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Posts Tagged ‘pregnancy’


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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Well, I’m sure everyone is wondering what transpired over my three-day sojourn with mother-in-law Nadine. I arrived in Chicago all plump and gaseous (that’s air travel for you), made my way through the airport, security, baggage claim, and van transport using every feminine wile available to me through pregnancy. [FYI: it does not work on United Airlines corporate, their employees, or baggage handlers.]

rocking chair

 

Nadine had arranged for us a suite at the Hilton downtown. It was, in one word, Amazing. As were the next three days of flushing money down the toilet. Not my money, mind you (fifty dollars in quarters would have stopped any good commode) but the bajillions hiding discreetly in her tiny leather wallet. I guess I shouldn’t say there was “flushing” or “toilets” per se—that’s fairly indiscreet— however, I have never imbibed in so many glorious events in months, let alone days.

I did my best to keep up both physically and mentally; she is after all, a top-notch criminal defense attorney. I mentioned her pedigree to a fellow air passenger and he said, “Wait, wait. Let me describe her.”

“Okay…”

“She’s on the short side,” he said, “with a square face and a likewise short, severe brunette bob.”

“Do you know her?” I asked, astounded.

“I’m not done,” he said. “She is slight of build, skinny as a rail, and wears expensive suits made by Dior and Ferrangamo.”

“Are you gay and you know her?” I asked, clearly impressed.

“Nope.” He said. “I’m an optical engineer. Straight, nerdy and taking dance lessons at the local community college. But I’ve met the type.”

I did really well for the first two days. I had composure. I did not wear my tennis shoes. I curled my hair each morning and wore perfume. But I felt the threads of decency unraveling that third morning. I was coming apart at the seams.

Roused at 6:30 for the requisite coffee and scone, I felt the effects of seven months of pregnancy coupled with two nights of six-hour sleeps. I can only say that Kindess and Decorum were taken out of my royal title. Instead, my crown read: Josie Strung-out Angry and Irritable.

When Nadine wanted to buy the $2700 fur stole as a fun memento of our trip, I should have said, “Oh, wow! That’s beautiful! Go for it!” Instead, Josie Strung-out Angry and Irritable blurted, “If my kid burps-up broccolini on your shoulder while you are wearing that, I’m not paying for dry cleaning.”

Obviously, I needed a nap.

Asking for a nap, however, proved in many ways, fruitless. I don’t have the same easy rapport with Nadine that I share with my mother or Clint. I could tell them I was taking a break and not to bother me for at least an hour, maybe two. But how do you say that to your mother-in-law? Especially when she wants to take you to the Chicago Cubs game where she has reserved two seats in the mayor’s box and purchased champagne buffet tickets to boot?

In any event, I was relieved to go home just in time to attend the very last Birth Class at the hospital. Here it was okay to groan in agony as the baby kicked you in the ribs.  I could stretch out my legs and complain of my aching shoulder muscles. I yawned without covering my mouth.  And our classmates were equally impressed with the cafeteria cookies as they were with Kay’s final exciting tour through the birthing suites upstairs.

I’m not sure which environment fits me best. I could be swayed.  Opera, Ballet, Nordstrom and Fine Art have obvious benefits, but I wonder if these ornaments of grandeur will be lost on a postpartum first-time mom. While others will be wondering whether a rabbit or fox swing coat goes best with platform Louboutins, I will be watching carefully for the “passing of a fleshy dot larger than a lemon,” and or, “putrid smelling lochia”. Both captivating prospects.

POST SCRIPT: Weigh-in before trip: 158.2 lbs. Weigh-in after trip: 164.8 lbs. YIKES!

