New beginnings & old brains

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So here we be. 37 weeks and counting down the days. How did I even get here?

After months of worrying that maybe I couldn’t get pregnant (well years in reality, but months of rolling the dice and crossing our hearts) followed by the act of really, truly, biologically, scientifically trying…to the fears of making it to 7 weeks, 12 weeks, 20 weeks, 24, then that magical number of 32, and better yet, here we are at 37.  Full term, safe and sound, made it through the wilderness to the other side….or did we?

The hard part about this soon-to-be parenthood thing is there are so many pitfalls and booby traps, so many hurdles and instances of jumping over quicksand, you can hardly stay on your feet, or (as you get more pregnant) catch your breath. The oodles of testing, the hours of worry, the nights of unrest, the vomit, aches, pains, fears, the thunder-stealing, heart-wrenching covid… and the worst part….this is just the beginning.  Now I’m faced with labour. This is an eventuality that I have barely begun to fathom because there was so much to tackle and attempt to control on the way to this very moment.

We have an almost packed hospital bag, the car seat installed, the stroller and playpen built, crib and bassinet all ready and waiting…but what about me?  Am I ready, or am I waiting?  This whole thing has been such a mindfuck, such a rollercoaster of emotions and physical strain, I just tried to make it to this space and time. But here I stand, still, uncomfortable and unsure – so now what?

Work was awful, covid awful, the pregnancy has been (I don’t want to say awful, it might be the right word but we will rename it to “challenging”) and me, I’m just ready for a week or two of downtime.

But, I am so big. So very, unbelievably, in my belly, ridiculously round that I don’t know what’s right anymore – finish off the pregnancy and hope for an early labour or earlier inducement, or wait it out to have a week to myself. A week of naps and snacks and TV. A week without so much worry or so much work. But, in that week I will be horribly uncomfortable and infinitely irritable. I don’t know the answer, because you know what – nothing will ever be the same again. To alleviate the uncomfortable is to rush the next phase.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg…..9 days from now, well we have a baby girl, one whom I don’t want to bend, break or fail…and that’s an entirely new kettle of fish. One that I have no recipe for, one extremely large pot that I have no idea how to boil.

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” 

The Ginga Ninja

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The hard side of being up and the soft side of being down

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Precursor to this post. I haven’t written in a while. Well, untrue, I haven’t posted in awhile. I’ve been going through a wealth of wiley emotions, even before quarantine hit. So though we are isolated now, I was feeling isolated even before this began. Welcome my friends, to the unremarkable journey. My unremarkable journey.

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Have a little faith. Think positive thoughts. Only worry about what you can control.

That..is..so..hard. Over and over as the years go by, I’ve tried to look on the bright side of life. TRIED being the operative word. I’ve tried to be positive about my new friends, old friends, future loves, hopeful jobs and slowly growing finances. Through every breakup, makeup, change, hurdle, ailment, broken promise, I just… tried. Hell, I try. But, things aren’t always my way, things are seldom my way, even when I try.

There are so many moments of unlucky. The trains missed, the loves lost, the doors closed, the quittings, the firings, the debt, the taxes, the broken bones and broken hearts. Not to mention the health scares, the family dramas, the lonelies, and loseries and the general feelings of envy and FOMO, isolation and introversion. That dark fear of failure and worry, the sinking great unknown and the aching void.

But, every once in awhile, every once in a small while…I have these moments of lucky. Just made the elevator, got my purse back, found my phone, free parking, free coffee, good song, cute guy, fluked a raise and wrangled a promotion. The mystery that is my life gives me little signs that maybe just maybe the universe isn’t out to fuck me after all.

And things you dared not say out loud start to happen. Things like paying off debt, falling in love, buying a house, keeping a job, building a partnership, living your vision, hoping for a future. Some of these things start to happen. More so, things like coming off the pill, tracking apps, testing with strips, peeing on sticks…things like seeing two solid lines and knowing that nothing will ever be the same again happen. Things you never thought that YOU, unlucky old you could have, well those things start to happen.

