Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Extranjera's guide to first steps of motherhood, or how not to kill your baby while still riding the insanity wave

I'm sure the biggest issue on every new parent's mind on the day their child is born is: "Now, how do I keep this little life from being extinguished?" This thought is bound to rise to the surface as they yank the baby out and amidst a lot of crying emanating from several different people in the room hand the little bundle to you, or, as happened in my case, yank the baby out, rush her away, briefly rush her back in swaddled, stick her right up to my face while I'm still 'attached' to the operating table and unable to move (I kid you not, I think they thought I was one of those patients who would bolt up in the middle of it all to check out exactly how much of the wildly growing bush also known as my pubic hair they'd had to shave off, or, you know, just to see what exactly was going on with all that blood and stuff), let me briefly to try to focus on a palish blur with what could have been eyes right by my left nostril that's not saying a thing (the baby, not the nostril), and then whisk her straight into the NICU.

Still. There was that thought: "She's out. Now what?"

Well. I was lucky. In my case the NICU kept my little one alive for the first four days of her life, which I thought was only fitting since my womb (really the zombie-placenta) hadn't really been up to par until then. They let me see her, but, to be completely honest, I didn't change a single diaper until they sent her home. I was gloriously responsible for such important things as having warm hands to cuddle her with twice a day and getting enough sleep to better take care of her once she came home.

And then, to our utter bewilderment, she came home. After four days in intensive and intermediate therapy in the NICU.

They just let us take her. In a carseat much too big and with me having to hold her tiny flopping head on the ride home. She came home with us.

None of the complex and scary doctors' predictions of her being unable to control her body temperature or lacking or only having a weak sucking reflex because of the Down Syndrome, of her not being able to breathe on her own because of being so tiny and premature, or of her having some or other health issue, came true.

She was heavier and longer anyone had expected. And also possibly louder.

She was and is mostly fine. Maybe a little floppy once in a formula-induced coma. A little constipated (hopefully because of the formula and not because of something wrong with her bowels, but we'll see). Fairly disinterested in mom's boobies and really enamored by the bottle with the quick-flow nipple (the polar opposite of both of mom's nipples, which seem to be supporters of the slow food movement). Checking out the world with dark, dark blue eyes, much like her mother's. With reddish, and thus utterly Viking-reminiscent hairs on her tiny head. Generally smelling good and sweet. With long fingers and feet two sizes too big for her scrawny frame, but with 5 of the appropriate appendages on each hand and foot. All covered in beautiful, clear skin.

And she's ours.

Which probably explains why we panic and let our own special kind of insanity rule. All the time. About everything.

:: So far I've told the on call pediatrician at 1am on a Sunday in very questionable Spanish that my daughter "won't eat, but that I myself have been pooping all day long" and that I'm afraid "she will run out of water." He was very gracious about my supposed bowel movements and only coughed the tiniest bit.

:: I have practically tackled a security guard at my building because she dared to cross that boundary, also known as 'Don't you frikken even breathe in my precious babe's direction', I had mentally created to keep her safe from general harm, dragons, and traffic. In my defense (Or not, what does this have to do with anything? Who the fuck knows? Mommybrain. Ya.) she had gold teeth.

:: I have scared the poor, innocent (And new. Yes, again.) maid so that she now considers two car lengths away a safe distance to gaze at the baby. And then she hesitantly waves from over there.

:: I have become the queen of antibacterial soap to such an extent that every time I put my hands in my pockets my knuckles bleed.

:: I have tweeted and Facebooked shamelessly about my difficulties in breast-feeding, particularly the area of my sad, sad production. It seems my boobies are no longer just mine, but more like an appliance. A broken one at that. And I think the blogosphere deserves to know too. So there. Boobies - broken.

:: I have slept around four hours in total since returning from the hospital. She won't stop breathing if I keep staring at her, right?

:: I have taken more than a thousand photos and videos already, and I'm completely and utterly unable to delete any of them. Not even the shortish video I accidentally made of my own knee while waiting to get access to the NICU.

:: I have fallen irrevocably in love. With my daughter and with my family. And now know for sure that this is truly what I will ever do with my life. I'll be an off-kilter, broken-boobied, Viking-outnumbered mom to the sweetest thimble-sized human being on earth (Yes. Because she's mine.), and wife to the bestest dad ever (Regardless of his sub-par diaper-changing abilities, which, time and again, lead to pee puddles all over the place). 

Wouldn't you have?

The babe and the boob.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Extranjera's guide to being pregnant: How not to end up mommyblogging much while making sure your baby's still alive and skirting mentions of tacos and a certain aging latino heartthrob

I know that at some point I might have portrayed this blog as the often incoherent meanderings of an expatriate mind living somewheres in southern Africa, and then again somewheres in the land of the Aztecs, whilst drinking too much, shopping for shoes, having odd exchanges with random folks, and reading the occasional book. In a green bathrobe. Like some unbathed wannabe superhero. I know I have.

But lately it's been all about the bump. (all five-ish posts, but anyhoo...)

Not a single thing about tacos. Or Luis Miguel. Or raw sewage. Or even the Aztecs themselves.

Just the bump.

And that's gotta be just fine.

