Wednesday, October 7th, 2009 • 12 Comments on Where Have I Been?
Well, hello there. So nice of you stop by and see if I’m still alive. I am, thank you very much. Though there are days when proving that biological fact (breathe in, breathe out) is about all I manage to accomplish. Rough week or so. Very rough. I mean, not death rough or finding out you have cancer rough or being diagnosed as allergic to chocolate rough, but pretty damn rough. And I’m tough, so you’ll just have to trust me on how rough it has been.
Jay is in Dubai, UAE. If you don’t know where Dubai is, you can visit their Department of Tourism and Commerce. Or, you know, visit Dubai. I’ve always been a bit geographically challenged, so I did have to look it up initially to get a better sense of where it was. Geography wasn’t offered my senior year of high school because of low enrollment. I bet many of my former classmates don’t know where Dubai is, either.
Anyway, Dubai. A far cry from Iraq, though I’ve had people ask me if it’s like being in Iraq. From what I understand, it’s like being in Las Vegas, if Vegas were owned by sheiks. Of course, you can’t ski in Las Vegas (I don’t think?), but you can ski in Dubai. Rich, exotic, ostentatious, decadent. That’s Dubai. And that’s where Jay is. Strange, huh? But this is a very strange deployment. First, he’s in a hotel and not on a ship. I mean, who stays in a hotel for eight months? The Navy, that’s who. That’s your tax dollars at work, folks. Though his hotel is not exactly a palace, it’s certainly better quarters than a naval ship and it has room service. No complaints there. Second, there’s per diem—and it’s enough for three very nice meals and plenty left over for a plane ticket home when baby comes. Third, it’s eight months—the longest deployment he’s ever been on. Very different for us.
All in all, it’s a good deployment for a lot of reasons, including that he’s relatively safe. (As safe as one can be in the Middle East, of course.) Plus, we have Skype. Skype is a wonderful and amazing thing. I think back to that first deployment after we were married (19 years ago today) and there was no internet, no e-mail, no phone calls unless he was in port and then it was ridiculously expensive. Now we have free internet video calls via Skype. The world has changed a lot in nineteen years. If not for the timing, this might be an awesome deployment (hopefully his last) and I might be visiting Dubai and learning to ski on a fake ski slope. Oh, but the timing… Timing is everything, folks.
So, while Jay is in Dubai, I’m counting down the weeks until this baby arrives. The days are flying by—which is contrary to what most other pregnant women seem to experience in their third trimester. I’ve heard time drags and it seems to take forever before the baby comes, but for me it’s as if the days are a blur and I went from July to October with no memory of August and September. I’m 31 weeks today. Only nine weeks—at most—to go. And it’s flying. Whoooosh! See, there it goes. Perhaps if Jay were home and I knew I wasn’t going to be alone when the baby is born, the time might be going slower. But not knowing if—well, actually assuming—I’ll be alone makes it all so much bigger and scarier—and go by faster.
Where have I been? I have been trying to hold it together. I have hyperventilated myself into more than one panic attack in the past couple of weeks (most recently when I took Jay to the airport) and I know that’s not good for me and can’t possibly be good for baby, so I’m trying to get that under control. So far, so good. I’ve been dealing with my over-cautious, liability-fearing doctor. Despite his concerns, I don’t have pre-eclampsia, thankfully. (C’mon, whose blood pressure wouldn’t have skyrocketed after the weeks I’ve had lately?) Apparently no gestational diabetes, either, though I did fail my one hour test. (I haven’t heard about my three hour and they said they’d only call if I failed.) Baby seems to be doing very well and is very active (to the point of painful sometimes), so I’m glad for that. Me, I could be better. It is what it is, though.
I’m looking for a doula. I’m reading up on natural childbirth. I’m working on my to do list(s) and trying to take care of the things we didn’t do while Jay was home. (Though he managed to do quite a lot before he left.) I still have a birth plan to write and a hospital bag to pack. I figure I need to pack that hospital bag sooner rather than later because I keep hearing of women having their babies early. Two so far—26 weeks and 30 weeks. I’m hoping for nine more weeks, for baby’s health and my sanity, but I know it really could happen at any time. Packing the hospital bag will make it all the more real. I’m not ready for real. I’m ready for a great big dish of creamy denial smothered in rich blissful ignorance syrup. Please.
Mantra of the next twoish months: I can do this. It will be fine. Jay will be here before the baby is born. Even if Jay is not here, I can do this alone. I will be fine. Baby will be fine. All will be fine.
Song playing in a continuous loop in my brain: “Help!” by the Beatles.
Oh, the dichotomy that is me.
So, that’s where I’ve been and where I am now. Sleep deprived due to various aches and pains and restless pets and 2 AM panic attacks (me, not the pets). Relieved that I got Fairy Tale Lust in by my deadline, but now anxious to hear what my publisher thinks so I can write some lovely acceptance letters (and a whole bunch more not so fun rejection letters) and promote the book. Worried about myself, Jay, the baby. Blue, edging into depression. Trying to stay busy (not difficult) and keep my brain off the scary stuff (impossible). Pampering myself in some small ways (naps, taking myself to lunch, new books that have nothing to do with babies, breastfeeding or parenting). Trying to make time slow down so Jay has time to catch a plane from 7,000 miles away to be here for his son’s birth. Looking to the future, when things won’t be so scary (whenever that is). Planning some trips for next year to promote FTL (Nashville, Chicago, New York… ?). Surviving. Doing the best I can. Hanging in there.
It feels like I should be happier, excited. I’m not. I’m just in limbo, anxiously waiting and hoping for the best. Hopefully baby won’t hold it against me. If he does, I’ll buy him a pony.