Monday, February 28, 2011


Update: 1-minute contractions every 10 minutes from 4am on. They start in my back, then come around to belly and shoot down legs. Maybe a bit more frequent now.

Talked to Dr. Skinny late last night, because I didn't understand that this blood business was just going to go on and on (intermittently). Frankly, she was kind of a bitch about it. Poop on her. (Actually, if she ends up at the delivery, perhaps the opportunity to do just that will be the silver lining....)

So, FYI, since all the books and stuff just talk about "blood-tinged mucous": apparently if your bloody show looks like a heavy period and the doctor says that's okay, you should not expect it to stop.

I don't know if this is early labor or pre-labor or what, but I do know that whatever it is, it is not shaking my resolve vis-a-vis that epidural. Just for the record.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This, On The Other Hand

...probably IS bloody show.

And boy, is it bloody.

No need to give me your abruption stories; I've already talked to Dr. Skinny in a moderate panic today and she is not worried.

Instead, how about your labor/hospital bag lists? It's starting to seem like we ought to pack one.

To answer a few questions from the comments:

H2 -- Yes, we did the shoot. A picture or two will make it here eventually. Maybe more than a few, if we get our acts together to move to wordpress and passworded posts.

May -- Ebola, most likely.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lady Parts Pop Quiz

Okay, class; clear your desks.

Q: You have arranged to cover or otherwise surround yourself in white fabric -- wearing white pants, a white dress, a white bathing suit, or, in my case, the many white draperies Sugar has thrown around our bedroom in preparation for one of those slightly cheesy pregnancy photo shoots. What happens next?

˙ǝsɹnoɔ ɟo `ƃuıpǝǝlq ʇɹɐʇs noʎ :ɐ

(Don't worry -- not very much. I already talked to Dr. Skinny, who agrees with me that it's likely the Return of The Irritable Cervices, nothing more. It's just amazing to know that my body, which I so often doubt, still responds to primal cues like white cotton.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reports of My DOOM Greatly Exaggerated

Good things happened today:

I took another look at those stretch marks. They haven't disappeared, but they aren't as bad as I'd remembered, either. As no one has ever thought my stomach was my best feature, perhaps I can Build A Bridge And Get Over It.

Following another 45 minutes listening to the same "song" on hold (I like synth glockenspiel and rhythmic static as much as the next lass, but I do wonder how much my tax bill would have to rise in order for buy them more than a 4-minute loop), today's phone agent says, no, my insurance isn't canceled, everything is as it should be, why would you think otherwise? I guess yesterday's report to the contrary was just a stress test of my cardiac function.

Cervix check was not super-fun but not really that bad either. And did you catch the use of the singular there? Dr. Skinny only checked one. I tried to figure out if she knew there were two without actually accusing her of not reading my chart. She said the Bean is pushing mostly on one -- as in my fondest hopes, as that is the way it needs to go for a vaginal birth to work. I'm a little skeptical that she could tell without checking both (they are *very* close together, unless pregnancy has changed the geography of my ute a great deal), but not nearly doubtful enough to have insisted she dive back in. It did hurt a bit, and I spotted quite a lot afterwards and am still a bit crampy (though that is likely partly because of wandering aimlessly through our mostly-useless Target while on hold), but on the whole it was much better than I'd feared.

Dr. Skinny says I am 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I know that can last for weeks, but I feel hopeful that my body is doing things on its own. I figure if 1 cm took 37 weeks, I should only be pregnant for another six and a half years.

The fruit stand lady on my way to acupuncture let me choose my own banana. That never happens. This is totally a pregnancy perk, as was the lady at the post office being nice to me. (Note: this was not my local post office, where I've had an employee threaten me physically; this is in a much nicer neighborhood. If it had been my post office, I would just assume I had slipped into a coma or was otherwise living in a dream world.)

The White House seems to have located their collective gonads. (Just as the legislative branch loses its mind -- Keiko has done such a fine job on this one; you should just read her post. I do not have her knack for explaining why this matters without insulting or enraging those who disagree with me.)

