Friday, October 30, 2009

Hiding


For most of my twenties, I believed I didn’t want children. I spent most of high school and college writing angst-ridden poems addressing themes like suffocation, identity loss, and entrapment, and believing that the worst possible fate was to wind up married and mothering in suburbia. The idea of having a family and living outside a city seemed, for some reason, incompatible with absolutely everything else life should, and could possibly, be.

I am now married and mothering in suburbia, and it’s actually pretty fantastic. Of course, we’d prefer to live elsewhere; but we’ve had adventures—many years in New York, our lucky time in Barcelona—and will surely have more. It’s not surprising to have had a seismic shift on the idea of marriage and motherhood in ten-plus years, but it’s funny to look back on that doubtful girl; I wish she could have had an idea of the kind of happiness that was possible in everything she feared.

Eleven years ago, when I was twenty-two years old, I wrote the poem below. I quite like the poem, but the sentiment is, obviously, part of my ancient history. I found it today on my computer—it somehow made it here, after being written four or five computers ago—so I thought I’d share it. Enjoy.



Hiding

I am crumpled in the closet:
ears and lungs pulsing,
knees digging red into my chin,
tarsals warped and crunching.

I want to sleep here, or die here,
but I am not a sardine.
I am a grown woman,
and the table calls to be set.

Children flock to me like squawking birds;
cries of “Mommy we’re hungry, sleepy, scared!”
make me want to tip this nest,
to watch it scatter, twig by twig.

I am hungry too:
for the slow sedation of sound
as I burrow deeper beneath a bed
or the throttling isolation of a paper bag disguise.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lucia’s Birth Story

Lucia Orlando Littell made her grand entrance at 6:38pm on Thursday, October 15, at Kaiser Roseville, two days before her due date. She was 6 pounds exactly and 19 inches long. Andrew and I had “planned” on a natural birth; and I use the quotation marks deliberately now, having learned a dramatic lesson about the impossibility of planning how a birth can go. I’m still shaken up about Lucia’s birth story, and am trying to focus on the fact that she is beautiful and healthy and here.

I started getting period-like cramping around 4:00am the morning of Wednesday, October 14. I tried to sleep but was too excited; something told me this was it. The cramping continued through the morning but was mild enough that Andrew and I decided he should go to work. Late morning, the cramping turned decidedly to contractions, which I timed throughout the afternoon. By the time Andrew got home around 5:30pm, we knew we’d be having a baby soon. We got our things together and made a soup for dinner. Around 9pm, the contractions started intensifying; I sat on the birth ball, straddled a chair while Andrew rubbed my back, did squats and lunges, and soon the contractions were about 5 minutes apart. Then 3. Then 2. We decided we’d better head to the hospital.

In triage, I was hooked up to a stationary fetal monitor. Occasionally, we’d notice that the baby’s heart rate slowed down during a contraction. When the midwife checked me, I was only at 3cm, but we were admitted because of the heart rate. It was about 12:30am Thursday morning. At this point, our “plan” for a natural birth started going haywire. I had to be hooked up constantly to a stationary fetal monitor and blood pressure cuff; had a pulse-taking device constantly on my index finger; and had an IV catheter inserted in my hand. I did my best to stay out of bed, getting through the contractions on the birth ball. The baby’s heart rate continued to occasionally decelerate. A nurse hooked me up to an IV for hydration, and I was given an oxygen mask. From here on, the timeline is blurry, but I’ll do my best to be accurate.

I labored this way from around 1am until around 6am. When the midwife checked me, I’d progressed only to 4cm, and she told me my contractions weren’t nearly hard or long enough. I agreed to have my water broken. The contractions intensified after this, and the only way I could get through them was standing up doing forward fold over the birth ball while Andrew rubbed the bones in my lower back. Midwife Holly checked me a few hours later, and I’d progressed to 6cm. We were encouraged. The contractions got stronger, and eventually I relied on low moaning to get through them. For several hours I hung onto the birth ball for dear life. My legs were so exhausted they began shaking uncontrollably.

