Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Graham & the birth story

I had a son, and it turns out he's the most perfect creature. I couldn't have imagined him better than he is. All I can guess is he's my reward for time served in the infertility game, plus all the fun crud during pregnancy, not to mention the birth.

We named him Graham Joseph. He's very alert and so far (fingers crossed, knock on all the wood everywhere) he only cries when his diaper change is taking too long or I haven't whipped out my boob fast enough and he's hungry. Even when he cries, I think it's the cutest damned thing I've ever seen. He makes the most adorable puppy dog noises in his sleep and smiles by accident. Once or twice he has slept for four-hour stretches, giving me hope that there is a future during which I will once again be allowed to sleep for, perhaps, six hours at a stretch. Right now that sounds better than a trip to Disneyland.

My favorite thing to do with Graham is let him sleep on my chest. I think it's actually his favorite thing, too. We share body heat and I get to stare at his adorable little face and just marvel that somehow, miraculously, I grew this beautiful kid in my body. I didn't screw it up! (I am going to cry as I write this entire thing, I just know it. I'm still in the thick of the postpartum hormone fiesta, so every day I'm in a puddle about something.)

Ok, so let's talk about the birth. You'll recall that at 39 weeks, I found out the placenta previa was no longer an issue, so I opted to go into labor naturally and have a vaginal birth. I felt utterly unprepared for it, but thought with my friend Katie's help (she's a doula), and an epidural some time around the 5 centimeters, I'd be able to pull it off.

This is when all my friends who warned me not to have any expectations about the birth get to laugh, laugh, laugh.

My water broke at home, the day after my due date. Which is funny because they say this rarely happens; supposedly it's only in something like 10% of births. But this has happened to practically every woman I know, so I'm not sure what the deal is. I can't speak for other women as to their experiences with their water breaking, but for me it was like you see on television. If I'd been wearing a dress, there'd easily have been more than a gallon of fluid on the floor. And it kept gushing out over the next several hours, in massive amounts (this post may not be for the faint of heart).

The on-call doctor told me to go to the hospital in six hours, so I labored with light contractions at home for a short while. I wish I could have stayed home until I was really ready, though, because when I got to the hospital I was only dilated 1 centimeter. That's when you know you're in for a long wait, right? The nurse wanted to start me on cervadil, but I really wanted to get things moving naturally. As soon as I told her that, it was like I'd made an instant enemy, and every nurse I would come into contact with in the next 40 hours would be armed against me with this information. "Why do you want to do that?" she asked me. Well, because I wanted it to start naturally. I just did. And I'd heard mixed things about cervadil, which is medication they place against your cervix to help you efface/dilate.

I was allowed to try to get things moving on my own for three hours, so I walked hallways and the stairs and tried nipple stimulation (such fun), and as you're probably guessing, it didn't work worth shit. So I tried the cervadil, which slipped out after a few hours because my water had already broken and fluid was still flowing out. So I took another round of cervadil and that got me mostly effaced, and to two centimeters. This was frustrating to me, as it was now noon the following day, and I'd technically been in labor for 24 hours. Contractions weren't mind-bending or anything, but I couldn't sleep through them.

So yes, it was time for pitocin, since they don't let women in my situation just hang out and wait for things to happen on their own. Pitocin is no goddamned joke, you guys. They bumped up the dosage every half hour, and by the third hour, I was in tears. Katie probably described it best when she said I had a look of panic on my face. That sort of inescapable pain is simply not for me, so I ordered the epidural, pronto, and the anesthesiologist arrived quickly and took care of business. After this I was, of course, confined to the bed, with an IV, a catheter, baby monitor, blood pressure monitor, and at times oxygen to keep the baby active. It was not how I'd envisioned spending the remaining 12 hours of my labor, but there was no choice, of course. I managed to doze a bit, and by midnight, I was FINALLY fully dilated and ready to push.

I could feel the contractions coming on, and when people say it feels like you have to take a big poo, they aren't joking. I totally pooped on the table, as predicted, and nobody cared. Well, people probably cared, but I don't care. I had a wonderful nurse named Sarah at that point -- she was a former midwife and actually expressed gladness at having a doula in the room. She and the other members of my "birthing team" -- ha! My mom, my husband, and Katie -- held my legs, helped me count while pushing, encouraged me, helped me try different positions ....

for three hours.

At this point I couldn't believe it had been three hours. I knew I was utterly exhausted. It was early Tuesday morning and I hadn't really slept or eaten since Sunday. There was only one point during the pushing that I really felt the baby's head moving into the birth canal. Sarah said she could see his head and hair, so I knew he was coming, and I just needed to keep going.

Except my doctor came in, groggy with sleep, to tell me my pubic bone was blocking the baby's path. She didn't want to use forceps or the vacuum (nor did I), and she thought the safest choice at that moment was a c-section.

At this point I was so tired and disappointed, I just agreed to it and had a good cry. I was made to drink a disgusting anti-reflux concoction, then met the anesthesiologist. My husband donned scrubs, and I was whisked into surgery, past my doctor, who was gulping a mug of coffee (it was now 4 a.m.). They hoisted me onto a narrow table and spread my arms onto boards. A sheet was raised between me and the doctors so I couldn't witness what was about to happen, although at that point, I was so tired and gloomy I allowed myself to drift in and out of sleep. Medicine poured like ice water into my spine and the anesthesiologist asked me to tell him when I could no longer feel my stomach being poked with something sharp. It took a few minutes to get the medicine at the appropriate level. My husband was led in and held my right hand as the surgery began.

So, right off the bat, there was something wrong. I was being tugged this way and that and there was a lot of talk of my bladder being distended and in the way, in addition to being full of blood. Thank you, nurse who jacked up my catheter. A different doctor had to be brought in to fix this issue, and then finally they could get down to brass tacks. I don't remember what was said -- "Here he is," or "congratulations," or "It's a boy," but his little blue body was passed to a waiting nurse and whisked into an adjoining room. I asked my husband to follow him, so he did. Which is about when the surgery began to feel painful.

It started as tingling and then quickly progressed to burning and stinging, the sensation growing stronger and stronger. "I can feel it," I told the anesthesiologist. "Like pressure?" he asked. "No, like pain." He injected more of that cold juice into my spine, but it didn't help, and I felt each remaining sickening step of the procedure, each staple as it shut me up. Tears were running out of my eyes and my doctor was reassuring me, "hang in there, we're almost done." And then my husband brought the baby to me, and Graham? He was the most stunning thing I'd ever seen, so then I was crying for multiple reasons. He was so much more beautiful than I could have imagined, and his eyes were wide open, staring at me. I know babies don't really smile, but he smiled. And I swear to God, for that moment, I would relive the entire nightmarish pregnancy and birth countless times.

The surgery ended, and my mouth was horribly dry. If you could die of having a dry mouth, I was nearly there. And I began to shake uncontrollably. They wheeled me into recovery and my same trusty nurse, Sarah, was there, reassuring me that she was armed with All The Drugs and would have me feeling no pain in a jiffy. Which she did. The shaking abated and I was brought water and ice chips, which I unwisely guzzled. Graham was brought to me and he immediately latched to a boob and fed. I was euphoric and in love, in spite of it all. Of course, then I started vomiting and didn't stop for several hours (a true pleasure with a c-section incision), but I was still in complete awe.

We stayed in the hospital for two more days. Women with c-sections can stay for four, but we were exhausted -- the nurses come in at all hours for god knows what reason -- and we wanted to be home on Thanksgiving, which is the day we were finally discharged.

I didn't feel quite right, but I knew staying at the hospital wasn't going to help anything. It was a good call, since I was able to get slightly more rest at home.

 8 lbs, 6 oz, 21 inches. He's 2 weeks old today.

 Meeting Simon. So far the cats are unimpressed.

