You have been moving and I love it! Please, please keep that up.
I am sitting all alone in a big, empty lobby of the Starved Rock Lodge. I have been awake since 3:30 am, and barely slept before that because your dad had a sick tummy. We came here as part of celebrating Grandma G and Grandpa E’s 50th. The doc said we would be ok, so we decided to go. I am crazy exhausted as insomnia has to be my #1 issue. Over the past couple of months my wake-ups are becoming more of a consistent occurrence. I am consistently up around 2:30-3:00 a.m. I am lucky if I can get back to sleep around 5 or 6. I don’t know how this lack of sleep is impacting you and I pray that it isn’t, but it is starting to really, really get to me.
Trying to be an insomniac in a hotel room with your dad in such desperate need of sleep isn’t easy either. That is why I finally came out here to this big, empty lounge. Usually when I wake up I try to read the Kindle, but without a light, that wasn’t an option here. It is even too dark here in the lobby to be able to read. This morning, after my many bathroom trips, I was reading my phone. This is not a help at all because I end up reading things about pregnancy or politics and both of those are huge anxiety triggers for me. I am so, so worried on both fronts.
The worrying is getting a bit out of control. Given the long string of health issues I have had over a year, I am not working at my job the way that I used to. My boss has been traveling a lot and it is hard for me to do much on my own as the things I do attempt to do don’t seem to be helping as I thought they would. Then, with the lack of workstations, I am attempting to get my computer work done in such a way that I am not getting in others’ ways – but even that doesn’t seem to help much. I have my to-do list and I thought that I was doing okay with that, but I just have a terrible sinking feeling that things are going south faster than I can do much to offset it. I really need at least some type of minimal income because I took out a loan against my 401K there to help pay for our wedding and without any income I would need to pay the balance in full, which I absolutely can not do. I am near broke right now as it is since I haven’t been teaching my schedule. I worry that I will have lost my place with those groups too and that would stink big time as that is where I make my income. Without my income, and without your dad getting some type of promotion (which I believe he so deserves) we are tight and the money thing worries me to no end. Your dad says not to worry, but I don’t see where he is getting this reassurance from. I have always worked. I started with a work permit when I was 15. Having been single until I was married at 40, I relied on my income for all of my life. I want to trust that your dad is right that we could make it if I couldn’t work, but I just can’t see it. The idea of it terrifies me and I just need to do what I can for as long as I can with the hopes that my boss will continue to be understanding and patient because I am a valuable employee even if I have been compromised for so long now. I am worried that I will get put back on bedrest as I get closer to the due date, and then that will be the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to say. My worries over work have always been something that weigh heavily on me. And now, as I am trying to redefine how my life will be as a working mother, the stress is almost too much. I should probably seek therapy over all of this anxiety but I don’t want the extra co-pays, time in appointments, and I can’t take any medication for anxiety, so I will ride this out with hundreds of hours of lost sleep. It is 6:15 in the morning now and not a soul is up around here. The sun should be coming up soon and maybe I can watch that.
The weather got colder and your Grandpa E is going on his 4th week of being sick. He finally just got a prescription for antibiotics. Grandma G is starting to not feel well too. The CDC just officially stated that we are in a flu epidemic. Fantastic! I had my flu shot, but your dad and no one else in the family has done that. I worry that the anti-doc attitude, which I appreciate for wanting to let one’s immune system tackle things, but then can also backfire when a cold progresses to something more severe. I guess growing up with a mom who would see doctors multiple times in a week each week meant that no little sneeze was ever ignored. I was always told, “you pay a lot for health insurance…use it!” I don’t consider myself a hypochondriac, but I do think that I am quick to get an appointment if I need something diagnosed and treated. I don’t want to waste time suffering and I have a good enough handle of my medical issues to know when things are just not right. I am very well-read, have a lifetime of real-life experience around all things medical, and consider myself to even be a bit intuitive when it comes to this realm, so I guess I just want to see my family (both sides) take care of themselves – partly because their good health and proactive/preventative measures are part of taking care of you too (eventually). Which brings me to the TDAP shot. The CDC is strongly encouraging all people who will have extended time with newborns to be vaccinated for 4 major diseases that one’s original shots will have expired for. The big one there is whooping cough, the P in the TDAP. I am getting this in a week, and I am certain that I got many of these shots when getting ready to teach too. However, your dad has not done shots in forever. I really want him to get the shot, and when I brought it up he was very put off by the talk. I will try again, but if a simple shot can help us rule out 4 things that could potentially harm you I don’t understand the resistance. We have worked so very hard and gone through so much to have something that could have been prevented ever be a potential threat to you. I don’t get it and that has been brewing in my head for almost a week now. So as I am awake and unable to sleep add that issue to the worry storm.
