The number of coronavirus cases in our county has increased. I don’t think we’re on track to catch up to the Pittsburgh area, but we went from a slow increase of couple of days to several every 24 hours. The governor has issued a stay-at-home order for our county, and our township declared a state of emergency. Because the county doesn’t have its own health department, for some reason, this means they don’t know anything about the confirmed cases, so we have no idea who they are, where they live, and where they might’ve contracted it.

The stay-at-home order doesn’t mean much for us–we were pretty much doing that anyway, and since I’m pregnant, I was already being diligent even before my doctor advised me to basically not leave the house anyway. Paul still has to go to work, and when he comes home, he throws his clothes in the wash. If we need anything, he goes out and gets it–even if we’re both out, I’ve been staying in the car. I carry hand sanitizer with me, and even if I don’t touch anything anywhere, I still use it to be safe.

The stay-at-home order does allow for outdoor activities and we had a really nice, warm weekend, so we went out twice–once to a park, once to a nearby fitness trail. The park was crowded, and not everyone was attentive to social distancing. It’s possible to use the walking path and keep plenty of distance between yourself and other people, and some people clearly just do not care. The trail the next day was a little better. Much fewer people, and most of them seemed to care a little more.

It was really good for me to get out. I haven’t been to the gym pretty much since morning sickness hit, and now, when I could probably handle going, it’s closed. No good walking spots near the house. I’m definitely moving slower–my pregnancy weight gain hasn’t been much, but things are definitely proportioned differently, and I’m far enough along where some of the third-trimester complains a lot of women have have started creeping it. Everything feels harder to do, and I needed to take more breaks than I normally would. But I’m comforted by the fact that not only is walking great exercise for me right now but that I don’t feel like doing it is kicking my ass.

This morning, the ongoing saga of trying to get a damn blood-glucose test in the era of coronavirus continued. Previously, I showed up only for the lab to have closed and called another outpatient lab to see if they did it. They did not, but they directed me to the one lab that does, so Paul and I went this morning. “Great,” I’m thinking, “this one is open and I’ve already made it further than the last time.” And then they couldn’t find the lab orders, even after calling the hospital, and a call to my OB/GYN went unanswered. Paul, as it turns out, wasn’t allowed to wait with me and took the opportunity to get groceries, so the plan was I’d wait for him and hope they’d call back in the meantime and head home and wait there otherwise.

I was paranoid their hours had changed–I knew they’d adjusted to closing in the afternoons, but I didn’t know if maybe that meant also a shorter week or a later start. So since it was close, I told Paul to drive by, and they were open…so he was like, “Well, let’s go in and get your orders,” and I was like, “How do I just go in and say, ‘Hey, no one answered the phone so I figured I’d come see if anyone was here?'” But we went in and pretty much did a nicer, less-weird version of that, explaining I’d gone to have it done, they didn’t have the orders, and got voicemail when they call. I left with them in hand, went back to the lab, and at least got registered and sent back. Paul went home while I drank this super sweet drink that tasted like flat orange pop last time but the time was more like…shitty Hawaiian punch or a Hug drink with like three times the amount of sugar. And you have to drink a full cup of it in five minutes, which for me, a notoriously slow drinker, was a struggle. And then I had my blood drawn every hour for three hours. I’ve got holes poked all in my arms.

I passed the time by alternating between reading and watching what they had on the TV, which was USA, which meant all-day police procedurals, which I’m fine with, and reading. I carry a small book in my purse for these situations, so The Two Towers has been in there for a good while now and I finally finished it. I moved on to my library book, which would be way overdue if not for the library being closed.

Rather than a half day, I took the full day off of work, which ended up being smart since getting this shit done took so much longer than I expected–I think by the time I got back to the lab, an hour had passed since I’d first gotten there to find they didn’t have the orders, so no way would I have made it back home for work in time. But also, I just straight up didn’t want to have to fast and have my blood drawn once an hour and then come home and work. So now I’m in bed in my jammies wanting to not fall asleep so I can get some other shit done but knowing that I’ll probably fall asleep.