I would imagine that even in the most mundane of pregnancies, a woman could easily become wholly consumed (figuratively, not in the way of the Alien and Sigourney Weaver, although that would be kind of exciting for the media) by the little life inside her. First by coming to terms with it being in there, south of the stomach, bowel- and bladder-adjacent, conveniently intrauterine. Then by nourishing it. By making room for it, figuratively as well as literally (especially if the woman has one of those rooms generally referred to as 'just put it on the guest room/ office/ junk yard/ Santa's hideout bed on top of the pile and close the door'). By seeing it grow. By feeling the first flutters of a separate entity (or a swift kick in the bladder, as is sometimes the case). By wondering about and making preparations for the new arrival, who is sure to change everything, profoundly, and for good.

And that's if everything goes smoothly.

As you all know, my specific journey to motherhood (T - from some hours to days) has not been well lined, or even lined at all. In fact, it's been a big ole jumble of deceptively sharp items, sticky stuff with strong odor, and some ancient and possibly parasite-ridden pocket fluff in a place where none should ever be found.

It's been a flaming bag of shit on the doorstep, with a side of mysterious vomit in the bedroom closet.

It's been a chain of bad news, only intermittently broken up by even worse news.

It's been off. With a lot of blood.

And now, I've been sent home with a baby, still on the inside of me, who is... get this...


The middle cerebral artery measurements are crashing. Soon the baby's brain will be too deprived of oxygen. And then they're going to cut me open and get her out. And hope like hell that regardless of being far too little to be out and about she will be able to breathe on her own, that she'll have a sucking reflex already stored in her brain, and that her fragile, little system won't deem the bright and loud world too much to handle.

I've been sent home to monitor her movements, because, apparently (In what universe, I ask you?), I know best when she needs to come out.

I've already said NOW and JUST GET HER OUT FOR ZEUSSAKES like a gazillion times, but it seems I haven't fully understood the balancing act of a successful gestation. When the benefits of days gained cancel out the nerves and panic. There not being a clear 'better safe than sorry' in obstetrics. Best possible outcome equalling a tightrope act without a safety net.

I've been sent home to keep my blood pressure low, my nerves in check, and for me to make sure she doesn't die. Which apparently, is a distinct possibility.

And we thought her having Down syndrome was the challenge. Fuck that.

So, I think, no mention of tacos, or even Luis Miguel, is somewhat justified.

I knitted this for her so she damn well better be alive to wear it. 
Isn't a substantial part of raising one's children threatening them in creative ways? I think so. I consider myself well on my way.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Struggling from ME to US via FUCK

Guess what, guys?

I'm still fucking pregnant.

Yes I am.

Full 35 weeks, come tomorrow.

With a big ole belly sticking out beyond my boobs, making it impossible for me to see what the bathroom scale has to say about my condition when I stand on it. Which, I think, a lot of you out there, if you also without really understanding when, how, or why had gained exactly 30 kilos (66 lbs to you Americanally challenged out there, and so say the sharp eyes of the OB/GYN), would also want to be blocked out by, if not a belly, then a fairy godmother of all things carbohydrate at least.

But I prefer the belly. Filled with 2 kilos of an alive & kicking baby, a paranormal placenta that according to any and all kinds of measurements should have completely stopped working a while back, the normal amount of amniotic fluid (the normalcy at this stage and considering the zombie-placenta also being something not short of one of those things people religiously inclined sometimes refer to as miracles, but I like to refer to as ginormous fuck yous from: me to: Universe), and some other assorted pregnancy related stuff, which I'm gloriously oblivious about, but which I'm sure accounts for at least 10 kilos of what I've gained and will thus magically disappear once they cut the babe out.


Still, I'm not really concerned with the weight gain. That's not something I tend to worry about. I'm sure you've long ago realized that I've always been more of a 'what if the globe were to run out of Pinot Blanc-grapes' (a definite sign of an impending apocalypse) type of an existence.

And currently, even any impending wine-related apocalypses would have to wait while I get ready and have this baby.

GIANT FUCKING GASP. Yup, that's the breeze you just felt.

Because that's really all that fills my days and nights at the moment. Feeling for reassuring kicks alternated with moments of tear-filled panic when she's probably just taking a nap or not feeling up to squeezing the last drops out of my bladder. Proudly watching her giving the world the finger (she is mine after all) on the ultrasound screen alternated with creeping doubts as she fails yet another fetal non-stress test. Getting bombarded by bad news and rising above them all and finding that glimmer of hope that comes with listening to the Beautiful South's Don't Marry Her, or Loretta Lynn's Coal Miner's Daughter (just roll with these, there really is no intelligent explanation for either) on repeat. And telling the Universe and her curve balls to fuck off and just stubbornly get ready for becoming a family (I know, I too kind of shudder).

If her first word turns out to be 'fuck' I'll only have myself to blame.

But right now, we're just focused on there being a first word one sunny day.

Wine-apocalypse, just give me a few months.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Extranjera's guide to being pregnant: When to know you're fucked (not in the good way), fuck the fucker right back, and only remain mildly fucked, but with a whiff of glory.

Yesterday, when I blogged about coming home with an actual baby, seems that I may have spoken too soon.

Jinxed it big time.

Or, as we Finns so 'eloquently' put it (remember that our poetic language houses more swear words than any other, made up [Klingon, Swedish], or otherwise), I seem to have 'started licking before the drop had actually fallen off whatever it was hanging on'. I said 'eloquent', not sanitary, or sane.

