Thursday, October 20, 2011

Childbirth: It didn't kill me.

At forty weeks and three days of pregnancy I had an ultrasound because my doctor was all, "I think this baby is huge."
I said, "Whatev, she's measured on target at every ultrasound we've had so far.  This broad is just looking for a reason to induce me."
Radiologist said, "No, for real though.  This baby is ten pounds.  Maybe more."
"Nonsense!" I cried, "Late term ultrasounds are notoriously inaccurate!  The internet told me so!"

I was convinced to let them induce me at forty-one weeks, however, because even if that ultrasound was two pounds off, I didn't want to give my eight pound baby a chance to get any bigger.  Mama didn't raise no fool, and etc.

Well, friends, they were right.  That baby was huge.

Olivia Joyce Rolph was born October 6th, 2011, weighing in at a uterus-shattering 10 pounds 3 oz.  Her daddy and I were/are deliriously happy and exhausted.  

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Tomorrow is September 1st, and so if you believe in things like due dates, then that means the she-fetus is officially in her birth month.  Being due on September 28th, however, I'm trying to keep an open mind - because nothing is worse than resenting an unborn child (or so I'm told).

I asked the Doctor the other day if while she was violating me, she happened to notice if things looked ready for baby-having, and I swear to God her eyes said, "You're going to be pregnant forever."
That's what it feels like now, anyway.  I had two close friends take the leap into parenthood over the last week, and suddenly I feel like the last pregnant woman on earth.  Really. It caused a dramatic drop in morale over in this camp.

Honestly, though, I'm not in that much of a hurry for her to get here.  It occurred to me recently that just because she's born doesn't mean I'm going to know how to care for her.  As a matter of fact, I feel like this is a pretty big flaw in our society.  You've got high school girls, coke heads, and flighty 23 year olds (ahem) out there just gettin' knocked up for no reason, and hospitals just send them home with babies!  How has this not been stopped yet?

Despite my back-and-forth feelings on the issue of childbirth/rearing, time keeps chugging along, and pretty soon this giant stomach is going to turn into a tiny baby.  In the meantime, I'm keeping myself busy by trying to figure out how in the hell you're supposed to fold a onesie.

From left to right: Jerry Garcia, Captain Calimari, and creepy/awesome old
phone toy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Eighth Month or: I Think My Vagina is Broken.

Okay, so, it probably isn't my vagina.
The thing is, physically speaking, I'm about as familiar with myself as Kathy Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes, before she had that emotional break-through.

What I'm saying is that there are bones in my body that I didn't even know that I had, and now they hurt a lot.
And well, that's where we are.

Things are coming in the mail every day - because, didn't you know?  Living in Hawaii means that everything you want for a child has to come from the internet! - and so that's unnerving.  We just keep unpacking boxes, staring at their contents with our heads cocked for a few minutes, and quietly pushing them into the closet.  I'm hoping parenthood is one of those things that just comes naturally once they send you home from the hospital.

Speaking of hospitals, and how I'm going to die during childbirth, OHMYGODYOUGUYSIAMGOINGTODIEDURINGCHILDBIRTH.
I really don't care that people have been doing this since the beginning of time.  There's just no way.  I've been reading "Natural Childbirth: The Bradley Way," and I just... it's going to be so awful.  There are so many things they don't tell you about pregnancy and labor until it's too late.  Personally, I think that's ridiculous.  Making teenage girls take an L&D class would be the best birth control ever.  AIDS?  Clearly not scary enough.  Start telling them about mucous plugs.  That'll keep their little legs closed until they're 40.  My stomach is turning just thinking about it, and I'm technically an adult.

There was a time in my life when I was capable of talking about more than just the goings on of my uterus, but I sure can't tell you what it entailed.  It's funny how being beaten from the inside constantly sort of gives you tunnel vision.

