Don’t call us, we’ll call you

October 31, 2009


Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , , — llcall @ 12:27 am

These are, unfortunately, a staple of my life since childhood (although all the spider, bug, flesh-eating ones have been peculiar to pregnancy).  Although there have been a lot of factors to my insomnia, nightmares have definitely been a big one.  Thankfully, therapy helped a lot.  I don’t get all into the Freudian interpretations (for obvious reasons), but I have found that much of the time, it is true what my therapist taught me: nightmares are a manifestation of anger/frustration/upset turned inward and left unexpressed.  If I use them to identify what is bothering me and communicate about it, that particular nightmare usually subsides.

But last night I learned that there is something even stronger than my analytical abilities to banish nightmares.

So I’m having this horrible dream.  I’m high-school aged again and someone is doing horrible things at my school.  I’m not going to say what–too disturbing–but trust me, they were horrible things.  So I and this group of students/teachers are rushing around the school trying to piece together clues and threats before more dire things happen.  But we’re too late . . . the baddies are unleashing chemical weapons into the air via both submarine (I agree this is where it starts to seem comical, I mean, where am I going to high school anyway? But trust me, it was still intense and scary!) and land.  The next thing I know I’m holding my breath and sprinting away as quickly as possible.  I mean, I’m hurdling over shrubbery and running like I’ve never run before.


I looked like this (except for my abs and body--those not so much)

Until . . .

I start to wake up.  Usually when I am drifting in and out of sleep, my nightmares continue for some time.  But as soon as my half-conscious self realized that I was running, it was like, “Stop that.  You hate running.”  And you know what, I did stop.  Immediately.  Scary nightmare over.  I woke myself up to think about how much I hate running.  Now that’s some extreme hatred, right there.

If only I could get myself to break into a run at the beginning of all my nightmares, I might be cured completely!


October 28, 2009

22 weeks

lindsay's rash amd belly003 flipped

Rachel C. is exactly right, that’s how far along I was in these pictures.  But she’s also wrong that it was this week because I’m now 25 weeks along!  (And Nikki, I’m right there with you on being confused by the week-month counting of pregnancy.  No matter how many times people try to explain it, I am convinced that it is 1) counterintuitive and 2) based on the menstrual cycles of imaginary “ideal” women, and thus, invented by men).

At our 24-week check-up, my midwife told us that we’ve reached a milestone.  Now if this baby girl had to come out, she would have a good chance of survival.  But as Dr. Nelson, Rachie’s husband, told me while I was visiting, she is most definitely “not ready for game-time” (I find sports metaphors comforting, they seem to cut right through for me).  We’re doing our best to keep her cooking for a while longer and I’m increasingly feeling that we will be able to.  Don’t tell anyone, but I think things may just turn out alright in the end  🙂


I was informed yesterday that Neal would read my blog more if I talked about him more.  He says everyone likes to hear themselves talked about.  I’m not sure if this is what he had in mind, but here goes with a little Neal story:

From the very beginning I have been super anxious to be “showing.”  I think a big part of that was seeking validation and recognition that I was, in fact, pregnant and that this time it was going to keep.  So I would ask Neal on a daily basis,

Do I look pregnant?

Do I look pregnant now?


It was wearying for him because the answer was always, no.  First, it was a simple no.  Then it was a not pregnant, maybe a little pudgy.  Then it was a no, just a fatty.  He took to calling me fatty pretty regularly (if this sounds callous, you should know that 1) I’m not sensitive about my appearance and 2) it’s something of an homage to Morrissey’s “You’re the One for Me, Fatty”–a beloved tune from my younger years).

So just the other day when Neal was tucking me in, he (perhaps inadvertently) said, “Who’s my fat cow?”  About 10 seconds went by before he quietly said, “I crossed a line, didn’t I?”


But I didn’t mind . . . think of how much mileage I can get out of reminding him that when I was pregnant with little [insert name here–seriously, if you can think of a good name, insert it, please!!!], he called me a fat cow!

October 27, 2009

How pregnant is Lindsay?

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pregnancy — Tags: , — llcall @ 9:19 pm


Care to guess?

lindsay's rash amd belly002

lindsay's rash amd belly001

(Because of the lag time in our photo technology, knowing how far along I am now,

won’t really help you figure out how far along I was in these pictures)

October 23, 2009

Things I’m grateful for

Filed under: Personal, Pregnancy — Tags: , , , , , , , , — llcall @ 10:21 pm

I am laying on my bed right now surrounded (SURROUNDED!) by dirty clothes, mostly pouring out of my half-heartedly unpacked suitcase.  I know I must get up and do laundry because I’m pretty much out of the clothes and garments that my skin can tolerate wearing.  I also know that I must get up and eat something because baby girl and I are starving.  But wow . . . I really can’t move right now.  My fibromyalgia has been quite manageable for the last few years but all of the sudden, the last few days, it’s like my joints are MAD!  Maybe they feel neglected because I’ve been spending so much time lotioning up my skin.