There are complications.

It seems that as we were proudly handling the diagnosis of Down syndrome, learning more about it, coming to terms with it, rising above it, being completely fine with it, telling people to shut up and fuck off for not understanding how cool we were with it, and just plain looking forward to meeting our special and not so special (Let's face it, the Viking and his genes can be pretty generic sometimes. Me? I have been referred to as special enough times for it to sink in so deep that I do believe I will be passing it on to generations to come, whether they like it or not) little one, and thinking that this was what Universe had in store for us as far as her curve balls go. But no. Universe, the giant bitch, was planning to aim at my un-helmeted head with the next pitch instead.

"There is a problem with the flow in the umbilical cord," the doctor tells us, "that means there'll soon be a problem with her getting oxygen and nutrients, and such."

"Her growth is restricted too," he goes on, "she is in the 5th percentile"

"She'll have to be born soon via a c-section," he finishes off.

But we already knew something like this was coming, so we nodded, made mental notes about already packing that mysterious thing called a hospital bag, and kind of braced ourselves for the early arrival of our kiddo, and willed her to pull through facing this world possibly a full 10 weeks before she was ever meant to.

"Oh, one more thing," the doctor then decided to add, "the doctor at the ultrasound also mentioned that the bones in her head might be prematurely fusing, but we'll have to wait a few more months to get a proper diagnosis, so that's not something to worry about now."

So instead of her having to take on the big playground with the aid of one extra chromosome, she might also come loaded with the diagnosis of craniosynostosis and whatever that might entail in terms of surgeries and hospital visits. If the cause for this doesn't turn out to be that her brain has stopped developing, that is.

This is approximately when we knew we, all three of us, were utterly fucked (not in the good way).

And what does one do when one finds out one is hugely fucked?    

Well, if one is me, one cries a little in the car, then some more back at the apartment, and then one Googles some hard core information, comes to terms with things, and gets on with the living of that life that involves watching bad television and eating some cajeta ice-cream.

Because, and this is the only way to get on with things, one has to bear in mind how fucking fortunate one is on this earth.

We have to bear in mind that regardless of the feeble attempts by the Universe to kick up her pitching skills, we've pretty much owned the game right from the beginning (Does anyone else find it odd that I'm using baseball as my game of choice? Because I do.).

Our babe owns the game. She kicks and fights (as only my bladder/ ribs can tell you) and wisely decided to be born to us, two people with major resources, healthy appetites for Googling obscure research, and even major-er will to get things done (Unless that thing be showering on a day with nothing on the agenda. But that's a different post, possibly involving laundry, a talking fridge, and/or shoes.).

We are the fortunate ones in this world. The ones with the power, the possessions, the knowledge, and the potential.

We are the ones who have enough left over for those who have nothing.

And that's what the Universe can stick in her pipe and smoke.

I remain only mildly fucked, but with a whiff of glory. I am superwoman after all.

      Some people don't even have shoes because some other person threw them up on some wires.
What do you mean by a sign that this is where you can score heroin? I took this pic from our old back yard in Mexico City.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Extranjera's guide to being pregnant: How to have a proper meltdown.

As I tweeted and Facebooked earlier today (yesterday really, but who gives a flying fuck?), late last night a thought hit me.

Like a ton of bricks. Or like that pretend (I hope) shit they discreetly (also not really, but again, who really cares?) squirt on your leather shoes on the streets of Rio de Janeiro about 20 seconds before offering you a very expensive shoe shine. Smooth.

It hit me that once this baby is born (this is the part everyone's supposed to care about), they'll probably let me take her home with me (not the same people who, as part of their clever business plan squirt shit, but the army of doctors and nurses, who inhabit our chosen hospital in Mexico City). It is looking very likely indeed that in not so long I will be coming home with a tiny person who will, at that point, no longer be inside my belly.



See. That part really gets to me all of a sudden.

Unlike many of the tiger mothers-to-be I've encountered on the interwebz, I haven't really given a thought to things like the birthing experience (I thought about taking a class or maybe ordering a DVD, but then decided, by spacing it out subconsciously, that years of pushing on the toilet were training enough), the birthing environment (I'll intend to battle traffic to get to the hospital my OB/GYN's practice is, as well as the best NICU in the city [which boils down to me possibly giving birth in a Mexico City taxi], which I'm still counting on will admit me regardless of them having absolutely no record of me on account of me never touring their vast facilities, just as long as there's amniotic fluid/ bloody mucus leaking down onto the floor), or the pregnancy plan (I haven't given a leaping anything about weight gain, the minimization of stretch marks, lubing up the va-jay-jay and performing some sort of massage to avoid tearing [?!?!], and all that fizzy jazz).

I have been laboring on (obviously meaning watching bad television and knitting) under the assumption that unless I suddenly feel a tiny head between my thighs and as long as there are tiny kicks aimed at my ribs every now and then things are more or less under control.

But now I'm freaking out about the 'WHAT THEN?'

I'm plenty prepared as far as Down syndrome goes. We have therapists and specialists lined up. We know all about the potential health issues as well as the early intervention stimulation programs. We are looking into nutritional information regarding the syndrome. We have read and memorized, and met with children with Down syndrome and their parents. We got it. We've done the research. And then some.

