Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dream Sessions: A Meeting of the Diaspora

I had a dream that I was at a meeting of black folks about bettering our community. It was in Chicago at the apartments right next to Yolk on Roosevelt and Michigan. It was late spring or early summer because it was warm outside, but not blazing hot.

What was crazy to me was all the different countries in Africa that people represented and how all of the different shades of brown were so beautiful. I kept thinking, I've seriously never seen that skin color before and it's amazing.

They let everyone go around in a circle and say why there were there, but the first two people got really long winded. So I interrupted everyone and said something like

"I'ma let you finish, but we need to be about it and stop talking about it. Chicago was founded by a black man and black excellence is all around us and now is the time to step up and be great. So let's bust out a to-do list and get this action happening."

I was super proud of my speech, but then I was worried that I had taken away people's opportunities to tell their stories. And somehow made myself the defacto leader by speaking up.

It was a very black dream and it was lovely.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Dream Sessions: In My Projects

Up in the middle of the night partly due to synchronized swimming in my belly, partly due to having a lot of my mind. As one of the [pointless] books I'm reading on having multiples told me, this may also be my body's way of preparing to be up a lot. Apparently babies need to eat for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours. So that's 8-12 feedings a day for two people... from my breasts, I'll never sleep again.

But that's not what we're here to talk about today. Today, we're here to talk about my latest dream.

I was at home, in the kitchen and the lights in New York, went off, but my light stayed on. It was weird, then my light flickered off and I was nervous because there's so much food in the fridge and freezer. Then one person's light came on and I could see DIRECTLY into their home and it scared me because usually, you can't see into people's homes that easily.

So then my light came back on, but I quickly turned it off because I didn't want people staring into my apartment since it was one of only a few lights on.

So then I got a message that everyone in the projects had to report to a seminar that was happening during the blackout. And I was like "I don't live in the projects. I'm project-adjacent." Then I found out they meant anyone who's lights had gone out, projects or not. So I went. It ended up being a class about childbirth and childrearing and it had 4 important points and I wrote them down.

I also thought, these classes aren't so bad. I always heard and/or assumed that classes for low income mothers are/were patronizing. Sort of the way high school would be patronizing if you went as a 30 year old adult, but it wasn't at all.

Then we got word that the lights were back on and we could leave. So we pile out, but someone is in the parking lot brandishing two guns, saying he was mad he didn't get invited to the seminar. And he was like "These are my projects, too, why wasn't I invited."

But people KEPT filing out. Like they figured he could only shoot so many people and he wanted to get home.

But I'm pregnant with twins, so I can't just be taking a chance at losing 3 lives like that. So I went back through the auditorium and out of the back door and he was out there too. And in that moment, I felt so much despair because I couldn't leave out of the front or back, no one else was as scared as I was and I was SO fatigued. I just wanted to sleep.

And then I think I shook myself out of that nightmare to go to the bathroom. I need happier dreams, folks.

Friday, March 18, 2016

I'm Grateful

The older I get, the more I realize that NOTHING can be taken for granted. Here are some things recent events and life experiences have made me even more thankful for.

Clean Water - Because Flint.

My mom - Going through this pregnancy has made me so much closer to my mom. She has a wealth of information I didn't even know she had. And I'm convinced no one cares about these twin girls I'm cooking more than she does. To see her light up with joy when anyone so much as mentions the twins has really been a light in my life. And she's been so encouraging through what's been a physically miserable experience for me. I appreciate her so much.

My grandmas - Both of my grandfathers have passed. (This is another reason it's SO important to maintain healthy relationships with other women because even when you find a man to spend the rest of your life with, his life may still end 20 years ahead of yours. It's sad, but true.)

I digress.

My grandmothers are both pretty young as far as grandmas go. They have been truly overwhelmed by the news of the twins (in their own special ways). From the tears and the calls and they way they just stare at me in what looks like a mix of pride, shock and awe when they see my pregnant belly... it feels so good to be able to share this experience with them.

My mom's mom left a voicemail for me today. She called on her CELL phone because she doesn't have "long distance" on her home phone (probably still a rotary dial). She left her callback number on my voicemail... Like she hasn't had the same number for over 50 years. She is cute as pie, y'all and

It's overwhelming to think that one day I will only have the photos and the memories of these moments and not the actual people to hold onto. I seriously cherish every moment, every call, every voicemail, every stare, every hug.

And now I can't stop crying. Damn hormones. 

What are you grateful for this week?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pregnancy Brain is Real

I've always been forgetful, absentminded in the short term. I will never find my keys unless I put them in the exact same place every day.

