I’m Going to Change My Mind

scenic view of the forest during sunrise

I’m not sure exactly which steps I’ll take, but steps will be taken. I’m tired of living with me. I can’t stand the person I’ve become and the person I’ve been for the last handful of years. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t like myself anymore. I have become more and more easily stressed, impatient, and unhappy. Maybe. Maybe I’ve actually always been a bit like this and now I just have to live with myself in close quarters and I don’t like it. I think the latter is probably closer to the truth.

I’m almost 40 years old. This may be more or less the mid-point of my life. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time on this earth with the person that I am now. More importantly, I don’t want my kids and husband to live with the person I am now. My brain has to change. My habits have to change.

I want to laugh and smile and be content the majority of the time. I’m tired of feeling like an ugly person. I want this blog to become the rants of a crazy-happy person, not the rants of a crazy-crazy person that it is now.

I have some ideas, but I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do. I decided only this afternoon that I need drastic remodeling inside my brain … pronto. I’ve been headed this direction for a little while now, but two recent events have catapulted me into action: 1) the effect of this blasted pandemic on my life, and 2) I read a book titled “How to Change Your Mind” by Michael Pollan.

I think the former item has likely influenced many of us to take a closer look at our lives. We’re all experiencing changes and inconveniences due to covid-19, and some may even be experiencing immense loss or grief, so I’m going to skip over this topic.

The book “How to Change Your Mind,” however, may not be so familiar to you. The subtitle is: “What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence,” so I’m guessing that for many readers, this book may not be on your bookshelf or your “must read” list. But I rather think it should be.

It’s getting late and I need to get as much sleep as I can to face tomorrow with as much energy as possible. But here it is: I commit to changing my brain, and in turn, my life. I will become a person I can love; and a gratefulness journal and more caffeine just aren’t enough to get me there. The journey begins.

I Am Grateful

It’s been super rough for me the past few weeks. Let me clarify: it’s been rough being me. Some days are super and I can hang in there with patience and positivity, and generally enjoy my kids, my husband, and my circumstances. Unfortunately, most days I struggle to maintain composure for at least a good chunk of the day. I growl, I snap, and I’m ugly. I’m not the person I want to be. I blame it on lots of things: lack of sleep, trying circumstances due to pandemic, teething toddler who is super-needy. In the end, it’s only me who can make my life what I want it to be. It’s only me who can decide to be who I want to be. It’s a daily, moment-to-moment struggle.

The 28th of June I started writing a gratefulness journal to help me see the positive in every day. I wrote nearly every day for three-and-a-half weeks and then I floundered; It’s been 2 weeks that I haven’t written down what I’m grateful for. Well, now I’m starting again.

  1. I am grateful that this pandemic situation will not last forever and things will get better.
  2. I am grateful that Rodney is such a loving daddy and spouse.
  3. I am grateful that both of my babies are asleep at the same time for the moment …

Pretty much every weekend, Rod and I have been taking the kids for a walk by the river. Every weekend that we go, there are women washing laundry in the river. Their children are playing nearby or helping with the wash. I realized it’s yet another way that I am fortunate. When I got home after one of those walks I wrote a reminder on my whiteboard: “You don’t have to wash in the river.”

*******

I just told my mom and sister that if I had enough money, I would have hired a private plane already and gone back to Alaska with the kids and moved in with my sister. Perhaps though, I would be missing out on an opportunity to grow if I escaped back home. I’ve had a privileged life, and these months are certainly some of the tougher ones I’ve experienced in my life. I have to work on myself diligently during this time if I want to survive with sanity intact, and also enjoy life to some extent.

The newest baby just woke up. If it were here right now, I’d hop on that plane in a heartbeat. But it’s not here. Someday, I hope that I’m grateful for this period of time that I am pushed to work on myself. Right now, I’m grateful for my sweet gift of a little boy … and that he just smiled at me and drifted back to sleep.

(that lasted 30 seconds and then a minute later big sister awoke too)

Pregnancy: Week 39; Coronovirus Isolation: Week 8

It’s been 51 days since Pyra felt grass under her toes. 51 days since my sociable, sweet girl interacted with another child (in person). 51 days since my active, almost-20-month-old has run around outdoors and climbed something other than furniture or a parent. 51 days … and how many more?

But that’s the question we’re all asking right now, isn’t it? How much longer? No matter what our personal situation is, it certainly isn’t what we’re used to, nor how we want to live for an extended amount of time. You may have acres of outdoor space to romp in, but your activities or income are hindered. Maybe you go to work regularly, but you’re a little nervous about exposure to a virus that will be written about in medical and history books. We aren’t living our “normal,” no matter what our “normal” generally looks like, or even if we like our “normal” or not; but we certainly don’t want this current way of life to become the new normal. On that, I believe we could unanimously agree?

Anyhoo. 51 days of isolation. But here are some other figures that have been knocking around my head recently as well:

  • 38 ½ years old
  • 38 ½ weeks pregnant
  • 51 days of isolation due to a global pandemic

That darn “51 days of isolation” snuck back in there, refusing to be ignored!

My age and maternity situation just boggle my mind sometimes. I’m halfway through my 39th year of life and not only am I mother to a scrappy-sweet toddler girl, but I am also quite pregnant with a child whom we are told will have a penis and scrotum. Incredibly blessed to have the girl-boy combo, but did I mention that I’m 38 ½ years old?! At one point, I thought that 33 years old was sounding a little on the “old” side for starting a family. Ha!! That was back in 2014, when I first became pregnant and was ecstatic to begin our next phase in life; unfortunately, the next phase was “infertility rollercoaster” instead of “joyful life with munchkins.”