But that's only a tiny part of it all. It's just one chromosome. She'll be a baby first. A tiny little life, who'll need to be fed, bathed, changed, not dropped, played with, talked to, rocked to sleep, clothed, and all kinds of stuff I'm completely oblivious to.

She'll need stuff.

Someone told me that they'll scratch their own eyes out if you don't cut their nails all the time!

And who knew you can't give honey to a baby? (I know chocolate will kill a dog though. Does that earn me some points at least?)

There's so much.

And I don't know any of it.

At least my hair color will stimulate her vision:

Please leave me lots of comments regarding how I'm a natural parent and how my daughter will never go eye-less even if I can't find the tiniest nail clippers on earth in time for her impending arrival. Thanks.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Begin here. Right now. Right away.

I had my two last steroid shots yesterday (the first ones more or less painlessly administered by the kind in-house doctor [But with uncomfortable chatter concerning how to give injections in the buttocks as it seemed this was the first time in quite a while he had glimpsed one in the actual flesh] at the Viking's office, and the second set administered after quite a few washings of hands and random, yet endearing, sterilizings of the surrounds, at our kitchen counter by the, at this point only very slightly, freaked out Viking, since by the second round, the in-house doctor had tapered on off to the land of head colds, which I'm sure was in no way a trip related to witnessing the right side of my behind. I'm sure.) and since then, I have to say, I have really felt no need for actual sleep or rest of any kind. Let's hope the steroids work their magic now (other than giving me angry stay-awake superpowers) and there will be no need for a ventilator, unless it's for the Viking, which is a distinct possibility, for when our daughter decides to shimmy down/ shoot out of the birth canal.

So it might just be the 'roids speaking (Viking is apparently 100% sure of this and has vetoed my intended round of potential maid interviews for this specific week as apparently I seem "a little confrontational"), but I'm fuming. I'm filled with good old early 90s 'roid rage, as portrayed in several American football movies and series for teens, produced in the actual 90s.

Here is what I wanted to craft as one more in a long line of snarky and moderately (and oh so fucking annoyingly when done by others to me) cryptic status updates on Facebook (since I'm bed resting where else am I going to yell at the world and all the people in it but Facebook and Google [However, this was before I realized that none of the peeps I really wanted to yell at (about this, there's plenty of other stuff to go around) were on my Facebook.]):

Not being able to save everyone is not a direct invitation to stick both of your thumbs up your ass and sit on it. That way you'll only be able to smell later what you're made of while the world goes down the drain in one famine, blood, disaster, and hopelessness streaked swirl. 

I didn't post this though. (I won't admit to the Viking talking me out of it either, but that might just be what actually happened.)

But I will elaborate. Right here on Google Blogger. Because at least some of the peeps I do wish to yell at from the prison that is comfort of my bedroom seem to be here. Not sure if they're reading, but at least I get to yell. And what else is there really to do when you're getting absolutely no sleep, but you're still forced to lie on your (now more uncomfortable than ever) left side and do nothing at all?

But what is it specifically that I'm yelling about this time around?

Well. I broke my (unintentional, I assure you) no comment streak of at least a good year and a half a couple weeks back because I just had to have my word in about bible school and choosing wisely (i.e. atheism). And then a couple days ago the inspiration (i.e. the 'roids) struck me again. Forcefully and right over the head. I had to weigh in.

I read my longtime pal julochka's post on all of the horrible goings on at the moment and her desperation at taking it all in and perhaps doing something about it. Now, I have to say that I respect this woman's life choices tremendously (Except for what in the hell is the deal with marrying a Danish man? Who does that these days anyway?), but some of the comments she received in response really rubbed me the wrong way (Much like the strangers and acquaintances who decide that they can rub my pregnant belly completely unannounced. The yelling in their case, they so have it coming too.). It seems that some people feel that if they cannot save everyone they'll rather just shut their eyes and do absolutely nothing at all.


(See how I went all Kanye there, but with a dash more grammar and punctuation?)

There is always something you can do. There is always someone you can save. There is always somewhere you can begin.

Throw light on stupidity. (Thanks MissBuckle for the link on Facebook!)

Throw money at hunger.

And then some more money (this is one of my all time favorites and everyone's always paid back what I loaned them!) on self-reliance.

Put time into education. (I know no one has updated the site since I created it, but the contacts are still good.)

And cuddles. (And maybe a few changes of diapers.)

Click on it. (Now how fucking effortless is this?!?)

Create awareness. And then spread it like it's going out of style.

Buy and be cool for a better future for a few disabled folks.

Give valuable experiences to strangers (who should never rub my belly, just read the books). There should be less time to loot if you're inspired to pick up a book and put down that Blackberry.

And So. Much. More.

I'm really only scratching the surface here. There is so much love and compassion to go around as long as we're ready and willing. There is so fucking much we CAN and SHOULD do. Every fucking single day of our lives.

If we fucking don't get started now, we'll all just be smelling our shitty thumbs in no time at all, reminiscing about what could have been if we would have just done something when we fucking had the chance.

Let's fucking begin now.

Stop smelling your fingers

and start contributing to this instead.

Monday, August 01, 2011

When he said shots, this is not what I had in mind.

If you found out that you had to have a couple of shots of steroids to mature your unborn baby's lungs on account of her being at least 3, if not 12, weeks early (Or possibly to win that championship title in the 80s. I don't know your life.), what would you expect of the whole deal?

