STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy! If you are looking for Kaylia's official Website please visit KayliaMetcalfeWriter



9-30-12


You cry a lot.

I don't mind.

Ok, I sort of do.

I understand it is your only way to communicate... but still.

You cry a lot.

9-29-12


Grandma has left us... but we managed ok.
I love the way your little hands flail around... I know you don't have any control over them.. but I like to think that every flail brings you closer to intentional movement!

9-28-12



You are so cute!








Big Yawn.

Today you and I went for a short walk around the complex... it as only 10 minutes but it was good... and hot.

Otherwise I recovered from last night's manic feeding and lack of sleep and tried to enjoy the last day of Grandma being here.

We are really going to miss having her here... she has made our lives a lot easier.

Daddy is singing Beatles songs to you as I type this. /squee/

I tried having you in the sling today as you seemed to just want to hang out (been more interested in your pacifier too) but I don't think I had it on right because you were very awkward... I think I figured out what I was doing wrong and we shall try again tomorrow.

9-27-12


We went out for breakfast this morning with Grandma. I did much much better about being outside and it was fun to have you at the table with us... even if you slept the whole time.

Yes, we are sleep deprived. Yes, you are still sleeping way too much and not eating enough... yes it was Daddy's first day back at the office...

And yes I did okay.

Getting in and out of Grandma's car with the seat... now, that was rather a trick. If anyone had been watching, I'm sure they would have been amused.

After breakfast Grandma and I went tot he store to try to get you more bottles. And then home... where I crashed.

A big big day.....

And then... a long long night because you are really getting into this cluster feeding type of action....

/yawn/

9-26-12


Back to the Dr's office... you have been putting on weight and my milk has, at last, come in... so we are now supplementing you with breast milk.  It looks like Plan B might work if we can just fix your little latching problem.

You need at least 22 oz of milk a day.  Which means several 10-15  feedings and maybe a few bottles.

I'm optimistic, but wary.

We also went to Target today... another trip outside in the wide wide scary world but I held it together better.  It seemed safer in the store.  My legs are very trembly and my healing issues are still in the "need more time" sort of place, but slowly I think we are going to be all right.

I'm optimistic, but wary.


9-25-12





We went outside today for a trip that wasn't to the Dr's office. 

It was surprisingly hard for me. I don't know why... but I was just overcome with all these fears. 

We weren't out for long, we went for a walk around the complex, the three of us, Daddy, me and you in the stroller. Then we went for a bit of a drive around some of the neighborhoods where I might take you for walks when I am stronger.

And less weepy.

It was so hard being out there in the world with you... I was tense and scared and coudndn't stop crying.

I'm glad Daddy pushed me to do it, but it was very very hard.

I hope it gets better with time.

My Daughter, Ella Marie Metcalfe-Armstrong

She has arrived! We are understandably tired, elated, stressed, and thunderstruck.




She weighed 9 pounds 3 oz at birth. she was 21.75 inches long.




And if you are so inclined, you can read about it here:






9-24-12



Your jaundice levels are better, but we are still having issues feeding you.

Today we learned about a new way to supplement using a feeding tube.

I hate the feeding tube.

It makes me think that we are tricking you... you are trying so hard to latch onto me but you are getting formula pumped into you.

I guess you are getting the best of both worlds, but I still hate it.

The perfect ideal, call it plan A, is for you to BF from me.
Plan B is for you to eat breast milk from botles (if you can't learn to latch)
Plan C is for you to get breast milk and formula from bottles (if you can't learn to latch and if my milk doesn't come in enough)
Plan D is for you to be on full formula.

It is starting to seem like A is not going to be an option... and though I don't like the other plans, my ego has to be checked at the door.

What matters is that you get food in your tummy.

Period.

The photo, by the way  is you in the jammies from Great Grandma Bartel.  They are the best jammies we have for you, the perfect temp.  ANd you look so cute in them!!!!

9-23-12


We took you to the Dr's today... your weight is down and they are worried about you not getting enough to eat. Time to suplement.

I have to tell you how hard it was to hear, I felt like such a failure.... how could I be failing you already?

I'm very eager for my milk to come in, it seems like that will help.

They say that because of the way you were delivered, your little jaws might just not be that strong.... this can be fixed with time as you grow stronger but it is hard to grow stronger when you aren't getting enough to eat.

