Stories from the front lines of an unplanned pregnancy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Be careful what you wish for...

...Because you just might get it. "It", in this case, being third trimester bed rest. Somewhere around my second or third month of pregnancy when I was misera-- excuse me, when I thought I knew what misery was, I may or may not have mentioned to the mister (and anyone else who'd listen) that I'd really kill to be put on doctor mandated bed rest. At the time, being required to keep my feet up for the majority of my day sounded like a much needed respite from daily chores and, you know, life. I daydreamed about afternoons spent curled up on the couch with a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream and a Platinum Weddings marathon on WE and not a soul to call me lazy. I imagined evenings with my feet up, reading classic literature while Mister A toiled away in the kitchen whipping up dinners. But being perfectly healthy, the midwife pretty much laughed me out of the examining room when I mentioned my dreams of sloth.

Cut to last week when I complained about sharp, shooting pains all up in my womanly parts at my prenatal appointment and was informed that between my mushy cervix and the fact that Baby Bat Boy was already hanging way low ("No wonder you're uncomfortable, you've got a baby in your butt!"), I should prolly be on modified bed rest, keeping my feet elevated for a good chunk of my day. Finally! BED REST!! I could hardly wait to get home and kick my heels up.

Stupid stupid me. Less than a week later, here I sit, grouchy, bored, lonesome, and achy. Oh, sure, I guess it's for the best seeing as how I haven't been able to throw myself into preterm labor after a particularly vigorous floor scrubbing episode (as my mother feared)... but God help me, does it suck. Turns out that contrary to popular belief (or at least the belief of the entire program scheduling department at VH1 and MTV), there really are only so many times that you can hear Tyra Banks whisper, "The girl whose name I do not call must immediately return to the house, pack her belongings, and go home." before being overcome with the overwhelming urge to fling yourself out a window. Equally frustrating is when Mr. A gets home and asks, "So, do anything fun today?" and the best thing I can offer is what boils down to a five hour program listing from Bravo. That or a detailed description of what I found at the bottom of the washing machine after failing to check his pants pockets before doing the laundry. Yeah, thrilling stuff.

Anyway, it's only for another week or so when I finally hit 37 weeks and can go into labor without fear, but I can guarantee that it's going to be one of the longest weeks of my life. So, for those of you who haven't got anything better to do (or actually do, but realize that you may well be saving my last shreds of sanity) feel free to swing by with Slurpees, assorted cheeses, seedless red grapes, Klondike bars, or cupcakes and make my little stint on house arrest that much more bearable. I promise I'll even shower for the occasion!

With love and bedsores,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Three things you didn't need to know...

1. I'm drowning in my own mucus. Tasty! For some reason, I'll spare you the biology lesson, pregnancy equals nasal issues. In the first few months, that meant I was squirting Afrin like a fiend and snoring like a beast because I was so stuffed up I could hardly breathe. But now that I'm here at the end of the road, it means I'm dripping like a faucet and running through about a box of Kleenex a week. Lucky for me, who doesn't love the honking symphony of clearing one's nasal passages every ten minutes? Good times.

2. I need to up my daily Kegel count. To keep things hot in the bedroom? No. To help avoid tears during birth? No. Because it's a great way to pass the time when being bored to death during one of the mister's rambling stories? No. I need to up my daily Kegel count because I am now afraid to laugh, cough, or sneeze without being within three feet of a restroom. Yeah, that's right. I leak. Shut up, it's just a little! So far it's only happened twice, and (until I brilliantly decided to go public just now) no one was the wiser, but that's two times too many. Think I'm gross? Well, you're right. But then so is every other pregnant lady in town. In fact, there's even a chapter in one of my pregnancy books called, "Urine for a lot of fun!". Yup, nothing like having six pounds of fidgety baby bouncing on your bladder to bring on the incontinence. God, I miss having control over my bodily functions.

3. I'm mushy. Not in a Hallmark channel movie of the week sort of way (I'm having a baby, people, not a lobotomy), but in a "Hey, you're a centimeter dilated!" way. "Mushy" was my midwife's exact choice of words when describing what she felt while elbow deep into my lady bits and poking around like they do. And in case you were wondering, this is in fact a good thing. Ten centimeters is a whole lot of dilatin' to get through... any little bit helps. So let's just hope my cervix isn't on the fast track to baby birthing and I end up dropping foal like a horse in the middle of the mall. Ew.