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I don’t know how I expected pregnancy to feel, but it feels like nothing. Years ago, I experimented with one birth control pill after another. Each came with crippling side effects. Some of the first dealt a hand of overwhelming depression. While we were planning our wedding, I dealt with bouts of depression coupled with unexplainable anger. I was angry with Clark, and to be more precise, his penis. His penis was the reason I was walking around like a zombie. His penis was the reason I couldn’t seem to get myself out of bed and meet with the musicians. His penis was the reason my mom, instead of me, picked our wedding music. Clark called these retreats into darkness “the bat cave.” Each time I entered “the bat cave” we tried a different pill.

Later pills left me feeling nauseous, achy, tired, and irritable. When I threw up at work all over my brand new Taryn Rose shoes, that was the last straw. We kissed the pill good bye and went back to good old condoms.

Unlike the pill, pregnancy feels like nothing. I’m reading all of the websites. Early signs of pregnancy include: tender breasts, implantation bleeding, fatigue, and nausea. I wait for my symptoms to start.

About a week after I took my first pregnancy test, I start spotting again. I scour the websites for information. This is too late to be implantation bleeding. Spotting may be normal. But just to be safe, I take a second pregnancy test: +. Still pregnant. Is paranoia an early symptom of pregnancy?

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How reliable is this test?

Yet another vacation on my period.  This time we’re camping.  I actually can’t think of a more inconvenient time to be bleeding than in the middle of nowhere with only an outhouse.  At least I have that.  And I’m not exactly bleeding yet.  I’m spotting.  I text my mom: “Started my period. No baby this month.”

As we unpack the car, I’m confused.  I haven’t touched the tampons.  Did I really need to change my minipad?  It looks like I may have stopped spotting.  My cycle has been so confused.  Maybe this is an extra long month? 

Over the next few days, time marches on.  It’s the end of August and school starts in a few days.  Soon I’ll be back in the classroom discussing Of Mice and Men and grading papers.  I should be temporarily distracted from my period confusion but I’m not.  Instead, I’m unable to focus on the upcoming school year.  I’ve been having periods for almost twenty years now.  So why can’t I tell if I’m having one now?

Josie suggests that I might be pregnant.  “Just buy a pregnancy test,” she tells me.  “Then at least you’ll know.” 

The thought of buying a pregnancy test scares me.  Several years ago I bought one when we had a little scare.  Or rather, I sent Clark to buy one.  I was so relieved when the test was negative, but I just didn’t believe it.  Instead of feeling relieved, I still waited anxiously for my period to start. 

I sent Clark to the store again.  This time, the test is positive.  I venture just a little bit of excitement.  I call my mom.  I text Josie: +.  And I wait, nervous that my period will start and this will all be a mistake.   

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Finding friends in mom groups can be hard!

It must have been the breast milk.

My mom must have spiked my first meals with potent, fire-tinged incendiary genes because I just can’t seem to get along with the good, meek girls. I’m trying, I really am. I signed up for the Mother’s Equipped class at my church and showed up on-time ready to make new friends and learn how to be a good mom. But I guess I didn’t show up early enough. These women were so docile, I think they took a few Valiums before my arrival. I, on the other hand, was on a caffeine-infused mission—to get in there, make new friends, and find out what being a mom was all about!

Well, according to this group, being a mom is messy—but you still have time to do your hair nice and wear a smart-looking cardigan. Being a mom is also a time for deep meditation, where you perfect the “aahm” of life. In public, you are calm. Collected. Cool.

We had cookies and donuts (regular mom fare, I guess) and then were forced to participate in an ice-breaker. All thirty of us had to sit in a circle and tell each other a cute story about what went on before we arrived at class this morning.  Tentatively, and in very quiet voices (“inside voices”) we were entertained by stories of yogurt, multi-grain cheerios, and poopy diapers. Sadly, I had no child outside of the womb—and they all new it—so I couldn’t embellish any really entertaining story for their listening pleasure.

Instead, I fantasized about standing up in the middle of their hushed and too-warm meeting and yelling out words like, “VAGINA!” and “ERECTION!” just to see what would happen. Since when does going to church turn you into a boring person? I also thought about asking them to describe their vaginal birth stories. Wouldn’t that have been a more interesting ice breaker?

