Saturday, June 30, 2007

And The Story Begins (Birth Story Pt. I)

Due to both time and memory constraints, I'm sure I'll have to write this down in pieces, but before the recall gets even fuzzier, I'll embark on ...

The Birth Story
Part One

Monday was a conflicted and emotional day. After starting the midwife appointment thinking we were about to induce then leaving Ike's with a bottle of castor oil and a complete change of plans, I spent the evening trying to step back and relax, consider my options, and take a night just to rest without worrying about what would happen next.

Anyone else hear the whistle of the Irony Express?

I went to bed around 11pm, feeling nothing physically stronger than my usual fatigue. But then I woke up about an hour later. And then ten minutes after that. And ten minutes after that. Still not convinced I was breaking out of the pre-labor pattern, I fought to go back to sleep, but then at 1am I got the, "No, seriously" call from my uterus. Contractions were five minutes apart and after another half-hour, I couldn't lie down and be still during them. I got up and watched the clock for another twenty minutes or so and then woke up The Admiral at 2am.

Since she had the furthest distance to drive, I called Andrea first. She answered the phone excitedly and asked, "Is it time?" It was thrilling to be able to finally say yes. She said she'd call Amy and head right over.

The Admiral was off to a slightly groggier start than I was. Maybe it was all the false alarms, or perhaps just the 97 minutes of sleep he was running on, but it took several reminders to get a pot of coffee made for the midwives (and him). He was in gear after about ten minutes, though, and we both spent the next hour puttering around, picking up the house, lighting candles, picking out music and contracting every 3-5 minutes (that was just me).

Miss M woke up and stumbled into our room, but The Admiral scooped her up and got her back into bed without incident. We kept an ear open for her moving around, but she didn't seem to be aware of the activity around her. The dog, on the other hand, was no further than ten feet away from me throughout the entire process.

When Andrea arrived around 3:15, we were in a very peaceful yet productive mode. I was resting between contractions, rocking back and forth to Julie London, and then up and circling the dining room table when they hit. The repetitive movement was my primary motivation, but it was also an instinctive desire to get away from everyone and into a dark, quiet room. Andrea checked my blood pressure and the baby's heart rate and position and said we looked to be in good shape all around.

Amy rolled up about 4am, and she and Andrea set about getting things prepared. It didn't occur to me how much stuff they'd show up with, and it was pretty cool to see how they'd organized a mobile birthing center into a couple carry-on bags. They both quickly adapted to the mood of the house and, although they did their work and carried on conversations, they moved and spoke smoothly and quietly, never interfering with my own rhythm.

As the morning rolled on, The Admiral asked if we should wake Cha Cha up. I said no, since I didn't see much need for her to sit around and watch me hurt. I also figured it would be better for her to get as much rest as possible before Miss M arose and she had to entertain her for an indefinite period of time, even though I was thinking we wouldn't have all that much longer to go.

Turns out, this was a good call.

Continue to Part 2.

Friday, June 29, 2007

My Mind Is On The Blink

The gentlemen may want to avert their eyes.

I just went to the bathroom (see, I mean it, look away!) and discovered that I've spent the last few hours wearing a pad with the adhesive wings still folded up in the middle. With the paper on.

Maybe I'm more tired than I thought.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Child Of Nature

I'm working on the birth story, I swear, but in the meantime, I just wanted to make note of what's been going on the last couple days. Going backwards, since my brain may or may not make it back two days.

Andrea came by today to do Mr. A's newborn screening stuff, including the PKU test that requires a heel stick. Generally just one stick, but because he's got his mother's thick Nordic blood, it took three jabs to get all the samples she needed. He was understandably pissed off about the whole deal, but handled it pretty well and settled quickly into a defensive nap when it was done. That gave us time to talk about how things were going and get some clarification on birth details that we hadn't absorbed at the time. (I don't want to spoil the birth story, but the words "long arc rotation" came up.) We also talked about the general amazement that comes from a natural, non-interventionist birth. I don't discredit the amazement of any birth, but there's something incomparable about trusting your body and the baby's inherent needs to get through a process that seems, from a logical standpoint, nearly impossible.

