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Princess Zurg: Mom, if they have drugs so it doesn’t hurt to have a baby, why did you give birth without them four times?

Madhousewife: Well, with Mister Bubby and Girlfriend, by the time I got to the hospital, it was too late for me to take anything.

PZ: So what about the other times?

Mad: Um… [long, rambling explanation that makes little sense]

PZ: I am never having sex.

Mad: That’s a good plan.

PZ: Or if I do, I’m going to make the guy wear a condom. EVERY. TIME. No exceptions!

Mad: That’s the correct method.

Mister Bubby: What’s a condom?

Mad: It’s a form of birth control.

MB: What’s that?

Mad: It keeps the woman from getting pregnant.

MB: How?

Mad: It stops the sperm from going in the woman’s body.

MB: What??? What’s the point?!?

Mad: [laughing]

PZ: [laughing]

MB: Why would you do it if you aren’t even gonna have a kid?

PZ: Because it’s fun?

MB: PZ, you’re a pervert!

PZ: I am not!

MB: A selfish pervert.

PZ: I don’t KNOW that it’s fun! I’ve HEARD that it’s fun. People SAY it’s fun.

Mad: [laughing]

MB: The only reason I wouldn’t have a baby is my crotch would split open.

Mad: That’s a valid reason.

MB: You have an expandable crotch–I don’t.

Mad: [No argument]

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Moving to a completely different subject…

MB is a big fan and loyal patron of Netflix. (Yes, I’m sure this is a different subject.) He has discovered many of his favorite shows on there–Man vs. Food, MythBusters, Storage Wars, etc. His current obsession is Quincy, M.E. Our babysitter got him hooked on it, and now he has to watch it every day. At some point during the afternoon, he announces, “Time for Quincy!” and sits down for 51 minutes of Jack Klugman fighting crime. (They had way fewer commercials in the 1970s.) What I love is that it’s on Netflix, so he can watch it any time, but he just decides that it’s time for Quincy. He makes himself a snack and grooves to the theme song. Because Quincy rocks.

At the end of the day sometimes, he likes to tell me what happened on Quincy today. Like the time there was somebody going around choking people to death. A strangler? I ask. Yes, that. And he was going to strangle Quincy, but Quincy got him at a pressure point so he couldn’t move. Because Quincy’s that awesome.

Then there was the time Quincy thought a couple of high school kids were going to kill each other in this football game, so he goes down to the football field to stop the game, and one of the football players says, “We don’t want you here, old man!” and Quincy grabs the kid by the shirt and says, “Well, I guess you’re just going to have to penalize me fifteen yards for unnecessary roughness!” and throws him across the field.

When you think about it, there’s no reason why this wouldn’t appeal to an eleven-year-old boy. They just don’t make shows like this anymore. Which is a crying shame.

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The anniversary report

We had a cub scout pack meeting last night (Elvis got his Wolf badge), so Sugar Daddy and I celebrated fifteen years together by having lunch earlier in the day, and then after the kids went to bed, we sneaked out and went to the Denny’s. It’s a long story. Actually, it isn’t long. We went to Denny’s on our first date fifteen-and-a-half years ago. (November 22, 2006 1996.) Not for dinner, don’t worry. Just for ice cream. So anyway, it’s sort of our tradition to go to Denny’s on our anniversaries. We don’t always go to Denny’s every anniversary. Just when the mood strikes us. And when there’s a Denny’s to go to. Anyway, on our first date I had a hot fudge sundae. I probably should have stuck with that. Instead I had a banana split. And french fries. Because I just felt like having french fries. Let me tell you something forty-one-year-old women can’t do at ten o’clock at night: eat a banana split with french fries. I mean, clearly they can–I could. I did. But just as clearly, they should not. I shouldn’t have. The memories of this fifteenth anniversary will be with me for quite some time. Quite possibly mementos of this anniversary (in the form of wider hips) will also be with me. It sure feels that way this morning.

Then on the way home we discussed ways in which we can help our fourteen-year-old lose weight.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

We really did that.

.

I was afraid, on Monday, that I might be getting strep throat. After I said that all I have to do (besides practice a lot) before my big clogging performance on Saturday is not get sick! My throat was feeling pretty streppy. Then I took some ibuprofen. And when I woke up in the morning it was much better. I’m still worried about being sick, but not so much about having strep. Strep has a way of not getting better just with ibuprofen. (Who needs med school with these powers of deduction? Not to mention eight seasons of Quincy on Netflix.) I should rest. And yet I also have to practice. Practice, rest. Rest, practice. Which do you recommend I do first? What would Quincy have me do?

