Thursday, March 31, 2011

40 weeks

As of five hours ago, I am forty weeks pregnant. I think my water may have broken at 3:00, but no contractions yet. Unfortunately, I can't seem to go back to sleep. Ryan fell back asleep as soon as I told him to. Men have it easy.

I would find it very satisfying if this child is born on his due date.

3:00 water trickle, call midwife and mom. try to sleep. fail.

Get up and play around online. Read funny blog. Have a few intermittent contractions.

7:00 puke.

Nineteen days later, I'm back to edit the post I began the day before I gave birth. Sorry. Newborn=timewarp. It's all for the best. I already have amnesia setting in, which should spare you some gore.

So, as you can see from the above post, begun but never finished, I went into labor on my due date, March 31. Kind of. It was slow, disorganized labor, with lots of several-hours-long breaks and easily managed contractions. I enjoyed this early labor stage until 1:00 pm the next day, April 1, when my midwife invited me to her office to talk about options, since my water may or may not have broken (in retrospect, I think it was a break in the forebag, for those who like details about other peoples' amniotic sacs). She did the obligatory exam and reported that I have a "favorable" cervix (3 cm dilated, 80% effaced, "nice and soft and stretchy") and that I might benefit from her "labor blend", an herbal tincture featuring the wondrous cohoshes, black and blue. She explained that the labor blend would act like a push-start to a car: if my body wasn't ready for active labor, nothing would happen, but if we were on the brink of something real, it might help things get into gear.

I threw it back like a shot of tequila with nary an afterthought and delivered a baby four hours later.

When I think of myself swilling it down now, it is as though I see myself smilingly compliant as I am strapped to the front of a train. Sure, I'll take that cohosh! I didn't want to breathe for the next four hours anyway!

I began having more intense contractions shortly after taking the dreaded labor blend and by the time I got home I was in active labor. Ryan called the midwife.

Ryan: "Uhm, I think this is getting kind of serious"

Midwife: "Well have her get in the shower. Sometimes that can space the contractions out a little bit."

Ryan: "Ok"

Me [on all fours on the bed with my face buried in the mattress]: "AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!"

It was evident to Ryan that I wasn't going to make it to the shower. He called the midwife back a few contractions later and we headed back to have a baby.

Thankfully, my little brother drives a Crown Victoria, aka living room on wheels, aka Birth Chariot. I did not deliver the baby in the car; that is not where this is going. I did, however, ride the six miles to the birth center on my hands and knees in the back seat, wailing my pretty little head off. Little brother said he felt like he was in a movie. I did not feel like I was in a movie. I felt like I was in another place, a place where snowballs don't fare well.

We arrived at around 3:30 and I somehow pitched and roared myself inside. It was nothing graceful, I assure you. As soon as the midwife saw me, she exclaimed "Oh! Now this is a woman who is working!" and started the water in the giant tub.

Ryan began explaining the situation.

Ryan: "The contractions started getting bad when we got back home..."

Midwife: "You mean they started getting good when you got home!"


I got in the tub as soon as it was ready for me, planted myself on my shins and hands, a la The Little Mermaid (who, incidentally, Ryan identified the other day as Muriel, to my unending amusement and delight), and didn't move for two hours. I labored, loudly. I knew from reading a bazillion birth books that low noises are more helpful in labor than high-pitched shrieks, so I compromised by making the loudest low noises known to man. I was so loud I couldn't hear what people were saying to me. It was sort of shocking how loud I could be.

And sort of satisfying.

They say some women like labor and some women like pushing. I only liked when it was over.

I will say only this about the sensation of labor pains. If you had hit me on the hand with a hammer as hard as you could, I would have considered it a minor distraction.

Forrest Michael Lee was born at 5:30. He was very small when compared to other human beings, and very large when compared to the size of the body parts from which he recently emerged: 8 lb 10 oz.

Ryan, my friend Jami, my mother, and my midwife attended the birth. Other than the fact that it was mind-meltingly, horrifically, painful, it was perfect. There are not words to describe what it meant to have each of them there, so I won't try. It's not blog material anyway. Blogs are for writing that your husband thought the Little Mermaid's name was Muriel, at least that's what this blog is for.

After my whirlwind delivery I felt like exhasuted, broken, garbagey garbage. To say I was spent doesn't begin to capture it. I was still in pain. And I soon discovered that the price of a quick, efficient labor is that a person better learn to nurse lying on her side because she isn't going to be sitting for awhile. I'll leave it at that.

I still can't sit.

The baby was, of course, the foil for all the misery. He was a peaceful little beauty and neither Ryan nor I slept all night because we couldn't stop staring at his little face. I congratulated myself on a job well done, as I had created a close to perfect baby (he has a tongue tie, but we like him anyway, even if he is a little chompy about the nursing) out of pizza and Berry Berry Kix. Not bad.

The first ten days after the birth were idyllic, minus the not sitting and getting chomped. My mom stayed with us while Ryan and I got our sea legs and she fell for the boy, hard. We're going to have to figure out a fiscally responsible way to get her to move to Utah because if we don't I think she might not make it. We all just stayed in the house staring at the new little face. It still hasn't gotten old.

When I was in the throes of pregnant misery, working 40-50 hours a week as I gained seventy pounds (in spite of frequent vomiting, making the accomplishment all the more impressive) I told myself that when the baby was born all I would do was lay in bed for the first two months and nurse him. At the time I thought I was kidding, or at least exaggerating, but here I am, nineteen days out, and that's all I've done so far. I barely check my email. I haven't called Medicaid to tell them the baby was born. I have only left the house three times, for appointments with doctors. I have been exclusively wearing a black track suit. And I'm not fixin' to change my schedule any time soon.