Would you be like the naive, Scandinavian-rules-and-regulations-coddled me, and expect to show up at a doctor's office, have a qualified and appropriately dressed nurse (Also not wearing make up that in any way suggests a side job as a cabaret artist named Toots, which seems to be a popular night job for a multitude of Mexican nurses. At least based on the war paint.) perform some quick medical magic, and walk out of the place feeling a little sore in the buttock area, but without ever actually having to witness the actual needle or even the swab of disinfectant as anything else than a little prick on the skin and some unpleasant odor?

Or would you be thoroughly Mexican and receive a vague 'prescription' for some steroid solution while the doctor amiably chats away about his upcoming trip to Orlando's Disney World, show up at a drugstore, have a confused as well as confusing discussion with the guy behind the counter regarding how many ampuls it is you actually need, walk out with a feeling of discomfort and a mental note to email the doctor to make sure you're not doubling up on the 'roids by accident, get home and finally actually take a look at what's inside the packages you've just purchased, completely freak out (okay, so this is apparently where I stopped being the laid-back Mexican) by the length of the needle that you'd envisioned to be something more like the epinephrine-pen you were once, many years ago, shown how to use in case of a peanut/bee sting emergency at a children's summer camp (while you made a mental note to always be accompanied by someone who actually paid attention during the demonstration), or like the insulin-pen you once saw your high school friend use in the bathroom (There was no visible needle in either case, mind you!), to be followed by one mother of a breakdown, prior to regaining faith in the (at that moment absent) Viking and his nursing abilities, especially those involving giving other people shots, only to learn that he vehemently declines even touching the syringes, let alone giving anyone any shots of any kind? Unless they're of the Jaegermeister-persuasion in tiny glasses.

Would thoughts such as "Can you actually stick the needle straight into your hip bone? And if so, will the drug still get to the baby?" come to your mind?

What would you do?

Woman up, and stick yourself in the ass with the mother of all needles, hope that you don't hit anything that would kill, paralyze, or forever mentally traumatize you, or if you do end up doing just that, that at least the death is swift and painless or that your insurance covers years and years of therapy?

Or scroll through your list of local friends for doctors, nurses, vets, seriously sick folks who might be familiar with giving shots, and failing all else, intravenous drug users, and then make some calls?

Because that's what I'm doing.

Anyone medically qualified out there, within a 100-mile radius of Mexico City? I'll buy you Starbucks...

I bet there's someone in there who could give me my shots... Too bad this place's in Venice Beach, California.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

You didn't really fok off, did you?

I hope not. Unless I meant you to.

But that's complicated.


While I was fuming over people and their sometimes poorly chosen words regarding our situation, or, as some of you suggested, elaborately telling everyone to fuck off and leave me the fuck alone in my fucking happiness...

We interrupt this politically incorrect sentence to bring you some more of the current tone before moving on to the actual point of this here post that will hopefully contain a little less swearing and a little more strawberries and cream and sweet baby smells (although not all in one bowl):   

To be fair, I was only telling some of the people who've recently been in contact with me to fuck off and stop making me feel bad in a time that is supposed to be the happiest of my life and to maybe get a fucking grip on their 'poor you's and learn about Down syndrome instead. I did note I was only fucking pissed off about the communications that were seriously about supporting me in my fucking time of need. Gah. (I hope this doesn't count as Fuck Off - the Sequel, although I kind of see how it might. Hmmm. Also, who can guess the baby's first word?)

Ok. There. Whatevs. Moving on. End of interruption. seems that I accidentally caught up to some milestones in my blogging as well as my real worldly (not the MTV-kind, but the kind that's not scripted and doesn't revolve around untalented weirdos other than me) life:

:: And I find it oddly fitting that I, completely by accident, managed to tell everyone to fuck off and leave me the fuck alone in my 300th post. Ah Universe, you wily creature you.

:: I also find it fitting that I'd be really mean after receiving exactly 3500 comments, none of which have ever really been mean. In any way. Although, there was the one about me writing trash, but that just inspired a whole frikken post out of me and made me take a picture of the crap that was actually in my trash can, so whatever mean there ever was in the comment was gloriously cancelled out. Correct?

:: I have gained exactly 20 kilos and the doctor is horrified. At every appointment, shortly after weighing me, he threatens me with some alien invention called pre-eclampsia (I think it's from Star Trek originally) until he takes my (scarily low) blood pressure and then we just kind of chat about me driving like a maniac and cutting him off on the way to the parking lot.

:: While in bed rest, because of the fucking placenta growing all old and calcified way too early, I have watched exactly 9 complete seasons of America's Next Top Model, and all I'm left with is this simple statement: "Tyra's no Oprah. Oh no she ain't." Great to know there's some substance to my life.

:: On average I manage about 10 pages of What to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi Murkoff before I have to throw up from 'Jeez, does she think I've never ever seen a baby before in my life?', 'Oh Lord, how cutesy-wutesy is just too fucking cute', 'Not. Ever. Doing. That. Ever.' or 'You do understand that we didn't just recently upgrade the operation from storks to vaginas, right?'

