Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gifts Large and Small

I learned this week that my sister-in-law's daughter's crib, which we were poised to inherit (thus saving us a bundle of money) is a drop-side. These are currently considered baby-murdering and may even be banned by Congress. Terrific. So yesterday I plunked down a huge wad of cash to buy a new crib. At least I was able to get the crib that matches the other furniture going in the room, so it's a complete set instead of mix-and-match (although it would have been close enough). Now that we have the furniture and carseat/stroller system purchased, I hope we are done with the savings-sucking and that the rest of the big ticket items (pack-and-play, highchair, bouncers, swings, etc.) are up for grabs from the sister-in-law and/or turn up at a shower. Because mama would like to eat and put gas in her car for the remainder of this year.

I also made a small drugstore purchase yesterday: my first ever tube of Preparation H. Oh, how exciting. You can fill in the beginning and end to this story any way you wish.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Um, Lemonade, Anyone?

The Mother of All Sisters: My family is certifiably batshit-nuts, and my relationship with various members is either nonexistent or strained on a good day. So it goes with my sister. She is, among other things, an immature (at 31 years old), self-centered, Munchausen-quality hypochondriac drama queen who cannot stand for others to be happy because it somehow is always couched as being at her expense. She resents me for being a doctor, for being happily married, for having a nice house, and now (unsurprisingly) I think we can add to the list, expecting a baby. It always presents as passive-aggressive behavior in which the passiveness slowly recedes to be replaced by extreme aggression, followed by cutting me off, forcing me to try fruitlessly to reach out to her, and then finally me apologizing months later for what-I-do-not-know just to hit the reset button. The issue this time: my baby shower (more on that below). I called her to ask if she would like to be a host or co-host, thinking that would sufficiently place her in the center of attention to diffuse the attention I get for it. She claimed to be honored, pleased, etc. and gave me some possible dates when she could drive or fly in from Chicago. Settled. Right? Not so much. She emailed me late last night to inform me that she has about one open weekend at the end of August (when I will be nearing 9 months) because it turns out all her July/early August weekends are booked. With friends' and coworkers' baby showers. I see where I rank. Naturally, this triggered a good hour of crying over the fact that my family just can't ever be fucking happy for me, have to make it all about them, and can't handle anyone else being the recipient of unconditional love that they don't know how to give. So I am planning the shower without her and she will simply get an invite. For the record, she didn't come to my wedding because she was mad at me over the reception menu -- she has placed herself on a restricted diet because she (believes she) has (undiagnosed) IBS and fibromyalgia and about 20+ other diseases that she, in fact, does not have, and I explained to her that I could not alter the entire menu just for her (neglecting the other 100+ guests' needs). Awesome.

Opinions Are Like Assholes: The assvice comes from near and far. My husband gleefully (and innocently) came home to tell me that his coworker informed him we should send the baby to the nursery every night while we are in the hospital. I reminded him that A) our hospital strongly discourages this because B) you don't sleep that well with or without the baby, so why not keep the baby with you anyway, and C) it's better for family bonding and feeding to have the baby with you from day one. He got understandably defensive, because this conversation happened right after my sister sent her shitty email, so I probably took a chunk out of poor KB's hide over this particular assvice. But seriously, why do people think they can not only predict but also dictate the terms of my pregnancy, labor and delivery, and early parenting? A hearty "go to hell" to the lot of them. Seriously, it's like they want to just crawl right up inside my vagina and call it their own.

To Shower or Not to Shower: No, it's not about hygiene. I am thinking I will host my own shower, and let my mother-in-law and/or my husband's aunt (who lives nearby, and with whom we are close) be the co-hosts. And I think I'd like to have it in my house, where I can be comfortable. Let the non-pregnant people drive the distance, dammit. After the email "incident" last night, I had some fatalistic thoughts about not having a shower at all, but I do think I'd like to do something, even if it's low-key, since this may well be our only baby and thus my only experience having a baby shower. I'm not into the parlor games and raffles and circus of typical showers; I'd rather have a dignified lunch, open presents with friends and family, take some pictures and video for posterity, and call it a day. A few current and former co-workers I stay in touch with have said they want to have a small shower for me this summer, which is fine, and I figure one other big one at my house with remaining friends and my husband's big Italian family, while I am still comfortably in my eight month, should be a good deal. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

