Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Pinching Things

So I'm kind of sad tonight.

You query "How on earth can you possibly be sad when you get to spend the bulk of your day with a brand new baby? A miracle in the workings even?"

The truth is that I am a very selfish person. Amid all this lovely I'm kind of weepy and ready to cash in my chips on this civilization thing and just walk away, find some nice banana stand somewhere in an area with no cell phones and just pass my days there.

Why you say? Well I have never been more aware of how single I am than I have these last 2 weeks.

One, because I'm staying with a nauseatingly married couple, two, because they just had a baby and three, I'm in Utah; Land of the happy couple, litters of adorable children and enough pheromones to choke a rhino at 20 paces.

Its one thing to deal with every kind of couple possible holding hands and being cute in every car around you at every stop light. Even tragic looking couples have managed to find each other and be having a better day than me.

Then to deal with staying with a fairly newly married couple and hearing "oh you'll find your eternal companion soon" and "Oh I was *just* like that right before I met my husband" almost all the time.

Then to see that adorable baby and all those families being so happy everywhere - man. Its enough to shatter a single girl's pieced together and tattered self worth.

THEN tonight on the way home from the hospital the conversation turned to some fatherly conversations my SIL has had with her dad and how he literally took her aside after she packed on some pounds after being married and pretty much told her that "men like slim women. Men will not be interested in you, married or not, if you're not slim and you husband will step out on you if you're not." and had said such things to her her whole life.

This made me angry for a few reasons.
1 - A FATHER said this to his DAUGHTER. The one female in the world that he shouldn't judge at all and just support. He is responsible for instilling an unimpeachable self confidence in her. That's his JOB. Paternal FAIL!

2- How much more objectified can a woman become? Like men can/don't/won't fall in love with any other part of a woman than her measurements?

and 3 - because hes right. That's how men think, that's how they are and that's how they work and despite all the ranting and disappointed women in the world they haven't changed and they won't. And you know what that means? I don't have anyone to hold hands with at a stoplight and probably never will at this point.

I've been throwing this idea around with a few friends and just dealing with this ugly fact that people are actually really shallow and quite mean. Like even the people that love us. I feel horribly judged by people that I'm close to, that I respect. They don't ever dare tell me as much but their censure is as palpable as rain. They think loudly and I know them too well.

You know, I really wonder if gay members of the Church feel the same way as women over 25 who aren't a size 2 in Mormon world. I had a rather heart wrenching discussion with a few amazing gals about the Prop 8 tar pit of misery and how we live in this Romantic church. Its a man and a woman. Together forever. If you deviate from that then you are outside The Plan apparently. There is no room for you. You get consolation happiness and a fisher price chair for the concert. Yay you.

I think that tonight, where I am, that I am going to assert that single women over 25 and not a size 2 in the church are kind of in ranks with every gay member of the church. We are an Other, someone outside the norm to be considered and sighed about and tisked over and given sideways half hearted assurances from walking paper dolls that "it will all work out".

I've struggled all of my life with the Other factor. It just seems to be my lot despite my longing for cogency. Even now, among my amazing friends I still feel like the other, to token chubby one to make them look better and prove that they're not shallow. I don't doubt that my friends love me either and that a good portion of that label is self inflicted but that doesn't make it any less of a struggle for me.

I realize that all this comes kind of close to my birthday and truth be told, its never much of a happy time for me and pretty much every corner of my life is arrested at the moment. Its hard not to feel a bit useless.

And at the same time simply saying so seems so ungrateful because I have such a caring family and so many good things to be grateful for.

And on the whole I am OK. I'm great even, but tonight I'm exhausted and alone and I just need to cry.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Auntie Chronicles

Part 1

So I'm an aunt.

Charles is here in case you've missed any and all Facebook status or panicked text messages or emails or all 3.

April went into the ER on the 14th and had an emergency c-section and Charles came 6 weeks early. :)

So now I'm here in the rather beautiful Salt Lake valley doing my best to be of some help to April and Jonathan and I figured that I should be sending out some updates seeing how I have a bit more time and lower stress levels than they do. Also, I'm amazingly funny and miracles like this should be shared.

I rolled in late Saturday night July 18th to Salt Lake and found Jonathan awake for his 36th hour in a row. They have this bench of a couch available for fathers in the rooms but between the nurses on rounds and such he wasn't really sleeping at all.

I saw April and Charles for the first time on Sunday and both looked pretty beat up. However Charles' oxygen was better than April's believe it or not. April went into the ER on Tues night the 14th with horrific pains in her side. It turns out that she was in some of the final stages of pre-eclampsia. Essentially her body was recognizing the baby as a threat and was attacking it. This results in a ridiculous spike of blood pressure (April was in stroke ranges when they were prepping her for c-section), and her liver was shutting down being saturated with red blood cells (that was the pain in her side). Luckily they got her into surgery in plenty of time for Charles to be born unscathed and she got to start recovery.

Charles was at 34 weeks and has been a trooper from the start. He didn't breathe initially and turned a slight shade of periwinkle, I'm told, and they were about to intibate the poor thing but they gave him one puff of oxygen before doing it and not only did he start to breathe but he saw the nurses coming at him with a tube and literally screamed at them. We knew he was going to be OK around then. Since then he has steadily gained weight. He weighed in at 1570 g (that's about 3lbs 6 oz) today. If he keeps gaining at this rate he'll be 4lbs in another week. He is oxygenated and sucking like a pro and charming the nurses and all of his IVs are out. Hes totally on solid food and awake and a generally happy baby. He smiles all the time. He seems like a normal newborn really. The only thing that keeps reminding me that hes a preemie are his kleenex size diapers and how he curls up when he sleeps. You can see how they tuck him in pretty tight and let him feel wrapped up like hes still in the womb.

