Got My Panties In A Bunch ...
I am the gorilla Mom.
No, none of my children have actually been in a pit with a gorilla, but one of them is absolutely capable. I was gifted an easy baby the first round, but my second has undone every single thing I thought I knew about parenting. She has pushed the boundaries to their absolute limits. Sometimes, actually kind of regularly, she has broken me. Mentally. Physically. Broken. She's the kind of kiddo that could find her way into a gorilla pit, in the blink of an eye, when we aren't even at the zoo. Truly. She's got wizard powers with a speciality in rule breaking. I no longer judge parents that leash their children. I may or may not have my own leash arriving soon, via Amazon.
Anyhoo, because of my gorilla child of a daughter, I make an effort to NOT go out into public without help (a second adult). Some of my absolute worst life moments have been me controlling (aka keeping safe) gorilla child, trying to entertain the easy child, and failing miserably at both. These kinds of outings leave me overwhelmed, and all the kinds of fried. I avoid them at all costs. Even grocery store outings have resorted to me (I'm not even lying right now) tying my gorilla girl to the shopping cart (via a Solly Wrap - they have many uses!) and bribing her silence with suckers.
Today I had one of these outings. I had an OB appointment, and no partner in crime to accompany me on said outing. I started preparing LAST WEEK. I let Jet know that we would be going to the doc, and that I would be relying HEAVILY on his help. I reminded him, at least once a day since last Wednesday. Last night, without prompting, he said "I know we have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. And yes, I will help!"
I woke up early, got the whole fam damily ready in record time, and thought I would utilize this victory with a trip to McDonalds. We rarely go, and we almost never dine in, so this would be a treat for them. I saw this as a strategic move, as it would put Jet in a good and happy mood (Junk Food!!!) and fed gorillas are happier gorillas.
I'm going to take a slight pause and remind you all that I am a stay at home Mom. There are many varieties of my kind, and I tend to be a little of all of them. There are days where I am a swamp monster, and stay in the same pajamas for days at a time, roaming the house makeupless and hair is some kind of arrangement. Swamp Mom probably smells a little bit, but her house is usually the cleanest, and she tends to get naps. Then I have the "people might see me" version. These days I apply makeup, and I wear actual clothes. Not my best, nothing fancy, but I make myself presentable enough so that a passing neighbor or grocery store patron won't judge me. This version of me is running errands, and is maintaining the flow of the house. Then I have "You Only Think I Have My Shit Together" Taylor, and this version doesn't have time to make the bed (but she is so happy if she does!) because she has either straightened or curled (so much effort) her hair. She is wearing pretty clothes, and a full face of makeup. I reserve this for: date nights, public outings (not errands), or when I need a pick me up, and can no longer tolerate the Swamp Mom look. This Taylor is a tired Taylor, usually the most haggard, but has a veil of togetherness that probably fools most. Today I was that Mom. I wore wedges and a dress! My hair was curled, and dare I say, I thought I was looking pretty fly for a white guy. I also got that bed made, so I was basically on top of the world.
So back to McDonalds. We walk in. I juggle holding, putting down, holding, putting back down, holding again - the volatile but adorably dressed, gorilla. I order. I curtsy-squat-bend down to grab my purse, find my wallet, and pay. We sit down. The place is teaming with men on lunch breaks. They are all looking at us. I am not exaggerating. I am uncomfortable. Jet is getting mad. "Why are they staring at us, Mom???" I have no clue. I very foolishly allow myself the thought of "Momma still got it" - which is a) an out of character thought for me to have and b) comes back later to haunt me. We eat. Navy is of course slinging yogurt and juice and fries every which way, and Jet and I are chowing. Jet mentions again that we are being stared down, by at least 6 tables, each with 4-6 men. I am aware. I am still uncomfortable, but gorilla baby has made a mess that is occupying my attention. I am now under her high chair picking up fries that are gobbed in yogurt. At this point, I go to fill my drink at the fountain. A man in an orange vest comes up to me and politely tells me that every time I have bent over, the world can see my business. It occurrs to me that I have bent over no less than 10,000 times.
I die a little bit.
