Thursday, November 24, 2005

To ALL of my 14 readers

You know I love to write. You know I love to be read. And I DO want to tell you all about the labor and birth of Bubbles, I really do. But here is what we have been dealing with at my house lately:
  • Chicken pox scare (Supergirl)
  • So scared that we packed an 11 day old Bubbles off to the ER to get an immuno-globulin shot so he didn't DIE from chicken pox (oh yes they can)
  • Having to be in the very ER in which I last held Elijah and hearing them call the little boy in front of us who had smashed his finger in the door: "Elijah" (yes I am serious)
  • Discovery that Supergirl has Coxsackie virus instead of chicken pox. Wave of great relief passes over our house with the fear of potential DEATH being replaced with the EXTREME IRRITABILITY symptom of coxsackie. (Supergirl's, thus Mama's as well)
  • Mama must call everyone that has come into contact with Supergirl over past 2 weeks, as coxsackie is contagious for up to two weeks - UNTIL the symptoms (chicken pox like rash) show up.
  • Inability to stop saying 'coxsackie'. Coxsackie.
  • On recommendation of pediatrician, mama got a flu shot.
  • Mama got the flu. (it sucked)
  • Bubbles likes to eat approximately 19 hours out of each day.
  • The remaining 5 hours, Bubbles likes to use the mama as the human pacifier.
  • Ohman are my nipples ever SORE!!!!!!!!
  • 85 degree weather necessitates first trip to the beach. (see photo)
  • Reality is: Mama is pretty content to hold the Bubbles in arms as he wishes and just say 'the blog can wait. I have a BABY!' (who won't wait)
So you see, it isn't that I don't care or don't want to SHARE all the bloody details with you. I certainly do, and I certainly will. But some things must wait. And it isn't the baby that will.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Supergirl gets lucky

Supergirl loves her baby brother.

Supergirl: Mama, Bubbles is the most beautiful baby in the whole world, isn't he?
Gwendomama: Yes, I think he is.
SG: He is. We are so lucky, aren't we?
GM: Yes, we definitely are lucky!
SG: Thank you so much for having him. I love you SO much.

Monday, November 14, 2005

better than ice cream

yummy. yummy.
and we get to keep him.

coming soon: more words.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Friday, November 04, 2005

more to come

Thursday, November 03, 2005

bubbles' debut: 11/1/05 8:14 am

typing one hand.
other full of beautiful baby boy.
born tuesday morning...i really did go into labor on halloween...gave birth the next morning.
no induction. hooray.
so tired.
so so tired.
story and pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


As you can plainly see, Bubbles (aka melonhead, aka punkin just for today and tomorrow) is still INSIDE of me.
Nobody is more shocked than his parents.
Dh says that he is a scorpio, therefore he has no intention of coming out voluntarily. After all this effort to keep him in long enough, it is pretty unthinkable to imagine that we will be kicking him out of his warm little womb. I feel kinda bad about that. I am also feeling very nostalgic about this being the last few days I will ever be pregnant. For as much heartburn and lung compression I am feeling right now, there is still nothing quite so wonderful in my book as feeling a baby grow and move inside of me.
So, on Wednesday I will go to have the membranes stripped (apparently as awful as it sounds), take the herbs and hope for 'natural' induction. If that doesn't do the trick, I will be headed for the pitocin around 9am Thursday.
I think I will now go have a quiet moment to mull that over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Well, my cervical status remains the same. No further dilation, in spite of the many many contractions. So I guess it is just that temperamental uterus of mine.
I never thought we would make it this far, really. I am OVER 37 weeks pregnant, which is a record for me. This baby seems to be following a different trend - that of my side of the gene pool where babies cook longer and grow large. Grow large, round, melonheads.
Yes. Confirmed once again for the shock value on the mama's part. OB-friend did another ultrasound today to check my fluid (I never can say that with a straight face), and the first thing we noticed was that his head is VERY round. Not oval in the slightest. Round. Like a melon. Apparently, a rather large melon, as his head is still measuring larger than the rest of him for our dates (which are exceedingly accurate). His melon is measuring at 38 weeks + five days!!! Oh. My. God. I looked at that screen, and then I looked over at OB-friend and said "This image brings one word to mind. Spinal." Her response? "Not a bad idea. I would." She knows that I have birthed the first two without the drugs (she was there to witness the cursing and the screaming), and she knows that I am not so sure I want to do that again. She also knows that I HATE the pushing part more than anything. She also knows that his melonhead is not going to make THAT part any easier this time around. Personally, I am afraid it won't even fit!!!
Dh and I had decided that if he doesn't come out on his own by Halloween, that we will give him another few days and then boot him out next week. So today we found ourselves discussing induction dates. We had discussed this before, but I never really thought it would come to this! I still have that 'feeling' that Halloween is the day, but I have (occasionally) been wrong before. So if he doesn't feel inspired by Halloween to come out (and if he is really taking after my side of the gene pool, then he isn't planning on coming out on his own until Thanksgiving!), we will post the eviction notice next...Tues? Wed? Thurs? Haven't decided that one yet.
A highlight of today's appointment was when she did the ultrasound to check my fluid (snicker). After many comments were made on the spherical appearance of my baby's head, she needed to measure the distance between his legs and the uterine wall to get a good measurement on the amniotic fluid. But instead of an empty space, we got a good shot of Bubbles' testicles. A VERY good shot. And those babies are pretty damn prominent! Dh was of course, pleased. Now you may think that is a cliche - a shallow yet predictable guy reaction, but let me fill you in. Poor little Elijah was born with bilateral undescended testes. The rest of him was in tact, but those little balls were nowhere to be seen. In fact, the surgeon who found them when he was 10 months old had to go on quite the hunt for those little boys. So the fact that we can see this little guy's parts all very clearly is really a relief in many ways.
So, OB-friend was trying to get the money shot on the fluid, and Bubbles kept flashing his giant testicles at us. She would move the u/s transducer and he would move his bum and flash them at us again!! We kept laughing, he kept flashing.
I said it that if I managed to get the head and shoulders out, he might get hung up on his testicles. The first ever case of testicular dystocia! Think of the publicity!
Dh has begged me to delete this post before Bubbles can read.
I told him to start his own damn blog if he wants to be so bossy.

