Posts Tagged ‘birth’

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!”


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?”


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

“No and no.”

“Have you had any contractions?”


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


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 29

Yes, I can see my own double chin. Thanks for noticing! My profile is now even more displeasing to me. Dear Plastic Surgeons, yes we will be talking soon. I suppose I’m not too surprised to learn that I have ballooned up in two weeks time. I can’t put my finger on the exact meal that did it —of course it’s always a combination of bad choices—but the large plate of tiramisu that I-did-not-share-one-bite-of could have contributed a greater portion of weight gain than my other pleasant selections.

Getting heavier

Getting Heavier!

Six-point-eight-pounds in two weeks. That’s a lot for a momma when you consider that Baby only weighs, maybe 2.5 lbs total at this point. I’ve officially passed up “The Weight That Could Not Be Attained, Ever.”

My mother, upon hearing the news, did a quick grab test. A grab test is a lot like what the wicked witch did to Hansel and Gretel, i.e., stick your finger through the bar and let me see how plump you are! She came away perplexed. “Hmm, you seem pretty solid to me.”

So, I’ve gained weight. I’ve also developed a healthy (?) fear of losing the baby. I can’t get comfortable at night and inevitably end up on my back, exhausted and wet with sweat, wondering if I am cutting off the femoral artery and yet, too tired to turn over again. Add to that a wariness of anything ‘new’. Just lately, I thought I smelled something fishy when I went to the bathroom. I grabbed my pre-natal care Bible and found: dun-dun-dun…nothing. So, I did what any good hypochondriac does, I called the women’s care line immediately.

Secretary: Hi, thanks for calling the women’s care line! I need your name and birth date please and I’ll have a nurse call you back sometime between noon and three.

Me: Oh, hey, that’s not good enough. I want to speak to a nurse now.

Secretary: Is this an emergency?

Me: Maybe…I don’t know.

Secretary: If you think it might be an emergency, you really need to hang up and dial 911.

Me: Wouldn’t it be easier to patch me through to a nurse?

Secretary: That’s not really how we do things here, m’am.

Me: Listen. I’m at the airport (lie) and I’m about to get on a plane (yikes, another lie), and I have no time to wait for her to call me back—I won’t even be able to answer—and this is really, really important. What if I shouldn’t fly today? What then? Find out later; too late? When I’m dead?

Secretary: (BIG EXHALE) Hold on. I’ll try to locate a nurse.

Nurse: Hello, Josie?

Me: Yes! Hi.

Nurse: You have an emergency question?

Me: I smell something fishy.

Nurse: Fishy…like…what?

Me: I don’t know. Fishy. Is that something to worry about?

Nurse: How’s your discharge looking?

Me: Nothing unusual. I don’t really have ‘discharge’.

Nurse: But you smell something “fishy”.

Me: Yea.

Nurse: Okay—Let’s take a look at you when you get back from wherever you are going. When will you be home?

Me: I could probably be home tomorrow. It’s a really quick flight.

Nurse: Uhm, yea…. Okay, Josie. I’ll pencil that in to your 29 week check-up.


So now I’ve been weighed, measured, pronounced fat and am waiting for Dr. S to show up and tell me all about week 29. She arrives full of vim and vigor (love this woman), while clicking a long metal thing together.

“Hi Josie! So, guess who this is?” she holds up a ghastly steel speculum. “It’s Mr. Speculum!”


“I heard you called yesterday, and you said a Magic Word to my nurse. An enchanted word that conjures Mr. Speculum and all his glorious powers. Can you think of the word?”


“No, FISHY! So get up there girl, and let’s take a look!”

Well, it turns out there is nothing fishy whatsoever about me. It’s that dang pregnancy nose again. Anything normal I smell in triplicate. And if you think I’m gross to referring to a woman’s smell as ‘fishy’, I’ll have you know that Richard Burton’s pet name for Elizabeth Taylor was ‘Ocean’…no wonder they were the love of a decade.

Pregnancy nose is a blessing and a curse.  I can’t stand the smell of uncooked poultry. But, I can find an M&M in the bottom of my purse even when I thought I’d eaten them all. No, I’m not planning on gaining six more pounds this week, but two or three couldn’t kill me. Right?

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Week 27

This week’s birthing class taught us about pain medication. Our choices included, spinal,  epidural, or biting down on a stick.  We had a new teacher, as Suzanne was practicing Lamaze breathing techniques at home, days away from her own miraculous baby birth. Our new teacher (RN Kay) is a firecracker. She might just talk faster than the guy on the micro-machine commercials when we were eight! She ripped through that pain med booklet like a warm knife through butter. Or should I say, a small but very long needle through my spinal column. OMG.