So it goes.

Saturday 9: Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Next Wednesday is April Fool’s Day. Do you have any pranks planned? Do you expect to fall victim to any April Fool’s Day mischief? I do not, but I do enjoy seeing what companies come up with. Some of them have come up with some pretty good fakes products and things over the years.

2) When she was a kid, Crazy Sam would fool her mom by putting bubble wrap under the bath map so there would be a POP! when her mother stepped on it. When you encounter bubble wrap, do you always indulge in a pop or two? Typically.

3) While we’re using this song to celebrate April Fool’s Day, it was written about another subject entirely: heartbreak. The lyrics tell us that at some point, we each get our hearts broken by someone who doesn’t love us as much as we love them. Do you think that’s true? I do, and I don’t think it has to be love–I think we all have a relationship, whether romantic or with friends or maybe even family, where we care more and are more invested than the other party.

4) In 1962, this week’s featured Connie Francis published a book aimed at teens called For Every Young Heart. It addressed topics like going steady and schoolwork vs. social life. Do you ever read advice columns or self-help books? On occasion, but I think like most people, I read advice columns for some of the insanity in them. Some of the subjects people write in about are amazing, as are the people who are awful but are convinced they’re in the right.

5) Connie Francis can play the accordion. Sam has never met anyone adept at this complicated instrument — not even in her high school band. What about you? Do you play the accordion, or do you know anyone who can? I do not, but I feel like somewhere lurking in my acquaintances, someone does know how to do it.

6) In 1960, when this record was popular, Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird was published. Have you read it? I haven’t! Despite being a classic and English-class staple, I never read it in school. I have a lot of weird gaps like that that I blame on private/Catholic school. I do have a copy of it, though, that I grabbed used, so it’s on the to-read pile. It’s just that, you know, like any avid reader, I may die before I get to it.

7) Also in 1960, one of Life magazine’s best-selling issues had Sophia Loren on the cover. At that time, she was an international film star and considered one of the world’s most beautiful women. Who do you consider one of 2020’s most beautiful women? Ooh, I don’t know. There are a few, I think, but it’s hard to single them out.

8) A 1960 issue of Vogue acknowledged how expensive it had become to maintain a fashionable wardrobe and asked, “If you were to buy only one thing, what would it be?” If it’s good enough for Vogue, it’s good enough for Saturday 9: If you could purchase only one new article of clothing for spring 2020, what would you buy? A nice maternity dress. I didn’t bother with tons of maternity clothes since I work from home, which now that we’re all homebound is looking even smarter a choice, but assuming we’re not trapped here until this baby is born, I do need one cute, semi-dressy outfit for nicer functions. I was thinking of Easter in particular, but it is looking like proper Easter celebrations aren’t happening–at least not on actual Easter.

9) Random question: When someone makes you really angry, are you more likely to respond with stony silence or a big noise? Honestly, probably silence, but if I’m really, really fed up and done, it’s gonna be a big noise. I go off and I don’t stop. I’m very much one of those, “And another thing!” people.