Monday, October 24, 2005

37 weeks

Still pregnant.
Someone's head is wedged in my pelvis.
Hugely sensitive.

Either something is happening or I am just having a moment with my irritable uterus. DAMN! Where IS that crystal ball????
Another day of labor closer to a baby, but another day of labor. ugh.
I want to be generous sounding and say one more week. Okay.
One more week.
BUT THAT IS IT!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 21, 2005


  • I am hugely pregnant and have been in labor on and off now for four days. Make that five.
  • Dear friend Heidi called me from where she is tripping in NYC this morning (this is why I have not yet given birth. I want her there to egg me on or chide me as I curse everyone around me. Come home, Heidi!) with this little story: Her 3 yr old son would not get his shoes on, in spite of being asked at least 22 times to do so. Finally she said, "Henry! Quit being such an asshole and GET YOUR SHOES ON!" Henry replied,"That is not an effective way to get me to do anything. Mom." Did I mention that I LOVE them?
  • I don't mind talking about bodily functions or using anatomically correct words. Supergirl knows that she has a vagina, and that her brother will be coming out of mine sometime soon. I don't mind talking about poop; mine or yours. But one thing I am trying to get over my squeamishness about is this: mucus plug. You know. Cervical snot. THAT is gross. And mine is coming out little by little, thus proving to me that I DO have one that is slowly dissintegrating with each contraction. That thing stayed hidden from me the first two times but is now showing up. WTF? Does this mean that my water will break this time too, and force me to daintily step over my own puddle in Trader Joe's, or the preschool in the near future? Oh, the humiliation.
  • As much as I don't mind sharing poo details, I am terribly afraid of pooing on my OB while pushing out melonhead. Because she is such a good friend, this seems worse. If we were not good friends, I wouldn't worry about such matters. But forever more, she can say to me, " remember that time you took a shit on me?!" She assures me that I didn't the first two times, but my other birthing friends assure me that I cannot get away with that THREE times. I don't mind her stitching up my hoo-ha, but who wants to defecate on the one you love?
  • I have given birth to two of the cutest children in the universe, and am slightly concerned for the high standard of expectation for Bubbles to meet.
  • Could you possibly disagree with me? That is Elijah. The one who died and I miss terribly. And of course, Supergirl. The one who kept me alive.
  • I have to pee every 90 minutes. Or 30.
  • I cannot wait to have breasts again. Oh, lactation!!
  • Supergirl asked why 'those' are called 'breasts'. I answered, "because 'knees' and 'elbows' were already taken."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The belly won't be this size forever!

Guess what we did?
Supergirl is an artiste.

Portrait of Bubbles with rainbow hair.
And a free form modernist tum.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Occasionally I am wrong

Okay, okay. Nakedjen was right. There was no room for him to flip. Bubbles is NOT breech. I am clearly a classically virgo worry freak, and when I run out of legitimate worries, no good can come of it and I will drive everyone in my immediate vicinity crazy. I guess he really was trying out some yoga positions, or just reaching his hands over his head to mess with me a little. Because those were DEFINITELY cervical pokes I was feeling.
I am currently (or at least as of 2pm today) 2cm dilated (that's one more than last week) and OB-friend definitely felt the melonhead in its correct and ready position. How ready? Bubbles is at +1 station (BTW, that is not my womb in case you were wondering and I know you were). So really, it could be tomorrow, it could be another week. Even two. I guess she forgot her crystal ball today. Dh is slightly nervous with this progress. He suggested that we pack up the Eurovan MV and camp out in front of the hospital. Did I mention that we are a 45 minute drive from said hospital? I guess his concerns are valid. Really, my performance in this event is pretty much scripted beyond our control, and he knows that. HIS performance, however, is the real variable in getting me delivered to the hospital before I deliver!! We are both living in fear of a Friday afternoon labor, in which the worst Santa Cruz traffic is to be found between where we live and the hospital 30 miles south of us.
Anyway, I am so very excited! Tomorrow I am finally going to meet in person, the woman who croons to me in my dreams...Dr. Laura's worst nightmare but certainly not mine...Grace! And at the very same time, I get to RE-connect with long lost friend (who was never really lost at all but just a few miles away), NakedJen (the woman who may be called upon to induce me with teas and massages NEXT week - tune in). All this AND chocolate too. It is going to be a great meeting with much loudness, I imagine. If the laughing gets out of hand, though, SOMEONE is going to have to drive me to the hospital...because laughing causes some mofo contractions for me these days. They have been warned.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hormonal monkey dreams

I truly have run out of things to worry about. My brain is awash. I have almost made it through the full moon without yet giving birth, in spite of the many many contractions. I took a nap and had a dream that involved the scary flying monkeys and grace singing 'send in the clowns' on local TV. Not at the same time. But very scary stuff. Hormone dreams.
Anyway, in lieu of having real things to worry about, I am now sure that Bubbles is breech. The likelihood of this being true is...well...let's give it 30%. Because as we know, melonhead is pretty darn big to be practicing acrobatic tricks anymore. Even today at costco, two of the sample sharing ladies got into an argument over how big my baby is estimated to be.
SSL#1: You due soon, honey. That baby about six pounds?
Me: Yep. Right least that's what we think he was last week.
SSL#2: NoWAY that baby's six pounds, honey. That there is an eight pounder!! Mmhmm, I KNOW my babies, cause I had a fiver and a twelve pounder! You better hope he's comin out SOON, honey!
Me: Okay. Don't you even START talking to me about any TWELVE POUND BABIES. Because I don't want to hear it!
SSL#1: You gonna bring that baby back in here and show us, sweetie!
Me: I'll bring him in but you tell her to stop talking about TWELVE POUND BABIES. I have a weak heart. I can't take it.
SSL#1 and SSL#2 : snort, chuckle, guffaw.