Andrea also admitted that, when she examined me at my first non-stress test, she was concerned about A's position. My OB had reported that he was at -1 station, but she could still plainly feel him floating around, and that made her worry that he was moving so much he might be getting tangled in the cord. She also saw some vaariables on the monitor that made her suspect the same thing. So when things occurred the way they did during labor, she was prepared and supportive and allowed for the time we needed to make things work. (Yep, just building more suspense for the full birth story.)

Anyway, after all that chatting and a discussion with my mom about their mutual love of Arabian horses, Andrea was on her way. A has been nursing and resting his sore little foot ever since, while the rest of us are gearing up to see Pops, who is making yet another voyage to see us, this time coming upriver from New Orleans to spend about 30 hours in town just to see his grandson.

Other than that, not much else of outside interest to report. Much sleeping, some crying, a general dissatisfaction with the non-tube digestive process that resulted in a 3am half-dose of Gripe Water (that stuff really works; good thing I know where to get some). Sleep has been decent, but I'm not taking these first couple days as any clear indicator of future behavior. Nursing is ... going. After nearly three years of nursing and four years of breastfeeding support groups, I of course expected to be Queen Nurser of Boobville, but apparently the boy has plans to undermine me. His latch is pretty amateurish and every feeding is a struggle to get both of his hands away from his face and his mouth positioned correctly, which takes about two more hands than I was endowed with.

Speaking of needing more hands, Cha Cha was just blessed with a pooped out diaper, so I should probably go help with that. Or at least stand by helpfully and point to the wet wipes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cute Cute Little Baby

Click the pic for more, including the back labor badge of honor.

Happiness Runs In A Circular Motion

We did it.

Seven days of pre-labor, twelve hours of the real kind, four hours of pushing and he's here. Abraham Dallas Secretagentlastname. All 8 lbs, 21 inches of him. Born at home, as planned but very much not, at 11:17 am on Tuesday, June 26.

All the very descriptive details and many pictures to follow, but I was just allowed to get back on the laptop and I have much catching up to do (including uploading said pictures). Our big thanks to everyone who has checked in, online and in 3-D. We're all doing great, with varying degrees of physical recovery time ahead.

Monday, June 25, 2007

There's Something Happening Here

People, I'd put your money on this Tuesday ...

Rockin In Two By Two

The upside: he's down.

The downside: he's up.

The non-stress test went fine this morning - very good, even. He's doing great in there. But, as we approach Week 42, we started talking about castor oil induction as the best way to get labor to go from neutral to drive (and stay there). Amy seemed confident that a boost like that would really get things moving. So to speak.

She asked if I wanted to do an exam, and because I'm such a fan of statistics, I said sure. Turned out to be a good call, because we discovered that he's moved down to zero station - so low she could actually touch his head. (This prompted the suggestion that I might want to skip the full-term-action component of Induction Step #3.) I'm a little more dilated, too - about 3cm now. So it was very encouraging to find out that something is happening, even if it's slowly.

However, the little bugger is posterior. Or was at 10:30 this morning, anyway. Which apparently explains the start-and-stop labor. I guess it's a lot more womb-agitating for him to be face-up.

We left the midwives' office with me planning to start the CO induction early tomorrow morning, but then when I was at Ike's getting all the needed supplies, I got a call from Andrea. Based on the NST and exam, and the fact that we may be a week off with my dates (um, better to know now than never, I guess), she didn't feel like there was any big rush to try to induce. Amy called shortly afterward and said basically the same thing. I think they both wanted to stress that I shouldn't, well, stress. Which, despite what you've all been wallowing through for the last two weeks, is my inclination as well. I'm tired of the waiting, obviously, and extremely eager to meet the little man, but I don't feel like there's something wrong that needs fixing. I still feel confident that he'll come when the time is right.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go do my cow-cat tilts and child poses and send a constant stream of mental "roll over!" messages to my belly.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Nothing Happening, It's All Illusion


Not after a nesting spree this morning, nor a 2-hour nap battle with Miss M this afternoon, nor a relaxed home-cooked meal this evening.


We ended up canceling the non-stress test on Saturday because the ultrasound had gone so well, but I was instructed to go in tomorrow "if nothing happens before then." I'm going to have to think of a way to make people stop saying that.

