Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sweet Revenge, Courtesy of the Internet

Dear Asshole Fright-Inducing Overzealous Draconian Doctor Who Despite All The Certificates on the Wall Doesn't Know My Vagina from his Elbow,

You suck.

You made me feel like a freak of nature. You made me feel like there was something wrong with me. You made me feel like my body was failing me and that I shouldn't listen to my own intuition, lest I harm myself or my unborn children. You treated me like a formalin specimen, instead of an intelligent, educated woman with a mind and heart and feelings. You ignored and snubbed my husband, a compassionate, smart, caring, personable non-doctor who, given sterile conditions, I would trust to perform emergency surgery on me.

Which is more than I can say for you.

Fortunately, I saw the way the wind was blowing pretty early on. I listened to my own sound intuition instead of your strict, hateful commands. You'd never know it, because we were always far more polite with you than you were with us, but my husband and I cracked many brilliant jokes, and got many great laughs, at your expense.

You know what? My scary conditions improved. I listened to my body and did what it told me, after consulting other medical professionals to make sure my decisions were sound. My body knew exactly what it was doing all along.

I treat people signing contracts with more kindness and respect than you treated me while I had, as Mignon would say, a "huge white rod shoved up my 'gina." And I'm proud of that. Because that's how you deal with other human beings. So, as a businessman, you are a FAILURE.

I don't wish you harm. Your bedside manner is atrocious--truly, the worst I've ever seen--but, as a medical professional, you're competent and qualified. I just hope that, someday, you're on the other side of the sheet, or the desk, or the office, and you're the recipient of your own brand of treatment. Preferably while you're naked from the waist down. At least metaphorically.

And that, when that happens, my healthy children and I are off playing at the park.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

100 More Things About Me, Part II

16. I regularly shift from my right side to my left side, and back again, while I sleep, because I am prone to ear infections and I find that this keeps them in check a bit.

17. I was home from school on the day of the Challenger explosion, and I watched it live. It was the most terrifying major news event of my life until September 11th.

18. I ordered a cat puppet from a professional puppetmaker's stall at a holiday fair in 2002, when I was a grown woman who wore a suit to work. I left a $10 deposit. The puppetmaker said he'd call me to tell me when the puppet was ready. He never did (he was kind of absentminded, and I'm sure he just forgot). I could have called him, but I didn't. I still think about it periodically. I'm not angry; I am amused. I think it makes a better story that I never got the puppet.

19. Ty is ripening some tomatoes on a shelf in our kitchen right now. I can smell them from the next room.

20. I don't really like chocolate syrup. But I love hot fudge sauce.

21. I worry about keeping my Barbies away from my children.

22. Scotch tape doesn't make a very good pore strip. This I know for a fact.

23. I am offended by the price of wrapping paper.

24. I honestly love the small, cheesy, much-maligned Manhattan Mall.

25. I got my ears pierced when I was in kindergarten.

26. I never got any additional piercings, unless you count the staples in my navel from laparoscopic surgery. I was looking pretty goth there for a few days.

27. Yesterday, I took off my acupressure wrist bands for fifteen minutes so that I could shower. I promptly puked in the shower.

28. I hate loud toys.

29. I want to take my children to the American Museum of Natural History to see the amazing dioramas, but I don't quite know what to tell them about the use of animals. Will it upset them?

30. I am pissed that they started putting artificial sweeteners in Wrigley's Spearmint and Doublemint gum.

Monday, August 28, 2006

100 More Things About Me, Part I

I am starting to feel like a different person. I thought another one of these lists would be a good way to reconnect with myself.

1. I hate cellphones.

2. When I shower, I shed a LOT of hair, so I temporarily put the hairs on the wall of the shower so that they don't clog up the drain. Then, after the shower, I wipe them off.

3. I didn't like the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. In fact, I'm kind of upset that they even made it.

4. This pregnancy is causing me to have a teeny crisis of faith.

5. I can't wait until the summer is over.

6. I recently threw a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting across the room.

7. I will never understand eating disorders. I'd give anything to eat normally right now.

8. Mrs. Harridan, I finally killed that avocado plant that you gave me. Thinking about it makes me want to cry.

9. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and I'm so self-centered right now that I haven't even gotten it together enough to send her the care package that I wanted to send her.

10. I bought shoes in March that I don't want and that I still haven't returned. They are sitting in their box in my living room right now.

11. This is not unusual for me.

12. I haven't told most of my non-online friends that I'm pregnant.

13. I wear reading glasses.

14. I rarely clean them properly, with spray.

15. When I microwave something, I press the "start" button and then run away while the microwave is operating.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Things I forgot to tell you while competing for the title of Most Self-Centered Woman in the Universe, Ever

Mr. Lashes recently started law school. My baby brother! I am so proud of him.