So why am I so sure he is breech? Because when we stopped at the pumpkin patch to get supergirl an overgrown orange halloween squash, I had the most severe sensation that he was KICKING me in the cervix again, as he was when he was breech a few weeks ago. And where his butt had been, seemed more like a round little head pressing into my ribs. Oh, I certainly hope that I am wrong, and just cannot tell his butt from his head. (hopefully this flaw of mine will not last too much longer after he is born)
But unless he has his hands thrown over his head and is POKING me, then that was definitely a heel. Wedging into my cervix. Feel my pain.
I have been wishing for hiccups all night, because that is when I can usually tell where he is. But do you think he will hiccup on command? He will not. I think I need to try and go to sleep, or at least pretend that is my intention, because then he will surely begin to hiccup and attempt to keep me awake!
But sleep doesn't even sound that appealing when it involves flying monkey potential. I hope Grace sings to me again. That would be better.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

36 weeks

It's rather exciting - I have never been this pregnant before! I mean, yes, I have been farther along in (one of) my pregnancies before, but this little Bubbles is BIGGER than either supergirl or Elijah, and I can feel it! WOW, can I feel it! Where I had not grown in the belly in the previous weeks, I had another growth spurt to make up for THREE weeks in just one! Truly, my breasts have now assumed a resting place on top of the lovely shelf my belly has made for them, which is rising over and obscuring at least three ribs. And my belly, with Bubbles' head being SO LOW and engaged, is very happy to rest upon my thighs. I feel as if I need to hold it all up, cupping my hands under the belly like a sling when I walk around.
This little guy is also more active than the first two, so I can feel him banging his head into my cervix, while pressing a heel into my ribcage and kneeing out my belly button all at the same time. Of course I complain a little - only when my lungs and bladder are simultaneously squashed- but I truthfully love (nearly) every minute of it. Of course, I wasn't kidding about the rabbit kicking when I bend or lean over too far. I mentioned this to dh and he looked VERY alarmed..."Rabbit kicking??" he repeated slowly, eyes wide with suspicion and terror.
Oh yes. Rabbit kicking. Look out, this guy is going to be a mover! I think dh is just getting the grasp of that. As if watching my belly play alien hasn't been a fair enough indication??

The fool's moon is coming right up, and I am hoping that Bubbles can resist its pull and stay put for at least another week (with supergirl's loud orders issued thrice daily)...but I have to admit, I am getting pretty excited to see the face that goes along with all those flailing limbs.
Did I just say that? Am I really starting to be all optimistic about the outcome here? Help - someone save me from my own body's hormone overdose!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

fragile little hearts

Many contractions. Much begging and convincing to the Bubbles in the belly: No, not yet. Two more weeks to cook would be just great! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Making supergirl tell him to stay in there. She talks to the belly button: Here Mama? Or lower? Where is his head, Mama? STAY, BABY! DO NOT COME OUT YET!!!
She is good already at ordering her baby brother around.

She tried to do some gymnastics on the couch where I was resting and timing the contractions (8-10 minutes if you care) and waiting for the nifedipine to take effect.
No - please don't jump near mama! Please!!! STOP! You are going to land on the belly! Do NOT land on the belly!

Supergirl: Oh. Okay Mama. I'll stop. Because we don't want him to be born yet. It's too early. Because then he will die. We don't want him to die. Right, Mama?

I told her that he would probably be okay, but he would have to stay in the hospital for a little while. And we would prefer a baby that can come home to live with us as soon as possible.
She said that she would kiss him all over when he is born. But very gently. I want to tell her that he WON'T die.


Monday, October 10, 2005


Supergirl was at a birthday party at the home of her best friend, E,who happens to be the daughter of one of MY besties, OB-friend. E and Supergirl were happily playing doctor in the playroom with the other 2 girls present, all between 3 and 5. Really, it was just 'doctor' they were playing, not 'obstetrician'.
Enter: the only boy to attend the party, W.
E says to W,"You can't play doctor with us."
Supergirl says,"Yeah. Because you're a boy. So you can't play."
E says,"Yeah. Because boys can't be doctors."
Supergirl, "Nope. Only girls can be doctors."
Other girls look solemn and nod in agreement.
W looks rather nonplussed by this declaration.
E goes over to the toybox and gathers an armload of trucks, walks over to W, and dumps them in his lap. "Here. You can play with those."

I have to admit, as much as the mommies felt guilty that the girls were excluding W, not one of us stopped this little interaction. We all grew up in a very different era, and felt not-so-secretly proud of our little a twisted sort of way.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