I know it took me a while to get this up, and I didn't write it all in one shot because: baby. Yeah. Turns out they need stuff all the time. But, I'll do my best to keep the blog updated as I embark on this adventure in parenting.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

the final countdown

The following, as likely expected, is the "I'm going to be pregnant forever" blog post.


I'm going to be pregnant forever.

My child will attend kindergarten through senior year of college while still in my womb. His wedding will take place in my uterus, and his partner will move in via my vagina. No cats allowed.


Today is the fifth day in my thirty-ninth week of pregnancy and I've decided this condition ... this miraculous condition ... is someone's idea of a huge joke that goes on for way too long.


Too long.

I'm waiting for that spurt of energy, that nesting thing to kick in. Nothing on the horizon thus far. Only a fatigue that has wormed its way into each bone. My fingers are tired. My eyelids feel like they weigh five pounds each.

Night-time peeing has reached unprecedented levels. I pee every hour. Every. Hour. Until I can't muster the energy to get up and pee and then I just lie there, exhausted, needing to pee.

I've kept my eye out for signs of labor, but so far there's just been some mild cramping.

I know, logically, that this child will be here in -- at most -- a little over a week. But I don't think he's gotten the memo.


My friend from the birthing class had her baby, after much drama. Did I mention she'd elected to induce at 39 weeks?

You have three guesses how that ended up.

Yes, a c-section.

The whole lead-up sounded terrible. Cervidil to ripen the cervix, 13 hours of pitocin, and many hours of painful contractions only to end up dilated 2 centimeters. They were given the choice to go home and wait for labor to start naturally, or have a c-section. They chose the surgery, which is what I'd suspected she wanted all along. It didn't go excellently -- lots of bleeding due to overstimulation of the uterus and lots of vomiting afterward.

But they have their kid.


I'm trying all the tricks to induce labor naturally, but babies just arrive when they're ready, don't they? Because my life operates strictly based on Murphy's Law, this probably means he's going to arrive on Thanksgiving. As soon as I pour gravy on my mashed potatoes, my water will probably break.

I mean, I am the same person whose period has started on Christmas day every year for the last several years, so this seems only logical.

And that's fine.

Friday, November 15, 2013


What's that saying? If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. (The other day I saw Anne Lamott tweet this same saying, except she called God "her.")

Although, really, I never had a plan when it came to this birth. I'd been told repeatedly there was no way a regular birth was possible because the possibility of the placenta moving out of the way in time was infinitesimal. A c-section was scheduled and I assumed this was how we would proceed. At first I struggled with it, and then I accepted it. And then everything got flipped on its head.

Because yesterday, five days before my scheduled c-section, I had yet another ultrasound and the placenta has moved way the hell out of the way. Like WAY THE HELL out of the way. This may all sound silly to you but if you'd learned as much about placental migration and complete placenta previas as I have in the last five months, you'd be fucking shocked, too.

So: CHANGE OF PLANS. Imagine Bill O'Reilly saying this: We'll do it vaginally!

This is good news. My husband is elated. My family is stoked. My friends are happy. And I'm like ... I gotta turn this fuckin' boat around, man. I do not deal well with change, and this is a bit of a beast. I am 39 weeks pregnant and experiencing a range of emotions at this news.

For starters, I'm a little pissed off. Perhaps science is a bit of a double-edged sword, you know? Maybe nature knows what the hell she's doing most of the time and science needs to just back the hell off a little bit.

Then there's the fact that I have not prepared for a vaginal birth in any way. Not a single way. But FUCK IT. As Bill would say. My body is made to do this and it will get the job done.

Then there's the fear of birth thing. I'd feared the c-section, too, but vaginal birth is a whole other animal. Top fear = laboring and then needing a c-section anyway. I will cut someone if that happens. This is one of the main reasons I'm hiring a good friend to doula for me. I may not know what the hell is going on, but she will.

So yeah, while I might be a bit frustrated about the sudden change of plans, I am overall glad it's going to happen this way. Even with the ensured vaginal devastation. Recovery time is quicker and I don't have to worry about nerve damage or any other weird shit happening as a result of surgery. Most importantly, I should get to hold my kid as soon as he comes out. With the c-section, it would have been at least an hour. Breastfeeding should be a bit easier. I have a lot more control over what happens to everyone now that I'm doing it caveman style.

So when is this show gonna get on the road? Not soon, it seems. I am not dilated or effaced. The baby is not engaged. So, no idea. I was born at 43 weeks, believe it or not, and my mom had to be induced. My sister was born two weeks late. So if I'm like my mom, who the hell knows. My doctor said she won't let me go past 41 weeks, so I'm just hoping I won't need to be induced.

Anyway, since I'm fairly late in the pregnancy and have no idea when this could really happen, I thought I'd post some photos I've taken along the way showing the progression of the pregnancy. They were all taken in my bathroom (major selfie faux pas, I know). You can follow me on instagram to see any new photos I post, the user name is zeromusings.

20 weeks

22 weeks

24 weeks

26 weeks

 28 weeks

29 weeks

30 weeks

31 weeks 

 32 weeks

33 weeks

 34 weeks

35 weeks

 36 weeks

 38 weeks

39 weeks

Pregnancy is cute for a while, and then it's just grotesque, isn't it!?

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

37 weeks

You know, I almost had a kid yesterday. The c-section was originally scheduled for Monday, but of course as I mentioned, the placenta moved a wee bit and bought us a couple weeks.

I'm pretty happy that the kid is still cooking, because I'm only on week 37. Technically this is considered full term, but there can be issues with babies' lungs when you take them out that early. (If we'd gone ahead with the c-section yesterday, they would have given me steroid shots a couple days beforehand to help mature the lungs.)

On the other hand, I am way over being pregnant. I may have mentioned I have carpal tunnel now. It's a temporary and common thing that happens in some women's pregnancies, which I'd never heard of. A couple of the women in my childbirth class had it and it had really impacted their abilities to continue working at their jobs. I totally see how it could, now. 

One of those women, a dental hygienist, emailed me today to say hi and see how I'm doing and I was like: She wants to be buddies! So I waited 20 minutes before replying back to her and then realized I reek of desperation and she is not going to want to be my buddy anymore. But I take it back because she literally just responded back to me. She's going nuts in the house, not being able to work, and she wants to know how I spend my time. Girl. I don't even know. I managed to clean a bathroom yesterday and that put me down for a two-hour nap. 

So, have I mentioned my kid is probably going to be enormous? We already knew the head is measuring two weeks ahead of the baby's gestational age, and then my mom went ahead and reminded me that I was 8 lbs 7 oz, and my sister was 9 lbs 11 oz (although both of us were apparently very late deliveries). Then I went and looked at the last ultrasound photo again and, I don't know for sure, but this kid's head looks enormous. I'm now officially worried we are going to skip newborn sizes and just head straight into 3 or 6 month territory. Don't do it, child! I have too many cute newborn outfits to put you in first! 

Meanwhile, in "preparing for the arrival" news, we moved the crib into our bedroom when it was determined (not by me) that the cradle I'd chosen for our child to sleep in for the first weeks of his life would probably kill him. In fairness to my husband, he is right in that most resources say newborns should sleep flat on their backs on a firm surface. But in fairness to me, all the women of the internet (whom I trust implicitly) swear by this cradle and tons of them used it in the first weeks of their babies' lives. Many of them said it helped with reflux, which newborns are notorious for, and somehow none of their kids died. However, I have reached the "do what you will" phase of this pregnancy, which means that I basically do not care what happens with any of the baby crap in our house. I just need the baby out of me. 

Speaking of baby crap, we also had our car seat install evaluated today. Sad to say we are among the 85-90% of people who do not properly install car seats, so basically we are enormous losers, or so my husband thinks. It's quite a blow to someone like him -- he's an engineer and a real rule-follower. Actually, we were watching The Walking Dead the other day and you know how everyone's out looking for antibiotics right now, so they're driving around and blowing through stop signs and stuff since like 99% of the population is dead or hungry for brains. And I thought to myself -- I bet my husband would still stop at the stop sign if we were living in the zombie apocalypse. But I didn't say that to him because I think it would piss him off. But now he's going to read this and get pissed anyway. I love you, honey. Your rule-following ways are endearing.