When Holly checked me again hours later, I was devastated to learn I hadn’t progressed at all, and for the first time she suggested that we needed to get things moving; the dreaded word “pitocin” entered the room. I agreed to a dose of fentenyl before they started the pitocin, but it did absolutely nothing to take the edge off the pain, even when they increased the dosage. By then, after about 16 or so hours of laboring without drugs, I was losing my ability to deal with the contractions. It was worse now that I was in bed with the fentenyl drip. I knew deep down that pitocin-augmented contractions were going to be beyond my ability to cope, and I asked for an epidural. For months I’d been certain this was exactly what I didn’t want—but I was so grateful for the relief.

Not long after getting the epidural, I was fully dilated and effaced (they didn’t even have to give me more than 20 seconds’ worth of pitocin—my body was finally relaxed enough to progress on its own). However, the baby’s heart rate continued to decelerate more dramatically, and Holly hooked up a fetal scalp monitor to get more accurate readings. Things were not looking good, but Holly instructed me to start pushing. The baby’s heart rate began decelerating even more during the pushes. Soon, Holly gently told me that the birth had moved to a delivery for which an ob gyn would be required.

Things started happening quickly after that. The room filled with people. I was introduced to Dr. Uyeno, who told me that we needed to get the baby out quickly; he said she was already very far down in my pelvis, so we’d use a vacuum, and, if that didn’t work, I’d have to have a C-section. People surrounded the bed. Someone pulled down on a ceiling tile and revealed an operating-room lighting system. Andrew heard the doctor ask Holly grimly how good she was at acting quickly on her feet. A team of three people stood ready to grab and examine (save?) the baby. I was terrified and upset but tried my best to calm down; I was shaking uncontrollably. At the next contraction everyone screamed at me to push, push, push, and I could hear Dr. Uyeno directing the nurses to turn up the suction. Nothing. Another contraction, more pushes and suction—nothing. Again, and nothing. My own heart rate dropped; the baby’s kept dropping lower and lower. A nurse watching the monitors called out both of our heart rates every few seconds. Finally—I pushed her out, without suction, and, I think, seconds away from a C-section.

The baby was whisked away for an exam, but I could hear her making little grunting sounds from across the room. Eventually she was brought over to me and I got to hold her for the first time. Her Apgar scores were good—7 and 9. I don’t think I’d registered at that point how scary our situation had really been; I was just so grateful she was okay. I didn’t even realize at first that Dr. Uyeno was stitching up a large episiotomy.

The next few days are a blur. On Friday, a pediatrician grew concerned at a soft spot on Lucia’s head; a skull fracture was suspected and x-rays were ordered, but they came back fine. On Saturday, another pediatrician found nothing wrong with her head; apparently whatever had been there had healed. But she put off our discharge until Sunday just in case. On Sunday, she admitted they “may have overreacted” and sent us on our way. (Meanwhile, Andrew and I had spent forty-eight hours in a hell of worry and distress.) Finally, finally, we got home on Sunday afternoon.

So. Not the birth story I’d planned, and so far beyond anything I could have imagined. It was easily the most terrifying, wrenching experience of my life, and it took me emotionally to places I didn’t even know existed. It’s still hard to think about the birth without being overwhelmed by the fear all over again, and it will probably take me some time to digest it all and move past it. She still has bruises and cuts on her head from the vacuum and monitor--it just breaks my heart.

In the meantime, though, we are completely in love with Lucia, and I am just overcome by the idea that this tiny being is the little one who was in my belly all these months. She is a perfect, perfect baby, and we love every second with her. She is, of course, the cutest, most fabulous baby on earth.

Lucia, minutes after her birth

Monday, October 26, 2009

Baby Time


I’ve entered Baby Time. She’s been home for only a week, but already I feel transported into a world where I might not check email until noon, where time is measured in feedings and changings. She tends to sleep a lot during the day, and she’s been giving us two- to three-hour stretches of sleep at night—until around 4am, when she is suddenly wide awake, resisting our rocking and shushing and white-noise-machining and staring up at us with bright, wide-open eyes. She may or may not fall asleep again around 6am. We are hoping this will change.

I’m tired; but I like Baby Time. It requires a new kind of focus and calm. Everything is suddenly subordinate to making sure this little being is fed, dry, happy. It’s rare that things are this clear, separated so firmly into what matters right now and what can be put off until later.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sleeping Baby

Our sleeping baby.



I've been posting lots of pictures on Facebook. Feel free to friend me if you're on Facebook and haven't yet.

