Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nothing But Blue Skies from Now On

Friday afternoon: I have lifted too much, been on my feet too much, and am sore, tired, and sweating like a rabid monkey. Finish up work for the day and wait for MIL to show up.

Friday evening: MIL comes over to finish setting up for baby shower. KB has already set up card tables and folding chairs, I have already covered with table cloths and put out plates and napkins; now we grapple with the plastic champagne glasses (she has brought 14 glasses to make mimosas, with a guest list of ~35 people). She underestimates my friends' ability to throw down even at noon. She invites me to go with her to buy flowers for the centerpieces and I craftily puppetmaster her into getting flowers that I like. I continue to sweat like a hog in heat and hope this display demonstrates to my MIL that I am, literally, a hot mess in my current state. (Sometimes I think she doesn't quite believe it.)

Friday night: My girlfriend from college arrives from Iowa and we go out to dinner. We catch up, have a great time, and then IT is discussed. I forget how it came up, but I mention that if we have a boy he will be circumcised. She makes no attempt to hide her disdain and interjects every objection she can muster. I respectfully listen, counter where I feel appropriate, and then just begin nodding my head and hoping to change the subject soon. I do not equate it with genital mutilation and I do believe there is limited clinical evidence of benefit. I understand that there are potential pros and cons to both options (to circ or not to circ). Also, there's the personal preference angle. And, above all else, it's our choice as parents. Our pediatrician is Jewish, so I doubt we'll get any lectures from him about the whole thing. So, whatevs. We also discuss her upcoming dIUI and I try to offer as much support as I can, and help her understand the importance of realistic expectations.

Saturday morning: I wake up and feel terrible. Sense of dread. Anxiety over 35+ people ogling me builds. I feel like a heifer. I am nauseous and dizzy and sweating like a fat man in a sauna. I try moving a large, heavy glass pitcher in the kitchen and manage to drop it, breaking the glass into a million shards. Full of awesome. I spend 30 minutes on my hands and knees picking up slivers of glass while yelling at the dog to stay out of the kitchen, then haul the vacuum into the kitchen to finish the clean-up before people show up and slice their feet open on my floor. I cry. I wail, actually. Anxiety is now dialed up to "11." Pain is escalating. I get into the shower and try to hit the reset button. After an hour of struggling to cool off and get dressed, I manage to pull my shit together just as MIL and SIL are arriving to prepare to greet guests. KB returns home from picking my sister up at the airport, and she says I'm glowing. No, sweetie, I'm sweating. Profusely. I drag a chair over to an air conditioning vent and park it.

Saturday noon: People begin arriving. MIL's friends are the first to arrive, and I have not met most of them, ever. One of them doesn't know that I am the guest of honor and says, "Oh, you're pregnant, too!" Yep. Another of MIL's friends shows up with a giant, no, GIANT flower arrangement full of urine-yellow flowers. It's so large it has to sit on the floor of the living room (there's no table top surface that can hold it). It looks distinctly like a funeral parlor arrangement. We are just missing the casket. People keep arriving and I am trying to keep up with hello's and greetings, until I give up and sit down and make them come to me. I'm wiped already.

Saturday 1:00PM: We eat. I have a plate of pasta salad, the only item on the menu that doesn't contain shellfish or lunch meat. I drink water, because the other options are either carbonated, sugary, or boozy. KB takes the dog for a walk while we eat because the old ladies are cluck-clucking over whether she will be a nuisance and beg for food (she doesn't). I call him back to the house when I am informed it is time to open gifts.

Saturday 1:30PM: Go-go-gadget social anxiety! My sister offers to be the scribe and keep track of gift-givers for me. KB busts out his inner class clown and announces each gift in his outside voice, a la the town crier. He cracks me up. Each item is peppered with color commentary, like "I don't know what this is, but I like it!" or "I KNOW we need some of these, whatever they are!" I heart him. I continue to sweat like a disgusting pig, but everyone continues to tell me how much I glow. Again, whatevs. We actually get lots of really neat stuff, much of it from the registry. A few practical items show up, like car mirrors and diapers and a monitor. Lord bless those thoughtful moms who know what we really need.