So are my parents. They have a bit of whiplash these days, what with all the comings and goings of their children, but they are pretty happy. Besides, with all the lawyers in the family, whiplash may not be such a problem.

Between my puke sessions and his work schedule, Mr. Lashes and I only managed to speak for a very brief few minutes this week. There's so much more I wanted to tell him. I decided this is as good a place as any. And, having spent the past hour mentally composing this post and not being able to go back to sleep after getting up to pee, I decided this is as good a time as any.

Congratulations, Mr. Lashes. You are embarking upon a great American institution. Actually, a great global institution.

I honestly never expected I would feel this way, but I hope that you grow to love the profession as much as I have.

This was probably the last thing I ever thought I would do. I never made my Barbies do battle in court. I don't watch legal shows for fun. It just seemed like a respectable option, a safe bet. I didn't "get it" at the time, but I think I do now. Or, at least I'm starting to. Ironically, I think being pregnant has helped me in this capacity.

As with parenting, people give you all kinds of advice when you embark on legal studies. I found that about 50% is right on and about 50% is total rubbish, and the big challenge is discerning which is which. I have no idea about the ratios with parenting yet; no idea at all. All I know is that, from my admittedly-limited eight-week vantage point, law school is considerably easier than becoming a parent. And nothing large has to come out of your hoo-ha (or an incision just above your hoo-ha).

There will be times--many, many times, and probably the majority of times for several years--when you will feel that you are in waaaaaay over your head. You will have no idea what you're doing, and you'll have three hours to do it. At first, this will really throw you. But, gradually, you will learn to feel comfortable that way. It will start to feel normal. And it is. It really is a metaphor for life, where we have to go about our mundane tasks with the specter of dying at an unknown time as a constant presence. You will get so used to feeling overwhelmed that when your doctor tells you, "Your ovary is enlarged, and, if x, y, and z, you may lose the ovary, or you may die," instead of sobbing immediately, you think to yourself, "Hmmm. Okay. Dying not good. Must prevent x, y, and z. I wonder if this doctor will finish giving me awful news in time for us to make the Breakfast Special across the street before heading home."

Gradually, you will feel like, at times, you really know what you're talking about. (This will probably happen during a conversation with a panicky young lawyer who, you soon realize, is a lot less experienced than yourself. Be nice. Now, you get to be the reassuring old sage.) This will happen more and more, and you will start to feel a little cocky and a little confident, and that's pretty nice. And then you will fall right smack on your ass as if you had just sprung from the womb and into the profession, and you will remember that it is normal to feel like you are in way over your head. And you will smile, do what you have to do, and keep learning. You will learn to mix experience with the unknown, and pull it off with a bit of grace. You will often be a teacher. And you will forever be a student.

And that's pretty wonderful. I like forever being a student. I like that Ty and I have been having one long, continuous conversation for the six-plus years that we've been together. I like knowing that we will never, ever, ever run out of things to talk about. Even things that extend far beyond the two of us.

I like that, in the language of every country I've ever wanted to go to, I can explain to people what I do with a simple word lookup in an English-to-foreign-language dictionary, and they'll get it. I like that it's a profession that's known, and even sometimes respected, in virtually every culture.

I like that I can do important things even while on bedrest, with the help of a simple device. I even like that I can be puking one minute and brainstorming the next.

Don't get me wrong; it's not all lavender and puppies. There's a lot of "plugging through" when you feel like crap. A lot of challenges you'd rather abandon in favor of the E! Channel (or, insert channel of choice). A lot of times you wish it were socially and legally acceptable to throw heavy objects at people. The phone will ring while you're on the toilet, or sick in bed. Half the time, it will be a dire crisis, and half the time, it will be with stuff like, "Call this guy and tell him that I said this," and you won't be sure which kind of call is worse. People will demand the impossible, and it'll be your job to explain why it's not possible, and to do it nicely. People will call you five times in a row over trivialities. But a lot of this happens in other professions, too. And you will probably start to feel like you have a bit more control over your life by the time you're in your late twenties. That's pretty good.

Then, you can have children and get completely overwhelmed all over again.

But, whether with children or school, I will always help you. I love you, Mr. Lashes. Carpe diem!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Last night, after puking up some baby carrots and red pepper strips and a calcium chew, I dreamed that I had a little girl, and that she was so tiny I could hold her in my jacket and nobody even knew she was there. I would look down every once in a while to check in on her.