In It

A couple of months ago, when Andrew and I began doing perineal massage to prepare me for what we thought would be a natural birth, we thought we’d taken our marriage to a new level. You don’t just break out the vegetable oil and uncomfortable downward pressure with anyone; it seemed like a step toward a new kind of marital intimacy.

Little did we know.

There were a lot of things I could never have imagined about labor, and one of those is the variety of compromising and, in any other circumstance, embarrassing positions Andrew would see me in. Perineal massage pales in comparison to seeing me leak bloody water all over the floor and any other available surface after I had my water broken. It pales in comparison to escorting me and my IV pole into the bathroom—and helping me situate myself and my hospital gown on the toilet. It pales in comparison to sitting with me while I was on the toilet, kneeling in front of me and squeezing my hips through a contraction. It definitely pales in comparison to taking a rare bathroom break himself and having to urinate around the measuring cup device with which the nurses were collecting my own urine. And it goes without saying that once a husband sees a catheter being inserted into his wife, and watches as bag after bag of urine is removed, well—if we weren’t married before, we are married now.

It didn’t stop with labor. Andrew witnessed me walking gingerly from the hospital bed to the bathroom wearing hospital-issued, industrial-sized underwear lined several times over with industrial-sized maxipads. He saw me sit in the hospital bed for three straight days with nothing covering my painfully engorged breasts, not even pretending that modesty was important as nurses and doctors and the birth certificate guy came in and out. And he saw those engorged breasts, so enormous that the tops of them nearly reached my chin. (They’re better now.)

Somehow none of it mattered, though. Andrew never flinched, and, just as importantly, I knew he wouldn’t, that he’d be right there no matter what. I can’t imagine having gone through this with anyone else (and hopefully that’s what every wife thinks about her husband after such an experience; but I know how lucky I am). Several years ago, just before I left New York for Barcelona to move in with Andrew, I had one very brief moment of what on earth am I doing? We were eating sushi at the time, and Andrew just shrugged. My furniture had been sold; my job had been quit; my apartment lease had been broken. “Well, you’re in it now,” he said. We go back to that phrase all the time—being in it. But I don’t think either of us knew what it meant until last week.

Daddy's Sleep-Deprived Brain

Two nights ago, during one of Lucia’s many nighttime diaper changes, Andrew changed her diaper, changed her sleeper, and picked her up from the changing table—only to suddenly see urine streaming to the ground. We were both stunned. When Andrew went to change her yet again, he realized he’d forgotten to put a diaper on her. She was naked inside her little sleeper.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Crying

I’d heard about the baby blues. But wow, have I gone for an emotional roller-coaster ride in the past week. Yesterday was the first day I got through without crying uncontrollably. It’s now 2:45pm, and I haven’t cried yet today, which may make this day #2 without tears. Prior to these days, I cried pretty much every time I looked at the baby. I cried when we left the hospital, and when we got home. I cried when I realized my smallest maternity jeans are almost too big. I cried when I realized I’m now within three pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight and I look almost as skinny as I used to. I cried because I wished I could put Lucia back into my belly and just start all over again. I cried because I miss being pregnant. I cried while eating cereal and reading the New York Times at the breakfast table because I looked up and spotted the stroller and thought about all the care we took in picking it out and realized it’s for her.

Yesterday I felt very together. Today, together, but a bit edgy about it, as though anything at all might set me off. I’m trying my best to keep my wits about me. I shower every day, get dressed, put makeup and lipstick on. Only today do I really have an appetite, but I’m trying my best to eat at least some soup and yogurt and milk during the day. Trying to keep it together. Not always easy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Interventions

I’m still working on putting down Lucia’s birth story. It’s difficult; I can’t seem to think about it without crying. But I want to record and share some of the details in the meantime, in bits and pieces, before they start getting foggier than they already are.

Andrew and I created a basic “birth plan” that we gave to Kaiser (our HMO) several weeks ago. The plan detailed things like what pain management strategies we wanted to use, whether Andrew wanted to cut the cord, etc. The gist of our “birth plan” was this: Natural birth, no interventions.