Saturday 2:30PM: With help from my 7-year-old niece and her 4-year cousin, we tear through the remaining presents and KB speeds up his town crier routine a la auctioneer. Then, cake is served. My SIL brought the cake and it is both cute (onesie piped on it) and delicious (vanilla cake with strawberry filling and whipped cream icing). A friend, who brought her 3-week-old son with her, starts breastfeeding him with a hooter-hider and the old ladies are taken aback by this immodest display. They all formula-fed their kids in the '60's and '70's and do NOT approve. Also, they quietly gossip over how my friend whack-whacks her baby's back to burp him. She's hurting him! Look how hard she's hitting him! They probably don't realize that breastfed babies don't burp as easily (less air gets sucked in versus a bottle), and also that if it he's not crying, he's fine. (Oh, old ladies, you amuse me.)

Saturday 3:30PM: People start leaving, and some of MIL's friends whom I didn't know before leave without having said so much as hello. Weird. I guess attending other people's relatives' showers is a social event for them. I sit down and realize my feet are SWOLLEN. And I'm still sweating. And I'm relieved that the shower is A) over, B) successful, and C) making my MIL happy (she still worries if everyone got enough food, enjoyed the punch, etc., etc., etc. and we all reassure her that everyone loved it). Tables and chairs get hauled back to the basement in record time and our house is restored to order within an hour.

Saturday night: My feet are really SWOLLEN. I have cankles. Shit.

Sunday: Yep, cankles. Here to stay. And apparently my belly has grown in the past few days when I wasn't paying attention, because my belly button is now nearly flat.

Monday 3:30AM: Dog is vomiting. What an asshole. I get up and clean it up, pat her on the head, tell her she's a good dog, and try to go back to sleep. No dice. I am up for the duration.

Monday afternoon: Can't focus on work. Start sorting the baby gifts, making a pile of clothes and blankets to wash. Unpack monitor, spa sounds thingy, etc. Empty crib and bassinet of blankets, sock monkeys, etc. and load up changing table compartments with diapers and whatnots. Start packing diaper bag. Contemplate starting hospital bag. Reject.

Tuesday: Wishing I could start maternity leave NOW. I am exhausted. I have cankles. My pelvis hurts. I am fighting the urge to seriously beg/demand/plead for induction, because I really don't want to interfere with nature, but I am also not-so-secretly cursing the bitch for making me suffer. What a whore.

Present moment: And now we are all caught up. The shower was a success, I am worn out, and I am just counting down the 4+ weeks left (or less? maybe? gawd forbid more?) until labor starts. I am going to make some appointments with my acupuncturist and prenatal massage therapist starting next week to encourage this huge, distended uterus to kick into high gear. Because, as much as what comes next intimidates me, I am over being pregnant and ready to get on with it. I want this baby out of me and in my arms.

Friday, August 27, 2010

On This Episode of Cribs...

The Nursery!

(aka where the bebeh will sleep once I get over the fear that s/he will stop breathing if I don't keep him/her two feet from me so I can stay up all night worrying about it)
I got all Martha-Stewart-crafty and made the initial paintings (I busted out a mutherfucking hot glue gun to get the block letter on the canvas). The first two initials are ready for a boy or a girl, and carefully hidden where no crazed family member can find them until the child is birthed and so named.
This is where (to your left) the bebeh will have its piss and shit wiped clean, and also where (to your right) I will fall asleep at 2AM while feeding the hungry hungry little hippo. I know this risks violation of the "don't shit where you eat" rule in the wild, but space is limited in this room. And that's a crazy-eyed sock monkey next to the pillow. Because sock monkeys RULE.
See? They RULE.
Boring. Not even one sock monkey. I am considering leaving the stock photo of the random Asian baby in the hospital-bracelet-keepsake-frame to make my mother-in-law nuts. [mwooo-ha-ha-ha]
The dog approves of the new digs.
THIS is where bebeh will sleep for a while, at least. Two feet away from my side of the bed. For convenient feeding, not because I will lie awake at night listening for breathing. Yup, that's it.
This is Cribs, yo. My fridge is baller. Check the organic milk, son.
Naturally.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Nesting, Nesting, 1-2-3"

"Is this thing on?"