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[Wordpress isn’t letting me embed video right now, so you’ll have to click over here for the ending.]

Q.  Why do Mormon women stop having children after 35?

A.  Because 36 is just too many.

At your six-week post-partum checkup, they always ask you what form of birth control you're going to use.  When I tell my practitioner that I plan on using the same non-hormonal contraception I've used since the birth of my first child, I sense a marked lack of confidence on her part.  She reminds me that I must be sure to use this form of contraception every single time I have sex.  Yes, I assure her, I know how this particular form of contraception works.  I do not play Russian Roulette with my ovaries.

"Oh, Mad, I know you don't, but you know, accidents do happen."

"I don't have those kinds of accidents."

"Well, people make mistakes."

"I don't make those kinds of mistakes."

Indeed, when I hear about a woman having children less than a year apart, I can only ask someone to please explain how this is done–because, my dears, I do not know.  A few months ago I was talking on this subject with, of all people, my dental hygienist, and she mentioned a former colleague of hers who'd had children nine-and-a-half months apart.

"I don't understand how that's accomplished," I said.

"Well, she'd had her tubes tied," my hygienist explained, "only she didn't have it done right after the birth.  She had it done two weeks later.  And by the time she went to her six-week checkup, she was already pregnant."

"I still don't know how that's accomplished," I said.

My hygienist paused, turned to see if anyone was within hearing distance and said, "To tell you the truth, neither do I."

Really, ladies, if you're crazy enough to be engaging in procreative activities less than two weeks after pushing a human being out down there, I don't know how to begin to lecture you on contraception.  Nothing, apparently, will teach you.

When I had the six-week contraception talk with my midwife in January, she told me she'd see me in a year for my next Pap test–and maybe again for my next pregnancy?  I told her, no offense, but I hope not.

"I feel comfortable closing the door on this chapter of my life," I said.  "I'm not going to lock the door.  But I am going to shut it.  Firmly."

A few weeks later I was feeling crappy, for some reason, and I said to my husband, "If I didn't know better, I'd think I was pregnant."

"Maybe you are pregnant.  Wouldn't that be fun?"

"It would be horrifying."

"Why would it be horrifying?  Don't you like cute little babies?"

"I already have a cute little baby.  I don't need another cute little baby.  If I had another cute little baby, of course I would love it, because it would already be here, but since it's not here, I don't love it, and it is horrifying."

After that conversation, I entertained for the briefest of moments the possibility that I was, somehow, pregnant.  (Though I didn't know how that would have been accomplished because I don't have those kinds of accidents.)  In that briefest of moments I thought that shutting the door firmly, slamming it even, was not enough for me.  I was ready to shut it, lock it, bolt it, and move some heavy furniture in front of it.  Before I started hyperventilating, though, I reminded myself that I don't know how to have babies less than a year apart.   God bless me, I do not know.

After I had Elvis, my midwife wanted to write me a prescription for emergency contraception, as backup just in case I had one of those accidents I don't know how to have.  I don't have a big ethical problem with emergency contraception, but I've never thought it would be necessary in the normal course of my life.  If I should accidentally get pregnant, what's the worst that would happen?  I'd have another baby.  Sure, I'd be upset at first, but I'm married, I'm financially secure (not that financial insecurity has ever stopped me before), and I like babies, so I'd get over it relatively quickly, I think. 

But now that I'm officially not going to have another baby, I've decided to use a backup contraceptive–one so powerful it can't possibly fail.  I'm holding on to my maternity and baby clothes, because I figure as long as they're taking up unwarranted space in my garage, I will never need to use them.  On the other hand, the minute I get rid of them, I am bound to get pregnant, regardless of what other precautions I have taken.  Call it Murphy's Miracle.  I don't intend to let it happen to me.

The other day I was hanging up the children's coats in the hall closet and noticing how small Girlfriend's jacket looked next to the other kids', and I thought with great poignancy that someday there would be no jacket that size hanging in my hall closet.  But that small moment of mourning was followed by the realization that soon I would be entering a different phase of life, one that was exciting and as potentially joy-filled as the Land of Little Coats.  I resolved to cherish the pages that are left in this chapter of my life, even as I closed the door.  Gently.  (But with firmness.)