Friday 5: Final Frontier

  1. What would you do with more physical storage space? Probably stash things like the vacuum and mop. The best spot for them is the hall closet, but it’s full of, like, giftwrap and bags and things.
  2. What would you do with more living space? I don’t know, because I actually feel like we have a decent amount of living space. Maybe just throw in more bookshelves and arrange the furniture in a way that makes a little more space.
  3. Would you rather have more kitchen counter space or kitchen cabinet space? Cabinet space. It’s not uncommon to have groceries still bagged on the floor because there’s nowhere for them to go. Part of the problem is an old, dated kitchen that I’m almost positive hasn’t been touched since the house was built in the ’60s. The cabinets aren’t always the most functional, particularly where we store our pots and pans. It goes all the way around and meets up with the cabinet under the sink, but especially for me, it’s hard to even reach back there to get anything. My mom is in the process of having her kitchen redone, and I’m having serious cabinet envy. So much functionality!
  4. What would you do with a larger bedroom? Bigger closet, for sure. I always say that’s the only part of the house where we lost space by moving out of the apartment. The closet is small and isn’t enough for my stuff, let alone both of us, and that’s even after doing almost all I can to alleviate things–I bought a tall dresser, a bed with built-in drawers, and multiple closet organizers to maximize space. It’s all helped, but there are still clothes everywhere that just have nowhere to go. I’ve been toying with the idea of going to a store that specializes in closets and having them come and put in something more functional. Another one would be a proper nightstand. There’s technically room for one now, but with the way the room is, the furniture almost has to stay where it is, and the issue with a nightstand is it would block a heat register and part of the doorway for our tiny en suite bathroom.
  5. What’s taking up too much space in your brain lately? Ugh, work, for a few reasons–and a reminder I work in the closed-captioning business. First, I’m still working right now, fortunately, but if the shutdowns go on much longer, I do think we’ll take a hit. Then thinking long-term, I would absolutely much rather be able to quit and do the stay-at-home mom thing for at least a little bit, but we can’t afford it, at least not until some things are paid off, and Paul’s job is still up in the air thanks to a transition to Mexico, although I have a feeling coronavirus is buying us time on that front, aside from the fact that it’s obviously stalling his job hunt. Automation is also a thing, and while this was never my dream job, it’s looking more and more like it’s gonna shift a fair deal from where it was when I first started to something I don’t want to spend eight hours a day doing. My dream is instead of taking FMLA–because we don’t have maternity leave–I just say I’m not coming back, but unless we get really lucky in the next three months, it’s not happening. And then my supervisor wants to meet with me Tuesday afternoon. I know what it’s about in a vague sense, but I’m frustrated because I don’t really see why. She sent me an e-mail probably Thursday evening that I got when I started Friday, and I really hate having to wait so long–I’d much rather get it over with than have to sit through Friday and Tuesday’s work days plus the weekend in between wondering about it.

From Friday 5.

Early March feels like the calm before the storm. Ah, how different life was but two or three weeks ago.

I was still working in the office when coronavirus started making its way here to the US, and I was glad to be finishing my rotation and heading back home at the end of February. Of course, my company acted quickly and sent everyone remote anyway once the virus hit our state.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday with a lunch in the South Hills at this Italian place Brandon recommended. The one downside is it’s super popular and doesn’t take reservations, so even though we got there when they opened, we had a nice, long wait. Fortunately, we have baby Eliana to fight over/keep us entertained. She’s definitely in a curious stage where the world is a little more interesting, and her thing right now is pointing to things for you to tell her what they’re called. We had a nice lunch–Brandon picked a great spot worth the wait, and I had a solid two meals’ worth of leftovers.

The following weekend, we all went out to a Mexican place in Pittsburgh for an early celebration of Marion’s birthday, and it’s a good thing we did, as there’s no way we can or should go out for her actual birthday in a few days. At the time, though, we had a nice big group dinner, and similar to Marissa’s birthday, I left it up to Paul as to whether or not we tagged along for a drink after dinner, but he declined. We also did not find ice cream on our way back to the car this time.

My mom had mentioned that she’d bought me a gift she was anxious to give me, so met her at Panera Bread the next morning–she’s in the middle of kitchen remodel and for a little while was relying on eating out. We spent some time at the house after that. My gift was two adorable otter-themed maternity shirts, which have tempted me to have an otter-themed baby shower, assuming that’s still a go at this point. For now, we’re just keeping an eye on things, and I intend to give it another two or three weeks, see where things are, and try and figure out if we should continue with what we have booked or if we even can. We’re figuring if we cancel and it turns out we could’ve had it, we’ll see if there’s a restaurant that can accommodate us, and if it turns out we can’t have it, we’ll either do something virtual or do it backwards–let people send gifts from the registry, then when life is back to normal, get everyone together. I’d hate to have people send gifts without everything else that comes with a shower, although knowing my family, some of them would prefer that.