On the plus side, I think everyone in the house has reached a point where any anxiety about birth, or homebirth specifically, has been waylaid by eagerness. Both The Admiral and Cha Cha have long expressed their concerns about this plan, and even though they both came to support my decision, I know there were still reservations. But now? Whatever. They just want this baby out. I don't think they'd mind if I delivered in the driveway.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tired Of Living This Old Way

Nothing to report, really. Just feel like I need to keep posting regularly so that no one assumes I'm doing anything else.

We had a nice evening of overpriced chicken and inappropriate dinner conversation at Castilo Urf! last night. Remind me to add "mass pity" to the list of things that don't effectively induce labor, but it was a very pleasant couple hours of semi-distraction. We let Cha Cha off the monkey-hook for the night, which worked out just fine. Miss M was so excited to see her friends that she didn't eat or stop running the entire time we were there.

Right now we're trying to figure out how to entertain M through another disgustingly hot day and keep her out of the Futon Construction Zone so Cha Cha doesn't have to keep sleeping on the coffee table The Admiral got out of a dumpster. We're scheduled to go in for another non-stress test at 2:30 this afternoon. Depending on schedule and general well-being after that point, we could be heading eastward for a Chockleyblogbirthday party, or I could be curling up on the couch and banging my head into the no longer needed coffee table. (Yes, that's my passive-aggressive way of telling the Chockleyblogs that our attendance is still up in the ultra-pregnant air.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Same As It Ever ... Was

What's the sound of exhaustion and frustration that comes after "sigh"?

The highlight of my Thursday was going to pre-natal yoga. Nothing makes you feel like a super-gravid badass like walking into class 41 weeks pregnant and in your third day of labor. The looks and sounds of amazement when I showed up were a much-needed boost.

Class seemed to help, too. After I got home, I started noticing regular contractions again. I didn't time them until after I put Miss M to bed, and then I noticed that they were coming every ... ten minutes! Heyo! I made sure the pattern was holding and then told Cha Cha and The Admiral (who already suspected based on the firm look passing across my face). I kept putting off calling the midwives until I was really, really sure it was staying steady, which meant I ended up waking Amy up at midnight. There still wasn't a ton of intensity to the contractions, and the length was still between 30-60 seconds, but it appeared to be a good, and real, start. Amy said to call back if anything happened - water breaking, span getting shorter or length increasing - and get some rest in the meantime. Which, amazingly, I did. I was excited and optimistic and ready to finally - FINALLY - get things going, but I was also really tired from the three days of constant low-grade activity, so I fell asleep almost immediately.

And then woke up an hour later to Miss M screaming. From her wet bed. The Admiral got up and dealt with getting her cleaned up, and then she crawled into bed with us. On the exact night I was really, really hoping she'd stay in her room and sleep until 8am. I had a surprisingly easy time getting back to to sleep, though, and she actually stayed quiet until 7:45, so it wasn't as rough a night as it could have been.

No, the roughness waited until morning. Waking up and having it hit me, yet again, that another day had passed without having this baby was enough to set off another crying jag. Another day's worth of frustration, worry and disappointment rolled out of me all at once. After a group family hug and some breakfast (we have had two containers of milk expire since my due date, for the record), I was feeling together enough to call Andrea and get the details for the ultrasound/amniotic fluid level test she wanted me to have this morning. It's not so much out of her own concern, but just following the ACOG guidelines in deference to my OB. I'm not really looking forward to spending half the day in a waiting room, but it might be nice to get a good look in there and some assurance that the little guy is doing okay. I could use some good stuff about now.

Update: The ultrasound went smoothly (and surprisingly quickly for a walk-in visit). The baby is doing great and my fluid levels were right on. We snuck a peek at the sonographer's screen when she left the room and it had an estimated fetal weight of 8lbs 4oz, which I don't take as absolute fact but which does coincide with my belief that I've got an 8-pounder in there.

I had a whole different kind of teary outburst when the technician showed us his face. It's a very big change from the alien-baby view you get at 18 weeks. I could discern his features, and see him doing baby things like swallowing and clasping his fingers. It really emphasized what I've been feeling the last couple weeks - I don't even know this baby yet, but damn do I miss him.

