Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Jane-of-all-trades

Last night I had the strangest dream. Well, it wasn't as strange as it was...inspiring. In my dream, someone rattled off 5 different "jobs" I had going for me in my future. There was one thing I didn't particularly favor. I heard my voice say "no, not (blank). 'Cook.'" And the person amended what he said, adding, "Cook."

These five things are things I've always done in the past and things I want to do in real life. They are, essentially, my "vocational" goals. But how can they be "vocational goals" IF there are five things, and not one? I mean I was doing these things on a continuous basis, and not just every so often or when I felt like it. I mean, don't people choose ONE vocational goal and do that ONE THING for the rest of their lives? Like..I don't know. Act. Practice law. Protect and serve. Play basketball. Sell insurance.

This is an issue I have been grappling with lately. A real dilemma. I have been working with vocational rehab and we're at the point where we come up with an employment plan. My problem is, I can't just pick ONE THING. I can't! There's soo many different things I want to do. I want to be a professional chef, sure. But I also want to compete in races. Invent things. Act in a movie (yes, just ONE movie, thank you very much). And, of course, write books.

I will ALWAYS write books. That love right there is the ONE THING I know will never go away. I have an undying love for writing. A strong passion for words and stories. Writing is my heart and soul. It is the one thing I have been doing since I was a kid. I'm not surprised "author" was one of the things on that list. I was born a writer and I will die a writer! This is why I have gradually decided to pursue a degree in English. Before, my college goals were to major in journalism and minor in English. Now I am turning that around, because journalism is not a career I wish to pursue anymore. I've done it, and I loved every minute of it. It was fun. It was challenging. It was exciting! But it is no longer the path for me.

Yes, I am going to finish college. That is VERY IMPORTANT to me. I am going to finish college and get my degree!! I don't know HOW I'm going to do it, but all that matters is that I DO IT! It's part of my life goals and I am going to make every effort to achieve THAT particular goal. Not just for me, but for my kids, as well.

There was someone in that dream, someone who I hope to meet someday (and someone of a certain celebrity status). Meeting him is also one of my life goals, and I think about that a lot, as to WHY he was even in that dream to start with. Maybe the dream was all about my life goals and focusing on those goals. My vocational goals are just ONE part of my life goals. (They don't include him. LOL But maybe there's a reason for THAT, too.) Lately, I have been just struggling with this "rut" I've been in in life. I was once talking with my friend's mom and she asked me, "What are you doing with your life?" I couldn't answer her. I mean...what AM I doing? Right now, at this point in time, I'm...a writer. A homemaker. A mother. Unemployed, uneducated and unmotivated. Goalless. Dreamless. Useless.

At least, THAT is what I have been thinking. You know? I'm JUST a writer. Nobody special. What AM I contributing to the world?? Just WORDS!

And I want to do MORE than that. It's not that I don't value being a writer. I just want to be MORE than "just a writer." Yes, I want to be a runner. Yes, I want to be a cook. Yes, I want to be an inventor! But I don't know about the "actress" thing. Acting is NOT something I have really had much interest in. I mean, I DID try to get into acting when I was a teenager, and I WAS almost cast for a movie.'s not a BIG THING I have my heart set on.

Actually...I favor "teaching" over "acting" the most. I have always wanted to teach, and I even played teacher many times when I was growing up.

I don't know. It COULD happen. I know my degree will open doors for me, and it just may be what I end up teaching. My goals are not set in stone. I changed one of those things in my dream. I can change them in real life.

The important thing is that, at least, I know what those things are. And that I am okay with the fact that it's not just ONE.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Red stuff

Sunday started out okay. We didn't go to church because we had some things to do that had to happen before services let out. The errands weren't a "huge" amount of running around. We DID go from one place to another, but it wasn't like I was out of breath, or anything. Later in the day, though, I started experiencing some severe cramping pain in the lower abdominal area. I chalked it up to just "pregnancy pain" and didn't pay it too much mind. I also thought maybe I should take a nap and just rest for a little while.