I hate it when they stick you, it is so hard to watch and listen to... my heart breaks and your little heels are all bandaged up, poor baby.

Today was rough. But tomorrow things will be better.

9-22-12


We were discharged from the hospital today.

It was so fun to put you in regular clothes! (It was fun to put ME in regular clothes too!)

The ride home from the hospital was surreal. Having you here, in the house, was bizarre... but in a good good way.



See that outfit? With the ducky on the butt? I picked that out for you special months ago. So glad you could wear it.

And now... now it really begins!

9-21-12


Today was all about the realization that you were here.

Grandma was here most of the day helping us... and making me laugh so hard it hurt.

Your Daddy loves changing your diaper (lots of poop).Lots of nurses and staff in and out of the room ( a bit annoying).

Mostly though, we slept and I tried to feed you.







9-20-12: Finally Meeting You Part 3 (final)



You are here! At last!!!

51 hours of labor.

When we got to the hospital, close to midnight, I was ecstatic to learn that I had dilated to 7 cm... So... a whole 5 from the last visit! No sending me home this time! It was time for a room!

We tried to get settled, Grandma, Ashley, Daddy, Amber and I, but it was hard because the contractions were so much more intense and painful.

I have to admit here that my dignity had gone out the window. I was naked, I was standing tall on the bed, I think I might have moaned to the point of an almost primal howl.

It hurt.

As I write this several days later, I can remember the emotional feeling of the pain, the thought that my body was betraying me, the feeling like my hips were being sloooooowly dislocated from the inside out, the almost blinding waves that just kept coming... but it is hard to remember all the little details of the next several hours.  I remember the squat bar, I remember getting out of bed to stand and lean, I remember trying to breath and count. For now at least, I remember the pain.

Around 5 am I got checked out again and had only progressed another cm.

This is when I started to fatigue in a major way.

It had been 37 hours of labor and you weren't progressing, I was getting so tired that I would fall asleep in between contractions, little 45 seconds of sleep that would be shattered when my body would plunge me back into mind numbing pain over and over and over again.

They offered an epidural and I refused. I was scared, I didn't want to be removed from this experience, I didn't want to lose my connection with you even though it hurt so bad. I didn't want to fail myself.

Eventually though, and after some very clear conversations with the doctor who was trying his best to keep me out of the operating room (his stance was that my water still hadn't broken, I needed that and I need Pit to help keep these contractions moving UP and harder to actually help with the dilation.... but that as we went later and later my chancres for having to have a c-section were just getting bigger), I decided to accept the epidural.

After 37 hours of labor, I felt I wasn't cheating, I wasn't weak, and I needed to do what was best for both of us. at 6:30 they administered the epidural.

Holding still during contractions while getting the epidural was insanely hard to do. But I did it, with Daddy's help.

Then they broke my water, installed a cath, and started me on Pit.

And miracles of miracles, I was ok with it. I was better than ok with it. I was so relieved to be out of so much pain (still feeling those contractions, more like heavy pressure now, like bad cramps) and yes I could still move and feel my legs.

We all took a nap.

Three hours later, I was better rested, still feeling the contractions, and ready for what would happen next.... what happened next was that even with the 'pit, I was only at 8 cm... so more pit was needed.

Looking at the read outs of the contractions, I was never more happy that I had changed my mind and allowed the epidural. I don't think I could have endured so many more hours of that level of pain, especially since we just weren't progressing.

That was pretty much the rest of the day. I labored, heavy pressure, working on my breathing, no more resting, highly uncomfy but away from the horrific pain.

Why oh why weren't we progressing?

It turns out you were a Sunny Side Up baby, you were turned slightly wrong.  (Meaning that my severe pain had a reason and that there wouldn't have been any way to help it).  WE got me into some weird positions and eventually got you to turn.

What a relief!

Ok, so... you are in the correct position, I am still laboring... but we still aren't progressing as fast as we should, although we are finally at a 10.

Dr B talked to us about vacuum extraction.  Again, he wanted to avoid a c-section buthe was getting concerned that you might be just too big for me to push out...

I was terrified of the vacuum extractor. I thought it would be this horrible conrtraptin, I worried that it would damage your head, I felt like I was failing you already by not being strong enough to push you out.