I think I thanked him for telling me? I walked, butt cheeks clenched, back to my table, sat down, and held back tears. I felt so embarrassed, so exposed, and also incredibly objectified - which really sucked because I was there, 5 months pregnant, with MY KIDS. The stares didn't stop. Bless my sweet son, he was ready to fight. For me. But I held my own, waited for every staring man to run out his time clock and leave, and only then did I get up and walk out to the car. I realized that in the process of picking up, and placing down (and repeat!) Navy, my dress had been pulled down in the front, and unfortunately up ... in the back. I was wearing undies, but still. My ass was front and center for all of those dining in at MacDo today.
In the car, I cried. I'm not the most modest of people, but something about the experience made me feel so embarrassed, (especially the bar-assed part) and a little dirty. I think it was because I was in 100% Mom mode. And I think I was especially bothered because even Jackson could feel the stares. I did my best to shrug it off. We jammed out on the way to the appointment, and though my chin was up, I was definitely a little vulnerable.
We got there at 2:12, and the appointment was scheduled for 2:30. Remember, I have the gorilla child with me. This is the part of the story where you know I have been stressed, preparing, and concerned. Now also, I have been emotional. Gorilla did not let down. She fell asleep in the car, and awoke promptly at 2:13, just as I had finalized my payment. We are now in a packed waiting room, with no toys, and an awake monster. I give her a sucker, immediately begging for peace. She responds by wiping it on the floor and then shoving it back in her mouth before I can stop her. I create a "barricade" with the stroller and a chair, but she sees it as Mount Everest, and it only beckons her to climb. She climbs, I chase, all while absolutely concerned that I am showing the pregnant women and their waiting husbands the goodies that had previously embarrassed me. It is torture. 2:30 comes and goes. Then 2:45. Finally, 3:05 we are called back. My doctor is not normally late, and I truly love and adore her, so even though the 53 minutes of waiting have been hellacious, I'm ready to move forward. Especially to a contained room.
The nurse asks me some routine questions, and when she asks if I have any concerns, I tell her that I haven't felt baby kick in 48 hours.
Quick pause again: This has stressed me out. A lot. This baby has been pretty routine in her little movements, and I've come to grow fond of them. She's not big enough to hurt me, but big enough to remind me throughout the day that she is still there. When her kicks stopped, I started to worry. I mentioned this to my hubby and my Mom. Hubs tried to assure me that the same thing had happened with Navy, and that everything was fine. Mom told me the bambino was probably faced the wrong direction, and not to worry. I was urged not to stress, and to patiently wait for my upcoming appointment. Which is exactly what I did. I did drink a significant amount of caffeine this morning, hoping to jump start some wiggles, and last night I put a flash light up to my belly, hoping to get a jolt. Both failed. The worry continued. I finally had my moment to release the concern.
The second I said that I hadn't felt the baby kick, the nurse's face dropped and my doctor pseudo scolded me ... they ushered me immediately into my room to find the heartbeat, and scheduled an emergency ultrasound. Seeing their worry, coupled with my own, and the stress of the wait paired with the trauma of my exposed butt, lead to a full on face melt. I cried and cried and cried. The nurse came in, found the heartbeat, and baby was active and jovial in my tummy via ultrasound. She is, as my Mom had suggested, turned opposite of my tummy wall, and her kicks are prevalent but unfelt.
We had many additional waits because of the ultrasound, and so my gorilla climbed the furniture, had anal swabs in her mouth (clean, not used, don't worry!) and was general mayhem, as anticipated. I attempted to occupy her with Elmo on my phone, and animal sound apps, and and and. She was a gorilla. Jet - well - he was so interested in the swivel chair and a latex glove - his sister and my emotional fragility were not on his radar. It was hell. We did not leave the office until 4:16. Two hours, and 4 minutes, and I swear I will never, ever, ever, ever go back to that office without an extra set of hands. EVER. I'm Taylor Swift serious. EVER!
The drive home (should be 35 minutes) took an hour and a half. While in stop and go traffic, I began writing this, and Jet scolded me not to text and drive (even though I was absolutely, in park! On the highway!) ... It's been a day.
I cried, so many times. I'll cry some more. These kinds of days present stories that I will one day probably laugh at, but for now, it's like Hodor. Any jokes are just - too soon. Way too soon.
Lessons: This dress is retired until after pregnancy. Silver linings: I got to see my baby girl today, and she was a pillar of health and beauty. My son takes texting and driving really seriously - so I can wipe that off my list of things to worry about with him. And my gorilla child - though a handful or more - did not find herself in any real danger. And tomorrow - everything resets.
*** Side note, gorilla child: Difficult to manage, but more than easy to love.