So we went to the last scan-for-growth ultrasound with Stanford on Friday. I was, of course, freaking out because I had decided that my belly had not grown enough in the past two weeks. Well, that, and the fact that I had run out of things about which to freak out last week. But day I was SO HUGE and then suddenly I just stopped getting rounder. I did feel like Bubbles was growing inside of me - his movements felt stronger and more, well, squished. Cramped. Like he is filling up the space and trying to put in an addition somewhere between my ribcage and appendix. Seriously, sometimes I feel his little foot (knee? elbow?) poking me in places where I thought my uterus wasn't.
Anyway, even dh confirmed that he thought my belly hadn't grown, so I was SURE, ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that something had gone awry. Besides, the docs kept telling us that this ultrasound would be the most telling, growth-wise. Since the growth issues didn't really show up with Elijah until late in the pregnancy. So I lost plenty of sleep Thursday night. Finally, when I got all slimed up with the warmed gel, I was asking his size before the doctor even had turned on the ultrasound machine! First thing we noticed was that his head is engaged - VERY low - and in position. No more breech baby. I was pretty sure of that anyway, considering that the pressure I have been feeling is a bit like walking around with a large mango between my legs, and if I dare to bend over too far, the little guy protests by frantically rabbit kicking me hard and fast. The next thing the doctor mentioned was that he has a big head. A BIG HEAD??? "No," I said, "we don't do big heads. Both our children had small heads."
The doctor laughed and said, "Not this one. This little guy is going to need some big hats!"
I must have looked a bit panicked, because I looked at dh and he said,"Don't look at ME. I don't have a big head!" To which I shot back."Well, don't look at ME. I don't have a big VAGINA!"
Of course the doctor found all of this quite amusing and continued to scan the belly while chuckling. He pointed out that Bubbles' chest was moving. "See those breathing motions?" He asked. "That means he is practicing. It is a sign of good neurological development."
This made me forget about the melon head briefly and have a momentary wave of relief. But then I said nervously, "So, umm, how big IS his head?"
Listen to this: All other facets of his growth registered between 33 and 35 weeks of pregnancy, which are totally normal, considering I was 34 weeks, 4 days, + the margin of error. His weight is estimated at 5lbs 7oz. Great stuff. HIS HEAD??? 39 weeks! Yes, 39 weeks. HOLYSHIT!
Now, considering that supergirl weighed 5lbs 13oz (36weeker) and Elijah weighed 4lbs 13oz (tiny boy at 37 weeks), this little bit of information makes me EXTREMELY NERVOUS!
Yeah, yeah, I know - I should be THRILLED! His size looks great! His neurological development appears to be great! I've had the steroids so that his lungs will probably be fine no matter WHEN I deliver at this point. I am thrilled, I am!
But I am more than just a tiny bit nervous about how I am going to rocket that melonhead out this vagina! I don't want to hear about all those nine pound babies you all have delivered. This is MY vagina on stage this month, and it's none too happy about the news. If he keeps growing at this rate, and if he isn't born for another 4 weeks, we are looking at a 43 week sized head!
I called OB-friend and told her that there was NO WAY I was going to make it to 39 weeks, and if I hadn't delivered by 38 weeks, I want an induction! She agreed pretty quickly when I told her the u/s results!
So Bubbles, I don't mean to sound too demanding, but please stay in until 37 weeks. I would love it if you come out with the ability to nurse. But please don't be too mad if we kick you out a week later because of YOUR GIANT HEAD.
That 38 week mark would be Halloween. I hope you don't mind. Because labor isn't scary enough on its own. Halloween would be a great day to give birth, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Trial runs and social skills

So I had a dream last night that I was in labor. I woke up with some painful contractions. Very painful. I was a little confused for a while, thinking that the dream (I was in the hospital, moaning in the bathtub about how much it hurt - not exactly a dream I need a psychoanalyst's help with) had caused the contractions. After a while I realized that it was probably the other way around. I took a nifedipine (contraction buster) and gritted my teeth for another 1/2 hour until they stopped. The good news is that it kept dh up as well, so in my mind it was worth it. As long as I am not the only one suffering. From 4-5:30 am we were on the verge of waking up supergirl and heading out. The interesting thing was that I thought I would go running and screaming off to the hospital at the first sign of pain - being so afraid of our 45 minute trip there and having the unwillingness to deliver on the freeway. But in typical fashion, I moved straight into denial. I refused to talk to dh and answer his questions (Is that another one? Does it hurt?) - I figure if he is asking me if it hurts and i DON'T answer, he should figure out all on his own that the answer is YES GODDAMMIT.
All in all, it was a lovely trial run.

Dh said this morning 'I think I will have to get ready'...umm, yeah dildohead (dh)- not a bad idea! Since supergirl AND I have been packed for 2 weeks now. And put some blankets and string in the car while you're at it. I am MAKING him come to my next OB appointment (friday's ultrasound with stanford doesn't count) to ask OB-friend what he should KNOW in case we deliver in the car....I figure the least he can do since I can't be expected to breathe AND tell him what to do with the goddamn string at the same time.

So this morning I was a bit tired. I managed to haul myself off to acupuncture and then stopped for groceries on the way home. While there I ran into a woman who had been in my Bradley brainwashing childbirth class when I was pregnant with supergirl. I hadn't run into her since I was pregnant with Elijah, over 2 years ago. She took one look at my belly and said, "What?! You're pregnant again? With a THIRD?! Oh my god."
I said, " Umm, yeah, this is my third, but we're just trying to replace the one who died."
It. Just. Came. Out.
I know, I know - she totally didn't deserve it. But that's how I work. I put up with shit from other people for so long and then one day ( the dayI am tired from practicing labor all night) I just crack and let the wrong person have it. Friends who know me know that this was of course said tongue in cheek...that one of the things I HATE THE MOST is when people say things like suggesting we would be trying to replace Elijah with another pregnancy or another child. And you wouldn't believe how many people told me stuff like that after Elijah died. Of course, the number of those people doling out the assvice who had also buried a child was ZERO. And of course, all the reasonable people I know who have children (and even some who don't) would realize that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to replace ANY of their children, living or dead, and how ridiculous the concept is. What most people don't get is how ridiculous it sounds to even issue this suggestion or warning. It's just something that people say. And something that people should stop saying.
Anyway, I just blurted this out to this very nice woman, who instantly got tears in her eyes and made me regret my callousness. Turns out her son is autistic - so they stopped at just one. We chatted for awhile about the local Early Intervention programs and the isolation of being labeled as a 'special needs parent'....and then we parted.
Just another day in the life of me the bitch.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Selective Memories

Mom called today to see how I am feeling, and to make sure that I am still pregnant and didn't actually give birth and somehow just forget to let her know.

