Two Weeks at Subway (well three, but the first one was training)

So last Tuesday, or the Tuesday of this week, however you want to think about it, marked the end of my first full pay period as a Subway Sandwich Artist. And what a two weeks it has been. Some of my more memorable moments include sandwich songs (with hit songs like “It’s toasted”, “Double Cheese” and “Bacon”), dropping the mayo bottle on the floor and having it shoot up to the ceiling (yes the mayo is still on the ceiling), pondering how to toast only six inches of a footlong (you cut it in half, just like my brain), wondering why I kept having bread crumbs on my shirt (it’s because my body is not the size I expect it to be and I over shoot the distance between the bread rack and my rack. end result: bread hits my shirt) and spilling not one but two containers of steak in the fridge (Danni cleaned it up, not sure if she wanted to get away from the customers or me).

It has been a wild ride. Luckily, I work with some pretty awesome people who don’t hold my ditsy/klutzy/Maria moments against me. Actually, the staff is pretty great. I work with a lot of young people (I say as an old fart) who have some nice plans for the future. It is fun to listen to them and see what they want to do.

After two weeks the lesson in humility continues. Who imagines after they graduate college they will end up working at Subway? Now realistically, there are jobs I could get with my degree. The likelihood of someone hiring a sixth months (now seven months) pregnant woman are not great. And I know that my pregnancy is not a reason people can say “no”, but come on, there are enough applicants that all they have to say is they found someone better for the job. And my Subway job is just so ideal for my life right now. It’s between 20-25 hours a week and I know once I have the baby I can go on maternity and as soon as I am ready to come back: boom, I’m back. It is a great environment. People are very flexible and very understanding. Like I said, it is ideal for me and my situation right now.

Still, when your high school teachers come in and see you behind the counter, even when they know what’s going on in your life, you just feel embarrassed to find yourself standing there. It is an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand I am so proud and grateful to have a job, any job, and on the other, I am embarrassed that I am working a blue-collar job. I have talked to other staffers who feel the same way. It is so nice having someone to talk to about it who understands because they are in the same boat. Although, I don’t think any of them should feel embarrassed or ashamed. Like I said, they are all working their way through college or finishing up high school degrees. It is admirable that they work and continue to pursue their dreams. It turns out it is a lot easier to uplift other people than yourself…

So that is my two weeks of Subway experience. I wonder what future weeks will bring (still waiting to drop my first sandwich).

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…girls and their emotions, play it back in slow motion…

Oh the joys of being a crazy person. So at my last OB appointment my nurse and I talked about the emotional arch most women in my position go through: From the initial shock and fear to a period of almost disbelief where everything seems so far away and not possible to the realization that this is really happening and it could happen any day. Not only that (it is such a simplification) but the dichotomous feelings too. I am so overjoyed and excited for the baby to get here, but I am also terrified of what he has to go through and I wish I could keep him safe forever (but you never can keep your kids safe forever). Anyway, I don’t know the “average” span of each phase or when the last one kicks in for most women, but for me it started about a week ago.

I think I know what my trigger was for my “emotional turmoil”. My new niece Elizabeth was diagnosed with a tethered spinal cord shortly after her birth and she may have to have surgery to correct it (well she will have to have surgery, but the “details” are seriously lacking). I was upset when I heard. Here was this new precious little child and now she faces spinal cord surgery. When I went to see her last weekend, it really struck home how fragile and helpless she was. I just wanted to protect her from her future and have the surgery for her (which I am sure is magnified greatly in my brother and sister). Seeing her here, and knowing what she has to face, really brought home my baby’s future to me.

In general, I am an anxious person. I am a worrier. I am the person who works out every possible scenario and then assumes the worst is what will come. Now this does have some pros: I am generally more prepared than others, I can cope better with almost every scenario, and I work well in a crisis. The major con, for me, is serious levels of anxiety which turn into bad thoughts and nightmares.

For instance, last Saturday, I dreamed I had the baby and he was taken to the NICU, but Matt was not there. No one knew where he was or could get a hold of him. So I went to find him. As I was looking for him, I was bleeding and I realized at one point that I was dying so I had to find Matt to take care of our baby. I found him at a basketball game with some friends and I did not react rationally (obviously my id was an active participant in this dream since I was mad at Matt for leaving me for the weekend). I woke up crying and was beyond relief to see that baby was still where he belonged (for now). (after I told Matt about this dream we decided it probably wasn’t good for me to spend the night alone until the baby comes, Dyzio is a great hot brick but a terrible confidant and adviser)

It was a hard weekend without Matt. Our situation is somewhat less stressful since we moved from Chicago and we definitely made the correct choice for our baby, but Matt still doesn’t have a job and I am working part-time at Subway. (I am supremely grateful for the work, it is just not a lot to live on) Anyway, it was a rough weekend made okay by a wonderful visit with Lindsey Jawish and meeting my new niece Elizabeth (who is so cute and tiny!!!).