Well, turns out life isn’t fair. And all that worry you put into friends and sports, health dynamiteand school, careers, finances, getting houses and splitting couches….well that was nothing. From the moment those double lines show up on that small white stick, every worry you ever had feels like it never existed. I’m not saying that life only means something if you have kids, or experience pregnancy…do not get me wrong. What I am saying is that the journey is a difficult, unfair sequence of events and emotions. Nobody should have to go through it, let alone almost everybody.

Timing out sex was hard. Tracking in an app is hard. Peeing on sticks and trying to get it down to one day..is hard. Waiting to test is hard. Spotting at 6 weeks is hard. Spotting at 7 weeks is hard. Getting not one but two rounds of emergency ultrasounds and bloods is hard. Nausea is hard. Migraines are hard. Insomnia…well, that is really hard (even when the bed is soft).

And guess what – that is just the beginning. Getting your nuchal ultrasound is hard, especially when you have to get it twice. Waiting for your chromosome testing to come back…well, you guessed it…hard. Particularly if you are over 35, because in terms of childbirth, you are a geriatric dinosaur. I repeat, geriatric dinosaur, so I also repeat…hard.

But what’s even harder you ask? Getting a bad reading. Getting a very bad 1 in 9 high-risk, panic-inducing reading. And being told not to google. But, not googling is hard. And when you do, well you read about people with 1 in 11 and 1 and 5 who were okay, people like you. So you think, maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard. Maybe I’m them, maybe they’re me, maybe it can be okay. Maybe I can be okay.

But, want to know what gets hard again?  Not thinking about it until you go for that next round of bloods. Not knowing what those bloods will say. Hearing  some people getting better odds and for others, well they rule out all risk. But not all. And guess what, not knowing if you need amniotic testing – that is hard. Trying to decide whether to complete this potentially miscarriage-inducing procedure or going into the unknown with a big fat 11% chance of a positive outcome…is hard.

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And that my friends is where I am. I am researching my odds. And trying my best not to freak out. While of course freaking out. I didn’t know if I would meet someone, if I could or would get pregnant, if I would make it through the spotting, the first heartbeat, the first trimester. Right as I cleared the miscarriage hurdle I came smack up to the chromosome one. And even if I clear that too, well then there is gestational diabetes, prechlamsia, early labour, c-sections, epidurals and breach births to think about. And all of this before you even have a newborn to deal with.

Just one damn hurdle after another. A mental, physical and emotional mindfuck of the trickiest kind. And there was nothing I did, or can do to fix it. And that my friends is the hardest kind of hard. 

The Ginga Ninja

 

Allergic to Life

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I’m sitting here sniffling. Well sniffling and snotting and sweating and itching and spitting up things I shouldn’t. Kleenex ain’t got nothing on me brother. Sounds like a head cold right? Holy hell no!

The bullshit of life is us pale, freckly, pigment-limited folk are basically allergic to life. I know there are terms for it now – mass cell disorder, pregnenolone deficient, histamine intolerant, genetic inflammatory condition cursed, but whatever you want to call it…it sucks.

Basically too much dust, dander, sun, food, alcohol, seasonal temperature or foliage shifts = itchy, red, stuffy, sore, insomniac days. Ya, it’s bullshit I tell ya. Benadryl is my best friend and explanations to people get fewer and farther between as my fucks given are less and less.

“Well my dear it’s not a real anaphylactic allergy,  but basically too much stimuli makes your system react the same way.” Gee thanks Mother Nature. Or my Maker. Let’s meet. It’s hard to admit, but basically the gist is I’m allergic to life.

And sadly (for them) more and more people around me are starting to see similar trends as they age. Maybe this makes me lucky as I navigated the trials a decade or so ago, and have worked out a daily coping strategy, but screw you Batman – I spent my teens and twenties having no damn idea why I was sick all the time. I was a relatively-healthy drinking, eating, adjusted athlete who just seemed to be damned. Those gingers I tell ya. 