So anyway my point is I really don't know how we incorrectly installed the car seat, because we followed the directions in both the car and seat manuals, to the letter. Suffice to say I think the manufacturers of cars and car seats are all jerks. I have no idea how certain standards continue not to exist for cars when it comes to this.

The moral of this story is ... there are two weeks to go until I stop writing about pregnancy and start regaling you with oft-heard tales of the trials of early motherhood. Unless I go into labor first! I wish.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Well. For its next trick, my placenta is going to put on a top hat and sing "There's No Business Like Show Business."

The thing moved again! I mean, not enough for regular birth, but enough that the danger of a bleed is way less likely and I get to wait a couple more weeks before I go under the knife. I never would have guessed I'd be so ecstatic to hear someone tell me I can have a c-section at 39 weeks, but it was truly welcome news. 37 weeks just seemed so early, and would have required steroid shots. Now the kid gets another two weeks to bake in the belly and enjoy all the spicy food I've been eating while he kicks me in the vagina.

I'm guessing he's going to be sort of enormous? I already know his head is going to be large -- it's two weeks ahead of his gestational age. Which is pretty much what we expected, since my husband and I are both Big Heads and come from families of Big Headed People. He may be long/tall, too -- I'm 5'9", my husband's 6'1", his dad's 6'4". Still, the ultrasound technician guessed he weighs about six pounds right now.

We finished our childbirth education class and didn't make any lifelong friends. Maybe later after we have our babies and need other humans to make us feel normal we can reunite. We have each other's email addresses. And we finished our final class of all -- the Newborn Class -- last night. It mostly consisted of the instructor holding up photos of defective-looking infants and telling us it was all normal and not to worry if our kids come out with pointy heads and black spots on their butts. Good to know. I, of course, am already a swaddling and diapering whiz, having conquered many of my niece's blowout diapers and wrestled her into nearly unbeatable swaddles (somehow they always break out). My husband was looking quite proud of his diapering abilities when I informed him he'd put it on backwards.

One of the ladies in last night's class remarked how strangers seem to believe no question is too personal when it comes to our pregnancies, and I have found this to be more and more true as I get larger and larger. Most of what I encounter is people giving me those large eyeball looks like: Girl, I hope your water doesn't break right now. My funniest encounter yet was with a cashier at the grocery store last week who told me I looked like I was going to have a large baby (aka I look large??). Then she told me that with her last pregnancy she only gained 13 pounds and no one could even tell she was pregnant. HAHAHAHA. I said: Well I've definitely gained more than 13 pounds. My husband helpfully noticed that my face had turned bright red and I was like: Yes. That woman just told me she thinks I'm fat.

In other baby news, we've chosen our pediatrician. She seems very kind and crunchy-granola and she has a cool South African accent. She's OK with delayed vaccines, which I plan to enforce. Dang, vaccines are one of those touchy subjects -- when I briefly mentioned delaying vaccines in our childbirth class, everyone looked at me like I was insane. I bet if I'd been in a Bradley class they'd all have nodded sagely. I'm gonna vaccinate the kid for goodness sake, just not at the aggressive rate suggested by some dumb government agency I don't trust.

Top pregnancy gripes right now are the lack of sleep, still, and now a new one -- carpal tunnel. Thankfully it's not super painful, and it's mostly just in my right hand, which feels a bit numb and tingly. Heartburn and indigestion are pretty much 24-hour occurrences, as is being out of breath. I look like I just ran around the block when all I did was put on socks and shoes. I also have a wicked case of T.O.P. (tired of pregnancy, as our childbirth educator explained) and sometimes it makes me mighty ragey. Also, I think my nose is bigger? Good stuff. Really, really looking forward to not being an extra-large bag of body fluid in a few weeks.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

the nursery

The nursery is done! The nursery is done!

And none too soon, I must say.

Putting together a nursery sounds fun before you actually do it, and then you start to do it and you're like: Wow, this sort of blows. Except it doesn't blow as much as it would if you were just putting together any old room, because you're always thinking about your kid spending time there.

Getting the room ready involved building a number of pieces of furniture, lots of horrible shopping at horrible places (IKEA and Target and Buy Buy Baby - I'm talking to you), lots of washing of things and putting away of things, and bickering and so on and so forth. The room is pretty much done now, except for the much-advised blackout curtains (I've read three books on how to make your baby sleep and the only thing they all agree on is blackout curtains), and a couple family photos I plan to put up.

So without further ado, I present the nursery!

 Peering in from the doorway, we've got the glider/recliner, a nightstand, and a couple cutesy details. Yes, that is a camera on the nightstand. We want our son to know we are always watching him. Heh. 

Still looking from the doorway, now we can see part of the crib, plus the dresser/changing area, and cloud and airplane decals on the wall. 
The decals kill me, you guys. Best and cheapest and cutest idea ever. I got them from Blik.
There is a wipe warmer on the dresser. I know, I know.

 Standing in the room, to the right of the chair, looking toward the nightstand/cute bird pics. 

 A closer view of the birds. 

The airplane and sheep parachuting ... I just die every time I see it. 
The kid's cradle is to the left of the crib -- we'll keep that in our room when he's first born.  
You may also have noticed the child gate. In our case it's a cat gate and seems to be keeping the cats out for the time being. 

The lavender sachets my sister made for my shower. So cute. You should commission her to make you some. 

The crib sheets. We want the kid to be stressed out about traffic immediately.

So that's pretty much it. I expect it will never look this tidy again. And you may have noticed it's really not gender neutral, but what can I say? Little boy stuff is just so adorable and different from everything I've ever known -- my family produces mainly girls, so this is a whole other experience. Anyway, he'll grow out of all of it and want to replace it with obnoxious crap from whatever tv show the kids are into in a few years, and that's just fine.

Monday, October 21, 2013

advanced maternal age

The big ol' clock hit the witching hour last week. You know the one. It's the fateful year that all women fear because their eggs suddenly wither and risks of various fertility ailments skyrocket.



Thirty five years, livin' on the planet, tra-la-la-la! Troo-loo-loo-loo!

That's my birthday song.

I did lots of cool stuff before I turned 35; that's why I am now an old lady having a baby. Sometimes part of me thinks I should have settled down in my 20s and tried to start a family then, but then I remember what a crazy adventure my 20s were. I am who I am in part because I chose not to settle down. I'll be a better mom because of that. In my 20s I'd have been THE WORST.

I love calling stuff "the worst." Some stuff really is the worst, though. For reals. That show "Dads" is totally The Worst.


On my birthday, I had a doctor's appointment and a childbirth class. I had dinner at Panera. It was the universe prepping me for the remainder of my lifetime being SO NOT ABOUT ME anymore. Which is cool. Because it'll be about this human I frickin' grew in my uterus. I basically made him, so that still makes me pretty much a walking miracle.


Pregnancy at 35 has got to be crappier than it would be at 25. It's just a guess. If I had been obnoxiously healthy and in shape before getting pregnant, the whole experience would probably be a little easier. But I have never done things the easy way, and certainly wasn't about to start with this particular project.

I have all the symptoms I would have if I'd simply become elderly and obese overnight (ow, my knees, and whoa, I cannot stop snoring), plus the regular pregnancy stuff like everything being swollen and being exhausted all the time, and having crazy stretch marks and stabbing pains in places where no one should be stabbed. And oh my god the peeing. I thought I peed a lot before but it's at a whole other level now.

There are good things about pregnancy, depending on how you feel about strangers asking you questions about your vagina and stuff. I would gladly skip off into the sunset with a fellow pregnant woman I encounter at Whole Foods so we can discuss all the boring details of our symptoms and impending births. When other strangers get all up in my biz, it's a little different. My most hated question: "What's the name?"

