Aches, Weirdness, and a Highly Suspicious Cat

Be forewarned, this is a pregnancy post. Read at your own risk…

I should start by saying that everything is normal. Everything is “average”. This is one of the most predictable and uneventful pregnancies ever in the history of ever. For which I am deeply grateful. Now, allow me to rant.

OMG you guys. My HIPS! And the whole general derriere area. So achy. Like, not even legit pain that I should take a pain reliever for, or that I should call a person to find out if it is normal or something to be concerned about. It’s totally normal. It is just annoying sciatica and restless leg and stiff tailbone and general discomfort. I am totally waddling. Isn’t it too early to waddle? I waddle. 😦 And all of this achy makes it hard to sleep. I’m not supposed to sleep on my back so I lie on my side with a pillow between my knees which just means my legs bend weirdly at the knees instead of the hips. So now my soccer damaged arthritic knees are worsening and I’m compensating by WADDLING! And every time I roll over, I wake myself up with a shot of pain up my left glut. And then a tailbone twinge, and then a readjustment of the dang pillow I didn’t have the muscles to hold onto cuz stiff sore everything. And then I have to pee.

My right ankle is all swollen weird because a totally normal thing that happens to me all the time happened a few months ago and because of stupid hormones it KEEPS HAPPENING. (My joints sometimes “slip”? That’s the best way I can describe it. The just kind of pop, like a knuckle crack, into the wrong but not painful space and I just rotate the affected area and it slips back in. Pain free. No big deal. Until all of your joints are flooded with relaxant from freakin baby makin hormones and then your once tight ankle is now a loose rubber band that has been trapped on the outside of the rubber band ball for the last twenty years and isn’t really sure how to be a tight rubber band anymore.) (I have a brace on mom, it’s totally fine.)

But my back is awesome *knock on wood*. Just itchy.  And though my arms still get tired sometimes, no aches or pains. My neck is generally fine, even after a long night of pillow punching and cat wrastlin. My fingers and wrists are fine despite all the typing and clicking I do at work. No Carpal Tunnel Syndrome here. Just a really annoying and useless lower half.

Onto the weirdness. She kicks. A lot. I never realized how much activity there is constantly. I can’t get used to it. If the question is “Is she kicking?” the answer 99.99% of the time is “Yes.” If the question is “Can I feel her kick?” the answer is less clear. “I’ll let you know when she’s gettin violent.” She’s not big enough to do anything noticeable to my insides, like she isn’t sitting on my lungs or using my intestines as a jump rope yet. I can’t feel any poky body parts. I just feel like there is a shoe in the dryer and my belly is the dryer. She’s totally having a party in there. Maybe she’s a tumbling gymnast genius? Or a budding soccer pro? First female NFL Kicker? And it’s weird because just a week ago, my husband couldn’t even feel her. This week, I can video my belly and you can clearly see a tidal wave of baby movement. And though I should have realized this, it never occurred to me that I would feel  wiggling in the back, like deep inside the caverns of my core. Never as noticeable as the front, and it is highly unlikely that it will ever be visible. But she is spreading out in ALL directions and I can feel it. INSIDE ME? ARE YOU GRASPING HOW WEIRD THIS IS? I mean, also totally cool. But totally cool in that same kind of weird way boys think it’s fun to turn their eyelids inside out.

Amidst weird pregnancy stuff, we are also making the effort to continue packing, continue thinning, and keep track of cleaning and such as much as we can. At first, the cat was totally on board. Boxes everywhere? Thanks you guys, this new cat kingdom is awesome! But the boxes keep getting filled and sealed. Everything keeps moving. And my belly keeps getting bigger. Hey wait a minute, what’s going on here?

Since we rescued Bella from Verge the Scourge the amazing cat herding dog, she has really chilled out and taken ownership of her space. She doesn’t bite or scratch unless she is reeeeeally provoked, and even then she checks to make sure we’re playing with her and that she’s allowed. She’s become incredibly affectionate, primarily with Shelby. She likes to sit on the couch with him and rub her face on his computer. She’ll usually try to prop at least one paw up on his leg. She’ll sit with me if I do her the courtesy of providing a princess pillow for her to sit on. Or if I have something in a bowl. Because bowls equal milk or ice cream to her and she must investigate every bowl lest milk or ice cream be consumed without her. But in the last couple of months, as her suspicions have risen, so has her affection toward ME.

She’s done this before. She was my sister’s cat before me and survived two tail pulling boy pregnancies. I think she knows she’s about to get another playmate and she’s setting up the rules quite clearly and quite early. She often sits on my lap now, without a princess pillow. If she can, she will stretch out over my belly with her paws resolutely on my chest. She’ll purr and purr and I can feel the baby wiggling, either telling Bella to cut the racket up there or trying to grab at the noise to figure out what it is. When I climb into bed, Bella curls up by my chest and rests a paw on my shoulder. In the morning, when she used to harass me and head butt me as soon as the alarm went off because c’mon lady it’s time to FEEEEEED MEEEEE, she now checks in with me. If I say ok, she’ll hop off the bed and run to the door looking back over her tail in the hopes I’ll skip my shower and feed her first. If I shake my head or close my eyes, she’ll curl right back up on my hand or as close to my pillow as she can possibly get. Some mornings she combs my hair, which is totally weird and not at all suggestive of a patient cat, but she runs her claws through a few loose strands, licks them in her paw, and then curls up by the back of my head with my hair draped over her.  She sleeps with her head in my hand or on my arm. She is claiming her spaces. She is making herself valuable to me so that she will not be replaced.