The nursery is now open for business. The crib is assembled, the changing table is moved in (from its previous station in the hallway), and pictures are hung on the walls. It was only a full-day process. Poor KB; he has so much on his to-do list these days. He really is a champ. His Husband of the Year trophy is being engraved.

I decided to be industrious this morning and haul the pack-n-play and bassinet upstairs to set up. My poor back; it has so much weight on it these days. It really is gimpy. Let me just say that the pack-n-play instructions (even with pictures) are less than helpful. I muscled that thing into submission. The bassinet was far easier to put together. I think KB may scold me when he gets home for dragging that stuff up the basement stairs; indeed, I have already punished myself (with Tylenol-resistant pain), but I had an overwhelming need to get these things done. I don't know why. Maybe it means birthing instincts are kicking in and I will start laboring sooner than later. [fingers crossed] A girl can dream.

The baby shower dramaz are not over yet, but I am trying really really hard to not stress about it. My sister-in-law is intervening to edit the menu to a reasonable degree, and KB has decided he will stay for the whole shower so he can help open gifts and, if needed, run interference with his mom. I feel bad that this factors into his decision to be there at all, but it's his choice and he thinks that's as good a reason as any to be there. In my opinion, he should be there anyhow since it's his baby, too. I've never really understood why dads are excluded from these events. There will be full details of the Great Shower Circus next week; let me preface by saying that what has already shown up at my house (for storage until the weekend) includes washed-to-reuse plastic champagne "glasses," plastic purple pastel flowers glued into plastic purple "vases," and paper doilies. Motherfucking paper doilies. [shudder]

Oh, and for good measure, I got to hear for at least the third time at a family birthday party this past weekend that daycare ruins children and makes them holy terrors. To which I added my usual commentary: "You do realize KB and I are putting the baby in daycare, right? You standing by that comment now?" *blank stare* I am thisclose to a throwdown if I hear it again. For realz.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled programming. Looking for more things to do around the house (I just cleaned the fridge), squeezing in some gainful employment-type work around my nesting schedule, and preparing for the last childbirth class tonight. I hope I get some kind of certificate declaring me fit to birth. Sweet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'll Take Potpourri for $400, Alex

Shit: Pain. So much of it. In my hips, in my pelvis, in my intestines, in my bladder, in my ribs, in the general region where my diaphragm may/should be, in my neck, my back (uh-oh, there's a dirty club song coming to mind right about now...). The childbirth class instructor keeps harping on how important it is to exercise, walk miles and miles, and so on, and I just can't. One trip down and back up the stairs to do laundry or find something in the basement sends me to the couch for an hour to recover from the pain and contractions. I mean, shit, y'all. Six-plus weeks to go. And time to finish up the baby preparations, I suppose. Speaking of which...

Showered: I had a coworker baby shower last weekend that was fun, and I actually received gifts I can use. Practical gifts! (Most of these ladies are moms, some with small kids or babies, so they are very aware of what you will need versus what you they want you to have. Good on them.) My mother-in-law is either confused or in denial about this shower having been for me (she thinks I attended someone else's, even though I've told her a million-plus times about it). I guess we can't have anything stealing her thunder. She continues to make elaborate plans that I don't really feel I'm up for, but I keep telling myself that it's only one day, and it's the thought that counts, blah, blah, blah. She's a lovely woman and I know she means well. It's just that having to get up early to bathe, blowdry and style my usually-ponytailed hair, put on non-homeless human clothes, and generally groom myself for hours of public viewing takes a tremendous amount of effort. And I still melt into a pathetic cold-sweat-dizzy-headache-nauseous puddle after about 2 hours despite whatever mammoth effort I put into "taking it easy." I don't know how I'll survive this circus being planned for friends and family. I hear rumors of stupid amounts of food, gigantic flower centerpieces, and at least 87 different kinds of punch/cocktails/etc. I have to at least try to gussy up for this, instead of my usual t-shirt and a pair of KB's gym shorts. Speaking of which...