However, misery loves company, so not so sadly (for me), the rest of my generation, guys and girls alike, seem to be catching up. My bf has mystery redness, my boss has pressure-induced stiff neck, her boss is stuffed and calamined, my sister-in-law’s sister-in-law had an unknown attack and here I am counselling and educating those poor unfortunate souls (cue evil Ursula laugh). And handing out migraine and allergy pills like they are candy. It’s not really good or bad, but it’s life. And you know what? I’m still standing. Maybe not pointing and laughing, but certainly thinking that maybe something good came out of all of this lifelong cursed crap. Maybe stretch marks from pregnancy won’t be my undoing, maybe navigating how to work alongside migraines and nerve damage won’t devastatingly derail my career, or even learning how to eat at restaurants and home without totally offending the cook...maybe that’s my silver lining, maybe that’s my happy place, or more appropriately, maybe that’s my ginger lining in life.

“You know, I’m still standing better than I ever did. Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid. And I’m still standing after all this time. I’m still standing….”  – Elton John

The Ginga Ninja

The Christmas Crazies

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I haven’t written in awhile, a long while. And I don’t know if that’s good….or bad…or really either. Maybe I should. Maybe writing is good for me, a good cathartic outlet, kind of like a good cathartic cry. But, again, most of the times I’ve written it’s because I had something on my mind, too many things on my mind, a mind that couldn’t be decluttered or reorganized. It couldn’t be wrapped, or frosted or hung by the chimney with care.

Well, maybe I’m there again. Maybe a new kitten destroying my new chair, job applications and taxes, mortgage approvals and house hunting, secrets and lies, affairs and separations, divorces and engagements, sore muscles and migraines, new babies, new birthdays and simply a case of the winter blahs are on my mind. Maybe I’m there with too much in my brain and nowhere for it to go.

Except here. It can go here. For you, the few that may or may not still be interested in my fledgling writing and non-credentialed thoughts, well here is your ever non-impressive and non-ground breaking thought explosion in all of its glory.

It’s Christmas…and some years that fills me with joy, others with dread. For some reason this year I just don’t know, I’m stuck somewhere in between the two and though in between is better than down, it’s not better than up, so in between I will stay.

For anybody like me filling the mixed stocking of anticipation and dread, excitement and fear, then I feel for you, or fear for you…hell, one and the same really. A Merry Friggen Christmas to all and to all a mediocre night!

I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind. – Edgar Allen Poe

The Ginga Ninja

Put off until tomorrow what you could do today

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See, I rewrote it. Sometimes it’s okay to put things off. Sometimes it’s what you need, what you want, what your life demands. Let’s be honest, whoever wrote the original saying of “Don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today” was some sort of parent, or teacher, or over-eager ambitious motivator type. They obviously had time on their hands, money in their pockets and brains in their heads. Damn you Benjamin Franklin.

Okay, I’m being facetious. I do believe it’s true…to a point. Let me reiterate, to a point. Decisions should take thought. Not everything you do can be spontaneous. Some of it should be certain, some of it shouldn’t be today…suuurreee everybody deserves a little spontaneity, but if your whole life is based on spur-of-the-moment decisions, well, then it’s chaos. Chaos breeds more chaos and soon you are swimming in a river a chaos that empties into an ocean of chaos and you find yourself holding onto the edge of a life raft on the open end of a bottle of uppers, or downers, or mediumers.

Okay, okay, again I’m being a little overly dramatic. But, there is a time and a place for everything is really what I’m getting at. And sometimes my friends, well, you must be ready.

I just did something for the first time in years. And let me tell you, it felt great and awful and awful and great. I feel more like me, more energetic, more positive, more full of maybes. However, I put it off and off and off because something inside me wasn’t ready. Something inside me wasn’t pushed far enough or hard enough or crazy enough to do it and honestly, something made me stop doing it in the first place.