Finally, I have decided that I am having my own glass of wine tonight, dang it. Down with quests for perfection, up with rationality. Aside: I don't really mind not drinking per se, but I find it enraging to know that no number of studies showing that doing so is okay this late in the game will ever change the medical recommendation that the preggos OMG STOP KILLING UR BAYBEES WITH TEH DRINKKIN. 'cause if you give those ladies an inch...well, it's just Exhibit Z in Women Cannot Be Trusted With Their Bodies (see above). Whither science, I'd like to know.

Thank you for your hand-holding and other comments on yesterday's post. Much food for thought. As soon as I locate my brain, I will have to get on thinking about it all more.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lucky Me

This was going to be a nice, neurotic little post about how I'm freaking out about the idea of having an actual baby in the house, how I still can't wrap my head around the idea, all that sort of thing. With some weepery about newly-discovered stretch marks thrown in, for spice.

But I just got off the phone with the Department of Civil Service -- I have been working for the state -- who told me that, contrary to what I'd been told by my own HR department, my insurance was canceled at the beginning of February. Not March. Close observers will note that it is FUCKING LATE FEBRUARY ALREADY. WAS ANYONE PLANNING ON TELLING ME THIS INFORMATION AT ANY POINT?

I am hopeful it will get resolved quickly and only require me to resubmit all my bills for this month or that, worst case, it will become clear in time for me to retroactively join Sugar's insurance, which was the plan for March (but costs more than mine -- let's not even get into the extra month of imputed income taxes, fuck you, DOMA -- and so would be nice to avoid as long as possible). Of course, that isn't even remotely the worst case.

Also, I am not going to insert the boilerplate here about how grateful I am that I can get on Sugar's insurance, because dammit, we're married, and having that relationship recognized in basic ways shouldn't be something we have to say "thank you" for every time.


Now do you want to hear about my stretch marks? Sure ya do.

They're on the part of my belly below my navel, which I can't even see in our one full-length mirror (which I rarely look in, as it isn't in our bedroom) without the extra effort of hauling my belly up to look. Consequently, I didn't see them until today and was blissfully ignorant of any marks other than the almost-cute dots over by my hips. Apparently, they've been there for several weeks. I am not best-pleased, although I know that's irrational. Partly, I don't like how they look (vertical, purple, angry); partly, it's unnerving to find out that I don't even know what's happening to the front of the outside of my own body.

(You'd think I'd be used to the idea that I don't know what's going on with my body by now, wouldn't you? What with the endometriosis and the cyst-riddled ovaries and the surprise cervix? I guess I don't learn.)

You might also think -- or hope, at any rate -- that I could be classy enough not to complain about stretch marks, sore hips, and exhaustion, given my great luck in being pregnant at all. Even if whatever the Bean is doing to my cervices does make me wonder at times whether we're having a unicorn, whining about it isn't seemly. I realize that.

As long as we're on unseemly topics, might as well go for broke:

I haven't been very interested in narrative in the past few months. I haven't wanted to watch movies and, very odd, I have scarcely been reading. (And I am always, always, always reading.) I couldn't figure out why until the other day, curled up on the couch with Sugar, watching something perfectly innocuous. Without realizing it, I had slipped into that state where you are so immersed in the story that you forget you exist outside of it. I love that feeling. More than anything else, that's what I read for. It is so freeing to forget myself for a while.

And then the Bean started kicking. And I jolted back to myself, immediately into a state of anxiety. It was like that moment when you wake up...and then remember you have an exam or a funeral to go to, that you got bad news yesterday, that the world has weights for your shoulders. Every time this happens, it takes a few minutes to calm myself back down, to remember to not be scared about the approaching unknown -- or at least try not to be scared. The truth is, I am pretty scared. About labor, yes; but even more about what comes next.