And then in the span of the following week, coronavirus came. Announcements of business and school closures came on a Friday. My job is not only remote but falls under the exemptions, so nothing has impacted that. Nothing has impacted Paul’s job, either, though it arguably should–the only change is normally, his department is all on the same schedule and they’re switching to shifts to minimize contact.

I needed glucose testing done to screen for gestational diabetes and was toying with waiting a week, and I’m glad I ultimately had it done because doing it now would be considerably harder. We went to the hospital’s outpatient lab Saturday morning, ran some quick errands afterwards, then stayed put the rest of the weekend. It turned out that I failed the test and need to go back for a three-hour test, and that’s where things are getting tough. Expecting things to be functioning the same at the hospital, we went to the lab again this past Saturday, and everything has changed drastically. This time, any access to the hospital was blocked. Nurses are at the front asking what everyone needs, and we were told that the lab we’d been to a week prior was now closed, which at the time hadn’t been announced publicly anywhere, and I hadn’t thought to call. The hospital has since announced that not only has that closed, but so has the gift shop and basically any non-essential functions. Should this all be going on still when it’s time to have the baby, I’ll only be allowed to have one person with me, and that’s assuming they don’t take things further and decide not to allow anyone at all.

The nurses were as helpful as possible and did call the only other lab open on Saturdays to see if they could do it, but no dice. I had my regular monthly prenatal appointment today and explained I’ve been having some trouble getting this second test done, and I just called the second-closest lab and got no answer. I left a message, but if I don’t hear anything by tomorrow, I’m gonna call the next-closest, and so on and so on until I hear back. I don’t want to take my chances and call off work to go to a lab for a test they may not even be able to do–or go to a lab only to find that it’s closed.

Procedures at the OB/GYN have changed a lot, too. First, they called me last week to move up my 3:00 appointment to 11:00 to close for the afternoon, presumably to limit things as much as possible and maybe even to clean everything. Then only patients are allowed in the waiting rooms and back in the exam rooms, so even though I’ve had someone with me at almost every other appointment so far, Paul had to wait in the car for me this time.  The touchscreens normally used to sign yourself in are covered, and a receptionist takes care of it instead.

It’s strange times to be pregnant as it is, but even more so when there’s a possible complication, even if it’s a fairly common one. Paul and I are both staying put as much as possible. I asked my doctor about any recommendations right now, and basically what we’re already doing is right on track–wash everything when he gets home from work and have him handle as much as possible, like grocery shopping, outside of the house. I am to be a hermit. Fortunately, I’m a homebody, so this isn’t too bad, but, like, a movie or dinner on the weekend would be nice. Even a walk in the park when the weather is warm enough.

And in the midst of this, we have a new nephew, Arlo! We haven’t officially met him yet. We can’t.

Hey, in like 20 years, Katie and I will be telling these boys how they were brought into the world in the midst of a pandemic as we obsessively wash our hands for 20 seconds and disinfect anything coming into the house.