 

Warning:  The following blog contains graphic descriptions of childbirth and some adult language.  Reader discretion is advised.

 

Actually, it's not that bad.  I just wanted to be sure you all kept reading.

 

I know what you're thinking, by the way.  I should be in bed, not on Xanga.  Blah, blah, blah.  No need to keep lecturing.  I tell my story, then I go back to bed.  Stop hassling me.

 

So to begin at the beginning (sort of), I went to the midwife last Tuesday, and I had her check my cervix.  I had it checked the week before because I was getting my group B strep test done anyway, so what the heck.  And once you start checking your cervix, it's really hard to stop.  So she checked my cervix again, and I was in exactly the same condition I was the week before–70 percent effaced and maybe 1 1/2 cm dilated.  Which is nothing.  "I don't think this baby will come before Thanksgiving," she said.  Which was fine with me, because we had plans for Thanksgiving already.  (See previous blog about inviting the Indians.)  She did note that the baby's head was way, way down in the birth canal, which I didn't need her to tell me because I'd been feeling it there for what seemed like the last three months, but there it was anyway.  (In fact, she was initially concerned, before the internal exam, when she couldn't feel anything whatsoever in my lower abdominal region–that's how low the baby was.  Gross, huh?)

 

Yes, so I went about my business on Wednesday, all the while thinking to myself that the baby was indeed very low–you know that old Peanuts cartoon where Linus becomes "aware of his tongue"?  That was me, only very aware of this almost-full-term baby's head in my birth canal.  It was kind of annoying, actually.  Anyway, around 2:00 in the afternoon, I started feeling contractions.  You would think after birthing three babies already, I would recognize labor when I felt it, but you would be wrong.  It's funny, because with Princess Zurg I had no doubts that I was in labor.  Every other time I have been in some form of denial, maybe because labor always commenced during what seemed to me to be a very inopportune time.  This afternoon I had to take PZ to her counseling appointment, and I had to clean the house for our Thanksgiving guests, and I just really didn't have the patience for this sort of nonsense.  So I was having contractions, far enough apart to be ambiguous, so I remained in denial until about 4:45 p.m., when I was driving PZ home from her appointment and realized I'd been having contractions every ten minutes or so, and actually they hurt a lot more than I was comfortable with.

 

So I got home and told Sugar Daddy there was a distinct possibility that the baby was coming within the next 24 hours.  Because I believe in conservative estimates and don't wish to alarm anyone unnecessarily.  A few minutes later, as I was pacing the living room to get through another contraction, SD said, "I think you're going to have this baby tonight."  At which point I collapsed on the sofa and started whimpering, because I really wasn't in the mood to have a baby just then.  Just so we're clear, I don't advocate whimpering as a coping mechanism for labor pain.  It really didn't help matters at all.

 

I've always delivered a few days before my due date, but this was two weeks early–15 days, to be precise–and I thought that seemed an unlikely possibility, for some reason.  But I went upstairs to get away from SD, who kept asking if he should start calling people or packing something or some other question I didn't know the answer to, and also away from my kids, who were being their usual 5 o'clock hour demon selves, so I could concentrate and determine once and for all if I really was in labor.  Soon enough the contractions were five minutes apart, and I really couldn't deny the obvious any longer, so I called the friend who'd agreed to watch my kids in this event and told her I was in labor, but that I wasn't at that going-to-the-hospital stage yet.  Because I remembered having contractions five minutes apart with Elvis and him not arriving for six more hours, so I didn't want to alarm anyone.  But a few minutes after hanging up the contractions started getting stronger–or everyone in my family was becoming more annoying, I don't know–and I called my friend back and asked her to come over right away.

 

So the kids were upset and tense because they didn't want me to have a baby that night either–PZ was concerned about missing Thanksgiving, Mister Bubby didn't want a babysitter, and Elvis hadn't had a nap and didn't care about my needs anyway.  My friend arrived, and I tried to tell her where Elvis' diapers and pajamas were while I was having a contraction, because you know that information is really, really important and there's no way a grown woman could figure it out on her own.  But finally SD and I got in the car and headed toward the hospital–not taking the freeway, of course, which was jam-chocky full of Thanksgiving travelers, but opting for the side streets and hoping that the construction crews had taken off early for the holidays (which, fortunately, they had).