I know, right?  Three months since my last update and this is all I have to offer you.
I'd blame that "pregnancy brain" phenomenon, but we all know I was just as uninteresting before the hormones.  We have our first "prepared childbirth class" this Saturday, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of terrifying tidbits from that to relay to you guys.

Just under six weeks to go and... I am nowhere near being ready for this.  Yikes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

In Retrospect...

Maybe buying a book with 60,000 baby names (that will eventually turn into grown-up names, lovers of the name "Baby") was probably not a good idea for someone with my particular level of neurosis.  I was able to cut out 50% of them this week, though, when the very personable ultrasound tech exclaimed,

"Oh, yeah.  Gender?  Well. Looks like a girl...see? Leg, leg, nothing."

Thanks man.  I understand that you see a lot of prenatal vaginas, but maybe you could at least pretend that this is something to be excited about?  Eric and I looked at each other awkwardly, afraid that any display of emotion might result in a blown circuit for the suspected Robot Doctor.  Not exactly the Kodak moment you imagine when assigning your child-to-be its genitals, but I'll take it.

So, along with trying to replace the pronoun "it" with "she," we've been actively avoiding the subject of names.  How do you name a person before you even meet them?  Actually, how do you name a person even after you meet them?  Typically the people I meet already have names, and I sort of like it that way.  It's just too much pressure.  I know there have been no conclusive studies on a person's name limiting their job prospects, but I also know I've never met a Pepper Jones, M.D. or Supreme Court Justice Rainwater Adams.  I want a strong name that lends to adorable nicknames when she's little and is not emotionally crippling as an adult.  A friend of mine pointed out, though, that "she's probably just going to change it to Beyonce anyway," and so, you know, they aren't that permanent after all.  I'm going to try not to worry about it until I have to sign a birth certificate.

Next, in this week's edition of Reasons I'm Not Ready to be a Mom:

Yeah, that's exactly what it looks like.  It's called a Snotsucker, and it has ruined all of the flowery motherhood feelings I was beginning to develop.  This thing has hundreds of 5-Star reviews on Amazon.  The picture alone makes every hair on my body stand up.  Am I a terrible person?  If I'm not willing to siphon boogers out of my helpless daughter's face, how will she ever know I love her?

I've got to get away from the internet.

One final thought, America.  For the entire half-hour I sat in the doctor's office waiting room this week, I was forced to listen to that bearded guy on CNN talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger's affair like it was 9/11: The Sequal.  I don't typically comment on celebrity gossip because a) I don't own a television, and thus don't usually know any, and b) I don't care about Lindsay Lohan's vagina. However, I was completely baffled by the coverage this story was getting.  You guys, he was a celebrity and a politician.  There was no way he was going to keep his pants on for any substantial amount of time.  How is this still news?  I'm shaking my head at you, Guys Who Determine What's Important Enough to Televise for Six Hours.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

To my Darling Fetus,

Here's the thing, kid.
A romantic I am not.
I laughed in the face of the first boy who tried to kiss me. 
I refuse to hold hands in public.
The day I have to have "the talk" with you will probably also be the day I hire a live-in therapist.
Emotions are not my strongpoint, is what I'm trying to tell you.

I hear my friends talking about their children in such a flowery and lovely way that I just assumed it was another chemical side effect of pregnancy, like an aversion to poisonous smells or the desire to kill everyone in the car in front of you.  I thought that once I saw your little blurb on the ultrasound I would undergo some sort of magical transformation that made me both eloquent and maternal.

Apparently, that's not really how this whole thing happens.  Because as it stands, I'm 20 weeks and 6 days into this little (enormous) adventure, and I still feel like I'm at square one.  For me, square one involves a lot of panicking - about anything, really.  Anything I can grab onto.  Did you know that your due date is during the most active month of hurricane season, for instance?  Right.  Your mom is a crazy person.  And probably, if I had to guess, not the endearing kind of crazy that they base television sitcoms off of.  It's more like the kind of crazy that inspired sedatives.

