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It’s been five months and three weeks since I had my baby girl. It’s been eleven months and three weeks since I could wear my wedding ring.  And I am still counting the days until I fit into my normal jeans and a good ‘ol D-cup bra. Oh, may the day come quickly!

But then again, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so good about being this big. Well, I’ve never actually been this many pounds. On the way up it felt necessary. Now I vacillate between “C’mon Josie, exercise!” and “Hello Mama, you are HOT.” No, the weight isn’t necessary, but it isn’t killing me either. Maybe I am just getting a little easier on myself. That’s not a bad result.

Ava is eating like a fiend.

She just finished half a cup of rice cereal and another half cup of pureed yams. I can’t remember the last time I tasted pureed anything–but yams aren’t half bad. After a few teaspoons myself, I mixed in some butter and milk and served them up hot for Clint. He seemed to like them a lot. So…tomorrow I’ll make pear “milk-shakes” or something like that. :)

Anyway, despite being okay with my new weight, I was extra extra extra happy to finally fit my wedding ring on my finger. That in itself was a party!

I rise again…


I’ll be honest. I didn’t know if I could get back here!

It’s been six very short months since I gave birth to the  most beautiful little girl. She is gorgeous, I”m tellin’ you.

Birth was, as I feared, the most gruesome experience known to mankind. People outside my room commented later that it sure sounded painful. Yea, thank you!

I can only compare it to the image of a large heifer pushing out that calf at the county fair—with her heaving belly, drooling mouth, and agonized moo’s of disbelief as the greatest pain on earth envelopes her body. THAT is birth.

So how can I summarize the last six months?

I’ll tell you: Sleep-deprivation.

And I dare say, there is no preparation for sleep deprivation like sleep deprivation.

Take today for example.

We are both (Ava and I) on the mend from a 10-day hell-cold that put us OUT. She had to sleep in her car seat to breath. So,we’re a little tired. Clint wakes up early and rested and goes to take a shower, saying he’ll be back in an hour. He kisses me goodbye.

I sleep. I sleep. Baby sleeps. I sleep.

HA! When I awaken I come to find out that when he kissed me ‘goodbye’ that was his hello kiss, he’d been gone for an hour and a half and to me, it felt like mere moments.

Ah, I have so much more to say!


Week 38

I’m fearing the results of unprotected sex are near.

Last night I went to the dollar theatre with Clint and his mother.  We had seen every single release at least once, all except for INCEPTION, which I had been avoiding because I’m not such a big fan of Leonardo, and or confusing plots (I prefer big  belly laughs or kung fu).  As the movie started I began taking notes. This was one time I wasn’t going to get left behind in Act One.

Right around the 30 minute mark I began to realize that my feet, hands and face were feeling quite tingly—like when your leg goes to sleep tingly.  Now I know that the hands and feet are expected to swell, and swell I have! But the face? Isn’t that a bad sign? I thought so.

After the movie I was convinced something was going on and requested a side trip to Rite Aid. My mother takes my father’s blood pressure four times a day, so I figured checking mine out once couldn’t hurt anything.  After the machine squeezed my arm into oblivion it reported that I was high, much higher than normal.

My mother-in-law was adamant:

“I’ll tell you what—that number is a direct reflection of that stupid movie! How confusing was that? I’ve got a headache. I bet my blood pressure is through the roof. That was a horrible movie; Josie, it’s that darn Leonardo DiCaprio.”

While her assessment of my health as a result of Leonardo DiCaprio’s odd movie roles could be seen as genius by some, I was not quite convinced. Clint decided to drive us over to the hospital for a quick check-in.

Twenty minutes later I am checked into the local hospital and an orderly takes me up the elevator to the OB floor. The doors open and a nurse is immediately at my side, “Alisha? Hello, I’m Linda. I’ll be your Delivery Nurse.”

“DELIVERY NURSE? No, hey, I’m just here to get my blood pressure checked out, not deliver a baby.”

“Well,” she said smiling, “this is just procedure. Here’s your gown and there’s the bed!”

OMG.

Linda hooked me up to all kinds of machinery and fetal monitors. “Now I’ll need to ask you some questions, Josie. Is this your first child?”

“Yes.”

“Does your family have a history of diabetes? Preeclampsia?”

“No and no.”

“Have you had any contractions?”

“No.”

“That’s odd! Because you just had one!”

Seriously?

See, I thought that was just indigestion. Those are contractions? In that case, heck, I’ve been having them all week.  But that doesn’t mean I’m having the baby right now.

Linda hands me my clothing and tells me to go home and rest, drink more water and stay cool.  On the way out the OB Nurses showed me a real live baby. Do you have any idea how big those are? I have it on good authority that my vagina is not, in fact, that big. Just sayn.

Grandma, is that you?


Week 37

I have been living in an alternate reality full of denial and disbelief. I guess Pregnancy has served as my punch-line the last nine months, rather than my true state of being. But all that changed this morning. I was getting dressed for a client meeting and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the room. Shocked, I realigned myself for a better view. Unbelievable. There was my 93-year old grandma staring back at me—her 200-lb 5’4” frame resplendent in large cotton undergarments and knee-high compression socks. Without my contacts in, I could have sworn Grandma was right there with me, grunting as she bent over to wedge her swollen feet into orthopedic white tennis shoes. At 37-weeks pregnant, I am my mother’s mother.


 

Week 36

The doctor told me to pack my bag for the hospital this week. Pack my bag?! Really? Are we that close?

Yes.