Like, for starters, I don't even know why this question offends me so much. Maybe because I don't know "the name" yet. I sort of hope the child emerges, I look at his face, and say, yes, he looks like a ___ , and hopefully that name will be one of the several on our list and not, like, Sanjay or something. That would be awkward.

People are always saying how good I look, with their surprised faces. I am convinced everyone is blowing loooooottts of smoke up my butt because how I look is rotund and tired. But you can't tell an achey pregnant woman she looks rotund and tired or she will straight up murder your ass.

Anyway, it's not like I care how I look. I now emerge from the bathroom, post-shower, utterly nude. I am unapologetic about it all and sort of amused by my husband's "whoa" reaction. BEHOLD. I AM THE VESSEL OF LIFE. ALL SHALL TREMBLE IN FEAR AT MY FEET.

You know what I don't even care about anymore? I wouldn't have believed it, even though you said I wouldn't -- I don't give a flying fuck about my pubic hair. I can't see it, I can't reach it, and it is going to stay exactly where it is, in all its shaggy glory, until such a time has arrived that I can once again approach the area safely with a razor. I mean. I am the vessel of life and stuff, so that comes with certain disgusting facets.


Two weeks, two weeks, tra-la-lee, troo-la-lo, baby gonna be here, holy buttsmoke!

That's my c-section song.

My hospital is not as crunchy-granola as I would like. They don't allow for "gentle" cesareans, where the moms get to hold their babies right away. They only allow one person to accompany me to surgery. They don't allow photos of the surgery.

Man, when hospitals get ahold of your birth, it's not your birth any more. It's theirs! This is why people opt for home births and/or natural births. I absolutely get it. You lose all control when you give them an inch.

Who even knows what I'd do, given an actual choice. We find out this week if, for sure, the placenta is still blocking the cervix. Problem is, if the damn thing has moved, I am 100% unprepared for a regular birth. Everyone's been singing the c-section song for this entire pregnancy, and I'm only now mentally prepared for that. If that changes ... I am up a creek.


Thirty-five, still alive, ain't no jive, wonder why, ain't got no pie ...

At 35 (or rapidly approaching), doctors switch your whole course of treatment during pregnancy because you are now "high risk." So the anatomy scan is at a specialized facility, and they want you to make sure the kid doesn't have any of the most common chromosomal defects and all that jazz.

It's onnnnnlllly toooooo much funnnnnnn to be of advanced ... maternal ... age!

That's my old-lady-having-a-baby song.

Thankfully, most of the women in my childbirth group are old, too! Yay for old ladies! We are mature and financially secure! We read books and stuff! We might be a little too prepared.

Really, ain't no thang to be 35 and having a baby. Age is ... well. What you make of it. Still. To be 35 (or older) and trying to have a baby is not a joke. I don't like to frighten people but just know that all of us old ladies in the childbirth class didn't come by our babies easily. We're talking decades of trying between the lot of us. Surgeries. IVFs. Medications. Miscarriages. Complications. We are so happy, and so, so, so happy all of that is behind us (hopefully).

I appreciate the articles I read by women who rail against doctors for frightening women of "advanced maternal age" about the ticking clocks in their vaginas, because really, you can have a baby. You can do it, and it might even be easy. Women are all so different, so you never know. And then, also, it might not be so easy. Which is ok, because there is help if it's not. But don't have any illusions about it.


Thirty-five is the new twenty-five, right? Like, if I drink green juice every day and do yoga?

Going to get ... right ... on that.


Monday, October 14, 2013

good intentions

Back to our regularly scheduled programming this week -- all babies, all the time.

A lot and not a lot is happening at the same time. We went on a tour of the hospital with about fifteen other couples. At one point the tour leader asked if anyone in the group had a scheduled c-section, and I was the only one to raise my hand. We were asked to the front of the group so we could peer into the sterile hallway that leads to the operating rooms. Which is about when I started to feel like I wanted to vomit.

That moment was my greatest "I can't believe my body won't do this the old-fashioned way" moment. It's ok -- I don't need reassurance. I know that this is what it is and it's ok. I've even had moments when I was glad to be having a c-section. It'll be fast and predictable (hopefully) and then, bam, mommyhood.

Anyway, lots of those other bitches are gonna end up with c-sections, too; they just don't know it yet. Is that mean? Or just true? Both?

My husband asked me the other day: What if the placenta moves and you get to do it the other way? And I am thinking: That seems exactly like something that would happen, since I'm completely unprepared for a vaginal birth. There'd be a major last-minute cram-session is what would happen.

The nursery is nearly done. Some final details need to go up and then it will be ready for its photo shoot. I expect that moment to be the first and last time the nursery looks picture-ready.

My husband has been a weekend warrior, building furniture and other baby paraphernalia, cleaning, installing the car seat, embarking on trips to IKEA.... He's the one getting stuff done. And thank goodness, because I am almost useless. I've been reading books about getting your baby to sleep (which makes me soooo sleepy). I sometimes do the dishes and cook dinner. I tool around the nursery a bit until I find myself sitting in the glider, staring into space, and then wonder how long I've been doing that. During the week I manage to haul myself to the store or acupuncture or the doctor or whatever class I've signed us up for. That's about it.

There's this scene in The Big Lebowski when The Dude is being driven home by Maude's chauffeur, and the chauffeur is telling a joke: "So he says 'My wife's a pain in the ass. She's always busting my friggin' agates. My daughter's married to a real loser bastard. And I got a rash so bad on my ass, I can't even sit down. But you know me. I can't complain.'"

Which is sort of how I feel. Without discussing my ass, let's just say there are a number of aches and pains -- the greatest probably being my inability to sleep for more than an hour at a time -- but I can't complain. I know of many women who have had and do have it wayyy worse. I'll suck this up for another few weeks.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

recipes you should try

(first, an update! My book is up to 661 downloads in the U.S. and 29 elsewhere in the world - mainly the UK. Sadly, I've dropped to #920 in the Kindle Store -- hopes of breaking the top 100 = dashed. The book is still free through Friday on Kindles and other devices with Kindle apps!)

So, it's been a long time since I did a food/recipe post! That's due in part to laziness -- photographing the process adds quite a bit of time and lately I'm 1) starving 2) running late. But I've certainly been trying new recipes, and loving lots of them! Thought I'd tell you about the recipes I'm loving lately ...

First, I made this pasta fagioli soup last night and absolutely loved it.

from shutterbean.com

It looks simple but what makes it fantastic is you start it with pancetta (or bacon. Maybe try turkey bacon if you don't eat pork), which gives it a rich flavor. Simmered with a pinch of red pepper flakes, it comes out just slightly spicy and pretty awesome on a cool fall evening. I used maybe a whole teaspoon of red pepper flakes because I like my soup with a little extra kick. I served it with a side of garlic bread and was in hog heaven. Shutterbean has lots of great recipes if you'd like to follow her.

I've made these Italian Drunken Noodles a couple times and I really like them, even though the peppers give me a little heartburn (pregnant people problems).

from easy-cookbook-recipes.com

My suggestion is to use spicy sausage (if you like your food spicy), and to get sausage that's already out of the casings if you can. My local Whole Foods sells italian sausage this way, thankfully. Don't forget to salt the recipe at some point, and if you can't find papardelle, egg noodles work really well. Muy delicioso.

And now, baked ziti. My husband LOVES this one. I've made it a couple times.

from amateurgourmet.com

I think I might have a pasta problem ...
Anyway, the first time I made this was for Christina, who doesn't eat red meat, so I just used ground turkey. Still really fabulous. I used beef the second time around -- still fabulous. It's cheesy and gooey but then also has these crispy edge parts that don't sound delicious but really are. I really like Amateur Gourmet -- he's the one who clued me in to the breakfast potatoes recipe I love so much, too.

