of our pants in so many ways when Bria was born, but now we feel so ready for this little boy to join our family. It's a good feeling. It's good to know that really tough transition to motherhood will count for something.

Over the last week I've started to really assume a sense of ownership over my plans for labor, and I'm actually feeling excited about it. Everywhere I go strangers want to know when I'm due, and it's starting to freak me out that the answer is now "about a month." And I really don't love strangers inserting themselves into my business, but when the jock from my yoga class asked me how much longer I have today, he followed up with "and is everything going ok? how are you feeling?" I told him I'm feeling pretty good, and he said "yeah, well you're totally killing it."
Now that is the kind of commentary I will accept.