Thursday, May 25, 2017

101 Things Update!!!

As I said, I was going to update my 101 Things to do in 1001 Days this week, and I'm SUPER HAPPY with my progress! I've conquered EIGHT MORE THINGS ... and had to put four in the "not going to do" list. I'm fairly certain I'm about at the end of what I will accomplish by September of this year, but I feel super good about how much I've accomplished.

I just counted up what I've done and I really thought I'd done better than past years, but I'm still really only at about 50%. I wonder if this is normal or if I set unattainable goals??? 'Cause this time around, I've really focused on it. I'm also uncertain how to count those I'm not finishing. On one hand, they are done, but on the other hand, they are not done. Life changes. I kept up with my goals and I changed with life. Should I have changed the goals as I went along? This is a philosophical and possibly ethical conundrum. Thoughts?

Nevertheless, I feel good. I feel like I've stayed on top of this and put in work to finish things. I feel like I've only "given up" when life changes, not because of forgetfulness or laziness. I feel like I made efforts and did "fail" in some aspects, but also that money was a factor, as it always is. Maybe what's important is just really sticking to it. I suppose "success" is a different measure for every person, but I FEEL GOOD, so I'm going with that!

Below is my list of recently accomplished and a few added to the "note gonna happen" list :

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Recently completed :
019. Create line of dolls
--->And I should have them all finished by the end of this week!
034. Take Adam to the desert
065. Hike all the trails in all the Metroparks of Cleveland and Summit County
--->I decided not to finish Cleveland, because they are poorly organized and poorly marked and it stressed me out more than it made me feel good.
039. Build a Website
--->I've decided to count my Facebook business page, because it is taking just as much work.
066. Hike every trail in CVNP
081. Look into that race across Scotland
87 & 99 : Private

Not gonna happen...
062. Get a dog
069. Run one more marathon
--->I tried and I have one I'm supposed to do Saturday, but I did not finish and also baby. And I think September will be too soon for another attempt, so next year!
072. Grow hair out
--->Shaved it all off instead!
073. Donate hair

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hardcore...

Well, I did not accomplish as much as I had hoped I would last week. I guess that's because Adam and I had one year anniversary celebrations, emergency vet visits, and also I had other appointments to attend to. This week, I have, blissfully, NOTHING on my calendar. There are no little dots for the next five days on my iCalendar. My goal is to knock out some to do's and also go through ALL my shit and create a super massive to do as well as update my 101 Things. So, it's probably gonna be a week of lists here as well as a prenatal care interlude. EXCITED?

I know I am!

I made a stupid mistake financially speaking and put myself a little bit in the hole. I'm also trying to heal up a strained butt muscle. Man, I had no idea just how much I used my butt muscles until I managed to strain one...and I have no idea how I did that! So my activities for last week, which I roll over every week, aren't going to get done. I kept thinking I was taking it easy, only to feel it really bother me doing something simple, like climbing in and out of the car. So I'm really taking it easy with complete rest! I have all these lingering items to complete, ones that I guess I'm not too motivated to do, because I keep not doing them. So this week is all about reorganizing, updating, planning for the future, and getting shit done! June is a relatively busy month for me, so doing this is going to feel great.

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This week :

01. Run/walk four times REST!
02. Go swimming REST!
03. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
04. Sew ALL the dolls!
05. Make Facebook posts
06. Keep up with planner
07. Create massive to do list of all crafty projects
08. Get on that Tarot life!
09. Update 101 Things
10. Get your Care profile together
11. Make those Craigslist ads

Friday, May 19, 2017

The First Fight

A note before we begin : I live in Ohio, so this takes place in Ohio. I am aware of other states and other laws, but my experiences are here. I am not a doctor, so I will assume that if I write anything medical that resonates with you, you will do research on your own. I'm very comfortable with the decisions I have made because I am a very thorough researcher. However, my decisions are FOR ME and should not be taken as an edict for you. Look up your own shit, is what I'm saying, I'm just writing out my experiences!

Ok, I've been gearing up for this for a while...once it's all written out, it will probably end up being far less daunting than I expected. I want to write about the fucking hell it was to find adequate prenatal care. I also want to emphasize "adequate," because I have not found good or even great care, simply care that will do until I have to figure out where the fuck I'm having this baby so I can finally be done with this entirely awful medical situation. I'm not sure I'll enjoy writing about this, but I need to write about this, so here goes...

A bit of background; Since I had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy, I knew that I didn't need or want prenatal care in my first trimester. The rates of miscarriage are so high that it seemed pointless to go see a doctor to tell me 1. I'm pregnant (which I knew) and 2. I should alter my diet and behavior accordingly and wait for the second trimester (which I also knew). I did have a really hard time with anxiety, but since I had no mental health care provider, there wasn't much point in seeing a doctor who could do nothing about it, and as would prove to be true, probably only make it worse. So I waited. I became very anxious and by week twelve, I went to a free ultrasound clinic (it turned out to be a pro-life clinic) for a confirmation ultrasound. I saw the baby, it was alive, everything was medically there, and I went back to waiting. I had planned a road trip that would go from week twelve to week thirteen, and I had not made appointments before I left. Because of this, I ended up being slightly behind what I thought was the ideal schedule, which made me anxious and defensive... rightfully so, because I was treated like absolute shit.