Another long conversation with the dr, who answered all my questions and even showed me the tools, explained the risk and the benefits and told me again that he was trying to save me from the operating room.

Ok, I said, eventually, for now I want to chance to push.

They upped my Pit again and the pushing started.

A whole new level of pain / pressure and breathing.

Grandma and Amber held my legs while Daddy talked me through each contraction push.  I could feel the contractions in my uterus so I knew when it was time... and boy was it time a lot.

I pushed and I pushed and my ever present nausea got worse and worse until I ended up throwing up.

And that's when I cried a litle. I was so frustrated and sick and in pain and scared that I wan't going to be able to do it.

The Dr came back. It's time he said. No, I said, another half an hour of pushing.

A half an hour later, on the dot mind you, he was back. It's time he said. Ok.

I pushed, he prepped the vacume xttactor.

He only gets three tries. I know this, I can hear them counting and giving the time. I can feel you stretching me, tearing me, opeing me up.

First try fail.

Again we all say, and again we go. I arch, I strain, I push and I tell myself I am willing to break myself in half, I am willing to ripe wide open for you, I want you to be safe so bad, to be out and breathing, and ok.

I tell myself that I will push until I can't breath, until I can't see, until I am nothing more than a portal for you.

The time is being counted, we are running out of time... and then you are out. you are moving from inside of me and into the world.

And I am gasping, wheezing, filled with emotions that I can't even begin to name.

They take you off to the side and Daddy goes with you.  I wait. I wait... and then I hear you cry.

And I weep.

***

The Aftermath:

I get stitches because I tore (but only 2nd degree, thank goodness). I deliver the placenta I know they have turned off the epidural, they have removed the cath with it', it was huge by the way.  blood filled urine. But I don't care because finally, finally, they bring you to me and they lay you on my chest and then I am touching you, feeling your skin against mine, falling even more in love with you and with Daddy and I can't stop crying.

The rest of the night was a blur... but here are moments:

Daddy cut your cord.
He handed the scissors to someone and no cone could find them for a bit.
You were 9 pounds 3 oz and 21 and 3/4 inches long.
You had perfect brown hair.
You had daddy's cleft chin.
I thought I wouldn't want to ever let you go but watching Daddy hold you made me so happy.
They moved us to a new room and I changed into a new gown... I mistakenly thought my naked time was over.
I got trained on my peri care, a very elaborate process.
I stood up for the first time in what felt like forever.
I had to remember how to pee.
There was so much blood.
We swaddled you in the hospital blankets.
There was music.
We slept.




9-19-12: Finally Meeting You Part 2

Finally Meeting You: Part 2


Labor it is!

Wow.

So, Robin, Amber, Grandma, Daddy and I bonded through the labor today. 

Daddy and I started off last night (it started around 4 but he wasn;'t home until after 8). Robin came over around 1:30 in the morning and kept us company. We walked, we talked, we made plans....

Amber was here too... she and I went for a walk around the complex and went through the sprinklers. I'll never forget that, I laughed at the water but I was also already hurting a bit.... it was the first time in months I hadn't felt over heated.

I called Grandma in the wee hours and she headed here from San Jose. Can you believe we were actually worried that she might miss something? 

We went to the hospital and were told that I was only a 2... so back home (home by 6:30) for more exciting labor fun.

In this photo, Robin is braiding my hair.  I am not sure how she got the idea, but it was such a blessing to have all my wispy hairs off my forehead and my hair up and out of my way.  

At 11:30 we were sure I had dilated some more so we went back to the hospital... but again, I was measured at a 2 and we were sent home.

We listened to music, I sang to you through the contractions.... and I walked, paced, crawled, showered, and tried to focus on breathing and counting through the contractions all day.

All day.

Cynthia brought dinner and I forced myself to have a few noodles. I knew I needed my strength, but I didn't want to eat, I wanted to focus on you.

Eventually Robin had to go and Ashley took over as labor helper.

As it got later and later my contractions started getting harder and longer and MUCH more intesne. They were primarily in my back and my hips, my damn hips I kept saying.  I had been having back and hip pain formonths now, so it wasn't that shocking, but boy did it hurt.