February

  • It seems like Katie only just told us she was pregnant, and then it was time for her baby shower. It was super cute–Katie loves chickens and she had this adorable chick theme. It was long, too, and Paul and I (mostly Paul) hung around to help pack up all her gifts and take them to their house. And now all I can think is…I’m next.
  • I ended up working in the office for the month. The woman who was on the rotation schedule for April wanted to switch because of the winter weather, and I was glad to go in sooner than later–the way I put, I knew how I felt in February but didn’t know how I’d feel in April. Turns out with coronavirus, everyone went remote anyway, and it’s not looking like that’s gonna change anytime soon.
  • Everyone got together for Marissa’s birthday–first to pre-game at her house, which for me now means, like, having some pop or something, then to dinner at Condado, a taco place Paul and I love. If he wanted to, I would’ve been fine if he wanted to stick around for a drink, but he wanted to head home…except for one pit stop. On our walk back to the car, we passed an ice-cream parlor with Penn State Creamery ice cream, and my pregnant ass was like, “Ooh, ice cream! But we don’t have to stop,” and Paul was like, “No, it sounds good, I want some,” so we had ice cream in the middle of the night in February. And that’s how I was on a milkshake kick for a solid couple of days.
  • Since I was able to eat out again, we ventured out a couple of times, including for dinner with my mom after we went to check out the venue I want for my baby shower.
  • I had my first (only?) ultrasound! It was weird and neat and I was honestly kind of fascinated more than anything by how much they’re able to see and glean, plus how much information they note. I kind of thought it was a quick in-and-out deal, but they look at and measure everything to make sure the baby’s growth is on track and to check for any abnormalities. And we found out, to the surprise of everyone who guessed otherwise, that we’re having a boy. He currently has no name because Paul is very picky. It’s been a struggle. I’ve resorted to repeating my favorites in the hopes that he comes around.
  • I had to replace my phone charger thanks to Sarge destroying it.
  • We spent a day hanging out with Paul’s sister Emily. We grabbed some Chinese food, checked out a still-surviving used-CD store, and I wanted ice cream, so we did that, too. We headed back out a week or so later when her girlfriend was in town and all hung out at a cat café, which was fun and adorable, then grabbed lunch at the Turkish place we discovered months ago.

Saturday 9: Ludwig von Beethoven’s Complete Symphonies

This week we’re classing up the joint with a well-received box-set by the Danish Chamber Orchestra. You can listen to the orchestra here.

1) Beethoven is one of classical music’s best known composers. Do you often listen to classical music? Not super often, at least not at home–I listen to the local classical station more when I’m in the car. But I do listen to it! I’ve written about a few of my favorite pieces over on Medium.

2) Though a musical genius, Beethoven never learned to multiply or divide. When faced with a simple arithmetic problem, do you do it in your head? Or do you rely on the calculator in your phone or on your computer? If we’re talking really simple, I can do it in my head, but when more than a few numbers are involved, I’ll either try to scribble it out on paper if I can or just use a calculator. It’s one of those things where I know how to do it, I can do it, but I get to a point where I can’t keep the numbers straight in my head. And it gets frustrating when some people equate that with intelligence.

3) Beethoven bathed often, which was considered “quirky” for a man of his time. (Understandable, since you had the heat the water, haul it to the tub, and then empty the tub bucket by bucket when you were done.) Do you bathe in the morning or in the evening? If I’m going somewhere, in the morning, but most days, when I’m working from home, evening. It makes more sense, and I like a warm bubble bath to unwind at the end of the day.

4) Adam Fischer conducts the Danish Chamber Orchestra for this 5-disc set. He began his musical career young, when he sang in the children’s choir of Budapest’s National Opera House. Have you ever sung in a choir or chorus? Yep! I was in my high school’s chamber ensemble.

5) Mr. Fischer was awarded the Gold Medal of Arts from the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Tell us about a prize or award you have received. (Yes, that ribbon you earned for penmanship in second grade counts.) I don’t think I’ve won anything since college, but I won my school’s Joan Didion Award in Creative Nonfiction.

6) The Danish Chamber Orchestra is beloved in Demark. When, in 2014, the Danish Broadcasting Company announced it would no longer fund the Orchestra, citizens began a crowdfunding campaign and raised more than $1,000,000 to keep the music playing. Have you ever contributed to a crowdfunding platform, like GoFundMe, Kickstarter or FundRazr? Oh, I do it a lot. If any sort of artist I’m a fan of is crowdfunding for a project, I pitch in, and I’ll even pitch in for new products that seem really cool and useful. I’ve started joking about having a house full of rewards from crowdfunding projects.

7) The Orchestra’s “home” is the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music in Copenhagen. Where were you when you last heard music played live? My local symphony–which I also wrote about on Medium.

8) In 2019, when this boxed set was released, China became the first nation to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Are you fascinated by stories about space? Sort of.