I booked an appointment at the Summa Women's Center or something similarly named in Akron near city hospital. The practice had midwives and doctors and nurse practitioners. They see a variety of patients, but I surmised they see a lot of low-income patients based on the waiting room the few times I visited (for appointments and to get my records). The appointment setter was somewhat shocked at how late I was to getting to a doctor and fit me into the schedule quickly, this really should've been a sign.

I went, saw a nurse or orderly or technician type person who weighed me and took my blood pressure. She was nice. Then I went to see the nurse practitioner. I don't know what they do, honestly. Before the nurse left, she instructed me to take off my pants, which I would not do. Pelvic exams, especially early in pregnancy, are very common, but they are largely unnecessary. I was not about to have hands in my vagina because of tradition or routine and not for a reason, so I was firmly in the "pants on" camp. (All women should take this approach, as there is no medical reason to have a pelvic exam early in pregnancy or even throughout pregnancy. If someone tries to threaten you with pelvic malformations, calmly explain how you don't suffer from Rickets.) The nurse seemed surprised, but she left.

At no time did anyone take my medical history.

This is an important thing to note, because medical history should trump routine ALWAYS. And because, you really cannot care for a patient whose medical history you don't know. There are SO MANY things that can come up in a medical history and so many family history items to consider when faced with prenatal care that not taking a medical history is, in my mind, medical malpractice.

(Sadly, the definition of malpractice requires the neglect of the doctor to cause harm. So being mean and abusive and causing stress...none of that officially counts as medical malpractice, which is the only reason I haven't seriously pursued a case against Summa and this shitty nurse. It would take so much time and energy that I don't have. Someone else needs to start a class action suit, and I will happily lend my voice, but I cannot lead the charge.)

The next person to come in was a student. I think she identified herself as such, and I'm totally fine with students and teaching hospitals. It's very normal for care around here and I welcome it. I'm not ashamed, embarrassed, or feel my body needs to be a secret. The student was AWESOME. I was so comfortable with her that I went on and on, until she stopped me because we were getting too involved and the official nurse practitioner needed to be there. My comfort with the student was misplaced. Because I was so open with her, she gave the nurse practitioner all the information I shared, which was not good. Since I hadn't yet met the nurse practitioner, I hadn't been able to read her, and therefore, I was more free than I should have been. I told the student I would not have a pelvic exam as I did not need one (which my medical history would've made clear). I told her I wasn't taking prenatal vitamins because I was eating real food. These two items were the real sticking points of the first fight. I also said I wasn't interested in any genetic testing, no ultrasounds, just nothing that wasn't necessary unless there was evidence it was necessary. This is my stance and my philosophy and it should be respected, but it was not.

The nurse practitioner came in and the atmosphere in the room changed. She was quite tall, bigger build (not fat, just built sturdy), blonde. These physical features and her demeanor are why I will proceed to refer to her as Fraulein Bitch from here on out. She came in MAD. I mean, MAD. She came in already against things I had said, already deciding that I was high risk and irresponsible, already with an opinion about how women should go about her medical care and why her philosophies were right.

She dismissed my desire for no genetic testing saying, "I wasn't interested in it either, so it's fine." And went right into the pelvic exam, which I continued to refuse. I told her, flat out, I didn't need a pap smear or any STD testing because I was not at risk. I was shocked to find that she didn't just believe me. And since no one bothered to take my medical history, this woman wasn't going to believe me. She kept trying to force me into it, finally blurting out, "IT'S TO SCREEN FOR CERVICAL CANCER!"

Let's take a moment to analyze how inappropriate it is to shout "cancer" to anyone, but in particular someone who is in for a prenatal visit, who has zero risk factors for cancer, which you would know if you had taken a medical history. The sticking point here is the STD testing and the pap smear. The reality is, doctors like to screen for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HPV. The "cervical cancer" aspect has to do with HPV, the other two have to do with passing the infections on to the baby via the birth canal. However, a thorough medical history would highlight that I have only ever had three sexual partners. Combine that with my age and I am squarely in the "zero risk for any STD (STI)" category. I mean, laughably so. FURTHERMORE, since I had already had a full battery of STD testing and a pap smear just two years before, when I started dating Adam, and everything was negative, I was extra, super, guaranteed totally free from any STD, including HPV, and was certainly at zero risk for cancer. But no one took my history, so there I was, being threatened with a condition that would compromise my desire or ability to carry a baby to term because Fraulein Bitch decided that routine was more important than actual patient care.

