February 20, 2012

So, here's the thing about plans...

That's me up there. Well, it's my belly. With my son in it.

(Whoa. There's a baby in my belly. Even at 38 weeks, it still feels a little surreal.)

Anyway: If you go by the floating-baby-countdown-thingie over there to the right, you'll see we have 14 days left. Two full weeks to go! Yay!

Except that floating baby is a big old liar head.


If you're one of the 12 people who read this blog "regularly," then you'll have noticed I haven't blogged much during this pregnancy. This is primarily because my day job, while thoroughly enjoyable, has been especially demanding during the entire run of the pregnancy. In fact, while in utero, this child has been on more trips than he likely will ever take again in the course of a year. (Seattle twice, Delaware twice, zip zap zip, plus he attended an NKOTB concert in there, too; don't ever say I don't expose my children to high culture).

And, I'll confess: Part of why these baby update blogs have been so few and far between is that there...hasn't been that much to report. I have been blessed with an extremely easy and uneventful pregnancy, and I've been reluctant to jinx it by giving voice to it. "Why, no, I'm not feeling nauseated, my feet aren't swollen, I haven't gained 60 pounds, I don't have gestational diabetes or high blood pressure and the baby is flourishing. Please, STRIKE ME, LIGHTNING!"

In fact, the only wrinkle came in the form of an ultrasound that one of my OBs scheduled as an afterthought. I'd asked if she thought it was strange that I'd only gained about 10 pounds in the first eight months of pregnancy, and while they only wanted me to gain 15 to begin with (I'm a curvy girl), she thought it best we just check on the baby's weight.

Thankfully, the baby's weight came in exactly at the 50th percentile, meaning he was exactly average for eight months in utero, and all seemed well. The doctors were a little concerned, however, that my amniotic fluid was a bit on the low side. "It's not so low that we're panicking," the doctor told us hastily, since I'm sure our faces read, "WE! ARE! PANICKING! OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH OUR BABY?!" "But it's low enough that we just want to keep an eye on it."

Which is how we've found ourselves in the doctor's office twice a week for the last three weeks, having non-stress tests (where a fetal heart monitor does its monitor-y best to determine that our baby's heart is strong and responding appropriately when he moves) and ultrasounds (where, depending on the ultrasound tech, the levels are either low or high and we either freak out or feel reassured).

(Note to ultrasound techs everywhere: TELL THE PARENTS WHAT YOU'RE DOING AS YOU'RE DOING IT. And if you see something that concerns you, either tell them flat out or don't let the concern show on your face. I was about ready to drop-kick the tech one week who flew through the measurements but said nothing except, "When are you going over the results with the doctor? Because...you know...the sooner the better." WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?)


The upshot of three weeks of testing is this: Everything looks normal. The non-stress tests were all fine. The fluid level results from the ultrasounds are mixed -- they go up and down -- but never so low that the doctors were freaking out. Cervical exams showed I'm not dilated or effaced. We were well on our way to reaching our March 5 due date, and we were relieved that no one was talking induction anymore (we really wanted to let this baby come in his own time, unless there was a real medical reason to induce).

Then, on Friday, the doctor marched in and nonchalantly shot all that to hell.

"I've scheduled you for induction on Feb. 28th!" she said, with a smile, in lieu of "hello" or any other kind of normal greeting. "Your fluid levels are OK, but if they go down any more we might start to worry, so I decided that 39 weeks is far enough. Let's get this baby out of you!"

And then she left the room, leaving us holding an appointment card that said, "Induction: 2/28" and, hilariously, "If you're unable to keep this appointment, please cancel within 48 hours."

Yes, thank you, I'd like to cancel this induction and just keep my baby nice and toasty in my womb for another month or so. Laters!

So we gaped at each other and tried to come to terms with the fact that A) our baby was going to have a February birthday, B) anything we'd been planning to get accomplished in that last week before my due date was going to happen NOW or not at all, and, oh yes, C) OUR SON WAS GOING TO COME OUT OF ME IN ELEVEN DAYS.

(Well, now it's eight days. Oh my God.)


Things that are bumming me out about this turn of events:

  1. First and foremost: I really wanted this baby to be born in his own time. I hate the idea of "forcing" nature's hand. If he's meant to be "overdue," then so be it. Let him pick his own birthday.

  2. I'm sad that we'll miss the excitement of "Contractions! Is it time? Let's time them out. MY WATER BROKE! Where's the bag?! Where's the camera? Aahhhhhhhh!" and all those other things that movies have assured me are part of all births.

  3. We have one less week to finish a few minor home improvement projects, and I have one less week to train my maternity leave coverage at work. I'm someone who needs to know things are done and done right before I relinquish control. (This never annoys my husband or co-workers, EVER.)

Things that, to my surprise, I'm actually liking about this whole scheduled induction thing:

  1. It greatly appeals to the planner in me. Instead of telling family and friends to expect a call "sometime" that the time has come, everyone is well-informed and knows just where to be and when.

  2. My husband's parents, who are coming in from out of town, won't have to camp out potentially for weeks, waiting for the baby's impending arrival.

  3. T has gotten the necessary kick in the pants to finish the last touches to our humble little nursery so I can finally share some pictures with you all this week.