And can we talk about the word "mom" for a second?  My mom is mom.  I am not a mom.  I still don't know how to buy a properly fitting bra for myself, for Christ's sake. I have no idea how to take care of myself. If I didn't have a boyfriend who liked to sit near me sometimes, I would probably not shower that often.  How am I going to mother you?  There are a lot of awesome moms in my family, and among my circle of friends. I don't think you understand the kind of pressure I'm under here.

The truth is, underneath all of my trademark panic attacks , I'm excited to meet you.  At the very least, I'm assuming that having you out here in the real world will squash my inexplicable craving for orange chicken (really, dude?).  And I guess, as wildly unprepared as I feel for this whole thing, I think it's going to be pretty awesome.  I think that you're going to be pretty awesome. 

When I really think about it, I was sort of made to be somebody's mama.  My diet already consists almost entirely of crackers and juice, and dance parties happen to be my favorite form of exercise.  Also, I've already read all the children's books we've been stocking up on.  Beverly Cleary is our favorite, I don't care if you're a boy.

I am so, so scared of screwing this up.  But I really think it's going to be okay.  We've got a pretty good family.  Even from 4,000 miles away, I think you'll be able to feel how much they love you.  I love you too, of course, and though I have a little trouble saying it out loud in the direction of my uterus, I imagine that once you're here I'll have trouble stopping.

So, here's to us, Fetus.  Let the wild rompus start.

PS -  For the love of God, open your little prude legs at the ultrasound next week.  Calling you Fetus is bordering on inappropriate at this stage in the game.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today I made chili and also cried a lot.

Today was one of those days where I woke up and actually wanted to go to the beach, which is rare.

It was mega-cloudy, so what I did instead was sit in bed and cry because I miss my dog (and also my family).

Then I cried because I somehow ended up watching a YouTube clip of Jon Stewart's monologue on the Daily Show the day after 9/11 (How did that happen?  I cannot tell you.  The internet is a strange place.)

And then I cried because I started thinking about this Osama death, and what it must feel like for people who actually lost someone in the 9/11 attacks, and what it must feel like for the families of all the soldiers who have been sent and who are still stationed overseas.  Or those people who lost loved ones in this war against a concept.  And I hoped that it was at least mildly consoling, but I thought that it probably wasn't, for the most part, because "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind," and I think that's sort of embedded in our DNA somewhere.  And then my mind wandered into conspiracy theories for just a moment, but I am incapable of thinking like that for extended periods of time, and mostly, I think they're nonsense. 

After I was finished with all my morning wallowing, the fetus declared that it needed a cheeseburger from McDonalds, and that's a new thing, because I have been vegetarian for about two years, and even before then I knew McDonalds' food was not originally intended for human consumption.  Alas, I hopped in the car and headed that way, crying all the way there because no one will hire me and why am I unemployable?! I got distracted, though, and settled on coming back home to eat leftovers and some dairy-free oreo-like cookies for lunch dessert, because that's a thing now.

I read a crappy book for a while, because I have plowed through all of my good books.  It is not my week, friends.

 Because the fetus did not get the cheeseburger it required for lunch, it demanded that I make chili for supper, and that was appropriate because it had been raining all day and the house was actually kind of drafty (I miss Arkansas mostly for it's unexpected chilly weather).  I minced an onion, and thought about all of the reasons that mincing things is stupid, and hard, and why can't I do it still even though my mother and Eric have shown me a million times?  I thought momentarily about putting it in the food processor, and then decided probably not.  Wished I owned a slap-chop, etc.

After I labored over a hot stove for approximately 18 minutes, it became clear to me that chili was the last thing I wanted to eat, and it actually sort of made me want to throw up. 

And here we are.

Why did I tell you any of this, blogpals? I have no idea.
If I had to wrap this up in a theme for you, I guess it would be that I am really tired of being pregnant.
I enjoy food and not crying far too much to do this much longer. 
Four more months.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Growing old, but not necessarily in an upwards direction.