After she yelled those words at me, I gave her a very quick and thorough (my sexual history can be given quickly and thoroughly) history of my sexual experience to ASSURE HER that I was not at risk and would not need a pap smear. It was then that she tried to give me the "pelvic abnormalities" bit. And y'all, I almost bought it. At that point, I consented. Because by then, I had already been bullied and threatened and ignored and I had not heard about pelvic abnormalities. So I was game. I would've gone through with it right then with no further explanation, but by this point, Fraulein Bitch had decided that SHE WAS UNCOMFORTABLE WITH ME. (She noted this in my chart, so I know it to be true.)

I'm so glad I didn't relent. First of all, any serious pelvic abnormality would've come up before when I've had pelvic exams. You can't just have a misshapen pelvis, have pelvic exams, and not have anyone notice. Secondly, this sort of reasoning is bullshit. I would've had to have some sort of bone disease or defect, or maybe had like a serious injury that involved my pelvis, in order to have a pelvis that couldn't deliver a baby...which wouldn't matter anyway, because the solution is a c-section. The main reason anyone ever had pelvic abnormalities that prevented them from delivering a baby (and don't believe the baby is too big, 'cause it's not) is because of RICKETS. MOTHERFUCKING RICKETS. But since we fortify our milk with Vitamin D, nobody gets rickets in America. Therefore, nobody has deformed pelvises that can't bear children. Therefore, any excuse to try to get hands up in your pelvis or give you a c-section because of a large baby IS A DAMN LIE.

This woman is not only misinformed but also just generally stupid. You'd have to learn in medical school that pelvic abnormalities are due to rickets, since that is the only reason there has ever been cause to examine the general public of women who are pregnant. This alone, makes me think Fraulein Bitch should be fucking fired, since she's clearly too fucking dumb to do her job. Motherfucking common knowledge. Sadly, she is not alone in her reasoning. It is EXTREMELY common for women to receive pelvic exams and pap smears early in their pregnancy and also later in their pregnancy and THERE IS NO MEDICAL EVIDENCE FOR THIS PRACTICE, and ample evidence why it's dangerous.

So anyway, Fraulein Bitch was so mad at me that she was just shouting and threatening me...but she was also so uncomfortable with me that she would fill my charts with sarcastic commentary. She told me I would "have to" submit to a pelvic exam at my next visit. And sarcastically stated she wouldn't need to "prescribe" prenatal vitamins for me.

OK, 1. Prenatal vitamins are not better for you than real food. The only thing they provide is folic acid, which isn't even absorbed well through vitamins and you just have to eat a salad every day to get plenty of fucking folate. Furthermore, the U.S. and other developing nations ALREADY FORTIFY BREAD WITH FOLIC ACID specifically to reduce the occurrence of neural cord defects...WHICH HAPPEN BEFORE YOU ARE PREGNANT ANYWAY. So, unless you have never had bread and also never had spinach, you don't need prenatal vitamins. They don't provide you with nutrients you can't get from actual fruits and veggies (like oranges) and they increase your likelihood of morning sickness and constipation. So really, just eat fucking real food. 2. NO ONE CAN FORCE YOU TO SUBMIT TO A PELVIC EXAM. That's called rape. Threatening you with a pelvic exam you don't want is sexual assault.

Many more things happened in this first appointment. It was tense and awful. I attempted to present myself as an intelligent human being who was capable of making informed decisions. I told Fraulein Bitch that I knew I was at risk because I was "old and fat". Those are my words and at 39 years of age and weighing in at about 220lbs (maybe less) while being only 5'1", yes it is true. I am old, which you can't change. And I am fat, which you can't change once you're pregnant. AND ALL THE MEDICAL LITERATURE WANTS TO ASSERT THIS IS A PROBLEM. But since you can't change it and the only thing you can do is try to get me to eat better, why are we even addressing it? Oh probably because I came in to my first appointment so late that everyone thought I was a crack whore who was too fucking stupid to realize she needed a doctor to grow a fucking baby.

Ladies, you don't NEED a doctor to grow a baby. Your body is gonna do that just fine...or not. You MAY need a doctor to administer testing which might inform you as to whether or not your baby will come out totally healthy or have any number of illnesses that your genetic makeup might cause. You also MAY need a doctor to pull the baby out of your vagina...or cut it out of your abdomen. However, YOU DO NOT NEED A DOCTOR TO GROW A HEALTHY BABY. Your body is gonna do that. A doctor is just gonna look at it and say, "Yep, it's growing." Just eat better and maintain an exercise regimen, and you'll be doing your body and your baby huge favors in terms of positive outcomes.

I tried to tell Fraulein Bitch that I had done a ton of research which lead me to my decisions, but she did not fucking care. What I would learn from this and subsequent visits is that doctors and nurses have already decided how I should handle my pregnancy. They don't actually want to inform me of my options and let me make decisions. They want me to sit down, shut up, and be quiet as they shove their hands in my vagina and screen me for all kinda problems. Doctors really, really, really don't give a shit about who I am or what I believe or what my actual risk factors are, they just want to treat me like every other assembly line pregnant person.

And as I will tell you later, when shit gets really deep, almost all women I know will submit to this.

The problem is twofold; doctors who care more about routine, and women who are uneducated and let doctors treat them like routine.