Luckily, my mind is very happily engaged thinking about some of the many blessings I’ve had over the last week or two.  And since I still owe my readership many happy posts as payback for wading through the past months’ weepy/frustrated/fearful posts, I thought I’d write a few down:

Friends you just gel with even when you haven’t been together in a couple years. My recent trips to Michigan and Austin (via Denver, Charlotte, NC, and Phoenix–yes, I really circled the country!) reminded me of just how grateful I am for my girls!

Rach, Todd, Audrey and Drew showered me with hugs and smiles, fed me superior home-cooked meals, and showed me the fall colors of Ann Arbor–but mostly they just let me chill on their couch for 4 days, chatting and watching I Love Lucy and baseball.  Good times.

Then on to Austin, where Ishkhanoohie, Will, Emma, Aryl, and Anoush similarly fed me dazzling food like Will’s special-recipe popcorn and fresh spinach-artichoke dip, let me beat them at Scattergories (oh wait, actually, I rock at that game!), and let me sleep in till all hours of the day (although “you were asleep for sooo long” was often heard from Ish’s 6 and 4-year-olds 🙂 ).

Since I’m a little lame with the modern photo technology, this is the only picture proof I have so far, stolen from Rach’s blog:


I promise that's us . . . and a lot of pumpkins

My little baby laptop coming out of its temperamental stage. We got a super lightweight Dell for the express purpose of allowing me to use it while lounging comfortably in bed.  I used to spend many a day with it resting next to me like so:

laptop on side

(This isn't mine, thank you Google images and people who take pictures of everything)

And then one sad and frantic day almost a year ago, my little baby laptop got dropped on its side.  It damaged the start-button mechanism so that any movement at all spontaneously turned the computer off.  No more sideways usage.  But it’s back . . . and just in time for another period of long-term bedrest.  This may not seem like a big deal, but believe me, it is a BIG DEAL!!!

Stanley Fish and my adorable husband. Right now postmodern literary critic Stanley Fish and Neal are inseparably connected, as Neal prepared for his killer contemporary literary theory midterm. I read many of the articles so that we could discuss them together and I would not be out of the loop as he literally spent every waking hour for the last three days contemplating interpretive communities, writerly vs. readerly texts, and heteroglossia (I never got through Bakhtin, so I’m still hazy on the last one).

I was particularly enamoured with Fish not because I agree with all his ideas (though I do a lot of them) but because it is so refreshing to watch someone talk about scholarly topics in a decidedly accessible way.  Most theorists somehow think that big words equal big thoughts.  Plus he’s a good-looking older man, no?


My poor Neal is sleeping next to me right now even though it’s mid-afternoon, exhausted from so much study and essay-writing, made all the more disappointing because the midterm did not contain a Stanley Fish question after all.  But I confess that I relish those hours we spent nonetheless because it reminded me of how ours is a marriage of the minds as much as anything else and we complement each other well when working toward a goal.

My somersaulting baby girl. Is she actually somersaulting in there?  We’ll never know . . . but sometimes I get the distinct feeling that she’s doing repeated somersaults, like the way you can in a pool.  There is nothing that has brought me more comfort during this pregnancy than her near-constant movement.  I thought I started to feel her a little before 19 weeks, but I was too nervous about all the unpleasant possibilities before us to say anything until the 20-week ultrasound.  And while I’ve been told that some women don’t feel consistent movement for awhile, I feel incredibly blessed that not a day has gone by that I have not felt her kicking and twisting.  More than once I have not felt for a brief time and the worry has begun to set in; but in the moment that I start that silent prayer for peace and calm, she gives me a nudge or two.  I know these have been tender mercies from the Lord to push out fear and replace it with faith.

This morning I woke up way too early because of random body pain and there she was wiggling around in there, keeping me company until I felt ready to get out of bed.  This beautiful feeling washed over me that we’ve shared a lot already, we are already friends and we always will be.


I know I already posted this (in like every place known to man), but is it my fault she has the most beautiful profile of any baby ever?!

October 14, 2009

Goonies Never Say Die!

Filed under: Personal — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 2:55 am

goonies logo

This one’s for all you Goonies fans out there!  There are Goonies fans out there, right?!  RIGHT?!