But my long term memory is/was better. I remember more phone numbers than most. I remember people's birthdays. In college, I was like a walking calendar. And til this day my bff, who remembers NO ONE, will hit me up like "T, how do we know XYZ person."

But then I got pregnant.

Pregnancy brain is REAL. At first I thought it was just because I have SO MUCH on my mind. There's no space for minor details.

But it's getting worse. It's not like I can't remember things at the moment. I can't remember things I used to know AT ALL. Here are some examples

- People's names. (as a PR person, this is a damn shame.)
- Product skus. Someone keeps asking me the name of a client's product and I just have to go online to figure it out because it's no longer in my brain's stores.
- Addresses. I cannot remember my work address to save my life.
- Apartment Numbers - I ALSO have been putting my Pittsburgh apartment number on my New York apartment return address. I only noticed this was a major problem when I was at the DMV and the lady read it back to me like apt 711? Am I'm like hell naw, how did you know that?

LOL!

What's worse: I heard this doesn't go away. Like, as a mom, there are SO many things to think about you just legitimately forget other things.

Now my grandmother calling all five of her daughters names, then my older cousin, when she's really trying to call my name me makes SO much more sense.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

They Said This Would Happen



Here's a list of things that people told me about pregnancy early on that are coming to fruition now.

- Another twin mom in my office told me that by the end of her pregnancy, she was just working from home. Now I’ve had a miserable pregnancy, but I also don’t like being cooped up in the house. So when she told me that, I was thinking “Ok, that’s your life, that’s not mine.” I’ve since grown accustomed to working from home. And it’s painful to walk from even the bed to the bathroom, so about a month ago, I just decided that I’m not going into the office anymore.


- When I told my HR contact that I got a hospital that was about halfway between home and work in case I go into labor at work. She's a mom of two boys and she goes "you won't be at work." Again, I took her words and thought to myself: How do YOU know that. Man, she was right. I'll either be at the hospital, since I'm going twice a week now or I'll be at home. She knew.

- My bestie told me that eating in the first trimester is hard because of the morning sickness. She said eating in the third trimester is hard because there's nowhere for the food to go. LAWD, THAT'S MY LIFE x 2. I got sick after eating a big lunch about a week ago and I haven't had morning sickness in a while, so I was convinced it was food poisoning. Nah, it was two little girls play hopscotch on my organs who decided an entire plate of pasta is too much food for mommy. I eat smaller plates now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Digit

Have you heard of Digit?

My coworker who's saving for a wedding told me about it.

It's a digital savings account that takes money out of your checking based on how you spend month to month.

Here's how it works:

1. You log into your bank account through digit. It analyzes your spending patterns.
2. It takes money from your checking account in $5-$50 increments that mimics the kind of spending you do on a regular basis.
3. It holds the money for you in a digital savings account.

I think (I'm not sure) the drawback is that it's not interest bearing.

The plus side is if you're someone who truly struggles with saving money, they take the guesswork out of it for you.

My coworker said it's been saving about $300 a month for her. That's money she would have spent on shopping or on lattes or otherwise tricking off and saying things like "I can't afford to save."

Every January there are all of these savings challenges and this might be a tool to really help people keep their resolutions.

I do automatic debits into my savings account from my paycheck, so Digit isn't necessarily for me. But I'd be curious to see if you've ever heard of it or if you'd consider giving it a try? If not, what mechanism do you use to save money? Or is saving still a struggle for you?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Plastic Bag Crisis

I don't know how things go in your black household, but in mine, we don't throw away plastic bags. Which Chicagoans affectionately call Jewel bags where you got them from jewel or anywhere else. I come from a long line of packrats. Be it poverty, sentimentality or just plain laziness, we do not like throwing stuff away. It's in our genes.

  • So in my apartment right now, I have so many plastic bags that they don't fit into the cabinet that I've deemed the Jewel bag cabinet.
  • Not only do they not fit in the Jewel bag cabinet, they are also preventing the drawer on TOP of the Jewel bag cabinet from closing. I'm trying to tell you, this is a real issue. 
  • I'm not convinced that recycling companies actually recycle plastic bags, so I'm not dropping them in the recycling bins. 
  • I'm not going to throw them in the trash because 1. the environment, but 2. What if I need one one day and I don't have one. I'll be damned if I have to pay for a plastic bag. 
  • I don't leave the house anymore as I'm about 4-5 weeks away from being full term for twins and my everything hurts, so I can't drop them off at a place that DOES plastic bag recycling. 
 Finally, one day I ran out of garbage bags. I am not going to replace said garbage bags until my Jewel cabinet has been depleted of all plastic bags.