But she is also peeing outside the litter box. Not, like, all over the house. Just outside the litter box. She digs herself a little hole and then hangs her hind over the side and pees on the floor. What. A. Weirdo. Sometimes, she’ll walk out of the closet and give us a rebellious look. Yeah, I just did it again, what are you going to do about it? And then she waits to see which room we are going to settle in before following us to snuggle. Which is when I start to realize, this wiggly gymnast in my belly is going to be a teenager one day. Holy crap you guys.

Happy 4th!

How was your Fourth of July weekend? Mine was super fun. Let me tell you all about it!

Let’s backtrack a little bit and tell you all about Shelby’s new job. As of July 1st, Shelby officially and fully took over as the Executive Director of Common Ground Theatre. He’s been training and shadowing and working and plotting since early May, but this was his first weekend as the sole boss.

Common Ground was started just over 10 years ago. Unlike a traditional theatre space that has a resident theatre company and a predictable schedule, Common Ground was designed to be a Performing Arts Space for anyone with an art to perform. This ranges from full length plays to staged readings to dance recitals to gallery art viewings to magic shows to open mike night to fundraising band performances to anything and everything. As you can imagine, it can be hard to keep track of bookings and tough to negotiate contracts. There are rental agreements and box office splits, deals that can be worked out for struggling performers and deals that have to be worked out for one – two night mid-week bookings in the middle of a three week full length play run.

We have been loyal to this space for the last several years. We were both consistent performers and stagehands and were top of the list for any groups that came through needing recommendations for technical assistance. I’ve personally worked on plays, multi-media presentations, one woman shows, drag shows, yoga workshops, and multiple one night fundraising campaigns. Audiences vary from packed houses to a gathering of just a few. Marketing has never been a strong suit for Common Ground; the effort was put into keeping the space ready for anything but making the individual groups responsible for their own attendance records. This has been a thorn in Shelby’s side for a while and one of the first things he’d like to seriously correct. Naturally, now that the success of the theatre ties in directly with our monthly income, our focus on packed houses and pleasant business relations has become top priority.

So back to the weekend:

The third was a holiday for me, so I got to sleep in longer than I should have. It was one of the strangest experiences to be snuggled under the covers with a cat and a book while Shelby got up and ready for work. Even when he had the traditional office job, he always went in later than me. But up he got and in he went. He had preparations to make in the space for the show that evening. And what a show! Sold out house with waiting list folks paying $5 to sit on the floor. This was a fundraiser with some of the proceeds going to the space. Ron and Rhonda’s Bicentennial Birth of America Celebration! There were flags and giveaways and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much spandex. But what a treat to have his first show as the Executive Director be such a roaring success. We hung around after and socialized, spread the pregnancy news to a surprising number of people who still didn’t know, ate cupcakes with Stars & Stripes icing, and cleared the room for the theatre summer camp coming in.

We were invited to a friend’s for grillin and chillin on Saturday. The fireworks are set off on the bridge which is about a 5-10 minute walk from Beth’s house. Beth lives in a very small town, the kind of town where EVERYONE notices who’s been walking up whose driveway and how often. Beth has a special man friend in town (that everyone knows about) who also happens to be the fireworks guy. The fireworks guy in a small town on the 4th of July is the closest thing to celebrity I can think of and so we were well visited and cared for throughout the day. I was escorted to the restroom a couple of times, and even given a free ride directly to the mouth of the bridge (an off limits area to all vehicles, unless of course you know the fireworks guy).

Most of the afternoon we did some porch sitting, snacking and socializing. Early evening we waddled down to the bridge for the pot-luck. I was already pretty stuffed, but couldn’t resist the equally stuffed strawberries! Hollowed out strawberries filled with either cool-whip or chocolate mousse (maybe jell-o pudding, probably jell-o) and topped with a blueberry. They were freakin delicious and I had to practically be towed away from the table. (I also spent most of the potluck sipping O’Douls. I have a tendency to peel the labels off bottles, so some of the reactions I got from strangers were pretty priceless. Is she pregnant? Is she drinking a beer? Is she drinking a beer while she’s PREGNANT?!?! It’s amazing how quickly all these thoughts can pass through a face in a double take.)

4th 2015
Waiting on the bridge

And then our hometown celebrity started his fireworks show. They take their fireworks seriously. Though the show was technically free, a little old woman sat at the end of the bridge with a bucket requesting donations. Her bucket said the fireworks cost over $1000 that year. It lasted about 45 minutes all told and was well worth the donation we dropped in the bucket. The best part was that we didn’t have to wait in ANY traffic! We just sauntered back up the road for more ping-pong and porch sittin.

Fireworks over the Haw Rivier
Fireworks over the Haw River

Sunday was your typical boring post-holiday waste of time. I did some more packing, some laundry, and some cleaning, but then sat my ever expanding butt on the couch for some good ole American watching of the boob tube. Of which I watched very little American TV but stuck with the British classics we’re so used to.