Yeah yeah yeah, don't thank me for all this unnecessary and slightly disturbing information. Pregnancy isn't always pretty in case you haven't yet caught on. I'm just trying to keep it real. And if this is the stuff that I was actually okay discussing, imagine what kind of craziness I've chosen not to share with you? Actually, don't, you'll make yourself sick. But whatever. I'll be 36 weeks along tomorrow... which means that within one to five weeks, I will have a baby. A real, live, eating, shitting, screaming little person of my very own. And then the bitchefest will move out of body and you'll get to hear all about my fun with exploding diapers and what it's like to live on 3 hours of sleep a day! Excited yet? You know I am.

With love and fart (typo, but I'm keeping it) too much information,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me
Finally twenty
So now I'm just "pregnant"
Not a teen mommy!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Ikea, easier said than done...

The couple that builds together, stays together. Usually because their names are then forever intertwined in a headline that also includes the words, "Murder/Suicide", but you get the point. Having been a veteran of Ikea's baffling wordless directions and fondness for allen wrenches, I was prepared upon toting out 25 pound Box O' Table home for a three hour ordeal peppered with a liberal dose of profanity. But it was great fun watching our marriage teeter on the edge of dissolution over whether illustrations of wood with dots on the edge was or was not meant to be a representation of it's unfinished nature. FYI, I'm kidding. Also, it is. I don't know what it is about do it yourself home furnishing projects that tends to bring out the worst in people, but I think it has something to do with men's Manly Mr. Fix-It fantasy slamming up against the bleak reality of bad instructions and a nagging wife. Not fun. But either way, we finally cooled off, split a six pack of Red Stripe, pulled it together, and got the TV stand set up without actually coming to blows. Oh, and don't mind that pile of screws... they must've included extra!

With love and a screwdriver,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An open letter to my son, The Fetal Ninja I.R.A...

Dearest baby,

Hey there, mother here. You know, your mother? Oh, right, you haven't any concept of what a mother is just yet, have you? Well let's see if i can't put this into terms you'll understand. You know that toasty warm wading pool of amniotic goodness you've been kicking it in for the past 34 weeks? Right, well that would be my womb. You may also know me by the sound of my voice. The one singing bad 90's pop medleys and occasionally yelling obscenities at the TV screen. Oh, and the one way trip you'll be taking into the great big world in 42 days? You'll be traveling courtesy of my vag canal. You, parasite. Me, host. Does that clear things up? Fabulous.

Well, bambino, the reason I'm writing to you is because it would seem that we're in the home stretch here-- stretch marks and stretched patience factor in pretty heavy these days-- and so I think now is a good time to lay out a couple of ground rules for once you actually get here. Now, up until this point, I realize that we haven't exactly been on the same page in regards to the whole "parental authority" thing, but be forewarned... once you're on the outside, no one's going to smile and coo when you decide to pummel the shit out of me. Out here, mommy abuse does not equal cute. It equals a psychological evaluation and a bottle of Ritalin. Out here, you're in my house. We play by my rules. And number one is Thou shalt listen to thy Mama.