 

In the car the contractions were three minutes apart and lasting around 90 seconds.  By the time we found a parking space and hauled ourselves down to the maternity ward, they were even closer together.  "So you think you're in labor?" the triage nurse asked. 

 

"Yes, I think so," I said, much too casually to convey the urgency of the situation.  She went to get a fetal monitor, and meanwhile I had this killer contraction and started screaming.  Just so we're clear, I do not recommend screaming as a coping mechanism for labor pain.  It is, in fact, the worst possible thing you can do.  I knew that already, but dammit, I really didn't want to be in labor just then, do you understand?  I wasn't thinking clearly.  Screaming did, however, get about four nurses running into the room, and everyone believed I was in labor after that.  I got my cervix checked again, and I was at seven centimeters, which wasn't good enough for me, because I really wanted to push the baby out immediately, but they had to rush me to an actual delivery room first, and my midwife was still en route.  Have I mentioned already that labor is very, very painful?

 

So everyone is rushing around getting ready for the delivery, anticipating the midwife's arrival, while I am breathlessly informing SD that I cannot do a natural childbirth this time, I really, really need something for the pain, I don't care what it is, but I can't stand it anymore–not in so many words, of course, but I think he got the picture.  We've been married a long time.

 

"What does she need?" the nurse asked SD.  "What did she just say?"

 

"She said, 'Drugs, I need drugs.'"  (For some reason this was amusing to some members of the staff, because I know I heard laughter.  I heard it again a minute later when I was screaming stuff like, "Why did I do this???")

 

So about ten minutes after I'd had my initial cervix check, they checked me again and informed me that my cervix was "all gone" and there was nothing left to do but have the baby.  Well, the midwife was still 15 minutes away, which is an eternity in labor-time, but a very nice gentleman by the name of Dr. S came in and introduced himself and said his services were available should they be needed before the midwife could arrive.  (It's good to know they keep spares around, isn't it?)

 

Very shortly after this I felt this baby very-low-in-my-birth-canal creeping every lower down in my birth canal and I screamed to no one in particular, "I have to get this baby out!  I have to get this baby out right now!"

 

"Do you feel like you're ready to push?"

 

"YES!!!"

 

"Okay, Mad, you remember how this goes–when you feel that next contraction, go ahead and push along with that contraction."

 

And fifteen seconds later the baby was out, and I felt much better.

 

(Just to be clear, I do recommend screaming while you're pushing a baby out.  But not until then.)

 

So as you all know by now, the baby was a girl–much to our relief, since we still didn't have a boy's name picked out–and she was perfectly healthy.  I can tell you, there is no better feeling in the world than that of not pushing a baby out of your body.  It's better than ice cream.  Better than hot fudge sundaes.  The contrast from one moment to the next is so, so very exhilirating.  SD said he wished he had a camera so he could capture the look on my face once the baby was born.  Apparently I give off a very arrogant vibe.  Like I'm the first woman ever to give birth and I just so freaking rock my own world.  I don't remember any of that.  I just remember loving the fact that it was over.

 

It was at that point that I noticed this very nice Asian woman between my legs, delivering the placenta, and that she didn't look at all like Dr. S–at least not as I remembered him a few minutes before, tall, white and bearded–and I thought I should know who she was, so I said, "What's your name?"  She laughed and said she was Dr. F, and she was covering for the midwives that evening.  She had just had time to pull on her gloves and catch the baby, so we hadn't been introduced, which made me feel less guilty for not remembering her.

 

So that's about 47 more paragraphs than that story deserves, but it should hold you for the duration of my Xanga maternity leave, which–you know me–shall be of indeterminate length for a good reason.  I only tell you of my intentions so that you won't be alarmed if you don't hear from me for weeks on end, but neither should you be surprised if I come back tomorrow and every day after that with more of my narcissistic ramblings.  There's a lot more where this came from.

"A girl???  My wish came true!"

–Princess Zurg

 

 

Madhousebaby

Born 23 November 2005 at 8:01 p.m.

6 lbs., 10 oz.