I by turns got chuckles/scoffs and high-fives/”Awesome!”s when I told people that a big part of my Oregon coast trip was to see the Goonies sights.  I say my, not because I wasn’t willing to share the Goonie love with Neal, but because poor young tyke that he is, his Goonie experience is lacking. (Incidentally, he was one of the chuckler/scoffers when I first mentioned it, but by the time we got to the Astoria, OR area he was an absolute sport, even POSING in one picture himself–this is actually one of the signs of the apocalypse, so you should all live a little more righteously now).

Before I went on my search to figure out where the Goonies locations were, I had no idea that it was so common to take pictures of yourself at selected Goonies locations and post them side-by-side with screenshots on the internet (I am still one of those people who are wide-eyed about all the internet offers; have you guys heard of YouTube?  Unreal 🙂 ).  Here are just two of those websites if you want to see some real pros in action:

I didn’t do quite the thorough job of hitting every site or carrying the requisite doubloon, but I had a blast nonetheless.  I got my first glimpse of Haystack Rock


and was giddy as a school girl (until a bunch of school girls came to the same lookout spot and I realized how annoying school-girl giddiness can be).  So we left straightaway . . . I mean, after attempting to get a shot with my finger strategically placed on top of the rock (don’t judge me):


I love how it looks like I'm wearing a one-eyed-willy eyepatch--totally unintentional, just one of those amazing coincidences 🙂


Of course, we had to get closer to Haystack Rock for a walk on beautiful Cannon Beach.


It was a stunning time of day with the fog rolling in, very Goonie-esque, and I could see little Mikey in my mind’s eye lining up the doubloon with this rock.


Yes, I'm still in love

(I may have also imitated his action, but I’m not saying.)

Next, we headed into the heart of Astoria to take a look at some of the city scenes:


Mikey's and Brand's dad's museum

Mikey's and Brand's dad's museum

The iconic county jail from which the Fratellis escape (a special place in my heart :) )

The iconic jail from which the Fratellis escape (holds a special place in my heart 🙂 )

Data's house

Data's house

Here’s where I tried to get Neal to reenact Data’s sister’s temper tantrum when Brand steals her bike.  Although I couldn’t get any stomping or yelling, I think the hands-on-the-hips and slightly cocked foot says a lot.  Well done, Neal, poser-in-training.

And for the pièce de résistance:


The Goondocks . . . where their Goonie adventure began and ours ended.  (At least until next summer when I’m tempted to go back for the 25th anniversary celebration!)

October 12, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation–Oregon coast edition

Filed under: Family, Personal — llcall @ 10:06 pm

These pictures don’t need much explanation.  To put it simply, Neal and I both fell in love with the Oregon coast.  Neal especially . . . he is set on ending up there someday.  Wheeler, Oregon, here we come!

Dean Creek Elk Preserve . . . if you have ridiculous eyesight, you can see a herd of elk; if not, enjoy the greenery.


Oregon Dunes National Park . . . Neal has a thing for the desolation of sand.  He could have stayed here for days.



Cannon Beach and the famed Haystack Rock (if you don’t know why it’s famous, wait a post or two and I’ll tell you why it’s famous to me and other fans of a certain cult classic 80s flick).

2241001-R1-041-19_12241001-R1-045-21_1Haystack rock

An overlook somewhere just south of Cannon Beach . . . and HEAVEN.


October 9, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation–San Diego, CA edition

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , — llcall @ 3:23 am

Just a week after Stevie B’s Party Week, Neal and I trekked down to San Diego for my cousin Heather’s wedding.  It was one of the sickest periods of the summer for me, but I refused to miss the wedding of one of my closest cousins!

2241001-R1-051-24Isn’t she a beauty?!

We had about 75% of the cousins on my dad’s side together (along with most of the spouses), which hasn’t happened for a while:


Of course, once again, this little girl was vying for attention:


Especially in this adorable dress that . . . wait for it . . . I (yes, me) picked out.  Amazing, huh?!

What I did on my summer vacation–Midway, UT edition

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 1:47 am

Midway, Utah doesn’t sound like much of a vacation hotspot?  Well, that’s because you’ve never been to Stevie’s B’s Party Week!

This is Stevie B (my dad) normally:


This is Stevie B in party mode:


Awesome, right?!

