Friday, October 16, 2009

Weird Science

In case you were wondering, a smoke alarm that begins loudly demanding new batteries at 3 a.m. can actually wake up the fetus that you thought might have been protected by your comforter, sheets, body fat, and placenta.

In addition, I think it's delightful that other women mention the gentle intra-womb flutterings of their babies. Hortense's movements are more reminiscent of Homey the Clown, swinging a loaded sock around my uterus. Apparently, we most definitely do not play that.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Freak the Hell Out

People have been asking me if I'm putting "the nursery" together for Hortense. I have to restrain myself from having some sort of panic attack, because I'm still trying to sell my immaculate, practically-brand-new, $12,000-below-tax-value townhouse, which has been stripped of all my personal pictures and objects and staged out the wazoo since March, when I first put it up for sale. So - I keep thinking about how I can't buy any baby furniture until I know whether I'll still be living in this place in January. I mean, I can - but doing so means that I have to move out the furniture that's currently in my second bedroom and figure out where to store it. And on top of that, there's the double panic of knowing that if I don't sell soon, I won't sell it for two more years, because I'll be damned if I clean and stage a house daily while toting around a newborn.

But on top of all this, there's the triple, intense, cherry-on-top panic of simply buying the accoutrements necessary to PUT THE BABY TO BED SAFELY. Have you noticed this? Am I more sensitive to this as a recovering-ish infertile, or is sleeping now the most dangerous, perilous, fraught activity a baby can participate in? I'm developing a serious rage that threatens to put me squarely in tinfoil-hat territory.

First off, I completely accept the findings and conclusions of the whole "Back to Sleep" businesses. I GET IT. I can't even buy a flipping sleep sack without that little mantra on it. Obviously, I'm going to put my child to sleep on her back, if that's what reduces the risk of SIDS. Agreed. Let's shake. However. What if she spits up in the night? What if she chokes on said spit-up? Why is this legitimate fear not addressed by the "Back to Sleep" information? All they give us is "healthy babies won't choke on vomit." Really? That's not terribly reassuring.

I don't like that the medical organizations downplay the possibility that one might feel anxiety about this proposition, and sometimes I feel like they're saying, "well, we've covered our asses with Back to Sleep. If you don't burp your kid well enough and she chokes to death in her sleep on vomit, you have no one to blame but yourself for being a crap burper." And they say that SIDS isn't caused by vomiting...I say, okay, semantics, then. Vomiting and choking would cause death by vomiting and choking. But the end result is the same, no?

So then you want to buy a sleep positioner that will incline the baby's head a bit to try and rectify that problem, but the consumer orgs are iffy on those, because if there are foamy parts, the child could end up pressed against one and suffocate, much like crib bumpers, which are apparently death traps as well. As are loose sleepers. As are tight sleepers, though, also, because the baby can't be overheated. Or rebreathe exhaled carbon dioxide into its sleeves. And you should keep a steady stream of fresh air flowing over them. And they should be sleeping in your room, but in a bare, safe crib, away from a window. There's a lot of opportunity for you to screw this up. Between the medical organizations and the consumer-products ones, some days, it seems like every baby product for sale is marketed as "Buy This Or: Death!!"And, BTW, if you really, really, really want your baby not to die of SIDS, you'll breast-feed until you're taking the training wheels off her bike.

I'm thinking I'll hire two eunuchs/vestal virgins to stand in Hortense's bedroom. One to hold her aloft in the very center of the room all night - no loose blankets, fuzzy crib positioners, or inadvertent tummy-sleeping allowed. The other will lightly fan exhaled CO2 away from her mouth and make sure she is adequately cool, yet never cold. Otherwise, I doubt I'll ever get any sleep.

But, you know, I have to remember not to stress out too much about this, because ya know - stress during pregnancy is bad for the baby. Everyone says so.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sunrise, Sunset

So, generally my days begin as follows: wake up around 7-ish; realize that I'm on my back; freak out over the fact that I went to bed on my side, wrapped around a body pillow that's too big to fit under the covers with me; then bemoan my sore back and rise from bed. This morning, I threw in a bellow of obscenity as a calf cramp crippled me.

I put on one of a few outfits that will fit me - probably a maternity top that obscures the fact that I'm wearing a pre-preg skirt, or maybe those maternity gauchos that make me look like a big fat pirate. Every day, I cringe as I see myself from the side and wish that someone would ask if I'm pregnant, instead of just assuming that I'm sporting a full, taut, belly that grows weekly. Every day = silence. I know the rule...never ask a woman if she's pregnant unless you can literally see the child crowning. But still.

I eat a high-fiber bar around 7-8 a.m., and wonder if today will be the day that I'll poop.