Since the ultrasound went so quickly, and happily, we decided to have a quiet, parents-only lunch. We went for Thai and I actually ordered something with a "spicy" asterisk next to it. Plus pineapples. Just so I can cross two more things off of my "stuff that's supposed to cause labor but really doesn't" list.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ask Him How Much Of Your Mind, Baby

Well, on the plus side, the vomiting has stopped. Miss M seems to have expelled whatever was troubling her (which we suspect was a belly full of allergy-induced drainage) and spent the rest of the morning eating her weight in breakfast foods.

On the other side ... well, you know this story already. There did seem to be a little activity going on while we were walking around downtown in the mid-day heat, and even a bit when I was sitting quietly in the car, but nothing since we got home an hour ago.

In other fake-out news, Pops called to tell us he was going to fly back down tomorrow night. Woo hoo! And there was much jubilation! But then he called back half an hour later and said he couldn't make it because he got the dates for the Gay Pride Parade off a week. Don't ask.

I was looking at the midwives' call schedule for the month and noticed that today is the summer solstice, so now I'm actually rooting for the kid to come out in the next nine hours. It just seems really fitting that he would emerge on the longest day of the year. I also observed that today is the first day of Cancer's astrological rule. I guess he really didn't want to be a Gemini. As if it wasn't bad enough that he didn't come out on Prince's actual birthday, thwarting my plans to let The Admiral name him Nelson (after Lord Horatio, he would assume) but not tell him why.

Nothing Lasts Forever

Contractions? What contractions?

Nothing at all going on this morning. Not a freaking thing. The baby's moving around just fine, but all labor-related activity seems to have come to a halt. A big, fat, embarrassing, crazy-making halt.

On the plus side, sleeping on a vinyl tablecloth for two nights did pay off when Miss M threw up all over our bed this morning. She's been retching up the meager contents of her stomach for the last two hours. I'm wondering if it's at all related to the nausea I felt Tuesday night, the nausea I optimistically chalked up to hormone stirrings. She's tentatively working her way through breakfast, with the puke bucket close at hand. Since she's off school today, we'd planned a day of distracting activities, but I have a feeling we're not going to get much further than the couch I've been orbiting for the last three days.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tell Me Lies

I've been lied to.

Second babies don't come sooner. Second babies don't come faster. In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that second babies come at all.


Cha Cha and I walked around the mall this afternoon, hoping that the combination of movement and adorable baby clothes would kick up some activity, but to no avail. She and The Admiral picked M up from school again and swept her off to the library until dinnertime so I could get some rest, but that didn't do much, either. I stopped even looking at the clock or, really, even noting when I was having contractions at all, but since I've started paying attention again, I've timed them at 20 minutes. When they bother to come at all. So ... we're actually going backwards. Awesome.

At the appointment today, Andrea mentioned that we'd need to talk about our 42-week plan the next time we meet. I appreciate that she hasn't breathed a word about induction, homeopathic or otherwise, before now. With Miss M, I think my OB was already itching to do something when I came in at 40 weeks. But it's still discouraging to know there's a general feeling that this baby has no clear intention of coming out on his own. I know it's irrational, and I also know it's really common, but as we head into Day Three of Fake-Out Labor, with all the physical and emotional fatigue that entails, it's hard to have faith that it's ever going to happen.

But everyone says it will, and that's the one thing I need to believe.

Testing 1, 2, 3

Whoever named it a "non-stress test" doesn't know anything about Minnesotans, because sitting in a small room while a bunch of people look at you is about as stressful as it gets for my people. Nevertheless, the babe and I did fine. My contractions slowed to every 20 minutes while everyone was staring at me, but the midwives were impressed by their intensity considering I'd been rating them very low, discomfort-wise. The kid was handling them well, though. He just hasn't gotten himself into position to make use of them. Which they said is very normal for not-first babies. Apparently they don't usually slide into place until the contractions reach a stronger, less latent phase of labor. Thus explaining why I'm still at the exact same stage of dilation that I was four weeks ago, even though my cervix is, as Andrea said, "like soft butter." It's just going to take pressure from someone's seemingly stubborn head to open it up.

They've got me scheduled for another NST on Saturday, if he's still not here. Maude help us.

There's Got To Be A Morning After

Did anyone else hear that noise this morning? The sound of a dozen cell phones being picked up and checked for new messages? Just me, huh?