Another big winner with the husband -- Crockpot Rootbeer Pulled Chicken.

from eatliverun.com

So simple, and so delicious. Chicken thighs, onion, barbecue sauce, rootbeer, a few splashes of Tobasco. I made sandwiches with them, and let me tell you my secret to really killer sandwiches. You take your buns, butter them generously on the inside, then toast under the broiler. Then I added mayo and a little red onion. Sounds so simple but it's pretty killer.

I've tried a couple other recipes that were flops so I won't bother sharing those. These ones are the real winners. What have you been eating lately? Got any recipes to share?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

MaddAddam review

This is the week I'm pimping my FREE ebook, so it seemed appropriate to write a book review and stay topical.

Excuse me for a moment while I brag.

My book is the #2 selling book in women's fiction/humor on Amazon right now! And by selling, I mean hella fools are downloading it for free, of course. It's ranked #564 in the free Kindle store, which may not seem impressive to you, but ... I am impressed! I've also had 542 downloads since yesterday! Which is more than I've sold since the book was published, hahahahah.... But that's why this promotion exists.

Anyway, I will now get to the review.

You may recall this is the third in Atwood's apocalyptic trilogy. I think she must be extraordinarily creative and smart to have sculpted this futuristic world, destroyed it, and then shown us what the aftermath looks like. The details are amazing. I really, really enjoyed the final book in the series, and I gave it five stars on Goodreads, which is very unusual for me.

I'd been really impressed with the first novel -- Oryx and Crake, and less so with the second -- The Year of The Flood. Why are so many second novels in trilogies just piles of poo?

Anyway, the premise is everyone but a small group of people is dead. Among the non-dead are a group of naive bio-engineered humans, and the rest are a bunch of former vegan/hippie types. The final book gets into how they're surviving, some romantic entanglements, the adventures of one survivor named Zeb, and finally a showdown between them (and their pig friends) and a malevolent group of survivors. (There are always malevolent survivors!!)

So yeah. I loved it.

Now I'm reading The Vaccine Book and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, and am completely disturbed by information in both.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Oh yes, that

In the midst of all this baby-mania, I nearly forgot I am trying to promote my book ... which is FREE today through Friday as a kindle download. Tell your ma, tell your pa, tell all your buddies who like chick-lit (I don't take offense to the term).

Actually, I totally did forget I was holding a big book promo this week, until around noon today. It's been pure madness as we've been ordering and shopping for the rest of the baby stuff we need, and I've been basically entirely focused on the probability that I will need a c-section in a month. I've accepted it wholeheartedly and am just glad I have a good doctor and everything's going to be OK. But, like whoa with being majorly distracted. I forgot an acupuncture appointment last week. I forget to lock doors, I forget to turn off the stove, I forget evvvverything.

It doesn't help that the last trimester is a huge energy suck. And then when I try to sleep it's like HAHA no sleep. I mean, I sleep, but I wake up every.single.hour because 1) gotta pee 2) everything hurts 3) I snore now, so now I snork myself awake, which: I am the sexiest.

But a couple weeks ago, I decided to take advantage of this promo thing Amazon does and allow my book to be downloaded for free for five days. They claim it helps boost sales ... I am skeptical but we will see. It's certainly worth a shot.

Anyway, if you haven't had a chance to check the book out, now is a great time to do it, since free stuff is basically the best. You've got until Friday to get your sexy download on. And you really should tell someone about it. People who like to talk about diets or go on diets or who like to talk about weight issues or relationship issues, or people who like donuts and wine, or people who work in San Francisco, or people who are going on vacation and need something light and fluffy to occupy their time.

Here is where you get the book. Go to it, my friends. 

Also, some links to places you can find me, should you so desire:



"Bigger" has a Facebook page

Friday, October 04, 2013

tips for moms-to-be

I seriously just wrote that headline and gagged a little. I make even myself a little nauseated.

But I feel a need to impart the things I have learned so far. For some reason, there's no real good primer out there (that I've been able to find, anyway). Maybe everyone assumes we know what we're doing, that we instinctively know how to prepare for the arrival of a baby. But the fact for me, at least, is that I don't know, and I'm tired and suffering a myriad of physical discomforts, and I think this is how new parents end up overpaying for stuff. They're just tired and they don't care anymore.

And as everyone always says, children are expensive. But until you're prepping for one's arrival, you may not realize it can add up to thousands and thousands of dollars. If you let it.

So! Here are my tips. Regular readers may skip this or add their own tips or send it to their pregnant friends. Your choice!

1. Start with the latest issue of Baby Bargains. Maybe you think you don't need or want to find bargains, and that's fine -- the real value in this book is the reviews of the products and the sheer amount of information you would NEVER know if this book didn't tell you. You can go with the cheapest, the middle-priced, or the most expensive. They'll tell you how each performs and you can decide if it's worth another $500. Compile a list of all the things you want on a spreadsheet so when the time comes to register for baby crap you're not wandering Babies 'R' Us aimlessly for hours. Talk about a nightmare.

2. Fudge on the due date on all your registries. My advice is to move the due date up an entire month. The reason for this is that all retailers wait until 4-6 weeks before your due date to send you the completion coupon. Which is SO DUMB. I assume they do this in an attempt to thwart your efforts to successfully fulfill your registry at a discounted price. So fudge the date. Because you aren't going to want to go shopping for all that crap at 36 weeks pregnant. Not to mention, who knows? Maybe you'll end up like me and the doctor will be like: Surprise! You need to deliver three weeks early. (My own current experience with completion coupons -- I am 7 weeks from my original due date and have received only the coupon from Buy Buy Baby. I recently changed the due date on the Target registry but have yet to receive a coupon. Amazon waits until 30 days before your date, which is ridiculous.)

3. Target has lots of junk you will want/need, but word to the wise: They're notoriously unreliable when it comes to updating the registry. I received multiples of the same gifts from my Target registry. So once that happens of course you'll have to return it to the store for credit, and then use that credit toward completing your registry. Which is totally fine, but it's certainly one more thing to add to your to-do list.

4. Register for as much as you can on Amazon. It's got nearly everything you'll want, and it's extremely convenient for most people who want to buy you stuff. Now, I made the mistake of not registering for that much stuff on Amazon, but I corrected my mistake later by adding everything I didn't get from my other registries to the Amazon registry. Most (although not all) stuff on Amazon is cheaper than you can find it in the stores, and their completion discount is the same as the other stores -- 10%. UNLESS you sign up for Amazon Mom, which is FREE if you're a prime member. Then you get 15% off registry items (up to $5,000 in purchases). So you're paying less, and you don't even have to go to the store to pick all this crap up and bring it back. Bam. (BTW benefits of Amazon Mom are 20% off diapers and wipes and other household items, plus the regular prime benefits like 2-day delivery.)

5. You might be able to get your breast pump for free. Your insurance company won't advertise this, of course, but they very well may cover it. I had no idea this was a possibility until a friend told me about it, so I called my insurance company and they said they will cover one electric pump 100%. So I can buy any pump I want and they will reimburse me. Your insurance may not be this awesome -- my friend's only covered certain pumps from certain manufacturers. But it's worth looking into -- the pump I plan to buy is more than $250.

6. Diapers.com is probably going to be your cheapest source for diapers and wipes, even if you have Amazon Mom. I just checked and even with my discount at Amazon, the Diapers.com diapers were a couple bucks cheaper. PLUS they ship for free on orders over $35, and they'll get there THE NEXT DAY. I've already tested this out, and was duly impressed. They also sell a myriad of other baby items at deeply discounted prices.

