Leaving New York

We did it.

It’s over.

 We’re gone.

Moving day was a loooong day. We got up by 7 to work on some last minute stuff. Movers and POD arrived and got started by 9. They were done between 1230-1. Then we spent two-three hours cleaning up, bringing down trash, recycling, old furniture type stuff. It was probably too much for me, but jeez, I really had no choice, otherwise it would have taken even longer.

I loaded up the car–I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to keep with us, and it was a little too much. We did some photos/video of the empty apartment, and I teared up. Andy returned our keys. We did a final run to Goodwill and then headed out for good at about530pm.

We drove down the main drag past our building again. “Useless Desire” played on shuffle, and I teared up some more. We’ll never live there again; life will never be like this again. I’m sure I’ll be back in NYC in the future, but I’ll never be a resident, we won’t have that amazing apartment and view (top photo), and it will feel different.

I’ve realized that it still doesn’t feel real, that we’re not going back. The next two weeks-ish of road trip are this kind of in-between/transition period, which could just as easily be a regular vacation. But at the end we’ll be in a new house, and maybe then I’ll start really getting used to our new reality. Until then I still seem to tear up thinking about this whole thing.

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this body: almost 23 weeks

Lots of changes are afoot in the last few months, and I figured it would be good to keep track of them for posterity. So here’s a round-up of what’s already happened, and I’m sure there will be more changes as we go on. I’m almost 23 weeks right now, so there is a LOT of time and belly growth still to come!

22 weeks twin pregnancy photo

The biggest and most recent development is that I can feel all kinds of movement. Kicks, bumps, rolls, nudges, who knows what they’re doing in there, but I can feel them. Also, the movement is strong enough to be felt by other people if they put their hand on my belly! Even more so, you can SEE IT. My skin kind of jumps out when they budge up against there. So weird!!

I’ve always been a very fast walker and literally cannot move very slowly with slow/dawdling walkers. It makes walking around Manhattan frustrating, and I’ve learned to push and shove on the subway with the best of them. However, being pregnant slowed me WAY down. (And I might add that because I am considerate of others, I always tried to walk to the side so as not to block the way for faster people.) Especially in late April and May, when things were still new, I couldn’t walk any faster than a slowpoke! Any faster and I would just feel icky. There were days on our trip in Europe that poor Andy had to barely shuffle with me (but I’m glad that he did :D).

Thankfully, in the last month or two that has gotten better, and I’m much faster again, at least on flat ground (but not as fast as I used to be). Going up a flight of stairs, however, it’s like I’m in slow motion! Just can’t go any faster and I don’t know why. And actually, I go pretty slow down stairs too.

On the treadmill, I used to walk at 4mph (which on those machines is the ‘jog’ setting), but now I can get up to 2.7mph and with a small incline too. On the elliptical, I used to warm up at level 5 and then gradually move up to 10 or 12. I went to the gym a few weeks ago, and had to warm up on 1, and then made my way up to 5! Not very impressive.

In the last few weeks though, I’ve gotten more tired and unwieldy, and decided to let go of the whole idea of working out. I’ve been getting a lot of little aches and pains, and twisting and folding/bending is more and more uncomfortable. So no more gym or pretending that I will go to the gym. I do have occasional walks though and those usually seem to be ok. My mom likes to remind me of all the pregnant women she sees in her classes working out and being superstars, and unfortunately that’s just not going to be me. Technically this is a high-risk pregnancy, after all! Don’t I have a good excuse to be lazier? 🙂

Speaking of lazy, sitting is what I do the most of lately. Getting up and down is more difficult though. I have to use my hands to push myself a little, and overall there’s definitely more effort involved.

Sleeping has been a more uncomfortable for the last month plus. I’m a side sleeper, and turn back and forth during the night. Well, as this belly has grown, and presumably my abdominal muscles have completely atrophied and spread out, I can no longer move myself quickly from the core. I have to sort of turn (and often grunt) in bits and fits now.

It’s hard to eat enough. A few weeks ago I got hit by some seriously powerful hunger–like an endless desperate gnawing of hunger. It’s less desperate now, but the gnawing can come on very quickly. When we were out west, we went out for dinner with some friends. I was already starving, so when I heard there would be a 20-30 minute wait til we got seated…well, I knew that just wasn’t an option for me. So I left Andy there and I went to the McDonald’s next door for a snack! Classy, right? But hey, gotta keep health in mind. And don’t worry, I still ate a big dinner and dessert at the real restaurant!

Like I mentioned, bending/folding is uncomfortable. My belly isn’t even that big yet, so I’m sure it will be impossible soon enough. Currently I have to put on shoes and socks sideways, which is weird. I guess I will need to shop for some slip-ons come fall! And I think I won’t be able to shave my lower legs in awhile either.

A few months ago I bought two pairs of maternity pants, before I definitely needed them. Happily the weather has been good enough that I’ve been living in skirts and dresses for the last couple months and didn’t need to bother anything at all with pants. I did decide to wear them on the plane back to NYC…and I was not a fan. The band thing was uncomfortable, and it felt like they kept slipping down, especially in the back. I had to keep hiking them up! I felt like I needed a belt or at least some belt loops to tug on and keep the pants in place!

I was happy to see that at least I looked pretty good in the jeans. My hips have grown two inches wider, but overall I’m not fatter or anything. I’ve gained at least 15 pounds I think, probably more by now. (I don’t have a scale and only used to weigh myself at the gym. Since I haven’t been there in about a month, now I have only the doctor visit weigh-in to go by.) But it’s all in the belly and chest! And also my fingers, which are swollen and a little painful. I took off my rings for good last week.