Later, after I took a half-hour nap, I went to the bathroom and noticed some blood had come out, probably while I was sleeping. I was alarmed and told Jason about it. Because it was only very little blood, he said it was normal to spot a little during the early months of pregnancy. I wouldn't have thought too much on it if I didn't still have the bad cramping going on. At this point, I alarm bells were going off. Normal or no, my instincts told me something was WRONG.

I did some checking on the Internet. One site said that any bleeding after 10 weeks can be a bad sign (I'm at 11 weeks). I struggled with this. Then, several hours after it all started, while I was cooking dinner, I went over to my neighbor's house to ask him about it (he is a nursing assistant). I told him about everything going on and how long the cramping had lasted (over 3 hours at this point). He said it didn't sound good and I should go to urgent care ASAP. So after we ate dinner, Jason drove us to Urgent Care. Urgent Care sent us to the ER because they didn't have an ultrasound machine.

By the time I got to the ER, I was in unbearable pain. I was walking like a penguin, gritting my teeth and clasping my stomach. What worried me more was a feeling of wetness down below.

Thankfully, we didn't have to wait in the ER for very long. But unfortunately, the doctor who saw us was a general practitioner, and didn't know how to use the ultrasound machine very well. He also used an outdated Doppler to listen for the baby's heartbeat, and I could feel the color draining from my face when he said he couldn't hear a heartbeat. He quickly assured me that the Doppler he was using was really old and that was probably why. I wanted to scream, "You just don't SAY you can't hear the baby's heartbeat to an expectant mother!!" I was frantic inside but I didn't say a word. I knew if I did, I'd be screaming or going nuts. He had a hard time finding the baby with the ultrasound and couldn't see the heartbeat. They took some blood for testing, a urine sample and did a pelvic exam. The doctor said there was some kind of a white mass on my cervix, and that my cervix was VERY red and very raw. When he poked it with the probe, blood squirted out. He said the bleeding was coming from OUTSIDE of my cervix, and not inside, so there was a good chance it wasn't related to the baby. (At this point, I was too stressed out to feel ANY relief. I could still see him AND my interpreter telling me they couldn't hear the heartbeat. That moment was, like, frozen in my mind.)

He took a culture of my cervix for running more tests. He said it looks like I had an infection but not sure what kind it could be. He asked if I wanted painkillers prescribed and I said no, I'll take Tylenol for the pain. (Actually, I'm taking Extra Strength Tylenol, and it's helping pretty well.) After they get the test results, they'll send them to my ob/gyn. He instructed me to call my ob/gyn at 8 a.m. that morning (at this point, it was after 2 a.m.) and make an appointment to go in for follow-up care.

When I called my ob/gyn's office, I spoke to a nurse. She asked if they'd given me a shot of RhoGAM and I said "no." They told me to come in at 2 p.m. that day. I had heard of RhoGAM before but wasn't too sure what it was. So, I checked the Internet and read up on it. My blood type is O-negative and I remembered how my first ob/gyn had explained something to me about subsequent pregnancies might have problems because of my blood type. When I had my daughter, I had to have two shots because of our blood type (I'm negative, she's positive). I asked Jason if he knew what his blood type was and if he was Rh-positive and he said he didn't know. Before Jason left for work that morning, he told me not to do too much housework and take it easy until we saw the doctor.

At the doctor's office, they did another urine sample and check my vitals. Everything looked fine. They didn't have the test results from the ER yet. My doctor used a better Doppler to listen to the baby's heartbeat and I felt an INCREDIBLE weight lift off of me when she smiled and said she could hear it. I just wanted to cheer! WOO-HOO!! I told Jennifer that sound she was hearing was her little sister or brother's heartbeat. Next they did an ultrasound, and there was my little baby, bouncing around and waving his arms. (I use "he" because I'm hoping for a boy. LOL) He was SO ACTIVE!! I had a huge smile on my face as I watched him move around and my doctor pointed to the heartbeat. Jason pointed it out, too. We just stared at that image of our baby for a long time. It was the most precious thing for me to see in all that 24 hours. The baby was FINE! Thank you, God!

