Notes on the Mary…

Notes on the Mary Anne

  • Kevin made me call back the vet because when we went to pick up Ellie, the bill came to about $2000, which was quite a bit higher than the high end ($1300) of the original estimate. I would never have called on my own; I would have just assumed the medicines and such ended up costing more than they'd estimated, and said oh well. They called us back late yesterday to tell us that they're very glad we called because they have a new computer system, and we'd been over-charged $1072, which they were now refunding to us. What's funny about this is that not only would I have let this go on my own, because I have an unreasoning habit of trust in authority, but Kevin would have let it go on his own, because he truly hates talking to strangers, especially for this kind of customer-service thing. Together, we are a thousand dollars richer than we are separately. Of course, if we lived separately, then maybe one or the other of us would have taken immediate responsibility for lifting the baby Tylenol out of harm's way and Ellie would never have had to go to the vet at all, so we might be two thousand dollars richer then. :-) I'm not sure what the moral of the story is, other than perhaps 'keep an eye on your bills, because people using computers make mistakes.'

  • In general, babies are expensive. I am reminded of this because while we got tons and tons of stuff at the baby showers, there are still some items left for us to purchase, totalling about a thousand in cost. Baby monitor, safety gates, diaper genie, glider and ottoman. Some are essential items, some just useful. A thousand is a lot better than it would have cost us without the showers -- we basically don't have to buy *any* clothes at this point, for example -- so I'm not complaining at all. Just musing. There's all those diapers to come too. I'm glad I'll have a decent income next year, with the Northwestern gig, though it may be a bit tight for a while, because they won't pay me most of it until spring 2008. Luckily, we have friends who can afford to loan us money as needed. It's nice to have rich friends. :-)

  • Can you tell I'm fretting about money a bit? Partly it's because of the Kriti Festival. We priced it a bit higher this year, and maybe that's why pre-registrations are fewer this time around? I'm not sure. Actually, I'm not even sure if pre-registrations are fewer -- maybe this is how many folks we had registered three weeks out last time. I should keep better records. We're currently running around $3K in the red, and that's not counting optional but would-be-really-nice elements like a reception before the keynote speech. Some of that will definitely come in between now and then, but possibly not all. How do other groups handle possibly not breaking even? For us, it pretty much just has to come out of my pocket -- the only alternative is not paying our keynote speaker her honorarium, which obviously is not an option. (The other costs are fixed in advance, and paid in advance -- space rental, program book printing, etc.) Kev and I aren't really in a good financial position this year to make a $3K donation to the arts, even if we'd like to. We'll just have to cross our fingers and hope that some of our publicity efforts pay off in increased registrations. It'd also be good just to have more folks attending -- we've got a really extensive festival program set up now that would very nicely accommodate around 150-200, and we're expecting about a hundred folks at the moment. More would fill out the rooms in a pleasant way. At least the program has come together beautifully, into what I think will be a great event. What more can I do at this point? Just cross my fingers and hope people come.

  • I'm not so much fretting about baby girl, thankfully. I think I spent much of the first seven months of the pregnancy anxious about her a lot of the time. For months I was convinced that a) I wasn't really pregnant, b) I would miscarry early, c) she had died and I hadn't noticed, d) she would have Downs or one of the trisomies, e) she had died (that one recurred a lot), f) she was otherwise malformed. And then there's the ongoing anxieties about whether I have done her irreparable harm by a) forgetting and eating a few slices of brie, b) falling down four steps of stairs, c) not getting enough extra protein for her brain to develop properly, d) forgetting to take my prenatal vitamins once or twice recently, e) not getting enough calcium -- that one's almost certainly true, since it's only in the last month that I've started being good about taking a calcium supplement, though that's more a problem for me than her, thankfully, since she takes the calcium she needs first, and it's my bones that have theirs leached away. Those milder anxieties are still there, but even they've calmed down a bit in intensity, and her regular kicking sessions reassure me every hour or so that she's still alive. Generally, I'm feeling fairly calm about the pregnancy itself right now. (Still trying not to think about the birth, because I suspect I'll get freaked out again if I do. Birthing classes in two weeks...)

  • The best part of being pregnant is the kicking, I think. It's so surreal, having a little creature inside you; I can't describe it properly. Alien and weird and fun. I don't talk to her (as some pregnant women do, apparently), not out loud. But I think at her a bit sometimes. Tell her to be a quiet, good angel baby when she comes out -- not a crying, screaming daemon baby. We'll see if she listens.

  • I also like having a round tummy. I'm obviously pregnant at this point (with seven weeks to go), and I like it that people notice and say nice things to me about it all the time. So far, no one's touched my stomach without permission, though I'm sure it'll happen. I don't think it'll bother me too much. Right now, I get comments from the parking lot attendants near work, for example -- the lady at the desk says, "Hi, momma," when I come in, and the valet guy told me Thursday to "Drive safe, both of you." It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when they do that. :-) Like we're in this together, somehow -- that my pregnancy is a communal endeavour, and they all have an interest in taking care of us.