From the moment we arrived at the hospital, however, the interventions began. In triage, Lucia’s heart rate occasionally decelerated, and so from that point things changed. Here is a list, in roughly chronological order, of the interventions I underwent to bring Lucia into the world. Anything that attached to my body was cumulative—they didn’t remove one wire to make room for another. I was in labor for approximately 24 hours, 18 of them without any drugs.

• Fetal monitoring, hooked up to a stationary monitor
• Blood pressure cuff on my right arm that intermittently inflated
• Blood pressure thing on my left index finger
• IV catheter in my left hand, first with nothing, then to hydrate me
• The midwife broke my water to move things along
• Oxygen mask
• Dose of fentenyl (sp? A pain relief narcotic that did nothing whatsoever for me)
• Epidural
• Pitocin (just 20 seconds’ worth)
• Catheter
• Fetal scalp monitor
• Episiotomy
• Vacuum-assisted delivery
• Another catheter

Even today, a week after the birth, I’m still finding small bruises and bits of leftover glue on my body from where the needles and wires were attached.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lucia

Lucia Orlando Littell, born October 15, 6:38pm, 6 oz. exactly, 19 inches long. A beautiful, beautiful baby girl. There are no words.

My birth story is not at all what I had imagined it would be, and I am still working through it, processing, healing. All I can say is that the phrase "birth plan" may be the most ridiculous phrase in the English language. Details soon.









Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rainy-Day Chaos

Californians in this area do not know what to do when it rains. It’s understandable—it hardly ever rains, and, in my experience, when it does rain, it rains hard. Yesterday was a particularly apocalyptic day, with high winds and downpours that lasted for most of the morning and afternoon. The environment, too, can’t handle such odd weather. Branches cracked from trees; leaves filled the streets; power lines went down; streets flooded. I ventured out only briefly, to drive Andrew to work after my doctor’s appointment, and hydroplaned slightly as a made a very slow right turn.

Though I was snug inside yesterday afternoon, the chaos of the day took over here as well. My cervical exam yesterday was particularly aggressive—the midwife had a hard time reaching the cervix because little Whittemora’s head was in the way—and several hours after I got home, I began having some pretty heavy bleeding. Bleeding is just one of those things you don’t expect or want to see for, oh, nine-plus months, and so I began to worry. Around this same time, I walked through our breakfast nook and realized it had flooded—water was dripping in through the window frame and had pooled along the wall and in the corner. I grabbed towels and sopped everything up, then called Andrew, who called the landlord.

While all this was in motion, I called our hospital’s labor & delivery department to tell them what was happening and see if I needed to come in. As I answered their many questions, I looked out the window and saw an electric-company truck drive straight into our backyard. Our backyard is not grass—it’s just dirt—and yesterday it was a huge expanse of mud. The truck’s tracks gouged the yard. Not much later, with rain pouring down, another truck pulled into our driveway—to pull the first truck out. It had gotten mired in the mud and could not back out. Our landlord was there supervising; when I was done on the phone (no need to go to the hospital), I beckoned him in to see the leak. He was stressed out about the yard and the trucks and there was nothing he could really do since it was still pouring, so I just laid out more towels.

Eventually it was time to pick up Andrew. I skipped yoga (the doctor’s advice had been to take it easy for a few hours), and we looked forward to a cozy evening at home; we planned to make a nice pot of soup. Not long after we got home, however, we lost our power. Part of our block was pitch-dark. We found some candles, had a snack, napped together on the couch, then went out for a late Mexican dinner. When we got home at 10pm, the lights were back on.

The whole day just seemed strange—it’s hard to describe how weather like this upends the normal order of things around here. There was a Halloween-y, spooky atmosphere on the streets, and I just felt like something was about to happen. Indeed, in the middle of the night last night I began feeling some…something. And I’m still feeling them now. I won’t yet call them contractions. But I would not be surprised at all if the little one has sensed the atmospheric disturbances and has decided it is the ideal time to see the world. The rain is falling harder now, and the rooms of our house just darkened as the clouds rolled in full-force. It is a portentous morning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Blustery Birth Day?