Today, my little-big brother proposed to his girlfriend, and will successfully beat his
pregnant and unwed little sister to the alter.  What an asshole.

I am becoming more aware all the time, between the cross-country (and in my case, ocean) moves, the tiny flutters in my uterus, and the pending nuptials of my siblings, that we're not the adorable, hell-raising little tots we once were (see below for proof). At first, that thought is terrifying, and creates a weird nostalgia in me that I didn't know I was capable of. As I see what we're turning into, though, I can't help but be a little proud.

My two older brothers spent the first half of our lives in equal parts torturing me and defending my honor. They might leave a well-hidden stereo under my bed, playing a tape they recorded in their most convincing kidnapper voice, promising I wouldn't make it through the night, but they were equally likely to string up any kid on the playground who looked at me cross-eyed.

Honestly, not that much has changed, as far as our interaction goes. You never forget where your siblings' buttons are, and how to push them in all the worst ways. We spend half our time making sarcastic comments about the others' lifestyle, shoes, face, whatever strikes us. And I can't speak for them here, but our time together, no matter how emotionally stunted we all may be, is something I hold dear to me. I will never feel safer with any man than with either of them.

Nick, my oldest brother, took after our father the most. Short-tempered, with an even quicker wit, you aren't likely to walk away from a confrontation feeling victorious. Though my instinct says its partly a show, he boasts a confidence (but never an arrogance) that has allowed him to get away with an astounding amount of trouble-making in his life. As a kid, his teachers both adored him and feared seeing his name on their class roster at the beginning of every year. As an adult, his peers (and those working above him) have an unspoken respect for the way he carries himself and handles his duties. He's not much for following policy, but he's better at what he does that most. He's been hurt, and like the rest of our family, hides his insecurities about himself beneath self-deprecating humor and a genuine effort to make other people happy.

Zachary epitomizes the stereotypical middle child - the polar opposite of Nick and me in a lot of ways. He was easy-going and slow to anger as a child. Alternating between withdrawn and the life of the party as an adolescent, he adapted easily to any social situation. He's had the same goofy smile since birth, and never a shortage of girls pining for his attention. He played the perfect middle-man in our family. Because we were closer in age, he has had the wonderful privelage of being my most trusted confidante. He played with me and my dolls, caught me smoking my first cigarette, and was the first to hear about my pregnancy. And like he probably trusted me to never tell people that he played with dolls, I've always been able to trust him with everything I was going through. Though probably none of us would seriously admit it (or maybe we would), I'm pretty sure that he is everyone's favorite family member.

Me, well, I'm the baby. I fit that role pretty well.  I'm flighty, slightly neurotic, and maybe slightly co-dependent.  I spent the first 18 years of my life as "Nick and Zack's little sister," a badge I wore with both pride and resentment.  In the last few years, I've worked on becoming my own person, never really coming up with any solid answers on who that person is.  Right now, all I know is that I'm going to be somebody's mother, and I'm trying to figure out what that means.  4,000 miles away from what will always be "home," and my friends and family, I spend a large chunk of my time panicking.  Luckily, that's a skill I mastered early in life.

When we were back home after losing our grandmother, I was astounded at how much we'd all changed, and how much we'd stayed the same.  We were older, and talked about slightly more grown-up things (occasionally), but that was essentially the only difference.  We were those kids, sitting around with our cousins in my grandmother's house, telling stories and making light-hearted jokes at each other's expense.  In those days spent with my whole enormous family, I have never been more thankful for the way I was raised, and all of the people who took a hand in it.

Losing such an important member of our family so close to my moving made leaving my family and hometown so much harder than I was ready for.  Sitting in that house with those sixty people, though, surrounded by the love and support and warmth that family brings, instilled a new confidence in me.  I'm going to bring another life into this world, and I'm not going to fuck it up irreparably.  I'm going to raise a confident, capable, and compassionate little person.  It's going to value family and sarcasm and sunshine.  I'll never stop worrying, because family never does, but I'll always have confidence, because family never let's that go.