U2? Me, too: My U2 concert in June is canceled. Bono apparently broke his back. Asshole. (I mean, I'm sorry, Bono, I love you and please still be my secret boyfriend). It looks like the US dates are getting rescheduled to next year. Boo. I saw them at Soldier Field last September, so I'm just being greedy wanting to see them in Lansing this summer, but I thought it was really cool that this would be the baby's first concert (since developing hearing -- we don't count the John Mayer douchetour a few months ago). I still have the Dead Weather show in July, which just isn't quite the same (because I do not desire to make sweet sweet lurve to Jack White).

Lemonade, anyone? [gulp, gulp] Hey, it's better than Kool-Aid.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons, Suck Lemons

So guess who went on her hospital OB tour yesterday? And guess who almost passed out mid-tour from another goddamned donkey spell? [ding! ding! ding!] Correct. Moi.

I felt a little warm about 10 minutes into the tour, so I took my sweater off. Reasonable. I figured with 20+ people in a narrow hallway, it might be a little too much humanity for temperature control. Then we crammed into a labor & delivery room and I managed to nab a seat, but the room starting spinning...and I broke out into a cold, clammy sweat...and according to KB, turned a lighter shade of pale...and thought I would either pass out and/or projectile vomit. I wanted to run out of that room so badly, to find a public restroom and hug a toilet or something, but people kept asking pregtarded questions, the same ones over and over, with fresh adverbs and synonyms substituting for new queries, keeping us captive. How hard is it to understand that you enter through triage, get admitted to L&D and/or go to the OR for a C-section, and then recover for 2-3 days in a mother-baby room down the hall? The unit is designed as a big semi-circle, so even conceptually it's easy to figure out. But one particular preg-genius kept asking how they decide whether to send you to triage, or L&D, or mother-baby rooms...crikey, bitch, I'm about to pass out, do the math and shut the fuck up so we can get out of this oven and I can breathe again...or sweet baby Jesus, just let me pass out so I don't have to listen to these inane questions anymore. The tour nurse kept glancing at me sideways, watching me mop the cold sweat off my forehead and my inability to sit up straight, and I secretly wondered if she was contemplating sending me to triage. I was tempted to get her attention and mouth, "help me." But as soon as we got out into the lobby, where there was some ventilation, I felt better.

By the time we got to the mother-baby rooms and the nursery, I felt fine; plus, it was really cool to see the brand new babies in the fishbowl-like nursery. One little guy was red as a beet and, well, naked as the day he was born; KB and I turned into adolescents when we noticed this little boy get a little gust of breeze and pop a baby boner. Poor imitation of Southpark-esque voices: holy shit, guys, I'm nekkid and I have a goddamned boner....stop staring at me, people....I want my cheesy poofs! Another baby was under a UV light with hilarious sunglasses-like shades over his eyes, and the preg-genius asked, "Why are they tanning that baby?" I turned to her, solemnly, and replied, "Because he was too pale at birth." This is the same woman who waited to check out her hospital's birthing center until about 2 weeks before her due date. Serious?

Let me just say, for the record, that while I am beyond thrilled that IVF finally worked for us, and that I would go through all of this a million times over to get the same result, I am still very tired -- exhausted -- of being sick. I fall into that sliver of a fraction of a teensy-weensy percentage of women that has it very, very rough all through pregnancy, and it's kicking my ass. Up and down the street like a tin can. Ongoing nausea, constipation, random and severe dizzy donkey spells [eeeehh-aaawwhh!], and daily (nightly?) insomnia is getting to me. Two to three hours of noncontinuous sleep per night is not cutting it. And if I hear another person tell me, "Oh, just wait until the third trimester, or after the baby's born; it only gets worse," I will lose my shit and kick their teeth in, Kill Bill-style.