Shaved: I can barely get to my legs anymore to groom them. I am prepared to go full gorilla soon if it gets any harder. Thank gawd I am pale and blonde. I can at least be an exotic albino gorilla.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bed Birth and Beyond

So we survived the first of our three-part childbirth classes. And we didn't die -- well, we almost, did. Of laughter.

The didactic portion of the class was all business, and mostly a redux of what KB and I have already read in the "what to expect when you're becoming a farty whale" books. But then...the film. Lordy, it was a two-thumbs-up comedy. Warning: spoiler alert!

First of all, I place it in the early- to mid-eighties, based on the quantity and quality of the perms and the amount of untamed bush. Because, by the way, these ladies all liked to give birth naked (although I guess we would have seen their ladybits either way, given that it is a birthing film and all.) It was very Lamaze-oriented, as the dads were all bragging about their coaching abilities in a totally self-congratulatory way. My favorite dad character -- let's call him "Super Dave" -- gloated about his invented technique, which he called (quite enthusiastically) the "In Your Face" method. Picture Super Dave, in your face, counting your breaths and telling you when to relax. Visualize his counting prop: one hand, also in your face, counting with one finger, two fingers, three fingers, then fist pump! I whispered to KB, "It would be a shame for me to have to raise this baby alone." He got the hint.

Then there was the greatest scene of all in this rom-com. A woman, in the throes of pushing out her baby, saw the head delivered in a mirror held up by the nurse at her feet. And in between primal screams, she sobbed, "That doesn't even look like a baby!" KB and I were doubled over in laughter. I told KB later that I would make a terrible OB, because my immediate reaction to this woman would have been, "Oh, my fucking gawd! What is that? Is that a hoof?"

Finally there was stage 3 labor, which no one thought was funny. I am going to instruct my OB and delivery nurses to please NOT bother showing me the placenta, as I will take their word for it that it's awesome in every way. Seriously, I'm good. No need. KB blurted out loud while watching the film that it looked like a brisket. Which led to a series of disgusting jokes about putting it in the smoker. Or maybe we'll go Mel Gibson on it and bury it in the back yard under a tree (first, we'll scream at it and call it a motherfucking golddigging whore with fake tits!). I give the dog two days to dig it up and gross us all out -- what's your over/under?

Next week we learn about pain and, more importantly, pain relief. Yes, please.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thirty-Something

As Time Goes By: Nearly thirty-two weeks. And hoping for an early induction, say, around 38 or 39 weeks. So, 6-7 weeks to go if the universe (and my OB) will cooperate. Holla.

It's Raining, It's Pouring: Oh, the shower drama. I could have the next reality show pitch for Bravo brewing up in here. The guest list has expanded to include ~40 people (we are now, apparently, letting folks bring their young kids to my non-kid-proofed house), whereas my house comfortably accommodates around 25 people before it gets a little warm and elbowy. I only offered my house as a location in the first place when I was assured that the guest list included ~20 people. Well. And plans now, apparently, include all the things I loathe and/or cannot have: shellfish, cold cuts, alcohol, and games. Ugh, the games. Can I simply refuse to participate? I will not allow anyone to measure my belly or guess how rotund I am or be forced to diaper a doll in some timed display of asshattitude. I will totally go all humbug on their asses. I am just kind of bummed because I was really explicit about my feelings regarding the games and anything remotely stuffy or fussy or prissy, and that doesn't seem to count for shit. This party is being planned for the over-60 set to suit their taste, and I am going to have to suffer a barf-worthy display of disgusting pastels, sherbet punch, and retarded parlor games. And yes, I am behaving like an absolutely ungrateful twat by complaining about someone throwing me a party, but all I can say is: so? My request for a simple, low-key party has ballooned into a circus in which I am forcibly the main attraction. Boo to that.

Nesting vs. Resting: We are finishing the last of the nursery furniture assembly in a week or two, and then I just have to nail some decorative shit to the walls and wait for the shower swag to show up and wash/assemble as needed. I guess I should go buy some diapers and asswipers, and maybe some creams and gels for the baby's behind and my tatas. But all I want to do is lay around and rest...and nap...and not move a muscle. Mah belleh hurts. It's beeeeg. I need a second wind to kick in pretty soon so I can get these last-minute tasks checked off my mental list.