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.