9) Random question: Tell us about your week. These are extraordinary times, and it might feel good to share. Honestly, for me, it’s not much different–I already work from home, so my routine hasn’t changed and my job hasn’t been affected, which I’m grateful for, although there’s a chance that it could be if this lasts awhile. My husband’s job is one that absolutely could and probably should shut down, but they haven’t, and since I’m pregnant, I am concerned about the possibility of him bringing the virus home. So I’ve been making him wash his hands once he gets in and take off his clothes to be washed, and if I’m the one that washes them, I wash my hands immediately after handling them. My one story about how nuts this is is that last week, I had to go for the routine blood testing for gestational diabetes, which I decided to do at the hospital lab, thinking they’d be very diligent about cleanliness there. And I was pretty much right and it went well–we were back in the lab only with staff and others needing blood tests done, and anytime one of us touched anything, we used hand sanitizer. I failed the test, meaning my blood glucose levels were a little bit higher after an hour than they’d like to see, so I have to go back for a three-hour test. So we got up early Saturday morning, went to the hospital again, and rather than the normal waiting room we were in last week, this time, access to any other part of the hospital is chained off, a sort of triage center was set up with nurses and screens, and two nurses were at a table asking what we were there for. And the lab was closed. The nurses were great and did do what they could to figure out if any labs were open for me to have it done, but they weren’t, so they advised to call first thing Monday morning to find out where and when I can go. It’s a crazy time to be pregnant as it is, and things are frequently changing to where routine testing is difficult to do. I’d considered waiting a week to do the first test to see if things settled down, and I’m glad I didn’t. At least this way, I’ve done as much as I can right now and just need to figure out how to move forward, and worst-case scenario, my monthly appointment is on Tuesday and they can give me some guidance on what to do. Lastly, I’ve been saying this a lot, but if you’re not taking this virus seriously, please reconsider. Although the information we have on the impact the virus has on pregnant women and their babies isn’t too bad, this is a strange, scary time for us, and we’re relying on the rest of you guys to stay home and not spread this thing.

Friday 5: Healthy Sequestration?

Before I get into it, a quick update on COVID-19 from my part of Pennsylvania. Last Friday, the governor announced the first round of precautions, which was mainly the closure of non-essential businesses. My husband and I are both still working, but the way our employers have handled it is vastly different. Mine sent an e-mail last Saturday saying they were waiting for word from higher up the chain but that our department would be entirely remote effective Monday, which we mostly were anyway. We were down to supervisors and a few newer employees who aren’t eligible for remote work yet. Over the next few days, the company announced pretty much anyone who could work from home would and that they working to transition as many people out as possible. My husband’s employer, on the other hand, took a few days to even acknowledge anything was happening, and when they did, they said it would be businesses as usual. Thursday evening, the governor announce the closure of non-life-sustaining businesses. Again, being remote (and also in an exempt category despite not being life-sustaining), my job is unaffected, and we thought it would mean my husband’s would be shutting down. Not so! They’re saying they fall under an exempt category, and they’re having my husband’s small department work staggered shifts to minimize contact. This all seems very silly and unnecessarily risky to us when they could absolutely shut down.

I am grateful to still be working, though. The chances by job will be affected are low and if it is, the impact might be small, and when a lot of people are out of work and wondering how to make it for the next week or longer, I’m glad that’s not a concern of ours, at least not right now. Sure, we have enough savings that we could get by for a little while if things changed–and not considering the options being put in place for people who are affected–but if we don’t have to go there, great. Especially with a baby on the way.

There are three confirmed cases in our county and similar low numbers in other neighboring counties, with the except of where Pittsburgh is, which is now nearing 30. The other end of the state has the majority of the cases. Aside from my husband having to work and being the one to go out for anything we need, we’re holed up at home and being careful if I have to leave in particular, as being pregnant, I’m considered at higher risk. We do know someone who has been tested, but in my opinion, it’s out of an abundance of caution and the chances they have it are low.