At 11:30 we headed back to the hospital... in a bit more of ahurry now as the contractins were really coming strong.... and it was super hard to not flinch, stretch, and gyrate my way through them in the car... and of course there was road work on the way.

End of Part 2

9-18-12: Finally Meeting You: Part 1

Finally Meeting You Part 1



Could it be?

Labor?

Or pre labor, and a false alarm.

Either way, time for comfort food in the form of veggie soup, salad, and brad from Old Spaghetti Factory!

The rest of today was actually very relaxing. Morning snack with Allison, pedicure and leg / back massage, then lots of lovely hang out time with Ashley and Richard (who is doing so much better with his walking!!!), then home to field a zillion phone calls before realizing that the random contractions aren't as random.

Since around 4 this afternoon, been trying not to keep track while keeping track, trying not to get excited while being excited, and trying to rest while there is pain every so often.

Will you be born tomorrow? The next day? Or are you messing with my head and not planning on coming until next week?

Only time will tell....

End of Part 1

* This was real labor, I just wrote it earlier.... in Part 2 I talk about the rest of the night.....)

9-17-12


To break the monotony of waiting, Robin took me to Starbucks today to talk about crochet projects and writing projects etc. It was lovely!

And then to break the monotony even more I had a dr apt.... where they told us you weren't in enough fluid.

Well, a few hours later and some more tests and your fluid levels are ust peachy.

Little one, this is our 4th trip under slight dramatic circumstances. I hope this doesn't bode badly for the future....

Actually, I wasn't really worried this time.... since we had been there a few times, it wasn't as frightening and I was sure that the first test was flawed.  see, that's me in the photo smiling and crocheting while we wait.

Home afterwards... for more... you guessed it, waiting.










9-16-12


Today was pretty busy, but good.

We ran some errands and then went to James' birthday party at a pizza place. Yum!

After that it was book club with a new member and some great fun conversation... and then an evening of relaxing with Daddy.

Daddy got out his guitar and worked on tuning it. He is going to learn a few lulabies and some other songs to sing to you...

Stand By Me
Let It Be
Imagine
Someone Like You


I can't wait!!!

9-15-12



Today is our 5 year anniversary.

5 years!

Sometimes it seems a lot longer (in the whole hard to remember what life was like before sort of way) and sometimes it seems so quick.

We had brunch at our favorite breakfast place (and used a coupon!). -That's what the photo is from- I even allowed myself 1 and 1/2 cup of decalf coffee as a treat!

The rest of the day we spent relaxing, doing a bit of kitchen prep for you, and playing WoW. For dinner we cooked togehter, so nice, and then had a brief cuddle before headed over to Cynthia and Michael's house for dessert with a whole slew of people.

I got to play with a 2 1/2 year old and hold baby Piper... and then come home and spend some more quality time with your daddy.

It was a wonderful day!

Yes, I sort of wish you were here or at least coming, but I am glad we had the day we did.

This year our big anniversary gift to each other is... YOU!

Last year I made daddy this video:


I hope someday you too gt to have such a wonderful partner in your life.

9-14-12



Today we did not go into labor.

But we did go out and get you your September books. Daddy found these and they seemed perfect. We can't wait to hug and kiss you!

Still having the BH contractions, mainly at night, but it looks like Dr R was wrong when he predicted you might come before the weekend.

I felt pretty crummy today, all achey and tired and such... getting out of the house to run errands after dinner really helped. Thank goodness your daddy sometimes knows what I need before I do!


Car Seats and College Smarts



So.

I consider myself relatively intelligent  I’m not one of those super smart people, but when I apply myself, I can usually understand moderately complex ideas.

My Maifan-San, on the other hand, is all sorts of brainy bright. Between the two of us, I think we do rather well in the cognitive thinking parts of life. 

We both went to college, (he has a masters, I muddle along with my BA), we both value science and try to flex our critical thinking skills on a regular basis.  We read nonfiction for crying out loud… and we enjoy it.

Ok, stage is set.

I, as a representative for Gay Central Valley, was invited several months ago to be on the Fresno County Tobacco-Free Coalition. The goal of the coalition seems readily apparent, but what I found fascinating was the variety of organizations that were represented in the membership.

 Fresno Child Health Disability Prevention
Fresno Housing authority
Fresno HIV Prevention Program
Fresno Dept of Public Health
Performing Above The High
CA Health Collaborative Lock It Up Project
… and more than 5 tobacco / health related organizations as well.