I would like to take this moment to point out that, while my mother is a very lovely person, she refuses to visit us in California because, well "we're the ones who left". Yes, 'we' did leave. Both dh and I are the ONLY ones from our families who left the state (the state of Pa, but I like to call it the state of agony) to lead lives 3,000 miles away from our relatives. And now, forever more, we must pay for that sin. Even though it was 18 years ago for me (21 for dh) and I thought that was what one did when one grew up. So, mom only visits when people die. And only then if she is heavily sedated and guided onto a plane by a trusted relative whose knee she can clutch for the six hour trip. Nobody comes to visit us from out of state when we have babies, not ever. I even said to her a few months ago, "Well, I'd ask you to come out and help when THIS baby is born, but I know you won't, so I won't bother to guilt you." My unguiltable mother answered quickly. Prefaced with the ever-predictable, "Well, you're the one who left." This was followed by, "Besides, you'll be coming back east [for the holidays, damn us, we already got the tickets to feed into the maternal expectations that we owe it to them] just five weeks after he's born, so we'll get to meet him then!"
Speechless. (that would be me)
Umm, yeah mom - because that's what it's all about. Making sure you'll get to meet him. Never mind that carrying or giving birth to a child after having one die in my arms is a uniquely anxiety-provoking experience through which I would love to garner a little - just a little - bit of extra support. Nope. Business as usual with mom. See you when you get here.

So, back to today. I assured her that I am still pregnant, promised her I would let her know when I go into labor, provided the time I do actually go into labor is suitable for her time zone, and updated her on the week of fun and 'close ones' that my uterus and I had.
Then I got just a little bit whiny and said,"Ooooohhhhh, I am getting SO nervous about that pain of childbirth again! The contractions. The unyielding fight between my abdomen and lower back than can end only in my cervix DILATING TO TEN. I am freaking out about all that reality all over again. And the STRETCHING. MY GOD THE STRETCHING AND THE BURNING AND THE PUSHING!" (yes, I was raising my voice at this point, getting myself a bit too excited with the vivid memories of the last two)
And mom said, "Well dear, maybe this time you'll have a delivery like mine and it won't hurt." At which point she regaled me - again - with the tale of how, when I was born she 'didn't feel a thing' until it was time to push. And how lovely it was to push, and what a beautiful and painless experience it was.
With disgust I retold the entire conversation to dh just now. And he said, "Yes, and maybe 39 years from now, you too can have a memory like your mom's and smugly tell everyone how childbirth didn't hurt YOU a bit!"
I love that guy.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Irritable Uterus

On Tuesday Bubbles wasn't moving enough to keep the mama happy. Luckily, OB-friend is always accommodating my fears - rational and irrational - and of course said to come right down for an NST. He has flipped himself from breech to vertex more times than I can count. You would think all that movement would make the mama happy, but it actually begins to freak me out, as I imagine he is strangling himself in his cord with each turn. (I need SOMEthing to worry about, right?) So off I went for my NST because he wasn't kicking me in the cervix. He was, of course, just having his morning nap, because as soon as I was hooked up it was clear that his strip (heartrate) was FINE. Mine, however, was not as wonderful. Laura came in after about 40 minutes on the monitor, said that Bubbles looked great, but frowned at my strip (the contraction contraption), saying that perhaps I should go upstairs to the hospital and get some terbutaline and more monitoring, as the contractions were FOUR MINUTES apart. Whoa...hadn't even noticed.
So off I went, except that the walk from one end of the hospital to the other, and the nervous energy I had worked up in between, worked out to equal contractions TWO MINUTES apart by the time I was hooked up to a monitor in L&D. Shit.
So I got a shot of terbutaline, then another, then another....and my body did the 'pppttttthhhhht' thing at the terb - as in 'haha you can't do anything to me!' - didn't even raise my pulse or heartrate, which is just something that is DOES, along with hopefully slowing the contractions. So I got to have an IV for rehydration (take THAT, contractions) and then we tried nifedipine, which finally did work - not only in slowing the contractions but also in causing a raging migraine (which has kept me from updating here). Then, because I was already such a captive audience, they gave me a dose of steroids (beta-methazone) to jump-start the development of Bubbles' lungs - just in case he decided to come this early (33 wks +1day). Of course this all took quite a few hours, with me calling dh from the hospital bed (no, don't come, just stay near the phone) and eventually realizing by 7pm that, not only had I skipped lunch to come to the NST (figuring I would pick up a hearty Dharma's sandwich on the way home...mmm...the Nuclear Bluff which has carried me through 3 pregnancies now), but also had been brought no dinner whatsoever from the hospital! I asked a nurse for some food, and she asked me if I was 'allowed' to eat! To which I responded, 'Oh, do you routinely starve just the pregnant mommies?' I was cranky. And HUNGRY! You know, that I am pregnant, don't fuck with me kind of hungry.
Now let me say something about the food at this hospital. I have had two children at this place and as far as care goes - nursing and my stellar OB - it is FABULOUS. But as far as the food goes...well, it's barely shy of poison. If you are not sick when admitted, you will be from eating the food when you leave. I had supergirl there four years ago, and it was really bad then, but it seems that someone has put a lot of effort into making it EVEN WORSE since then.
It turns out that I had not been brought food either as a precaution (anyone in L&D MAY have to have a c-section so better not feed her just in case) OR as an oversight (whoops, sorry cranky lady). Finally, one nurse found both of these excuses ridiculous and ordered me a tray of food just as they were trying to close down the kitchen. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the discovery I had made last time about the kitchen, which was that the ONLY edible foods they are able to produce and deliver are tofu dogs and cottage cheese. So what I got was not quite that edible. It consisted of some whitish chunks of mystery meat (resembled chicken, tasted like...well, rubber), covered in a shiny brown gelatinous 'sauce', sprinkled with 3 sliced canned mushrooms. To the side of this, umm, meat, were small piles of mushy rice and succotash - did I mention my fear of lima beans? And did I mention that the kitchen was no longer 'open'? They also kindly provided me with a small container of nearly frozen salad that would have made an airplane meal salad look like lunch at Chez Panisse! People, do you have any idea what nearly freezing a salad DOES to that salad? I would go into more detail but I am, after all, pregnant and slightly sensitive to DISGUSTING THINGS that have to do with food. You can talk to me about blood and vaginas all you want right now, but the food - that had better be smelling and looking and sounding GOOD!
Okay, so back to the important stuff. The contractions slowed down, Bubbles' heart rate stayed even and strong, I got to have yet another cervical check, and finally got to go home at around 10pm. Oh, it helps to have friends (OB) in high places!
All of this was somewhat nervewracking, but after so much time spent with my very own irritable uterus, I am also somewhat pragmatic now. I decided that if it was just a matter of me lying in the bed with a few inconvenient needles OR me visiting my baby in the NICU, then the answer was certainly obvious. Stay lying on my ass! There is no debating that one. We have lived through the NICU experience, and I have said more than once that it would be potentially a one way ticket to the asylum for mama to have to repeat that. Elijah spent three long weeks in the NICU at another hospital (about which I have nothing positive to say), and I did not make any friends there. Mainly because I would not leave my child. They don't like that - makes them feel like they have less control. GUESS WHAT, YOU MORONS???? IT'S MY KID!!!! We don't have to go there just now. Just take it from me, it's not an experience that they or I would like to have repeated.
The good news is that I got the results back from the fetal fibronectin test and they were negative. Which means that it is highly unlikely that Bubbles will be making his appearance this week. OB-friend is telling him to stay in until 37 weeks. I am predicting Halloween (which would be 38 wks exactly). BOO! With all these predictions, I am most likely to end up with an induction of a potentially large baby at 39 weeks.
Next week we have yet another growth scan with the Stanford perinatal diagnostic clinic - they who have been following the growth of this little guy very carefully, looking for signs of the mystery growth disorder that kept everyone scratching their heads about Elijah. So far he has been growing very well. Was 3lbs 10oz at 30 weeks. If this growth rate continues, he may be about 7-7.5 lbs. This, for us, is a BIG baby. So, as much as my vagina screams in protest at this possibility, we are hoping for another steady incline in growth at our appointment on Oct 7th. I think I will need a few more pumpkin frappucinos before then.
So I am home now, on bedrest, which I interpret as 'sit around on ass unless I have enough contractions to actually go horizontal'. It also means dh has to assume most of the childcare, cooking, laundry, entertaining of supergirl, and general maintenance. This is not such a bad thing. I DO love my OB!!!
By next week I will be ready once again to face the world, the shopping, the farmers markets, the library (which can provide me with more on-my-ass reading entertainment), acupuncture, etc. I am feeling very nesty. I may even venture into the 'washing of the crib bedding' and the 'stacking of the diapers' territory. This would mean that I have to think positively and expect to actually bring a baby home. I am just a little bit closer to that concept.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Birthday Wishes

