I think it’s a general lack of self-confidence that leads me to procrastinate sometimes, even on little things–like I don’t want to go to bed on time, because I feel like I ought to have done more that day.  So I do the logical thing and stay up surfing the Net instead. 🙂

My husband isn’t like that; he wants to do something, he does it.  I have a student right now and he isn’t like that either.  He’s gotten more done in a couple of weeks than I have in months.  I need to learn from these guys just to move forward without thinking.

I am becoming more aware of my tendency to procrastinate, so I had a productive day today.  I made palak paneer again via this recipe this time, and wrote some code.  (The recipe worked great; added some yogurt too.  Prep time was much more than 20 minutes though). Taking the laptop out of my bedroom really helped.  When it was there I used to just surf the Internet for hours sometimes, because it was more interesting than sleeping.  Or sometimes because I was looking for information on cancer.

My mom went grocery shopping today.  Last week her white blood cell count was borderline low.  I wish she would just stay home.

I am feeling weird burblings in my tummy.  I think it is the baby moving, but I’m not completely sure.

These posts need to be more focused.  I guess they reflect my state of mind:  I am pulled in so many different directions these days; mom, baby, new marriage, relatively new house, and job.   I’m exhausted, and it’s hard to focus.



My husband told me lots of women poop during labor.  It was one of the reasons he didn’t like doing OBGYN.

“Well,” I said to him, “then you better stay in the waiting room when my time comes, because I bet I’m going to poop too.”

I’d never read much about childbirth since I was never sure it was in my future.  I’m finding that–like cancer–until it affected me directly through my mom, I had no idea what people went through.

I guess I need to do my  best to view it as a natural process (including the pooping.)

Earlier this month, my mom was terrified that she’d lose control of her bowels on the radiation table.  I told her not to be ashamed–which understandably made her very irritated, since it’s easy to say “it’s nothing” when you aren’t the one feeling humiliated and pooping all over.

Well mom, now I’m going to put my money where my rectum is, because I’m gonna lose control and poop in front of a bunch of people too.  🙂

Waiting for test results

One of the things I never had a concept of, before mom got cancer, was “scanxiety,” which I would define broadly as the anxiety and tension of waiting for the result of some diagnostic test whose results have a huge, life-altering consequence.

The days between the time my mom was waking up from her colonoscopy and the gastroenterologist pushed aside the curtain and said “you have cancer,” and the time weeks/months later when she had some imaging and we finally had a good (though not perfect) assessment of what we were dealing with were…I can’t even describe them.

On a much smaller scale, I’ve been going through the same anxiety with the screening tests routinely administered in pregnancy.  Every few weeks, there’s another screen:  Down’s syndrome, thalassemia since I am Indian-American, and this week I am waiting for results of the “quad screen”–spina bifida, Down’s again, all that good stuff.   Next week will be the anatomy ultrasound, I assume to make sure the baby has all the parts that he or she should.  My husband tells me how during that scan, his friend found that their baby didn’t have a kidney.  *sigh*

I ought to be really anxious.  It’s like mom’s cancer staging broke me, though.  I haven’t devoted much thought to anxiety over the baby test results.  To some extent I don’t even feel pregnant.  It’s not showing (unless I wear a super tight shirt), I don’t feel the baby moving much, and I can’t see it or hear it so it seems kind of abstract.  I just feel like my back hurts.

My mom has two more sessions of chemo left.   I remember how horrible it was, her being in the hospital after surgery–but how much more scary it was the day she was discharged.   I worried about all the things that might happen to her at home where there were not nurses waking her up all night to take her blood pressure.   It’s kind of the same with her chemo.  As much of an ordeal it is, while it is ongoing, I also feel that we are actively doing something to prevent a recurrence of her cancer, and that she is being monitored in some way.  Once it is over, I will be glad but afraid again.

And as the end of her treatment comes into sight (there’s still another month), there is that terrible feeling (I guess you could call it survivor’s guilt) that my friends or their loved ones, at more advanced stages of cancer will have to keep going with the chemo, after she is done.  And the fear that maybe I shouldn’t even let myself feel that guilt, because maybe we will end up right there, too.

I am in a strange situation where I wish time would speed up so I could meet my baby, but I also want it to slow down, so I have more time with my mom.