I just made space in my New York apartment and saved some money. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Plastic bag crisis: averted.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Stay Humble

So like I was saying yesterday, my physical limitations have me in the house "bored" on the weekend, but I've been doing what I think they call nesting. Basically arranging or re-arranging furniture and decorating. And when I say arranging, I mean calling my friends and boyfriend over to move things to places where I think they should go.

I can't even pick up trash off of the floor anymore. If I drop something, it'll just be there until my boyfriend gets home.

Today, I realized that I have to remain humble in motherhood. Not that I didn't know this, but there are subtle reminders at every turn.

On the personal finance front, I found out that a "dependent care fund" is not for medical costs related to dependents. It's for childcare (daycare, nannies, etc.). So the new pile of money I thought I could sock away to cover hospital and pediatrician fees is nonexistent... but I might get a break on daycare costs. Whatevs. This first year will be a learning experience.

I also realized I put all of the wrong bedding on my baby registry. Surprisingly, no one bought bedding off of my registry. Bedding isn't terribly sexy. People bought onesies with catchy little tittles and swings and highchairs and bottles and I'm SO grateful. So as soon as I could get my 10% discount (2 months before the due date), I went and bought ALL the bedding. Crib sheets, mattress pad, and I already have blankets that someone gave to me. I'm good to go right... wrong.

I put the sheet and crib bumper on and realized that I still need a crib shirt/dust ruffle AND that you can't put a cover on a crib bumper. I bought a white one thinking I could dress it up depending on what other decor I find. Not so.

So I had to send all that stuff back to Amazon and start from the drawing board with the bedding. Here's the thing: I hate decorating. It overwhelms me. Everything that's in my apartment is something that I bought a long time ago and I get everything in neutral colors, so nothing is TOO out of place. Blacks, browns, tans. That's what my un-decorated apartment looks like.

But I can't do that for a little girl's room. I want them to have pinks and purples and vibrant colors and lively things to look at.

So yeah, I spent what seems like the last 12 hours finding the perfect crib bedding set and customized wall decals, then finding deals on all the pieces. I guess this is about the time a mobile person would spend at malls and stores figuring all of this stuff out.

Having a baby is like having a wedding. Buy a regular cake: $50. Buy a wedding cake: $500. Buy a regular bedding set. $100. Buy a "crib" bedding set and the cost doubles. And don't dare look at luxury crib bedding. Just look away. LOL!

So yeah, after piecing together some free shipping and 10% off here and 5% off there, I think I did ok and I'm truly excited for how the room is coming together.

I just hope the stuff gets to our apartment before the babies arrive. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Healthy, But Miserable

I didn't blog about baby stuff on 3/10 because it was National Women's and Girl's HIV/AIDS awareness day. I was SUPPOSED to write a post about it and rock red pumps. Or since I can't wear heels, red converses. I actually left the house that day to go to the hospital. I have to report in twice a week now for a stress test and ultrasound... until I deliver.

So far, so good. I'm healthy, the babies are healthy, I'm just a miserable, miserable pregnant woman.

The point is I completely forgot to write that post. And at the times I did remember, I didn't have the energy to do so. I imagine the rest of my life will be this way. Wanting to do things and not having the time or energy to actually do them.

Today is the second weekend that I've been at home "bored." I say bored because it's painful to walk, so I can't go outside my apartment and again, while I WANT to do a plethora of things, my body is like "ma'am, take a seat."

So I just sit on the couch, eat small plates (no room in my belly for full meals anymore) and go to the bathroom. I watch the hours count down until it's time to go to bed, which is a torturous experience because my nasal congestion [due to pregnancy] worsens when I lie down. And then I HAVE to drink a lot of water to keep from having early contractions, and then I HAVE to go to the bathroom. It's 5-7 times per night now instead of 3-5 times per night. And I'm SO heavy, I can't roll over in the bed without being in excruciating pain and then the babies on my bladder, make the walk from my bedroom to the bathroom in a small New York apartment feel like walking on hot coals for the length of a marathon.

None of this is what I came on here to blog about...

I'll finish this story tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

God Loveth a Cheerful Giver

And so does the IRS! Shout out to my itemized deductions in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen. I've gotten most of my tax refund and I made it rain on a loan. I was toying with the idea of putting that money in savings to cover hospital costs and/or daycare/nanny costs, but the interest rates on one of my loans was so high that I just had to pay it off.

Have we discussed how hard it is to get a straight answers from doctors, hospitals and insurance about the cost of things. I'm getting ready to have two babies. I know FOR SURE that it's going to cost a grip. What I do not know is how much my insurance covers and what I need to sock away for out of pocket costs.

