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Category — marriage

It’s not always sunny in Babylandia

Knowing that less than five percent of women actually go into labor on their due date, I knew I was definitely not in labor on June 12th when that really bad indigestion hit in the evening. Definitely not.

Except, of course, I totally was. (It wasn’t indigestion.)

Fifty-one hours of laboring without an epidural later (and I seriously am not saying that to sound like a bad ass… if I didn’t have an allergy to lidocaine which basically made every single anesthesiologist at Wuesthoff vehemently refuse to give me one — not that I/we asked, but the nurses check anyway “just in case” — I probably would have ended up begging for one… actually, I can’t say I didn’t beg for one, because I was delirious with pain the majority of the time), I ended up with this:

My little Rafael. Oh, the posts that I have typed out in my mind about him! His “firsts”, every smile, the way he smells… that slightly traumatic birth story, how hilarious it is when he pees on you when you change his diaper, how I didn’t expect to love this much: love him, love George even more, love life, love love. But those? Those are posts for another time.

This is yet another post, along with all those status updates on Facebook, about how I can’t believe seasoned moms never tell you _______.

I have never in my life, not in my late teens/early 20s, not when partying it up in school, not when travelling to foreign countries with limited time to see everything I wanted to see, not when my body was capable of recovering much more quickly and didn’t understand the concept of exhaustion or hangovers or any such nonsense that youthful bodies are apparently impervious to which made me push myself much further than my limit on a regular basis, been this exhausted. Ever. Ever. Holy balls.

Why? Why are even the parents who laughingly say, “Sleep now while you can!” LAUGHINGLY SAYING IT? Why aren’t people more serious about how completely destroyed you will be only 11 weeks in, and how you will sit on the corner of your bed at six in the morning and cry because your baby is crying because he is gassy and nothing you’ve done all night has helped, you’ve had little or no sleep in days, you’re cranky and you’re taking out the frustration and overwhelm-ation on the one person in the world who is actually helping you by swooping in and soothing that little man after they’ve gotten not-a-whole-lot-more sleep than you have.

And that? That is just one of the unexpecteds. Because no matter how much you prepare for all things baby-related intellectually and think you know what you’re getting into… man. That first baby, these first experiences, there’s no way to really be ready. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself (and what George keeps telling me), because I’m secretly convinced that everyone else has a magic formula that I missed out on and that it’s easier for all other parents who never confess that despite their child being the absolute best thing that ever happened to them, they, too, curled up into the fetal position and cried watching someone else pacify their baby.

I love my kid. When he smooshes his little face into my neck when he’s sleepy? When he smiles when I make silly faces at him and speak in a high pitched voice? When I see how healthy and happy he is? That’s when I know there’s nothing in the world I’d rather be doing than raising him, than being there. That’s when I know that the tough times are worth it.

But this whole baby thing? It’s not easy. And I am here to tell you, friends, family, and Internet world, that I mess up, I get overwhelmed, sometimes I think I can’t do this or don’t want to because all I want to do is TAKE A FAH-REAKING NAP.

And I don’t see what’s so wrong about that.

So all you magical, mystical stay-at-home moms who use natural soaps to hand wash and line dry your cloth diapers, who make cute little frittatas for breakfast with eggs from the chickens you raise and veggies from your organic garden, who have photo-contest worthy dinners on the table promptly at six every evening, who manage to have time for pedicures and haircuts and brunches with your friends? I alternate between envying you, hating you, calling shenanigans, wanting you to come over and do my laundry while I nap, and accepting I will never be you.

But that won’t keep me from trying.

September 2, 2012   3 Comments

THAT Person

It’s been months since I’ve posted, and not due to a lack of things going on in my life. Really, it’s been more because of multiple conversations I’ve had over the past four years with people, to this tune…

“When you get married/get pregnant/have kids, just don’t become that person who only talks/tweets/status updates/blogs about any-of-the-aforementioned-things!”
“Oh, no, absolutely! No way.”