On one of those check-ins, the day after she was born, it had been a while since I had nursed her, and she looked up at me, and said:

"I am SO hungry!"

As Ty said, "A chip off the old block."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Week 7 1/2 Update

Just a whole number away from being Felliniesque.

How appropriate.

Sorry I haven't been around. ("Hi, my name is Arabella, and I like burning my bridges and letting my site stats fend for themselves!") This week has been exceptionally difficult. The nausea has set in full-blast. Every waking hour is consumed by thoughts of food, and what will satisfy my intense starvation without making me sick. It's a little like being a Hollywood starlet, but with the looming reality of stretch marks despite all the puking.

Here are just a few of the things that I have puked up: a vanilla milkshake; graham crackers; a bowl of Rice Krispies.

Here are some of the few things that have stayed down: spicy pizza; a pickle; half an Italian hero. Each of these was consumed within a half an hour of puking up something bland.

The past few years, I've had a great many adjustments in my life. I finished college, started law school, finished law school, started working, got engaged, got married, moved, and changed job situations. I hadn't really thought about it until recently, but, in the back of my mind, I've sort of prided myself on figuring out how to make each adjustment and then doing it. It's been a little trial and error, but I've genuinely enjoyed each challenge.

But this pregnancy is kicking my ass. I have no idea what I'm doing, or how to make myself feel better. I have no idea whether I'm moving towards self-improvement, or whether I'm just treading water. My mother recently said to me, "Arabella, some times in life are just meant to be lived through." I think she's absolutely right, and that this is one of those times.

And, in retrospect, I am learning, little by little. Ty and I have mastered the art of performing my injections with a minimum of pain and bruising. My day no longer revolves around the terror of the shot. I'm learning that my body knows exactly what I need to eat, and when, and that bland food isn't necessarily what's best for me. And I'm learning that, sometimes, pushy people just need to wait. The world won't end if twenty-four hours elapse. It might even be good for them.

I've also learned that, if you really talk to other women, even those with whom you've never been particularly close, they'll often open up about their own less-than-glamorous body experiences, be they during pregnancy or some other time. One of the reasons that blogging first appealed to me was that I've often thought that what women (and men!) have to go through with their bodies is absurd. Now I know that I'm right, that absurdity abounds, and that it abounds for everyone.

So, thanks for reading, for putting up with me, and my absences, and my 'gina. And now my stomach. I guarantee, there'll be lots more unsavory body talk coming up in the next few months, so stay tuned!

P.S. If you haven't already, please head over to Soul Gardening to congratulate my friend and fellow long-time-conception-attempter Tammie on her own good news!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

5 People and Things That Can Kiss my Bloated, Nauseated Ass

1. Time Warner Cable--your sucky, competition-free existence is solid proof of why Communism doesn't work. I've dealt with more outrageousness from you than can possibly be documented with my Blogger space allotment.

2. Prenatal vitamins--sure, make us gag and puke MORE. That's the secret of health!

3. Doctors with the bedside manner of a snowman, minus the pebbly smile--'nuff said.

4. People that sell you the most expensive item of furniture you've ever purchased in your life, that you've obsessed about and dreamed about and gone back and forth about and finally decided to buy, only to have rude salespeople tell you, after you've made a four-digit deposit, that they won't begin the manufacturing process until you shell out an extra hundred bucks for the special fabric that you want, and then, after all that, deliver the furniture with the wrong fabric, and THEN, despite THREE (3) separate home visits, still haven't delivered the accompanying table pads that you paid for MONTHS ago, because the TWO (2) separate sets that they've made have been made with the wrong measurements.

5. Paint fumes.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Things that made me cry this past weekend:

the film Milk Money

the film Twins (how appropriate!)

the film Back to the Future

a commercial for The Fantasia Barrino Story on Lifetime (incidentally, I have never seen a single episode of American Idol)

an episode of The Nanny

Friday, August 11, 2006

Week 6 Update

It's definitely twins.

Two heartbeats and everything.

And two blood clots in two placentas.

Despite all my medicating.

(Fortunately, the clots are in locations where they aren't likely to cause harm, but they must be monitored.)

And an enlarged ovary. Which will probably go back to normal on its own, or else I may lose it, or else it may kill me. I'm being a little bit facetious; these are real threats, but very unlikely.

This was all detected while one doctor rummaged around in my cooter for about a half an hour, saying things like "placenta previa" and "PCOS" to another doctor, as if I were part of the furniture and not A HUMAN BEING WITH EARS AND A BRAIN AND A BIT OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT WHAT THESE MYSTERIOUS WORDS MEAN, WITH MY LEGS HANGING OPEN WIDER THAN THE WALLS OF THE ROOM.