The coalition does a lot of good work, but one thing stuck out in my mind.

At the end of the meeting, each representative is invited to share upcoming events that their organization is running or promoting. (So, for example, I always pitch the latest GCV events, etc).

At my first meeting, a man named Ahmad from the Fresno County Child Health Disability Prevention Program mentioned that a car seat inspection was coming up… a place and time where people could bring their cars and car seats in to get a free safety check.

Gentle readers, I must admit I inwardly scoffed at this idea.

Car seats: they come with instructions manuals. There are only so many belts and buckles back there. How hard can it be to get them in right?
 
So, I asked: “How many people do that wrong?”

Turns out, almost 90% of the people who bring their seats in, do it wrong.

This is a self selecting group of people who wondered if they did it right and then bothered to show up at an event to make sure.

90%.

(What about all the snotty people like myself who assume that a monkey could do it and never get it checked? What would our percentage be?)

Ok… so I started thinking, Why? Well, maybe you don’t speak the language of the instruction manual. Maybe your car sat is a hand me down and didn’t come with an instruction manual. Maybe you are one of the millions who doesn’t “get” written instructions anyways and has to ask the neighbor for help when it comes to putting together particle board bookshelves. Maybe there are other reasons too… how dare I judge?


A few months later, we got our own car seat for Baby Ella.

We installed it.  We were quite pleased with ourselves. 

But… we decided that it couldn’t hurt to have it double checked. I mean, it is our infant we are talking about. Well worth the time and hassle to double check, right? I was pretty confident we had done it right, but hey… I’m a responsible member of society, why not get it checked.



There weren't any events coming up that we could get to before she is scheduled to arrive… so we contacted the CHP (who also does the checks one day a week) and AAA, who –since we are members- does it any day and for free.

And… we had done it wrong.

Yep.

We are now part of the 90%.

Apparently, the instruction manuals can be misleading. Apparently we are not alone in making the mistake of using all the belts and buckles and hooks and what not. 

The AAA people were very nice about it, the whole process took less than 15 minutes, and they didn’t mock us. 

But I’m still embarrassed… Embarrassed that I judged so harshly, that I assumed that book smarts and a college education allowed me to have practical world knowledge that I lacked, embarrassed that even having been told “lots of people do it wrong” we did it wrong.

Embarrassed, but thankful.

Thankful that we were able to get it checked, thankful that we were able to fix it. Thankful that now we know we have made her car seat as safe as possible.

Hey... I might not be as smart as I thought I was... but I do tend to learn from my mistakes and missteps... and that should count for something, right?

Information about where you can get your car seat checked (and I highly recommend it), can be found here.

Interview by Edwina Crouch-Pears

I was recently interviewed for a new youtube series called "You're Doing what?"

Apparently being slightly unconventional has its perks!


Interview by Edwina Crouch Pears

I was recently interviewed for a new youtube series called "You're Doing what?"

Apparently being slightly unconventional has its perks!


9-13-12



That's you in there... getting bigger every day.

This whole not being able to stand straight up, not being able to lay down comfy, and not being able to sit at my computer stuff is getting old.

In other words, Ella, we are ready for you. Come anytime.

Neal and Keith rescued me from what feels like house arest today for some McD's ice cream...

In other news, we are now sure that your car seat has been properly installed. Hooray for safety!

We finished the night with some WoW play, thankfully my computer seems to be working again!

Did I mention that I'm ready for you?

9-12-12



There really wasn't a good photo of today as I spent most of the day frantically responding to emails, working on an article, and writing desktop guides for GCV things.

I did take the time to wonder if my burst of energy was the nesting thing that women supposedly get right before labor or if it was the adrenalin thing most people get when they realize that they have procrastinated too long.

Either way, I got a bunch done today.

I even had time to take a walk (slow) in the mall and to hang out with Robin, James, Allison, and Daddy for dinner.

Olive was the sentinel of the bed tonight... she was clearly ready way before me and wasn't overly patient.

Alas, I couldn't sleep. It is 330 am tomorrow and I am still wide awake and twitchy.
















9-11-12





Today was 9-11.