I am obviously worried about how the third trimester will go. I feel you moving, but I still don’t look as big as other women at 29 weeks (which I will be tomorrow). I know that being a bigger lady to start with means I can carry my weight gain differently than a normal sized woman. I wish my belly was more of a “D” – typical round pregnant belly because I don’t think people can tell, unless they know me. I also worry that my excess belly fat is in your way. Again, I know women who are way heavier than me who report they had normal pregnancies, but I still just look at me and think how can you be in there at the size that you should be for 29 weeks and I just don’t show that much? I worry about squishing you when I try to put on my socks. I worry that when I am sitting I must be smushing your arm or leg something terrible. I ate crap yesterday. I think I had string cheese and crackers for breakfast. Then I ate some left over mac-n-cheese late morning before we left since I wasn’t sure when lunch would be. Then we had a late lunch, like 2 p.m., and I had an appetizer of a super greasy blooming onion which had to be one of the worst things I have eaten lately. I also had a fish and chips, which I didn’t really eat many chips, but that fish was fried too. I had a ginger beer with lime to go with that, which is a lot of sugar. When we got to the hotel room I pretty much exploded in the bathroom with your dad and Aunt D able to hear all of that bathroom commotion. We laughed hard about it, but it was still a sign that the food was all too much. I wonder about that place we ate at because last night your dad was super sick. I am not sure if it was all the drinks, the greasy food, or if he has a stomach bug – but he was bad. That is why I am out here so that he could sleep better in a quiet room. Ironically, I am also waiting for the lodge restaurant to open because I am starving. I just want some toast and herbal tea as that might help me feel less stomach pain. You are kicking up a storm right now – thanks kiddo!
It is 6:35…still no one around. There is just the tiniest red ember in this enormous fireplace. I wish I could throw some logs on it and get myself a crackling fire. That would be awesome. This lodge is beautiful. I love all of the wood beams. It is a giant stone and log cabin-type structure that was built back at the start of the 1900’s. It is proof of that saying, “they don’t build things like they used to…” because this is a stone by stone, log by log achievement. It is also cool to look at the old photos from here that show people doing the same things that I am doing, decade after decade. I am sitting here by this fireplace enjoying my escape from the usual day to day and how many people before me came here to this very spot for the very same thing? I wish the park had a better name. Ever since I was little the name “Starved Rock” was always so gloomy to me. I didn’t want to visit here because of the connotation. However this place is stunning. The trails, the overlooks, the waterfalls, the wildlife is all just so refreshing and amazing. I want to enjoy it as much as I can even though I won’t be doing any hiking this visit. I will probably be at this fireplace or some other quiet area just reading, typing, or people watching. I remember how when on my first few visits here with your dad I could imagine him carrying a baby in a backpack type carrier as we would explore trails. I can’t believe how close we are to achieving this vision. I see how he just comes so alive at this place. Parks are his gig and when he can hike and snap photos of these gorgeous views, he is so happy. So to know he can share that with you just has me so excited. I hope you end up liking nature as much as we do. There are a lot of quiet lessons to be learned from unplugging and getting into the woods.