It’s raining in Roseville, and has been for hours; the wind gusted through the night. It’s so strange for a day to be this gloomy that I can’t help but feel it portends an imminent birth. I saw the midwife today, who told me I’m now 2cm dilated, 80% effaced, with a -2 engagement. So things are progressing. It’s such a dreary, moody October day—the kind I love; a perfect day for momentous changes. We’ll see what the little one has in mind.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Labor Watch 2009

With my due date coming up on Saturday, Andrew and I are officially on Labor Watch. There have been enough signs—I’ll spare everyone the details; those who have been pregnant can guess what they are—to suggest that labor is imminent. But the cruel irony is that none of those signs mean anything at all. Such things can occur weeks or days before labor. I could finish this blog post and go into labor. Or I could still be pregnant a week from today. No one knows.

So there’s nothing to do now but sit around and obsess about things. Last night I began obsessing about our bassinet, which we borrowed from one of Andrew’s co-workers. I was really gung-ho about borrowing this particular item, since the baby will use it for just a couple of months. But now the item is vexing me. First, I wanted to buy a new mattress and sheets for it. This attempt was unsuccessful; no sizes fit. Then I decided to just buy new sheets. Also unsuccessful. Nothing fit; the ones I bought that sort of fit shrunk to half their size in the wash and no longer fit at all. Plus, I see everything—every ripple in the fabric, every not-quite-perfect surface—as a terrifying suffocation risk. The baby could conceivably sleep on the mattress cover provided with the bassinet—but what happens when it becomes wet? Etc. etc. Then I looked up the model online and found out it was recalled a couple of years ago. It was recalled for complications from a function we weren't planning to use the bassinet for, but still. All I could think about was how I would feel if something happened to our baby because I didn't want to spend $100 on something brand-new. It's not in any way worth going down that path, so we ended up buying a new one at Target last night.

The bassinet thing made me just a bit crazy yesterday, and I’m fairly certain I made Andrew just a bit crazy as well. But we came home and prepared dinner, and in the course of making a fairly involved chicken-and-dumplings recipe from a recent Cook’s Illustrated, we both calmed down. And then we enjoyed the chicken-and-dumplings and chose a name.

Yes, that’s right—we finally chose a name. The big reveal will wait until the birthday. In the meantime, Labor Watch continues.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The Perineum Song & Other Music

There are a lot of cases to be made for not throwing things out, for a very sage reason: you never know when you’ll need them. This was proven to me once again last night, as I worked to compile a suitable collection of music for labor. I have never been through labor, so I don’t know what I’m going to feel like listening to; but I can guess. And, unfortunately for us all, what I truly believe is going to work best to help relax me and keep me focused is new age-y music, including albums with titles like “Lifescapes” and “Music for Yoga and Other Joys.” This is what I’m used to breathing and relaxing to in yoga, and it’s what I imagine when I try to picture the labor room.

Anyway, last night I finished uploading a few CDs my yoga teacher had burned for me and had culled my own paltry collection of new age music, which consisted—I thought—of one CD: “Calming Sea.” Onto the iPod it went. But when I searched my (extremely paltry) CD collection a bit more closely, I came across a 2-CD set from which I’d never removed the shrink wrap. It was something I’d gotten free somewhere at some point, something I’d picked up thinking, “Hey, you never know.” It included a guided meditation by Deepak Chopra, as well as a CD of music called “Chakra Balancing: Body, Mind, and Soul.” The guided meditation was obviously out, but I unwrapped the box and fired up the music.

It was perfect for my purposes. But when I studied the liner notes, I realized it was REALLY perfect: the first “chakra” was intended for close focus on the perineum. Anyone who is or has been pregnant understands the vital role the perineum plays in pregnancy and birth. Around our house, at least, it’s a frequent topic of conversation. So to find a song (?) specifically intended to bring relaxation to that area—well, what can I say? The case for not throwing anything away has, I think, been made.

The unfortunate element of all this is that while I may be thankful for hour upon hour of new age meanderings while I’m laboring, the truth is that I may also not even be aware of it—while Andrew is going to have to grit his teeth and try his best not to hurl my birth ball at our new “boombox.” He, too, was intrigued by the perineum song, but was more than happy to turn the CD off once it was over. I have a feeling we’ll both be very glad to put the new age stuff aside once little Whittemora arrives. “Congratulations!” the midwife will say, placing the baby on my chest, and Andrew will hold up a hand and say, “Just a sec. Let me turn off this music.” I will not blame him.