So anyway, now we know all about the facility where our offspring will be sprung. We made a quick stop at the big-box baby store on the way home to buy a carseat and stroller. And lo! the heavens did not open up and smite me or my baby. I already bought a changing table, which is assembled and sitting awkwardly in the hallway, and the rocker and ottoman arrive this Friday. We still have to clear out the guest room to make space for all this baby swag. We haven't even planned for when the crib is coming in...I guess as soon as my sister-in-law drags it out of her attic. Then we're pretty set except for the "optional" loot we may get at a baby shower. I'm hoping for sexy things, like breast pump storage bags and lanolin and diaper pail refills and boxes of diapers. Because I am not going to outfit my kid in every ridiculous pantsuit people try to pass off as practical. I've already decided that my kid will be clothed in a t-shirt and diaper for as long as feasible, or less if tolerated, so long as KB and I are the ones giving baths, changing shit-filled diapers, and mopping up baby barf. I'll slap a hat and some booties on for pictures, I guess. Hell, that pretty much sums up my post-partum fashion plans, too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Life Aquatic

I drink so much water, people. So very much. My OB recommended it as the best way to avoid constipation and the recent dizzy spells (or, as Kenneth would say, donkey spells) I've enjoyed. It works, but dude, I am swimming on the inside. My kidneys and bladder are going to demand comp time for several weeks after this kid is born. For serious.

My long-suffering stint with the overtime mandate at work is finally over, so I can now return to a paltry 40 hours per week. Huzzah! It happened at just the right time, since those donkey spells were starting to worry me and may have had as much to do with being overworked as with being somehow, inexplicably, underhydrated (damn you, orthostatic hypotension!). My newfound, copious spare time has afforded me the luxury of trying, however intermittently, to get in some exercise. I've spent a little time on the treadmill doing my best imitation of mall-walking ('cause running with jiggly boobs and belly is out of the question). I've taken advantage of the improving weather and taken the dog on longer walks. My next move is to sign up for a prenatal yoga class being taught at the local community center. It's a HUGE step for me, because I won't know anyone there and will have to -- gasp! -- make friends with strangers. So not my thing. (When KB and I go to a party, let's say a neighbor's Christmas party, and we actually carry on a complete conversation with total strangers, we leave the place fist-bumping over our extraordinary extroverted efforts.) I'm also interested in heading to the gym, where my monthly membership dues get debited like clockwork in my complete and utter absence, to start swimming. I'm not a great swimmer, have never loved swimming, and do not particularly desire to be seen in a bathing suit at this stage of my whale-like expansion, but I need more exercise and everyone who's tried it during pregnancy has assured me it's the greatest low-impact and pressure-relieving activity I could bank on. First, I have to find a swimsuit that fits. I tried going a size up at le Target (I like to pronounce it a la Fran├žois) but that was a fail. I bought a maternity suit from OldNavy online, but it's meant for a third trimester whale, not a second trimester whale. I don't want to have 2 maternity suits, so I may just wear the slightly-too-big one and choose to really not care what people think.

And as for the fb question -- to post about pregnancy or not -- I am defaulting to "not" for now. While I'm more or less past the major paranoia about anything going catastrophically wrong, given a negative integrated screen and recent evidence of perfect anatomy and measurements, I am not all that interested in bringing mere acquaintances into the loop. What if it leads to a series of questions on fb, checking in with me? What if I am expected to provide regular updates? Bah. I have told all of my actual friends, the people I actually talk to and/or see outside of the fb-osphere, and I suspect that I overestimate how much the peripheral ex-classmates, ex-coworkers, etc. will care that they weren't privy to my big secret until the kid is born. I'll just tell them it was meant to be a surprise. Or, the absolute truth, that I've had a rough pregnancy and wanted to survive it in peace. Tru dat, y'all.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coffee Talk

Today's Topic: to post about pregnancy on fb, or not. Discuss.

Dear bloggy friends, I am waffling. I am considering posting the anatomy scan sonogram picture* on fb. It sort of goes against my better judgment in many, many ways (as I am not someone who craves indiscriminate attention) but...there's always a but...I have some former coworkers, college and grad school classmates, etc. who are peripheral friends, but friends nevertheless, and I would like to clue them in before a newborn baby post makes its way to the fb wall feed. (I have been pretty laid back about telling anyone outside of my immediate circle of friends and family....as in, I haven't bothered.) I do kind of adore the notion of dropping a huge life-event-bomb on people come October, because I'm evil like that, but the more sentimental part of me thinks it's nicer and more friend-like to drop that bomb now. Woe is me, for I am indecisive.