But all that is info for another post. What matters is I left that office feeling worse than I did going in. I was also lied to. Fraulein Bitch told me I'd need blood work to make sure I didn't have a dangerous blood type, and while I refused STD testing, she didn't tell me they would also run an HIV test, Hepatitis tests, and a full toxicology, whether I wanted it or not. I would find this out after I read my charts full of shitty commentary from her. I would find out from another doctor that this practice is state law. I would be told by someone who I thought would be a friend, but who really wasn't a friend, that this was all a matter of course and of public health because "women lie". Which means, the state government (generally across the board, as I've learned) believes that women are going to come in with drugs in their system, riddled with STDs, and then go on and just lie about it, passing all these things onto children who will then require extensive medical care, which will... I don't know what? Because they can't force a pregnant woman who is HIV positive to terminate anyway, so what is the point of making broad sweeping laws that ignore the history and rights of the patients?

And yes, even the Amish, a zero risk group, have to pay for these tests out of pocket. Just to show you how ridiculous prenatal care has gotten.

Prenatal care, as I would learn, is not actually about women at all. It's about the idea that a fetus is more important than the women carrying it (we'll get into that) and it's about "public health" (whatever that means) and it's about routine. For me, that also means it's about standing my ground and fighting for what would be adequate care by a variety of doctors who could not care less about me as a person.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Feeling pretty darn good!

I'm really feeling better about a lot of things. I'm back on track with writing more blog posts than this one each week. I posted on Sunday, which is unusual for me, but I don't HAVE to have a rigid schedule...it's my fucking blog! Adam and I celebrated our one year anniversary yesterday, which is somewhat uneventful at the same time it is an event. We didn't do much via gifts and we were able to save on dinner because we hit taco happy hour. So we had a little bit extra money in the budget for things.

I'm really feeling like life is good. It's not easy, but it's good. I feel like I'm ready for this shit that's gonna come our way this summer and I feel ready to take care of some things I've wanted to take care of for a long time. I'm NOT looking forward to warmer weather, because I never am, but then I'm gonna be going swimming all the time and wondering what the fuck my problem ever was. So basically, life is just good and I'm really excited for it.

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This week :

01. Run/walk four times
02. Go swimming
03. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
04. Sew more dolls and cut out the next pair of pants
05. Make Facebook posts
06. Keep up with planner
07. Deep clean and organize studio
08. Get on that Tarot life!
09. Edit those photo shoots
10. Look for a few more gigs!
11. Make those Craigslist ads

Sunday, May 14, 2017

One morning with autism...

It is no secret that I have struggled to fit in for my entire life. Over the past few years, I've been on a path of self-discovery and self-diagnosis to recognize what it is about me that makes me different from others and why. This path lead me to seek out a diagnosis for autism, after much research and continued struggles that were otherwise unexplainable. I received a diagnosis a couple of weeks ago and am continuing to do research on what this means for me and my future. I was diagnosed with Autism, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Depression. I wanted to write out what would be an ordinary morning for most people and how I struggle with it due to my limitations regarding autism. It's just text, with no pretty pictures, and it is overly detailed, but writing it out felt very good. I hope this gives someone a better understanding of what it means to be Autistic and maybe gives insight to my friends and family about how I struggle with normal activities.

I woke up at about 7a. This is not unusually early for me, since becoming pregnant. I had woken up in the middle of a dream and had to pee. I went to the bathroom but did not brush my teeth. I came back to bed, hoping to maybe get some more sleep, but still recovering from my strange and disorienting dream. I realized Adam was still at work and able to chat on Facebook for a bit and knew he'd be going home and going to sleep since he had worked a twelve hour shift and was due back at work in eight hours, so I wanted to take advantage of this time and chat with him. As we chatted, I became very hungry. I knew I did not want to eat anything in the house and I did not want McDonalds. I looked up the hours of a new coffee shop not far from my home. I had enjoyed my first visit there, plus they have really great hash browns. Like all the other coffee shops, they don't open until 9a. However, a local diner opens at 6a, but I didn't want to go to a diner on Sunday on a holiday. Starbucks also opens early.

Adam and I finished chatting and I could no longer wait. I needed food now. I decided to take my book with me to Starbucks, where I would find suitable food, though not ideal. I would also find a suitable environment for reading, though not ideal. This Starbucks is perpetually crowded with the most fucked up parking lot I've ever seen. It's an incredibly overwhelming situation. I also knew there was construction on the main road that goes right from my house to Starbucks. These obstacles were daunting, but not impossible. I had planned out a route that would take me off the main road and enter in the back of Starbucks, where there were four or five parking spaces with enough room to enter and leave, despite the lengthy drive-thru line. There is never a time when the drive-thru line doesn't fill the tiny parking lot, so avoiding this complication was necessary. As I drove down my back roads, which were pleasantly absent of traffic, and while enjoying Taylor Swift on repeat, I began to think about cleaning out my car. I knew there were free vacuums just across the street from Starbucks, and it pleased me to think that I could finally clean up the car and arrange it to my tastes, since Adam is no longer using it regularly.