:: On Friday I will have had this particular bun (You know, the one with one more chromosome than your bun. Ha!) in my fleshy oven for exactly 2 whole trimesters, the second of which, as far as I've been told by nauseating literature and some peeps who may have actually had children without feeling like they should write nauseating books about it, should have been the easiest of the complete set of 3. However, as I threw up my morning coffee while I was brushing my teeth this morning (I'm afraid the toothbrush might just disintegrate from all the stomach acid that has recently come its way) I strongly disagreed. But that's just me. I have no nauseating books to my name. And only two of the three trimesters.

:: The times I have sworn I'll never use one of those disgustingly pink, flowery, and completely pointless  headbands on my daughter to make sure everyone can see she's a girl: at least 105. The times I'll actually use one of those disgustingly pink, flowery, and completely pointless headbands to make sure everyone can see my bald child (if she's anything like her mama, she'll be five until any actual hair begins to sprout) is in fact a girl: probably most days.

:: Amount of discussions I've had on normal baby stuff until now: 3. Y'all, she might have Down syndrome, but she'll also keep me up all night every night, have colic, bite my nipples to shreds, poop purpley stuff, vomit all over the only dress that'll fit me five minutes before the guests arrive, hate having her diaper changed, and start teething much earlier than anyone expected exactly when we're on our way to Europe, directly over Greenland, scarily low on sleep and with absolutely nothing for anyone to bite on.


  Not an actual baby. Just something Mexico has to offer.

Now, tell me honestly. Did you really fuck off?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh Frank, what did you do to the penguins now?

"Stop supporting me at once!" I have an overwhelming urge to scream at the top of my lungs, to write in all caps on emails, to repeat as my status on my Facebook, to mumble under my breath to my ally, the Viking, sitting next to me so that the rest of the party won't hear, to mime in grand gestures, to interpret into creative movement to be performed by someone other than the very non-dancing me, and to have printed on a t-shirt in big bold letters strategically placed right across my pregnant belly (the letters, not the t-shirt, I'm pretty sure I'd like to wear the shirt. If I could fit it of course, which at the moment is a precarious issue).

"What in the Frank and his penguin minions?" you might think. And I understand, I do (though not about Frank and his penguins. Why not giraffes? Or hyenas? No one ever thinks about the hyenas).

But see. There's support and then there's support.

As much as I love comments from people telling me their babies were born far too early and were nonetheless completely alright, the hugs (preferably virtual), the happy 'my sister-in-law who has Down too just graduated from high-school,' or the double-edged 'congratulations on your pregnancy, are you having heartburn yet?' (and I do love those, remember that!), I just cannot handle the 'I imagine you're going through a really tough time mentally and physically and we really hope everything goes okay anyway.'

Can you decipher the difference? Because I for sure as golfing hyenas (Go hyenas! The underrepresented canine/feline or something of the sort [I will not get sidetracked Googling hyenas. Not again]) can. And I'm so tired of support.

Completely and utterly DONE with it.

I am not having a hard time with the diagnosis of Down syndrome. Really, I'm not.

I am excited to meet my daughter, and hold her, and raise her, and love her. I am delirious with joy that I am expecting a child, our child. I am oddly comfortable with my pregnant waddle. I feel pure, unadulterated love every time this tiny being inside me uses my bladder as a punching bag (even when I had a bladder infection). I watch with joy the places where my belly skin was stitched to my abdomen in two surgeries suddenly pop out and sort of smooth out (although not really. It's a regular battlefield, I tell you) because that means she's growing and getting stronger. Every time I come up to a full week without the placenta completely conking out on us, I practically cry of joy (and they're not those big, reserved-for-people-who-will-not-let-me-board-my-flight tears either). I look forward to shooting (That's how they exit, correct?) something pinkish and screaming out of my vagina (or to enjoying the high whilst a doctor fishes that pinkish something out of my belly through yet another opening in my abdomen, should the birth come down to a c-section) more than I've ever looked forward to a cup of coffee, or sex for that matter (cups and cups of it, in fact. Yes, sex.).

I am happy.  

I want to hear and read CONGRATULATIONS in big, disgustingly baby-pink letters, not 'I can't even imagine what you must be going through, hang in there!'

Just because you think you couldn't handle something, don't assume I feel the same.

I am superwoman, after all. Well, no. Just happy.

Am I required to note the pregnancy weeks in that preggo-code I see all over the place? I don't feel like doing that, so we'll just say this was taken the same day I banged my toe on the futon base, broke it and howled for a good five minutes. Roughly half an hour later, to be more exact-ish.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What not to say

Some people say hurtful things. They might not mean them, but there they are, the insensitive ignorant pieces of shitty thinking, hanging over the discussion, forever marring my dealings with the utterers.

Me: The doctor's saying the placenta is not working properly, and there are more calcifications than there should be. I'm only 22 weeks and the placenta looks like it's 30 weeks. I'm gonna have to go on blood thinners. This is not good!
A friend: Is there still a chance the baby could die? And if so, how do you feel about that?

The Viking: We're having a little daughter in a few months. We're so excited and glad! She'll have Down syndrome, but in today's world that's just a little bump in the road. We're so happy!
The Viking's close relative: Congratulations! At least she'll be spared from a lot of the misery of the world we others have to go through, since she'll have Down.

Me: I'm having a little girl and she'll have Down syndrome. We're really excited, but it's been hard since there have been all sorts of problems with the pregnancy.
A woman I just met: How brave of you to go through with the pregnancy and have this child, even though you already know she'll have Down.

