Tag Archives: Freewrite

Winter Skin

November 5, 2013

kate and w

I don’t have many good sentences in me these days. I know they’re floating around there somewhere, but even when I find one, it’s broken into fragments and full of misspellings and the wrong you’re. The other day I sat down to write and ended up with a paragraph full of literallys, which was horrifying because if there’s one girl I never want to be, it’s the girl who overuses literally.

Some might call this typical writer’s block, but I know it’s more than that. The baby has taken over all my physical and mental space. She sits heavy on my pelvis and even though I randomly have a thought about why women shouldn’t bully each other into wearing uncomfortable shoes, I cannot translate it into anything worth reading because the rest of my brain is thinking about if I sneeze, I may have to change my underpants.

The end of pregnancy is consuming. The more I try not to write or talk about it, the more it seeps out of my pores and turns into a lot of complaining about not fitting in doorways. I know this can be frustrating for everyone else.

They say you should write what you know, and even though I know life beyond pregnancy–I cannot fathom it now. All I can do today is listen to emotionally draining Christmas music and quietly sob thinking about fresh babies and my son’s face and perineal tearing. This is my unavoidable truth. Sorry old self, maybe I’ll see you again in a few months when I come out of a coma and remember some jeans have buttons.

In the meantime I’ll be listening to Lo, How A Rose Ere Blooming and feeling all the feelings.

To be clear, Austin doesn’t believe in Christmas music this early and normally I don’t either–but this year is different. My winter skin is growing around a baby who is arriving in the middle of jingle bells and batman smells and the hauntingly beautiful works of Sufjan Stevens.  I cannot look away. I cannot stop listening. I press all the sore spots just to feel it all.

Last December, a very sad boy took the lives of many children and a few teachers in the second deadliest shooting by a single person in American history. I think of these babies as we approach Christmas. I think of those mamas and daddys who aren’t buying presents and who don’t want to look at Christmas trees or decorate cookies. I think of them and am ashamed by my insignificant grief. Their loss so far surpasses anything I’ve ever known, and yet I can’t help from weeping.

The joy Christmas brings is so often mixed with sorrow. Under all the twinkle lights, there is a deep and raw emotion. It is unavoidable. We await the highs with so much anticipation, but for all those highs there are also lows. The all consuming feeling of being human.

And so we take deep breaths as we grow our winter skins and winter babies.

December will find us quickly, and my prayer is that in all her beauty, we also let ourselves feel the grief.

There is no other month when we feel so alive.


This will be awkward if I actually have gestational diabetes.

October 1, 2013


When a woman reaches 28 weeks of pregnancy, she is asked to take a glucose test to screen for gestational diabetes. Maybe you’re familiar with it!

First you drink a bottle of what looks like Kool-Aid but tastes like cough medicine mixed with corn syrup and then wait for an hour, at which point they draw a few dozen pints of blood like a hungry vampire. It’s not a big deal, although I’ve spent plenty of time complaining about it. You usually drink the liquid sugar on an empty stomach and in the morning, so the whole thing is a bit queasy. Plus there’s taking off work or lining up childcare and worrying about needles.

I don’t know, I went in this morning with low expectations. Get in, get out. Maybe read a book. This isn’t my first rodeo.

Despite a tired nurse mixing up my chart and then trying to draw my blood before I drank the syrup, the appointment started out fine. I tried to be graceful. Mornings are hard. I get it.

When I got the juice down and had my routine OB check, I dutifully sat in the waiting room to serve my time, trying not to think about my swirly stomach while avoiding eye contact with all the scared baby daddys sitting around me.

One asked his wife, “Did you really want me to come back there with you? I’m not great with these kinds of things.”

If it weren’t for witnesses, I believe this man would have died today. Bless him.

Time passed slowly. I tried to read but the words kept getting mixed up, so instead I snapchatted pictures of the sad baby daddys to friends and thought about lunch. At one point I tried to buy books I don’t need on Amazon, but the transaction wouldn’t go through as Steve Jobs haunts iPhones that are up for an upgrade. Or maybe it was Austin. Either way, well played.

When an hour was up, no one called my name. I knew there were time constraints on this blood draw, but I didn’t want to be that patient, so I kept my mouth shut. Five more minutes passed. Finally they called my name and I waddled to the appropriate room.

The nurses looked nervous. One said, “her veins are hard to find since she’s been pregnant.” The other whispered, “Do you have a butterfly needle? I really don’t like doing this.”

I felt myself flush, but tried to be breezy.

“Nice weather we’re having, isn’t it?” I chirp.

No one answers me. The loudspeaker plays a Toby Keith song. I should have taken it as a sign.

Four skin pricks later and they say I should go to the lab upstairs so a professional can try. I ask if I need any sort of paper. No one can find a paper. Finally someone finds a paper.

I go upstairs, but too much time had passed. It is almost lunchtime. The nurse asks if I can please stay another hour and try again. I feel my face move towards a Claire Danes cry and say, “I really have to go. I’m sorry.”

I barely make it to the car. I am crying and sending what looks like drunk texts to Austin and a few friends.

couldntn find vein.have to doit again. can i just stkip it? i sad.

I rest my head on the steering wheel and after a few minutes, realize I’m being watched by a couple in another car. Please let them think a relative has died.

In retrospect, this really isn’t that sad of a story. Despite the obvious annoyances of wasting a morning and lining up childcare for nothing, it could have been worse. I could have gotten a flat tire on the way home or ran over a kitten. I could actually have gestational diabetes.

The point of the story is that when I texted a friend that I was upset, she said: It’s okay. Just cry and then it will be fine.

And so I did. For ten minutes, I sobbed my ugliest, hungriest, most pregnant cry. Then I wiped off my face, got a sweet tea and chicken sandwich, picked up my kid, took a two hour nap, and felt perfectly fine.

At the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw, sometimes I forget that 99% of the time—all it takes is some tears, food, and sleep to remedy a bad day.

Happy Tuesday.