I hope, for the kid's sake though, it lacks my innate skepticism.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fetus, meet the internet. Internet, Fetus.

So, I've been making this baby.  For just almost 17 weeks.
I mean, I didn't make it on my own.  But I'm doing all the work, you know?
So now that I can eat foot again without feeling like my whole body is going to explode
into a thousand tiny pieces of despair, I'm pretty excited about what we've got going
on here.
Because of the dictator-like role that the little dude's been playing on my body,
and because it refused to uncross it's legs during the ultrasound today, we are
currently referring to it as Baby Mussolini.

All that said - Steven, I guess it's time for you to come to Maui and build me a baby
nursery, wouldn't you say?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

a heartbeat

was all I needed to make everything feel real again.
tiny galloping horses and television static turned my world upside down.

i hardly know you, but i want you to understand that i'll
do whatever it takes to make everything okay.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Still alive, mostly.

The thing is, I just can't write anymore.  I'm not saying I ever really could, but I used to at least be able to form paragraphs that made some kind of sense.  That's just not the case right now. 

I'm back in Maui, as of two days ago, after a week long roadtrip west.
Here are some pictures, because that's what I do.

Utah is really pretty amazing, and I'd kind of like to make it my home.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Some other beginning's end.

Lost a beautiful woman this morning.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Deafening Quiet.

We spend every day of our lives trying to become something significant.
We work harder to get raises and promotions.
We get more money, we buy better things. 
Better educations for our children.
Better technology.
Better futures.

We hold rallies for equal rights, raise money to help those in need.
We protest against evil-doers and we battle constantly for the political affiliation
of our choosing.

We stop speaking to family members over single arguments.
 We leave loved ones behind, in search of something greater.

And in those quiet moments, when the entire world is watching as the Earth rebels against it's helpless inhabitants, we become eerily aware of how insignificant it all is.

Tonight that feeling is heavy on my heart.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fuck Cancer.

There aren't a lot of unifying themes in this country - not many things you could say that everyone really stands behind, but I feel like a rally cry of "Fuck Cancer" is something we can all support.

Except maybe, those assholes who say things like, "God has a plan for everything. "
Really?  Because I don't want anything to do with a God who couldn't figure out a way to make his "divine plan" magic happen without giving someone a crippling, painful disease first.

Anyway, so, in a little more than two weeks, a suspicious dark spot on a chest x-ray turned into stage four cancer for my grandmother, in pretty much every part of her body from the neck down.

I was raised Assembly of God, and left the church about the same time I left high school, opting for logic over faith.  I still find myself getting bitter towards any possible deities, though, when tragedy strikes.  What if there really is something in charge of this whole place?  What kind of asshole...?

My grandma is the gorgeous one in the top right corner.  Those eight kids are hers.
  They produced 23 grandkids, who have so far produced 16 
great-grandkids (and growing bi-weekly).  This is not a family ready to lose 
their Monna yet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Poetry is Bubbles.

My senior year in high school, I decided I was just so over things like "AP Courses" and "Having a Future," and this caused my already laughable academic career to become somewhat ridiculous.  So, the second semester of that year, having dropped my AP English course, I landed in Mr. Graham's class, where we mostly watched episodes of Lost and had spelling and grammar tests (no, really).  Once, though, he put us in pairs and gave us an assignment to write a methaphorical poem about out lives that we would present to the class in a powerpoint presentation.

Naturally, our first step was to find a really killer theme for the powerpoint.  We decided on this background that featured a small child blowing bubbles into a perfect sunset scene, because we thought it would highlight our angsty, sarcastic personalities.  We named the poem, Poetry is Bubbles. 

