Friday, September 28, 2007

So sit right down and you'll hear a tale...

For the record, I'm very good a panicking. I can freak with the best of them. If I could figure out a way to get paid for overreacting, I would be all set. Which is my way of attempting to explain how I wound up at the Lenox Hill emergency room on Friday.

(No fears - everything is absolutely fine. Baby's great, I'm great... albeit a touch humiliated. Nothing new there.)

Friday afternoon I was hanging out with my little three-year-old friend, having lunch, shooting the shit, when I noticed that Possum wasn't doing his usual afternoon squirm. When I thought about it, I hadn't felt him move all morning. Or at all.

Now Possum is known for many things (his charm, his wealth, his way with the ladies) but one thing he is not known for is being still. He's a very, VERY active baby with a fairly predictable time clock, so something was definitely weird. I tried shaking him - no response. I grabbed some orange juice - a sure-fire baby waker-upper - and chilled on the couch for a half an hour. Nothing. I grabbed a sugar packet and downed that, Pixie-stick style.

Not even a flutter.

At this point I was starting to get a little twitchy. I called the doctor and asked if I could come in, just to make sure things were cool - at which point I was instructed, in no uncertain terms, to get my ass to the emergency room.

A doctor with fear in his voice - that shit will motivate you quick.

I dropped everything, called the parents, grabbed the kid (his mom met us there) and got my ass to Lenox Hill. I would love to say that I was a bastion of calm but c'mon, we know me. I'm not saying I went apeshit on the staff at one point but I might've gone apeshit on them. (Rule #1: When a pregnant woman thinks her baby is dying, don't ask her to fill out insurance forms.) Needless to say, they hooked me up to the monitor and thankfully, wonderfully, blessedly, we heard the heartbeat.

Turns out, I've got a cold. And because I've got a cold, I took two Benedryl. And although Benedryl is perfectly safe for pregnant women, it tends to make their babies a little groggy. Or in my case, REALLY groggy. Even when the doctor tried prodding him with the sonogram wand Possum played possum, but after a few minutes he started to squirm - much to his mother's relief.

So what did I learn from all this?

- Ix-nay the Benedryl-ay. (Being able to breathe is not worth the panic.)
- Don't call your poor mother weeping that you've killed your baby with antihistamines. (Sorry mom.)
- Three-year-olds really like wheelchairs.

But I've saved the best for last. As the doctor was looking at Possum's readout he goes, "How far along is this baby?"

"29 weeks."

"Really? I would have guessed he was much further along than that. We don't normally see babies this advanced."


"Yes. He's very advanced, both physically and neurologically."

Of course Matt is convinced that we're giving birth to a mutant genius, ala Professor X from the X-Men. But hopefully with more hair.

FYI: Hospital tours are terrifying

My mother has spent the bulk of her adult life waking up before the crack of dawn. And she never complains.

I've had to haul myself out of bed at 6:30 am every day this week and I'm about to eat my own hair. Clearly one of us is made of stronger stuff.

I suspect my grumpiness has to do with the fact that I am now waking up every half-hour. I knew I was up a lot but a few nights ago I actually started checking the clock. 1:45. 2:15. 2:45... If I wasn't shuffling off to the bathroom or switching sleeping positions (shifting from left to right requires significant pillow rearranging), I was peeing or shifting positions. El preggos aren't supposed to sleep on our backs (baby crushes an important vein) or on our right side (baby crushes our liver) but my stomach goes numb when I sleep on my left which means... well mostly it means a Big Batch of Bitch. Possum has also decided that night time is the right time to hit the disco which makes for one sleep-deprived, grouchtastic mama. Supposedly this is nature's way of preparing me for the future and if that's the case, nature can bite it. The kid isn't here yet! MORE SLEEP.

In childbirth class we did an exercise where we held an ice cube in our hands to help simulate the discomfort of contractions. (Yes, the instructor did point out that melting ice cubes feel nothing like contractions.) Let me tell you, one minute doesn't seem very long until you're holding a piece of ice in your hand. I lasted about 15 seconds before making a scene. This does not bode well. Still, this week's class was surprisingly interesting, mostly due to the fact that it was massage night and I'll watch as many horrible videos as you want as long as my feet get rubbed. I wish I had the stuff to make it through childbirth drug-free (interfering with a fundamentally natural, instinctive process isn't my ideal and the thought of sticking a chopstick-sized needle in my back is about as appealing as being attacked by cats) but seriously, it's 2007. Bring the drugs.

In other news, we had the 29 week sonogram and everything looks sweet. Possum's starting to turn which, after seeing what Miss Moo went through (not one, but two breech babies), anything resembling launch position is cause for celebration. The kid is now 14 inches long and 2 1/2 pounds; roughly the size of a small dachshund. Unfortunately I continue to be the size of a small country.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Send in the clowns

Well, it's official: I have entered the Circus Tent portion of pregnancy. Hand me a tiny bicycle and call it a day because I can't find a single article of clothing that doesn't make me look like a freak show. Lest you think I exaggerate, the first thing out of Matt's niece's mouth when she saw me -


Only three weeks have passed since I saw her last and enough has changed to warrant a wow. And a loud one, too. I've also begun to waddle. Sexy, that.

On the baby front, things are good. He seems to spend a lot of time making himself comfortable. Imagine an eel swimming under the surface of of a pond and you'll get what my stomach looks like when this kid is going to town. The only thing that seems to calm the little bugger is when Matt rests his hand on my belly which I find exceptionally irritating. (Not the hand; the fact that it always works.) Don't get me wrong - glad daddy can work magic - but my hand? DRIVES THE KID BANANAS. Shouldn't my touch - mama's touch - be the soothing one? Matt tries to be all nice about it, saying that the baby just gets excited when he recognizes me, but we all know that's a load of bunk. Man...

