The Parrasite Emerges Victorious

There is a happy ending to this story.

On October 12th, Mr. Saint and I celebrated our one year anniversary with beignets, tapas, year-old cake, and putt-putt golf (which I won for the first time!).

Early in the morning on October 13th, the Parrasite decided he’d given us enough time to be a couple, and he was ready to be the center of attention. I’m a planner by nature, yet I’m not the type of person to create a birth plan. This turned out to be a good thing because I never would have planned for things to turn out the way they did.

For the first few hours, things went the way they should. They got overwhelmingly painful very quickly, and I was introduced to the wonder that is an epidural. We got 80% of the way there and suddenly, labor stopped and the baby’s heart rate dropped terrifyingly low. They came in with pitocin to try and restart labor, and experimented with different positions for me to lie in hoping the heart rate problem was related to the baby laying on his umbilical cord. They put an oxygen mask on me and told Mr. Saint and my mother that it needed to stay there – I knew it was just to keep me sedated and calm despite what was going on, and I kept trying to take it off when they were talking to me so I could concentrate. The pitocin didn’t work, but we discovered that if I sat straight up, the baby’s heart rate remained steady. And then the bleeding started.

The doctor figured that something was wrong with the placenta, so I was rushed into surgery. I did not want a C-section, but I had seen the baby’s heart rate drop dangerously low for an hour and it’s pretty easy to change your mind in that situation. They prepped me sitting up because we kept losing the heart rate as soon as my back hit the bed. From the time they laid me down until the time the baby was born was less than 3 minutes. He was tangled several time in his umbilical cord, including once around his neck, and the placenta had begun to separate from the uterine wall, which was why my body had shut labor down.

Had I been adamantly against the C-section, one or both of us might not have made it out of labor. But I trusted my doctor, and despite how much doctors and nurses think they can hide their expressions of worry, they can’t. I don’t regret my decision to change my mind in the least, obviously, nor do I think my doctor persuaded me to have a procedure I didn’t want – she had a traumatizing emergency C-section herself and her dislike of elective C-sections is part of the reason I picked her as my doctor.

However, emergency C-sections suck. A lot. There is no amount of emphasis I can put on this statement to underscore it appropriately. Especially for someone who hates pain killers and kept forgetting to ask for them before the pain started again the first day after – when it comes back, it comes back HARD. BUT we’re all fine now. We’re making it day by day, and I have a super cute face to look into that I almost didn’t get to see.

Things don’t always work out the way you want them to, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work out.

Parrasite

“White” Privilege

I’ve had several experiences in the past few months with friends born into money that leave me kind of speechless.  One of which was a recent conversation with a friend where he said the phrase, “I don’t think I’m really benefitting from this ‘white privilege’ I keep hearing about.”

I was immediately able to list at least 5 ways in which he benefits daily, and Mr. Saint, a white male born into an affluent family, listed a few more for emphasis.

It isn’t really a fair comparison, though.  It’s easy for me to see it – I’m a Caucasian-looking multi-racial person in the South.  To those who aren’t outwardly racist, they’ll never notice that I’m not “one of them.”  But some people.  . . man, some people.

We’ve always known we probably weren’t white.  My grandfather wasn’t able to go to school in the middle of deep Cajun country, and because of this, his family moved to the suburbs of New Orleans and assimilated.  His excuse was that he wasn’t allowed to go to school in Cajun country because he didn’t speak English as his primary language.  And I’m sure when he was 5 or 6, that sounded like a plausible excuse – but anyone who takes Louisiana History in 7th or 8th grade realizes quickly that it’s highly improbable.

I’ve spent a lot of my life assuming we were part Black because we knew my family worked on plantations before the Civil War.  It would explain my grandfather’s dark complexion, his dark hair, parts of his facial structure.  But they don’t explain mine.  My brother grew up with blonde hair and blue eyes by some weird genetic mishap, so I don’t even know if he can relate to any of this until recently.

