Wednesday, May 30, 2007

heartbeat, it's a love-beat...

Yesterday we saw the little blinking light on the ultrasound screen that was our baby's heartbeat. It was a pretty awesome experience, awesome as in awe-some, full of awe. Scott was right beside me holding my hand and grabbing tissues for me when I started to cry. He was wide-eyed and thrilled, and I was blown away- falling ever and ever deeper in love with Scott.
We stared and stared at the screen- I wanted to memorize the moment, the beats, the blob that supposedly was a baby, supposedly an umbilical cord.
And there we have it, a real live baby with a real live beating heart. How about that?

Monday, May 28, 2007


Tomorrow's a big day- our first ultrasound. The baby is at just the right "age" that we should be able to see a heartbeat, if there is one. I know I sound negative, and I know my friends who are so into that book "the Secret" would chide me for this kind of "if" talk, but it's self-preservation. Scot and I are saying things like "wow, tomorrow is going to be weird". What we really are dealing with though, is fear and ambivalence- we both know that the good news, in this situation, is MUCH scarier than the bad news- so how do you prepare for something like that?
We've not had good experiences with ultrasounds- it was there that we learned our first baby was heartbeat-less. It was tragic and horrifying, a moment that I know we'll never forget- and that makes it hard to look forward to tomorrow's events.
But we'll see. Either way. We'll know something more by this time tomorrow.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

but it's not morning!

I was this close to going in today. It's our newly-ordained priest's first Mass, and I was actually invited. I really like this new priest, and would have liked to be there.
But, I just dooooon't feel good.
I've been psyching myself out all week about morning sickness. In my first pregnancy, the one that made it almost 3 months, I was sooo sick- three times a day, even past the point when the baby's heart had stopped beating. THAT didn't seem fair. But anyway, I have been dreading the point where I start to get sick like that again. Every day I find myself thinking "ooh is that nausea I feel?" But I think I've really been talking myself into sickness, rather than relishing this time that I have now to eat what I want (rather than the constant diet of cheerios I ate back then).
When I first found out I was pregnant, I set out to eat all my favorite foods while I still could- except for those with soft cheese or luncheon meat in them, because they are verboten- so I've been eating pretty well over the past couple of weeks.
But today, I feel a bit yucky. So I'm going to take advantage of the holiday weekend and stay close to home. Maybe I'll venture out for another tub of cottage cheese, though...

Friday, May 25, 2007

nap time

I'm at an odd juncture with this pregnancy- it's so new that it doesn't show, and of course the news isn't out generally (nor can it be out... not yet...) so there's none of that sympathy that pregnant women historically get (Oh no, don't lift that can of soda! Let me get that for you!). But the thing is, I feel like HELL! I can barely muster the strength to lift the can of coke that I am Ca-RAVING so badly. If I weren't pregnant, I'd be worried about my mental health- all I want to do is sit around, eat/drink, and take naps. I'm kind of in-hiding anyway, because of the Secret of Baby Dumpling, but also, I just don't feel like going anywhere or seeing anyone anyway.
I can't even describe how I'm feeling physically, outside of the stabbing breast pain- that's easy to describe. But otherwise, I feel... well, I just feel... weird! I am completely sluggish- almost energy-free. I'm hungry, actually hungry now, like one feels when one hasn't eaten in a long time. Of course, I HAVE eaten, so without this tapeworm-like energy sucker in my belly, I wouldn't be hungry like this. And I'm not just tired, I'm sleepy... drowsy... yawning and eyes watering and just wanting to curl up with the cats and doze.
I ate an entire tub of cottage cheese today, and strangely everything else I've eaten I've thought "mmm, this would be so good with cottage cheese!"
Apparently the second trimester is tons of fun and bliss, according to the press on it. Just when you really look pregnant, you feel better- doesn't seem fair. But already my pants are fitting... less well... so maybe I'll be able to launch early into that stage. Maternity wear is actually something I'm looking forward to, if it comes to that, because I've always had the kind of body that was better suited to maternity clothes anyway. Finally I'll be able to find clothes that fit around my belly!
I wish I'd bought some more cottage cheese this afternoon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Today I met with my team to strategize. Our supervisor has been asking to meet with us to talk about what next year will look like. We are troubled by the fact that no one has mentioned hiring yet- and with all the planning that we've put in place for next year, we can't feel confident that the leadership won't jump in and try to change it rather than just letting this fabulous team do what they know how to do.
When I took this job, I looked for the "successor file" from the former youth minister- you know, the lists and calendars and maps and info the departing YM had left for me. I found that the former YM had done NO planning for the upcoming year (set to start a few weeks after my first day) - had not put together a schedule, had not hired speakers for the speaker series that was their faith formation program for high school- had not left any lists of teachers, volunteers, or even kids involved in Peer Ministry. The notes she did leave were scant, and useless. One suggestion she left me was that I should have a parent meeting at the beginning of the year, and that I should start that meeting by introducing myself to the parents. Now THAT'S helpful advice.
I started putting together my successor file a year ago- I had no solid plans to leave at that time, but I thought it would be a good idea to have a hard-copy, actual set of information to describe what we've done in my tenure there. I don't use published curricula as-is, so it is good to have something solid to point to when people ask what we're doing. I took pains to show the catechetical sources and direction that influenced all our programming, and put in a lot of supporting reference material.
Everything is all set, ready to go- the main missing parts with me gone will be emceeing-type duties, leader training, and lots of presence. I just hope they'll let it ride for the year, until whoever they hire (whenever they get around to that!) can get their feet underneath them.
It has been hard, getting ready to leave my kids and the great people I've worked with there- and I feel guilty leaving them, knowing it's not going to be easy and they are not supported from "above". But that frustration is exactly why I know I have to leave.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