Thankfully, a kind girlfriend gave me a packing list that proved invaluable. I surely would not have come up with half the things she pointed out as necessities.  So now I have a small duffle bag sitting next to the bed, filled to the brim with comfy cotton pj’s, wet wipes, chocolate bars, maxi pads and the baby book. I’ve packed Clint a pair of sweatpants…and well…that’s it so far.  The baby’s bag is actually crammed fullest. Because who knows how big she’ll be at delivery? Therefore, I’ve included multi-sized clothing choices and accessories, as well as coordinating blankets and diapers. A girl, whether 31 or an infant, must be prepared.

I’ve also washed all the clothing and sheets we received from our baby showers in the special baby soap—and I am shocked at how expensive that stuff is. After I figure out how to raise a baby I am going to invent my own “gentle” soap and charge people $35 a jug.  I will call it FLEECED.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. After dinner, Clint and I watched our wedding DVD.  I cried through the entire 30 minute play-by-play—look, there I was skinny! Oh, and I had long hair! And gosh, I was in GOOD shape! Little did we know that three years later we would be expecting a little one and comparing our distended bellies.  He topped the night off with the most amazing gesture: diamond earrings.  They certainly out-sparkled the brown wool sweater I gave him… And then I remember: he does this every year.  One-ups me in special gifts, that is. I get him a CD, he gets me a Vespa.  I get him a Christmas ornament, he buys me a Kindle. Well, this year he came up with diamond earrings. Amazing.

But the one thing he can’t do is produce a kid out of thin air. That, my dear husband,  will be my finest hour.


Week 35

The Breast-Feeding Class

It’s funny, how little we girls know about our own anatomy…at least until you have a kid. Then you are suddenly forced to learn all about your vagina, the cervix, and then, your boobs? I had no idea there was anything more to learn about my breasts: they exist; they have nipples; and boys like them. Au contraire, my friends. Au contraire.

            Did you know, for example, that nipple stimulation in the third trimester can trigger contractions? Did you know that a breast-feeding baby’s lips should cover much more real estate than just the nipple itself? And did you know that there are 15-20 milk duct-openings on each nipple? Such were the facts Clint and I took in at our very last educational seminar before we meet our little un-named girl.

            I learned all about the football hold, cracked and blistered breast tissue, nipple confusion and the necessity to buy a breast pump—just one more thing to add to that list that never quite gets accomplished. But a two-hour seminar is like theology. It doesn’t do much good unless you have experience to back it up. So, like good children, Clint and I took notes, played footsie, and pretended to be completely unfazed by the boob talk. Lanolin. Whatever.

            Then I decided to watch some YouTube videos last night. You know, psyche myself up for the birthing process. After all, the videos we watched in our birthing class were for shock value. At least that’s what I told myself. Let me see some real births and I’ll be prepared for my own.

            Well, well, well. I do not suggest this kind of educational tactic for, like, anyone. The Blood! The Views! The REALITY! How were some of those women remaining so calm? I concluded that drugs are certainly a necessity.  Other women were really lettin’ it loose; one woman’s face and stomach were so red and blotchy I wondered if she hadn’t contracted a bacterial skin infection during the labor process. As doctor after doctor pulled squirming grey babies out of various womans nether-regions, I began to silently cry. Big wet tears rolled down my cheeks as my chins began to quiver. I sucked in quick breaths and snorted—awe hell—I let loose.

            “I don’t want a baby! I don’t want to do that!”

Clint came rushing over to my office desk, took one look at the current YouTube video playing on my screen and immediately shut the laptop with a ferocious click.

“Don’t look at that! That’s horrible!”

“I KNOW!” I wailed, “It IS horrible! I can’t do it! I don’t want to do it!”
            “I mean, don’t look at other people’s births—they are not you,” he said.

“But it will be me! And it’s (hiccup) aweful! Did you see their bloated faces?”

Clint put his hands on my shoulders and pulled my chin up until I was looking into his eyes. “Josie, I love you. You’ll be fine.”

Now that, contrary to the videos, seemed a very sentimental and overly-dramatic reaction to my pain. I laughed. “Okay.”

            “But you might consider re-reading that breast-feeding pamphlet. You were goofing off a lot in that class.”

Oh. Thanks, hun. Love you too.


Week 34

“I’ll do that tomorrow.”

This seems to be a popular sentence these days. I hear it a lot from Clint. It’s not like I’m a nag—there’s just a lot to be done before this baby gets here! And, if you think about it, we could have a) 6 weeks to go for an extra full-term baby, b) 4 weeks to go if you are counting the regular way, or c) a surprise—it happens tomorrow. If option C presents itself, then I need to be prepared with a “Labor Contingency Plan” according to my online birth coaches. But let’s get real—there are plenty of other things that need to be done besides figuring out who will take the dog, pick up my mail and pack a small hospital bag.

What about hanging up those darn pictures in her room? Or finding an appropriate laundry hamper? Or, stocking the nursery with diapers, wet wipes and good gosh, we haven’t even talked about breast feeding yet. Don’t I need bottles and nipples and a breast pump? A white board to keep track of feedings? Burp clothes and…and…and I have no idea what else.

What I do know is that for every day we avoid thinking about breast feeding and washing those infant sleep-sacks, the crazier-in-the-head I get. Some time quite soon Clint might find that damn white board super-glued to the wall if he doesn’t hang it up with a nail, uh, now.

We also need a NAME. A NAME. A NAME. The name we did pick (OUT OF THE BLUE BY THE WAY) turns out to be THE most popular name of 2010. What? We don’t even know little kids or elementary school teachers. Yeah, we bought name books, but we certainly haven’t read them. So how did we end up picking the number one name of 2010? SO, Clint gets another job—which he’ll no doubt do tomorrow—Pick a new name.

I’m overwhelmed. Today I’m interviewing a new pediatrician (I’ve already fallen out of love with the previous), packing that darn contingency bag, and will attempt to go on a waddle sometime in the afternoon. Or, heck, I might do that tomorrow.

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