I had devised a plan for what I felt would be a pleasant morning; yummy food, quiet time with my book, getting out of the house, cleaning my car.

On my way to Starbucks, I realized I had forgotten to brush my teeth and felt embarrassed about how easy it is to forget a simple task if my morning routine is interrupted or not planned out. I arrived at Starbucks as I had planned and was able to find a spot behind the building. The car next to me had parked improperly, wheels over the line into my space. Luckily, it was only slightly inconsiderate and I was able to park and have room to open my door. I had to cross the drive thru line to get to the building, which was somewhat stressful. However, since this Starbucks is always crowded, most of the cars are polite and used to allowing for other drivers to exit their parking spaces or give room for a pedestrian such as myself. I entered the tiny Starbucks and the line was past the door. However, it was still only about four people, and I knew there was nowhere else to go. I surveyed the building and found an acceptable seating spot... it was with a low booth where my feet could actually touch the floor, away from many other people, a soft cushion instead of a hard chair, a table I wouldn't have to share. I set my stuff down and got in line.

Already, I was bothered. The girl taking orders was too cheerful, too loud, and overly familiar with the guests. Luckily, I had my phone and WiFi from Google and was able to text a friend as I stood in line. I knew that when I approached the counter, this employee would proffer me an inappropriate greeting. She was calling everyone, "darlin'," as if we were somehow in the Deep South in the 1950s. She was also wishing the people at the front of the line a Happy Mother's Day. This sort of familiar talk from a stranger makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable. I considered leaving. I didn't want to talk to her. I knew she would say things I didn't like. I didn't want to stand in line. But there were no other options and leaving a place to find something else is often too overwhelming. I didn't want to get McDonalds and eat in my car. I didn't want to go to a crowded diner. I wanted to go through with the plan I had enacted, so I texted my friend about the idiot behind the cash register and I steeled myself for what was to come. When I approached the register, I had already planned out everything I would say to her to ensure the transaction would happen smoothly with very little questioning and very little discomfort on my part. She greeted me, using the term "darlin'," as I had suspected she would. I immediately responded, while not looking directly at her, "Please don't call me 'darlin' as I don't know you well enough to use that term." She politely agreed and took my order, took my money, and I was able to leave.

I found a post on the wall where I could be away from all the other patrons and wait for my food. I texted my friend about the girl with the overly familiar speech. Doesn't she understand her job is to process my order efficiently, not patronize me with unnecessary pronouns? Many of the patrons were regulars. The crew was extremely cheerful and talked about personal matters with each other as well as with the patrons. I hate this kind of noise. I just want people to be quiet. Coffee shops should be like libraries, as far as I'm concerned. I wish the machines were mute too. Waiting near the counter, I could see both stations for the drinks made for eating in the shop as well as those at the drive thru. The employees were communicating what they had finished, where it was, what was next. They were talking with patrons. It was all very lively and disorienting. They called my name and I was able to take my food and go to my table.

The vast majority of the business was done through the drive thru, so there was plenty of space between me and the other patrons... most of whom were working or reading quietly. Perfect. I set up my table exactly as I liked. Folded the paper bag my sandwich was in. Placed my sandwich on top of its wrapper, which I had folded flat. Put my drink to the right of the sandwich. Placed my phone and keys to the right of my drink. Pushed the table out so my book could rest on my lap, since the table was too high and too small for me to enjoy reading with the book on the table. I have never been in a restaurant with seating the accommodates my small stature, so adjusting for my height is normal to me. With everything set up and my sandwich cooling (Starbucks sandwiches are always far too hot), I began to read.

Everything went well for a while. As I ate my sandwich, I had enough napkins to wipe off the crumbs that collected on my fingers and felt so annoying. I was able to read a chapter or two, reply to my friend, eat a little. Everything was well ordered. The noise of the coffee shop was up behind some walls and faded into the background of rhythmic clattering. While many noisy situations are untenable for me, there are also situations where noises fade into the background and are enjoyable or not bothersome. Many restaurant noises are like this for me, possibly because I've spent so much time working in the food industry and have been able to process the sounds to a low priority since I'm not responsible for them. I was greatly enjoying my time when something awful happened. Two very loud women came in, stood in front of me while talking, and then took seats at the end of my row, all while talking very noisily.

They were so clearly unaware of their surroundings and were as much like having an air horn going off next to my ear. They took away from my pleasant pattern of eating, reading, replying to my friend, watching the people outside the windows silenced by the walls between us. On top of their incessant chatter, everything they said was common and uninteresting. It was the worst form of communication possible. I waited to see if they would figure out that they were inside a building with other people who might not want to know the intimate details of their Sunday morning and the projects their children were completing for school, but they did not. I texted my friend about how they had ruined my nice morning. I looked at my book because I had just started a chapter and I hate putting a book down in the middle of a chapter. I cleaned up all my food wrappers. I decided I could finish the page and a half by willfully blocking them out and then I would leave.