We had a little last hurrah before Bubbles is born...a little birthday treat for mama a few hours away at a lovely little mineral spring resort. I got to have my birthday cervical check, which was really more than I asked for, but all worked out well (not dilated, 30% effaced, which is where I was in July) and we got to blow out of town for a few days. Really, where we live is so wonderful and peaceful that I have no complaints, but I frequently come up with reasons to leave, and then we pack up the van and head out to compare wherever we are staying with where we live. So when we could hear the traffic from our suite, dh had to comment on how silly we were to leave our quiet little home paradise. He is the agoraphobic half of our whole; I am the social half. Supergirl is the rocket-fueled frosting on our cake.
Speaking of cake, I have been feeding bubbles with chocolate mousse ganache cake for the past 3 days. I think he likes it, and I know I certainly need it to maintain my startlingly global figure. My belly has now reached the point at which people stare at it as they walk past. It is the dolly parton of bellies, and you know what I mean. No more eye contact. People actually step aside to let me pass in grocery aisles. I feel as though I am carrying around a 25 pound medicine ball. One that I can never really shift the weight of and frequently kicks me in the cervix. Never in my previous two pregnancies have I reached this state of protrusion, and I find myself simultaneously fascinated by my body and horrified at the potential aftermath. I spend a lot of time checking myself out in the mirror in disbelief. The Belly draws many (unsolicited) comments from friends and strangers alike. Yesterday I was told that I am 'looking chunky'. Today I was told that I am the perfect textbook looking pregnant chick. Guess which person I invited to live with me for the next 6 weeks?
Perhaps the chunky comment wasn't completely uninvited. In my quest to grow a bigger baby this time - and I have been putting a LOT of effort into this challenge - I have become addicted to Starbucks pumpkin frappuccino creme. I was never a real Starbucks fan, but I have become a zealot of the highest hormonal order of this heavenly pumpkin pie through a straw. If you know how many calories or fat grams it has, please keep that information to yourself. I have a baby to grow here, and that is my job right now. Now you do yours and don't bug me.
So I have just one little rant about my birthday getaway. First of all, let me preface this rant with 'I HATE to waste money.' Mainly because I don't have much of it, and what money dh has had better sustain us while I am not working for the next few months. So I don't even like to waste HIS money. So, before we left, I all but demanded (okay, I persuasively suggested) a prenatal massage for my birthday. After all, dh got to spend 4 glorious days in Dusy Basin and I was extremely jealous, staying home alone with Supergirl, and missing out on one of my favorite ass-kicking altitude hikes and had generously come up with a plan for him to make it up to me. Because dh has seen me pregnant twice before and knows better than to lose another argument to hormones, he, in his wisdom, consented. My dear acupuncturist (to whom I can attribute the success of no preterm labor this time due to my weekly visits since 23 wks!) suggested strongly that we make sure that the prenatal massage therapist was VERY experienced and not just another willing pair of hands with lavender oil. So I called the resort's 'treatment center' and asked if their prenatal massage was TRULY prenatal massage. I was assured by Ms Snooty 'I-can't-believe-you-even-have-to-ask-me-this' that it certainly was. Undeterred by her intimidation, I pressed my luck and asked if it was not only the correct type of massage table (like this), but really, REALLY an experienced massage therapist who would be on the job, since I didn't want to risk the induction massage. "Yes", sighed the unbelievably customer-challenged Ms Snooty. A few days later, dh called again to make the actual appointment and asked the exact same questions. He was greeted with the exact same responses - after all, they do advertise prenatal massage on their website. When we arrived, we shortened the one hour appointment to 1/2 hour...still concerned with overstimulating the irritable uterus that is mine and playing it safe. No problem, we were assured.
So I go in for my massage and am greeted by a 21 yr old nature girl - safe enough, I suppose. And then she shows me to my 'treatment room' and points out 3 pillows, with which I am supposed to 'make myself comfortable' and she would return shortly. At this point I should have just walked out, seeing no hole-for-the-belly massage table, but instead a similar set-up to what I create for myself each night in my own bed! But I was really hoping for a relaxing half hour, so I put my faith in nature girl and began the familiar task of propping up my shoulders, belly, and knees with the magic treatment center's pillows. When nature girl returned, she asked me if this was my first pregnancy as she slathered her hands with - you guessed it - lavender oil. I said "no, my third" - and walked right into that open door. Into the room in which I was further interrogated...."How old are my children?" "Umm...well, I have a four year old one year old son died a year ago."
Silence. Ah, blessed silence. But not for long.
"Ohmygod - what happened???"
Well, suffice it to say that I spent the next 25 minutes receiving the most expensive back rub of the year (massage? you call that a massage?) as I explained my son's death to nature girl.
WHY? The whole thing seems ludicrous to me now. Why was I so paralyzed that I didn't just refuse to answer? Was it that I felt too vulnerable being all nakey and at the mercy of her weapon of the knowledge (and I use that term loosely) acupressure points? Was I trying to make her feel better since she was so horrified at my disclosure? I am still trying to figure all that out. But I do know that when I returned to the room, I told dh that I needed to soak in the hottub for a while to relax after my massage!! It really was that stressful. And disappointing.
All would have been forgiven more easily had they not attempted to charge us for the full hour, and then acted like it was some great favor they were doing by crediting dh's card for the difference. Oh, the agony of running the treatment center...what, with all the treatments and the massage therapists to deal with. And the laundry, oh the laundry and the lavender oil. SIGH.
Okay, my rant is over.
What I really wanted for my birthday was Elijah. But I know better than to ask. Besides, who would I ask? But you know what? I got to dream about him and hold him in my dream. I snuggled his little head under my chin and breathed in his smell of cedar vanilla milkiness. It was divine. Of course I cried when I woke up, but this time I knew it was worth it. Because that's all I get of him anymore. And I'll take it.