Two years ago I was tested to donate bone marrow for a local child suffering from leukemia.  My blood type makes me a universal donor, so I thought there was a good chance I might make it past the first round of tests.  The truth has a way of coming out, though – we found out that I have a pretty rare genotype, due to a strong presence of genetic markers associated with Native Americans.  Well, there you go.

Good thing my brother and I get along – if I ever need a kidney, it appears he’ll be my best bet.

My best guess based on some research and just visual pictures of my grandfather’s family and the knowledge of one anthropology class is that at least one of my great grandparents was half Native American.  The way the features carried to my grandfather, though, I’d bet that both of his parents had a Native American parent.  Unfortunately, there are no records of anyone passed my great-grandparents

My grandfather’s lack of education caused my father to grow up in less than affluent conditions, but he looks white.  He got a good job straight out of high school with one of those hated giant chemical plants, and by the time I was old enough to notice, we were firmly in the middle class.  Then again, everyone around me had fathers who worked the same kind of job as my father, so I didn’t know we weren’t rich because I didn’t know what rich was.

I struggle a little bit with identity.  My parents are tolerant and open-minded – I’m not sure that my father even flinched when I told him what the test results said about our ethnic background.   He told my grandfather a while later and, well. . . . in the words of Mr. Saint “Your grandfather is like the black white supremacist on The Chapelle Show”.

I feel kind of cheated out of half of who I am.  I understand why my great grandparents moved and assimilated as best as they could – it’s easy to pass off darker skin if you’re a farmer, right?  But I wish I could pass something about this part of me on to my son.  I can help him out with all of the Cajun parts of me (and so can Mr Saint, as he’s started using terms like ‘Minou,’ ‘Parrain’, and ‘Grenouille’ regularly). But if he looks like me, and people ask him in a few years what he is (and if he looks like me, believe me, people will ask) – I want him to be able to answer proudly.

My answer is that I’m Cajun and Native American (Chitimacha based on where my grandparents from.).  I don’t want him to grow up in a world where he feels the correct answer is “I’m Scotch-Irish” and has to ignore half of his DNA.

I mean, not to brag, but the fun half of his DNA comes from me.

 Baby Saint!

Insensitive

*Disclaimer: I’m not asking for sympathy from anyone.  I just need to get something off of my chest.*

This is not my frist pregnancy.  I’m not going to talk about the details of this, or the problems I had after, or the concerns for this pregnancy because they are not pertinent, but the fact that this is not my first pregnancy is important to this post.

When bad things happen to my friends and loved ones, I am extremely empathetic.  When bad things happen to me, I usually soldier on in pure stoicism. I have dealt with that first pregnancy the same way I’ve dealt with everything else in my life – alone.  I allow myself a bit of down time, then I put all of those feelings in a vault and move on. I have friends I can talk to when things get too big for me to handle, and usually with a conversation or two, I can shove those bad thoughts into the vault and ignore them.  Pregnancy, however, introduces all of these hormones and lingering emotions that I am not used to dealing with.

Pregnancy also immediately limits your pool of friends you can talk to.

Women talk constantly about the joys of motherhood, how  everything is magically wonderful.  If I were one of those baby-absorbed women who immediately lost her identity and any sensitivity to any non-mothers, I wouldn’t need to write this post.  I have a total of two friends that I can talk to about anything pregnancy-related without prompting.  This is because they have children and jobs and they’re pretty much busy all the time, so *when* I can talk to them is limited.

To my other friends, I simply don’t talk about my pregnancy unless they bring it up, and even then I am very often met with passive aggressive responses.  It’s fine that they talk about whatever important thing is going on in their lives, but the topic of my pregnancy is insensitive and off limits.  The majority of my most cherished friendships are now unevenly balanced, and the result is that I spend a lot of time feeling absolutely alone.

I have a very supportive husband, and this is still very hard for me.  My heart breaks for single mothers.