Except… that’s exactly who I am. I am totally that person. That person who, when you ask them what’s up in their life, mentions the most important and dear things to them? Yep. That’s me. Sure, I also have rich intellectual and cultural experiences and challenging professional moments… I read a lot of good books, watch a lot of amazing movies, work on wonderful translation and interpreting projects and conferences (and sometimes, some mind-numbingly boring ones), experience amazing things (like final shuttle launches and tropical vacations, dinners with friends and breath taking sunsets)… but the most important things in my life are definitely my husband, this soon-to-be-born-baby, and our family in general.

I never thought that would be me or that I would be happy about something like that. Go figure.

I don’t have volumes to share about my experience being pregnant (lucky you). I love this baby already, but I haven’t been the biggest fan of being pregnant. I am a huge fan of the miracle of pregnancy, of the statistical improbability and unlikelihood (and yet pure science) of each human being being formed exactly and perfectly imperfect as they are. But I could do without the vomiting, the sweltering heat at all times (even when it’s cold for others), the swollen extremities, the lack of sleep, the random bouts of exhaustion, the little hernia next to my belly button, and the Braxton Hicks contractions (that make me think there is no way I will ever push this baby out, please don’t make me, please? because if those aren’t even the real thing, Lord, just SHOOT ME NOW).

Despite all that, my mood has been generally happy. Happier, in fact, than just normal. I don’t know if it’s due to reading how much the mother’s mood affects the baby, but I just feel like I’ve never felt before. I do get really easily annoyed by things and people on Facebook (but really, who doesn’t?) and by certain people in general, but that’s relatively easy to deal with.

George hasn’t had it bad: I’ve had pretty much no real cravings, at least not a single one involving making him drive somewhere late at night to get me a random item of food that I’ll no longer want once he makes it back home. The worst thing he’s had to deal with is the one that still makes him laugh (but only after I’ve snapped out of it — he’s no dummy): THE UGLY CRY.

Yes, the ugly cry is still alive and well. Except now it’s even more random. Like a couple of days ago. We were lounging around, replying to our Draw Something opponents, when I started poking him and tickling him because of something he said. By the time he stopped laughing and looked back at his phone, he moaned, “MAN! I wasted three bombs while you were bothering me!”

Bothering me.

Bothering me.

I cannot even explain what happened in my brain in less than a fraction of a second to take me from hyena-like cackles to snotting, hiccuping tears. IT WAS NOT RATIONAL.

“I *hic* am so sorry *hic hic* I bother youuuuuuuu. I won’t *hic* bother you anymore!”

All the while, my rational brain is watching this display, trying hard not to laugh in the middle of the hiccups, and wondering who that crazy lady is. George just tried really hard not to laugh, hugged me until I came back to the real world, and his laughter finally exploded when I said, “Get this baby outtttt offfff meeeee!”

That is what you are doing to my hormones, Baby. Making me even more crazy than I already knew I was. So. No pressure… but I kind of need you to be hilarious and full of surprises and to sleep through the night all the time and get straight As and never rebel as a teenager. Deal? Awesome.

April 27, 2012   6 Comments

He’s a unique snowflake. My unique snowflake. :)

While making dinner, I realized that classical music was coming from my garage. I know I am saying this like it’s a weird thing — it’s not that we’re not cultured and worldly people who listen to classical music, because we totally are — but how often does classical music come from your garage? How often does classical music come from your garage while your husband is waxing his car (or otherwise nerding out with man-toys)? Lynyrd Skynyrd? Sure. Techno? OK. CCR? Possibly. But Johannes Brahms?

And I like it.

A couple of nights ago, I was sitting on the couch while George was at the table working on some homework. My battery was at 6%, time to plug in the cord.

“Hey, do you know where the extra Mac power cord is?”

“Plugged into my computer?”

“No, the EXTRA one. Is it in your school backpack?”

George walks over to the living room, where I hadn’t seen his backpack WAS, pulls it out of the front pocket, smiles, shows it to me, puts it back, and walks away.

“… Hello? I need it.”

“Oh! Well, you just asked me if I knew where it was.”

“I’m sorry, let me rephrase: do you know where it is and may I use it, please?”

We both laughed. He wasn’t trying to be funny. That’s just the way his brain works.

I have spent a lot of time during our marriage getting annoyed about things like this. I know it’s not even necessarily a man thing, just a him thing. And lately, I’ve been thinking about all the me things he overlooks without even trying, without it even being something he actually overlooks, but flaws he simply doesn’t notice because there are much more important things in life. I’m constantly surprised and pleased and touched by this person who I have chosen and who has chosen me to spend our lives together.