7. This last tip is just a little advice that's certainly not something you need to follow, but that I think is wise and can save you lots of cash. Cheap out on the crib and nursery furniture. Just go to Ikea and get the $100 crib (yes, it's still a good crib -- they're all required to meet the same safety standards) and a dresser and whatnot. I don't think you need a changing table, but if you just want one, go for it. It's easy to just strap a changing pad to a dresser and call it a day. If you want to blow your wad on furniture, save it for the rocker or glider. Even then, wait for discount coupons in the mail and then go get it -- I will eternally be proud of myself for saving more than $300 on a kickass glider this way. Also, if you're going to order a chair, keep in mind that the manufacturer is going to take up to 8 weeks to get it to you (mine took 4). Order that shiz early.

All right, that's all I've got for now. What did I miss? I'm sure there are things I've not yet encountered.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

the real deal

So there's something that's been on my mind, to say the least. I haven't shared it here because I was hoping the situation would resolve itself and it would no longer be an issue. But the time has come to just spit it out.

I've got placenta previa. Most people I've told this to are like: WTF is that? What it is is when the placenta covers the opening to the cervix. This presents a challenge during birth because ain't nothin' supposed to be blocking the baby's entrance to the outside world. There could be bleeding, everyone could die, blah blah blah. For the last 12 weeks I haven't been allowed to travel, lift heavy stuff, do anything strenuous, have sex -- you get the picture.

The solution is a cesarean.

For people who know what placenta previas are -- at 20 weeks mine was a complete previa, which is the most serious kind (OF COURSE). Most other types of previas resolve themselves by the end of the pregnancy and the lady can go ahead and push that kid out of her sore bits. I'd been told mine was unlikely to resolve, and yesterday we found out that was the case. It's moved enough to now be considered a partial previa, but it's still blocking the cervix. The doctor wants to schedule the c-section for 37 weeks, which OMG BABY IN 30 DAYS.

It has to be 37 weeks to avoid me going into labor or dilating at all, which can cause major bleeding, which equals emergency situation.

We'll check again at 36 weeks to see if that bitchy previa has moved -- it needs to be at least 2 centimeters away from the cervix -- and obviously if not we'll proceed with the c-section and if so, I'll do this shit vaginally.

You may wonder what causes placenta previa. No one knows for certain, but risk factors seem to be:

Being old - check!
Having a funny-shaped uterus - check!
Having miscarriages - check!

It's almost funny.

I have trouble pinpointing exactly how I feel about this whole thing. For starters, I never should have expected an uncomplicated pregnancy. Getting pregnant was anything but, so that should have been a clue. When I learned about the previa, I was really disappointed, and I have to admit I still kind of am. Women are supposed to labor and give birth to their babies, not schedule an appointment, get numbed up and have them sliced out in like 15 minutes. I feel cheated of the birth experience, and I really feel like I'm cheating. Like I didn't put in a full effort if I didn't feel all the pain.

I mean, either way birth is terrifying, but I just wanted to be a normal lady having a normal birth. I know. Boohoo, poor me, what about all the ladies who'd like to just have a baby and can't? I should suck it up.

And truly, when it comes down to it, all I want is this hard-won baby out of me and in my arms. I'd love the nightmares about hemorrhaging to end. I'd love for my vagina to someday not be a no-fly zone. And I'd love to stop worrying that something beyond my control is going to hurt my kid (although I certainly realize the worrying has only just begun).

Friday, September 27, 2013

shock and awe

Our second night of childbirth class proved entertaining, if not particularly educational (for me, anyway).

The men and women were separated into different groups in different rooms and given the following instructions -- the men were asked to complete the sentence: Since my wife became pregnant, I have felt_____. The women were asked the same thing, obviously about themselves.

I thought this was potentially an opportunity for seven men to hear some really horrific details regarding the apparent complete personality change I've undergone in the last eight months. As it goes, I will never really know what was said, because as my husband claims: "What happened in that room stays in that room."

Which is probably for the best.

The ladies' emotions boiled down to: Oh yayyyy I am pregnant holy shit I'm having a baby I'm so scared. Once we got that out of the way, the women shared stories about telling their husbands they were pregnant. Sheer terror across the board. And then we discussed how dumb other people are. One woman says someone told her yesterday: "Wow, you have really gained a lot of weight in your thighs and your face." We thought of good comebacks: "Wow, so have you, except you're not pregnant!"

Then it was time for what I've really been waiting for: The birthing video.

So, first off, I've witnessed actual birth, and it's just way different watching it live than it is on TV. It's like ... whoooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Amazing. On TV, it's like, aw hell no, vag-close-up, gag, ick, heave. And I must say, The Miracle of Life video from 1983 many of us were shown in sex-ed? Way more graphic than what they showed last night.

So for starters, the pregnant woman had a belly ring. Which, whatever. Yes, it sort of makes me hate her but whatever. Then, she had no stretch marks, which: Yes, confirmed, I hate you. THEN, she had no pubic hair, at all. So yeah. And then she had a natural birth with no interventions, which is really splendid for her, but basically? Just eat poo, lady.

I think there was some major fright among the couples. The woman next to me couldn't even watch the pushing portion, so I told her when it was over. I decided to break the ice during the dead silence afterward by asking when the appropriate time would have been to get the epidural. Still pretty much patting myself on the back for my ingenious comedic timing.

The class wrapped up with some breathing practices and I left wondering how many of these women would end up with cesareans, how many would go natural, how many I'll still be in touch with when this is all over. We learn a little more about each other each time. This time I found out a couple of the other women struggled to get pregnant for years, too, and also dealt with miscarriages. The true value in this class may just be the moral support.

Monday, September 23, 2013

put a bird on it

There were tons of great comments from all sides on the last post. Lots of different opinions on vaccines, cord blood, and circumcision, and then of course the less important but still vital topics of conversation: Pooping, and pubic hair. Thanks to everyone who commented! It's helped move me toward decisions on all fronts.

So a couple updates in the pregnancy arena -- First, we started our childbirth class last week. And then Saturday was my baby shower!

The childbirth class was ok. It's a six week course. I didn't expect to learn much in the first class, and I didn't, but I think it was helpful for my husband. A lot of the guys in the class seem to be absorbing new information, so that's good. There are eight couples, and me and my husband are probably among the top three oldest. Among the other "old" couples are one woman who had IVF (I sort of want to sit her down and trade stories) and one who's had morning sickness her entire pregnancy. Myself and the IVF chick are the farthest along (due one day apart in late November), and the least farthest isn't due until February.

Anyway, they hold the class in the waiting room of my doctor's office, which would be OK if the air conditioning ran after hours. It ended up getting quite swampy and uncomfortable in there, and I was extra-annoyed by the end of the class, when we were giving each other massages on the floor and practicing breathing exercises. My husband's rubbing my back and instructing me how many "hee hees" to breathe, and I am just like PLEASE STOP TOUCHING ME. Please give the pregnant ladies air conditioning. They need it.

So then on Saturday, my friend Katie, my mom, and my sister threw me an amazing baby shower. I still don't really know how to adequately express how I felt that day. It's just an extremely surreal experience to finally be attending my own shower after all these years attending friends' baby showers and struggling with conceiving and miscarrying. When all was said and done, I felt like I'd just hit a huge milestone.

I stole some photos from my talented friend Anne's facebook page. She takes lovely photos.

The belly and the cupcake. I promise I will post many photos of the belly and my actual head later on. 

 There was a sort of woodland theme that included these handmade lavender sachets my sister sewed. She should really sell these in her etsy shop -- they were a huge hit and so cute. 
Also, I totally love owls and I don't care if it's trendy or if the trend has officially died. I've loved them since I was a kid, so I win.

Cupcakes. So much better than regular cake, you know? These are from Kara's, and are to die for.

Christina brought three-week-old Gianna, and everyone was duly impressed that she was showered, wearing makeup, and looking darn cute. Motherhood suits her well.

And there were many other good friends who drove a long way in the rain (rain!), and I am just so grateful. They know what this moment means to me, and I hope they know their friendship is invaluable.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

touchy subjects

These aren't all technically touchy subjects, but some of them are controversial in the birthing and parenting communities. They've just been on my mind. Feel free to chime in!