I don’t know many people who aren’t taking it seriously, but in case anyone reading this falls under the category, I’ll say this–while I’m not freaking out, this is certainly a bizarre time to be pregnant. Pregnant women have weakened immune systems as it is, and we know very little about the impact this has on both women and babies. The most recent advice is conflicting, ranging from we’re not more susceptible to don’t go anywhere except prenatal appointments for the next few months. Pregnancy comes with its own set of challenges as it is, and this isn’t helping. We, as well as other at-risk people, are counting on the rest of you to make smart decisions so this all ends and we can have one less thing to worry about.

  1. In the next seven days, what’s something you’ll do for your mental health? I’m a homebody anyway, and since I spent my first trimester of pregnancy mostly at home, this is familiar. So I’m okay doing my usual routine of reading, watching TV, writing, whatever. But it does seem like a good time to take advantage of my therapist’s online counseling.
  2. In the next seven days, what’s something you’ll do to feel connected? Being married makes it easy–there’s a second person here to talk to and hang out with. I also text my mom, brother, and sister-in-law often enough and message my best friend at least once a day. My brother is still working, but his wife is a teacher and is home with my niece. My mom is retired-ish. Between me and the baby, meeting up is unwise, but the last couple days, we’ve all FaceTimed. At least we get to see the baby!
  3. In the next seven days, what’s something you’ll do to relax? My usual routine, which also includes warm bubble baths and at least one nap a day. Relaxing is a little easier when you’re tired all the time and can drift off in a nap fairly easily.
  4. In the next seven days, what’s something you’ll do to make yourself laugh? The memes have entertained me. As has Netflix. And the cats and my husband.
  5. In the next seven days, what’s something you’ll do to flex your creativity? I should write, but since I’m still working, it’s not like I’ve got loads of time to fill. My side hustles are taking a hit, though–you can tell people who are out of work are jumping on anything they can get, which I understand. So it’s a good time to polish things up and send them out in the world.

From Friday 5.

January

  • Morning sickness–or for me, what was more like evening sickness–finally started to taper off, enough that when I got an e-mail that the local symphony was doing Bolerò, a favorite of mine, we decided to go. It was really nice, I loved the concert, and I’m glad we went. And that I felt up to going.
  • I also made a triumphant return to our brunch spot, which is Terra’s brother and his wife doing pop-ups in a coffee shop. It was then I realized that I miss caffeine not because I use it to keep me awake, but because I love a nice, tall iced latte and cannot have one. The foods I binge on after the baby is born are gonna be really weird.
  • Since my hair rejected dye at my previous appointment, I started going blonde. It’s gonna be a good time.
  • All has been well so far at prenatal appointments. I was told that the second trimester is the sweet spot, where you feel mostly normal and good. It took a few weeks into it for the nausea to be completely gone and I’m still sleeping a lot, but otherwise, yeah, way easier than the first.