After all, I just had to watch three vag-births on a 10x10ft screen at the hospital last night. Now that is something to talk about. Even the dad’s were impressively grossed out. Class consensus: if school officials had shown these videos before the Home Coming dance, the vast majority of seniors would have returned home sober virgins.

My experience this morning has encouraged me in one way, though. I am going to start my own Mommy Class. It will be a very exciting class. We will not bring our children to the meetings, unless they are there for our entertainment. Maybe we could arrange relay races for moms and babies—like, how fast can you get your child to run around the room, scream at the top of his lungs and knock down a pile of cups? We will be greeted at the door with loud raucous music that declares, “YEA! ZEST FOR LIFE!”, and we will eat meat products, chips and dip. No cardigans will be allowed in the building.  If you would like to sign up, just drop me a line.

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I'm learning all about pregnancy while on a run with a friend. Normal, right?

The nip in the air suggests that August is slowly giving way to September.  Sarah and I are sneaking in a late summer run on our favorite trail.  Sarah’s chatting away.  “I think I’ll start trying in January even though I hope I get pregnant in the summer.  I think I’m going to have problems.” 

I nod, trying to focus on what she’s saying.  Trying six months before you want to get pregnant fits with the six month average, but it seems awfully risky to me.

“You guys are already trying, right?”

“Yes, we started in June right after I signed up for NEA short term disability.  I really hope I get pregnant this month, because then I’ll have the baby in May.  I’ll get almost four whole months before school starts.”  Sarah and I are both teachers.  For the past few months we’ve been sharing our pregnancy research with each other our runs. 

“I’m so glad you got the short term disability.  My friend said the extra money really came in handy.”

“It was such a pain, but I finally found some.  You definitely need to sign up for it during open insurance enrollment in September.”  Our school district allows employees to change insurance and sign up for new insurance at the beginning of every school year.  Last September I didn’t really know about the wonders of short term disability.  It was only recently when Clark and I seriously began to think about getting pregnant that I discovered that it covered pregnancy.  Normally it has to be purchased through an employer.  It took me a long time, but I finally found a policy offered through the National Education Association.  “The weird thing about the NEA insurance is that when I got the actual policy, it says that I have to use all of my sick time first.  I need to call and ask.  Isn’t it wise to save some sick time?  Isn’t that why I bought the policy?  What if the baby gets sick?”

Sarah nods her head.  “Maybe you should cancel it and stop trying until you can buy it through the district.”

“No.”  I’m adamant.  “That means we’d have to wait until November.  It would throw my whole plan off.  I really want to have the baby in early summer.” 

Sarah nods sympathetically.  Sometimes planning your life around the school year sucks.

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Nothing is getting in the way of making a baby tonight!

I’ve always been under the impression that men want lots of sex all the time.  And while Clark pretty much wants sex ten times more than I do, even he has his limits. 

Trying to make a baby ain’t for the faint of heart.  Long day at work?  Too bad.  Have a head ache?  Don’t care.  Feeling fat?  We’ll cover you up.  Hungry?  Guess you should have eaten lunch. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to suck it up and make a baby.  So why is it that when he isn’t in the mood, I have to suck it up and put on a show?

I’ve been counting carefully and I know that today is THE DAY.  When Clark begins his story about the terrible contractor, I get annoyed.  “This guy changed his mind four times and then lied when I showed him the paperwork.”  

I try to listen patiently.  I nod my head. “Yes, I think you did the right thing.”  A sympathetic smile.  “That was the perfect reply.”  And then coyly (at least so I thought), “I know what will make you feel better.” 

“Annie, I’m not in the mood.” 

“What? What! WHAT!!!”

Dear God, I pulled out all of the stops.  I donned my most attractive, most uncomfortable lingerie.  And then I gave him the world’s longest back massage. “There’s no pressure, honey.  I just want to make you feel better,” I cooed.  But we both knew that one way or another, we were going to make a baby.

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