- Cord blood. To bank it, or to let it pump into the baby after birth: That is the question. Assuming it's a possibility -- sometimes all plans go out the window with regard to the cord, depending on how the birth goes. Banking it costs a few thousand dollars, but listen to what I just learned from reading Expecting Better: "... your child cannot typically use his own cord blood if he gets sick. The value is in it being used by a sibling. If one of your children is sick, a sibling's cord blood could possibly be used." This was major news to me. I don't even know if I'm going to be physically capable of having another child. As for allowing the blood to pulse into the baby, there are various benefits, particularly if the baby is born prematurely. This includes improved iron levels in the baby, although for full-term babies it seems there's an increased risk of jaundice with delayed cord clamping. C-section birthers are purportedly able to do delayed cord clamping as well, but I'm not sure if that's hearsay.

- Everyone Poops. It cracks me up when expectant moms seem more concerned about pooping during delivery than the fact that their vaginas are going to crack wide open and issue forth children. And then there are the moms who say they didn't poop during delivery, followed closely by: At least, I don't think I did. Ya probably did. And that's OK! A nurse went ahead and wiped the offending poo away and you were none the wiser because who can tell what's going on down there when you're in the final stage of labor. It all feels like hell, wouldn't you say?

- Vaccines. I'm gonna get the kid vaccinated, but I'm strongly considering a delayed schedule. The Internet is rife with advice from the medical community practically shouting about what the CDC recommends and how there's no proof that vaccines harm kids, blah blah blah. (And why, exactly, we should trust any government agencies when they just prove over and over that they're not trustworthy when it comes to public health, I'm not sure.) And then there's the other side, shouting about autism (which has been disproved, I believe) and peanut allergies and other childhood illnesses. I sort of just want to go with my gut and vaccinate the kid, but not with as many vaccines and as quickly as many doctors would like. If it feels like too much, maybe it is.

- Pediatricians. I need a pediatrician. Ugh. One who's ok with delayed vaccinations.

- The C Word. Circumcision!! Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I want to go with my gut on this one again and say no one is going near my son's penis with a knife. But I don't know. Practically every man I know is circumcised. Benefits of circumcision appear to include a lower risk of infection of HIV and other STDs that can lead to penile cancer. But I'm not sure I'm sold on it being in my kid's best interest. I'll probably never tell you what I decide, but I'm definitely open to your thoughts!

- Shaving vs. Waxing vs. Au Naturel: I thought I would report back on what everyone thinks is a reasonable course of action pre-birth with regards to vaginal grooming. Three people said shave, one person said wax, and an astounding seven people said to go native. Maybe I should have clarified that I am 25% Mexican, and my vagina is definitely Mexican. Does that help? Anyway, I'm still mulling this one over.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Amazingly, I still care about things that have nothing to do with Me and My Fetus, and also My Book.

I still care about literature! Although you wouldn't know it, because I haven't done a review in a while. Which means my memory is a little fuzzy on a couple of these, but a good book is a good book, and I always remember if I enjoyed one.

Marcus Sakey's Brilliance is a little bit Heroes, a little bit X-Men, but without all the fancy costumes and powers to slice your body in half with laser-beam eyes. Freaks of nature are being born, but they're born with certain enhanced mental skills that intimidate the regular populace. It's likely a bit of a commentary on racism and other prejudices. I thought it was pretty entertaining, possibly made for the movies, and definitely the first in a series.

Speaking of made for the movies, The Wolf of Wall Street will be out in November and stars Leonardo DiCaprio. I am going to haul my massively pregnant ass to the theater to see it because I found the story fascinating. The book is written by Jordan Belfort, who was federally convicted of various stock market shenanigans (I can't pretend to understand much of that part of it) that enabled him to live quite luxuriously on the Gold Coast, snort mountains of coke, swallow vats of quaaludes, and bonk dozens of prostitutes (while married with children). It's just really interesting to hear this dude's perspective on things. I think he might be kind of sorry for how everything went down, but I think deep in his heart of hearts he's pretty much vastly impressed with himself for pulling it off for as long as he did. The book is pretty funny, too, so that kept it rather entertaining.

Well, how'd this book get in there?! So yeah, I read Expecting Better, but I think you may still find my assessment interesting because of the press the author's been getting. It's a bit controversial -- she's an economist, so she's a pro at evaluating statistics and studies. What she's done is evaluated dozens of studies that have already been done, and which the medical community cites all the time as evidence for why we are told to behave the way we are when we're pregnant. And basically, she debunks a lot of it. There's a lot of interesting information in the book, although not much of it is all that surprising. I think I was surprised that you have a higher risk of getting toxoplasmosis from gardening (MUCH higher) than from cleaning a litter box, and also that if you drink moderately throughout pregnancy, your child is more likely to be well-behaved and intelligent than children whose mothers abstained throughout. Try convincing my husband of this fact, though. I'm still forbidden to imbibe. Another fact she sort of throws in there off-the-cuff that I found sort of astounding is that the whole "you can never let your children watch TV before the age of 2" thing is complete bull shit. I'll let her explain why.

I'm really into Mindy Kaling right now. I think she and I would totes be friends, and I find her hilarious. Her show -- The Mindy Project -- is great, and you should go back and start watching from the beginning if you haven't seen it. She's also at least three times more entertaining on Twitter and Instagram than most other celebrities. So that's my preface. I know I mentioned a couple weeks ago I'd just started reading Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns), and then I'd blasphemed and said it was better than Tina Fey's book. But in truth what I found was that the beginning was really stellar and then it sort of tapers off from there. It's still funny, but it wanders a bit. Still, it was interesting to learn about her start in showbiz, even if the book didn't have me rolling with laughter the entire time.

So as you can see in small print on the cover, Daniel Woodrell is the dude who wrote Winter's Bone. I never read that, but I did see the movie, and it's an impressive story. And I think The Maid's Version is, too. The story's about a maid (Alma) whose sister dies, along with many other people, in a dance hall explosion. It's told from the perspective of her grandson. The incident rules the rest of Alma's life and ruins her relationships with many people. It's a bit of a mystery. Who would blow up the dance hall, and why? Alma has her theory, and Woodrell works up to it. It sounds simplistic, but the interest is in the writing details, as it is with most well-written books. He's definitely a master of his craft.

I'm not sure what's up next for me. The last book in the MaddAdam series is out, so I may choose that. Then Stephen King has also released Doctor Sleep -- a followup to The Shining. I'm definitely interested but worried about crazy preggo dreams. Other possibilities are Jumpa Lahiri's Lowland, and Adelle Waldman's The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. And I suppose I could start reading some baby books. Any suggestions?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

current events

A few pregnancy-related things. I know. I am really a one-trick pony these days.

- I got a belly bandit to hold up my girth. Carrying the belly around has begun to feel uncomfortable at times, so this weight-belt-looking thing is supposed to help with that. Of course, it looks like I'm wearing a weight belt under my clothes, so that's the tradeoff.

- Oils and lotions and potions, oh my! I've been lotioning my stomach for several months (it puts the lotion on the stomach or it gets the stretch marks again ... Oh, wait. It gets the stretch marks anyway). It helps with the itching, but it's true what they say: You can put whatever the hell you want on your skin; if you are predestined to get stretch marks (I am), one day they're just gonna pop out with jazz hands like Hello Dolly!

- FYI my favorite is Jason Vitamin E oil. Smells nice and feels like it's actually doing something, even if it's not.

- I figured out there's a delicate balance that needs to happen if I'm to avoid majorly swollen feet. 1) Drink like 12 pint glasses of water a day. 2) Go on a 20 minute walk. 3) Don't sit for too long and if you do, put your feet up. 4) Take a nap. 5) Avoid eating too much salt.

- So I have a question about pubic hair. Maybe that should have been the title of this post, just to grab your attention. My question is: How concerned are we about pubic hair when it comes to giving birth? And what are we doing about it? Going for a wax? Shaving? And if we are going for a wax, is that, like, kosher in the third trimester?