First off, I'm gonna need for you to figure out the way this whole day/night thing works. Daytime is for playing. Nighttime, sleeping. It's a pretty simple formula, really, but one that has baffled you tiny set and frustrated the hell out of your long suffering parents for centuries. Now, I know that as you'll be an breastfed baby, you'll be getting up a few times a night wailing your head off to get back on the boob. And that's okay, your father does the same thing. Ditto for diaper changes. I know you're going to need them, lots of them, and they won't be pretty and they won't stop at midnight and resume at a more sensible hour. But again, I'm prepared for that, so no worries. What will not fly, however, is you deciding to develop colic. At three weeks old, your life is fucking beautiful, okay? You sleep when and wherever you want, you've got these two people obsessing over you night and day like you're the second coming of Christ, you're never wanting for cute hats with ears on them, you don't even have to wipe your own ass, and you know that not three hours will go by without someone waving a boob in front of your face. Do you know how many men would kill to be in your shoes tiny socks for that reason alone? So screaming to the heavens four hours on end like a pocket sized banchee is just not cool. Yes, your crib may not be as cozy as the womb you've been wallowing in for the first nine months of your existence, but mommy didn't spend $300 on stupid, overpriced, trendy Dwell bedding so that you could have a conniption fit ever time you're laid on it. And yes, I know it will suck to be somewhere new and not have anyone understand a word you're saying. But hell, you'll have had nine months to pick up the language and you're gonna get out here and bawl your eyes out because I don't understand you? You've gotta be kidding me. So do us all a huge favor and get the whole idea of colic out of your head. You have nothing to be that pissed off about. Well, except for circumcision. That's definitely gonna suck. Sorry. But once that heals, I don't want to have to deal with that kind of senseless misery and self pity again until you're 13 and locked in your room in your girl jeans and studded belt listening to GlassJaw. Got it?

Finally, I know it's going to be a crazy first few months getting to know each other and all doing all the million firsts that are in store ("What is this delicious snack you call a 'thumb'?!"), but I want you to understand now, before we're even formally introduced, that I love you. I've loved you since I saw your little alien head bobbing around on the sonogram and I'll love you until I kick the bucket (Or, you decide to become a republican. Kidding!). So when those firsts include "The First Time Mommy Forgets Me in the Carseat", "Baby's First Trip to the ER Because Mommy Seriously Believes I Sneezed and Therefore Must Have the Avian Flu" and yes, even "My First Weekend Alone With Daddy"-- when you will undoubtedly be dressed in mismatched clothes and drinking chocolate breastmilk from a miniature beer hat-- please understand that we were trying our best. Just like you'll be mystified by your own reflection for at least a good six months, we're going to be mystified by the BabyBjorn and every new freckle and scratch on your little body. But I promise we'll get it together soon enough. And I guarantee you that while we may never really become June and Ward Cleaver, we will do everything in our power to make sure you're the happiest, most well adjusted, and well loved little critter around.

With Love Love Love and an Iron Fist,

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The man, the legend...

So I was thinking about the roughly bajillion things that are giving me the b-day jitters-- just the word "episiotomy" starts me twitching-- and it occurred to me that there is one thing that I'm not completely freaked out about: Mr. A. From boyfriend to babydaddy to husband and sole breadwinner, there hasn't been a title that life's thrown at him that he hasn't taken on with freakish enthusiasm and complete dedication. Seriously, there are guys twice his age who can't get their shit together when it comes to impending fatherhood ("Scott Baio is 46... and a Complete Idiot", anyone?) and here's Mr. A talking strollers and health insurance and Braxton-Hicks contractions like this whole thing didn't just come barreling down the pike at him fifteen minutes ago. And on top of all that, he still rolls over in the middle of the night and says, "You two are the best thing to ever happen to me." (True story. And then, I cried like the puddle of hormones I've become, natch). Anyway, suffice it to say, he's a legend and I'm impossibly lucky. But shameless husband bragging aside, the point I really wanted to make when I first started this post was that I really think that Mr. A is going to make an incredible father. Oh wait, I'm still gloating, aren't I? Whatevs. Deal with it. Besides the fact that he's one of those people for whom "good with kids" isn't just a throwaway line in a personal ad-- after spending less than 24 hours with my 9 year old sister when we visited new york last christmas, she's been known to call him on my cellphone just to chat, the little traitor-- the other thing working in Mr. A's favor is the loads of daddy training he's been getting just taking care of me. Turns out, infants and pregnant women are a lot alike.

For instance, they both whine and fuss when hungry and, occasionally, for no discernible reason at all. Ditto for when sleepy and/or in desperate need of a poop. Both preggos and babies also have serious difficulty sleeping through the night, often rousing at all hours to alert the entire household that they have to (or just did) pee again. Then, in order to make up for their lack of sleep, both are known to fall asleep anytime, anywhere, many times in the middle of eating. Also, both are at stages of almost complete vulnerability. Infants due to their lack of basic control over major muscle groups, preggos due to their inability to walk more than six steps without tripping over their own swollen feet.