I am terrified at the idea of this baby actually being here. What was I thinking? What if it's all a terrible mistake, this parenthood thing? A bit late for cold feet on the subject, I know. And of course it is only part of my brain that's terrified -- much of it is excited and (guardedly) happy -- but boy is the scared part loud all of a sudden. Despite the very deliberate nature of all this, despite having pictures of the Bean as a blastocyst, for heaven's sake, I often feel like I'm having one of those dreams where you are suddenly in labor, never having known you were pregnant, and you're trying to figure out how this happened.

The IF-style kicker to all that, of course, is how damn guilty I feel for ever having thoughts like that, for ever allowing something other than pure gratitude into my heart. The sucker punch is knowing how deliberate all this was. We conscious conceivers -- lesbians, IFers, that sort -- talk a lot about how whatever situation has made us unable to have children easily has the silver lining of making us sure we want them, careful in our decisions, grateful in our parenting. To some extent, that's true, I think. But right now I am a little envious of those people who are surprised by pregnancy, who get to react it and know they are doing the best they can, rather than always knowing the decision was intentional and perhaps sometimes fearing that their choice was not the right one.

But, right or wrong, what is there to do but go forward in faith that it will all work out?

With that in mind, we have ordered a mattress for the crib. The stroller (so expensive and trendy that we won't discuss it, but I love it and am telling myself that it's a lot cheaper than the car we don't have) came in the mail today. Last night, we went to meet the Bean's probable pediatrician, whom we liked a lot. She recently parted ways with her practice partner and opened a new office next door, I assumed over something mundane like money disagreements. But from the way she talked last night about the search for new partners, for "more intellectual doctors...who like to discuss medicine," I wonder if there isn't a more interesting story behind the split. As you might imagine, I prefer intellectual doctors myself, and I'm happy to have found her.

I almost wish, seeing how small her hands are, that she were my doctor. Tomorrow brings my first cervix check, which I hear is a barrel of laughs. To answer the question on everyone's mind: yes, just as with pap smears, I get two. Lucky, lucky me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Notes from Week 36

Item: Thank you for the nice comments on Sugar's painting. The likeness is a tad off, but the boobs are exactly accurate. Um, Sugar? My face is up here.

Item: We had our last growth scan on Monday, and all is well. As Sweet Sonographer covered my midriff (sounds too cute...mid-raft?) with icy glop, I said lightly that she ought to make them buy her a fancy glop-warmer, like they have over at the high-risk place down the block. "Oh, I do have one. It's over on the counter."

I still love Sweet Sonographer, and it was cute that she tried so hard to find something adorable for us to see at this scan (we settled for hiccups, since the Bean's face/dragon snout was obscured by its low position in my pelvis), but I must admit that her halo is a bit tarnished by this revelation.

Item: According to the u/s, which I understand has a remarkably enormous margin of error, the Bean weighs in at a respectable 5lbs. 7oz. at 36 weeks, which means it's been listening to my chanting "over 6, under 9" at it. Good Bean.

Item: It has recently come to my attention that "0-3 month" size clothes (of which we have a respectable number) are not the same as "newborn" size clothes (of which we have none). What the hell is 0 months if not newborn? Do we need newborn clothes? How in the hell is a person supposed to figure these things out, anyway? And what hope have I of managing the actual work of raising not killing a baby if my limited brain power is being wasted on stupid clothing sizes?

Item: Thanks to Schroedinger, there are at least some diapers in the house. Lord knows if they're the right size, but diapers I know where to buy.

Item: Group B Strep test was also Monday. The GBS test involves a vaginal and anal "swab," which caused me much worry on Sunday, as Sugar had celebrated Valentine's Day early by giving me the GI bug she'd had on Saturday. (Sub-Item 1: despite what you may have assumed, bouts of diarrhea are emphatically not improved by having someone kick at your intestines throughout. Sub-Item 2: Nor by things-we-are-not-calling-hemorrhoids.) I needn't have worried. I scarcely noticed the butt part, so distracting was the vaginal aspect. "Swab" might be better described as "vigorous scrubbing with what appears to be an old mascara brush." "Just wait until the cervix checks," said Dr. Russian, with an evil grin.