I haven’t been able to tell anyone how I almost broke into tears when a stranger told me “Happy Mother’s Day” yesterday.  How I have suddenly found myself mourning a baby I never got to know.  How scared I am that I will never get to know this baby, regardless of how well things appear to be going currently.   How I am pretty sure I have emotionally detached myself from this pregnancy and am instead feeding on how excited Mr. Saint is.  How terrified I am of the ultra sound we have scheduled on Mr Saint’s birthday.  How agressively I responded to someone trying to give me a baby gift when I entered the second trimester and how they have been hidden away in a room I won’t enter unless absolutely necessary so that I won’t see them.

How I never cry, yet I’m fighting back tears from just writing that last paragraph.

Instead, I am terrified that as soon as I post this, I’m going to get a nasty comment from a friend I’ve always supported and then have to go home to watch the neighbor run inside to avoid talking to me because she’s angry that I’m pregnant and she JUST started trying and has no idea what I had to go through to get here.

And yet, I hope that none of them ever think I’m being insensitive when I am hurt by their blatant insensitivity.

Puppy picture.

 

My new godpuppy, Hawkeye Saint

 

 

Aftermath

I’ve gone through something recently that has reminded me of a few bad experiences I had about a decade ago. The event itself isn’t the same, but the aftermath is exactly the same.

I was assaulted when I was younger.  I’m not here to talk about that.  To me, the assault itself wasn’t the bad experience.  I mean, of course it was bad, but that alone I could have breezed through.  Everything that happened after that is what really did the damage.

I don’t think you have to have been assaulted to be able to relate to this. I don’t think victim-shaming is something exclusive to women, or physical assaults.  I was hurt.  I had my trust betrayed. I was shown a level of disrespect as a human that I cannot even comprehend being capable of myself.  But the worst thing that has ever happened to me was being told that it was my fault and having someone angry at me because I was hurt by someone else.

I’ve had this happen several times.  The sad thing is that every time, the person who does the most damage to me isn’t the person responsible for my pain – it’s someone who is supposed to love me and let me know that I’m not alone.

No wonder there is so much pain in the world – we have to start treating each other better.

On #babysaint and woman shaming

Mr. Saint and I found out about 2 months ago that we were finally going to have to redecorate the second bedroom in our apartment – found out just in time for Mardi Gras, which I can assure you, is slightly less fun when you suddenly find yourself very, very sober. We are pretty excited, although I think Mr. Saint might be slightly more excited than I am at current as it’s hard to muster up the energy to be SUPER MOMMY-TO-BE when you’re a CPA in busy season who has suddenly developed an aversion to ALL THE FOOD.

Up until this point in my life, I’ve dealt with lots of woman shaming. Most of it centered around the fact that I chose a field that requires over time and has been historically male-dominated while coincidentally not having children. People don’t seem to care about the details, they don’t worry about what they may not know. If you are a woman who is not a mother and who works a lot, there is something wrong with you as a person. No one for a moment imagines there may actually be some kind of medical issue.

Long story short, I’ve had a lot of women imply that my existence is without meaning because I don’t have a child.

#babysaint

Baby Saint’s first picture

I’m not sure exactly what I thought was going to happen when I announced I was pregnant, but I can tell you it certainly wasn’t to be bombarded from all sides with personal and inappropriate comments from anyone within earshot. I mean, really, “Were you trying?” If you don’t know me well enough to know if I was trying already, you don’t know me well enough to ask me that question. I have also been lectured for my actions by women with children, women trying to have children, and women without children – or, you know, women. My doctor told me to switch to half-caf to wean myself off coffee (I drink a LOT of coffee, y’all) – I immediately got accosted by someone who has never been pregnant because DECAF IS THE DEVIL. I have found absolutely no research to back this belief up that didn’t come from some kind of Organic Vegans of America web site. I’ve had people who’ve never been pregnant tell me I was exaggerating how fatigued I have been (I will mention, one more time, my first trimester spanned ALL of busy season.). I have had mothers tell me that eating any sushi, even cooked sushi, or walking by a Subway is just too risky and their babies were worth the sacrifice, all while giving me a very snarky side eye to imply that I was too selfish to understand. It didn’t take me long to just begin rolling my eyes while taking a bite of my (microwaved) Subway sandwich and take a sip of my half-caf coffee.