So, judging by the way Mr. A's been handling me-- colicky, needy, sleepy me-- I think it's pretty safe to say that by the time Little Lord Anglim gets here, he'll be an old pro. Okay well, he'll still have to figure out the whole diapering thing on his own, but methinks even bathtime will be a cinch. I mean, once you've mastered shaving someone else's slippery legs in the shower while they threaten to tumble over and crush you with their newest thirty pounds at any moment, wiping down a grimy baby is nothing. Sort of like learning to pacify a wailing newborn when you've been consoling your wailing wife for the past nine months. It's easy. I'm pretty sure babies don't need to be snuggled and reassured after bursting into tears when they realize they've outgrown the onsie that "I swear to God, fit last week!!!"

It's nice to know that while there may be a million and one things to freak out about between now and when Ian graduates high school, there's one thing that I've got all the faith in the world in-- his father.

With love and one hell of a lucky break,

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

February in a nutshell. A really, really big nutshell...

So, alright, I'm pretty much the shittiest blogger around. Did anyone else notice that the entire month of february passed without so much as a snarky comment from my end? Whoops. I'm sorry! It's just that once you skip a week you start putting off writing again because there's so much you want to say but you just don't have the energy. And then a week becomes two, and then all of the sudden you've flipped the page in your calendar, you're married, you're working on a double chin, and you haven't seen your blog since you last saw your vagina*. But after I posted yesterday, I remembered how good it felt (to be a shameless navel-gazing, self-obsessed chatterbox) and decided to make a promise to myself to keep it up at least until the baby's born. Or, you know, my arms are no longer able reach around the bump and to the keyboard. Whichever comes first. Anyway, let's get you up to speed.

Biggest thing to happen in february? (Drumroll, please) I got married! Rings, kiss, and license officially, in what may be the most awkward ceremony of all time on the cheesiest day of the year while wearing the most unintentionally short dress in history. Long story short, we hit up the courthouse on v-day-- solely because it was convenient-- and listened to the most painfully halting rendition of wedding vows read by what I can only believe was the perfectly cast stereotypical hispanic cast member of a hidden camera show. I reaaaally hope that literal tongue biting to keep from going into hysterics doesn't somehow affect the validity of our marriage. Or wearing a dress that was subject to Lindsay Lohan episodes of passenger side seat panty flashing.

Some other new developments: I'm suffering from an ever increasing list of wacky pregnancy woes. I spend roughly six hours of my day in, or en route to or from, the bathroom. It's like my Kegel muscles have been replaced by Silly Putty. At this rate, by the time the babe's born I'll just have to switch over from maternity drawers to straight up Depends. Sexy. Oh, and speaking of sex, I want it. Now, half an hour from now, after lunch, before dinner, between bathroom breaks... I'm a thirteen year old boy dripping with hormones, and trapped in the body of a beached whale. With boobs. Seriously, the mister looks at me the wrong way and I'm halfway to the bedroom, tearing at the industrial strength elastic of my maternity jeans. But here's the catch-- actually having sex has become a nigh on impossible feat of epic proportions, requiring the strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility of a Czech gymnast. A healthy sense of humor helps, too. And some Tylenol. Also on the list of Reasons Pregnancy Sucks: heartburn. The scorching, searing, don't-burp-near-flammable-objects-unless-you-have-really-good-
homeowners-insurance kind of heartburn that can only come from having a stomach squished to the size of a peach pit and constantly being used for kickboxing practice by the fetal ninja. The other day, I made the mistake of laughing in the mister's face. He no longer has eyebrows. Add to this, endless backaches, achey ligaments, the mass death of brain cells (Unbeknownst to me, they had a suicide pact. Which helps to explain why I didn't realize that I'd left my purse Panera yesterday until three stops and forty-five minutes later.), the almost complete inability to sleep through the night, and the return of the senseless mood swings. I recently had to lock myself in the bathroom for ten minutes when the mister came home because he made some offhand remark about getting ready for the baby, and I was so overwhelmed with love raging, sob inducing hormones, that I burst into tears when he left the room. Five of those ten minutes were spent silently blotting mascara off of my cheeks. The other five I spent being disgusted in myself and trying not to vomit. So yeah, needless to say, pregnancy has officially lost it's luster. I'm tired and grumpy and this close to picking up some Pitocin on the black market and getting this labor started already.