So ya, maybe I should have done it yesterday, and had I done it yesterday it would have been today. And since I did it today, well yesterday, that would have been tomorrow and if I did it tomorrow, well tomorrow would be today. So, don’t overthink it people, because if you do, you will realize that it’s all just semantics. There may not always be a tomorrow, but as long as you are standing here, there is always a today.

The Ginga Ninja

A mind is a terrible thing

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Threw you off there, didn’t I? You thought I might go for that old classic “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I mean, true, it is a terrible thing to waste, but I still stand by the fact that it is a terrible thing.

For anybody that overthinks things, underthinks things, poorly thinks things or just thinks things…it can be your worst enemy. What good is this chemically charged, mechanically perfect spongy little blob of goo if along with all the good comes the bad. Where is your choice in this?

Even when you think you have a choice, you don’t. Your brain is sitting there telling you to drink the last shot of tequila, but it’s also the one telling you not to approach the guy at the party. It’s telling you that you aren’t good enough, but also sometimes that you deserve better, it’s telling you to eat more, eat less, give more, take less, take more, give less. YOU don’t make these choices, that silly little brain of yours does, I mean, that makes you blameless really (fingers crossed I can sell that to a judge).

So, that brings me back, for all those losers people out there joyously loving every single day of life and thanking their lucky stars, well, let’s assume you are good sleepers and have plenty of serotonin. For those of you questioning your day in and day out, riding a little roller coaster of emotions as you take this trip called life…well, I feel for you, I really do. Right, wrong, up, down, left, right…I mean, how are you even supposed to keep right and right apart as they mean two different things!?! Now don’t even get me started on “write”, right?

Ok, that’s an unnecessary trip down the overthinking rabbit hole which more or less sums everything up, but you know what I mean. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this.

And that’s your choice. Or is it. Maybe nothing is your choice and you are at the mercy of your mind, which inexplicably is fueled by outside factors and internal reactions. Thinking about it is all too hard, as it requires thinking, as does every choice, action or reaction in life, hell even thinking about thinking requires thinking.

My brain hurts.

What would you do with a brain if you had one? – Dorthy Gale

The Ginga Ninja

 

Feeling left behind

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It’s a feeling I’ve had on and off over the years. As have you, and him, and her. And probably my brother, and mom, maybe one of my good friends. Hell, maybe all of them. But, it’s not something openly discussed. Mental health and sexuality are now diagnosed, talked about, named and acknowledged, but feeling “less than” is something still in the closet, lurking behind closed doors, a Voldemort yet to be named.

Well, I’m sure we’ve all felt it. But, what do you do when you feel like others have moved on. And not always in a good way or bad way, but just in a different way? I’ve seen people move out of the city, buy houses, get married, have kids and in all orders imaginable and irreversible. Now, I’m not saying that everything works out for the best, some of those people move back or never even made it out in the first place, some are divorced, some lose their job, some lose their will, but what happens when you feel like you are standing still. I’ve got my cat, my plants, my goals to lose weight, but nothing else is on the horizon. Life just….is.

The funny thing is that is how I always wanted life to be. I didn’t want a neverending to do list of benchmarks and milestones, I just wanted to be okay in the everyday, in the mundane and in the now. And for the most part I am…but get a little case of the “wait for meeees” when my Instagram is littered with new dogs and babies, strollers and renos, wedding rings and honeymoons. There is nothing wrong with my life, but I feel a little left behind, not invited to the old gatherings, not cool enough for the new mom’s cool kids group, too old to party, too young to afternoon tea.

What to do? Do I wallow in my self-pity and think about all the friends I used to spend time with, do I fast-track my life plan to fit into my peers, do I think about all the times I tried to lead that pack with trips and adventures, new cities, new risks, new dates and new friends? I guess none of the above, because no amount of thinking, wishing, envying, or worrying is going to change the outcome. Tomorrow is what it will be and their plans are theirs, not mine. I can only hope that the world I fit into is the world that doesn’t forget to let me fit in. And the world that does forget, well I guess it’s not my world anymore.

“Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.” – Vincent Van Gogh