18 inches

19 Days Left!  That's like, less than 20!  Do you understand what that means????

I'll be glad when I'm no longer pregnant and can stop mass-producing every bodily fluid known to woman (except breastmilk–but then I've always had a hard time mass-producing that).  I was getting very depressed over my weight gain thusfar (almost ten pounds more than I've ever weighed in my life), until I realized that at least seven pounds of this has to be mucous.  I've been living with my typical maternity post-nasal drip since before the pregnancy test came back positive (one of the things that inspired the taking of the pregnancy test in the first place), but now it's just out of control.  My nose is totally congested, but I'm not sick.  I do not have a virus.  I feel fine, except that I'm extremely annoyed by the mass quantities of snot I've got here.  It doesn't show any signs of letting up, and I fear I will be going into yet another labor and delivery with compromised breathing abilities.  Well, at least I won't be coughing up a lung between contractions this time. 

 

Speaking of labor and delivery, I'm starting to get very nervous, now that it's only three weeks (possibly less!) away.  I wasn't scared of labor with my first baby because I didn't know what to expect.  I mean, I had this vague notion of extreme pain, but that's nothing compared to the empirical knowledge I've gained since then.  I was crying in terror when I arrived at the hospital with Mister Bubby (still in utero), and one of the nurses said, "You've done this before, why are you so scared?"  I thought that was an odd thing to say.  Anyway, I've gotten scared earlier and earlier with every pregnancy because each previous delivery has left an indelible memory of extreme pain–which, curiously, I am able to suppress when I think, "Gee, maybe I should get pregnant again," but not when I'm 37 weeks along and can't breathe through my nose.  Nature is tricky that way.

 

Princess Zurg was asking me about childbirth the other day.  She wanted to know how the baby came out.  So I took a deep breath and told her the truth, because I was in one of those moods.  ("Did you tell her you pushed it out of your [euphimism]?" Sugar Daddy asked me later.  Yes, I did.  "What did she think about that?"  She thought it was odd.)  I'm not sure if she believed me, but she seemed to be more interested in why there was all that goop on the baby when it was born.  (She's seen pictures.) 

 

"Well," I said, "some of it's blood–"

 

"Your blood or the baby's blood?"

 

"My blood."

 

"Do you bleed when you have a baby?"

 

"Well–yes."

 

"A little or a lot?"

 

(Mom pauses briefly to contemplate the implications of what she's about to say, has to stop and blow her nose and loses her train of thought.)

 

"A lot," I answer.  "But not too much," I quickly add.

 

"Does it hurt?"

 

"Yes."

 

"A little or a lot?"

 

"A lot."  Then, committed as I am to the natural childbirth philosophy, I quickly add, "But there's medicine they can give you so it doesn't hurt so much."  (That's what I've heard, anyway.)

 

"Does it take all the pain away?"

 

"Umm…"

 

"Do you get medicine so it doesn't hurt so much?"

 

"Um, no," I say, knowing full well what question is coming next.

 

"Why not?"

 

Good question, my daughter.  Why not, indeed.  As much as I'm enjoying this frank discussion, I don't feel compelled to share my more cynical reasons for never opting for the old epidural, so I babble some idealistic crap about wanting the full experience and how the pain helps me to have the baby, blah blah blah, but here's the whole truth:

 

1)  I don't believe the epidural is going to work.  My theory is that there's a strong faith component in any medical or health treatment, which is why some people swear by magnets but can't get any results from antibiotics and vice versa.  I really think the Powers That Be are not going to permit me a pain-free delivery.  I'm not worthy.

 

2)  The epidural will work, but only in some monkey-paw way, like it'll numb the left side of my body and leave the right side to suffer the full brunt of the assault.

 

3)  The epidural will work, but it will work too well–like I'll sleep through labor and they'll have to wake me up to push, which will be the last freaking thing on earth I'll want to do when I'm in the middle of this incredible nap.  I am not a morning person.

 

So what I'm hoping for is another quick labor like I had with Mister Bubby, which was terrifying, but when it was over, I lay there in the hospital bed thinking, "Well–that was exciting"–rather than my thoughts after having Elvis (ten hours of labor without benefit of my nasal airways), which were more along the lines of "That might possibly be the stupidest thing I've ever done in my life."

 

I'm also hoping that I don't gain any more weight over the next three weeks because I can barely haul around my fat sinuses as it is. 

