Monday, April 25, 2011
For some reason I always thought that natural egg dyes either wouldn't really work in any satisfying way, and also might make the eggs taste funny. This year I tried dying eggs without the PAAS kit in hand, and voila! It worked! I made up 3 basic dye colors: red (more like pink), yellow, and blue. Red = red beets shredded with water and vinegar, boiled and strained. Yellow= Turmeric with vinegar and water, boiled. Blue = red cabbage chopped and boiled with water and vinegar, then strained. It was a little more work than the handy pellets of color, but I really loved the results. And the easter bread (a family tradition since before I was born) was delicious-- no turmeric or beet or cabbage taste despite the dye coloring parts of the bread. Yum.
We had a very happy Easter up in NY. Those of us up early enough got to see a dusting of snow on the ground, which was gone long before any egg hunting began.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The title of the post makes it sound awful. In fact, it's been wonderful. Yesterday we called off a dinner we were planning to host because I felt terrible. Sore throat, swollen glands, headache. The new plan was for the Ken and Theo to take a little trip up to visit those who were supposed to come here, so I could rest.
I woke up today feeling better. Not exactly well, but better. Alas, the plans were already cancelled and so I ended up with a few hours alone in the house. Alone! Not only that, but with the expectation that I would rest!
That's been the hard part today, the resting bit. It's hard to put your feet up and do nothing when you feel only partially sick. Essays, lovely, meandering essays are the answer. I've spent the day in compromise: read an Anne Fadiman essay, then do a little something (like unpack the suitcase from our last trip to NY and put it away so that when I start packing again on Wednesday I don't indulge in any extreme self-loathing for my lazy ways). If only I had the yarn and pattern I want for the next knitting project . . . but since I don't, I've just enjoyed the house being still, and in a relative state of order (all basements, closets, and cupboards obviously excluded from this claim).
I've basked in the sun outside and read essays. I can't really ever read enough well-crafted familiar essays to satisfy my craving. They are my favorite form. I've re-potted some plants. I've straightened rooms, but not really cleaned. I framed a rather ethereal photo of myself at 4, blowing bubbles among the late summer zinnia and cosmos. I've strategically positioned chairs near open windows in the sun room expressly for my fresh-air-deprived kitties. I can't tell you the last time I did something like that to cater to their needs, poor babies.
I think this is what I meant by wanting mama-time. Perhaps the glitch in the plan has always been for mama to "get away," when really I enjoy puttering around my own little spot without an agenda or a list of MUSTS. It actually helps that I am a little under the weather-- keeps the day's expectations low.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
It's been a funny month, and like my January lapse of posting, it's probably due to my utter exhaustion, which was supposed to be limited to the first trimester. Apparently being low in iron during pregnancy makes one feel like a wet noodle. And so I've been feeling like that for a month or more. I'm now being supplemented and really starting to notice an improvement in my energy and my mood. Pheeeeew!
I've also been struck by the medically-induced doldrums of pregnancy. That which comes with today's "technological advances." I know that this has helped many women and babies, so I won't decry it altogether. But, I've just about had it with doctors these days. I really have. We had our 20 week ultrasound (something I'll probably skip if I ever have a pregnancy again) and we found out that our baby has a couple of (unrelated) "soft markers" for a couple of different genetic conditions. We happened to get our ultrasound at a really advanced Maternal-Fetal Medicine place (let me tell you, this was not the place for me and I'm peeved that the midwives who I am with use these freaks as their backups!). Anyway, the bottom line is that we found out the (good) news that our baby is 99.69% likely to be perfectly normal. However, for the few weeks after the ultrasound, I was pitched into a whirlwind of frenzy by these doctors who focus on the 0.29% chance our child may have some condition. In fact, based on these numbers, they offered me an amniocentesis on the spot.
I think they are crazy. It took me a few weeks to calm down from their scare-tactics (including shuffling us off to a genetic counselor as soon as we got the "news" that our child was extremely likely to be perfectly well). We are prepared to accept our child however that child comes to us. Although we can't fully understand what it would be like to raise a child with Down's Syndrome, or how on earth we'd deal with losing a baby to Trisomy 18, there is no amount of "research" that we can do during this pregnancy that will really help us in the vastly unlikely event that something like this will happen. Families have been dealing with this stuff for thousands of years, and we can deal with it too.
Please don't encourage me to start writing about how unethical it is that large corporations stand to benefit financially from all the blood screening tests for genetic conditions and how doctors probably get paid per amniocentesis. It makes me sick at heart to think of it and I've made myself rather heart-sick with these thoughts often enough this month.
Madness has descended on the whole field of maternal care. I know a lot has improved, but many things have sprouted up that seem to only serve to make highly emotional pregnant women into complete nervous wrecks. I have made the decision not to let this pregnancy be tainted by the age of over-information. For my child's sake, I'm not going to spend this special time while pregnant wracked with anxiety about health issues that may come up. Should I start worrying now that there is a such-and-such percentage chance my child will be autistic? Will be the victim of bullying? The victim of abuse? Diagnosed with a terminal illness? In a car accident? Lonely? Depressed? Allergic to bees?
One problem with these kinds of tests and percentages is that they offer a false promise. They test for the smallest fraction of things that can trouble or end your child's life. They offer the glittering package of a more or less "convenient" and predictable childhood, which is just not possible. Although many parents do have fairly normal experiences with raising kids, there are many out there who have had huge challenges on the road to being the families they are. Losses, diseases, sadnesses, etc.... you cannot test to see if your life will go as you imagine it will go.
I'm happier now than I was two weeks ago. I feel really sad that I felt two or more weeks feeling genuinely SAD about my pregnancy. How awful is that? How dare they? Or, rather, how did I let myself get swooped up in their industry of "genetic testing"? I'm happy because after 4 miscarriages and one perfectly wonderful 2 year old son, I've been blessed with another pregnancy that looks like it's going to be full-term, and healthy, to boot! I thought our little boy might be our only child due to my problems in the past. The ultrasound scan showed an awesomely healthy heart, rocking GI tract, fabulous cord blood flow, lovely brain, and all parts of baby growing on track...
and it showed that we're giving our son a little brother! Oh boy!