It seems that heading into my third trimester is causing me a little more stress than anticipated. I expected that those first three months would be the worst. But after six months of waiting, body changes and lifestyle upheaval—this had better go right.  My worries center around safety in the now, and the actual birth decision-making timeline. For example, when is it too late to rush into a caesarian? Why can’t they better estimate the size of the baby v. the size of my vagina? How will we determine if I am just too small?

Add to these worries the fact that today I leave for a three-day trip half-way across the United States with my mother-in-law.  Nervous isn’t the right word.  If I were merely nervous, I wouldn’t be sitting here in my pajamas at the computer wasting valuable packing time a few hours before take-off. I’m beyond nervous, just short of scared shitless. You know, that in-between stage where one believes they can stop time with mind power.  First of all, this is HER trip. We’re going to see HER friends and HER favorite museums and we are staying in HER favorite hotel IN ONE ROOM. The pressure is mounting. Up until now I have safely protected myself with short 4 hour visits—and I can control myself for four hours. I can behave like a princess for 4 hours. I can even hold a pretty tight intellectual repartee for that long.

Three days, however, is a totally different story. In three days I can guarantee you I will need to fart pretty loud at some point. It’s not a matter of holding it in and being courteous. When you are pregnant, it is only a matter of time. Due to the proximity of our living arrangements, I foresee at least 3 humiliating episodes.  After all, I woke myself up snoring last night, and I DO NOT SNORE. I also screamed in my sleep and woke-up Clint. I had a bad dream that our puppy was taking a pee in the middle of my new comforter. True Story.

My fears of un-stoppable body-function humiliation are justified. Why, just yesterday I was discussing finances with Clint when I leaned over the table to make a point and belched so loud I thought my brother was in the room. I didn’t even see that one coming!

In short, my body is no longer my own. Adalia-Lucia-Harlow-Piper has taken me captive. She even has me stressing out this morning about kick-counts. Ever the active-baby, she hasn’t kicked me yet this morning and now I’m worried.  I did wake up on my back.

“Ahhh,” says my mother, “This is just the beginning. Wait until she’s actually visable. Then you’ll worry.”

 The positive take-away in all this is that I have time to think and plan for the birth. I love to plan. I love to run through the possibilities in my mind before I encounter them in reality—then the “unexpected” isn’t so bad. I’ve already been there.  So when I start to have unbearable contractions, I can say with confidence, “Throw that freakin’ stick out the window and gimme a needle!”

Sadly, I have no more time to plan for what’s coming this weekend. It’s here. And I have to go. Now.

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Registered Nurse Suzanna showed us a picture of a placenta in class this week. A big, blobby, bloody placenta. Clint nearly threw-up and swore he would now only consider being a “northern territory coach,”, period. He would help me with breathing, but he would not be around for the release of the “mucus plug” or the massaging of the fundus. Speaking of which, who knows what these things are? I look around the class and everyone is nodding. Like they really know.

The fact is, none of this is common knowledge! Since when did our health teachers mention “lochia” in fifth grade? Which makes me think—if they DID mention lochia and mucus plugs—how many premature sex-capades could have been avoided in high school? It’s apparent to me that most of these couples in class are simply nodding to avoid asking the embarrassing questions. I do not fit in this category.


“So, uh, Nurse Suzanna— I understand there is an umbilical cord connected to the baby—obvious, right? But once you cut the cord, what happens to the other end?” I am picturing myself having to wind this thing up into a little looped ball and stick it in my underpants until it shrinks or something. I’m grossing myself out. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out where that thing goes.


“Well, Josie (because she always uses my name in class), the cord is connected to the placenta. And the placenta is birthed out of your vagina once we massage the fundus.”

“What is a fundus?”

RN Suzanna was looking at me like I’m the strange one. And everyone in class is twittering, or completely silent, one or the other. Clint, is leaning forward though. He wants to know what this fundus is and who is going to massage it, exactly.

    “The fundus is the top of the uterus where the placenta is connected.”

Ha. I lean back in my seat. Nobody could have guessed that.

I woke up this morning with quite a sore throat. And I’m a little worried. Getting the nursery done, swelling feet, and back-aches don’t quite compare to the apprehensive fear I have of being sick and unable to self-medicate. No DayQuil? What am I going to do? So far, I’ve put away half a gallon of orange juice and stayed home with the puppy. She’s happy to bring in a dead mouse and mouth it around a bit in front of me. I run around the house to chase her down until I’m winded and realize that the days of “taking it easy” are over. I’m big; my boobs are huge; and I’m tired.

I wish someone would massage my fundus.

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