Here's what I did.

1. Ask the doctor in 2015. She said since my insurance is changing in 2016, then to ask then.
2. Asked a different doctor in 2016. She doesn't know. She said doctors aren't really allowed to talk about pricing with doctors from other hospitals because it's considered unethical. tf? She said to ask admitting.
3. Ask admitting. They said they can tell me what it costs to have a baby at that hospital without insurance, but they don't have insurance rates. They said call my insurance to see what percentage they pay. I said ok, but 10% of I don't damn know what is still I don't damn know. They also gave me the number to finance. Great, I have options.
4. Ask the insurance, they were pretty helpful. They told me my out of pocket maximums. Ultimately as long as I have that much money saved or put away in a health or flexible spending account, then I won't have that many out of pocket costs.
5. I called hospital finance. Not only do they not answer the phone. They have an answering machine. I left a message. They did not call me back. I'm not joking.
6. FINALLY, FINALLY, I asked the receptionist at my doctor's office. She told me in 30 seconds.

If it's a regular pregnancy:

$10,000 for anesthesiology
$10,000 for the hospital
$8,700 for my doctor's fees
About $1,000 for the pediatrician who checks the babies (That costs doesn't double since it's two babies. That sounds like a lie, but I hear what she's saying)

If the babies have to go to the NICU
Insurmountable costs. She said it's like $50,000 for the first 2 hours (AND I have two babies).

She also said they don't (the hospital doesn't) like to give prices because sometimes they overquote or underquote. So damn, you're not going to respond (I'm talking to you finance department) because you're scared I'm going to what? Have my baby at home because the hospital is too expensive. The worst.

Anywho, in both scenarios (regular or complicated pregnancy), the cost of the hospital visit is higher than my out of pocket maximums for the calendar year, so the info that I got from the insurance company is also helpful.

WHY WAS THIS SO HARD? Never in life would you go to a car dealership and say how much is this Chevy and they say "take it home, then we'll bill you... but if you have Allstate, it's one cost and if you have State Farm, it's another cost... and we can't tell you what that cost is because we don't want you comparing it to the dealership next door."

But when I want to have a baby, it's all hush, hush. And take this unnecessary test and that unecessary test. And let us poke and prod at your body and then charge you for the technician, the lab, the doctor, the hospital and the paper we printed it on and no matter what that charge is, you will pay it. Mmkay, thanks.

Folks better hope I don't win the lottery. I will become a pregnant women's rights advocate and knock the socks off these corporations, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies. The entire backwards ass system would have something coming if I wasn't a wage slave.

Do you have any idea how much your labor and delivery costed? 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Do You Have a Cold?

I currently have veins sticking out of my breasts, my hip joints feel like I'm an 80 year old who never exercised a day in her life and there is no comfortable sitting position. Not on a pillow, not on the floor, not on the bed. I feel like my womb is pushing into my throat or my groin (or both) at all times.

I imagine this is what it feels like when you have a boob job and they are too big for your body.

n addition to everything else that happens, now I can't breathe in the middle of the night. I always have to run a humidifier, even before I was pregnant. I have project heat in my building (They regulate it for the complex, not me) and it's thick and dry in here.

So now, even with the window open and the humidifier going, when I go to sleep, I can't breathe through my nose.

My boyfriend keeps asking me if I have a cold. I talked to my aunt on the phone today and she goes "you sound congested." 

Like I do with most ailments, I head to the internet to find out if this is normal or if I should be consulting a doctor about it. Here's what I found:



Like most things with pregnancy it's perfectly normal. And like most things with pregnancy, I just have to suffer through it.

I am happy to NOT have a cold though. I had one at the beginning of my pregnancy and I  thought Jesus was calling me home. Almost all of these ailments are better than being pregnant with a cold.

Another day, another baby-related discomfort.

But I'm healthy and the babies are healthy and we are SO close folks. That's all that matters.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pregnancy Spoils

When you're pregnant, people bring you food. When I used to go into the office* my coworkers would hook me up so much, I started a list. So far, here's the list of random food I've gotten from my peeps:

  • Apple cinnamon donuts (brought to the airport on one of the first - and last - work trips I took while I was pregnant)
  • Thanksgiving dinner (we made curried goat instead of turkey this year and I was really craving turkey and dressing). My homegirl brought me turkey, mashed potatoes (Oh yeah, I can eat potatoes, but not fries) and cranberry stuffing. I was so happy.
  • Cornbread
  • Pound cake
  • Homemade mac & cheese
  • A Justin's Peanut Butter Cup. It's like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, but it's organic and you only get one instead of two because health.
Are you hungry yet?