But even in all the worry and frustration, there is so much hope. I learned about the hybrid-Norwood which is an option I will talk with the surgeons about on the 5th. Last night, my cousin Alex posted this picture of a baby, 21 weeks in utero, reaching out of the womb after life-saving surgery and taking a hold of the doctors finger. It was amazing to see this life growing and it was amazing to see the tools that exist to help life grow and thrive. These new advances really buoy me and help me keep my eye on the prize: Emerson happy, growing, and alive.

This is not a pithy post

I don’t know how many people have picked up on it, but I have an overactive mind. I think about everything and then go back and over-think it. It makes me often come off as a rambling fool, but there it is.

So what has bounced around the corners of my mind lately? The birth of my son. Generally when babies are born, it is a time of celebration and love and joy and general merriment is had by all. And I know all these feelings will be felt when my son is born, but I also know that I will feel anxious, upset, stressed, angry, and sad.

As birth comes closer so does reality. My son will be taken from my arms (if I am blessed enough to hold him after birth, so he may be taken straight from my womb) and rushed across the street by a team of specialists to the NICU in the children’s hospital. Once there, an IV will be inserted into him giving him drugs to keep the hole between his right and left chamber open keeping him alive until surgery.

Five to ten days after he is born, my baby will experience open heart surgery. Unfathomable. How does a baby survive that trauma? I know it happens, but it is hard to believe that it does.

And right now I am not even focusing on the surgery. I am focusing on the two days when I will be apart from my son. The two terribly long days when I will be in the hospital across the street and he will be in a NICU. I am so scared about what will happen in those two days.

I am most scared about him dying (how could I not be), but that is not the only thing I am fearful of.

I don’t like the idea of other people touching Emer before me. I am afraid he won’t attach to me and that our bond will never be solidified. Now realistically, infants fail to bond with parents when they are consistently neglected. A four-month old who has never been held by their mom will have attachment and trust issues that will carry on throughout development. If I can’t see my child the first two days, it may take longer, but I know I will attach. I will not let my baby sit in a crib alone for 4 months (or more). Yet the instant bond that happens between a mother and child is so hyped up and so reinforced in all developmental theory that I still fear my son will not attach and then will continuously struggle with attachment.

My other fear is that he will attach to someone else as his “mother”. I am sure it is selfish of me, but I don’t want anyone else to touch him (outside of my husband and medical staff) until I get to spend time with him. It would break my heart if he preferred someone else more than me, even if it was just initially. I would really feel like I failed as a mom. Isn’t it amazing how easy it to “fail” as a parent? Or at least feel like you failed.

Anyway my fear of him attaching to someone else is eclipsed by the guilt I feel for even thinking of deny my son the touch of another person. Isn’t it better that he is touched than I am the one touching him? Isn’t any human contact better than none regardless of what I think could happen?

I just don’t know. I want my baby to be safe and loved and comforted. And I want to be the one loving and comforting and protecting him. But that won’t happen at first. Luckily I have an amazing partner who won’t leave our son’s side until I can get there. Everything is easier knowing Matt is there to help.

Plastic Gloves

I am already having a problem at work. The problem is the gloves we have to wear while working with food. I have not problem with the idea of wearing the gloves– I think it’s great that sanitation is a priority at subway. The problem is the gloves that subway orders are for someone whose longest finger is half the size of my longest finger. The gloves do not fit at all and I rip several pairs trying to get them on. And it has nothing to do with sizes. I tried on every size. The fingers don’t get longer, they just get wider.

The first gloving is not so terrible, but once your hands start sweating (and it happens fast on a the pregnant lady who sweats double) you just can’t get the things on! It is terrible. Of course I feel like an idiot as I struggle to put gloves on and there is a customer watching me. I mean, really, it is not that hard. I am, as you may have noticed, putting most of blame on the gloves, because the design is terrible and doesn’t fit my long fingers. I think some blame should go to my sweaty preggo body, but since I am pregnant I refuse to take the “blame” for anything. Deal with it. Otherwise, loving the job. Learned how to do the “hinge cut” for the bread yesterday and I didn’t even screw it up too bad.

I guess I do have one complaint… my manager is eagerly anticipating me dropping my first sandwich… it’s kind of mean… just saying…

Just call me an artist…

… a sandwich artist! I got a job. Well, let me phrase that more accurately, my amazing, wonderful, fabulous cousin got me a job at Subway and all I had to do was fill out the necessary paperwork.

After our somewhat frustrating series of recent events (and yes, we did have more problems with the bank after my last blog) things seem to be looking up. I have always secretly wanted to work at Subway (for the aroma alone) and applied every summer in high school. I never was asked to interview. So this job is like a dream come true! (no, seriously, it is.) I get to work with great people, smell delightful after my shift, and actually make some money and feel like I am doing something before Emer comes.

Not only that, but the job seems super flexible. If I need time off, I can get it and I can adjust my schedule when the time comes. I am still holding out to start school again next fall (well my “ideal” is this spring, but I am not going to try: Emerson’s second surgery will be in early spring) and this job seems like it will fit well with the school options I am looking into. I AM SO PUMPED to work at subway…. 🙂

On a side note: today I did my orientation videos. It was supposed to take me from 3 until 8. I finished at 5. Apparently it takes some people three days from 3 until 8 to get through all the video orientation materials… sounds made up to me.