- So apparently kegels are scientifically proven to be pretty important when it comes to making sure I don't pee my pants every time I sneeze after giving birth. So I guess I need to get on that. Am I the only one who gets winded after doing 15 kegels? Also, I think I'm supposed to be doing like 200 of these a day. Hahahahaha....

- Someone please explain when I can drink alcohol after I have the kid, since I'll be (attempting) breastfeeding. You can drink while you're breastfeeding or immediately after, yes? And all is fine? I mean, not binge drinking but just a glass of wine. Do not say "pump and dump": I don't believe in it.

- That thing where you have to pee so bad and then you go and it's like a tiny trickle forrrrreeeevvvveeerrrrrr. Good times.

- Oh and I snore now. Hella sexxay!

Monday, September 09, 2013

I may cry (but what else is new)

So our little one-week drywall and painting project turned into a solid two-week drywall and painting project because, as you may recall, mah damn wall turned out crappy.

It looked like this:

So, like, indentations up and down the wall every few feet. "Quality" work from a company with absolutely glowing frigging reviews on Angie's List (I've been burned so many times by contractors from Angie's List, I can't even tell you.). A company that does mainly drywall, hence their name: Shittyass Drywall.*

Now the wall looks like this: 

Somewhat better, but you can still see seams, dudes. 

When this was all done, I just wished a hole would open in the earth so I could crawl inside and beat my head against a rock. I called the owner up and explained my wall is still not flat. Never mind how they mangled the baseboard; that's a whole other story. And he's like: Well I doubt it will ever be completely flat. Well. Somehow all of the other walls in my house are completely flat. This is where I should have asked for money back but I didn't, and I know I am a big Stupid Stupid Person, but I just give up, you guys. I'm already stress-pooping over this wall, and I need the issue to go bye-bye so I can focus on the other four quadrillion projects I'm trying to get done, you know? 

In better news, my husband put together the Ikea crib (or as we are calling it: the sleeping cage) yesterday. 

So we officially have one piece of furniture in the baby's room. It feels good to chip away at little projects over time. More to come soon! 

*The first name of the company has been changed to protect the guilty. I am far too nice.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Week 29

As I get closer to the end of pregnancy, time has sped up. I am certain the clock is moving at least three times faster than it normally does.

It's around this time they tell you to start counting your baby's kicks. I think I should just count when the kid is not kicking. He kicks so much, and so vigorously, it feels like he wants out. Like he's going to try to claw his way out pretty soon. Sometimes it hurts. I'm tempted to ask my doctor if this is normal but I am pretty sure she will just look at me like: Girrrrrrl. Do you even know what you've gotten yourself into?

The baby is the size of an acorn squash, "they" say. Which is silly. He's somewhere between 15 and 17 inches long, which explains why sometimes two sides of my stomach will jut out at the same time. Stretch marks began showing up a couple weeks ago and I know I'm in for wayyy more. There is no going back after childbirth for the women in my family. The last time I wore a bikini was on my honeymoon, and I expect that was the last time my midriff was ever to see the light of day.

The baby still has no name. We have a fluctuating list of names we think we like, which we are not sharing. People always seem surprised: You really haven't picked a name? No. We haven't. You should see me trying to pick a color of carpet for the family room. Even once I choose one, I will be mostly certain I've chosen the wrong color and will regret it forever. This is just how I work. So you might imagine the responsibility of choosing a name for a human being who has to live with it for his whole life is a bit daunting.

Have I mentioned the pain in my butt lately? Like, really it's probably considered lower back pain, and it's only on the left side. Occasionally it feels like I'm being stabbed in the butt cheek. My acupuncturist set me up in this crazy pregnant-lady-pillow/contraption and then jabbed the area with two fingers and it was like oh yes, burning icy fire in my veins. She says it's happening because my hips are stretching out in preparation form childbirth.

So yeah. Eventually this kid is going to be outside of the womb. One way or another. Birthing classes start in a couple weeks and I expect that is when true terror begins.

Don't you love how whenever a blogger gets pregnant it's as though no one has ever been pregnant or experienced similar things before? Ha.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Sleep while you still can

A request to people who tell pregnant women to sleep while they still can:

Shhhhhhh. No more talky talky.

There is no sleep for pregnant women. It just. Won't. ... Stick.

This lack of sleep thing is probably largely to blame for pregnancy brain. Also, the phenomenon that begins during the third trimester during which you drop everything you pick up, so that you must then bend down to get it.

Yesterday I'd dropped nearly everything in the house until, as a grand finale, I dropped a glass bowl full of salad dressing and it broke into a gazillion pieces. Oh, bravo!!

That is one of those things I would have an assistant clean up, pronto. One of my two assistants, who live in my brain. They're going to help me get evvvverything ready before the baby comes. HAHAHAHAHHAAH.... Yes. It's totally all going to work out just fine. Me and my assistants have this handled.


Tuesday, September 03, 2013


I think I need a bullet point post so I can brain-vomit on you today.

- Something very, very important happened. Christina had her baby! My mind has definitely not wrapped itself around this yet. Go check out this little cutie patootie.

- I could easily make the rest of this post just me complaining about stuff. But I will go ahead and try to switch off between complaints and awesome things.

- Our contractor with the great reviews did a crappy job on the drywall (among a few other smaller items). Mind you, the word "drywall" is in the name of the company. So you'd think they're pretty much pros at making flat walls. But here is what one area of one of our walls now looks like.

What you're looking for is the seam running vertically on the far wall. Ugh.
Word to the wise -- apparently drywall is supposed to be installed horizontally, so that's problem #1. The dudes are gonna come back and fix the problems, but it's just annoying. I have a million things I'm trying to get finished over here.

- I started reading Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), and you might be surprised to hear: I think it's better than Tina Fey's. Blasphemy, I know. But I am laughing out loud. A lot. 

- So you may remember how I'm trying to figure out what kind of carpet to install in the family room, to replace the ugly seafoam green carpet and complement the new gray walls. Well. Under the existing carpet there are old floor tiles. So I sent part of one to be tested for asbestos, and guess what?? They have asbestos in them, of course. So they need to stay where they are to avoid releasing asbestos into the air. Which means it's definitely going to be carpet in there and not laminate, because there are chunks of tile missing, and you need a flat surface for laminate. Farts.

- In other book news, I enjoyed The Wolf of Wall Street a lot (they're making this into a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio), and sort of enjoyed Expecting Better; Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Need to Know. Reviews to follow, eventually.

- I am now at the stage of pregnancy where I just spontaneously burst into tears if I'm disappointed about something. So that's fun.

- I am now going to try to turn a complaint into something positive. So I went to the acupuncturist today and she was like You are eating all the wrong things. Which I sort of knew, because, yes, I don't imagine white carbs are like the pinnacle of a healthy diet. But I was eating fruit and whole grains and yogurt and stuff too, and that is all wrong wrong wrong, too, she says, because of my spleen qi deficiency. The good news is now I know what I should be eating. Ta-da!

- Ikea didn't have the color crib I wanted and won't have it until October. I almost burst into tears, but instead said Fuck It and bought it in birch. I sort of hate birch but I've also reached the I Do Not Fucking Care portion of pregnancy.

- Freecycle. Learn it. Know it. Live it. The people on Freecycle will take literally anything, no questions asked. And yes, you are giving stuff away for free, but sometimes it's really hard to get rid of stuff, you know? Like, no one on Craigslist or eBay or at the garage sale wants it, so ... freecycle that mofo!

- My poor husband seems to have pulled a muscle or something, so he's basically out of commission when it comes to lifting alllllll of the heavy ass furniture around here. And I have literally never needed more heavy ass furniture to be lifted than I do right now.

- To end this on a high note, I am 7 months pregnant with a baby boy who kicks a lot. All that really matters is that he's born healthy. The rest will work itself out.