Sunday, August 28, 2016

quick (the post) and dirty (the house)

I have reached the Contradictory Stages of pregnancy:

I Cannot Wait To Not Be Pregnant Anymore vs. Please Please Cook the Whole 40 Weeks and Be Healthy;

I Remember Well How Sleeping Only Two Hours Feels vs. At Least I Would Be Sleeping Those Two Hours Instead of Painfully Half-Dozing for Six;

Work Will Implode While I am Gone vs. Work Will Realize They Don't Need Me At All.

And then of course there are the stages that hardly confine themselves to confinement:

Nesting vs. I Need a Nap;

House-Cleaning vs. Nope, Gonna Nap;

Folding Laundry in a Timely Fashion vs. Meh.

Other major aspects of my life pretty much include the gestational diabetes diet (SO bored with nuts) and the delightful physical sensations of being thirty-three weeks pregnant. Perdita is being moved up to preschool starting in September, which has me sobbing helplessly at random moments of the day. Berowne is working seven days a week, thirteen hours a day (temporarily). I am tired.

Read lately:  

Shirley, by Charlotte Brontë. Weird, yet enjoyable.

Manners and Mutiny, by Gail Carriger. Steampunk teenagers, in a series that gets fluffier with every book. And of course our heroine gets more universally adored and impossibly skilled in each one as well. Yawn.

A Famine of Horses, by P.F. Chisholm. Very fun historical fiction about dealing with the Scots in the sixteenth century.

Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World, by Anthony Doerr. Gorgeously written, as you would expect from Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See), and a lovely memoir about living in a foreign country for a year. But not good to read if you are currently not permitted pasta.

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart: True Tales of Science, Surgery, and Mystery, by Rob Dunn. Popular medical history, in its usual vein (ha! genuinely no pun intended). Jumps around a bit chronologically and occasionally gets obsessed with the subjects' eccentricities to the detriment of the scientific discoveries. But I enjoyed it.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, by Cary Elwes. Basically just reads, "Yeah, all those people are as sweet as you want them to be."

The Silent Wife, by A.S.A. Harrison. Ugly, boring thriller in the genre of "no one really behaves like that ever".

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol, by Ann Dowsett Johnston. A good balance between memoir and research, and compellingly readable even while being quite sad.

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. Sweet in its own way, but rather too obsessed with name-dropping and reminding us every other page that Kilmer-Purcell used to be a drag queen. Yes, I do remember that from the last chapter, thanks!

The Witches: Salem 1692, by Stacey Schiff. The language is too overwrought and the dramatis personae are not kept nearly clear enough. Also Schiff ends up with no real hypothesis as to what caused the Salem witch panic, and that was frustrating.

And now, a nap. (What? I vacuumed fully half of the downstairs this morning, and I have only half an hour before my next required handful of almonds. Nothing more useful is getting done between now and then, I tell you.)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

pregnancy number 2, contd.


1. Gestational diabetes diagnosis, sigh. And of course no matter how many medical professionals tell me it's probably due to hormones and not to anything I did wrong, all I hear is "probably" and then we have the conversation that starts with "what do you eat?" and my face turns bright red and I start stammering, because I can't respond with, "Only kale salads with local grilled salmon," or something. It seems especially unfair because I have eaten so much more healthily this pregnancy than I did last time - I've been craving salads and fresh fruit rather than chocolate donuts - and yet here we are. But at least now we know that how shitty I've been feeling isn't just the heat (which is what I was attributing it to) and I get to play around with data points. (And the nurse I saw told me that she did have a patient who ate only kale salads and still got GD to a degree that ended up requiring medication to control, so I shouldn't keep beating myself up.) It's nonetheless good that I was already in therapy for my body image issues, because this is rough.

2. Eating every two hours while parenting a toddler is also rough. If we have any errands to run or such (Friday I had to stay home with her and get her to the doctor after a lovely rash showed up), then things are hard to time, and in any event if she sees me eating she wants to eat too. I suppose it's not the end of the world if, on the next ten weekends, she gets to eat every two hours as well, as long as she doesn't eat too much. (Same for me, I guess).

3. The baby is most likely fine. There is a chance he'll get too big through the shoulders, but with Berowne as his father that chance was there anyway. He's also still breech, and while there is some time for him to turn (Perdita turned long before this), I am starting to wonder if his blog name will end up being Macduff, if you know what I mean.

4. Honestly, I'm totally fine with it if Macduff he turns out to be, though we'd rather he not be untimely, of course. I have yet to see any compelling data on the Horrifically Absent Immune Systems of Babies Born Via C-Section that corrects for gestational age, meaning that the immune systems of babies born via emergency C-section six weeks early are being compared to those of full-term babies born vaginally, and the conclusion that the only thing which could cause the difference is the time in the birth canal is - what is the scientific term? - stupid. But what do I know, I just work with data for a living.

5. I swear, though, at least once a day I feel like I would knock old ladies down for the chance to eat a bowl full of grapes. It's August, damn it, I should be allowed to eat chilled grapes if I want to. But noooo.

6. On that note, to anyone out there thinking about getting pregnant: an October delivery may seem perfectly safe, but my advice to you would be to avoid your third trimester and summer overlapping at all. Like, plan to deliver no later than May and no earlier than December. The heat is just too miserable, and it's entirely possible I avoided GD last pregnancy simply because it wasn't summer - being overheated messes with your blood sugar. At least I can go to the beach often and stand bump-deep in the waves until I feel a tiny bit better.

7. Books:

Lady Audley's Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. Ah, the overwrought Victorian scandal-novel! Love me that stuff.

Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. I... skimmed. I had to. Very intelligent and comprehensive and more abstract than I had expected, and too emotionally hard for me to read in depth right now.

Death of a Hollow Man, by Caroline Graham. Solid British mystery, in the character-development vein that I love so.

Heresy, by S.J. Parris. Historical mystery that bored me.

Bad Faith, by Aimee Thurlo. Crime-solving New Mexican nun. Hard to miss, right? Especially once she's adopted the enormous white German Shepherd. But it never gelled, and the characters' dialogue was agonizingly unrealistic, and while I know the first book always has First Book Problems, I am not thrilled at the thought of trying more in the series.

It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History, by Jennifer Wright. Occasionally a little too silly in its efforts to be like a Buzzfeed article, which was sometimes mitigated by Wright's obvious amount of research and sometimes made more irritating by it (as in, stop assuming your reader needs these "timely" [i.e., dated by the time the book is published] pop references to enjoy your narrative voice and the history itself). But overall I quite enjoyed it. I'd been reading too much heavy stuff and this was an excellent palate-cleanser.

Eat some ice cream and fruit for me, and stay cool.