The prenatal classes continue to terrify. Seriously, what is up with the videos? This week we had to watch thirty different women having contractions, one right after the other. I think the point was supposed to be that women handle contractions in a myriad of ways but all I saw was thirty different women freaking the fuck out. Matt had to go play Writer that night so I enlisted (suckered, whatever) Amanda to be my NPP ("non-pregnant partner") for the evening. Thank god, because between the videos (more than one! More than one!) and the dubious "pain management" techniques ("Lean against a wall"), I needed a serious dose of comedy. Granted I did learn some things that might help, at least in the initial stages, but when the instructor got the the part where we're supposed to wait until an hour into active labor (the OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD pain) before heading to the hospital, I was gone. An hour? Woman, please. They'll be lucky if I don't start camping out a week before my due date. She also instructed us to be very, very nice to the nursing staff, to which Amanda tossed me a rather deliberate look. I think it's safe to say that I'll be a touch irritable that night. The word "menace" has been tossed around. (Amanda has threatened to make me a T-shirt that says "I'm normally very nice.") The fact that I practically throttled my husband tonight because he didn't order what I wanted him to order for dinner makes me think that I'm going to be in a world of hurt if I don't figure out a more effective way of communicating. Perhaps that T-shirt isn't such a bad idea...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Belly pics ARE coming, I swear!

Let's get one thing straight - at five months pregnant, my tits didn't look anything like this.
(They still don't.)

Less than three months left...

My mom was here over the weekend which was just about the Best Thing Ever. It's so weird to think that the next time she sees me Possum will be outside the womb. So close! ABSURDLY TERRIFYING LIFE CHANGES SO CLOSE!

I know I'm being hormonal. I love this kid like crazy and can't imagine not having him around to kick my innards, it's just that sometimes I panic over the phase of life that's ending. I know that it's all for the better but I'd be lying if I didn't say that there's a little, weensy part of me that goes, "But what if it blows?" I know, motherhood doesn't suck. Usually. But did any of you parental types think like this? Or am I just a rapidly expanding freakshow? (Did I mention that nothing fits anymore? It's a horror.)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Anyone who wants belly pics, send your email address to:

Last night we had our first official childbirth education class. It was interesting. We talked about our feelings about labor. We had snacks. And then they showed us a video of a woman giving birth.

Let's get one thing clear: I am not going to handle this well.

Granted, I'm a big fat baby when it comes to fear and/or pain, but looking around the room at all these couples with big, sloppy, "miracle of life" grins on their faces, I couldn't help thinking I am doomed, doomed, doomed. Were they watching the same video I was? The one with all the screaming and writhing? Because to me it looked like a one-way ticket to Sucktown.

After it was over the instructor gave us a run-down of the stages of labor and told us how the body will naturally produce a hormone similar to heroin to dull the pain. Then she added that the body will stop producing this hormone the minute adrenaline kicks in and recommended that we do whatever possible to stop the body's "fight or flight" mechanism. I believe at one point she told us to cook a nice meal.


Here's what I know: Matt can light all the candles in the world and I'm still going to freak. Plus there's our cats to consider. We went through six months of them trying to kill each other because they heard a scary noise (don't ask). What the hell's gonna happen when mama is screaming her head off in the bathroom and daddy's running around the house shouting "It's pressure, not pain"?

Oh man... Oh man.

Childbirth Education Roundup -

Number of cookies consumed: 6
Number of vaginas viewed: 4
Number of times I considered calling this whole thing off: Too many to count

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sometimes it feels that way, kid.

I made a shocking discovery this weekend: I am too big for my maternity clothes.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! I thought the whole point of maternity clothes is that they grow with you! How can it be that at only 26 weeks I can no longer fit into my gigantic, elastic waisted shorts? It's bad enough to have to suffer through wearing maternity clothes, but having to stuff yourself into uncomfortably tight maternity clothes is a serious low. (Seriously, Maternity Clothing Designers - what gives with the hideous, polyester-blend circus tents? Emphasize the bump! If you emphasize the bump and stay snug everywhere else it makes everything else seem small by comparison! How hard is this to understand?!) Lest you think I'm exaggerating about my size, I have belly pics. I'm not going to post them here but if you're interested, drop me a line. I warn you, it's a little shocking. On the playground recently a small child came running up and lifted my shirt.


(me) "It's a baby!"

(small child, scowling in disbelief) "IS IT A BABY ELEPHANT?!"

Here's a tip: When approaching a pregnant woman, instead of saying "My god, you're so huge!" try "My god, you look so pregnant!" Works wonders on the psyche.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

And you don't have to suck in your stomach on the beach!

I've realized something big about being pregnant: It is probably the closest I will ever come to being feeling like a celebrity. Don't feel like standing during rush hour? Have a seat, pregnant lady! Coach bag needs repairing? Why don't we just waive that pesky $20 shipping fee - you've got diapers to buy! Stuck on a long flight home in a middle seat? You'd be much more comfortable in the bulkhead! Gotta stretch those swollen legs! Ladies smile at me. Homeless people congratulate me. I can use any bathroom I want, no matter how fancy. I feel like a princess! A cranky, round princess! Of course my husband hates it, mostly because he's terrified that I'll become accustomed to the treatment. His greatest fear is that someday I'll become an actual celebrity - in other words, an instant nightmare. (Matt just shouted out, "Find one person who'd disagree with me!" Nice.) But see, here's the thing: once the kid's out, it's over. Done. I guaran-damn-tee you Coach wouldn't be half so quick to eat twenty bucks if I walked in with a squalling toddler in tow. I figure I've got roughly fourteen more weeks to pimp this belly before the party's over and if you think I'm not going to work it to an inch of its life, you don't know me at all.

Now point me towards a fancy bathroom.