It's weird to think that an event that was such a huge deal for me, I was 20 when the towers fell, will be like ancient history for you. I wonder what sort of huge moments in history my mother watched roll by before I was born that feel beyond distant to me now.

In more happy news...

Today was also the day I had my 38 week check up. I was told that I was 2 cm dilated and 65% effaced…. Dr Royle also “swirled” the membrane which has been known to release a hormone that starts labor.

My due date is on the 21st. So, just over a week away, but Dr Royle seemed to think that I would have you before then.

I'm not sure if he was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear or if I might be posting baby pics soon... but either way, the bit of dilation and effacement are good signs.

It's finally starting to happen!

In order to not come home and star at each other, Daddy and I went out and had some Chinese food and watched The Avengers. As a distraction technique, it totally worked.... except when you would move and I would wonder,... hope... feel that thrill of possibility...

/My fortune cookie told me to think positive! 



9-10-12


Today was a long day.

My computer was in the shop so I couldn't do much.... I was also feeling very run down after the weekend and so I spent most of the day resting (feet up of course).

I really like how nice an organized the hourse is... let's hope it can stay that way for a bit.

A few contractions today... but not regular or long... and honestly sometimes hard to tell that they are contractions and not the normal pelvic / tummy pain.

Daddy was going to have to go out of town thsiweek but ti would have taken him far away for a bunch of time without being able to be in contact with us... so he passed on the assignment.  This might make things a bit more stressful at work, but he wants to make sure he is nearby (or at least reachable) in the off chance I go into labor this week.

I don't think I will, but had he gone out of town, I bet I would have :)

My labor prediction: Since I have this great involved plan for how things can be taken care of... it won't go anywhere near that plan.  Just watch, I'll be one of those "lucky" 1 in 10 who's labro starts with water breaking instead of having lots of prep time with contractions.... I hope for the later, but I'm mentally preparing for the former.



9-9-12


Hooray for new shelving!

And hooray for packing the hospital bag and box!

Yep.

There are still things on the to-do list, but they are much lower in priority... as of right now I can say that we are ready for this labor!

The parenting part... well... I still have worries and concerns and such... but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

We also had a SWAC brunch this morning... it was my last SWAC brunch as a preggo.... sort of bittersweet.

Eric came and got the table out of the living room... which was great, I can finally stop tripping over it all the damn time.

Yes, your mother is a klutz... and my natural clumsiness has only increased with the carrying of you! (But I don't mind... much)

Pregnancy joys.



Prepping for date night: Nice dress: Checkc. Nice undies: Check. Hair all nice (even with a sparkly head band thing): Check. Lipstick: Check. Perfume: Check. Fancy purse: Check. Sexy shoes: No... Cute shoes? No. Comfy shoes? Well, sort of... Flip flops it is. Oh well.

There are a lot of things they don't tell you about being pregnant.


9-8-12


(Me, Ashley and Richard, Cynthia and Piper, Jennifer and Jerum)


We had a busy day... brunch this morning with friends, shopping... and then we went out for our anniversary.

5 years!

Sometimes it seems much much longer... not in a bad way, but in the whole hard-to-remember-life-before sort of way.

For our 5 year anniversary, we are giving each other the gift of parenthood.

--- Our actual anniversary is a bit later this month, but we figured we better celebrate it sooner as your arrival is imminent. ---


9-7-12



Today I spent some time with Allison, attended a Anthology Committee Meeting, had a bit of a break down, got over it, did a MASSIVE Target shopping trip, and started making you a new blanket.

Also, tried El Pollo Loco for the first time, really really good!

But back to your blanket. I made you a pink and blue one before, but I am trying again with a different pattern in my head.  honestly, this is so I have something to do as I sit on the couch and watch TV. Typing has become almost impossible and reading tends to put me to sleep no matter what I am reading... so... crochet it is!

38 weeks today... and really really ready for you! all that's really left to do is pack the hospital bag.... which I keep procrastinating. I am really ready for you... but for some reason, I just can't seem to take that last prep step.

Soon.  Soon.

September

My September article for the Fresno Community Alliance is now up. "The Power of Protest" 

My September article for Blade California will be up soon, please check back: "In the Heartland of California: Reel Pride"

Both publications are available online or in hard copy at the Fresno LGBT Community Center.