I have already been judged for planning on giving birth in a hospital by mothers and non-mothers alike. None of them care that I have an issue with scar tissue from a previous procedure that may or may not cause problems during birth, but they really don’t care.

Woman Shaming is worse than politics. First, there’s actually some kind of belief that you don’t talk about politics with people you barely know. Second, it doesn’t matter what choice you make, SOMEONE hates you for it, and they are so closed-minded about said belief that you could have a permission slip from God Himself notarized by the Pope and you’re still going to get judged for it.

So, let me take this moment to let everyone know I don’t actually care what any of you think about anything. If we are in a conversation about your personal choices, I will listen to you and your reasons and at the end will agree that they are your choices, and if they don’t line up with mine, that’s okay. If you cannot do the same – well, we can always talk about the next Saints season. I’m super excited for a great comeback, aren’t you?

Saint, In-Charge

*This is a work-related post. In order to keep the seriousness to a tolerable level, the pictures are completely off-topic.”

I may or may not have mentioned that I am in public accounting. It isn’t the most glamorous of industries, and when you say the word “auditor,” everyone’s knee-jerk reaction is to reach for the nearest wooden stake and hide behind the largest guy in the room. Since auditors never go outside while the sun is up and the word “audit” roughly translates to “medieval torture”, I get why people think we’re evil.

But I promise you, I’m not evil, and I am not hoping to find large errors and material fraud in your financial statements. In fact, I’m hoping NOT to find either of those things, because they create a great deal more work for me. And while my job isn’t flashy, I did get to meet Sean Payton while fully immersed in a fixed asset depreciation schedule back in June, so you should be jealous.

As a side note, if you or anyone you know are suffering from a debilitating case of “being a public accountant,” please visit #howshouldweaccountforme, as it’s hilarious.

Robot Eyes

This was supposed to be a cute picture of Mr. Hammerpaws and Mr. Saint. Apparently, my dog is a robot

I recently changed firms, and have been in-charging a lot of jobs. In-charge is public accounting speak for “the lowest person on the totem pole who is responsible for how the audit goes, will get all blame if things go wrong, and no praise if things go well.” Until recently, I’ve been in charge of jobs that had no other staff.

So, basically, I’ve been working alone.

Just recently I was in-charge of a pretty massive job. So big, it has two directors and they actually sent another staff member out with me. Thankfully they gave me someone smart, competent, and entertaining. I didn’t really have to do any supervising, so that was fantastic. She showed up. She did her work, and did it well. I did my work. We left.

In fact, the only thing I did that would even indicate that I was an in-charge is divide up the work and do all the wrap-up work.

I’m guessing that the next job I’m on won’t go as smoothly as this one as far as in-charging is concerned, but one can hope, right?

Geaux Tigers!

Tailgating before the LSU Bama game with PCD.

Excuses. . .

I really didn’t think through this whole “start a blog in September” thing.

First off, October is a pretty big month in the world of this public accountant. On that note, I have an entire post I’m planning to write about how I handled my first large job with supervisory responsibilities.

Then, I decided to go ahead and get married in the middle of October. In my defense, at my last job, October was the only deadline I wasn’t assigned to, and it made perfect sense when I booked everything.

Getting ready

This is the only picture I have so far. Deal with it

Minnie ears

Obligatory Minnie ears from Disney

On top of this, unfortunately, my very good friend suffered a very tragic loss the week I got back from the honeymoon, and I went into my default mode, which is to help, in any way I can, and ignore everything else that’s going on in my life. There are people who run away when things get hard – I am not one of these people. In fact, I usually make myself available at all hours and provide yummy food and company (even when it isn’t asked for). Hopefully he still loves me after everything – I have a tendency to bully my loved ones into accepting my help, but I’ve never had anyone complain about it to my face after.