My conclusion is this: I’d much rather raise children and spend the next 50/60/70/80 (hey, I’m an optimist) years with someone who forgets things from the grocery store, needs clear instructions when asked a question, and doesn’t do the conventional thing all the time than with someone who will not respect me, consider me, make me laugh without fail every single day and put me first and foremost in his world like I try to do with him.

/end mush

January 18, 2012   3 Comments

Pregnancy brain and other disasters

Today, George sent me a seemingly innocuous video.

Innocuous, that is, unless you are a 20-something female in her first trimester of pregnancy. Two-legged chihuahua HAS NO HANDS, OK? NO HANDS. I am totally ugly crying over here.

You’d think he’d've learned by now. Last night we watched “Country Strong” (which I think I didn’t like at all, but my taste, including in movies, seems to be out of whack right now, so I’ll get back to you on whether I really liked it or not in, oh… 18-22 years). There’s this little boy towards the end with leukemia. You know the scene is coming, but when he appears in the frame, with his lack of eyebrows and his giant cowboy hat? Well, I don’t think I’ve ever lost my crap quite as quickly as I did then and there. Emotional, couch-rocking, chest-rattling sobs, snot everywhere, the works. Not pretty.

So, word to the wise: please avoid showing me anything cute, anything sad, or anything having to do with little animals or children. Especially sick children. Or sick little animals. Or sick little children dressed like animals. Thanks.

November 2, 2011   10 Comments

Oh, baby baby.

It’s officially public: against all odds (well, against some slightly dramatic and emotionally-loaded odds which I might discuss at some point but are still a little too overwhelming to me), we’re having a baby.

If I were to write everything I feel, I would be here forever. I don’t have the experience to know any wise words to share with anyone right now, either… So I’m just going to go with what I said to a friend who asked me to scare the baby fever bug away from her:

“OK… I will tell you this: I get up to pee like five times a night. I stress over things I didn’t even KNOW I CARED ABOUT. I’m even more of a hippie now because I’m thinking about the world this baby will inherit. During the day, I pee another 25 times. I gag when I brush my molars or floss back there, my gag reflex is NUTS. Almost every single smell makes me gag. Foods I love taste bitter and disgusting to me, like licking a vomit lollipop. (Yes, that’s the description I chose to go with, you’re welcome.) I have HORRIBLE headaches, I’m sleepy all day, my appetite sucks except for wanting spinach, pretty much, which I grab in handfuls from the fridge, rinse, and then shove in my mouth. I want to barf all the time, seeing babies makes me cry, hearing babies cry (even on TV) makes my breasts hurt.

“However, I’m going to ruin your life now by telling you that I never assumed there could be something as awesome as putting a hand to your abdomen and knowing a little baby is growing in there, a baby that is there against all odds (because really, conceiving is CRAZY unlikely), product of that love between you and your husband (in our case, obviously that’s not the only way to have a baby). Reading about the different phases it enters into, knowing you will cuddle it, nurse it, and get to have that kind of closeness with someone nearly a YEAR before they are born? Amazing. Also makes the nausea, peeing, and puking totally worth it, because each time it happens, you think, ‘Well, that means it’s all going right!’

“And man, when you see that little heartbeat on the screen? Your life as you know it is TOTALLY OVER. Just throw your hands up in the air and admit you will be a love slave to this little human being NOW.”

I was always a little afraid I had no maternal instinct, that I would never feel warm and fuzzy about a little blastocyst growing inside me, or that I’d just be indifferent while people stared at me in confused horror for my lack of emotion.

Totally wrong. All I want to do is love this baby, protect it, eat healthy for it. I can’t stop touching my abdomen, I can’t stop getting a little emotional over the miracle (yep, I’m going to be one of those people) of there being three people when there only used to be two. And I can’t wait to hold it, change it, bathe it, feed it, love it, and teach it.

I kind of really love you already, kid. Even if you do hate all animal products so far and are basically turning me into a vegan. I still love you. That’s serious business.