I am pretty much a novice at this whole preemie baby and NICU thing so its been a fantastic learning experience for me, as cliche as that sounds. The NICU is a fascinating place. April and I go in the mornings for the 8 am feeding and then she and Jonathan go back at night for the 8 pm feeding. The Gardner Women's Center is a great facility and security wise, tight as a drum. There are 3 secured doors with call buttons we have to go through to get into the NICU and even then we have to sign in and there are cameras everywhere. There are sick-os who steal babies and that makes me a bit sad, but it makes me more comfortable having Charles there.

There is a huge scrub station/sink type apparatus when you first walk in and all jewelry has to be removed and you have to literally scrub in like a surgeon before you get to go anywhere in the NICU. My nails have never been cleaner. There are 4 parts to the NICU; A, B, C, D. D is the high risk unit or where the really new ones are and as they get older and healthier they move up the alphabet. Charles was moved from D to B this evening. He turned a week old yesterday.

What I'm doing here is pretty boring aside of getting to go to the hospital. I'm essentially April's chauffeur/assistant. A lot of basic things are still a struggle for her. Like fastening seat belts and being on her feet more than 15 minutes so I'm keeping the laundry to a minimum and the dishes done and the pumping equipment sterilized. Thankfully April is producing enough to keep Charles off of formula but its an endeavor. There's lots of boiling and labeling and refrigerating. Let me tell ya, I'm sure you ALL know this through life experience but having a kid changes EVERYTHING.

Having me here has let Jonathan go back to work which is a very good thing seeing how LANDesk is starting the blitz portion of a new software roll-out and Jonathan needs to be there for that. I'm glad I could be here to facilitate something of this adventure.

Thats about it for now. We've got an early morning tomorrow so I better get off but here are some pics. More are sure to follow. I'll do my best to not to be the nauseating aunt with tons of lizard baby pics. But c-section babies tend to be a beautiful (no squishing and mashing) and - well - he's a Long. How can he not be a lady killer? Seriously...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Post

Dear Sweet Charles,

Welcome to this crazy place we call Earth. You're perfect and adorable and I promise to do everything I can to keep you that way for as long as possible. You're only 5 days old but I can tell you're a Long through and through. You have dark dramatic eyebrows, are the Alpha Male of the NICU, have charmed all the nurses, eat like a Viking preemie, don't over fuss at all, and can recognize and love your mommy and daddy like none else.

Loving you more than life,
Auntie E

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Dear Obnoxious State of Utah,

I am always leery coming here. I get stir crazy after a few days but your amazing scenery and super low gas prices keep me interested. Coming here was a bit of a necessity with all the recent medical fireworks resulting in a new person but did you have to require the sacrifice of my wallet to see my nephew?! I mean really, I'm pretty dang broke as it is being unemployed and such. Now you have to complicate my life with keeping me here sans drivers license, cash, temple recommend or social security card??? Really - really. Is this kind of harassment necessary? I don't think so. I'd really like to call a truce with you you know. Its exhausting thinking so poorly of some place like I do of you but you're hardly giving me reason to do otherwise. If it wasn't for the people that I love living here I'd sharpe you RIGHT off my map!

not your friend,
~Ms. Long

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Dear T-Mobile,

I'm leaving you as soon as I see an opening. You've let me down once too often and at the least opportune times. Your phones are not cool, current, or functional most of the time. You still use SIM cards in a PSP world. Why don't we just use two flags and a flashlight for Pete's sake??! You're fired, that's just the long and short of it and do both of us a favor and do not use me as a reference.

barely keeping my middle finger to myself,
~ Ms. Long (but you can call me Ms. Thang)

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Dear Big Sur,

I am hopelessly and irrevocably in love with you. I know that this comes and a rather inopportune time seeing how our reckless state legislature can't manage to find their ass with two hands and a floodlight much less budget enough money to make sure that the State Parks stay open for the world to know the joy that is you. I'm embarrassed and shocked on their behalf because the world should see and sing your beauty. I will never be the same after seeing you, smelling you, feeling the sunshine that only you seem to be able to produce. Life is simpler in your company and I feel more alive. You will never be rid of me. I will be back as often as my cattywampus life allows me to be.

Yours ever after,
Liz


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Dear Bad Dreams,

You're a new addition to the three ring circus that I've come to refer to as "my life". I don't know if you're a derivative of the surprisingly violent anime my brother said I "had" to watch but I don't enjoy watching and hearing my friend's necks crack, break, and watching them die. I'm sure my friend Brett would not enjoy the experience either so lets just have a parting of ways right now. I haven't seen someone die in a dream and Brett would never go gallivanting around on construction equipment and let himself be mangled by said equipment. Either way just please see yourself out. I have quite enough to worry about and I don't want to wake up screaming ever again.

waving goodbye,
~e

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Dear Michael Jackson,

Where to begin...

I am so so so sorry that your life had the finish it did. You are better than that and you left behind some adorable children that truly love you. It's just not OK. It's true you had a tragic life and operated in a paradigm that was pretty far removed from the rest of us. No one really understood you much, including yourself I think. I really enjoyed the music you gave me though. Its the soundtrack for a good portion of my life and I remember being honestly inspired by "Man in the Mirror" and honestly horrified by "Thriller". I still can't watch it without flinching. You did some truly amazing things and were a one of a kind. I'm sorry it ended the way it did.

respectfully,
~e

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Dear Elizabeth,

Will you PLEASE get married soon to someone who has a modicum of stamina and virility. I'm dying of boredom over here and you don't exactly age backwards. Get to work woman!

Impatiently,
Your uterus

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Dear Wallet,

I miss you. Please come back to me soon.

still weepy,
~e

Wednesday, July 8, 2009