8-6-12


A few more contractions... and yes... there is an app for that. /snicker

I had a dr apt today and Dr Royle told me you could come at anytime.

In the evening we had a bit of family drama... but it is all taken care of now.  Just one of those times when it is important to realize that people show love in different ways... and that family traditions can be modified as families change.

I'm glad to be part of the Armstrong family... but more so I am glad that your daddy and I are building our own family with our own traditions... the Metcalfe-Armstrong Family!

You are already so loved little one... people are practically fighting over who gets to spend time with you.

Now... hurry up and come out!






Color of Preference


Have you ever suddenly realized that the way you saw yourself, the way you explained yourself and your actions to yourself… isn’t accurate anymore.

I don’t mean you look in the mirror and think “Wow, when did I get so old?” or eat cabbage for the first time since you were force fed it as a child and realize that you actually don’t mind it.

I mean you justify an action based on a personality trait only to have someone point out that you lack that particular personality trait.

Yeah, that.

I was looking at purses the other day with a friend and she pointed out a slightly colorful purse / backpack…. While I had migrated over to the plain brown purse / backpack.  “Nah,” I explained, “I always like my purse or whatever to be as unnoticeable as possible.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Well,” and before thinking I launched into an explanation that was so ingrained it took no thought, “Riding the bus, being out in public, I am just more comfortable with not being flashy, with trying to just coast a bit under the radar.”

This is true. When I pick out my clothes, when I pick out my accessories, I do tend to go for the simple tones, the not too noticeable colors, the solids, the muted or at the very least the unimaginative.  Unless, of course I want to be noticed… buying a dress to raise eyebrows is one thing, but most of my clothes, shoes, bags, etc fall more into the “nothing special to see here, move along, look at someone else” category. 

And it has been that way for as long as I can remember.

Partly because I know that people tend to remember me, especially once I open my mouth, no matter what I am wearing. 

... or I get on the microphone...

Partly because I did used to ride the bus, take the train, walk alone in neighborhoods not known for their safety… and blending into the background is an important skill. I have been mugged, several times, and I have been hassled, hit on, bothered, followed, and yes, even stalked. And yes, I have written controversial essays, letters, articles, etc. I have protested and been on the news and on the radio, and on the microphone in front of cameras being loud, being proud, being counter-culture. Yes, the ability to climb down from the stage, pull on a hoodie and simple fade into the masses and not get recognized as the girl who was throwing paint or outrunning the cops is a useful skill.

So, my desire to blend into the background unless I chose to open my big mouth and get noticed is partly a survival technique and partly a way to deal with being shy.

Because, yes, I am, I can be, very shy. I get very nervous in some social situations.. not all, but if there are new people, or even people I don’t know well, or even the chance for people I don’t know to be anywhere nearby, I wrestle with anxiety. 

And part of how I deal with this sometimes crippling, fear is by controlling my outfit… controlling the persona I will be presenting. I strive to find an outfit that won’t really be noticed (it can’t be mocked if it isn’t noticed), that won’t draw attention.

My Maifan-San can tell how nervous I am before a social event based on how many times I change my clothes, trying to find that perfect outfit that says “I’m a nice person, but ignore me until I talk to you.”

(Of course, to be fair, like a lot of other shy people, I often overcompensate for my shyness by being overly talkative and loud…. Alcohol helps, but that is a whole other blog post.)

Anyway. So yes, I prefer to blend in, to not catch anyone’s eye and I figured the conversation in the purse department was over.

But.

But my dear friend is a skeptic (that’s actually how we met, at a Skeptics Brunch) and she pushed me: “How much blending in do you do with that rainbow bracelet on your wrist?”

Oh.

“I…. uhh…”

Because she’s right. I proudly wear my rainbow bracelet (from the Rainbow Delegation) to show my support for the LGBT+ community. I get asked about it a lot and I have no qualms explaining to people, even crazy scary bigoted people, what it means and why I wear it.

It is a bit of a rainbow target on my arm, it has gotten me yelled at, drenched in water, glared at, and lectured to. But I insist on wearing it…. Because it is important for me to face that anxiety and deal with it.

Because my liberal guilt doesn’t let me pass as “normal” or “straight” or “uninvolved” if I can help it.