When I threw away my wrappers, the trash can was full, so I told the employee about it. Full trash cans are disgusting. Fast food restaurants should pay more attention to them. More patrons should alert staff when a trash can fills, because they are dirty, smelly, and often wet. I hate them. I prepared to leave, knowing I'd have to walk through the drive thru line to get to my car and that it would be stressful. Luckily, the person who had parked over the line had moved and a new jackass had backed in, but at least was within the bounds of the parking spot. I was able to get into my car easily, turn on Taylor Swift, and head to my next destination to clean my car.

It was such a short drive with no traffic issues, but the car wash was full. I drove to the very end of the line of vacuums, only to find them broken. I pulled back to the front, where I was closer to traffic and more distractions. I started by collecting the trash in my car. When I was ready for the vacuum, I pulled it out, only to find it was broken. Another car had just left, so I started to back up, when a bright red car pulled into the car wash at a very high speed and whipped into the spot I wanted. I parked and waited. I could wait for the car next to me to go, but I was mad. Also, there was a huge puddle under that car. If I pulled in there, I'd have to step all around it or end up with wet feet. I hate having my feet wet in my shoes. It's incredibly uncomfortable and gross. Also, there was a bunch of trash in the puddles, the pavement was disgusting and filthy, the trash cans were filthy too. Does no one ever power wash this pavement? It's all dirty from soda bottles and other things in the dirty cars people are cleaning. Power washing would keep the pavement from looking like a dumpster site. Power washing would work on the walls of the building and the trash cans as well.

I sat there dismayed and disgusted. There was another free vacuum place, but it was on the other side of town, in another busy area, and I'd have to navigate many traffic lights to get there. I wanted to finish this up so close to home and where I ate so I would have minimal time spent out in the loud world. But I knew I couldn't use the vacuum next to me with the gross puddle. The more I looked at this place, the less I felt I ever wanted to visit here again, since it was so trashed and disgusting.

In the end, I chose to go to the other car wash. Again, I knew several back roads to avoid the bulk of traffic and I knew the other car wash was nicer and cleaner. I turned up Taylor Swift and drove over. The drive was less crowded than expected and I was able to pull into a nice spot with vacuums on either side of my car, in between two very clear cars with no music playing and with generally pleasant and quiet people. I turned up Taylor Swift, opened my doors, and prepared to clean my car with my preferred music.

I was excited to find some Clorox wipes in my car, so not only could I vacuum, but I could also wipe down all the surfaces. I could also go through the console and throw away the papers Adam stuffed in there and forgot. Then I could move his pipe, which puts ash in parts of the console I use, and hide it away so the car would be less dirty. I don't like when I reach for my chapstick and end up with ash all over my fingers. This was turning out to be an excellent decision.

I cleaned and vacuumed and wiped and organized and everything felt so nice and good. Cleaning makes me feel very good, but only when I can do it by myself with no interruptions from anyone and on my own terms. I didn't have to share the vacuums by my car as the cars next to me were nearly done. I cleaned out some nooks and crannies that hadn't ever been cleaned. I set the car up beautifully.

Afterwards, I was able to drive home down some back roads, listening to Taylor Swift and enjoying the cool, morning air. I came home thoroughly tired out from that morning's interactions. I had enjoyed food and my book and cleaning, but all at a cost of my energy. The ups and downs of the day were tiring. I wanted to climb into bed and snuggle with my kitties and take a nap and recover from my morning adventures.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

First Trimester Symptoms

Ok, so I already wrote some of my first trimester stuff. But I felt rushed and unfocused then. (And I feel kinda rushed now because I haven't really written about much of anything on here in a while and I wanna get these thoughts OUT!) I just wanted to follow up with a sort of recap of my symptoms. I've noticed that all the reading I've done all over the place focuses on three symptoms and never really talks about how to help with them either. So I want to write about what I experienced, in list format, and how I handled it, and then I'll move on to other maternity/pregnancy stuff that might seem more important.

First Trimester Symptoms

1. Stuffed up nose : This is actually ongoing, and it's REALLY common. However, every time I visited any doctor or other organization (WIC) that was meant to help me with pregnancy stuff, I'd receive a packet full of "information" and only one of them included stuffed up nose. Which they told me to treat with Benadryl, which I would never do. I'm not a big medicine taker and I really, really, really don't believe anyone has done enough studies on drugs and fetuses and pregnancies. Mainly because all the studies say it's unethical to do a double blind trial on pregnant ladies and lament how they only have observational data and then just draw a bunch of conclusions anyway. My stuffed up nose was worse at night, because like with heartburn and acid reflux, being stuffed up can worse when lying down. It's about gravity and swelling, I guess. So basically, every night, I'd wake up after about four hours, unable to breath through my nose (which sometimes whistled), with a mouth so dry and hot it was uncomfortable. I'd go pee, then drink water in my hands from the bathroom sink, and try to go back to bed. It wouldn't work, so I'd get my blanket and go out to the living room and sit in my recliner and watch tv. Sometimes, just the walk down the hallway would clear me up. Sometimes, I'd start the recliner relatively upright and has breathing became easier, I'd recline and sleep there the rest of the night. Sometimes, this would take a few hours AND I'd get hungry, so I'd also eat. It was not ideal, but it was a better solution than lying in bed and not being able to breath or sleep and tossing and turning. Conclusion : You might be stuffed up and not want to take drugs, so you might want to find ways to sleep with a more elevated head than usual.