December

  • You know I really felt shitty when I put a stop to buying concert tickets. Instead of morning sickness, I started most days feeling great and gradually went downhill. I was throwing up a few times a week, typically in the afternoon or evening, and I was tired on top of that. So I decided I’d try and power through anything we already had tickets for, starting with Vintage Trouble, which was awesome. It was the first concert Brandon and I went to that our dad would’ve gone to, so that was one first done.
  • I went to get my hair dyed for the first time since I found out I was pregnant, and the dye didn’t take to my hair. We suspect it’s because of the hormones. So I’m going blonde instead.
  • I had my first proper doctor’s appointment, which was surprisingly uneventful. They did make me get a pap smear, though. I was displeased.
  • We wanted to try and venture out to check out the holiday market downtown, and we ended up trapped by the parade. I was starving, so we took our chances eating out and went to Eat N Park, thinking that by the time we finished and went back into town, the parade would be over, but no, it was still going. It was finishing up, though, so at least we found parking and did get to check out the market.
  • We had my work Christmas party, which was nice. I threw up while I was getting ready, but the good news is I felt great the rest of the night. After that, we made an appearance at Marion’s Christmas party she was throwing with her sister, which is where we told most of my friends the baby news.
  • With vacation days to burn, I took a bunch of random days off in December. I’d scheduled them before I found out I was pregnant, and they ended up being a lifesaver–I don’t think I worked a full week for the whole month, and the time to rest and relax was great. I used one of the days to Christmas shop with my mom.
  • The second concert of the month was Andrew McMahon’s winter acoustic tour, and it was beautiful.
  • We got flu shots and I mustered some strength for some Christmas shopping.
  • Every year, volunteers lay wreaths on grave in veterans’ cemeteries around the country. My mom and some friends did it this year where my dad is buried, so the next day when we were out and about, since the cemetery is close by, we drove out to take a look. They looked really nice.
  • We had a family Christmas party, where my godmother figured out I was pregnant because I faked doing a shot with everyone and she could tell.
  • We celebrated Christmas with Paul’s siblings early, then headed into the city for Trans-Siberian Orchestra with said godmother. We officially told her I was pregnant at the show, and she said, “I know, I could tell you faked that shot.”
  • Christmas was nice but strange, with my dad gone, and I think it would’ve been miserable if not for Eliana.
  • I had routine bloodwork done, admittedly later than I should have, but you try mustering the strength to have bloodwork done in the middle of the holidays when most days, you’re either nauseous, exhausted, or both. Maybe it’s naive or too optimistic, but I was pretty sure some of the tests, like HIV, would be negative. The nurse made a comment about the date on the lab orders. Fine. But then she wouldn’t drop it, and I got pissed. I didn’t say anything, of course, because I’m a pushover, but I was really not happy about it.
  • We had intended to visit my uncle’s new house for New Year’s, but the weather got kind of crappy and of course I was still not feeling great, so we ended up ringing in 2020 by…going to sleep. I regret nothing.

November

  • I voted in local elections since the first time we moved into the house, which mainly meant a new polling place and having to show my ID.
  • We went to see Puddles Pity Party after a dinner at the Waterfront. We were worried traffic had messed us up and we were cutting dinner too close, but we made it! And a mojito with dinner ended up being my last alcoholic drink, as I found out I was (probably) pregnant later that weekend.
  • After a night celebrating Sarah’s birthday, my whole family visited my dad’s grave and went to lunch for an early celebration of Brandon’s birthday. I got a very, very faint positive on a pregnancy test, faint enough that I wasn’t sure, but I operated on the assumption that I was, and sure enough…
  • A second test came back with clearer results a week later, and the nausea and fatigue hit hard in the meantime.
  • We saw Emily’s college’s fall play and went to dinner, in the first-trimester days I could still eat out. They were short-lived.
  • My niece, Eliana, needed a babysitter, but since I hadn’t watched her by myself before, my mom tagged along to help out. Brandon was supposed to have a work meeting but got times mixed up, so we ended up all just going to lunch. Again, my restaurant days were numbered.
  • We took the cats to the vet. Sarge is overweight, which we suspected, but not my much. We’re hoping having them on a feeding schedule and their love of chasing each other all over the damn house has slimmed him down some since,
  • Our final trip to a restaurant for a few months was a Sunday breakfast at Cracker Barrel. With a limited appetite, I ordered a parfait that came with egg whites. I took two bites of the egg whites and couldn’t stomach it. The parfait went down much easier until I got full before I even finished it. Then I got frustrating and starting crying. In the middle of Cracker Barrel. That was it for eating out for a few months.
  • I had a consultation with a doctor that essentially confirmed my pregnancy, took a medical history, and gave me some dos and don’ts for the following nine-ish months, most of which I knew but some I didn’t. Having to avoid soft cheeses, for example. I worked a half day in the afternoon and took myself to get a smoothie on my way home, because my stomach could at least handle that.
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving with both families. It was the first without my dad, obviously, which was weird. At some point, he’d made and frozen lasagna before he died, so we actually had that as part of our meal. But at least baby Eliana had us entertained. Over on Paul’s side of the family, his mom told the whole extended family I was pregnant before we even got there. He was annoyed that we didn’t get to share the news ourselves, but I expected it.