Well, to hit everyone at once, the update is: no update. I slept tolerably well, getting up the normal number of times. I was awake from about 4-5am and clocked my contractions at about 13 minutes apart, and since getting up at 7:30 they seem to be a little bit closer, but nothing dramatically different. Of course, the distraction of getting M ready for school may have had something to do with that.

I spoke to Andrea around 8:15, when I realized today was our regular appointment. She said to come on in, and since I'm at 41 weeks, they're going to do a non-stress test as well as check the little man's position to make sure a posterior presentation isn't what's causing the ... leisureliness.

I'm trying to stay non-stressed myself, but it's hard to stop worrying that The Hammer Guy may be considering a trade-up for a scalpel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Into The Night

Part One

So here we are, twelve hours later, pretty much in the same spot. Contractions are still 15 minutes apart, or so I assume, since I've been dealing with Miss M's bedtime routine (voluntarily) for the last couple hours and haven't really had a chance to time them.

I spent a good chunk of the afternoon alone, relaxing, hydrating and power-napping. The crew returned home with my Camy's take-out around 6:30. Cha Cha and M were off playing for a while, then joined me in the kitchen for a pre-bath Play-Doh party. She (the child) was being unusually cooperative, actually heeding time limits on playtime and bathtime. It was ominous, really. We got through a few books, including our homebirth picture book, just fine, but when the lights went down, the monkey emerged. When I reached the limit of my patience and could no longer communicate in calm, baby-soothing tones, The Admiral stepped in, gallantly abandoning the season finale of Deadliest Catch to help get her down.

Aaaand that's about it for now. When I last spoke to Andrea, around 4:30, she said to give her a call when my contractions got longer than a minute and/or less than 10 minutes apart, which looks like it won't be happening anytime before midnight. If at all. Maybe I'm gestating a practical joker with a very acute sense of timing.

Part Two

Took The Admiral up on his suggestion of another walk, which got contractions going between 7-11 minutes apart and lasting almost a minute. Stopped by the apartments behind our house to hear and witness the loudest group of mating toads ever. Had another shower when we got back, changed into pajamas and, at 10:38 pm, broke into Birth Bag #1 to make up the bed. Had a few contractions somewhere in there but didn't notice the clock. Cha Cha just took her crossword into the office/guest suite, The Admiral is lining up his last snack of the day, and I'm planning to roll into bed right after The Colbert Report. Good night, y'all.

The Final Countdown (?)

Hmmm. Looks like I may have been a Tuesday off ...

Hm? What? More details? Oh, okay.

The morning got off to a fairly normal start. Miss M crawled into our bed at about 7am, dozed for a few minutes and then started kicking me in the back to indicate she wanted breakfast. The Admiral slept on, Cha Cha was comfortably tucked into her new futon and Pops had caught a 5am cab to the airport, so M and I were the only ones up. I got her ready and off to school, then swung by the store to pick up mail and receipts.

By the time I got home, I started noticing that the contractions I'd pretty much stopped expecting to be any sort of consistent were actually sort of consistent. I kept a lid on it, though, and watched the clock as I went about my morning chores - checking email, checking blogs, checking email again. After about two hours, I mentioned to The Admiral that I thought I might be having a baby today. After a few other cyber-announcements and a couple more contractions, I broke the news to Cha Cha, too.

That set off a flurry of puttering involving bathroom cleaning and laundry, none of which involved me. I did whip out the vacuum, though, figuring I might be spending some time on the floor in the near future. A few more cyber-updates and about three contractions later, I decided I should maybe let the midwives know what was going on. Andrea seemed very unsurprised to hear from me. "I was expecting a call when this weather came in," she said. I guess barometric pressure has something to do with babies coming. We discussed my status for a few minutes and casually agreed that we'd check back in later when there was more going on.

In an effort to help that happen, I had a sandwich (egg salad, my labor favorite) and juice, went for a semi-vigorous walk and took a long shower. I started singing in the shower - something I rarely do, but I remembered a passage from Ina May's book talking about how that could help open things up. I just kept repeating this lullaby from Miss M's hippie earth-music CD, over and over and over again. I don't know if it helped open anything, but it was very soothing.