I have come to understand over time that I have inherited a few traits from my mother and Maw Maw that are not shared by most of the residents of this world. I’m not 100% certain exactly how to put it into words, but my beautiful friend Emmy once said that “It is important to [me] to love others well.” I want every person that I love to know, at all times, that they are loved, and to have exactly what they need from me at any given moment. Sometimes it’s a shoulder to cry on, someone to brag to, or someone to have a glass (read: bottle) of wine with. Sometimes it’s someone to be with you at the hospital when you suddenly have to make the decision whether or not to take your mother off of life support and you need a hand to hold so you know you’re making the right choice, no matter how hard it is.

While a lot of people won’t understand my compulsion to be there when things get really hard and horrible, I am grateful that this trait was passed to me.

So, while I have been rather remiss in the past month or so with this blog, I promise that I will, sometime very soon, get back to it.

I told you I was really bad at beginnings.

Working Out Versus Living Well

For those of you who don’t know, I’m getting married in a little less than a month. For most of my life I’ve been blessed with a healthy lifestyle and a small dose of hyperthyroidism, so fitting into a wedding dress has never been a problem I thought much about.

A year and a half ago, I was hit by a car in a cross walk on my way to a client’s office. Thankfully, I had on a fabulous pair of sensible 3.5 inch pumps to add to my already 30-inch inseam, and Nissan Sentras are pretty low to the ground. I was hit in my upper thigh and suffered only a bit of soft tissue damage and a few pretty bad scratches and bruises. When I was thrown to the ground, I landed on my computer bag and didn’t hit my head. All in all, if you’re going to get hit by a car as a pedestrian, you want to do it like I did.

Or maybe get hit by a celebrity who has had one Cosmo too many and is willing to take care of your pain and suffering with a blank check.

The soft tissue damage has been a bit of an issue. When I’m feeling at my best, I can’t run or do any leg exercises. When I’m not, I can’t really do much of anything.

This still wasn’t too much of a problem, because I had metabolism on my side. When I was younger and extremely self-conscious about being 5’7” and weighing barely 100 pounds, my doctor would say over and over again that people usually “grow out of it”. He wasn’t lying.

Apparently, I “grew out of it” the day after I paid for and ordered my wedding dress, which just so happens to be made of a very unforgiving charmeuse silk.

I swear, the moment I ordered that dress, an extra 8 pounds settled somewhere around my mid-section (on top of the 15 pounds I had already gained after the accident). This didn’t really bother me so much, I could work out, eat healthy, and lose it. That’s always been the case.

Except this time, it’s not. 9 months later, I work out 3-5 times a week (unless I’m hurting) and I’ve been calorie-counting every day since January. According to myfitnesspal.com, I should have lost about 30 pounds already. I haven’t lost an ounce.

Now, the number doesn’t bother me. I’m okay with my weight. But that softness near my belly button is unwelcome on my wedding day. By looking at the aunts and cousins in my family, I’m fighting an uphill battle here, and I’m lucky enough to be keeping my head above water.

Before you mention Spanx, let’s just say that the dress I will be wearing won’t allow it. In a month, I’ll show you why. (Future Mr. Saint reads this blog, after all).

The problem is that I’ve never enjoyed working out. I enjoyed jogging with my dogs, or walking for miles in the park. I enjoy playing with my nieces and nephews and running around the backyard. I do these things quite often, and it has been enough to keep me where I want to be. But I will apparently never get rock hard abs that way.

The thing is, I don’t want a sexy six pack. Will I look great? Yeah. Will I feel sexy? Of course. But will having great abs make me happy?

I’ve had a dancer’s stomach before. I got no enjoyment from them. What makes me happy is goofing around with my dogs, watching tv with Future Mr. Saint on the couch after a long day, cooking and eating dinner with my future husband. Spending time with those I love.

Time that I would have to sacrifice to look like a Saintsation.