That's my HCG level. That means things are progressing well, right on schedule for a 6-weeks-pregnant person. Next comes the ultrasound, a week from today. I feel some relief at hearing the numbers, because with pregnancy #2 my numbers at this point were hovering around 50. Big difference.
The ultrasound is a big benchmark because I've only ever experienced one, and it was to say the least, unpleasant. (To say the most, it was traumatic.) So I think I'll be feeling pretty anxious leading up to that day.
Now the question of telling is zipping around my head- I've held off telling mostly everybody, because I wasn't convinced it was really going to happen... to continue... to...take. But now with encouraging numbers, things look, well, encouraging. But to tell the truth, I'm still not convinced, which makes me still unsure about broadcasting the news.
But, the longer I wait, the more awkward the situation feels. Not only because I hate the whole secret thing, but also because there is a real hierarchy as to who should know what, and when- in what order.
I saw a bunch of my family members this weekend and didn't tell them- they'll probably want to know why... and I brushed off two more for fear of having to tell them- silly. But, the more people I tell, then the more I may have to un-tell, and the un-telling sucks.
So, maybe one more week- after the ultrasound. Or, maybe this weekend. I don't know.
But in the meantime, the numbers are good.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Last night was Confirmation at my parish- the third of three, as we Confirmed almost 200 kids this year. It was also, I realized, my 16th or 17th Confirmation as a youth minister. After 15 or so, running Confirmations became less anxiety-provoking and more joyful, for me. I know the drill, I know enough about the process that I can skip over the silly stuff (like making the candidates march in order of height, age, alphabet, or social security number...) and just focus (and hopefully help the candidates and sponsors focus) on the good stuff.
I love the Sacrament of Confirmation- it is the red-headed step-child of Sacraments. It has been given a nasty reputation, un-earned, and so much badness has been heaped upon it that many people have no idea what it really is. I love the job of teaching people the real meaning of the sacrament, of re-educating parishes as to what Confirmation is and isn't, I love the shock in people's faces when they hear the history of it. I know, it's a niche-joy, but it's mine.
Last night was my last Confirmation, at least for a while. In my new job, coordinating Confirmation won't be my job. So I tried to soak it all in last night. The nervousness of the kids, the excitement and pride of the parents, the great music, the pageantry. Even the homily was pretty great.
So here we go, on to the next adventure. I guess I never would have thought, when I started in YM, that I'd fall in love with this poor little Sacrament, and spend so much time fighting for its honor. I wonder what new love awaits me in the new job?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Hero