* My babies are huge and my body is giving out on me, so I don't go into the office anymore unless it's absolutely necessary. That's how you know the end is near. Or the beginning, depending on how I tell the story.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Dreams are Weird

I'm a Christian.

I believe in heaven and hell. 


As I believe in heaven and hell, I don't believe in second lives. I think you get one life, then you get an afterlife.

Here's where is gets muddy. Dreams. 

In my dreams I see some of the same places over and over, but they are not the REAL places I have been to. So yesterday, I told you about a dream where I see

- The Forest Park Blue Line (but not the real one, my dream one)
- My New York apartment (but not the real one, my dream one)

Then there are a few other things I see all the time in my dreams

- An expressway that's like 57 in Chicago, but goes right into the dessert (but it's not the real 57 or a real dessert I've ever seen)
- A round-about in Pittsburgh (the same one EVERY time, but it's not the real Pittsburgh at all)

So what I'm trying to figure out is "is there someone who has dreams and sees real places in my life in their dreams." Like maybe I'm another person in another dimension and that's why I keep seeing THE SAME EXACT PLACES in my dreams. Like am I getting a view into someone else's life? It's definitely super weird.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

Dream Sessions: Europe and Such

Last night I had a dream I was in Europe. I was in a country where English was the primary language, but lots of people chose to speak Spanish.

I was traveling with a friend, but I can't remember who.

I went to a restaurant and the waitress looked like one of my clients. She could have been my clients, this dream was nuts. She had on a yellow polo shirt and some khaki pants with a green or khaki apron.

Then she was talking to me and a rude guy was trying to get her attention at another table and she was like I'll get to you when I get to you and kept talking to me.

Then she served the whole rest of the restaurant and came back to him.

I kept being afraid that I was going to get shot or bombed. Like I was into some type of illicit activity (This is what Breaking Bad will do to pregnant woman's dreams). So I was trying to be nice to the guy, but I was laughing at him because it was funny to see a server be rude BACK to a client.

Then I went on the street and used a map on the street. They had street maps up the way malls do. And I got back to my apartment. And it looked the way my New York apartment looks in my dreams. It's always the same NY apartment in my apartment, which looks nothing like NY in real life, nor my real apartment in real life.

But that was confusing because why was my NY [dream life] apartment the same as my Europe apartment.

So I take the train somewhere. It was work or school because I wasn't on vacation. And then the train stops at the Forest Park blue line. Not the real Forest Park blue line. The one I see in my dreams (always the same train station and it never looks like the real thing).

So I was kicking myself for falling asleep on the train and trying to figure out how to get back to Europe. And I was like OMG, this is going to be the longest train ride ever.

Then I shook myself out of my sleep because it seems torturous to be on a train for that long.

And that's the end of that. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Understatement

I'm 31 weeks today and I don't think the fetal position exists anymore. My children are gymnasts. Rock climbers. Synchronized swimmers. At one point during an ultrasound they were in a T formation. One reaching for my cervix and the other balancing on her sister's feet.

They never stop moving, so when I saw these visuals from my WebMD pregnancy app at 29 weeks, I was like yep, makes sense.

They can (and do) kick, grasp and stretch. They do intense workouts, then luxuriate on my organs. Help me Holy Ghost.

P.S. at 30 weeks, my kids are almost 4 lbs. I'm all about overachieving, dis tew much!



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Word From My Womb

I was sitting on the toilet the other day and my children were kicking me like I stole money from them. And I thought about how powerful those kicks were. How much they hurt. How they completely change my course of action (I was going to get UP from the toilet, but decided to chill until the beatdown subsided).

I thought about how they are going to be tiny helpless beings after I deliver them. They can't eat by themselves, go to the bathroom, walk, crawl or even speak. They will be completely reliant on others once they are outside of my womb.

But inside of me, they are a powerful force, more powerful than they are by themselves.

I thought about other things that were small that once inside of something else become huge. Think about a piece of dirt. A tiny microscopic piece of dirt. If it was on a floor or on your jeans you wouldn't be able to see it. But let it get under the cells in your face. It's like a HUGE pimple. Like embarrassing to the point that there are entire lines of products to get these little pieces of dirt out of your skin.

By itself, it's weak, but in your face, it's strong.

And then it occurred to me that this was a message from God. I am one human. One person. And by myself, there's not much I can do. But when I place my faith in Him, I become more powerful. I can move mountains and make great impact just because I am inside of His care, His family, His direction, His will.

Leave it to my babies to deliver a Word. I can't wait to see the God-fearing women they will grow up to be.