After I got out, Melissa called from the store with a diaper question, and I couldn't resist letting her know what was happening. (I think both she and the customer she was helping felt bad for interrupting, but really, I just wanted to share the excitement.) Not knowing when I'd have a chance to do it again, I put on a little make-up and did my hair, and then returned to my post on the couch where I ... well, where I am right now. Contractions still coming, but no more intense. I think I'm a little bit anxious about Miss M coming home from school, but I may just send her and the other adults out to the park for awhile. I spent the first twelve hours of my last labor totally alone, and I think some quiet time would be helpful.

Monday, June 18, 2007

This Is A Story About Control


It's not the discomfort, really. That's pretty minor. Other than the feeling of having to move an internal 20-lb. bag of marbles whenever I roll over in bed, and the extra time needed to get off the couch, I don't really feel that different from a month ago.

It's the suspense, I guess. The not-knowing. The Hammer Guy lurking around every corner. And it's also the unraveling of the few plans I did have. I've spent months looking forward to my parents being here for the big event and now here we are, a few hours away from taking my dad to the airport for his return trip. My mom's going to hang out a few more days at least, but I'd envisioned a week or more of grandmotherly assistance, both with the baby and Miss M.

I've been stuffing the feelings of disappointment and anxiety, but I'm running out of room in here. And unfortunately, I reached capacity on the one day of the year when I should have been focused on something other than my maternity - Father's Day. While my dad and The Admiral were trying to wrangle Miss M and watch the US Open at the same time, I was trying to nap off the urge to get in the car and drive back to my cabin for the week. Didn't really work, though. I slept from 1:00-3:30. Then wept openly from 3:30-5:00, an event so unusual and jarring to Miss M that she just sat and stared at my face with a puzzled expression. Even after Cha Cha and Pops took her for a long walk and park trip, she came back and said, "Mama, are you feeling better? Why were you crying?" I tried to explain it to her in terms she'd understand, reminding her how frustrated she gets when she's waiting for something to happen and it takes longer than she hoped. That made some sense to her, even if she didn't gather the deeper issues. Or why the crying got more intense whenever I looked at Pops.

I'm trying not to sink into pessimism, but part of me is thinking that this Tuesday will be the day, because that will be after my dad leaves but before my midwife gets back from vacation. Wouldn't that be just like a baby? All spontaneous and inconvenient like that? But at this point, I don't even care. Maybe that's where I need to be. I've been so busy trying to get everything in order and under control before this baby comes, but now I just want him here. Now.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Sweet Southern Comfort

Whenever someone asked me what my due date was, I always said June 15, since that was right between the two dates given to me by my OB and midwives. But I never expected to make it that far. Everyone swore to me that second babies came earlier than the first, and since Miss M was only 5 days past 40 weeks, I thought I'd be on target for a 38.5 week delivery, 39 at the most.

What I forgot to take into consideration, however, is The Natural Factor. Granted, I just made it up, but I think it's a solid theory. I've been paying more attention to the natural birthing multi-breeders I know, and I've noticed something strange: unlike our spinal-blocked sisters, the women who went drug-free the first time delivered their second babies later than the first. Anywhere from 8 to 11 days past dates. And I'm unscientifically crediting that to the fact that, whatever may happen between births, as soon as those Braxton Hicks contractions start kicking in, the full memory of labor's intensity emerges from the mental mist. And it's hard to resist the urge to go into lockdown, to obey the voice that says, "Nuh uh! Not again! That sucked!"

I've been trying to dispel these thoughts with the knowledge that there were many factors of my first childbirth that were outside of my control, and that with a better handle on my environment and birth team, some of the most challenging aspects of labor will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. Like the half-hour drive while I was in transition, or the twenty minutes pacing around an empty ER while I was checked into the hospital, or the endless expanse of time during which I was hooked up to a monitor belt. I'm counting on the home field advantage to reduce both the mental and physical aggravation I went through last time. Whenever people ask why I decided on a homebirth, the first thing I say is that everything I didn't like about my first labor occurred after I left the house, so I'm trying to focus on the memories of those first 15 hours, and how the peace and quiet and comfort of home made everything easier to take.

Save A Horse

Why having horse breeders around when you're trying to go into labor can be a not entirely good idea ...

"Look! She's denting at the sides, like the mares."


"Must be getting close. Have you bagged up yet?"