Anyway, other than that, life's been mostly a series of naps and snacks and doctor's appointments. Which, by the way, have been going really well. For those of you that care, the bambino's made the transition to full-time bat mode, with his big ol' baby head locked and loaded in the correct upside down position right on top of my long suffering bladder. I've gained twenty some-odd pounds (and counting), and I've had buckets of my blood and piss stolen, tested, analyzed, and charged for. I owe Quest Labs about three hundred bucks, but I'm apparently quite healthy. So, yeah, february was a good month. Shame you missed out on hearing about it. I promise I'll do better this time. It's not like I'm much for hauling my fat ass too far off the couch anymore, anyway.

With love and a pinky swear,

* I'm currently suffering from the female equivalent of Dickydo syndrome. Feel free to laugh and/or cry. I do.

Monday, March 3, 2008

It's like I've swallowed a time bomb...

Seven weeks. I was seven weeks pregnant when Christian stumbled out of the bathroom, in a fog of disbelief that wouldn't lift for another week, and told me it was positive. Life was flying full speed ahead, and we decided to climb on board, holding tight by the threads of our good intentions.

Now, there are only seven weeks left, maybe less. We're strapped in, backs slammed flat against the seat, totally helpless as this roller coaster climbs to it's dizzying peak. Nothing to do now but squeeze each other's clammy hands and wait. Wait for the split second of motionlessness and then that gut wrenching, heart dropping, breath stealing plummet into the unknown.

I have never been so terrified.

Somehow, thirty three weeks have shot by, and we still haven't even bought a carseat. Decided on a pediatrician. Gotten our membership to Costco. Taken a Lamaze class. Set up the bassinet, read The Happiest Baby on the Block, packed a hospital bag, stocked up on diapers, chose a nursing bra, arranged for time off, learned how to swaddle, picked out birth announcements, gone on a vacation, unpacked the baby clothes, ordered the stroller-- Looking back, I'm amazed we've managed to get our health insurance together. Hell, I'm amazed we've even managed to pick out a name.

And this, this shit is just the preparations we've yet to make. When I try to wrap my mind around the actual birth, the fact that when all is said and done, they will hand us this helpless little stranger and entrust his life to our hands. Four hands, might I add, that until fairly recently were nearly incapable of washing dishes without shattering a glass or two. How do people do this?

It's only a little comforting to realize that even the people who've been shooting up fertility drugs since I was in middle school and had the nursery professionally decorated before they even heard a heartbeat, the people who sat for professional pregnancy portraits and pre-ordered a lifetime supply of Huggies after the first ultrasound, those people... in reality, they're in for just as much of a shock as we are once their little bundle of whatever actually gets here. Not just when dear baby unswallows a stomachful of organic formula all over their $100 cashmere receiving blanket thirty seconds after they get them wrapped up, but the minute that they get them home and realize that all the parenting books in the world and all the planning and preparation you can squeeze into forty weeks is nothing in the face of a real live baby.

Parenthood, the great equalizer. We're all reduced to a puddle of nerves and love and hope and terror at the feet of our children. Without the help of a full time nanny, it's all on the job training, and we will screw up.

So, maybe Ian will still grow up to be a perfectly healthy, fully functioning member of society, despite the lack of matching crib bedding in his youth. Maybe stressing out over choosing a "parenting philosophy" (and then doing the requisite reading and buying the follow up dvd set) will just take away from actual parenting. Maybe he won't suffer developmental delays and be whisked away by social services after I inevitably bump his head on the door of the car when I'm trying to get him strapped in. And maybe, just maybe, I need to take a deep breath and recognize that if we trust our instincts and aren't afraid to ask for a little help when we need it, Mr. A, our spawn, and I will be just fine.

...But we've really got to get a carseat.

With love an crossed fingers,