Thursday, May 31, 2007

41 Weeks: Baby, it's Cold Outside...

...but would you get the hell out, please?

As you may have guessed, Monday was not the day. It was the day we went to a gigantic outlet mall and walked around for more than four hours. Tuesday I did not do a lot of walking, because three full days of it left my back and tailbone screaming for relief. I did have Thai for lunch and Mexican for dinner on Tuesday, however. Wednesday I went to my doctor's appointment and discovered that none of it had done any good, as I am "still about the same as last week." Which is to say, the baby is apparently not dropped quite all the way and there is nothing else going on. Not even enough room for him to do a membrane sweep. I was disappointed but not surprised. He asked me if I've been feeling contractions and I had to say "uhh...maybe?" because I really don't know. After all that walking I was sore and achy, but every twinge or pain I feel is easily explained away so I've still not had a single identifiable contraction in all this time.

Apparently I am doing a great job keeping the baby comfortable and fed, because she seems uninterested in coming out. We are going to the hospital tomorrow morning for an induction. I am a little nervous, since they are going to use Pitocin to try and take me from almost-zero to liftoff, and I have heard that it can be nasty stuff. I have also heard that since it's an induction I'll need continual monitoring, which means no getting out of bed. I don't know if this is true or not, but it's not quite what I had in mind - I have accepted that the Pitocin will probably mean I'll opt for medicated pain relief at some point, but I didn't anticipate having to sit around the whole time. Hopefully I just need a little jump-start and it won't take two or three days to get the kid out. My husband was unaware that even with an induction, it can take that long. He said he knew it wouldn't be like Instant Baby Magic, but he thought if we started in the morning it would mean a baby by nightfall. Let's hope so.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Not Yet Either

No baby yet. We did a lot of walking Fri and Sat and a little yesterday. I find myself feeling a little awkward sometimes, because everyone else is growing more and more impatient waiting for the baby (my sister says "come out already! come out NOW!" in a very loud and cross way to my belly at least 3 times a day) and I am growing less so. The relatives keep calling (and calling and calling) to ask if I've had the baby yet - like we're not going to call people or something. People keep telling me things they think I should do to bring on my labor. I ignore them all. I'm perfectly okay with the induction on the 1st. We can go in at a certain time and things will proceed in an at least kind-of-orderly fashion; it won't be the middle of the night or I won't have to call my husband home from work and scramble to get all the stuff together while telling everyone yeah, I'm okay, can you just let me organize my suitcase please? No, you can't do it for me, I'd like to do it myself, if that's alright. Yes, that was a contraction, no there's nothing you can do. No, I'm okay, I just need some space. Yes, that was another one. Yeah, I'm okay...and so on. I can feel good about getting an epidural and my three helpers can stop telling me they wish I'd get one because they hate to see me in pain. I know they're concerned for me, and it's just because they care, but I'm sure the doctors/nurses will be pushing for all that hard enough.

I guess I'm just cranky - I am trying to enjoy my last few days as a non-parent, although it's a little hard to do when I feel like the most closely-watched pot in history. Everyone asks me every day if I feel anything and I always have to tell them no, I'm pretty sure I'm not in labor yet, I'm pretty sure I'd know if this was The Business or not. My mom is going stir-crazy sitting around waiting, and I'm trying to find things for her to do. She wants to help pack up the house before she leaves, but we're having trouble getting boxes and a lot of the stuff around here we still need for the next month. I finally agreed to let her do the laundry so she'd feel useful, but it took me half an hour to explain which things get washed with baby detergent and which do not, and which things can't go in the dryer. I am inventing projects for her, like mending a pair of Ryan's pants, crocheting me a scarf, or turning some shelf-bra tanks into nursing tanks with needle, thread, and swimsuit-hook clasps. I'm about to run out of projects, and I feel bad because she came here to help pack and get some Baby Action, not work in my own personal sweatshop. But I don't know what else to tell her to do.