"Have I wha .... no! People don't do that before the baby comes. And stop talking about me 'foaling.'"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Little Left Of Center

In answer to all the calls, texts, emails and quizzical looks I've gotten today: No. Not yet.

I'm feeling a little less pressure, though, since I found out that the midwife who I thought was leaving for vacation tomorrow actually left town this morning. So at least I don't have to spend the rest of the day worrying about messing up her packing.

Speaking of less pressure, I just got a call from my other midwife, to get the most straight-forward directions for the back-up midwife. She mentioned that having my folks around will probably help get things going, since I'll now have the time to rest and refresh and center myself before the next ... I believe "onslaught" was the word she used.

It's a good point. While Cha Cha was wearing Miss M out in the pool, I was sitting on the couch, eating candy and watching Oprah. Now that's some centering. Just not having to think ahead to how we're going to get M peacefully through the next few hours is incredibly relaxing. Right now, Cha Cha is helping her through a puzzle book that I, quite frankly, despise. Just watching someone else dealing with that horrible torture device is making my blood pressure sink. At this rate, I could be mellowed into labor by dinner time.

Post-script: I just got this from my weekly BabyCenter email.
You're 14 percent more likely to give birth on a Tuesday than on any other day of the week — and least likely to deliver on the weekend.

The taunting!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Barely Out Of Tuesday


I've decided. That's when he's coming. I've had enough of the whole not knowing what's going to happen thing so I'm just putting it on the calendar. Cha Cha and Pops get here Monday, one of my midwives leaves town Wednesday, so it's just got to be Tuesday.

Just in case sheer force of will isn't enough to make it happen, I've lined up a few back-ups. Before I went into labor with Miss M, I had a long walk, a hot bath and a vigorous foot rub. So I scheduled a spa pedicure for Monday afternoon, after which I'll walk several loops around the airport while waiting for my parents to arrive and then soak in the tub while they figure out how to put together the new guest room futon.

I don't see how it can fail. If I've learned anything about parenting so far, it's that all you have to do is make a decision and things fall into place.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Shower Scene

I shouldn't say that I wasn't thrown a baby shower for Miss M, because even though I had to fly 2000 miles to get there and most of the guests were guys, it was a well planned party thrown on behalf of my baby-to-be. My sister and oldest girlfriend worked hard to coordinate all the details and it was a really nice evening. But it was at a bowling alley and most of the gifts we received were Spiderman board books, so it didn't really fit the traditional baby shower mold. (Not to mention the fact that I ran into my college boyfriend in the middle of his bachelor party.)

I've never been entirely sure of the etiquette for second-baby showers, and I just assumed we'd go without one this time. We pretty much had everything we needed already, and, oh yeah, I also own a parenting store, so it seemed a bit grabby to presume we'd be thrown a party with the deeply implied intent of stocking us up on baby gear. And yet, as a slowly evolving Southerner, I did feel a strange urge to get together with our friends and drink punch and get prodded about announcing the baby's name for a couple hours.

The main difference between this pregnancy and the last is that, this time, I've had three years to build up a network of parent friends, and moms in particular, and it should have occurred to me that a bunch of Southern women weren't going to let this baby's arrival go uncelebrated. Thanks to Kristy and Stephanie, along with their genial spouses (only one link because Stephanie and Chip share a blog, or possibly because Kristy and Stephanie share a husband), last Sunday brought us to Castilo Alley for an afternoon jam-packed with friends, babies and enough strawberry icing to affect my unborn's insulin level until 2017. Aside from the presence of menfolk and the gracious absence of games, it was very much the traditional shower. Except better.

I was still enjoying the post-party glow when I got to work this morning and noticed that my gaggle of playgroup regulars was acting a bit strangely. And that their diaper bags looked heavier than usual. After a few arrived and started whispering to each other in the back, I knew something was up. They eventually admitted that they were all throwing me a shower today, and each mama who came in was toting a bag of goodies to add to the table of treats we set up in front of the nursing bras. Other than the customers who loitered around and made me miss the first 45 minutes of the event, it was a lovely party and a very touching gesture from these moms who have been sharing their first year of motherhood with me. They tell me often how much Mothersville means to them, but I don't think they understand how much it brightens my week to see their babies and share their stories and enjoy their company for a few hours. And having been one of them not so long ago, it's my honor to keep up the community that was so crucial to my survival as a new mom.