So for me, I have decided to accept that I probably won’t lose this weight. I will continue to work out for an hour 3-5 nights a week with Future Mr. Saint when my hip doesn’t feel like it’s trying to leave my body. I will continue to calorie count. I will make healthy (but tasty!) meals, and I will portion-control. I will continue working to make good decisions that make me feel and look good. And that’s it.

And there will be days when I have a bacon cheeseburger and an extra glass of wine. Whoever said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” was not someone I would have wanted to know.

Geaux Tigers!

A W is always worth the extra calories from tailgating!

Beginnings

 

I am really bad at beginnings.  I never know how to start something correctly, so I usually just jump in feet first and eyes closed and hope for the best.  Sometimes that works out for me. Other times, not so much.  This blog is no exception.

I grew up in a very small town right outside of New Orleans.  How small? I know the proper formula-to-hot-water ratio to give a sick calf in winter to make sure he gets all the nutrients he needs to survive and grow up to one day become filet mignon.

I’m from a large family.  I have one biological brother, but there were 4 kids who had beds in my house growing up.  If you count all of the “adopted” family members, I think my brother and I figured out that we’re a part of 22 “cousins” on my mom’s side.  My father’s side hasn’t really spoken to us since I was 16, and that’s okay with me.  I was lucky enough to have one set of grandparents who were at every important event in my life, and managed to do the same for the other 21 kids in my generation that they claimed as theirs.

I firmly believe that all teenagers are assholes, and I was no exception. Thankfully, I realized how much of an entitled bitch I was by the time I started college, and my parents have since forgiven me my trespasses.  They are extremely supportive and accepting and I think everyone should have a family as awesome as mine.

I was a huge nerd growing up – and not the cool kind that the popular kids hung out with.  I was bullied for being “too smart,” and it began with members of my extended family. At 7 I used the word “famished” in a conversation with an aunt and she told me that no one liked smart girls – I don’t think I ever saw her the same way. Unfortunately,  I have no spatial creativity whatsoever (the proctor of one of the tests I took may have said the words “lowest score I’ve ever recorded”.  He also may have mentioned something about me becoming a researcher or an accountant, not the next Einstein.  That man was good at his job.) I had my heart broken several times for being too smart, and once, for not being smart enough.  That guy is now a struggling jazz musician who is still being supported by his rich father, so I feel like I dodged a bullet there.   My ex-husband used to go out of his way to make me look stupid in front of other people.  Then again, that’s not the worst thing he ever did to me, so we’ll let it go.

As a result, I’m slightly socially awkward.  I don’t know how to do my hair, I have no idea what today’s fashion trends are, and I have no idea how to properly put on eye makeup.  I am pretty self-conscious.  I also have my grandmother’s soft heart and a huge helping of good old-fashioned Catholic guilt which results in me doing everything I can for those I love.

That combination of traits made it really easy for my high school boyfriend to con me into marrying him when he would never be able to love me. I won’t get into too much detail about that here, but let’s just say that I wasn’t his type.

Pro-tip, if you marry an auditor and you don’t want her to find out that you’re lying about where you are or what you’re doing, don’t use one of the credit cards she pays.

These things are all a part of my beginning, the foundation of who I am, but I believe that people are not defined by the things that happen to them.  We are always evolving, always changing, always being redefined by the choices we make and how we choose to see the world.

And then there are the things about us that will never change, those things that have been a part of us since before we had the ability to create memories.  I am fiercely loyal.  I love my pets more than I love most people – I cry when my betta fish die. I am a Saints fan.  I am horrible at golf.  I love to sing, and I’m pretty bad at it.  I dance in my car.  I find beauty in things most people overlook.  My inner child rules my life.  I love too much.  I give too much.  I am too nerdy, too independent, too socially awkward, too honest, too forward.  I work too hard and play even harder.  I don’t get embarrassed by strangers, but my feelings get hurt too easily by friends.  I am too many flaws wrapped up in a delicate skin.

Here’s to beginnings.