And every grunt or wheeze or whatever I make, I get "are you okay?" with the underlying "is that a contraction? are you in labor? is it time?" factor. I'm used to doing for myself, and having people hover over me is making me a little crabby. Of course, the not sleeping is also making me crabby. I managed to sleep most of yesterday, which was nice, because I barely got any Friday night and Saturday I finally sacked out for a nap (it took a fortress made of 5 pillows and 2 thick comforters for me to get comfortable enough to doze off) but everybody woke me up after 10 minutes because they wanted to go eat. Then all three of them kept asking me if I was okay all night and what's wrong and are you sure you're okay?

I am also fine with Her Royal Kickiness putting off her debut for a couple days because Max and I seem to have contracted dueling sinus infections. I don't know if it's because of the season, the weather, the fact that we've been running the a/c a lot, or just really shitty timing, but we are both sniffly and sneezy and croaking. I've had a sore-and-or-scratchy throat for a couple of days and I feel like my head is full of ooze. Max has been mainlining Zicam, in the form of chewable tablets which he thought would taste like Starburst candies but which he was quite disappointed to find are actually flavored like Strawberry Death. I feel like I am going to float away on a sea of orange juice and peppermint tea. This is not adding sunshine to my general mood and sense of well-being, as you may imagine.

But my mother is convinced that today's the day, so we'll see...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Babies Here

Well, today is my due date, and I don't think there's a baby in sight. I had an appointment yesterday and it was the same as Friday - the baby hasn't dropped and nothing else is going on, either. In fact, the baby is still high enough he said an induction would not be favorable at this point. I am scheduled for one on June 1st, in case things don't happen on their own, so we will have a baby in-hand by next Friday at the latest.

Hear that? That's the sound of my brain trying to grasp the fact that we're about to be parents. I mean, duh, we knew it wasn't just an extra bowl of Cap'n Crunch here and there that has made my belly go all basketball-shaped and caused our house to fill with tiny clothes and flannel receiving blankets. It is, however, an entirely different feeling to walk into our bedroom and see the bookshelf with its bins of miniature t-shirts and hats and think soon my daughter will fill these clothes. The pack n' play is set up right next to our bed and as I fall asleep I realize that this plastic-and mesh contraption? With its cute mod circle design and sunshade? This is where my baby will sleep.

It's really weird.

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Inside Perspective

Well, I went to the doctor today and he said there's not much happening, I have "at least" a few more days. The baby has not fully dropped, and my first thought after he said this was oh, fabulous, it gets WORSE?! How much more uncomfortable do I have to be?!. But I consoled myself by thinking that maybe as the baby gets lower, the weight won't be hanging off the front of me, forcing bits of my tailbone to rub together, but rather in the middle, putting enough pressure on everything to keep the bones apart.

He also said I'm not dilated much at all. Now, logically I knew that there's really only one way doctors check this sort of thing, and this is why I have been refusing internal exams up to this point. I figured there will be enough people sticking their hands and whatnot up there before this is over with, so there's no need to seek it out. I tried to get out of it this time, too, but they wouldn't let me. And logically I knew that having someone reach up there and poke around would not be comfortable. "Uncomfortable" is not quite the word for it. When he did this, he was also pushing the baby down so he could make sure her head was in the right spot. I think that was the worst part - my entire midsection felt squeezed like the filling of a Baby Sandwich.

My husband was with me, and afterwards he said the exam looked really uncomfortable. "It did not look like fun," he said. "Your eyes sort of bugged out."

Then I showed him just how much of the doctor's hand had been prodding around in there, and his eyes bugged out.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

That is that

We think we have finally solved the last-name dilemma, at least: we're going to give her both. It will be a little unwieldy, but if it's a huge pain we can always change it later. And if she hates us for it, well, I'm sure that will be one of a long list of our parenting mistakes she can discuss with her highly-paid therapist some day.