Friday

Princess Zurg woke up at about 5:30 in the morning and started throwing up.  As I believe I’ve blogged before, my children are physiologically incapable of standing in one place while they throw up.  As soon as they feel the bile start to rise, they go into panic mode and run around the house, covering all the carpeted areas with whatever they’ve failed to fully digest that day.  I have a running list of things I should not feed my children until they learn to puke in a porcelain bowl, and salmon just rocketed to #2, right behind grilled cheese sandwiches.  (It’s been five years since the Great Grilled Cheese Incident, but it still makes me shudder.  Shudder.)  Most fruits, on the other hand, are relatively pleasant.  (When you’ve cleaned up as much vomit as I have, you can say that sort of thing with a straight face.)

Anyway, I know it’s Monday morning and you don’t want to hear any more about barfing.  Suffice it to say that the splatter effect my children manage to get on carpet is exceptional.  Exceptional.

Saturday

It’s all a big blur, to tell you the truth.  Sugar Daddy and I did finish watching Alias Season 4, and I can only say one thing.  Well, I’ll say two things.  That show is absurd–in the sense of being really freaking awesome.  But that season’s cliffhanger was the most effed-up, lame, and frustrating one ever.  It makes me not even want to watch Season 5.  I am that upset.  No, don’t tell me what happens in Season 5!  I don’t want to know!  I swear I’ll block you for life if you tell me anything.  Ooh, I’m getting tough now.  I’ve never threatened you all like that before.  Hope it didn’t scare you.

Sunday

Here’s the first 20 minutes of church.  Whispered but unfortunately still very audible lines are in italics:

Mister Bubby:  I’m huuuunnnnngwyyyyyy.

Giraffemom:  That’s interesting.

MB:  I need bweakfaaaasssst.

GM:  Just a minute.

MB:  I’m huuuunnnnnngwyyyyy.

GM:  Hang on a minute.  Just hang on.

Princess Zurg:  Why do we always have to go to church?  Church is so long.  Church should only be one second.  There.  It’s over.  Why do you always make us go to church?  I’m hungry.

GM:  Please be quiet!

PZ:  I’m going now.

GM:  Fine.

PZ:  By myself.  Alone.

GM:  Fine.  Good.

PZ:  I’m leaving.

GM:  Fine, just do it!

PZ:  Okay.  (Exit PZ)

MB:  Mommy, I’m hungwy.  I need food.

GM:  Fine, eat something.  I don’t care.  Just be quiet.  Please.

(A little while later…)

Elvis:  I NEED MY CHEEYOS!  I NEED MY CHEEYOS!

GM:  They’re on the floor.  They’re gone.  You’ve got plenty of Cheerios.  Just eat them.  Sh!

Elvis:  I NEED MY CHEEYOS!  I CAN’T WEACH DEM!

GM:  Sh!  It’s okay.  Let them go!

Elvis:  PEASE GET DEM FOR ME!

GM:  I can’t!  I can’t reach them!  Just eat what you’ve got.  There are so many, look, you don’t need those other Cheerios–

Elvis:  I NEED MY CHEEYOS!

GM:  Fine!  Crawl under the bench and get them!  Just be quiet!

(Later…)

MB:  Mommy, did you pack yellow goldfish?

GM:  Yes.

MB:  Which one has more in it?

GM:  They both have the same.  Just eat them!  Eat one of them!  Pick one, I don’t care!

MB:  Is this one bigger?

GM:  I don’t know!  I don’t care!

(Elvis dives off the pew, slams his head smack on the floor, spilling his Cheerios, and starts screaming.)

GM:  Great.  (Picks up Elvis to take him to the foyer)  No, no–nobody move.  Everyone sit on the floor or put your legs out to trip the eight-month-pregnant woman carrying 40 pounds of two-year-old.  It’s better this way, trust me.

Elvis:  I NEED MY CHEEYOS!

(Curtain)

——————————————————————————–

It got better.  But I was still glad when it was over.  As always.

And now the medical update:

So wearing the wrist splints has helped to a large extent, but my middle finger on my right hand still feels like I rammed it into a brick wall at 40 mph, then stuck the tip of it in the freezer for about half an hour.  I think that’s weird.  My fingers are still periodically fat, but usually not.  What’s new is that my feet have also decided to get fat.  My feet do not usually swell during pregnancy.  Actually, they never have.  I always anticipated that they would swell, and I’d take off my toe rings in my first trimester as a precautionary measure, but my feet never did swell, and I think I just kept them on during my Elvis pregnancy.  I didn’t even think about removing them this time until I looked down at my feet last night and discovered that I was about to lose two toes if I didn’t take immediate action.  It wasn’t pleasant, but I got them off (the rings, not the toes), and while my feet are still fat, they’re all in one piece.

