August 18, 2005 ~ Living Two Lives
I have ankles again! As in, anklebones that actually protrude a bit! Pregnancy and airplanes? Do not mix very well.
It was not an easy achievement, however, the return of my ankles. They just kept getting worse since the flights (and the two-hour delay in Atlanta--ye airport of extremely uncomfortable seats and inadequate air conditioning for the overcrowded conditions and nowhere to put one's feet up and only one vegetarian item in one restaurant on the entire concourse, may my baby forgive me that greasy Burger King veggie burger--when the entire airport shut down due to a quite impressive thunderstorm, which I had the privilege of landing in, by the way, with lightning strikes all around our plane, torrential rains, and turbulence that I had not previously believed could so badly affect a large cross-continent commercial jet).
We were talking about ankles, though, before we descended into that ridiculously long parenthetical, right?
The ankles, they were ballooning. I could not see my anklebones anymore. Anklebones are not something I had previously thought much about. However, when they suddenly went missing, I was quite unexpectedly perturbed. After reading in What to Expect [to Go Wrong] when You're Expecting that the prolonged swelling (twenty-four hours or more) probably meant that I was well down the road to Toxemia and Death During Childbirth to a Handicapped Baby, further confirmed by the fact that when I pressed a finger to the swelling and took it away, an impression remained of my finger for several seconds as if my ankles were memory foam, I became quite concerned. According to the book, that is VERY BAD, CALL YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY.
Well, I didn't call my doctor right away, because that book tends to call a simple case of heartburn something that is VERY BAD, CALL YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY. However, I did look into my more friendly pregnancy books, where I found some advice. I stuck my feet and ankles into a tub of warm water, Epsom salts, and baking soda for twenty minutes. Then Morgan patiently massaged arnica salve into my feet and ankles. The swelling was already down, at that point. I spent the rest of the evening with my feet up above my heart, and I slept with them raised, which is not, by the way, an easy feat when one must lay on one's side. (The things one must do to get some ankles around here!)
You wouldn't expect the sight of anklebones to precipitate joy and rejoicing, but that is exactly what happened when I saw mine this morning.
By now I'm sure that several of you are probably quite annoyed by my mention in the first paragraph of this entry of airplane flights and the subsequent lack of an explanation. And, Melissa, it has been nearly two months since you have written, where in tarnation have you been?
Well, the end of June and the first half of July were the busy "Residency" period for my job. My supervisor was quite kind, however, and in light of my pregnancy she reduced my normal fourteen to sixteen hour days to nine, ten, or occasionally eleven hour days, though I was still working every day, including holidays and weekends. Even with the reduction in time, though, I was absolutely wiped out by the workload. This pregnancy has completely obliterated my capacity for extra energy reserves. It was all I could do to remain collected and civil while at work, and at home I did nothing but eat and then fall exhausted into bed every evening. The weeks following the Residency were entirely taken up with recuperation.
Now, about those flights...
During the Residency, my mother and her sisters Cathy and Marge surprised me with an incredible gift: a round-trip plane ticket for a two-week trip out to my hometown, Portland, Oregon.
You see, before I became pregnant, I had been planning an early August trip out to Portland. My old friend Suzanne was getting married, she wanted me as a bridesmaid, and I really wanted to see her married and meet the man she'd been talking about for years.
Once I became pregnant, I wanted even more to take that trip to Portland, for I think it is a symptom of pregnancy to want very badly to see one's own mother, and my mother is 3,000 miles away in Portland. Plus, it had been five and a half years since my last visit; I missed so badly all of my friends and family. Also, my relatives wanted to throw me a baby shower. Also, my brother would be graduating from college.
It's hard to describe, but family has just taken on a new meaning since we conceived. It's not that they have become suddenly more important, for they've always been important. It has just become much more immediate, to me, how much I miss them and how hard it is going to be, raising a child so far away from them. Both because I will miss their immediate help and love, and they will miss the opportunity to watch my child grow up.
But, with the pregnancy came all sorts of financial concerns that had not existed before, and we just couldn't justify the $400-$550 a plane ticket would require. I can't express just how much of a relief and a joy the gift of a ticket was.
So. It was off to Oregon for me, and I've only just returned. It was an incredible trip, though very emotionally intense. I didn't realize just how much I missed my old home until I returned again. It's as if I have two lives, and I turn off my attachment to the old one while I am here in North Carolina--otherwise the separation just hurts too much. If only there were a way to meld the two...
Entries about the trip coming soon. I need to somehow find the time to transfer the hundreds of pictures that I took off of the camera and onto my computer, re-size them, then write everything up. I also owe about a gazillion emails to many of you--but I doubt I'll get to all of them. I read them all, but sorting through them now and writing responses would take quite a while. If there's something you really need a reply to, let me know.