And, let’s be honest… I hardly ride the bus anymore, I am not out in public alone all that often, and I don’t walk in dangerous neighborhoods. My lifestyle has changed… and with it a few of my fashion and accessory choices as well.  

Which means I could probably pull off carrying a multi colored purse or backpack. Or wearing flip flops with a  bit of sparkle to them. Or buying shirts that are slightly bright and not all mostly black or dark blue. Or wearing that hand me down maternity dress that has the bright floral print on it.

But … but… I don’t want to.
There's a little bit of color in there....

And if my reason for not wanting to wear bright colors and interesting clothes started from a place of safety and a desire to not be noticed, it has now become such a part of me that despite my safety not being as much of an issue, (I do still get hate mail) I still prefer boring muted colors and solids.

So, the personality trait might not be the same one I thought it was, but the results are.

Ultimately I had to shrug at my friend, raise my rainbow bracelet and admit that I just didn’t like the colorful bag as much as the plain brown one.

And you know what? I think that’s ok. I think it’s ok to prefer boring clothes and accessories. I don’t think I need to trot out the whole safety thing… I can just prefer black over bright and call it a day.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter why my wardrobe suffers from what my sister calls “a sever lack of color, style, or attitude” or what a college friend termed “the irony of an interesting person dressing in the most uninterestingly way possible.”

The why doesn’t matter, I don’t have to justify it. I can just acknowledge my preferences and enjoy my blandness.

Bland... but powerful!


8-5-12



Our CoC game got called tonight due to people having to do other stuff... so we played Banagrams with Ashley instead.

Not a bad way to spend the evening!

A few more contractions today, but nothing really big or serious.  At least not yet!

My to-do list has shrunk, but there are still some things on there that I want to do before I declare that I am ready for you.... hopefully by Saturday!

I'm glad because my energy levels are dipping dangerously low... it is getting harder and harder to keep up with even the simple things...



Quick Note


It’s September

The to-do list is getting done, which is a bit of a relief, however there is just always more… sometimes I feel like one of those hamsters on those little wheels.

Anyway, the pregnancy is progressing nicely. I’m huge and I feel like I get bigger every day. My maternity clothes are starting to not fit, oh, who am I kidding. They stopped fitting last week. Huzzah for being frumpy at home alone!

I felt my first BH contraction the other night… it ws sort of a relief to have felt it since statiscally women can start to feel them as early as 34 weeks and here I am almost 38 with nothing. But then, during the Batman movie date, I felt a cramp that stayed, my tummy got hard as a rock, and I thought “Oh! Yay!”

That thought was followed almost immediately by “And now I have to go pee… again….”

Oh the delights of pregnancy!  Still though, I have a feeling I am going to miss it.

8-4-12



We had a date night tonight... we went and saw the latest Batman movie...

....and...

...and I felt my first Actual Big Not a Drill For Realsies BH Contraction!

A lot of people start feeling these in weeks 34 or 35.... but here we are in week 37 and I hadn't felt any yet. I was starting to get worried.

Apparently you just needed to hear Batman being all awesome!

It was just the one big one... I know that just means that labor is coming and really doesn't tell us when, but damn it was exciting!



9-3-12



Your car seat has been installed!

Nest up: we get it checked by the CHP to make sure it is as safe as can be.

Lots more things checked off the to-do list today... including some shopping for the final bit of baby stuff!

And of course we had to watch the new Dr. Who episode and take a nap.  Kind of a perfect day.





9-2-12


Today Daddy helped Rob move to his new apartment in the Tower. It is a very cute little place with a lot of charm to it.

Later, we met up with Rob for tacos and to toast his move to Fresno.

But during the day? During the day we were a tornado of productivity! We knocked almost 30 things off the giant to-do list!

Betweent he cleaning, the organizing, the planning, the list making, the errands.... well, I'm pooped but so very glad we got so much done!






9-1-12


We have our Childbirth Prep class today.

Ok... a few things.

1. Your daddy is awesome. We giggled and whispered throughout the whole thing. Thanks to him, it was an enjoyable class.

2. Our teacher was nuts. Certifiable. She was all about the TMI and the gender stereotypes.  Very annoying.

3. I learned a few things, so that's good.... but a few things didn't make sense and the teacher wasn't all that good at explaining them.

Regardless, it was a decent day. The class was long but we had a nice evening relaxing afterwards.