2. CRAZY dreasm : This is another one that's hard to find info on, but it's pretty common to have much more vivid dreams, especially during the first trimester. I'm already a vivid dreamer, so my dreams became incredibly intense. Often time, intense dreams and frequent urination are the cause of the lack of sleep that is so common during the first trimester. I have no great solution. See, my usual coping mechanism when I wake in the middle of the night is to read. But I now have a husband who "needs" more dark than I do and I haven't found a night light that works, so I'd wake up from dreams and find myself lying in a dark room with nothing to lull me back to sleep. I'd usually also have a stuffy nose and have to pee and would just go to the living room. It's pretty normal for couples to find separate sleeping arrangements during pregnancy, and it might be worthwhile for you to look into this option. I would feel guilty if all my tossing and turning and getting up and breathing loudly would also disturb Adam, so I was happy with the recliner, which also was really comfortable. What I'm saying is, when you find out you're pregnant, maybe also set up back up sleeping arrangements, 'cause you might need them.

3. Amped up anxiety (and other mood disorders) : It's sad to me that maternal mental health carries a lot of stigma. If you already suffer from any type of mood disorder, your first trimester might make it worse. Your body is going through a FUCKTON of hormonal changes and that shit can wreak havoc on anyone's mood. If you've already got doctors in place, it's good to set up an appointment and talk about treatment options and plans as you go through pregnancy. But if you don't suffer from anxiety, depression, or any other mood disorder, you might find that the hormonal changes in your first trimester (just like postpartum) could bring on drastic changes in your mood. It's perfectly ok and normal if this happens. Hormones are a big deal and do a LOT in your body, and pregnancy causes a lot of big hormonal changes. You should not feel shamed or embarrassed if you find you are suffering from changes in your mood...and if those changes seem too big to handle, please do not hesitate to talk to your care provider to get the help you need. The bottom line is that mental health in America carries a lot of stigma, but you should not be ashamed to seek help if you find that pregnancy alters your mental health in a way that requires more support than usual.

4. Morning/whenever sickness : We all know this is the big obvious one, but do you know why? Again, hormones. I can just keep saying that on repeat. But also, possibly blood sugar. The research I did was largely inconclusive, but here's what every asshole said to me, "Just eat Saltines." Uhh, I don't fucking like crackers of any kind! Why the fuck am I going to want to eat them when I'm nauseous. NOT TO MENTION that they are empty calories that can lead to weight gain when everyone is all down on pregnant ladies gaining too much weight. I mean, it was such a load of assembly line bullshit and I wasn't having it. So here's what I learned : Morning/whenever sickness is generally tied to blood sugar, so eating a great diet and making sure you stay fed is probably going to help. Also, fatty foods aren't great for it. Annoying, but yeah, just eat better. Furthemore, apples AND bananas are known to help alleviate nausea. Bitches never tell you that shit. I would find myself so hungry at, like, 4a and I knew if I didn't eat something, I would just get nauseous, and there would go my day. So I'd eat an apple or two at 4a. That was usually enough to keep me going until actual breakfast at 7a. It also didn't cause much weight gain and I didn't feel guilty about it. So yeah, if you're finding that sickness is happening during your first trimester, just try not to go hungry for too long and don't be afraid to grab an apple or a banana to help alleviate that sickness.

5. Insomnia : I talked about this in the first two items on this list, but insomnia is super common for the first trimester. I would find that getting up to go pee or waking from a dream made me WIDE AWAKE and it was ANNOYING! I was lucky enough to be able to partake in afternoon naps, but I know that doesn't work for everyone. Now is a good time to see if you can come in later to work or leave a bit early if you're really exhausted. Being exhausted is the worst. And if you have kids or something, asking for a little more help so you can take a nap, is totally fine. Insomnia can happen for a few reasons and it can make the rest of your life really difficult, so I think the first trimester is an EXCELLENT time to let someone else do the chores, sleep in, and take afternoon naps...WITHOUT GUILT! After all, aren't you busy growing a human being!? That shit ain't easy.

6. Bloating : Some women are already familiar with this because periods, but I wasn't. I didn't know what bloating was. So I looked it up! Bloating is that really heavy gas that feels like a weight in your stomach. It made it harder for me to run because my thighs were basically just pounding into it...so I'd walk until it passed. Gas is common at this stage too, and I was more familiar with that. But what I didn't know is how much movement can help relieve gas and bloating. It's easy, when you feel like crap and your belly is fucking full of gas, to wanna lie down and be a lump...but at this point, getting up and moving is actually far more helpful. I started a routine of walking after dinner, when all my intestinal issues seemed the worst. A walk in the neighborhood that was anywhere from a mile to three miles was usually enough to get everything moving. Walking and/or jogging is also helpful to prevent constipation. The hormones in your body slow your digestion and just make everything much slower, which can cause a lot of discomfort. The best thing to do when you're experiencing any sort of digestion related tummy trouble is to get up and get moving. Trust me, you'll be so much more comfortable.