I'm on bedrest for at least a week or so.

A planned C-section is highly recommended down the line.

I'm not happy.

But that could also have something to do with the 23 VIALS OF BLOOD that were taken from my two arms this morning (they couldn't get enough blood out of one).

While I fasted.

I feel like absolute shit.

And not the slightest bit maternal.

Suddenly, the smoothness of my scarred-and-bruised stomach is a concern that's been back-burnered. There are going to be many, many, many more sacrifices than that.

This is not going to be a magazine-cover pregnancy.

Oh, did I mention that the cable is out?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Call to Action

Some people yearn for world peace. Others, an end to gang violence.

I share their sentiment of wanting to end senseless tragedy.

Therefore, I long for the day when I can buy the same brand of pantiliner, in the same formulation, with the same packaging, on two consecutive drugstore trips.

"But, Arabella," you ask. "You're pregnant! You aren't getting your period now. Why do you need pantiliners?"

Good question, my friend. Good. Question.

When the nurse called to confirm that my blood pregnancy test had been positive, she told me, "Come on in tomorrow, and we'll give you some prescriptions, and some lessons."

No problem!, I thought. I can handle some more prenatal vitamins. Maybe they'll even be brightly-colored, fruit-flavored, and come in cute little baby shapes. A bonnet. A pacifier. A frickin' teddy bear. As for the "lessons," what's she going to say? "Don't smoke?" "Don't drink?" Piece of cake.

Ty and I arrived nice and early, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

And then the nurse pulled out the enormous syringe.

"This is how you do it," she explained. "You pinch the belly fat, hard, and then jam it in." (Ok, she didn't say it quite like that, but the effect was the same.)

Every morning.

"Are there any side effects?" I asked, tearfully. I was beginning to get the point. In fact, I would be getting the point very shortly. And daily.


Of course there were. The nasty bruising I showed you last Friday. Scrumptious. Oh, and the liquid in the syringe causes pain at the injection site.

"And, also, these are progesterone suppositories. You use them twice a day."

I temporarily forgot about the enormous needles.

"They're vaginal suppositories?!"

"Yes. Twice a day."

There is nothing quite like speaking with an important client as you feel a rush of oil trickle out of your cooter and into your underwear, protected by a woefully inadequate pantiliner, formerly wonderful and now newly redesigned to feel more cottony or some shit, that has disengaged from your panties due to moisture (WTF??? Like moisture's unexpected in the life of a pantiliner???), and is slowly working its way into your asscrack. And then you look down, and a ring of wetness is visible on your pants. As if you peed yourself.

Ladies and gentlement, this is why I think it should be perfectly acceptable to cry in the workplace. In fact, now that we're all working our asses off, I think this should be the real focus of the feminist movement.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The more things change, the more they stay the same... manifested by some of my recent Google searches.

recipe salmon scallions dill

taxidermy process

back in shape after twins

organic body cream

autopsy photos

natural nail polish

cramping first trimester

Friday, August 04, 2006

Week 5 Update

Last night I spoke with Teebs on the phone and we agreed that people are probably more interested in my CARRYING TWINS than in my yogurtmaking attempts, so I will probably be abandoning my efforts to keep mentions of the pregnancy to once-a-week-only. Nevertheless, I'll probably confine the cut-and-dried updates to once a week. So, without further ado, here is my update for Week 5.

Brooke in a recent post shows us a pregnant stick figure who proudly proclaims that this "ain't for sissies." She's right.

I think I'm already starting to show a little bit. At this point, it's primarily infrastructure, but I already feel very full after even a small meal. The bruises are from my daily injections. From the medication, the foreign chemical, that has to be INJECTED INTO MY BELLY FAT EVERY DAY, MERE INCHES AWAY FROM THE TINY CREATURES FOR WHOM I SCRUB MY ORGANIC PRODUCE BEFORE EATING IT. The pasty whiteness, unfortunately, can't be blamed on anything. See the teeny, teeny, tiny scars on my navel and just above the belt loop directly to the left of the button on my jeans? Those are two of the three surgical scars that I was so worried about just a few short months ago. My, how times have changed!

In less than a week, my husband has mastered the art of giving me my shots in the least painful way possible, all while prepping for his own workday. I've been a horror to live with--exhausted, moody, upset, tearful. For that, I am truly, truly sorry.

And today is his birthday.

Ty, I couldn't imagine any better person to raise my babies with. You will be as wonderful a father as you are a husband. I love you with all my heart and all my soul. And, rest assured, I already love them, too.