So that's the story. There aren't too many details because it was pretty cut and dry. And fast. It was really fast.

With a happy ending.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I once lived a semester in London
With some co-eds; one was a most fun one.
"Just keep eating!" she'd cry,
with a gleam in her eye
When we finished I looked like a rum bun.

And now, though I weep, scream, and shout,
my fetal, tyrranical lout
Will recant the same cry
That my friend once lived by
Forcing me to eat 'til I pass out.

Who wouldn't choose cheese over heaving?
Pie and pancakes, their looks are deceiving.
Though they bode for ill-health
To me they suggest wealth
For soon salad's all I'll be receiving.

A good sign, I think, that I have moved from haiku to limerick. Indicates more sleep is happening.

Forty weeks Thursday. Two and a half weeks max until I expel the venemous placenta of destruction.

In case we are not friends on Facebook, I should mention here that Ryan and I went to Babies R' Us on Saturday and the woman standing behind us in line, a mother of two, asked if we are expecting twins. Some may take this as an insult, but I choose to frame it as an acknowledgment of a good job done resplendently. With the help of cheese and pancakes.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Truth About Pregnancy

Everyone I know is pregnant.

Ok, not everyone, but I have been co-gestating with over ten people. Two weeks ago, the first gave birth. The second, yesterday, and today, the third.

I would like to be next, please. I have to write about 15 more pages, and then it's baby time.

Before becoming pregnant, I marveled at the great desire of women at full-term to go into labor, the most notoriously painful of all human experiences. How bad could pregnancy be, that women would drink castor oil while riding horseback on a trampoline in hopes of instigating the most painful thing they would likely experience in their lifetimes?

It's becoming clearer with each passing day.

I have been neglectful of documenting my expansion. It's hard to photograph oneself when one feels as though most disease states would be preferable to one's current condition. However, Ryan has captured a couple of moments on his phone which I will now share with you.

If I were the sort of person with dignity, I would post only this picture, taken at 37 weeks and three days:But, I am here to tell you the truth. The whole truth and nothing but. I am here to be honest with you, even at the expense of my very dignity. Also, I am not above a self-deprecating joke. For these reasons, I share the following, taken the same day as the photo above:

There. Now you know what pregnancy really looks like. That face. That outfit. That abdomen.

I would post a picture of my profile, the kind where you get the gut from the side-view for maximum effect, but standing is too hard.

38 weeks tomorrow, and my last day of work. Next week, come hell or high water, I will finish writing and then have a baby. Even if I have to do it on the back of a trampolining horse while swilling castor oil.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Designed by Mother Nature?

When I searched for Nursing Tops on Amazon, they recommended THIS. Amazing.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A Birthday and a Bed-room

Over the holiday break I acquired a new addition to my birthday paraphernalia, as I mentioned in January. May I remind you about the birthday headpiece:
My brother's birthday is this coming Thursday, so Ryan and I invited him, as well as my sister and her man, up to the house for dinner. Naturally, as soon as he walked in the door, he was greeted by the birthday headpiece. I suppose the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, because he unflinchingly put it on his head and wore it the rest of the evening.

Is it just me, or should I be surprised by everyone uncomplainingly walking around with a stuffed cupcake perched on their noggins?

I was thrilled. I don't know which I love most: birthday paraphernalia, costumes in general, or bossing people around, but this deal with the headpiece fires on all cylinders.

We had a lovely evening. I made my brother a red velvet cake, as this is his favorite, except I made a healthier version, wanting to spare my unborn the evils of egregious red food coloring. This was something of a mistake, as the cake tasted distinctly of beets, which are among the few foods my brother finds unpalatable. Oops. I'll remember that next year. I hope it really is the thought that counts. Beet cake is kind of an unforgivable birthday blunder.

The greatest victory of the evening, for me, was having several men with substantial heavy lifting abilities in the house at one time, as I had a fiendish plan I was physically unable to execute.

When I was in college, a friend of mine had a sibling born into her family. I remember visiting her parents' home and noticing that they had a king sized mattress on the floor with a twin mattress right next to it. They told me that they had a "family bed" so that their little one could sleep by them instead of in a separate crib or room. I was immediately taken with the idea and considered the possibility of taking the family bed to the next level. A bedroom, I thought, could be exactly that: a room for bed.

Wall to wall bed. All bed all the time.

I didn't give it much thought in the following years as there were no little people whose sleep options required consideration. However, a recent combination of events have brought the notion of a bed-room back to the forefront of my mind.

1. I got pregnant.
2. We inherited a bed from Ryan's parents, who upgraded, and found ourselves with two king-sized mattresses and one bedroom.
3. I started thrashing like a dying carp all night long.

Consequently, I began a one-woman brainstorm. How could we accommodate all this bed? I tried selling our original mattress, but haven't had any takers yet, and mattress #2 was impeding any sense of functionality in the second room (which is where we are keeping the baby gear; it serves as a glorified closet) by taking up every single square inch of floor space, rendering baby clothes, our filing cabinets, and my clothes closet completely inaccessible.

I hatched a plan to move our dressers into the perimeter of the closet-room and bring mattress #2 into the bed-room, resulting in a room comprised exclusively of bed. Tonight, with three men over 200 lbs. in the house to do my bidding, the dream became a reality. You can pencil roll across the entire bed-room. Check it out, and while you're at it, notice the birthday headpiece:
He is demonstrating the pencil roll. I wish I could have gotten a picture that captured the extent to which the room is a giant bed, but it was a cell phone picture.

I don't know how I got so lucky to have people in my life who indulge my desires for them to wear silly things on their heads and create fortresses of bedding while I sit around and make lousy cakes out of root vegetables, but that seems to be my lot. I'm one lucky duck.

Who needs a crib when you can have a bed-room?