Did I mention yet that I am a hormonal, emotional wreck-then-nasty crazy bitch then weeping uncontrollably? I suppose it is mostly hormones, but it's definitely compounded by the scariness and complexity of this whole situation.
Also, my boobs hurt. I don't remember them hurting like this last time(s).
Anyway, like I was saying, I go from placid to raging pretty quickly, which is really not my usual way. I'm pretty even-keeled overall, calm and sedate- I'm no android, but... pretty even.
Yesterday I got a raging headache and Scott was whistling along with some sound on the tv, and I thought seriously about stabbing him, repeatedly, with my crochet needle. Okay, not really. But when he brought me Aleve to take, which I can not take because I'm pregnant, it was all I could do not to throw the bottle at him.
But he is my hero. He drove me straight to the drug store for preg-friendly Tylenol, let me wait in the car, and brought out not only the medicine but water to take it with, two bags of cheetos (crunchy AND puffs) and a huge Symphony bar!
He said "Ohh, is it this one that you like, the milk chocolate one? Or was it the one with toffee in it? I couldn't remember.... but I remember that you told me once you used to eat these candy bars in college, when you were having a tough time." (Yes, we called them Sympathy bars.)
I am blessed. He is amazingly patient with my limbo-ness, he holds the burden of being the joyful, hopeful one of the couple. He thinks I'm pretty when I feel the ugliest, and he doesn't ever ever tell me to just get over it.
He's even trying really really hard not to touch my boobs.


Every time I go to the bathroom, I steel my nerves, ready to see the tell-tale red... but it's not there. I keep feeling that familiar monthly "whoosh" the cues me to "Aunt Flo" and her monthly visit... but, no.
I have an appointment for Monday- it'll be all the usual intake stuff, plus, the blood test for the HCG level.
I can't go... anywhere... emotionally, until Monday. And, Monday's not even much of anything like a sure bet, since the first pregnancy was apparently (or probably) fine at this point. But, it's a marker of hope, or desperation.
Who to tell? I wanted in all my pessimism to keep things to us, a secrety secret, just for us to hold. Not because it's romantic and special, but because the less people we tell, the less times I have to admit to this possibility myself- and the more people we tell, that means the more people we might have to un-tell. And the un-telling was one of the worst parts.
But since this has happened, this potential-ness, opportunities to tell have been cropping up like our lives are an episode of LOST. Suddenly there are all these social opportunities, where I can't drink- and dinners at restaurants where all my favorite blue-cheese-smothered dishes are no longer an option. And my PARENTS even come to visit! Oh for crying out loud. So, I have to either tell, against my will and wish, or lie.
Scott wants to tell it on the mountain! He, in his goodness and strong faith, wants to share the good news and let people pray for us. I tried for a bit to keep him quiet, which 1) is impossible and b) is unfair. Why let my doominess win out in this situation? It is, after all, his baby- his news too. So he is telling, or not telling, depending on his desires, and I am trying desperately to keep my cards close to my chest. Today I weirdly (I'm sure it seemed!) declined an invitation to meet up with two of my favorite people, because I knew I wouldn't be able to not tell them, and I want to not tell them. Until Monday.
Like I've mentioned before, neither of us are good at keeping secrets. But, I just want to make it till Monday.

Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, I tried it on the sly- pretty late at night, so the results were due to be iffy- you know, you're supposed to take it with first morning urine. The line was there, the second pink line, but it was the palest pink. I wrapped it securely in its packaging and in toilet tissue, and buried it in the bathroom trash.
The next morning was test #2, and a much clearer pink line. Tuesday, the same. Or was it slightly paler?
Scott has already picked out a name, which is just what he's done every time- the first time I waved one of these sticks in front of him he said "ahhh! Hannah!" and the second almost-baby was Max. Scott is the picture of hope- a perfectly-weighted counter-balance to my pessimism.
I guess I'd better call the doctor. The first time I was pregnant, and apparently this is true for all first-timers, they said "hey congratulations! Call us in 3 months!" After the first miscarriage, it was very different- "Can you come in today? Tomorrow?" There were blood tests and vitamins and more blood tests. It seems like it should be the opposite- the first timers, who are freaking out, and need lots and lots of support, are left on their own with only scary websites to read. Veterans get the red-carpet treatment.
So, just as I get to unload my mouth-wrecking secret, another one plops into my womb.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Keeping Secrets