Happy birthday to me. Thanks, tiny boy.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Watermelon or Nectarine?

Supergirl has gotten the drift that when I tell a story about her repeatedly, that it is usually funny. So she correctly assumes that she is funny, and thus I see the sense of humor being developed and honed.
She loves me to tell the watermelon story. She was enamored today with the checker at Trader Joe's who gave her four stickers (she's four and doesn't necessarily believe in coincidences...she believes this was a demonstration of his psychic abilities or just plain kismet) and she begged me to tell him the watermelon story...asking me of course, to do her flirting for her.
A month or so ago, supergirl was commenting on how much watermelon I love to eat when I am pregnant. I ate at least 3 each week when I was pregnant with her (and I often tell her she is made up of at least 60% watermelon), lots when I was pregnant with Elijah, and TONS with this one. All fruit is a real turn on for me when preggo, but watermelon is ambrosia! We have not been able to decide (or agree) on a name for Bubbles, so I told her that I knew of a woman who named her baby Apple, so maybe we should name our baby Watermelon, or Nectarine - since I eat so many of each. Supergirl gave me a disdainful look and said, "Mama, you are silly - you can't name him Watermelon! Watermelon is a girl's name!".
Mama: Oh. Then how about Nectarine?
SG: No Mama, Nectarine is way to plopular.

This girl, she listens in on too many conversations.

But to think that I had lived nearly 39 years and not known that Watermelon was a girl's name. Now THAT's embarrassing.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

How to throw a smashing baby shower

  • Invite the mama's very eclectic mix of friends to mingle together in joy.
  • Somehow pull together an amazingly plentiful spread of food, including sweet, salty, fresh, colorful, and delicious.
  • Insist- inspite of everyone's mild protests - on playing just one game and promise everyone that there is a GREAT prize for the winner (causing the mama to wonder aloud if perhaps it is a dildo?) if they would please just play along and take a tiny blue pin and try not to say the word BABY.
  • Spit chardonnay on the first person to say 'BABY'; point, laugh, cheat.
  • Announce that the word 'vagina' should, in fact be mentioned frequently at the estrogen rich gathering.
  • Participate in ensuing conversation peppered with many mentions of the words 'naked, vagina, epidural'.
  • Create a mild scene when the preggo mama gasps sharply and covers mouth at the audible mention of the forbidden word, causing everyone to think she has gone into labor.
  • Suggest naming the baby 'Braxton-Hicks'.
  • Bring your best camera and take many many belly pictures from many many different angles, including one with many hands on the biggest belly.
  • Insist on everyone else baring their bellies along with the mama's for the best group photo ever.
  • Insist VEHEMENTLY that the biggest belly is the most beeyooootiful belly ever exposed to womankind.
  • Deteriorate rapidly into a heavily scrutinized and showy comparison of stretch marks and sagging asses.
  • Serve large bowls of creme puffs to distract everyone from the talk of stretch marks and sagging asses.
  • Shower the mama-to-be with wishes for the healthiest, best baby in the world, emphasized by confidence and punctuated with heartfelt tears.
  • Present the mama with hand made quilts, tiny soft blue outfits, fuzzy blankies, and -TA~DA - a video monitor so that afore-mentioned baby will never be out of surveillance range, AND a hand-sewn (yes, SEWN) tiny suit and helmet made from bubble wrap to cover ALL facets of overprotective motherhood...causing the mama to break down into convulsive fits of laughter that - once again - have many convinced she is going into labor.
  • Present the winner of the game with a gift that is indeed lovely, and is indeed not a dildo.
  • Convince the mama that she really does not resemble the bulgy-the-whale ride at the boardwalk, causing bulgy-the-mama to shed grateful tears.
  • Promise the mama to shower her AGAIN with homemade prepared meals and perfunctory baby adoration AFTER the blessed event.
  • Send the mama home, because really, people, a hormonal preggo chick can only take so much showering of vagina talk, creme puffs, affection, tears of joy, false labors, and kindness, at this estrogen-laden event.

