there are times i feel like i'm drowning, absolutely staggered by the volume and size of all the moving pieces i am responsible for. three clinics, an ancillary healthcare investment company, a biomed startup. the number of people who depend on me daily for decision making has swollen to a barely manageable sum, and i scroll through 26 separate text message threads before i reach one that isn't work-related. my name is called so frequently and continuously that the utterance is often appended with an apology. dr. east lights up my phone, and his custom ringtone is drake's "right hand," starting and stopping repeatedly throughout the day like a scratched vinyl.
i am humbled and overwhelmed by the scope of my responsibilities. i try to scrutinize it in manageable pieces on a week-to-week basis- but on days like these when my shoulders feel like the weakening base blocks of a neverending tetris game, i begin to feel swallowed up. like i can never outrun it.
but this isn't stress. this isn't an unhappy sensation. i don't internalize or grapple with my inadequacies in the face of so much volume- and there are so many inadequacies. (sometimes i feel like it's a miracle that anyone let me pose as a functioning adult, let alone a person in a position of power. like one day two men in crisp grey suits will come into my office, explain it was all a big mistake, hand me a gameboy color, and march me back to the sixth grade.)
but even if good enough isn't good enough, i always feel like everything will be okay. after all, i am a person doing her best. it doesn't get deeper or more complicated than that.
this isn't a particularly eloquent way to explore where my mind has been recently, but on a daily basis someone asks me how are you feeling? and i say great! because it's harder to communicate how i am okay with the storm. and i imagine this might be somewhat of a primer for parenthood.
but there is a lot less going on there.
my body is treating me much better than i deserve, after the years of abuse and neglect i've put it through. swollen by taco bell, swaddled in shapewear, starved by bloody mary mix, surgically tampered with- but despite my boneheaded nutrition and 0% fitness, it has really been determined to carry this pregnancy gracefully. i am nearly 6 and a half months pregnant, and there are still long stretches of time every day during which i feel completely unremarkable.
no nausea, no backaches, no braxton hicks, no relentless hunger, no significant discomfort. my belly has stayed manageable and entirely concealable in the right outfits. a few days ago, in a characteristic display of scumminess, i wore a loose sweater to a restaurant solely so i could order a glass of white sangria.
little j now weighs over 2 pounds and scoots around nonstop in bursts of tireless energy that feel like a daunting premonition. i've grown so accustomed to his little movements that they seem as natural and intrinsic to my anatomy as my own heartbeat. over mother's day weekend, i had my very first 3d ultrasound (accompanied by ian and my parents). james flopped around, trying valiant to continue sucking his thumb between photo ops. my father, who had never seen an ultrasound of any kind, giggled "像个 alien baby."
fetuses in 3d sonos all sort of look like little swamp monsters, and james is no exception. but it's a trip to realize he has a baby-shaped face now, complete with a pouty top lip that is almost recognizable as my own. i think his bottom lip belongs to jay-z. the ultrasound tech noted some hair coming in on the back of his head- i pray fervently that it continues to extend to the front of his head as well, lest he start his young life already on that receding hairline struggle.
every time i've asked "do they make wigs for babies?" people laugh like i've made a cool joke and once again i feel like a dog someone left in charge of a nuclear reactor because in my mind it totally makes sense to pop a cool little toupee on a bald ass baby before you take him somewhere drafty.
his nursery is now completed in the sense that it's fully stocked on totoro night lights and shel silverstein books, but devoid of anything actually involved in taking care of a baby- like diapers and wipes. it is a joy to me, all soft whites and light woods, a round plush rug that our insufferable dogs immediately co-opted as a wrestling ring.
on that note, we've started working with a private dog trainer. i don't actually think they will immediately spirit my son away off to eat like a hard-won snack, but the idea of layering jean-luc's barks and momo's honks over the daily looping of a baby's wails seems like a soundtrack played directly from the ninth circle of hell and i am not here for that. dan is a short, muscular, tattooed man who looks like a tough little bulldog who reverse animorphed into a man. he taught us some better communication techniques that will prompt these bad dogs into putting some respeck on our names, so i'm looking forward to the end result.
it's a good thing that my pregnancy has been so unmarred by complication or discomfort, because next week, i leave for a work trip to orlando. though it's generally not considered the best trimester to board a flight during, i feel like i'm probably in good hands- surrounded by physicians. still, hanging out at a spine medicine conference all weekend instead of fucking off to go play in the wizarding world of harry potter will be a cool lesson about the disappointing facets of adulthood.
before i leave, i will leave ian some pizza money on the counter- but someone please check on him to make sure he doesn't lose his voice from disuse or get too turnt on his bachelor ritual of eating too much and then falling asleep at 7pm to a law & order svu marathon.