For the past month or so I've had a secret. Neither Scott nor I are good at keeping secrets, not at all. Like money burns holes in people's pockets, secrets explode from our mouths at the slightest provocation. Not OTHER people's secrets, mind you- we're great at keeping others' news under wraps, but any news in our lives gets broadcast pretty quickly. Good news or bad news, we MUST share.
But this news had its own parameters and limits, and if we wanted things to work out the way we wanted, we had to keep things under wraps. See, I'd been offered a job- a brand-new position at the parish where Scott works- doing parish-wide faith formation. It's hard to describe, and I'm not even sure what my title might be... but it's VERY exciting, a GREAT opportunity, not the least part of which is that I'll be working alongside my beloved. It's going to be great.
But there was a wait involved, and a lining up of ducks that had to happen before we could really go and tell anyone. Scott, of course, could do no such thing, and each day he told more and more people, imploring them to promise to keep the news to themselves!!! (which they did, thankfully!) But since I had to time things right at my job, and wait to give notice, and make sure those ducks were in their row before I could even totally plan on this new job, I had to keep my mouth shut.
My spiritual director advised me that it wasn't LYING -which is what it felt like every time a kid asked about Summer plans or something we would be doing next year- but rather, something God and I were "cooking up", and while we were cooking, no one else could be in the kitchen. She urged me to be patient and trust that everything would unravel as it was supposed to.
Curiously, during this time of secret-keeping, I developed a bunch of odd mouth afflictions- canker sores, inflamed gums, a little spot on my cheek that I kept crunching down on when I ate... and I feel like it was all so related to keeping this secret in my mouth for so long.
So this week, the secret's finally out- the ducks are in their happy row, the future looks bright (and not just the job, I get two weeks vacation betwixt!). I gave my notice, and that was a pretty fascinating process (maybe I'll write more about that later) and told a bunch of co-workers, and last night, told the kids- and that went pretty okay too (see "Petition for Margo not to leave St. Mikes YM" group on Facebook...).
So, Ahhhhhhhhhh. It's great to let go of the burden of this secret. Oh wait, I actually do have one more secret. But I can't tell you that, yet... where did I put my Anbesol?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

'87, Seventh Heaven!!

In a month, my high school graduating class will be gathering for our 20th reunion. I'm absolutely ambivalent about the whole thing. I'd love to go and watch, say, through a one-way mirror or on closed-circuit tv from a nearby bar. But walking in there is daunting to me.
I'm proud of my life, so happy- (the other night, preparing for Bible Study, the question was "what change are you longing for in your heart?" and really, all I could come up with was, I'd like to develop the ability to eat and eat and eat and never gain weight.) My life is that good- even the one thing I have wanted, is about to happen now, so I am left with nothing to complain about, or certainly nothing to be ashamed to tell my old friends about at the reunion.
But I am several pounds heavier than I was in high school and, well, what if NOBODY ELSE GOT FAT?? I think I'd be fine if I could at least know ahead of time that most (or at least several specific people) of my peers got fat too- then I could walk in and feel okay about my current state.
Funny what havoc one's past can do to one's confidence. I wear this body every day and don't feel particularly ashamed, even among friends who knew me when I was slimmer. But to have to step back in time 20 years and let the time warp happen in an instant, well, that's intimidating!
A couple of weeks ago I woke up early thinking, "what if my happy memories of High school are all wrong?? What if I thought everyone liked me, but they really didn't?" I had to go fetch my yearbook and read the notes my peers had written in the front and back pages. Yes, they seemed to like me all right. That was a relief.
I am assured that there will probably be a couple people, out of the 200+ that I graduated with who have gained weight, and hey, maybe a chunk of them live in squalid conditions with ugly children, or have developed nasty habits, or lost most of their teeth, or gone bald, or lost their fashion sense, ordeveloped some kind of nasty wart condition, or turned funny colors in some chemical accident... that would certainly make me feel better.

Friday, May 04, 2007

We have new tenants!

They moved in today, first with a quick look at the place,

Then a tour of the back part of the house...

then it was off to meet with the realtors to sign papers!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I just don't know how I feel about it. I know, one could look at it as perfect timing- I mean, Rory didn't get the internship at the NYT, and her options look slim (which is because she over-confidently narrowed her own options on the bet that she'd get that internship) but she's Rory Gilmore! She can find something, for sure! But like Lorelai said, she's used to getting what she wants, and hanging out with the uber-rich and snooty at Yale can't have helped but obscure her priorities.
But, marriage? Right out of college? To LOGAN? I mean, first of all, what kind of a name is Logan. Were they really naming kids things like Logan 21 years ago? I never ran into one. I'm just sayin'. And it's not like he has a stellar reputation for putting her first, you know- to move clear out to CA and follow him around like a puppy girlfriend is one thing, but MARRIAGE. I just don't know.
But the good news is, Luke knows Lorelai will allllllllwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyys love him, and he loves her too. It's allllll falling into place. Ahhhh.