October 26, 2011   5 Comments

Happy Birthday, Schmoopy

Today (or well, yesterday, now that it’s after midnight) was George’s 32nd birthday. In typical and wonderfully-charmed-life fashion, a short essay he wrote on the final shuttle launch was featured on Jalopnik.(And speaking of “charmed life”, today he got to do what no one gets to do: say goodbye to Atlantis ON THE PAD before she goes…)

It was a great day: I woke up early to prep his presents and make one of his favorite breakfast dishes, eggs benedict, and wow am I glad I did. It took me for-freaking-ever to get the poached eggs right (only one soldier egg was lost in battle). I highly recommend smitten kitchen‘s tips on how to poach a perfect egg, and this amazingly quick (and d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s) recipe for hollandaise sauce. The result (as always, click pics for larger versions):

So delicious. I really hope George enjoyed it, because I’m not really excited on embarking on that little adventure again any time soon. Breakfast should not be that much work!

Tangent! Before going to bed the night before, I was planning this breakfast in my head, so I had a nightmare about it. In my nightmare, Diane (my mother-in-law) and our friend David Precht showed up and demanded plate after plate of eggs benedict. I couldn’t prepare them quickly enough, they got progressively angrier, and George’s birthday ended up being a disaster. (Disclaimer: my mother-in-law is in no way a nightmare — she is, in fact, an angel. I can’t say the same for David Precht, though!)

After doing some yard work/work around the house, we went out to lunch (or rather, were treated to lunch) at Thai Thai by the lovely Maia, along with Frank and his brother, here for tomorrow’s STS-135 launch.

Mmm… bento boxes, how I love thee.

When I got home, I was surprised to find, in usual George fashion, a present for me on his birthday: Pyyyyyrexxxx. (I cannot be the only weirdo who gets excited about kitchen utensils, please tell me I’m not alone.)

All in all, an amazing day for an amazing person.

I love you, babes. Happy Birthday.

July 8, 2011   9 Comments

I think it’s time to stage an intervention

Hi, my name is Lorenia, and my husband is an addict.

I don’t use the term “addict” lightly — just to make sure you are fully aware of his addiction and will support me when I find the help he needs, let me tell you what happened yesterday…

Our phones occasionally do not register phone calls. I don’t know what it is on George’s phone, but on mine, it happens sometimes when I switch from 3G to WiFi. It’s like my phone just becomes a tiny computer and loses its ability to text or make/receive calls. Yesterday, George was on his way home from work and tried calling me a few times. My phone had been on WiFi, so obviously, no call went through. To him, it appeared that he was calling and it just rang and rang and went straight to voicemail. He knew something must be wrong, because even when I’m mad at him (which I never am, because I am the most patient, even-tempered, kind and sensible woman ever, RIGHT?) I always, always answer (and never with a “Harumph” or a “Yeah, WHAT?” or anything like that, I am sweetness personified, shut uppppp). He began to picture coming home, finding me laying on the floor unconscious, with no pulse, and was brainstorming what to do. Should he carry me to the car and race to the hospital? Should he call the ambulance and wait for them to show up while he embraced me and attempted to resuscitate me? Should he sell the house and get rid of all our shared memories because the pain of remaining here would be too much to bear? (Yes, he actually had these thoughts run through his head. Yes, he actually said as much to me. Think about THAT next time you assume I am the drama queen here.)

Instead of calling a neighbor to have them come over and check I was OK/find my lifeless body being nibbled on by kittens, what did my loving husband do?

I’ll tell you what he did, Internet. He composed, in his head, the tweet he might post for all of you to read in the case of my untimely demise… in 140 characters or less.

“Dear Friends, my beloved wife Lorenia has passed on to the next world. Please, for the love of God, pray for the progress of her soul.”

This is how I know I’m married to a Twitter addict. Let’s find him some help.

Editor’s note: While this post makes him seem kind of silly, that’s obviously because it’s SUPPOSED TO DO SO. I swear George is quite literally a Rocket Scientist.

July 1, 2011   11 Comments

Home is where the… wife feels professionally fulfilled?

After two weeks of interpreting at conferences in Cancun, I finally flew back on a basically empty plane last Friday. (Click image for larger view.)

I think there were maybe 20 of us on that flight, which makes me wonder how JetBlue is able to afford the fuel and the salaries on flights that open. It was just as well that there was no one around, though, I was kind of “in a mood”.