So Stevie B’s Party Week was our inaugural family reunion for just my small, but growing nuclear family.  Not surprisingly, the activities revolved around this cute girl:

(okay, so as much as shopping freaks me out, this outfit does make me semi-excited about dressing baby girl)

(okay, so as much as shopping freaks me out, this outfit does make me semi-excited about dressing baby girl)

We had some ball-rolling events:


Some sliding:


Won't Neal be a good daddy 🙂

Tournaments in ping pong and air hockey:

My bro Chris was the ping pong Grand Champion, despite Ayda's good form

My bro Chris was the ping pong Grand Champion, despite Ayda's good form

Neal was the air hockey Grand Champion, despite Ayda's steely determination

Neal was the air hockey Grand Champion, despite Ayda's steely determination

After a long few days of sporting events, all that was left was for Ayda to take a breather and smile for the camera with her favorite Grammy:


October 6, 2009

I wish I was a cartoonist…

Filed under: Personal, Pregnancy — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 3:40 am

So that I could draw you a pictorial representation of the crazy happenings around our house last night (my friend Lindsay, animator extraordinaire, did this once and it totally rocked).  Maybe google images can do it justice…

11:00 p.m.

CB101745 That’s me.

12:29 a.m.

giant man-eating spiderThat’s the giant man-eating spider I discovered eating my flesh.

12:30 a.m.

jumping out of bed That’s terrified me, jumping out of bed.  I have NEVER moved so fast in my life.

12:31 a.m.

yawning man That’s Neal, being awoken and forced to protect me against the giant man-eating spider.

[About 2 minutes after I woke him up, it started to dawn on me that I was hallucinating and just really, really itchy.]

1:00 a.m.


1:30 a.m.

giant man-eating spider

1:31 a.m.

jumping out of bed

2:00 a.m.


3:00 a.m.

giant man-eating spider

3:01 a.m.

jumping out of bed

3:30 a.m.

sleeping pills I try my best to avoid medication, especially now that baby girl is taking in everything I do, but when you are simply unable to stop hallucinating a giant man-eating spider eating your flesh, you know it’s time to break out the sleeping pills.

October 4, 2009

Surprise! A post in the middle of the night

I seldom wake up at 2:30am with any coherent thoughts whatsoever, but that’s exactly what happened about 4 hours ago.

The thought: how in the heck are we going to pay for this pregnancy and baby?!

See, we found out on Friday that the skin biopsy I need to get is going to cost at least $1000.  Apparently, they have to take samples from all different parts of my body and then do “direct immunofluorescence examination” (whatever that is) to look directly at the antibodies present in my skin.  I guess I was mulling this over in my sleep because I woke up to the realization that if that’s how much it costs just to confirm the diagnosis, I hate to see the bills to actually treat the condition.

I have student health insurance at the moment and since I’ve been in the world of the uninsured plenty before, I am grateful to have any health insurance at all . . . until I start routinely receiving letters that say, “these services not covered.”  I jump through all their ridiculous hoops of prior authorization and referrals and the like, which feels like a full-time job some days and still I get these infuriating “explanation of benefits” forms, apparently to explain to me that they are giving me no benefits (never fear: phone calls made, dispute letters sent, although in-person visits seem to be serving me best lately because it is much harder to be difficult when you’re starting at a pregnant lady with crazy skin).  And we keep getting reminders that we have not even seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what this is ultimately going to cost.

We tried to save up a fair amount of money in preparation for having a baby.  If you don’t know about my propensities for financial planning, I’ll give you a little glimpse: I made spreadsheets with estimates of prenatal care, labor, and delivery; compiled lists of expenses for the first and second year of a child’s life based on web research and my friends’ experiences; compared the costs of cloth diapering vs. disposables (yes, I’m planning on going there–but Neal is not quite convinced it’s worth it), breastfeeding vs. formula, homemade baby food vs. store bought, etc.

And so my natural tendency is to try to estimate how much these complications are going to alter my estimates based on what we’ve been told so far:

  • Serial ultrasounds: $150-200 each
  • Perinatologist visits: um . . . costly
  • Emergency C-section?: $11-12,000
  • NICU stay for preterm baby: $1000-2500/day
  • Blood work: $20/month
  • Medications: $60/month

Just when I think I’m not getting very far with my planning, I find this little gem: “Costs for complicated births range from $20,000 to $400,000 per baby.”  Glad to clear that up.


But the best part, the truly miraculous part, is our baby girl moving around in here.  I’ve been feeling her fluttering movements for about two weeks, but this morning, we got our first bona fide kicks and punches.  She’s a very active little girl, although it may just be that she has a very sedentary mother so I notice her movements more than women who, say, move around all day.  It may sound funny, but I don’t feel alone in the late night hours so much anymore.  I feel like we’re together, me and my girl, sometimes going through the fire and sometimes just chillin’.  Is it weird that I already feel like she’s my friend?

Baby girl is always making her presence known, reminding me about why I am doing all this in the first place–for the privilege of being her mother.  Do we have $400,000 to pay for that privilege?  No.  But is she worth that and more?  Without a doubt.

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