What thinks you, bloggy friends?

*Because a picture is worth a thousand awkward words.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It Takes a Village

So. Mother's Day*. We went to my sister-in-law's for a dinner with our family and her in-laws. Lots of mothers. Lots of small children. And so very much assvice.

"You will want to have an epidural. Just plan on it."
"You'll definitely need an episiotomy. They'll probably give you one."
"Leave the baby overnight with family as soon as possible."

And so on. These are wonderful, thoughtful, helpful women and I do appreciate that they are interested and willing to help, but sweet fancy Moses, can it with the unsolicited assvice. I have a doctor who went to medical school and everything, and I am fully literate and have begun reading all the "How to Not Kill Your Baby Accidentally" books for myself. I even signed up for childbirth and breastfeeding classes today. I hope I get a certificate to prove I graduated to "fully competent to make my own damn decisions"!

I may have been primed for a little irritation at the perceived third-party hostile takeover of my wombfruit and relevant related decisions therein, because I spent the first half of the day writhing in unslept, uncomfortable, totally constipated agony. Just when I thought constipation was a thing of the past, it jumped out of the bushes -- "Gotcha, bitch!" I broke down and cried, y'all. Over poop. KB earned another notch on his husband of the year belt (lord knows the poor bastard isn't getting any kind of notches on the bedpost, peeps) when he went out to score some hippie-type juice with wheatgrass. No stubborn turd can stand up to mothereffin' wheatgrass. And so it worked, and my tears dried up, and I got purdied up to go have my belly and contents thereof ogled by a room full of women all done with their childbearing, and so eager to plan mine. I scored some hand-me-down stuff that they brought by just for me, so I am super grateful for that (free books, clothes, bibs, and the like). But really, ladies, the assvice? You can keep.

Then today I had the nervous shits all morning (what is it with me and the scat?) before my level 2 ultrasound and anatomy scan. Maybe it was residual wheatgrass. Unlikely. OB appointments make me anxious, because they are the only timepoints at which anything bad can be revealed. Fortunately, the bebe is fine, my placenta looks nice, my cervix is long and closed, and the doctor is pleased with my weight gain and what he apparently considers to be reasonable control of my pregnancy symptoms (whatever, dude -- let's see you manage this for 5 months and counting and tell me it's reasonable). And I signed up for classes that will teach us all about birthin' the baby and feeding it and whatnot, in August. I have to call the hospital to sign us up for a tour of the fancy-pants birthing center. I read online that they have whirlpool tubs in every room, and all rooms are private. Rock on.

Here's the kid either sucking a thumb or flipping us all the bird:
And here bigfoot (everyone in KB's family has enormous feet) proves s/he is ready to kick ass:
I'm starting to get attached to this squirmy little kid.

*Flowers did appear. Point scored.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

This is What it Sounds Like When Doves Cry



Oh, my beagle. Surely THIS is the time your dog-father will not return....I cannot wait to hear how this sounds accompanied by a rousing chorus of visceral baby-wailing monkey-death-shrieks.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In Da Club

...Because we're gonna party like it's my birfday! (Way to rock the early 2000's Fiddy Cent reference, right? Don't hate because I'm so cool. Next on the playlist: Color Me Badd's [with 2 d's!] I Wanna Sexx [with 2 x's!] You Up [with 1 p]. Yeah, cool like that.)

I am 32. I am not old nor am I young. And I am waiting for my husband to get home and unload some presents on me! I am also taking a rare jaunt out of the house, bathed and dressed like a human, for this special occasion. We're going out to dinner! Probably at a greasy spoon or my favorite cafe, but whatever, it's sunny outside and I smell good and it's my damn birthday.

And as for presents...thanks to the timing and proximity of my birthday, it has begun. One birthday present I received in the mail today is a gift card to Babies R Us. Because all I've ever wanted for my own birthday is $100-worth of BPA-free rubber nipples. Dude, don't get me wrong, I'll use the $100 (maybe spread it around a bit more than just the rubber nipples), but maybe send those kinds of gifts on the baby's birthday? I was born 32 years ago, and I'm all set with regard to my teething and potty needs. I guess this marks the assent of the Only-Babies-Get-Presents-Now-So-Lower-Your-Expectations-For Yourself phase of my life.

