Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Coming Off The Drug

I stopped taking Paxil on May 13th. It is now the 19th. Exactly one week later. And what a weeks it's been. Whew! Who knew just taking that tiny pill every day since March would leave my body in such a sweaty, feverish jones. Every night for the past week I've sweated through two or three pairs of pajamas, all while having crazy, gut-wrenching dreams about anyone that was ever important to me. Since birth. I took the pill at night and that seems to be right when the chills kick in. I wake up three or four times gasping and grappling for Serge.

My love for Roseanne has been well-documented (Jesus Max! Sitting here on the couch and he just ripped the worst silent but deadly bad boy imaginable) so Serge bought me season one of my beloved sitcom. I put it on my tiny, bedside DVD player, pop my Ipod headphones in and I'm good to go. It helps veer the dreams from strictly apocalyptic to apocalyptic with Roseanne flava, which is much better. Last night was the first night I didn't get the sweats. Still had the crazy dreams though. Last night was also the first night our little Milo boy spent the entire night in our bed. There we were, from left to right; me with my Roseanne, Milo, Serge and Max over there on th'other side of the bed. Human, dog, human, dog.

I have felt stoned this entire week. The only way I can explain my experience coming off Paxil is like constant motion sickness. Anyone ever get sick in an elevator? Like that. Or, know how when you're at the airport and you avail yourself of those flat escalator-type runways that vroom you hither and thither? Know how you get your stride down while on the thing so you're walking in superhuman speed... and know that moment when you step back onto the boring, non-moving floor and it kind of jars you? That's how I feel all the time. But I think (hope!) the worst of it is behind me. Now, I have MORNING SICKNESS to look forward to.

I've been terrified of morning sickness since this rocked my world. I was aware I was pregnant for about three weeks and they were the worst three weeks of my life. So sick I couldn't even lift my head to retch into the toilet and finally, when I retched my guts and half a lung into the bowl, I'd feel no relief. So, based on that short-lived 17-year old pregnancy I am terrified that it's coming back. With a vengeance and perhaps God's own personal wrath. They say 80% of women get morning sickness. Not good odds. The ubiquitous they also say women who get motion sickness easily are more prone to upchucking in the first trimester. Seeing how I get carsick if I look at a map long enough to recognize that it is, in fact, a map I'm pretty much screwed. Somewhere there is footage of me wretching out of the Marah tour van (taken by my husband) whilst Serge and the rest of the band snicker because I am carsick. While we are stuck in traffic. Not even moving! But I'm taking it all in stride, expecting the worst. My only concern; that I'll be so sick at work everyone will know I'm pregnant. I don't want anyone to know yet.

Bizarrely, my best friend Natalie called me, pretty much out of the blue, and asked "Are you pregnant?" I had planned on telling her anyway as Serge and I are headed to Lake Powell with her and her husband this Memorial Day weekend. They had an awesome time mocking me over my fear of wakeboarding now that I'm officially knocked up. I have this horrifying mental image of water gushing into my belly and flooding the tiny embryo from its tentative hold on my uterus. Natalie, a former maternity nurse who is now the boss over nurses, nearly broke her own uterus laughing and told me the baby is SO protected in there and our mutual friend Kim was waterskiing at 6 months in. I can already see the joke for the weekend developing. I tripped while we were loading her boat and her husband shouted "careful!" in mock concern and said "I hope you didn't hurt your embryo!" Fuckers.

I also spent about a half hour in the grocery store with four variations of Diet Coke lined up in front of me. They say caffeine isn't so good while pregnant so I figured I'd drink Caffeine Free Diet Coke. But then there's the Aspartame. You're supposed to think of the word Aspartame on par with the word Cancer or death sentence or Stop Drinking Diet Coke Right Now YOU ARE KILLING YOUR BABY!
Diet Coke - bad bad bad. Has caffeine and Aspartame.
Caffeine Free Diet Coke - better. Has no caffeine but it's got the dreaded Aspartame!
Diet Coke with Splenda - better. Has no Aspartame but it's got caffeine. Motherfucker. A pregnant chick just can't win.
Regular Coke - fuck that syrupy mess.

I finally settled on a case of Diet Coke with Splenda and a case of Caffeine Free Diet Coke. I figured I'd have the Diet Coke with Splenda in the morning to give me that caffeine jolt I want without the babykilling Aspartame. In the evening I'd chill out with my Splenda-infused Diet Coke. That way I was halfing my intake of caffeine and Aspartame. But I'll be damned if that Splenda Diet Coke is disgusting. Natalie says she knows girls that guzzle Diet Coke throughout their pregnancies and all was fine. So maybe I'm overreacting. I don't know. I feel so delicate. I know, I know, I'm hardly the archetypal Delicate Flower but I do, I feel all tender and delicate and if people are mean to me I want to say, don't you know I'm with child? I'm creating life, by God! I should probably get over this pregnancy entitled thing pretty quickly if I want my child to have a father present after its birth.

And then there's the whole Should-We-Find-Out-The-Gender-Or-Shouldn't-We debate. I am strictly in the Not Finding Out camp. Particularly with the first baby. It's not like I have hand-me-downs from an older brother or sister to consider. Also, I'm not big on pink for girl and blue for boy bullshit. So I prefer the big surprise announcement after I pass the watermelon through my tiny vaginy. We'll see. Serge could go either way although I secretly think he wants to find out. I am partial to one sex although I won't tell you which. It doesn't really matter, of course, as I feel like the moment the baby comes out I will not be able to imagine my life before... But I do feel a tugging for one gender over the other. Anyway, closing in on 5 weeks and so far the worst symptoms are Paxil withdrawal. The only pregnancy symptoms I've noticed thus far are strange pings in my tummy and the occasional cramp here and there. This is apparently how it feels when an embryo burrows into your uterus. I like it. Burrow away! You can burrow in my uterus any time, little one!