Me: We're expecting a girl. We already know it's a girl, because we've had her karyotype done. From the karyotype, we also know she'll have Down syndrome.
A friend's mother: Oh, but kids with Down are always so happy. It'll be great to have such a happy, smiling child!

The Viking: There's something wrong with the baby. We don't know what yet, but we're having tests done. It might be something so severe that we'll have to terminate the pregnancy.
The Viking's mother: Yes, of course you'll terminate if the baby's not healthy.

And there's more. There's even some stuff that is just clearly offensive or intolerant and meant like that, like why am I bringing someone not perfect (and what the hell is 'perfect' supposed to be anyway?) into the world when I had a chance to stop it from happening, while on the other side there are thanks for not murdering my baby regardless of that having nothing to do with our decision with both of us being bleeding-heart pro-choicers. Not kidding. There's a lot. A lot to deal with.

And she's not even here yet.

So no wonder I've been pulling away. Not wanting to hear completely unnecessary (and frankly very offensive) commiserations. Not wanting to hear ignorant comments about the perceived nature of ALL children with Down syndrome as if they are completely ruled and determined by this one extra chromosome and not in the least the 46 others. Not wanting to hear one more time how especially courageous we are, when courage has nothing to do with having a child with Down syndrome and everything to do with just having a child. Not wanting to explain time and time again how our daughter will have a full range of emotions from that humongo-tantrum-enraging anger to giddy happy hysterics (if she's anything like me that will be the scale), the ability to learn and develop like any other child (even if that development will happen somewhat more slowly in her case), and a bright future ahead of her with friends, education, coffee, jobs, boyfriends (or girlfriends should she be so inclined), and all that which comes with growing up. And most of all, not wanting to justify my joy and happiness for this, the approaching birth of my first child, my daughter, who I thought had already disappeared from my deck of cards, nor justify my deepest desire for her to pull through the misery the placenta is currently being held responsible for and arrive here safely, just the way she is.

I hope you're smarter. At least I will be.

 Think before you blow.


Bloghopping with Down wit Dat with an old, OLD post. This is pre-birth, so excuse the budding advocacy… 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


You know that discussion where a pregnant woman is asked whether she's hoping for a boy or a girl, and the woman, although probably thinking "I'm so going to throw a megatantrum unless I get some decent wear out of those little princess baby-tutus I've been buying online" or "I've already painted the nursery blue, so whaddya think?!?!" answers "Oh, we don't care whether the baby's a boy or a girl as long as he or she is healthy"? (Brad paisley even wrote a song about it.)

I know you do. You've had that discussion. I've had that discussion. I've been the one asking, since previously the only baby-related chit-chatty blurb of baby-shower blab I have been able to come up with has been either that piece of shining brilliance and originality, or my all time favorite: "So, you craving anything weird... like dirt? I read some women want to eat dirt?" which has always proven very successful in that I've never had to elaborate, or better yet, host any baby-related shindig.

But now I'm supposed to be on the answering end.

Only, I already know that we're having a little girl, and that our little girl will never be classified as completely healthy, since she'll have Down Syndrome.

Now, I've already read enough to know that she won't be suffering from Down Syndrome, and neither will she be inflicted with it, she'll just have it, like the reddish hair she might inherit from the Viking or the narrow face and a pair of dark blue eyes set just a teeny tiny bit too close to each other to really be attractive, she might inherit from me. Although, let's hope she inherits my blondish locks and the Viking's strong chin and nose instead, shall we...

But what do I tell people who look at me with pity in their eyes?

Our daughter, she'll be special alright, but only because she'll be ours. We'll care for her and raise her, and hopefully enable her to face this world without too much alcohol and caffeine (something her mother has been known to occasionally struggle with, although not whilst pregnant I assure you, I might be off the charts in many ways but I mean no harm) and with an attitude that will allow for her to be ambitious while still enjoying the stuff that really, once you get down to it, makes all of this living worth it somehow. Like avocados and 90s pop.

And let's face it: She will be inflicted with a mother who I'm sure will still feel, at 40, 50 or even 60, that she can pull off a blue mohawk. No doubt about it!

Try that on for teen drama.

A little memento from the land of our little daughter's conception. 
Come to think of it, she might also be inflicted with a mother who is willing to include time and location of the actual conception in the birth story. 
Sick, right? 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Where has she been?

Fighting the Mexican drug war waged by the president Felipe Calderon? Nope. She hasn't seen, heard, tasted, felt, or even casually sniffed nor snorted anything to do with drugs or wars. Mexico City's mellow, man.

Binging on tacos and guacamole in the company of old friends? Not really. She's had her fair share of tacos and avocado in all the forms the designer intended (including murky, greenish drinks that promise to make your hair and nails grow twice their usual speed while also making you thinner, richer, and able to speak a dead language) and she's had plenty of opportunities to catch up with amigos and amigas who all seem to have procreated while she was gone, leading her to attend quite a few birthday bashes complete with candy filled piñatas and wine for grownups (after the kids are done smashing up the property and anyone smaller than themselves in lieu of aiming for the Hello Kitty or Spiderman hanging from the ceiling), but there have been plenty of tacos consumed in the privacy of her own bedroom while watching reruns of Mad about You.