Then there's Mother's Day. My kind, sensitive, thoughtful husband asked me this week, "So, am I supposed to do something for you on Mother's Day, since you've haven't had the kid yet?" Oh, KB, when you ask like that, I fall in love with you all over again. [swoon] I actually kind of agree that motherhood officially begins when you shove a baby out of your vag*, but I was also kind of hoping for a little sumpin-sumpin in the way of recognition, if for no other reason that the new novelty of it. So I left hints about not having any fresh flowers in the house all week long, and hopefully something botanical and lovely will show up this weekend. I also got a Mother's Day card, my first!, in the mail from a good friend. See, she knows about these things. Maybe I'll make a big deal about it at dinner tonight. Hints will be dropping like my mad rhymes, yo.

*Or somebody's vag, or a surgical crevice in somebody's ute.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Deep Thoughts

...by Jack Handey.

Do you ever wish life had a "hide" function like fb? You know, to avoid those annoying but seemingly omnipresent family members you'd like to disown if the legal paperwork weren't so confusing?

I have apparently turned fb-hiding-trigger-happy this week as I have now elected to "hide" my dad's fb feed. Yep, my own father. Here's the thing: we barely have a relationship as he was absent the years between 5th grade and grad school, so when he "friended" me on fb I figured, well hey, I guess this will making catching up pretty hands-off. Sweet. But it turns out he is kind of a dick. A grade A asshole. A so-stereotyped-it's-not-even-funny racist redneck. Remember, this is the guy who insists on taking my stepsister's toddler to Hooters for birthday parties. Six ways to awesome. Actually, now that I think about it, my stepsister, stepbrother, and half-brother are all more or less total fuck-ups (not a day of college or a steady job between them), so I'm sure my sister and I got a bargain by not having the guy around during the formative years (that left my mother as the sole child-ruiner, rather than doubling up). But the more I see of his attitudes and behaviors on fb, which is the electronic equivalent of mixed company in a rather large social setting, the more I feel like my child is NOT going to have much contact with dear old gramps.

This week? The offending effort was to jump into an immigration thread on my fb wall, and to turn it into an opportunity to insult me and my friends in a pretty significant way. One of my friends, a grown man who happens to be a minority and who lives in the deep south, was told by my tactful father, "Listen, here, boy, you need to take a seat and let the grown-ups handle this, son..." or something to that effect. Boy? Serious? Jesus H. Christ. As soon as I saw these and other equally derogatory rapid-fire comments, I deleted the entire thread and contemplated ways to apologize to my friend for the unforeseen ambush. And for the past week, my newsfeed has been crowded with pro-Arizona and anti-Obama rants -- one such rant yesterday was followed by a posted picture of a monkey. A fucking monkey. *facepalm* *click hide* These posts aren't just offered as opinions, which as a tree-hugging first-amendment-loving liberal I am obliged to respect, but are punctuated with sentiments like, "This is OUR America, get used to it!" I assume the "our" refers to our multicultural melting pot, right? Uh, no. Not so much.

I know that I am liberal, and that I am passionate about politics and civil rights, and that I am also easily offended, but this is a bridge too far for me. I would never fit in with the hillbilly crowd my father runs with, or his ne'er-do-well new family, but it also pains me that I'm running out of grandparents for my kid. My mother's fucking nuts, so she's out of the picture (imagine my dad times a gazillion served on a bed of ignorant plus hateful hate piled on top with a dollop of misogyny to finish). My father-in-law was a fantastic man and a great dad to KB, and just passed away this year. So all the pressure is on KB's mom, who will be Nonna to our kiddo. She's a good woman, so I'm grateful for that.

And as for good ol' pops? Well, he and my stepmom can come visit for a day or two after the kid is born (when I'm good and ready, and not a minute sooner), but I don't think we'll be making trips down to Virginia to celebrate Slavery Appreciation Month with the ol' fam, cracking warm Coors cans and watching NASCAR. Not gonna happen. I have higher hopes than community college drop-out for my kid. And I don't want to get a call from the school principle because my child is quoting Lou Dobbs and attempting to deport a kid from the kindergarten playground. And we'll be having birthday parties in our backyard, where all the ladies will be fully-clothed.