My feet don’t look good fat.  Which is really bothering me because my feet are ordinarily very attractive.  No, really.  Everyone says so.  At least they used to.  I hope I can still fit into my tap shoes after this is over.  For that matter, I hope I regain feeling in my third finger on the right hand.  I think I’m going to need it.

You Are Chinese Food

Exotic yet ordinary.

People think they’ve had enough of you, but they’re back for more in an hour.

What Kind of Food Are You?

Have I mentioned before that these quizzes have me totally pegged?

So last week I noticed that my hands were getting swollen.  My feet were fine, but my hands were puffy.  My fingers looked short because they were so fat.  I thought it was weird that only my hands were affected, but I wasn’t worried until it became difficult to use my hands, and then my hands started hurting, and then my hands started going numb.  My right was worse off than my left (not surprisingly, since I’m right-handed), and the pain was spreading up to my elbow, kind of like carpal tunnel syndrome.  I had carpal tunnel syndrome about eleven or twelve years ago, when I was working as a typist full-time, but I haven’t been engaging in repetitive-motion activities as of late, unless the day-in/day-out drudgery of my life counts as repetitive motion.  So this was curious.  Anyway, I called one of those “health professionals” to see if I was, you know, “dying” or something, and they said it was possible the baby was putting stress on some nerve or whatever, and I should try wrist splints and see if that helped.

So I bought a wrist splint last night at the Target.  I also bought a new purse.  Well, not a purse exactly, but one of those purses that’s actually a backpack, only it’s a purse because you can’t take it hiking.  Well, you could, but it would be dumb, unless you went hiking at the mall or something.  It’s funny because for years and years and years owning the same freaking purse, but since I started having babies I have gone through about a dozen different diaper bags of various styles, and in the past year I have purchased three of these backpack/purse thingies, hoping I had finally stumbled upon the single most practical accessory for my carrying-crap-around lifestyle.  It couldn’t be too big, or I’d just stuff it with way more crap than I needed.  It couldn’t be too small, or it couldn’t take the stress of me overstuffing it with just a little more crap than I needed.  Anyway, I convinced myself that this bag selling for $19.99 at Target was something I needed even if I didn’t technically “need” it because for all I knew, my overloaded bag I was currently carrying on my back could be the cause of all my woes in the first place.  You thought I’d abruptly changed the subject, didn’t you?  No, this had to do with my wrist splint all along.

So I put on my wrist splint when I got home.  I’m never sure how to wear these things.  They say it should be “snug” but not “tight.”  Well, for sure I don’t want to lose any more feeling in my fingers, so I know I don’t want it to be “tight.”  But at what point does “snug” become “tight”?  I understand it should feel comfortable, but is my “comfortably snug” really just “nay, not snug, but loose,” or have I gone so numb in both arms that “comfortably snug” is actually “tight” and I’m going to lose my hand over this?  Anyway, this just added to my anxiety and made me all the more glad I’d bought myself a new bag because you never know what’s going to happen.

So I wore the splint to bed, like they told me to, and this morning was the first in several days that I haven’t woken up with completely numb hands.  They still hurt, though, which is kind of a bummer, and actually it was probably a bad idea to blog about it because all this typing is making my fingers go numb.  Also, my children are probably tearing up my kitchen right about now, so adieu, gentle readers.  Enjoy your long weekend without mail service.

1)  How is it, in this day and age, that when you say the word "midwife," so many people immediately conclude that you've chosen to have a home birth facilitated by some non-English-speaking woman sacrificing a chicken over your womb? 

 

2)  Why don't OB/GYN offices ever have magazines other than Parents, Parenting, and Child? 

 

3)  Who subscribes to these magazines, and why?

 

4)  How did I gain six pounds in two weeks?  Don't answer that!