I remember nothing about the poem itself, except that it had nothing to do with bubbles.  What I do remember, though, is that we had downloaded our special theme from the Microsoft website, and so when we plugged our flash drive into the projector, it didnt copy over and we lost our killer background and our title ended up being less funny and more confusing to the rest of our classmates.  It was quite disappointing.

That just sort of sums up my whole existence.  Awkward stares and failed jokes.


So, I'm back in Arkansas for a few more weeks, and then making the big, permanent move to Maui.  It's going to be a terrifying adventure, but I think I'm finally ready for it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A shot in the ass is worth... two in the hand? That didn't really work.

So I've been having these headaches.  Tension headaches, the doctor called them, before shooting me in the butt with painkillers and trying to put me on muscle relaxers.  No thanks, medicine man.  I'll figure out my own thing.

In other news, I took my first ferry ride yesterday, over to the island of Lena'i.  The trip there was super fun and I felt like a fear conquering conquerer of fears.  We played on the beach and watched the sunset and I have seen four whales do great big impressive whale jumps in the past 24 hours.  Very exciting.  Then, the rain started.  And it was likely never to stop, I decided.  The ferry ride back was like something out of the Titanic, if Rose were a panicky, sweaty, nauseous mess of a woman and Jack just stood by rubbing her shoulders and kissing her head and probably, if I had to guess, rolling his eyes.  It was very dramatic.  As you can tell, though, we lived, and for that I am thankful.

I'm going home Saturday, for a little while, and that's all I can really say about it right now. 
So, pictures, I've got some for you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011: Year of more Lackluster Blog Posts!

Here's the thing about Hawaii -
(and about moving to places where you only know one person and you don't have your car and you don't know your way around so when you do have a car you don't know where you're going, and even if you did, you only know the one person so WHO ARE YOU GOING TO GO SEE!)
There just isn't much to blog about, I'm afraid.  Vacation blog posts are just never very comprehensive and are usually filled with pictures of sand and other things that are only pretty if you're standing right in front of them (or if you happen to be a golden god with a camera).  So here I am, on this sort of extended vacation, and I don't really know what to do with myself.  Don't get me wrong, this place is amazing.  Everything looks like something out of a travel guide - the beaches, the shops, the little towns, the people (hello, eating disorder).  It still sort of feels like a dream.  I just don't know how to put it all here.

What I am saying is this: I need a job.  In a bad way.  I was certainly not cut out for a life of leisure.
Also, maybe some friends would help.  I would prefer to import my own, but I am open to making some new ones, though I'm beginning to wonder if I remember how to do it.  I lived in the same town for 22 years.  Spending that long in a place that small means that you are basically established by the time you are six years old and relationships no longer require effort.  Now I'm in a surprisingly similar setting, only on the outside.  I'm surrounded by surfers and hippies and people with good tans, and I'm just having a hard time feeling like anything but a tourist.  A squatty, pale, awkward tourist (I seriously cannot get over how hot everyone is here.  It is truly damaging.)

Please, someone pity me.  Such a hard life in paradise.  I know.  Even I want to punch me.

Lets take a minute to relish in some accomplishments, because I could go for an ego boost right now:
-  Made it through three airports (including DFW and LAX, thankyouverymuch) by myself, which of course includes getting on three airplanes (one of my many paralyzing phobias).
-  Made it through my first Christmas without my family (but did get to spend it with a very nice stand-in family and of course E, who I'm growing quite attached to.)
-  By tomorrow I will have finished two books in less than a week.  Do you have any idea how long it's been since I've read a book from start to finish?  Because I don't.  Too long.
-  Also on the agenda for tomorrow (Yes, I'm bragging prematurely.  Let me have this.):  Ocean!  Something else on my ever-expanding list of fears is large open spaces, especially if those spaces are filled with water.  It's definitely been an adjustment, seeing the ocean pretty much constantly.  So tomorrow I'm finally going to brave it and stick my toes in a little. 

and a Happy New Year!