7. Sore boobs : This is a pretty common one too and the easy solution is bigger bras with less structure. Athletic bras work great during this time because they are not totally floppy but they are also not all about making the super cleavage. I've been living in some cheap ass sports bras!

8. All the fucking scare tactics and idiotic commentary. : Fucking EVERY person who has ever been pregnant will probably try to give you advice. Many people who find out will ask really inappropriate comments. The internet and doctors are FULL OF BULLSHIT! Pregnancy does not have to change your life, and in fact, it probably shouldn't. There is no evidence that you need to slow down...because your body will slow down naturally. If you are a runner or a weight lifter or a waitress, you can continue to do what you've been doing. Being active is AWESOME! It helps your body cope with the changes and it leads to healthier pregnant ladies and babies. But there is still a lot of antiquated thinking that being pregnant means suddenly becoming fragile. It's just not true. Elite athletes have been known to continue training throughout their pregnancies, with nary a side effect. The stairs in your home are not the enemy. If your job requires hard labor that you have been doing for quite some time, your body is gonna be fine with it. And yes, you can take up walking or swimming or yoga or any number of mild forms of exercise during this time. Quit the hard drugs, ditch the alcohol, stop smoking, eat some salads, and get moving! Pregnancy is not a disability. Don't let anyone tell you it is.

I have other thoughts about food and whatnot, but I think you can find the books by Emily Oster (or google her articles) and find all the message boards with women who continued to have coffee or use your brain and realize that sushi is something natural in many cultures and they are not fucking barren...and since I'm not actually a doctor, and since I have not even bothered to link up any of my resources...I'm going to assume that you will either take this blog post as a confirmation that you're not crazy because someone else has gone through what you have, or use it as a jumping off point for your own research. I just want to get my story out there. The point of this blog is not to dictate to you what you should do with your life, just to let you know what I did and why it was fine for me...and why you are probably still fucking normal, no matter what you're experiencing!

Monday, May 8, 2017

FINALLY!!!!

SOOOOOO...last week was the culmination of a LOT of things. There have been three pretty major situations in my life that have needed to reach resolution and I think they were what has been holding me back from getting all the blog posts in my head actually written out. I have far less going on this week and I hope to be able to sit down and write stuff out!

Adam had been waiting to hear from The Monument (on Put-in-Bay) about summer employment. It seems to have gone nowhere so he is still back up on the island for the summer but at his old job with the hotel (where I also worked for part of last summer). I am staying home and growing a baby. Since I'm due in August it doesn't make a lot of sense to try to go work a summer job where August is full swing season. Also, growing a baby on an island full of drunks is not really ideal. I'm doing craft shows this summer and going to look into picking up some different gigs, just to stay on top of having my own spending money and buying cat food. But mostly, I plan on trying to enjoy this summer and go up to the island as much as possible to visit Adam.

I have been going to the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism for the last five weeks for an evaluation. The evaluation was as much for autism as for other THINGS. It was very stressful, because a lot of what goes into a diagnosis for an adult is self-evaluation...reporting to the doctors the behaviors in which I engage that other people can't always see. It's been stressful seeing a team of doctors and taking tests and rehashing my entire life (including all my childhood trauma, of which there is a ton...and all my social trauma as an adult). It's just hard to sit around and talk about all the shit that is wrong with me and how I have been coping with it. I finally finished the evaluation and was diagnosed with autism, general anxiety disorder, and depression disorder. None of this was surprising to me and I'm not looking at moving forward with my options and resources available to me following this diagnosis.

I've been struggling to find prenatal care providers who work for me and not against me. I believe I've finally found some who are not that great but not awful either. Due to some potentially concerning evidence, I had to have an ultrasound. Everything is fine. Smashface (the baby) is fine. I can feel Smashface moving around regularly, which is a relief. So I'm looking forward to counting down the days until I push Smashface out of my vagina!

So that is EVERYTHING that has been going on and has been taking up a considerable amount of head space and most of my energy. Now that things are as settled as they will be for a while, I'm hoping to get back into writing more often and just accomplishing shit that has been on my list. It's been a stressful and difficult time, and I'm not saying it's all gonna be pretty hot air balloons from here on out, but I'm feeling much better about a lot of things and feel like I have reached some resolution.

And with that, here follows the to do list...

Photo Jan 20, 2 45 23 PM

This week :

01. Run/walk four times
02. Go swimming
03. Bank those travel blog posts (and others)
04. Put finishing touches on skirts (and maybe sell them???)
05. Begin pants and sew more dolls (figure out a weekly number and GET THEM DONE)
06. Go rock climbing
07. Start website
08. Keep up with planner
09. Clean up all your disorganized messes
10. Get on that Tarot life!
11. Edit those photo shoots
12. Look for a few more gigs!