I plan to deliver in the same hospital she had her surgery in.  Hopefully the bad memories I have of that place will be replaced with good ones.

Stupid questions people have asked me since I got pregnant

1.  New male colleague (fresh from China):  “How many months pregnant are you?  [Gleeful look] So…you weren’t married when you got pregnant!!!”

I was legally married six or seven months before we started trying.  Our traditional ceremony was delayed due to my mom’s cancer diagnosis.  We started trying to conceive a couple of weeks after that ceremony–and we were remarkably lucky.  I’d have been perfectly delighted to get pregnant after the legal wedding though.  I’m not religious.

2.  Female colleague (also from China):  “You are pregnant?!  If you don’t mind my asking, how old are you?”

Turns out she was older than me and worried about her own fertility–but still,  it made me uncomfortable.

3.  “You don’t look pregnant!  Are you sure you’re eating?”


4.  “Do you have a preference for a boy or a girl?”

I don’t.  I want a healthy baby. But supposing I did have a preference, would I really go around announcing that?  How would it make my kid feel, for its entire life, knowing I was hoping for him or her to be something other than he or she was?

I want what I get and I will love what I get.  Been waiting for it an awfully long time.

5.  [This is a remark, not a question] “I knew an Indian couple once.  I had been married four years and they kept asking me when we were going to have kids!  No wonder you had them fast.”

Gosh, I’m sorry you had to listen to that.  We Indian folks aren’t always known for tact.

Our culture is family oriented, but it’s not like I consider procreation the sole purpose of life.   Before I got married at 33 I did a PhD, became a professor, etc. etc.

I didn’t delay after marriage.  That had nothing to do with being Indian.  My mom has cancer and I am 34.  I spent an awfully long time alone and working hard, and when I finally found the right person, I was delighted to start a family with him.

The deer ate my lilies again…

…but this time they were about to dry up and fall off anyway, so it’s like “whatever.” 🙂

I am nineteen weeks and one day pregnant.  I am still not really showing, but that is because my shirts are loose.

My mom’s sixth chemo session went OK.  She is hoping to make it to my “20-week” ultrasound in two weeks, which will actually be 21 weeks because the sonographer was on vacation for July 4th.  Hopefully we will find out Baby Sunrainlilies’ gender.  Someone asked me if I have any intuition about it.  I don’t…absolutely none.  Most women I’ve talked to have said the same thing.

I watched a natural birth video online yesterday.  Boy was that a mistake… *shudder*  My husband has delivered a couple of babies though, and tells me the process is not usually quite as dramatic as it was for the woman in that video.  “Just get the epidural,” he said.

I miss going to the gym and eating sushi.

Mom has chemo again today

Mom has chemo again today.

Since I got pregnant, I go to work instead of going to chemo with her (my dad goes).  Now that I will need maternity leave, I am very low on leave.  My employer provides no paid maternity leave–typical in the US, but horrifies my friends in Europe and Canada.  I have not taken a vacation in five years of employment, except for the week I took when my mom was in the hospital.   I still have barely enough to cover.

I know it wouldn’t help if I were at chemo with her; it’s so crowded that there’s nowhere to sit anyway.

But it is very difficult for me to focus on work all day, when I know my mom is in the chemo chair.

Oof…I think the baby just gave me a heck of a kick.  Being karate-chopped from the inside isn’t helping my focus either. 🙂

Walking in Memphis

I love the melodies and the relaxed style of country music, and how it tells a story.

But I’m a first-generation Indian-American immigrant, and I often feel somewhat excluded by the Jesus/whisky/rural themes.

I’ve lived in the heart of rural America, by the way, in a place far enough out in the country that–like much of the country–the only ways in were by car and helicopter.  And the people who actually fit the demographic that you’d think country appealed to generally despised country.

Anyway, at one point in my life, someone introduced me to the song “Walking in Memphis,” by Marc Cohn.

And I liked it, particularly the spunk of the following lines:

“She said, ‘Tell me are you a Christian, child?’
and I said, ‘Ma’am, I am tonight!’”

Cohn said at some point that the song was about his own life experiences and his ambivalence toward religion.  I thought these lines summarized that subtly, and powerfully.