Preparations for a Journey

There’s a suitcase in my room, half-packed, with a lengthy packing list on top of it. Yesterday I spent hours burning new playlists onto CDs and updating my iPod with songs of a certain mood. We’ve made countless purchases—a “boombox” (to fulfill battery-only hospital requirements), cute pajamas, a robe, slippers, a battery-operated fan, a birth ball—to assist us in this very specific endeavor. We’ve made cheat-sheets about labor and pain-management strategies. And last night it occurred to me that we’ve done more shopping, planning, and preparation than we did for our two-week trip to Japan—for an occasion that will be 24-48 hours, start to finish, at the most (knock wood).

It definitely feels like we’re embarking on some sort of lengthy, involved journey, not just preparing to take a five-minute drive to the hospital, and both the extent and the atmosphere of these preparations feel the same as those that always go into anticipating a major trip— with some significant differences, of course. We’ve been a lot of places—made a lot of travel plans—but preparing to go to the hospital to have this baby feels bigger somehow. Obviously. First, pain is involved; with the exception of some headaches after nights of drinking too much wine on a tapas crawl in Granada, or stomach issues arising from eating little but meat for seven straight days in Romania, pain is usually absent from our trips. Second, we’ll be bringing home a baby, not just a pile of souvenirs. It did take some juggling to get things like a camel-bone-framed mirror from Morocco and a set of sake cups from Kyoto home in one piece; but that’ll be nothing compared to the painstaking care we’ll take and the fear we’ll have as we load up our tiny, screaming, startled newborn into the carseat for the first time and figure out what to do with her once she’s home. We can’t just wrap her in foreign newspapers and packing tape to keep her safe. We’ll have to learn to swaddle.

Finally, there’s the fact that this is one trip that won’t actually ever end. We’ll come home from the hospital, back to our familiar house, but our world will be vastly different than it was before. We’ll unpack—put the CDs back on the shelf—throw some clothes in the washer—get some groceries—but, this time, there will be no “getting back to zero.” Our entire concept of zero will have changed. This time, our passports will stay home. But in a sense we’ll be traveling farther than ever.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Dreams

The weird, vivid dreams are back. I had tons of them early in my pregnancy, and now, here at the end, they’ve started up again. This time, besides being incredibly strange, they’re also extremely physical—even though they’re about sensations I couldn’t possibly understand yet.

In one dream, I gave birth to twins. I was surprised, but it was a happy dream, free from anxiety—despite the fact that the babies weren’t babies but rat-like creatures. As I breastfed one of the rats, it morphed into a baby.

In another, I gave birth yet again to twins. I held one of them in my hand adoringly, even though it wasn’t a baby but a small figurine of a baby wrapped in a tiny, tiny blanket; it was no bigger than my palm. Then I began breastfeeding a normal-sized baby.

The night before last, I dreamed that Andrew and I were gazing out at an ocean experiencing tsunami-like waves. At the crest of each wave were groups of killer whales. Some of the whales began washing up on shore, coming dangerously close to us. I was scared and panicked.

Last night, I dreamed that Andrew and I were at home—but it wasn’t our home; it was my grandmother’s old house in Vanderbilt, PA—and I felt the baby drop so dramatically that I could feel her head between my legs. My reaction to this was to punch my fist in the air victoriously. Then we went to a mall to walk around to see if I could progress my labor. We walked into a bridal department full of silky, beautiful gowns. Then we walked through a food court selling nothing but donuts. A guy who seemed to be a friend of ours approached us and offered me some coleslaw in a Tupperware container, since I couldn’t have donuts. We all laughed.

When I woke up from that dream this morning, I really felt like I was going to go into labor—that’s how real and vivid the feelings were. But no labor yet.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Nursery

This weekend Andrew and I put the finishing touches to the nursery. There are still a few things to get, like a mobile, but we’re pleased with how it turned out. It’s very cozy—a place, hopefully, of rest and peace. I’ve been spending a lot of time sitting in the glider, just imagining the baby and what it will be like when she finally arrives. It’s very peaceful to sit there with a book, with sunlight streaming in the windows, feeling the little one moving around in her little womb-house as she prepares for her arrival.

Our bird bedding is from Target; the curtains, bureau, bookshelf, and carpet are from Ikea; the blanket over the back of the glider is handmade by Mom; and all wall art is courtesy of Dad.