Next I had to have the RhoGAM shot. The doctor talked with Jason about his blood type and Jason had a blood test so they could check it. If his blood type turned out to be positive, I'd have to have another shot later on in the pregnancy. If it was negative, there was nothing more we had to do. It wouldn't harm the baby, or anything. The shot was mostly a precaution.

So we got all that taken care of. I told my neighbor the update and he said to keep a close eye out for ANY changes. If there was vomiting, fever, any bleeding or sickness, go back to the ER. He said the next 24 hours are critical and to take it easy, just to be safe. So that's pretty much what I'm doing today, even though I have a couple of errands to run (like getting milk and purchasing a money order from the post office). But I'll be extra careful and take it easy every chance I can.

Friday, April 13, 2007

When my ears are taken away

Being deaf, I rely on others who can hear to "be my ears." Sometimes that falls on my daughter, but on a longstanding basis, that responsibility is my dog's. Technically, Chewbacca is not a hearing dog, but he definitely BARKS in ways to alert me that someone is at the door or that something just isn't "right." (Sometimes I wonder if he realizes his owner is deaf?)

This has been a big security for me. I don't have to worry about if someone is standing on my doorstep, pounding away and wondering WHY I'm not answering. And I can sleep peacefully at night with Chewie close by, ready to bark if there's an intruder or if someone knocks. (I've been told I'm a light sleeper, and all that moving around he does when he barks on my bed is enough to wake me up.)

But, lately, I haven't been able to sleep very well at night. I'm back to continually waking up at different times of the night and checking on my daughter, checking the doors and the house, because Chewie has not been with me in my bed at night. He has not been with me for about a week now.

No, he hasn't died. God forbid! But he has been forced to sleep in the kitchen with the door closed, because my squeeze, Jason, gets irritated from the dog hair on my bed and can't sleep very well at night when Chewie is there right in the middle, at our feet. I didn't put up a fight about this -- because, after all, it's not fair to him to keep Chewie there and have him suffer inhaling dog hair all night long -- but it's really starting to eat away at me, because he is deaf, too. The only person who can hear in this house is my 5-year-old child, and it is SHE we are to protect, not the other way around. Something could happen to her while we sleep, and we have no way of knowing, because we can't hear.

I've tried to come up with a solution to the dog-hair thing. Chewie IS a chihuahua, but he's part-poodle, so he's a little furry (like his namesake, haha). I wonder if giving him a good brushing shortly before bedtime would do the trick? Or maybe using a fan? I don't know. I wish I could figure out a way to resolve this problem so Chewie could sleep on my bed again, but so far, that's not working out.

I don't have the assisted listening devices that could alert me to any intruders or knocks at the door while I'm asleep. I DO have the Baby Cryer, from when Jen was a baby and needed to be fed at certain times of the night, but I don't know if it would be enough to help me sleep soundly once again, knowing I'd be alerted if something was wrong. (As it stands, I don't have a deaf-friendly smoke alarm!) Maybe I could look into what kinds of devices are out there. Or get me a bona fide hearing dog that wouldn't need to sleep on my bed at night, but would know how to awaken me if something bad DID happen while I slept.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Thank God it's Wednesday

While most people thank their lucky stars when it's finally Friday (and I do, too, since it means I'll soon have ANOTHER parent's help with my daughter), I have started looking forward to Wednesdays. That's the day my little one is in school for a full day--and when I can catch up on extra sleep!

I joke that I sleep when my daughter is not here. That's one thing I often did on my weekends when I was divorced: I spent A LOT of time catching up on all that sleep I lost during the week!

But Wednesdays, alas, aren't just for sleeping anymore. Lately, I have been trying to cram as much writing work into my Wednesdays that I can. I've also slotted "to do" tasks for Wednesdays, tasks which are less "headache-inducing" if my energetic 5-year-old isn't around while I do them. I also occasionally have "no-children-allowed" appointments and trips, and so I try to get them scheduled for Wednesdays to do while she's in school.