I wonder how your Aunt D is holding up. She has the room right next to ours. Both she and your dad had a few drinks last night. She was so much fun and I just love her to pieces. She ordered a draft beer and the waiter gave her a card to complete by March where if she did 10 draft beers she would get a glass beer stein in the shape of a cowboy boot. So she was all about getting stamps by just flirting. It was awesome! There is never a dull moment when she gets going. She had not been here and so this is all new to her. After her second beer she declared she wanted McDonald’s. Your dad informed her that there are no nearby McDonald’s. That and the lack of cell phone reception has her feeling like we are in the boonies, when we are just an hour from home. We played a silly game back at our room, which had us laughing and yelling at one another. I cherish the hangout time I get with your dad and Aunt D. Then, as we started to get near the end of our card game, we returned to talking about my explosive bathroom event and we all laughed so hard that we were crying…like tears streaming down my bright red embarrassed cheeks. Your dad told me he recorded it on his phone, which (if he had) would have been absolutely terrifying for me. He was just joking, but it would have been possible. As we got ready for bed, I looked over at him and just soak up these memories. I realize how lucky I am to have your dad for my husband. He is so unique and so “just right” for me. Sure he and I both have our issues, but we somehow take the good with the real. I mean your dad heard me explode from my digestion issues and still kissed me goodnight. I can be gross and all things totally human, and I am still his girl. Pretty awesome! The jokes from this whole bathroom thing are not likely to go away any time soon. I know I am now the official “poop story” of the family. That is not a moniker I was looking to earn.
Okay 6:55 a.m. and the sun is starting to come up. There are people starting to show up, so hopefully that will distract me a little. I am going to pause here and check out the view and maybe go to the bathroom (again). I will come back to write a little more as there are some additional things I want to say. I have been up since 3:30-ish and I don’t feel like I could sleep a wink even now.
I took a break…like a day long break. I chatted with this 76 year old woman and a man who was sitting near her. They were up early and waiting for their family members to wake up too. She is a volunteer scuba diver at the Shedd Aquarium. She is wonderfully vibrant and I was just fascinated listening to her. The older man was a widower and I could tell he really missed his wife. He explained how he has been coming to the park annually and now brings his sons and their kids. I just loved that. He went to U of I and we talked about the chief. Your dad showed up and we went to breakfast. Aunt D met us there and we watched as the crowds got bigger. This was the Eagle Watching Weekend, and man if this place wasn’t packed. After breakfast we wandered the displays and picked up some freebies. After a little post-breakfast crash in our rooms, we decided to go for a little drive. Your dad showed Aunt D Buffalo Rock and the resident bisons there. Then we went down to Ottowa and came back up the other side of the river. We didn’t see much wildlife and when we got back to the lodge the parking lots were completely full. Your dad dropped me off and then spent nearly a half hour trying to get a space. He finally did, and then your GPs showed up and he helped them get a spot too. Both the GPs were not feeling well, so we all took easy. Grandpa E bought your dad and me a little lunch in the lodge’s sandwich shop. I had a really yummy “grown-up” grilled cheese. Your Grandma G and Aunt D met us there. After lunch, your dad and I went back to the room and I passed out on the couch. I got a good sleep, so I really hope I sleep tonight. Your Grandpa E and Aunt D took a hike to Saint Louis Canyon. We got ready for dinner and had a nice time together there. Then we sat in the open lobby area of the lodge and played a card game together. You, little one, have been kicking up a storm and pushing on my bladder. It was time to get going and so we came back to the room and I took a nice warm shower. Now I am just winding down and getting ready for bed with the hope that I will sleep much better through the night. I need to get myself ready for a tough work week. I also want to make sure that your dad and I don’t get sick. He isn’t feeling the best and I just hope that we can power through February. There is a lot coming up and then we will be into March and much, much closer to having you.
So that is it for now. I will probably update this tomorrow as I don’t want to do wi-fi here with so many people on it. I hope that you sleep a little, and I hope I am not squishing you in there. Let’s get some sleep kiddo!