And now, just because I need to show off all two opportunities that I've had to wear my very fancy maternity boutique dress, I bring you pictures from my 2003 and 2007 showers.

With my sister ...

And with my baby's sister ...

Monday, June 04, 2007

Payback Is A Grandmother

(Yes, folks, the posts are going to be very heavy on the "mom" and very light on the "secret agent" for the next spell here. As my roster has already learned, my booking brain is on lowest gear right now as I prepare to pop out my newest client.)

You forget things from one pregnancy to the next. It's nature's way of guaranteeing the propagation of the species, because if we could clearly recall every ache and inconvenience, let alone what happens at the end, it would be pretty hard to go through this ordeal more than once. But one of the pleasant things I'd forgotten was Grandbaby Watch.

GW '07 began tonight with a call from my dad. He was just calling to check in, see how I'm feeling, and get any hint possible about when this baby might come. Just like he'll do tomorrow. And the next night. And every evening until he and Cha Cha arrive in Memphis or the child makes his debut, whichever comes first. As their grandchild count has increased, my parents have gotten exponentially more excited about each addition. I was looking at pictures from Miss M's first month, and my folks look nearly as dazed as The Admiral and I. It had been more than 20 (okay, 25. Or so.) years since they'd last spent any time with a newborn and there was definitely a readjustment period.

I thought being the bearer of The First Grandchild would give me some cred over my older sister, who has always had the chance to be first at everything. But when her daughter arrived almost three years after Miss M, my parents were so much more comfortable and enthusiastic as grandparents that I sort of wished I hadn't been the one with the Rough Draft Baby. Not that they've been anything other than completely loving and attentive and overwhelmingly supportive with Miss M. They're just even better at the whole Cool Grandparent thing now.

Of course, after having two daughters and two granddaughters, this first grandson will be a whole new experience in itself. My mom actually hoped for boys when she was pregnant, since she'd basically raised her two younger brothers and figured she knew what to do with Y chromosomes, but my dad, the oldest of four sons, never had that heir urge. I know they're just about exploding with excitement, though, and that the gender really doesn't make much difference except how it relates to which side of the Baby Gap Outlet my mom will spend her time.

So I look forward to the nightly calls and the chance to share their excitement on a regular basis. I didn't want to start off too optimistic, though; I didn't bother to mention that I've spent the day feeling like we may be gearing up for ... something. Mostly because my impatience is probably translating into hyper-awareness of every twinge, and that the popcorn-and-soft-pretzel lunch I had might not be lending itself to the most settled interior feeling possible. But also because I know how excited they are to be here for the big event, and I don't want to tell them they might miss it until/unless I absolutely have to.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Miss Independent

I keep hearing/reading that, with a second child on the way, I should be paying special attention to my first-born. I'm told that making an unusual fuss over her will help stave off jealousy issues and decrease the likelihood of her feeding the baby to the dog while we're drinking mojitos on the front porch. And so far, I've bought into it. Literally. All of my nesting has been focused on Miss M's room, and has involved the purchase of a couple storage units and a new mattress, along with a total rearrangement of her furniture. Since then, she's developed a new interest in her space, actually playing with her own toys in her own room for relatively long periods of time. Assuming we're playing with her, of course. And because everyone says we should right now, we have been.

But now I'm starting to wonder. I mean, is it a good idea to get her used to this? I've spent the last 3+ years trying to slowly adjust her expectations so that she no longer believes that "mama" and "oxygen" are synonymous. It's taken a lot of time for me to be able to get enough distance between us so that I can read half a New Yorker article while she puts a puzzle together. In my lap. I was sort of hoping we'd get to the point when she might not notice that the thing I'm holding so possessively is a newborn instead of a weekly magazine. How much ruder will her awakening be if she goes into this sisterhood thing accustomed to us paying attention to her every need, indulging her every play-related whim, acknowledging every word that falls from her very active mouth? Will she just resent her baby brother because he has robbed the comedic value from her repertoire of jokes involving chicken butts?

Perhaps its best if we return to our regular course of action, best described as "benign neglect." Or, "as benignly neglectful as possible with a 3-year-old affixed to one's ankle." It will make the transition so much easier, and speed up her accumulation of important skills for independence. Like mixing mojitos.