We've also (pretty much) finalized our first-name list. We both do this thing where we run hot and cold on certain names - one of us will love love LOVE something for weeks or months, put it at the top of our personal list and think it's perfect...and then one day, wake up not liking it much anymore. "Oh," he or I will say. "I'm over that one now." Then we move on to something else, and probably will come back to loving this name later. We're apparently both quite fickle, but have forced ourselves to freeze our choices where they're at because we are out of time to play I Love It, No Wait, I Hate It. From a field of sixty-plus potential names, we've narrowed it down to a dozen or so. I'm sure there were a few things we left out, or some we haven't thought of, but the current incarnation of the list is a good length, with not too many weird or boring choices, so we're quitting while we're ahead.

My husband said using "Reid" as a middle name may head off any "potential bitching" from his family about the last name thing, since it was a family name when they gave it to him as his middle and there's been one in every generation or something like that. This, as you can imagine, raised my hackles a bit, as per usual.

"What, you think they're going to bitch about the fact that my name's in there, too? I carried the baby around all these months and got it out into the world and I don't even fucking deserve to have my last name included?!"
He sighed. "No, I'm not saying I think they will, but in case they do..."
"They'd better fucking not, you hear me? Because I will go apeshit, I think. I will tell anyone who whines to go suck it. Our last names are getting equal footing, so if anyone bitches about that they REALLY ARE saying my name doesn't matter."
"That's true. I don't think my parents are going to step up and say that."
"Anyone who does will have to deal with me, because it happens to be our business and none of anyone else's and I'm sick of trying to tiptoe around everyone's issues." I smacked my hand down on the table. "And that is fucking THAT."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Unless of Course Your Mom Is Cool With The Porn

I have been cleaning (or attempting to clean) like mad lately, although if I hear the word "nesting" one more time, have one more person tell me it must be my hormones, or get one more vehment insistance that this means I am about to go into labor any second, I may buy a gun and climb a clock-tower. That's saying a lot these days, since the hip/back/tailbone pain is back again and so bad I can't do one lap around Target without resting twice, but I swear I will find a way.

I am not feeling a crushing sense of "oh my God baby almost here must clean clean clean NOW!" Rather, what has me re-discovering the joys of organized living and overuse of Scrubbing Bubbles is the impending arrival of my mother and sister. They will be here in just over a week, and they are staying for more than two weeks. Two weeks is plenty of time for my mother to find all the piles of dirt I've swept under the rugs, realize that I never clean my oven unless the crud covering the bottom is actually on fire, open the hallway closet so all the junk I've shoved in there falls on her head cartoon-style, and generally confirm her long-held suspicions that I am the world's most disorganized person.

My mother and sister are also going to help us pare down and pack up our posessions while they're here, so I am frantically vaccuming up golf-ball-sized wads of cat hair from under the furniture, cleaning clutter off all the flat surfaces, and making sure there are no porn DVDs or dirty socks stuffed in random places. Nobody wants to explain to their mom what they're doing with a copy of Jenna Jamison's Greatest Clits or why they didn't pick up the dirty clothes that got kicked under the bed two months ago.

Nobody believes me when I tell them this. I have had several people insist that it MUST be "the hormones." Strangers, relatives, acquaintances - they all are all pregnancy experts apparently, because they all like to tell me how crazy pregnant ladies go crazy with the crazy hormonal pregnant cleaning right before they pop out a baby. Yes, thank you for the info, I've seen sitcoms and read the "funny stories" section of Reader's Digest too. They continue to tell me I am suffering from hormones no matter what I say. I will be sure to call these people up and ask when I need to take a piss and what flavor of ice cream I would prefer, since they seem to know my body and mind better than I do.

I don't get it - nobody wants their mother to know how much of a slob they really are. Do you want your mom finding your copy of 365 Sex Positions or a pair of dirty socks behind The Chronicles of Narnia in your bookscase? If your mother was coming to stay with you, would you feel okay about letting her brush her teeth over a soap-scummy sink or shower in a tub that, while it is in the guest bathroom and therfore rarely used, has inexplicably developed a visible dirt ring? What would your mom say if she knew that you hate putting away laundry so much that you frequently skip this step altogether and chuck it wholesale into the pile at the bottom of your closet or wear clean-but-horribly-wrinkled items straight out of the basket until it is empty again?