Happy birthday, Baby. Happy day to all my babies.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Splitting Open

The poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.”

I heard this quote a couple of years ago and pretty much dismissed it. To be blatantly honest (and isn't that what it's all about?), I still kind of do. Without getting terribly political, I have a few issues with the outlooks of certain particular modern-day feminists, and this quote struck me as consistent with some of those outlooks. It seems a bit Ivory Tower for my tastes. I'm a garbage-taking-out-29-year-old-lawyer whose husband cooks her dinner every night; I feel like I know a thing or two about how actually to live a solid life as a woman in the real world.

Yet, this quote sprang into my mind around 3:30 this morning, as I kept an eye on my minor bleeding, rubbed my stomach to stimulate healthy collagen production so that I'll hopefully spring back a little easier after I drop twins in the spring, and debated whether to risk waking my husband by turning the air conditioner back on, or whether it was better simply to sweat.

I have sent some brutally honest e-mails to Mama Tulip and Mignon in the past twenty-four hours. Stuff that I'm feeling in light of the shock of being pregnant after so long, and being pregnant WITH TWINS, no less. Fears and mixed feelings that I may not want my babies to know for a very, very long time, if ever.

Stuff that, as Mignon told me, is perfectly normal.

My parents, in my opinion, instilled a tremendous sense of self in me when I was a child. I was even less of a pushover then than I am now. And I think it was partially due to the fact that they were constantly showing and telling me how great I was, and how much they wanted me. When I asked if I was a good baby, I was told, "Oh, yes, you were the best. Sweet as sugar, and always smiling." The worst thing my mom said about me when I was a baby was that I was "always hungry." Practically a compliment. Of course, when I got older and read between the lines, I realized that meant that I woke her up with my crying every few hours.

I want my babies to know how much I love them already. And I also want them to know, for the sake of knowledge and for the sake of their future mental health, that it's ok--normal, even--to love someone and to have tremendous mixed feelings about putting them into the world. But I can't write exactly what those feelings are on this blog. The world wouldn't split open, I know. But even moderately bad shit might happen, and I can't take that risk with my babies. Not with the written word; it's just too powerful.

Someday I'll probably talk to them about how I felt in the first 24 hours after I found out that I was having two babies at once, how excited and scared I was, and the thoughts that raced through my mind in the middle of the night. And I'll tell them that it's normal to feel this way about babies. But I'll also tell them that the real challenge of being a parent isn't skinned knees or curfews, but how to balance nurturing your children's self-worth while encouraging them to be honest about their own feelings, by example.

I don't think this skill can be taught. I think it's something we each just have to figure out as we go along.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Q: How do you make God laugh?

A: Tell Him your plans.

We interrupt our regularly-scheduled balanced, normal post about things that annoy me and/or food that I like and/or stuff I did over the weekend to announce that AFTER MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS OF NOT GETTING PREGNANT AT ALL, I APPARENTLY GOT PREGNANT TWICE IN THE SAME MONTH AND AM CARRYING TWINS.


Thank you all for the congratulations and well wishes. I am extremely excited and extremely overwhelmed. Have I mentioned that I have ONLY ONE VAGINA????!!!! How on earth am I going to do this? And, once they're born, how on earth will I be able to imagine life without either one of them.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Mrs. Harridan and I frequently chat over the IM. Most of the time, to paraphrase Marge Simpson, we talk about products that we'd like to purchase.

During one such recent conversation, we talked about the possibility of my procuring a yogurtmaker. Not long thereafter, a friendly man dressed in brown arrived at my door, carrying a great big box.

This past weekend, I made yogurt! When I say "I made," I mean I followed 85% of the directions for "easy" yogurt and disregarded the other 15%, and then, the next day, wound up with culturedy-tasting milk, and then I went and took a nap while my mom lovingly cleaned out the yogurtmaker jars, boiled and cooled fresh milk, and prepared the yogurt mixture for culturing. This kind of behavior isn't even considered unreasonable now! Nor is falling asleep IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONVERSATION! Pregnancy has its perks. The decaffeinated tea, sushi ban, and the things that are happening to my torso are not among them (just you wait for my Friday update!), but it definitely does have its perks.

The yogurt that my mom made turned out delicious--smooth and thick and with a nice tangy taste, but not sour, like store-bought plain yogurt. I've been enjoying it with nuts and honey.

But now I need your help! I want to try flavored yogurt with the next batch. What kinds of flavors should I use? I'm thinking interesting combinations of fruits. Any suggestions?