Waiting for her stuff to arrive on a boat from South Africa? Well, yes. Among other concerns. She's still not entirely sure where her furniture, and 100 of the 130 pairs of shoes she owns, currently are, and the only thing she knows for sure concerning the huge honking shipping container that houses her and the Viking's life at the moment is that at some point someone forgot it in the Bahamas and didn't tell her until much later. But that's not it.  

Saying a final farewell to her single remaining grandparent in the winter of freezing Finland? Sadly, yes. Almost exactly a year after her grandmother's passing the love of her grandma's life, the grandfather, the healthiest man anyone had ever known, decided to end it all with a lightning cancer and go spend eternity with the love of his life, her grandmother. She inherited his special coffee cup and likes to think of them together somewhere, in an ethereal coffee house, loudly complaining in Finnish about the quality of the brew. While still drinking liters and liters of it.

Getting her Mexican residency paperwork in order? Yes. Partly. Although that's mostly just meant she had to fly to Los Angeles, shop for a long weekend, see Hollywood and Venice Beach and stalk the pregnant P!nk in a casual and unthreatening manner, visit the Mexican consulate in Los Angeles and receive grossly preferential treatment because she kept maintaining her lawyer had made an 'appointment', and then sit around some more in the Mexican immigration in Mexico and again receive preferential treatment thanks to some lawyer trick she'd rather not know about. But although trying to stalk P!nk kept her on a high for weeks, that's not it either.

What then? What the hell have you been doing for weeks and weeks on end?

Well, now that you've mentioned Los Angeles, I do seem to recall something having its beginning on that journey. And I'm not talking about P!nk's pregnant belly. I'm pretty sure that was already there.

Unlike mine.

However - and this is a pretty fucking humongous however - things are not alright.

The little person growing in me, the person I and the Viking finally decided was meant to be born into this world and call me äiti and the Viking far, will not exactly be like you and me. Instead of having 46 chromosomes, this little person will have one more or one less, if this person is ever even born.

I hope so. The Viking hopes so. We're ready. Us and Mexico. Come what may.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mexico says hello

So. Here we are. Lots of time has passed. We've already been in Mexico for a month, which reminds me I should probably change the description to this here blog, and the picture, and such (luckily, I'm as undecided as ever, so the name at least still applies). If I were actually blogging, that is. Which I don't seem to be doing. Except for right now.

You know, this one might actually turn into a post. We'll see how long until my thoughts veer to the Starbucks conveniently located only a few blocks away, and I completely lose track of what I was going on about and I end up writing about how much better Mexican cows must be treated than cows in other Starbucks locations to produce such superior milk that is then frothed and made into the loveliest latte just for me and available to me now almost at any hour of the day and/or night, and then I'll just go on about coffee vs. Starbucks coffee for several paragraphs and cap everything off with a picture of the cool Starbucks mugs the Viking bought me and...

Well. That didn't take long, did it now? Still, I guess that counts as blogging. Yes?

But what is it that's kept me from spending my boredom and general (as well as quite overwhelming) inclination to sit around for hours on end by writing my caffeinated quirks (and sometimes preaching about coffee and/or other important issues) into the great big void, also known as the blogosphere-hood of the internetz?

Well, partly (the Viking would say mostly, but I'm still telling him my obsession will get better), Starbucks is to blame. Damn their comfy chairs, alluring coffee smell, and the staff knowing my name and being all nice to me in several different locations in several different languages! That's how they get me, they have nice-smelling, polite people and a place for me to sit down while I drink my umpteenth coffee of the day. Damn them. Sometimes there are even tables. Can you believe it?

But also, there's been quite a lot of life. Quite a lot of life in Mexico and Mexico City.

I hadn't realized how much I'd missed this place - its food, people, coffee, traffic, attitude, sounds, altitude, views, colors, and so on. I didn't remember how much this place had always felt like home to me and the Viking, or how many good friends we had here, or how ardently the customer the Viking had been working with worshipped at his feet (even when they kind of reeked [sometimes the feet, sometimes the customer]), or how good a proper guacamole really could taste when it was properly made in a molcajete by a surprisingly brawny old lady with more grey hair on her head than a docile Finnish bear after it had been hunted by my hunting-crazy relatives (imagine: Extranjera with a gun! I know.). In the two and a half years we'd been gone from here, I had adapted to life in Africa and really enjoyed it too, but I had forgotten how well this continent of colors and permeating smell of raw sewage really fitted my (increasingly cellulite-inflicted) contours.

Good thing we're back, and I'm getting a chance at remembering. (The Viking maintains he remembers everything, which I take to mean I'm lucky to still have him in my life, but also that perhaps that teetotalling-thing might just be of some value when it comes to such trifles as job performance, avoiding senility, and saying only smart things instead of blurting out drunken sentences like "two dead zebras would be a wonderful buy, yes please I'd like two." But that's only me. And then there's wine. And, in all honesty, I think the two are inseparable.)

Still, our stuff is stuck in a container in South Africa, the Mexican government refuses to officially acknowledge that they'd like for us to stay longer, leaving us to live in a vacation rental apartment, out of our suitcases, without a car, without a local bank account (leaving my Danish Visa-card soon closed and screaming for mercy), without a cellular subscription, and without anywhere to properly call home. Although we already are, referring to Mexico City as home, like we never left in the first place.

Sun sets over Polanco and Santa Fe, Mexico City
Yes, that brown haze is pollution. No, you can't see it when you're breathing it in.