And now it is Sunday. I haven’t felt you that much, maybe a flutter. Today we are 29 weeks along…wow! That amazes me and I just want to savor this final stretch of 10 weeks (should we go that long and I hope we do). I just got done doing my early morning quiet time. I went to the fireplace area at 6 and was alone there. I tried to start the fire and couldn’t. I even saw where the firestarter packs were and tried one of those. Then I went back to the little cafe and got a cinnamon roll and some herbal tea. I was watching the news and almost cried with the story of the Muslim ban. There were a bunch of immigration lawyers who showed up to O’Hare and offered free legal service to families impacted by this garbage. There was an 80 year old woman in a wheelchair and an 8 month old baby who were detained. It is nuts. Protestors mobilized at various airports all over the country to offer their support and the outpouring of love in the light of this fear-driven and hateful order is so overwhelming. It just breaks my heart at how quickly our country has gone from being a beacon of hope to a pitiful mess. How is this fear-based crap actually going to help us? I am going to have to get involved. I just can’t sit on the sidelines with all of this unfairness and idiocracy (see the movie by that name…we are on the path to that). I really hope that these next two years go fast and voters can wrangle the country back from the brink of chaos. It really feels like we could end up in a civil revolution. We is so very divided. I am even certain that by writing this in here, I may come ruffle the feathers of some readers. I guess when I consider the lessons I want you to learn, I can’t pretend that the news isn’t playing out some Orwellian nightmare in the background. I want you to be well-read, well-educated in order to nurture enlightenment and understanding toward all living things. With a mantra of all living things are scared and desire to be loved (yes, that is the Buddhist part of me), I want you to be a strong but also compassionate man. A man who embodies dignity, respect, empathy, and patience. Someone who is wise enough to envision situations from a broad perspective so that you are not impulsive or short-sighted. I want you to act in a manner that is mutually beneficial for yourself and those around you, with that also including the environment. When asked to describe you, I want people to say you are kind. So, in wanting for this, I can not see how our country and the elected leader represent such an atmosphere. It all seems quite the opposite. I am not about to abandon hope. That would be immediate defeat and my grandparents fought, and had peers alongside them who died, for this nation. This country has experienced way too much sacrifice to roll over and become less than it should be. There is no way we, as Americans, can stand for that. So remaining well-read, well-educated, and becoming involved I must.
Man, I didn’t anticipate all of that bubbling up there. Let’s move on to the week ahead. Today we are eating a family breakfast together. I am going to try and keep it light. Then we are probably packing it up and driving home. We need to grocery shop and then start cooking and cleaning for company to come over. I have to run to work where I know I will see my boss. I hope that I can get a bit of time to coordinate the week ahead with her. I know I have a lot to do and I will also have appointments to work around. Tomorrow is buckling down to work. Then I will see what else I have on tap. I will be getting paid soon, and that makes me heave a tiny sigh of temporary relief. I need to settle up some dues and medical bills and then see where I am with the cash flow before February gets away from me. We ordered your furniture and just want to get as much done with your room as we can. I am so excited to see how it all looks when it is done. It is a beautiful view out to the trees of our front yard. I am just beyond excited and (honestly) a little afraid. Well, it is almost 8 in the morning, so I am going to get your dad awake so that we can get our day underway. Hang in there kiddo!
It is a new day and finally there is some sunshine. The day after day of gray gloominess gets to me. Yesterday, we had a nice breakfast with everyone. The family took a hike and I took a nap. Then your dad and I got on the road. We made a stop for the chickens that we were going to cook and got home to clean. I went to work and got some things done. Then it is was home to get ready for company. We had your dad’s work friend and her husband and two kids over. Then our backyard neighbors came over. I think we did a nice job entertaining. You were kicking up a storm last night, but you have been quiet today. I think I may have overdone it a bit yesterday. Even though I didn’t hike, I did walk a lot through the big store looking for your dad. Then I pushed myself with cleaning, cooking, and doing things at work. I was wiped out at the end of the night. I did my warm milk thing and I slept great again. I don’t know if there is medical proof in this or not, but if it can help me get some rest, I am ok to drink it. I had a really crazy dream with my grandma (GGF) in it. When I woke up I was all agitated and then I couldn’t fall asleep again so I read things online, which only upset me more. I did end up sleeping again when I went upstairs to feed my cats and then snuggled them on the bed. Mittens drooled all over my arm as pet him. He has been lonely and missing me, so I just cuddled him until I passed out. I will need to get my energy up so that I can do some things today, even though I could sleep again. Anyway, I am so exhausted and I hope you give me some kicks today. I just saw two fox squirrels get into a fight and one limped off. That made me sad because I am an emotional mess when it comes to fights and people getting along. I am so hopeful that I will feel like we are in a world where people can see the good in one another because I am getting so worn down from all of the negativity.