Mmm-hmm, that's what I thought. Must be your hormones.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Guess what the baby will be going as for Halloween?

In search of somewhere to walk around that was not scorchingly hot, we went to a huge outlet mall last weekend. We made the mistake of entering the baby section of a clothing store. Even though we are drowning in baby clothes, have more clothing than triplets could wear, have sworn that not one more item of clothing can enter our home lest the closets explode cartoon-style, we could not resist the tiny bodysuits and hats with coordinating blankets. I'm starting to think they put some sort of addictive chemical on that stuff, to make you keep buying it even though what you have at home could fill a dump truck. That's probably the real reason everyone tells you to be sure and wash everything thoroughly before giving it to or putting it on the baby. It's one of those parenting secrets they don't let you in on until you've actually joined the club.

Anyway, Max picked out a onesie with a crab on it, because he knows how much the crab in the Honda Element commercials cracks me up. "Look," he said, holding up the blue-and-white garment. "He pinches." I cracked up, and agreed that maybe we should get it, because it was pretty cute and, more imporantly, cheap.

"That will be so cute for summer," I said. "With a little hat and those blue bubble Babylegs we bought."
He started to laugh. I asked him what was so funny. "Bubbles and crabs," he chortled. "Basically, we're going to dress our baby like a frat-house hot tub."

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Tides of Yesterday

We are close. We are so close, my due date is only two weeks away. Somehow I don't feel quite ready. I don't think Max does either. We are comfortable with the idea of bringing a baby into our house, but not quite ready to actually do it. People have "helpfully" been telling me things I should do to bring on labor, and I have to explain that I'm trying to avoid that right now. We need these two weeks.

When my parents had me, their first child, they were not ready. They were young and unprepared to start with, and on top of that I was born by emergency c-section at 30 weeks' gestation. My mother said she "got a headache, got a nosebleed, had a baby." So as unprepared as I feel right now, I can't imagine how much more disorenting and frightening it would be to come into parenthood so abruptly. Our child is at 38 weeks' gestation; by this time in my own life, I had already been out in the world complicating their lives for two months.

When we took our hospital tour a few months ago, our group stopped in front of the NICU window. There were only a couple of tiny babies on the other side of the glass, but one incubator was pulled up close. A doctor and at least two residents were clustered around it, working intently at doing something to the baby inside. As they moved around the artificial womb of plastic and rubber, I caught a glimpse of the baby's foot waving around. It took me entirely by surprise. That little baby's foot looked like the tiniest thing in the world. I wondered how old it was, how far along it had been when it was born. I wondered if my foot was that small when I entered this world.

I have read blogs of parents with NICU babies and wondered about the circumstances of my own birth. I know I was in the hospital for a number of weeks; I know I weighed around three pounds when I was born. I know it was pre-ecclampsia that caused the doctors to rush my mother into an OR. I have seen a few pictures of my tiny body, wires and tubes snaking out from my small form like extra limbs. I know they told my mother that I would always be behind the other kids, I would be slow and would never really catch up mentally or physically and that my mother has spent all the years since then laughing at that diagnosis. I know I have never been a very good sleeper and my mother has always thought it was the result of spending my first weeks among the lights and noise and bustle of that NICU. But lately I have begun to wonder about other things. Did my parents come visit me every day? Did they bring toys to put in my plastic cradle? Hats to put on my tiny head? Did my mother and father come, sit with me, hold me when able, rock me in the stiff hospital-nursery chair?

I have never had the courage to ask these questions. I don't even know how to bring the subject up. Whenever we are discussing babies or preemies I hold my breath and wait for a new scrap of information, a nugget of story I have not heard before. I cling to these snippets, and wait for the day when I can piece it all together. This is one of the times when I regret the unspoken rule in our family that does not allow for direct questioning about past events. If someone offers information, you listen, but we are not people who probe and push to get it. Even with the birth of my own child looming, I do not have the courage now to ask my mother if she was as terrified at the prospect of motherhood as I am right now.