Monday, October 05, 2009

A Thought

Isn't it confounding that with all of today's amazing technology, no one can tell me exactly when our baby will be born? They can put a man on the moon and put a pig's heart in a human's body, and yet no one can say when I'll go into labor. It's kind of amazing. I suppose it isn't a matter of critical medical importance, but it just seems so...basic.

39 Weeks







It’s fall. All weekend we had crisp, cool temperatures and blue skies; at night it’s been down into the 40s. I hesitate to believe it—experience has proven that such lovely fall days could be clobbered without warning by a return to high-80s temperatures and a seemingly endless summer—but for now it is just beautiful. We may not have spectacular fall foliage where we live, but the cool temperatures still make it feel like October should feel.

I have a jittery back-to-school kind of feeling; the kind of feeling I always get before taking a big trip, knowing something momentous is about to happen. There are less than two weeks now until my due date, and though I don’t really believe she’ll come this early, she very well could. It was on our minds all weekend. Friday night, we went out for Indian food after some shoe-shopping at DSW—a relaxing evening we won’t have too many more of, at least for a while. Saturday began a whirlwind two days of final preparations. Saturday, we did what felt like a pretty thorough tour of every big box store Roseville has to offer—Wal-Mart, Target, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, Michael’s, Babies R Us. We bought diapers (our first diaper purchase!), a mattress cover for the crib, nursing and hospital garb for me, other sundry items. Sunday we hemmed and ironed all the curtains in our house, a fairly arduous process—and the baby probably won’t even appreciate it. She probably won’t even notice that the curtains in her room match the lining of the drawers in her bureau. But we will, and so we managed to get it all done.

Some preparations remain, so she should probably just keep cooking in there for a little while longer. Although it would absolutely be a perfect fall day to be born.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Is This Nesting?

When I first got pregnant, I was primarily intrigued by two things I would potentially experience: cravings and the nesting instinct. I never did get the cravings, so now I’m waiting for the nesting instinct to kick in—from what I’ve read, it could be a sign of imminent labor. I’m a nesty person in general, however, so I’m not sure I’ll notice any new instincts in this area. Apparently the urge to clean house is a big part of this—but I’m not sure it’s applicable for someone as cleaning-averse as I am. An urge to organize is probably more realistic.

Which is why I’m wondering if the nesting instinct—my version of it—has indeed kicked in: this afternoon I decided to prepare my tax materials for my tax guy. My taxes are always tricky, involving a random selection of 1099s and an even more random collection of receipts for tax write-offs. Some of the documentation can’t be gathered until after the end of the year, of course, but today I went through nine months of receipts, printed out payment histories for my subscriptions, cell phone, fax, and cable, and began a spreadsheet and an explanatory letter to my accountant. It doesn’t take days to do this, but it does require a certain amount of table space, focus, and organization, so I thought I’d better get the brunt of it done before the baby arrives. This may very well have been nesting.

Then again, there’s dust all over my desk, the baby’s mattress doesn’t even have sheets on it, and I was almost crushed today by an avalanche of office supplies when I tried to pull an envelope off my office-supply shelf. So perhaps the taxes were just an extreme form of my usual organization (I can cross it off my to-do list before it was even on the to-do list!). I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Progress

We now have a stroller, a diaper bag, a monitor, and a carseat installed and adjusted for an infant. We are making concrete steps to getting ready.

Last night, Andrew bought a bag of honey-roasted peanuts and opened a bottle of wine. I cannot have honey or wine. I think he is ready to stop thinking about pregnancy-related food restrictions. Usually he’s so much more…sensitive than that. More thoughtful. I don’t know what happened. I tried to enjoy some dry-roasted almonds and water. Some honey-roasted peanuts are still in a bowl on the kitchen counter. I can’t stop looking at them.

On Tuesday, I tried to goad the midwife into letting me go off my glucose-restricted diet. “Could the baby really grow into a monster-sized baby in three weeks?” I prodded. “Or is it pretty safe to say she won’t be affected that much by the glucose anymore?” The midwife didn’t take the bait and said the baby could still gain a lot of weight. “So no Blizzards yet?” I prodded further. She said I could have a couple of bites of one, but no more. She suggested I myself try to gain a little more weight, but not by eating more carbs. Sigh.