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Archive for the ‘Conception Through Birth’ Category


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Week 33

A few weeks ago during our child and labor classes, Clint and I learned what a Fundus was—as well as the importance of massaging it “out” after birth. Well, the lessons on massage aren’t over yet. This week, I was informed that it was time to start massaging my perineum. Perineum? Don’t know what that is either? Ask a guy in college. Apparently, it’s also called “the taint”, and is part of both female and male anatomy. The Taint is the part of the body between the vagina (or penis) and the anus.

            Before pregnancy, massage was something I really looked forward to. Relaxing island music, a candle-lit room, warm sheets and soothing lotions defined “massage” in my world. But now, nurses and informational websites are telling me that either myself or my husband should start stretching and massaging my taint in order to make the birthing process easier and avoid any perineal tearing. Honestly, I don’t know which sounds worse to me: attempting to teach my husband how to massage that area correctly, or letting it rip during birth. It’s a tough call.

            I have learned that the birthing process nowadays has eliminated the feminine mystery. Husbands are now so hands-on, informed, and in-the-room that they no longer are sheltered from the blood-and-guts portion of the miracle of life. How many husbands fifty years ago were out elk hunting when baby Robert came into the world? And when they arrived home, they held little Bobby in the baby blue blanket and smoked a cigar with their buddies at the office. They didn’t see the fundus, Robert’s cone-shaped head, or the creamy goo caked over his body. They were not instructed to trim their nails and head down-under for some good ‘ol perineum massaging. Rather, they were allowed to imagine a silk-robed, hair-coiffed goddess giving birth to their prince-like son in a cloud of white starched sheets and pillows, angelic music playing in the background. Which I happen to think is a very nice image to leave with them!

            So…despite the many mid-wives and websites training men to explore this sacred taint area, I have decided to ignore that advice and shelter my dear Clint from any more unnecessary destruction of the Goddess imaging. I really prefer that he think of me as the most heavenly of creatures—cute, put-together, and able-bodied. Even if in the throws of Northern Territory Coaching he may hear me say one or two expletives. Even a Goddess couldn’t prevent THAT.

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Week 32

It’s official–I’m eight months along! Seems like just yesterday that I found out I was pregnant and I went into denial. But now, there is simply no room for denial. Nope. I can feel this little girl growing bigger inside me daily. My breasts and belly have exceeded any size expectations I had in the beginning.

This week also marked me getting very, very ill— and there is nothing that I know of that can be worse than being pregnant and sick at the same time. You certainly can’t pull off cute, that’s for sure.

See, being this big has put a certain damper on love with the husband. Sex would be nice, but how do you do it? Okay, you can do it, but it’s a lot more scientific than wild and crazy.  But you want to make sure that your man isn’t feeling left out or unloved while you grow his baby, and that you are still the girlfriend he remembers wanting to have a baby with…so what do you do?

I resorted to typing dirty text messages to him while he was at work. “Ooh, baby, guess who’s in bed and ready for action?” and “Hurry home for afternoon delight”… I even tried to post a few lusty photos of my gargantuan boobies, but erased them quickly when I saw how veiny and bulbous they looked on screen.  Half of me wanted him to get so excited that he came home immediately—like in the movies. But the more rational side of me thought, Geeze, hope he doesn’t take me up on this ‘cause I look like crap and I just hocked up a loogie the size of a gumball.

 

According to Clint, it wasn’t that I was sick or untempting that kept him away—duty called at work—but he did like the text messages none-the-less.

Phew. Dodged that bullet.

Meanwhile I lay here in bed; sweats and chills alternating, breathing shallowly through my mouth and trying to find a position that opens the nasal cavities. How are you supposed to rest when you can’t breath? If I’m on my side, everything drains to that side—obviously, I need to lie on my back. But what about the baby? I suffer through guilt, fear and self-loathing. I call girlfriends and leave voice-mails in a cracking-high-pitched voice and watch snippets of Oprah and the Doctors. I watch the clock. I eat cookies. I play three games of Scrabble by myself. Finally, I drift off to sleep somewhere between a re-run of Friends and the five o’clock news. Clint finds me sprawled out in the middle of our bed, wet with sweat, drool running down the side of my face into the pillow case and snoring.

Oh how he must love me.

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