George and Justin (our Aussie houseguest turned house-sitter who came to us via CouchSurfing) picked me up for a night on the town before heading home. I was kind of quiet and cranky on the drive to Merritt Island, and I didn’t really know what was wrong with me… until I saw the sign for exit 49, the first on 528 for Merritt Island.

I kind of lost it when I realized we really were approaching the suburbs. After many tears, much talk, and a bit of tea and perspective, I (we?) came to a lot of realizations.

I’m not entirely happy in the suburbs. (There’s a shocker!) While I don’t mean to be ungrateful (George is an amazing husband, we have a lovely and spacious home that allows us to have guests whenever we like, etc.), for me, quality of life outweighs material goods. Spending two weeks in Cancun near my family, in a location right in the middle of the action, with weather ever more delicious than the weather here, the food I grew up on, and a steady flow of work, I was kind of dreading coming back. My mom and I even made silly excuses for reasons why I should change my ticket — the only thing that kept me from going through with it was missing G.

I guess I had never realized how important interpreting actually is to me. I love using all of my mental resources every second I’m live. I love that giddy feeling of knowing exactly what term to use before the speaker even says it. I love having to cram and learn new vocabulary for each event: today I am an expert in rheumatology, tomorrow I will be an expert in medical devices, and the day after, an IT expert. I get to wear all those different hats, I get to be a specialist in a field for a day. Maybe this is why actors love their craft so much. This is my craft; this is what I have consciously prepared myself for my entire adult life, and unconsciously my entire life, period. All of those different countries I lived in, all of those cultures I had to learn and understand, all of the inside jokes I had to decipher? It all makes sense, it was all worth it, if what I’m doing with my time is interpreting.

It’s strange — I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a housewife or a stay-at-home mom, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using the skills I’ve acquired to teach or to translate documents from my desk at home. It’s just not, for lack of a better term, my bliss. Interpreting is.

The conclusion we’ve reached is that there will be a lot of changes this year. And while I’m not ready to talk about the specifics and there will be a lot of work to be done to get to those changes, I think I feel a lot better being aware of exactly how I feel… and feeling supported and like it’s OK that I’m not happy being a mediocre version of myself.

May 25, 2011   3 Comments

Absence makes the pet peeves grow fonder

Back story: I have this horrible habit of taking off my shoes right before collapsing into bed at the end of the night. While this might not seem all that bad, it is when you take into consideration that I do it on George’s side of the bed (hey, his is closer to the door!) and then I crawl over to my side… and did I mention that if I just walked an additional 10 steps I could put the shoes away in the closet myself? Every so often, when George has to get up to pee in the middle of the night, I’ll hear a PG-rated expletive as he stumbles into/over a pair.

“Cleaning our room” usually consists of George picking shoes up from his side of the bed and under his side of the bed, none of which ever belong to him, and organizing them on the shoe rack… and then looking at me from over the top of his glasses, like a granny, and shaking his head a little, using only his eyes to ask, “Is this REALLY THAT DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO REMEMBER?”

Apparently, it is.

Anyway, short story long, he had to leave for Florida today a bit ahead of schedule to be at KSC for Endeavour’s final launch. We’re huge babies and kind of hate being apart, so I’ve been all sigh-y and pouty this evening. Before finally heading off to bed after studying tomorrow’s material a bit, I decided to check my email. I had a message from George’s cell phone sent before he fell asleep…

“I put two shoes on the floor next to my side of the bed just so I could trip over them in the middle of the night and think of you.”

That is what true love is all about, y’all.

May 16, 2011   5 Comments

I married a rocket scientist

It is surprising how many of my friends have asked me, after meeting George, “What is it like being MARRIED to him?” He is all energy, happiness, hyperactivity, and scientific explanations for why raindrops have the precise shape they do. Well, folks, you now have your answer in the form of a joke email forward I got from the man himself a few minutes ago. Enjoy!

A wife says to her engineer husband, “Could you please go to the store for me and buy a carton of milk? And if they have eggs, get six.”
A short time later the husband comes back with six cartons of milk. The wife asks, “Why the heck did you buy six cartons of milk?”
“They had eggs.”

Welcome to my world.

April 11, 2011   6 Comments