Wednesday, March 5, 2003

Pregnancy Journal, Misc... Part 3

The MS150 – OR- Getting to Austin the Hard Way
During the month of March and the first part of April I was training for the MS150, which is an annual bike ride from Houston to Austin benefiting the National MS Society. I was training, and ultimately riding, with David Smith and David Powell, two of the guys from our church and also members of the worship band. 

So on April 12 we set out, along with 11,000 others, in this massive sea of people and metal on our journey. I’ll save the details of the ride for another time and place, but I have to mention that I was incredibly moved on the ride. I guess the prospect of being a father really changes the way you think about things because I’m not the most emotional guy in the world. I think the only movie I’ve ever cried in was “The Bridges of Madison County”- and then only because my left arm had fallen asleep and I was afraid I might have to amputate it.

But riding along, I would pass (or be passed by, as was most often the case) someone who had a sign on their back that said they were riding for (insert name here). I thought, “wow. That’s great. What a nice guy.” Then I ran across a guy who actually had a picture of his family on his back- himself, his wife, and two good-looking kids. 

Underneath he had written, “riding for Sarah- wife and mother – diagnosed with MS April 2002.”

The very thought of this mother being diagnosed with a debilitating disease sent chills down my spine. Even though we were out on the road, in the middle of climbing a hill, I couldn’t help but tear up. I finally realized that I was about to bawl like a baby and re-focused on the task at hand, which at the time was not running into this really fat lady that I was about to pass. But it really hit a soft spot for some reason- much like I would have done if I had smacked into that fat lady.

My sister was diagnosed with Leukemia just days before she turned two, so I was pretty accustomed to being around sick people. I had actually become pretty numb to it. But that was 20 years ago (holy crap- I’m telling a story from 20 years ago!) Now, the very thought of something bad happening to Kayci terrifies me. I try not to dwell on that, but the thought does cross my mind occasionally when I’m watching some health report on the news or when I see a young cancer patient. I consider those people among the bravest in the world- so young, with so much to see and do still- fighting for their very existence. I pray every chance I get that Kayci will turn out healthy. I imagine that most parents do. I’ve seen the other side, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
So all of a sudden the MS150 became about a lot more than just a butt-kicking challenge to ride 182 miles on a bike. It suddenly became real.

Then, later in the ride, there would be wheelchair-bound people with MS on the side of the road cheering us on and thanking us for riding. That made it that much more real. I almost lost it then, and even now the thought and image of those people moves me to the point of tears.

Well, training for and riding in the MS150 has taken care of my weight problem. I now weight 68 pounds and am getting hate mail from Calista Flockhart.

Packing & Moving – Instructions for Spouses of Pregnant Women
When planning to move and packing up your house, it is vital that every crappy job be justified in your mind by making it about your baby. By having your family and friends come over to help you pack, it saves her stress and therefore puts less stress on the baby. By cleaning the ceiling fans- scrubbing them so they damn near shine (also known as Kristi clean), it saves her from having to get up on a chair and do it, avoiding the possibility that she’ll fall and hurt the baby.

Packing with a hormonal 7-month pregnant woman is NOT easy. During the entire process, I didn’t feel as if I could do ANYTHING right. Chalk that one up to the baby, also. I started packing my office up early for the move. 

Suddenly I was in trouble because that wasn’t a priority. I should be packing other parts of the house. Okay. Then, when it came time for the movers to come my office was still not packed. I was in trouble again. So I went into my office to pack up. Well, I was doing wrong. It seems that now I had played around and there wasn’t time to pack my office the way I wanted to- going through stuff and throwing away things as I went. Now I was only to “throw stuff in boxes and sort through it later.” Well, hell.

Looking back, I can’t really recall WHAT I did during the packing phase. I sort of remember packing nick-nacks from the living room into boxes, but that’s about it. I know- because Kristi told me exactly 397 times- that she packed up the kitchen and cleaned all the floors so I could shampoo the carpets and polish the wood floors. I honestly have no idea how I contributed to the move, other than renting a truck and calling the movers. I probably walked around in circles mumbling incoherently to myself like Ozzy does on the Osbournes. 

But I’m sure I only did it for the baby. I mean, really… Babies need to learn how to mumble somehow.

How to Travel 1500 miles with a Pregnant Woman
In typical James & Kristi fashion, two days after we moved- with lots of stuff still in the old house yet to be moved and a new houseful of nothing but boxes- we loaded up the car and drove to Kansas for Kristi’s family reunion. It’s roughly 600 miles to Iola, Kansas from Houston and the trip- pre-pregnancy- takes about 11 or 12 hours, depending on traffic and how many stop we take.
Well, with a pregnant lady in the car the bathroom breaks increase exponentially. In addition to that, we have to stop to walk for about 15 minutes. Then there’s meal stops. 

So basically, the once 12-hour trip now takes 3 and a half weeks.

That’s not to say that the trip was bad. It was actually a very nice trip, but it just seemed to take forever getting there. Kristi was a trooper, though. I know she was uncomfortable most of the time, but she didn’t complain. I, on the other hand, would have been complaining the entire time if I were in her shoes. They probably would have had to put up a soundproof divider between the front and back seat, like in a limousine. 

The only tip I have for traveling with a 7-and-a-half month pregnant woman is the same I would give to someone who just adopted a Bengal tiger- keep her well fed, well watered and as comfortable as possible. And if she says she wants to stop- by God stop ASAP.

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