  • Seven weeks! Somehow, that sounds much more immediate than two months. Yesterday Kevin said that if she came now, he wouldn't know what to do with her. We haven't researched much yet about feeding and cleaning and umm...well, whatever else you're supposed to do with actual babies. We're well-up on the pregnancy itself, but the baby, not so much. Maybe we'd better start reading...

  • I do wish that all the extra pregnancy weight (18 pounds so far) had settled in my stomach. I'm trying not to fret about it too much, but there's definitely some on my thighs and butt and breasts -- enough to take me from a M/L to a definite XL. Sigh. In last weekend's baby shower photos, my face looks like a big round ball. Kevin tells me not to worry about it, that he'll help me exercise after the baby's born. At least the weather will be warm then, and we can take lots of walks with her in the stroller. Some folks, I know, lose the weight right away with breastfeeding, or so they tell me. That'd be nice. But I have more than a few friends and relatives who put on substantial weight with pregnancy and never did take most of it off afterwards. Isn't that the far more common outcome? Sigh. I tired of being fat. I don't require skinny, but normal-sized would be nice.

  • And my hair is a bush. I got a haircut, but it's still ridiculously thick. It's a pregnancy thing -- did I mention that your hair stops falling out during pregnancy? My hair was thick to begin with, so this is not the boon that it is for most women. I'll be glad when all the extra falls out after the baby's born.

  • Oh -- she's kicking now! (Say 'hi' to my journal readers, baby...) It still startles me sometimes, especially when there's a particularly fierce kick in the side. It doesn't ever hurt, thankfully, but it can be a bit distracting, especially when you're trying to lecture or hold a meeting. :-)

  • The fibroid-degenerating pain is pretty close to constant these days, but mostly mild. Sometimes it gets bad enough that I take Tylenol; once it got even worse, so that I took the Tylenol with codeine (which makes me sleep well, but then makes me groggy for the rest of the next day, so I'd rather not take it too often). I can cope, but it's wearing, especially when combined with getting up several times a night to pee and general pregnancy exhaustion. I'm usually okay until about dinnertime and can get a lot done, but at that point, I collapse into an almost-weeping heap. (Sometimes actually weeping, but mostly not these days.) I lie on the couch and watch tv or read and feel guilty about everything I'm not getting done. Though really, I've done most of the urgent stuff at this point. Just a few more important things to take care of before she comes.

  • My to-do list includes: talk to IRS about DesiLit's 501(c)3 status, re-apply for citizenship (I filed the wrong form, sigh), pay taxes, do a proper syllabus for the Asian-American lit class I'll teach at Northwestern next spring, arrange a brunch with Anita Desai, get the bookstore to sell books at the festival, order ribbons for the name badges, make Ellie's follow-up vet appointments to make sure she didn't sustain any long-term damage, sew canopy and curtains for the gazebo so baby and I can sit out there even when it's sunny this summer, finish sending thank-you cards for baby showers. Plus all the ongoing stuff: keep the house in order, finish prepping the garden, keep up with grading and course prep, etc.

  • Despite the length of that list, it's actually much less hectic now than it was the last few weeks. I do have a bit of time to read now, and have just started Tim Pratt's Hart and Boot. I liked the title story very very much. Yay, Tim!

  • There's a female cardinal outside my window right now -- oops, she flew away. She'll be back. I like her orange beak. It's like a tie on a guy -- it says, 'I may dress kind of drab in general, but hey, check out all the personality in this tie!' We've positively identified a pair of cardinals and a couple little house sparrows, after close comparison with the photos in the bird book. Kevin thinks he's seen juncoes as well, but I haven't noticed them yet. The cardinal makes a cute chirping call -- the book says it also has a whole bunch of songs, but we haven't heard them yet.

  • You know what I'm really looking forward to? Singing to her. I used to sing all the time, when I lived on my own, but I mostly don't, living with Kevin. Just don't want to bother him; my voice is not so great and I occasionally wander off-key. But she won't mind; I know this because all the little kids I babysat for when I was a teenager absolutely loved it when I sang to them. I know lots of songs, and can sing for hours and hours without repeating. (I know a few musicals almost entirely by heart, for example.) It's going to be lovely to have someone to sing to.

  • I'm going to go try to write a bit now, after I eat some oatmeal. You know, I didn't use to like oatmeal? I thought it was slimy and gross. Now I have a bowl of apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal almost every morning. (Kev makes his from scratch, but I am not nearly so patient.) It's one of the nicer small things about getting older -- I like all kinds of foods now that I used to think were disgusting: avocadoes and legumes and mussels and even eggplant, as long as it's not too mushy. I hope baby isn't a picky eater; I want her to enjoy everything this world has to offer. Okay, not quite everything, but everything that's good for her. Even eggplant.

6 thoughts on “Notes on the Mary…”

  1. if you have a rice cooker, you can cook groats or steel-cut oats in it. Mine has a timer, so I set it to have oatmeal ready when I get up in the morning.