Yet here we are! Life is wonderfully uncertain and can always be counted on to throw a wrench – or a whole toolbox – into your plans and lead you down paths that twist and turn unexpectedly, frequently resulting in experiences and circumstances that we couldn’t have dreamt up, but wouldn’t change for all the cheese and bread in the world.

“Where would I be right now
If all my dreams had come true?
Deep down I know somehow
I’d have never seen your face.

This world would be a different place.
Darling, there’s no way to know
Which way your heart will go”

Mason Jennings, “Which Way Your Heart Will Go,”

For me, though, it’s not so much “which way your heart will go,” but where life’s twists and turns will lead you: almost undoubtedly away from your dreams, but very possibly into a beautiful, unexpected reality.

I wish I had been able to start a family when my body was younger, but I couldn’t. I wish I could have had babies without ever experiencing a lost pregnancy, but I couldn’t. But I would never choose to turn back the dial and do it over because I don’t know who I would be or where I would be in that alternate universe … I certainly wouldn’t have Pyra crawling into my lap for a toothy, slobbery kiss. And I likely wouldn’t be 38 ½ years old and 38 ½ weeks pregnant, in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Isolation Report

I don’t really have a lot to say on this front … not much changes over the weeks, except for the size of my belly and degree of weariness. I did leave the house for a couple hours last week- what a momentous and exhausting day that was!

I walked 40 mins (to avoid taking a taxi) to an ultrasound appointment. 40 very uncomfortable minutes because of my dang uterus. I had planned to enjoy a leisurely walk to the appointment as it would be my first lengthy walk outdoors in weeks, but instead I had “false labor” contractions* the entire way, which made the walk quite unpleasant and I just wanted to get there and stop walking as soon as possible. By the time I was a couple blocks away, I also had to pee so bad I was afraid I wouldn’t make it to the appointment with dry clothes. Thank goodness I’ve kept doing kegels now and again. (that means that I made it to the appointment without peeing myself!)

Anyway, the ultrasound went well and the results were reassuring. Baby boy has grown (although still small on the overall spectrum), my amniotic fluid and placenta look great (I didn’t even know that they can detect if a placenta starts “wearing out” but I guess they can!), and overall everything was super. The walk home was much better; my uterus must have been reassured by the good news and had settled down.

The previous day was also unusual and also because of prenatal medical appointments. However that day, the appointment came to my apartment. I was able to book a local hospital lab to come to my residence to take my blood and urine samples using WhatsApp (which is extremely common here as a primary means of communication, much to my delight). I sent the order for the tests by text and the lab even confirmed the appointment (in-person by text, not a robocall) on Sunday evening for the Monday morning appointment. They arrived at 8 am (30 minutes earlier than the appointment- so much for the Latin American stereotype of arriving late, right?) and the two technicians were in full protective gear, down to booties over their shoes. They proceeded to efficiently and painlessly draw several vials of blood for my prenatal bloodwork right at my dining room table, with Pyra and Rodney observing from a distance.

Everything went without a hitch, until they asked me for my urine sample. That is, they didn’t provide me with a sterile container and ask me to fill it … they just wanted me to hand over an already-prepared urine sample. Apparently, I was supposed to get a container at the pharmacy and have the sample ready, but nobody had enlightened me on this local tradition. The lab was kind enough to swing by a couple hours later, which gave me time to pop out to the pharmacy a couple blocks away and pick up the 25¢ sterile urine cup and fill that sucker up.

Can you imagine this scene? Waddling down the stairs of my apartment building with my huge belly, buzzing myself out of the security door and gate, my urine sample held discreetly in a paper towel and hoping that the neighbors all stay put? At least it wasn’t a stool sample, I suppose. Anyway … it all went well, and the results were accessible online by evening and showed everything to be normal. $70 for a lab to come to my home, take my samples, run a full panel of blood and urine analysis, and then have the results available remotely within 12 hours. What. A. Deal.

Recharging vitamin D during a few minutes of sunshine!

The only other thing I can think of to write about is that yesterday we finally inflated a kiddie pool for Pyra, and that has helped to eat up the long afternoon hours. We’ve waited for weeks to bring out the pool because the weather has been quite gloomy and rainy here. But yesterday we had a break in that trend and I blew up the pool. Like most kids, water play is one of Pyra’s most favorite activities, and the pool is the best $10 we’ve spent in months. However, the fun ended abruptly this afternoon when … can you guess what very predictable event happened? When a toddler is freed from the confines of a diaper and allowed to splash in a pool naked? Yeah. The afternoon water play turned into an afternoon of disinfecting the pool and terrace. Whoops. Silly mom. I just love to see her play naked!! But it was enough work for me that Pyra will be splashing around the pool with a diaper on for awhile.

I feel there were probably more interesting things to write about, but I’m done with writing for today. The magnetic force pulling me towards my pillow and bed is too great for me to withstand. I hope this ramble finds you well. Much love to you.

*I am convinced that I have an “irritable uterus.” From what I have read, I get an abnormal amount of Braxton-Hicks “false labor” or “practice” contractions. I had them a lot with Pyra too. This pregnancy feels worse, but I might just be more sensitive to them now. It’s crazy … sometimes I’ll just get one after another, after another, after another with only a minute or two between. And I think they frequently last longer (more like a minute) than “normal” Braxton-Hicks contractions. Usually, they are sporadic and I don’t mind them much at all, but when they keep going and going and I’m trying to do more than just lie around … it’s uncomfortable and annoying and I feel more than ready to be done being pregnant!!