Last night I dreamed (dreamt?) that I had the baby, and it was a boy.  This is the second time I've dreamt (dreamed?) the baby was a boy.  I don't think it means anything, except maybe that I'm having a boy.  Anyway, I had the baby and brought him home, and my whole family was there–I mean, the family I had growing up.  Interestingly enough, none of my other children was there, and Sugar Daddy was nowhere to be seen for much of the dream.  Anyway (again), my family kept trying to feed the baby spaghetti.  This is a newborn, a few days old, and they're trying to feed him spaghetti.  I said, "You know, I really only have to feed him breastmilk for the first 4-6 months.  He doesn't need any spaghetti."  And my mother (who was alive in this dream) said, "Oh, I know you did that with the other three, but this one really seems hungry for something else."  And I said, "Maybe it's because you haven't let me nurse him more than twice since I've come home.  You keep whisking him away for spaghetti."  And my sister said–as she was spooning pasta with tomato sauce into my newborn's mouth–"Oh, Mad, stop freaking out.  It's just spaghetti."

 

What was freaking me out was that I knew my baby should not be eating spaghetti, but for some reason I couldn't just say, "Hey!  I'm the mother here!  Stop feeding my baby spaghetti, you freaks!"  (And why are you all in my house?  Where are my other kids?  Why aren't you still dead, Mom?)  It was really disturbing.  Then I finally found SD, who was reading on the couch, and I said, "SD, have we picked out a name for this baby yet?"  And he said, "Uhh…no," and went back to reading.  And I continued to worry about the spaghetti and the fact that the baby hadn't breastfed in several hours.

 

I told SD about this dream this morning, and he said he had a dream that the Harriet Miers nomination was withdrawn.  He always has to have better dreams than me.

 

 

 

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I'm registering for the hospital, and I'm looking through all the brochures and papers they give you, and there's a newspaper birth announcement form that I find a little over the top.  It asks for the parents' names and the baby's name, date of birth, blah blah, you know, the normal stuff, but additionally it asks for the time of birth, the weight, the length, the siblings' names, the grandparents' names, the great-grandparents' names–and I'm thinking, "Who the freak cares about all this?"  I mean, I care, but does the greater
Portland area care?  How can they possibly have room to print all of this information? 

 

I used to be responsible for the birth announcements when I worked at the newspaper, and it was a tedious job, but the thing that bothered me the most was when parents would ask me to notify them when the announcement was going to run–which I was willing to do, when I had the time–but when I called them, as soon as I identified myself, they assumed I was trying to sell them the paper, and they'd hang up on me.  Needless to say, I did not call them back, and they did not know when their birth announcement ran.  The happiest day of my life was when one mother called to ask about her announcement and I got to say, "Yes, that ran about three weeks ago.  I tried to call you to let you know, but you hung up on me."  Sorry.

 

 

 

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SD and I have tentatively decided on a boy's name, so I was feeling okay about having a boy, but the dorkus had to tell his mother what the name was, and she said she hates it.  Well, I don't really care if she hates it, but I care that she feels obligated to tell us she hates it.  I suppose it doesn't matter because everyone in his family feels obligated to tell us they hate the baby's name, even after the baby's been born, the birth certificate's filled out, we've blessed him in church, and he's about to start kindergarten.  On my side of the family, they have the decency to talk about it behind my back.  Except for my step-mother, who doesn't really talk about it so much to our faces, but when she comes to visit the baby, she'll talk to the baby and let him know that our parenting leaves much to be desired, and she's very sorry he has such an awful name.

 

In all honesty, I'm not in love with the name we've picked for this one, so I don't need this further discouragement.  I can just hope my dreams about the baby being a boy are as accurate as the dreams I had about Elvis being a girl. 

 

 

 

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I also have a form here to outline my birth plan.  It's pretty open-ended.  I'm not too picky about my birthing experience.  I mean, beyond the basics, I don't have any special requests, like live studio audiences or relaxing music (pfft!) or scented candles.  When I was getting near my due date with Elvis, my midwife asked how involved SD wanted to be with the delivery, and I said, "Well…he definitely wants to be there."  And she said, "How does he feel about stuff like cutting the cord, helping bring the baby out, etc.?"

 

"Oh, he'd probably think that was cool."

 

"And how do you feel about that?" she asked earnestly.

 

Confused, I just shook my head and said, "What do I care?"

 

I don't think the midwife was prepared for that response because she just about peed her pants laughing.

 

I'm really tired of being pregnant.

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