This isn't to say that I'm running around, dancing my butt off on the days my child is in school. And I'm also NOT saying I don't miss her, because I do. :( I'm just saying that if there is ANY day of the week I can count on getting more done, Wednesday is definitely that day. I can write the hours away or spend time catching up on emails, getting parts of the house organized or reading a book. Or sleeping!

Of course, there will be days my little one can get sick and have to stay home. There will also come the time the baby will be born and it's back to the 24/7 mom stuff grind. But for the most part, Wednesdays bring me just a little bit more freedom and time that I can't normally get during the rest of the week.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Warning! Pregnant woman in the house!

The other night, I was online looking up fetal devlopment at 8 weeks. (Yes, even though I've already had one child, it's STILL so cool to see how this little life inside of me is GROWING -- even the second time around.) (I no longer have all the pregnancy books I had the first time around. Sigh.) One of the things it said was, "You may notice your stomach getting a little bigger and it's time to pack away your favorite jeans."

Ah, yeah. I'm definitely feeling that pain. I am one of those "jeans freaks." I LOVE wearing jeans, mainly blue jeans. I was NOT happy when I packed away the pairs too small for me now. And, yes, my stomach HAS gotten a little bigger. Strangely, I started showing early, at around 6 weeks. (This is different than last time!) Seriously, my in-laws' neighbor took one look at me last week and asked, "Are you pregnant?" (I wonder if showing early is common for a second pregnancy?) Anyway. I think I am at a size 16 now. I know they have maternity jeans, but I don't know if they're really affordable. During my first pregnancy, my sister-in-law loaned me her maternity jeans, and I wore them ALL the time. They were soooo comfortable. For now, I'm wearing skirts and elastic-waist pants. And of course I've mumbled in frustration, "I'll probably be wearing these damn skirts until I deliver!" But I'm going to start looking for some maternity jeans. I don't want to get stuck with pants, skirts and sweats!

Another one of the "first trimester blues" I've been going through is the mood swings. I've been having them BAD!! (I still feel so terrible for yelling at Jason last night. He didn't even know what was going on, poor guy!) I've TRIED like crazy to get a handle on it, but so far, that's not panning out very well. When I get angry, I get REALLY angry. When I get sad, I break down and cry like a baby. (The other night, I wanted to sleep, throw up and cry -- all at the same time!) I did not have these mood swings as bad the first time. It's like this pregnancy is making up for ALL that yuckiness I was spared during the first trimester last time. I just lose my temper so easily and get so caught up in a whirlwind of emotions. This does not bode well for when I have to interview people for articles. I mean, I'll probably end up screaming, "JUST ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION!" Ugh.

I've also been having trouble sleeping (yet another warning from that Web site). Sometimes, I'm just not comfortable (time to get a body pillow!) and sometimes I'm just too stressed or wound up to have a good night's sleep. I also have nights where I keep waking up from bad dreams (something's going to happen to me or something's going to happen to the baby).

And, finally, I've already mentioned I've been coping with nausea. I'm STILL coping with it! (The second trimester just can't get here fast enough, can it? Oh, no!! Time has to go sooo slow!! GRR.) I've been having the nausea really bad, too. It's gotten so bad, I've had to put a cold cloth to my forehead or wipe my face and back of my neck with it. Ugh. The doctor in California prescribed me pills for nausea, but there's NO WAY I'm taking them. I DON'T WANT PILLS! When they gave me that stuff at the hospital, I was throwing up for several hours. It was AWFUL. (Yeah, I have a sensitivity to antibiotics. I CAN'T handle them!) So, I'm pretty much left to use home remedies for the nausea, or just DEAL with it.

I have told others about these "first trimester blues" I'm having. I guess as a way of warning them. LOL But one friend commented, "Must be a boy giving you all this trouble." Hm, I wonder. That reminds me of this T-shirt I once saw that said: "MENstruation, MENopause, MENtal breakdown, Ever notice how all our problems begin with Men?" Haha. Well, it's not like I'm blameless in getting myself pregnant. It would just be NICE if it wasn't making me so miserable so much of the time.

OK, enough out of me. I have errands to run today and things to do. I just hope I can find some time to get some rest!