Item: Dr. Russian loves shoes. On Monday, she was wearing black patent leather platform stilettos with wide ankle straps. They did complement the mood, I must say.

Item: I will not be in pretty shoes any time soon, as it's all I can do to waddle around in clogs. Speak to me not of stairs, either. I am even taking what elevators (not enough!) exist in subway stations, despite the aromas inherent in that process. Today, an old lady cut me in line for one, forcing me to wait for the next round. It was a blatant cut, too, no simple misunderstanding. Those hooligans think they can do whatever they please, all tricked out and speedy with their canes.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

the view from here

Yesterday I decided to test out our new storage location for my paint and sketchbooks by getting them out and painting the view across the street. Our living room window looks out over the parking lot next to a church (once an old synagogue) that makes amplified grumbling noises every Sunday morning. On the other side of the parking lot you can see the backs of two 3 story buildings and some old trees. This very Brooklyn view has little resemblance to anything from my childhood, but for some reason the faded blue of one of the buildings and the overhanging trees remind me of a specific short road with a blue Victorian house at the end of it that I would see when I walked to my piano lessons back home.

View across the church parking lot

View across the church parking lot

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Updates and Thanksgiving

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your kind and helpful comments and emails about the last post. It's not that I thought y'all were the type to poop on a person about something like that, it's just...I worry. (But don't YOU worry, MFA Mama -- I promise I will still have more than enough angst when the Bean is here. Limitless supply, I tell you what.) Starhillgirl, I can't believe you'd even suggest cooking a placenta. You're just going to turn all the life-giving nutrients into toxic free-radicals that way, you know. SMH.

All this Actual Baby business is seeming suddenly very, very close. As of a week ago Monday -- 34 weeks on the nose, by my OB's count (which I've reconciled myself to, because these days I don't need time speeding up) -- I suddenly understand why people get tired of being pregnant. Though I am in basically good shape, all things considered, a lot of things do suddenly hurt and I have definitely entered the "waddling" stage. I've learned the hard way that my days of walking to and from the hippie coop are over, and I think I'd get much more comfortable rest if I could only figure out how to sleep sitting on the giant sitting ball (which I feel silly calling a birth ball, since we've had it for years and years as a desk chair). Poor Sugar is liable to be suffocated in our bed, as I have lately supplemented my beloved down body pillow with a throw pillow jammed against my back and have laid my father's old down jacket down in an attempt to get my hips to hush up for five or ten minutes at a time. Lucky for her, my snoring keeps her from sleeping deeply enough to succumb.

Despite her trials and tribulations, she has found energy to work a miracle in the second bedroom/office/music room/junk room/black hole: we now have a nursery! Like all good nurseries, it features a piano, several huge bookcases of non-children's books, a jankety metal cabinet with painting supplies (Mental Note: Remove prior to home study), and a filing cabinet. Filing promotes early literacy, fine motor coordination, and attention to detail. I can't believe Baby Einstein hasn't gotten in on this. We don't have a mattress for the crib -- your suggestions happily accepted -- but I'm sure babies do better just on the slats, right? Better ventilation and all that.

Bean's Room

We've copied Shelli's excellent trofast changing table/storage juggernaut. Here's a closer view of the fabric covering the plywood top (which will ultimately have a changing pad or at least some strong fly paper):

Building the Trofast

The cats are very happy with their new room, especially the chaise.

Michaela And Her Boppy
Michaela can't believe it's taken us this long to get her a boppy.

We're Having a WHAT???
Orson during the "little brother/sister" talk. "We're having a WHAT??"

Some very nice friends threw a little baby shower for us, during which no one played any humiliating or poop-themed games. I KNOW: sometimes it's like we're not even Americans at all. People gave us some very cute socks, nice books (I'm particularly partial to this one), and that all-important baby staple, a fleece viking hat with horns and yellow braids.

All this activity is very cheering and a good distraction from the "HOLY SHIT" moments that do beset a person. Not that the outside observer would notice much anxiety, I'm afraid, since I mostly sit around looking like this:

Around The House at 34 Weeks Or So