I drive to campus, park the car, and haul myself up the hill to class, complete with calf/thigh/ass cramps, side stitches, etc. As I reach my first class, I'm usually embarrassingly out of breath, since I haven't yet modulated my walking speed to accommodate my new heft.

At about 10:30, I feel hungry again, and Hortense is treating me to some jarring kicking and pounding. Between my first and second classes, I inhale a granola bar, or some peanut butter crackers.

Around 12:30, I have the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that's being squished in my bag. Sometimes, I eat this during my 3-hour class, like a preschooler.

I spend 3-4 hours at work on campus, three days a week. Unfortunately, all of the stool/chairs available for me to sit on are oddly tall, which means I have to fling my bulk upwards and backwards and hope to land at the right place on the stoolairs. Usually, right after I manage to get myself settled (when I get myself on the chair, I then have to pull up my maternity pants in the back and my underpants in the front), someone needs something, and I have to slide off again.

Around 4:30, I become oddly delirious with hunger, and Hortense pummels me.

I get home at 5-6, lie on the couch, and whimper until my husband makes me dinner. I complain about the teeny hairs that are now growing on my stomach and the lack of flattering pregnancy jeans in my life. I choke on my own spit once every 2 or 3 weeks, which is terrifying.

So that's essentially the life of a big fat pregnant grad student. With any luck, it will continue this way, with minimal drama, for the next 18 weeks. Last week, I asked my OB, "Are there things I should be doing at this point in the pregnancy? Not doing?" Her response: "Don't drink, don't smoke crack, and try not to get punched in the gut."

That's all??? I am never reading another baby book AGAIN.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Anatomy 101

Me: "You know how boobs and nipples and whatnot are supposed to get bigger with pregnancy?"

Husband: "Yeah."

Me: "Well, all this time, I've been looking at the big, circular part of my nipple to see if it was getting bigger or darker and it's not."

Husband: "That's not your nipple." 

Me: "But I noticed these little sticky-out bits in the middle..."

Husband: "You mean your nipples."

Me: "Semantics.  But anyways, those parts are getting bigger, just like the books said." 

Husband: "So, essentially, you're telling me that at the age of 29, you have at last discovered your own nipples."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In Which Napoleon Becomes Hortense

Crap salad, I've been lazy.

In my defense, 
1. I've just started grad school, which involved running all over campus, trolling for part-time jobs.
2. My house has been on the market for six months, and I've been pricing kitchen overhauls to see if the investment is worthwhile.
3. I dunno. Other stuff.

No major life changes while trying to get pregnant? That's for the weak.

So the big news is that I had the 18-week ultrasound and learned that Napoleon is more of a Napoleonette. Which is a big surprise, given that I was nearly convinced it was a boy. On the other hand, my mother was convinced it was a boy, and she's always, always wrong at gender-guessing. So that should have been a clue. 

I guess the obvious thing  would be to rename Napoleon Josephine, but that's a name that I could conceivably give to a child someday (husband's grandmother's name), and so it's not nearly as amusing as Hortense. 

Other exciting ultrasound news - I seem to have developed a succenturiate placental lobe, which they claim poses no threat to Hortense (although she seems to be rather snug between those two big lumps of placenta, and I wish she had a bit more room to flail around in) but which will have to be extracted from me after delivery, so as to keep me from hemorrhaging. My mother describes the manual extraction of leftover placenta as "worse than 36 hours of labor" and "oh, God, I wanted to die." So, that's exciting. But - if this is the only complication I encounter between now and January 27th, I'll probably be a pretty lucky girl.   

Off to breakfast - my insane husband is drafting a document in which I release him from responsibility for any future gestational diabetes diagnosis, and aver that I am eating the Krispy Kreme he brought me of my own volition. 

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Grandparent Names that are Currently Being Discussed

- Goose and Maverick.
- Mamie and Ike.
- Nub and Digger.
- Biggie and Puffy.
- Captain and Tenille. 

Not currently in the running: Meemaw, Peepaw, Glamma, Granny, "Big" anything, or Gogie. Or, sadly, Toot. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

Words that are Very Unsexy, but in All Fairness, Were Never Intended to Be Sexy

1. Colostrum.

There are women, on this message board that I read from time to time, who say that milky goo has, at one time or another, flown out of their boobs when sneezing, say, or squeezing a nipple. This was shocking to me. When I cough and sneeze, my boobs stay completely sealed. I even tried to squeeze a nipple, to see what would happen (not something I do every day, let's just say). Nothing. 

On one hand, it's always a relief not to inadvertently milk yourself. On the other, I don't want to fall behind developmentally. Hmm.

Good night, then. Off to scrutinize my boobs.