Speaking of belly, sometimes I forget I have it. On the plane, I tried to scoot past a large man in the aisle, and bumped my tummy right against a seat. This week at a restaurant, I kept bumping against the table. Whoops!

I know that when one is pregnant enough, one’s belly button flattens and then pops out like a turkey timer button thing. What I didn’t realize was how the spreading works. My belly button seems a pretty deep innie, but as it’s spreading out, that means there is basically new skin that’s never been outside before, surrounding my belly button. It’s noticeably whiter than the surrounding skin, and remarkably softer. It’s essentially a small ring of newborn baby skin! It’s all VERY weird! I’ve never heard or seen anyone talk about this or show this before, have you?

Firsts of the Lasts

The day we left for house-hunting on the West Coast, I had brunch with a friend who’s also my former supervisor. We chatted and caught up and rolled our eyes about work BS. When we parted I realized that it is very possible I won’t see her again. She moved out of NYC last year (I was jealous!), and I don’t know when I’ll be back in New York even to visit.

Andy will be back at least a few times, for work, and for fun (like the New Yorker Festival in early October, I hope!). I, however, will be unable to travel anywhere after our trip. I’m hoping that we can do some road trips in our new area (coastline to the west! mountains to the east! different mountains to the north!), but I have no idea how comfortable or uncomfortable I’ll be in a car. Once two babies arrive, I won’t be going anywhere at all for quite some time. I figure it’ll be at least next fall until we attempt to go somewhere all four of us on a plane.

So this next week is really the end for me. The end of life in New York, the end of this life I’ve had for the last eight years. I’m tearing up even now, and I’m not exactly sure why. (I could blame hormones, but I’ve always been a crier.)

This is a big deal. Moving across the country. Changing everything. A really big deal. It’s been something I’ve thought about and talked about and yes, wanted for years. (Which has been obnoxious. I’m sorry.) But the reality is different somehow.

When I left home to come here in 2004, it was an adventure, I had a job sort of waiting for me (NYC Teaching Fellows). I didn’t know anyone (the two people I knew both moved away within six months), but it was still kind of exciting and certainly new. Also, I was really freaking busy a lot of the time (which didn’t stop me from being lonely most of the time). But I was in constant contact with my mom and dad, and I visited home at least twice that first year. So leaving home wasn’t difficult, because I knew I would be back periodically, and that things would change (more and more houses where there used to be fields or forests), but the people would still be there and I would still know them and if all else failed, I could go back and still be okay.

But I came here, made a life here, became a real adult here. Made and lost some friends. Found a career and left it. However, there isn’t anything or anyone who will always be here for me if I wanted to visit or come back for good (not like I want to!). Sure, I still know a few people, but the deep bonds I used to have with folks are kind of gone, or the people themselves have left. (For example, I’ve lost touch with my two favorite school friends from First Middle School; they both moved south, got married and had babies.) There will be nothing here for me anymore. New York City will move on like I was never here. Young people will keep arriving with stars in their eyes and empty wallets. Yuppies will continue bleating about how NYC is such a great place to raise children, as they fight for sidewalk space in their posh neighborhoods and heft strollers up subway stairs and wait years for a preschool waitlist spot.

I’ve never felt like a New Yorker. New Yorkers are people who love it here, who think this is the best place ever, who want to live here for their foreseeable future. I’ve always felt temporary and temporal, but I suppose that even I can still feel bereft for leaving the place I’ve been for the longest period of my adult life.

Maybe I’m scared about such a big change? Nervous–I’m sure I am. In general apparently I’m just plain emotional when I really think about it.

I’m starting to feel those “lasts” piling up around me. The last time I go to book club here, even though we’ll keep in touch by email. The last time I see the group of friends that used to be real friends, in a Brooklyn apartment, even though I’ll still see them online. The last time I go to the local library. The last time I take a photo of the skyline from our rooftop or the sunset from our window. The last time I wrestle with the shower nozzle switch that gunks up. The last time I drop by the Key Food across the street for something we forgot. Some of these things are stupid, but by virtue of being the last, I want to hold on to them and make them meaningful and deep.

People have been asking if we/I am excited for the move, and I’m sure I will be once it happens and we get out there. I think I’m a little overwhelmed at this reality of packing up our whole lives to leave everything. There are so many piles, so many boxes, so many memories.

I haven’t been packing every day, partly because I’ve been busy with other things (and television), but partly because even the banality of moving hasn’t made the shock of moving more real. We were talking late last night about how much we need to have done by when.

Our move out date is next Friday morning. I was saying we could just go out to dinner on Thursday night, since we probably will have packed or tossed most food-related things. That Thursday night will be our last night in New York. EVER. For ever, for real. We will never live here again. Our local places will still be there, but we won’t. We can’t randomly decide to go to our favorite pizza restaurant in the East Village or get some amazing black cherry mojitos at our favorite Cali-Mex spot in the Village. Those places will stay, but we won’t. We’ll visit, and we’ll return to our old haunts, but things will have changed, and we will have changed, and it will all be so bittersweet.

Bigger and Bigger

I’ve been taking weekly photos for my belly progress–it’s really interesting to see little changes week by week! For example, within the last week, looking at photos, my tummy doesn’t look a lot bigger (though it is, by a full inch!), it’s rounded out noticeably. Not something I saw or would have seen without the comparisons.

I uploaded all of them so far in a separate page and will continue to update them each week. So the photos will all be in one place, and you can find it in a ‘page’ there on the top!

So it’s there if you want to see it, but this way I don’t have to clutter regular posts with photos.