  2. Dear Mary Anne,

    I have been so busy… to busy… then having some time to “catch up” (this NEVER happens- I mean the catching-up part- truly!)… read that you are expecting and all the good stuff!

    Happy Happy Baby-ing! Congrats! Congrats! And oh so many happy, exhausting, and wonderous days ahead for you and Kevin. Such an amazing time for all of you!

    I’m so happy for the both of you on the new addition to your family- you will have so much to share and give your little one. Try not to worry too much- I know, easier said than done, especially with your first.

    And the “research” you feel compelled to overdo on your already overworked and stressed out physical being- honey, from a Mom to another soon-to-be Mommie (mine are too old to call me “Mommie” anymore- though, Anju still does sqeak “Mommmmmieeee!” from time to time, especially through these pre-teen years- oh… the fun you and Kev will both have… hee!)

    Anyway, what I’m trying to comfort you with, is ENJOY this time, right now. Yes, of course you’ll enjoy all the additional years to come as well. With your belly swollen, can’t see your feet, clothes don’t fit quite right, and then when the babe comes, so sweet-smelling, so new, so amazingly perfect and magical! Then, the crunch and tag-team of helping eachother out, you both needing some extra sleep, the babe needing the diaper change, needing to feed… my best recommendation is to make your bed THE bed for everything! Breastfeeding is so wonderful and convenient… try not to do too much, or overy worry every little thing. You’ll eventually find a daily rhythm that works- truly.

    Your daughter is not going to care if you researched the latest in appropriate and contemporary “baby-how-to’s”. That is a whole other category of needless stress both you and Kev don’t need on your shoulders right now, believe me. What will matter is Love… lots of Love for that little one, okay and food, etc. And getting everyone on board who can help you guys out, even to just cuddle her so you can sleep, eat, shower, and oh, yea… spend some time together with hubby from time to time helps too! If G-Pa & G-Ma and Aunty-ies are around, with additional friends, (sorry we live 2hr away, otherwise I would pitch it too!), you’ll be well supported.

    She’s going to just make your heart swell with so much Love and Joy… okay, some physical and emotional tugs too! That you just will find truly what is vital and important- and wondered why the hell you were even worrying about such trivial matters, (the $$ one though, I have to say, is very real, even more so with a family- but nothing new, and it will all plug into place, c’est ca).

    Do whatever you need to do to nuture and take care of yourself- always. Reach out and rant, swap Mommie-stories and woes, with any of us… we’re here for you!

    On the Kriti front, hopefully it will all smooth itself out. Is there anyone from the listless Milwaukee group coming out? I would love to go if there are others to carpool with, etc. I don’t have the exacts on my schedule right now… but maybe by next week. What about posting to UWM-Milwaukee, Carrol College, Alverno, etc.? Even UWM-Madison might generate additional registrations. For some reason, and it’s really a huge frustration for me, why, oh why there is such lack of enthusiasm and participation here in WI on the SA front. Might be worth a try to dig around more outside the Illinois radius if possible?

    Take the best care of yourself, and I wish the very-very best on your birthing! Anything I can do, or if you and the famly are ever in town, please give us a call. Hope to see you sometime soon- hopefully at Kriti for a couple of days if I can swing it.

    Warmest wishes for your family!

    Luv~ *T

  3. I gained much more weight than you did with both of my pregnancies. The stuff that shows up in your face, especially? Water. Really.

    With Arie, I stopped weighing myself when I reached 190 pounds. I probably got up to at least 200 pounds.

    It’s been five years and another baby, but I am now 125 pounds, which I NEVER even approached before I had kids.

  4. Haddayr, I love it that you lost more weight after your pregnancy. I know I’ve heard you say it before, but it’s something I’l never get tired of hearing.

    Mary Anne, when you look at how the weight is (probably) distributed, it doesn’t sound like you’ll really have that much to lose once you give birth. From American Pregancy’s website (

    Baby = 7-8 pounds
    Placenta = 1-2 pounds
    Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
    Uterus = 2 pounds
    Maternal breast tissue = 2 pounds
    Maternal blood = 4 pounds
    Fluids in maternal tissue = 4 pounds
    Maternal fat and nutrient stores = 7 pounds

    I’m sure it varies a lot, but according to that, you’ll only have to lose maybe 8 lbs after you’re free of the baby, placenta and amniotic fluid! That’s doable in a month of medium dieting! And doesn’t breast-feeding burn calories like mad? Chin up, girl! You’ll be svelte in no time! Oh, and wait until you chase a toddler around! My sister lost 10 lbs in two months once Aliester started walking!

  5. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    Thanks for all the reassurance, guys. It does make me feel better, though I also do have three friends who gained a *lot* of weight after having a kid. So I’m not sure how it’ll go. Fingers crossed.

  6. You can do steel cut oats in a slow cooker over night as well. And you don’t have to do instant oatmeal in the microwave -you can use regular rolled oats from the big round tub. Add a pinch of salt, water, I like to put in a bit of creamora, and nuts and dried fruit and microwave. Then add any sugar you want after. It only takes two-three minutes more than instant in the nuker.

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