  4. More than anything else, I know precisely when I'm going to get to hold my son for the first time, and watch his daddy stare at him in awe, and finally share his name with everyone who already loves him.
Eight days from now, our lives will change, ready or not, floating-baby-countdown-thingie be damned.

Don't ask me if we're ready. It's a silly question, the answer to which is "no" and "yes" and "maybe" and "DUH."

The nursery is done, the clothes are washed and put away, the bag is packed, the childbirth classes have been had (more on those later), the house is ready, the grandparents are alerted and the dogs...well, they're oblivious, but they've been informed of their new little brother's arrival, too.

Our lives are ready, by all outward appearances.

Let's do this thing.


One last plea from a first-time about-to-give-birther: If you were induced, how was your experience? I'd love to hear about it. How long did it take, how did you react to the Pitocin, etc. Lay it on me.

February 9, 2012

T speaks: "I thought 'gestate' was what a Southern boy said after a meal."

“Lawdy, Lawdy, Miss Bunny. I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies.”

Seriously, no stork?

So Shannon’s pregnant, you got that much, and it’s all magical, blah, blah, blah. But there’s a not so magical side to it as well. It’s the actual childbirth. You know how they say people don’t want to see how sausage is made? I’ve watched those videos and Jimmy Dean can be found on my breakfast plate every weekend. I’ve now been privy to birthing videos, thank you Science Channel. The Exorcist is no longer my scariest movie to watch; I laugh at it now.

I thought I had dutifully prepared myself for this by watching Mr. Mom 17 times and thought parenthood would be a comically satisfying experience, much like Michael Keaton’s performance. But they skipped the whole horrifying genesis of their wonderful family romps, the actual passage of a slimy, bluish, reddish, let’s say creature, through an obviously pained woman’s birth canal. And that’s NOT all. Seemingly needed body parts and other liquids also follow acting as the parsley and au jus sauce in our freshly made, Frankensteinian main course.

Apparently being a baby is akin to being a stuntman because the freshly squeezed child has a safety line to keep from actually falling. At least this is my understanding of gestation. Presumably after the safety line has failed in its attempt to keep the child entombed in the mother’s womb one of the educated throng of degreed persons will ask the father to cut said safety line. What good is the line at this point anyway and why would you keep faulty equipment? It’s a newborn for Pete’s sake.

Now, at this point, the video skips ahead and here is the newly proud mother and father and baby in tow. All laughing and smiling, happy. I can only assume they skip ahead to conceal the real horror show. The clean-up. Don’t think we can handle that Sci Channel? Thank you, I suppose, but I’m pretty sure the preceding horror show has prepared us. I just want to see the poor guy cursing and muttering that gets stuck with that job.

Oddly enough, none of these “pictures” are censored or blurred, but yet the bleeps come fast and furious. Momma’s got a potty mouth. This rite of passage might be fun for me because Shannon has such a large vocabulary and can unite words that would never seem to fit together. Ooh and she knows some German, I’m sure cursing at me in German will bring the nightmare altogether. My plan is to only reply in Spanish, Italian or French just for my own amusement.

The point I am trying to make here is that the Mrs. wants me in the delivery room to share in the aforementioned miracle of birth. My plan of handing out cigars to complete strangers has been thwarted. Smoking and newborn babies are sadly only in my dreams now. Being with her in spirit won’t be enough. I’m the designated hand holder and have been told that a small curtain will shield my eyes from the “miracle” that is occurring. C’mon, the curtain didn’t stop Dorothy. Well, a better analogy would be the curtain not stopping Anthony Perkins in Psycho. Dorothy got to meet a nice guy to help her get home; Vivian Leigh did a performance art version of woman giving birth while taking a shower.

There are also rules for my being there:
  1. Take any and all abuse that is hurled my way with a smile on my face. No problem, I’m a Mets fan.

  2. Don’t be funny. As this post shows, also not a problem. Honestly, let’s face facts: Childbirth has to be funny. Who hasn’t wanted to give a “Push em out, push em out, wwaaaayyy out?” “C’mon, it can’t feel THAT bad.” “What about me? My feet hurt, you at least get to lie down.” “Wow, you really need to do something with your hair.” “I bet my mom didn’t whine this much.” “Are these stirrups regulation size?” “I think you’re PULLING.” “Honey, I lost my ruler. How else I am supposed to measure how far apart the contractions are?” “Episioto-ME? No, episioto-YOU.” “No, I thought you said you DIDN’T want the epidural.” “C- section? Can’t we upgrade to a B?” And so on and so forth.

  3. Don’t pass out. That’s a rule. Do my best, honey. Just have to make sure I don’t peek in the baby theatre.

  4. Have her mom on deck in case I cannot fulfill the above duties. Not a big request, but I put it here because there’s a caveat. Part two of this rule is to explain to her mother that she will hear all sorts of new and exciting words that she has never heard her daughter utter. So I get to walk out and forewarn her mother that Shannon has been replaced by Joe Pesci. Ironically, they’re both Italian and 5’3”.

**Mushy part warning**

Obviously, I’m joking about all of this. I’m beyond excited for what’s next and can’t wait for the experience. I joke about all the preceding because it will lead to my favorite part. Of course, I cannot wait to see my child for the first time—well, more so second time, after they’ve cleaned him up.

The moment I cannot wait for, though, is after the whole “ordeal” is over and it’s just Shannon and myself. I lean forward and place my forehead to hers and say “You done good, kiddo."

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