tiny little hearts

Well, it dawned on supergirl last week that she is going to become a big
sister - I mean, she has been VERY excited about this for some time, but
it was like watching a light bulb go on in her head.
But first she asked me very seriously if -IF - this baby was going to
grow up big like her. I had a hard time answering this one - because
these fears are plaguing me so much in my last trimester. I told her
that I certainly hope so, and that we all expect that he will be healthy
(biting my tongue on the - 'but we really don't know' part).
She then said, very excitedly, "Mommy! If THIS baby brother doesn't DIE, then he will grow up and I will get to play with him!!! Just like a playdate,
mommy! But he will LIVE with me and I can play with him ALL the
time!!! I can even teach him how to play!!"
By this point I was nearly in tears as I just agreed with her.
I hope I hope I hope everything is okay. It's one thing to get your own
heart broken, but to watch your baby get hers broken twice is more than
I think I could bear.

Friday, September 16, 2005

What do I know about Loss?

I realized a few months after my son Elijah died that when people asked how we were doing, they would listen to me say how I, my DH, or daughter were doing, and then as soon as I mentioned Elijah by name, they would look the other way, change the subject, cough, become visibly uncomfortable. I am guessing it is because to talk about a dead child, it means that they have to somewhat project themselves into the situation and imagine their own worst nightmare...losing a child.
After a few mos of encountering this over and over, I just decided that I really didn't care - it wasn't their 'cross to bear' as it were, and if they asked then they would damn well hear about whatever I had to say. I'd say about 98% of the time, I answer that question with full disclosure. I get asked alot right now if this baby I am carrying is my second. I say no, my third. And then they see supergirl (#1) and look around for #2, look back at me questioningly, so I usually have to fill in. My son spent over a year (13 months and 11 days to be exact) with our family - in my mind he IS my child, I want that acknowledged, and I also want the 'credit' for carrying him and bringing him into the world. I want my daughter to know that I am not discounting him in any way - she remembers him, so how could I act like he wasn't here? I think it's a bad message to give her.
Plus, some days I just feel like"it's nobody's fucking business but since you asked I'm gonna get in your face anyway and hit you with 'the sledgehammer'"...I guess you could say I am still pretty angry about my loss.
I struggle with this question, for often I find myself more engaged with a stranger than I would like to be, but how else to answer it without having that pit in my stomach later?
I don't know,maybe it will change someday, but even the thought of that makes me sad. I need for him not to be forgotten - he was my living breathing son. And if that makes other people uncomfortable, well, they get to make a choice about who they hang out with too.
One of my best friends now is someone I met AFTER Elijah died. She is totally amazing, in that most of my friends really weeded themselves out after this happened. I met her at a bday party with my daughter about a year ago. We had just returned from the summer away, and some moms that I knew were asking me how my daughter was doing. I replied that she was doing pretty well, but she spent the first 2 weeks in Maui going up to strangers and telling them that her baby brother died. The other mothers gasped, and this one mom who had her back to us but was listening turned around and said, laughing, 'Wow! That's a good way to get attention - did it work for her?'
They all gasped again, and I kindly told this new mom that yes it did, but unfortunately it was true - her little brother had died 4 mos ago. Well, this mom just turned beet red and said 'wow - could i put my foot in my mouth any further? I feel like an idiot! I just thought that was such a great way to get attention....very creative.' and I instantly loved her....because she reacted in such a real way and didn't try and backpedal out of it. I actually cracked up. Probably for the first time in four months.
A few weeks later this new mom invited me to her house for a playdate for our kids and lunch, and the first thing she said was 'Would you tell me all about Elijah? What was he like and what do you miss about him most?'
We became great friends immediately and I love her to this day. She is going to be at the birth of Bubbles if it all works out okay, because she is a bit of a bulldozer -like me- and she will make a better doula than any doula I know. Stay tuned.

Loss and Have

What brings me here? Loss, I guess. And Have, in 'I have a need to write about it' and 'I have a child which makes me a mama which gives me something else to write about' and 'I have a computer and a roof over my head which is more than many people can say'. So much of what spews out of my mouth or churns around in my brain is about or because of Loss. But since I have the ability and the computer and the power to combine those with words...well, I Have.
But I begin with the Loss....because that is what inspired me enough to come here, I suppose.
There is no great place to begin again when you have lost something so great, and I refer to the victims of hurricane Katrina (no, mrs bush, it is not corrina). When you Have, you need to give some of it to those who have Lost EVERYTHING. They need a place to start.
I needed a place to start. If you are still with me, then start here.
Also known as: How you can help w/hurricane relief without spending a bundle.
Why am I here?
What does a 8 mos pregnant mom of one live, one dead, and one fetal child do with her anxiety? Channel it into DOING something to help herself (distraction is the greatest weapon) and others (duh). No, I am not above selfishness. I live with myself, though.
The link below is to a local SantaCruz blogger that cyberspace connected with me...she and a woman in Mississippi are working together to cut out the middle man in donations...meaning no operating or administration expenses will be taken out of your donations. The CEO for Red Cross makes $450,000/yr. Granted, this is a drop in the bucket for their millions, but hey - them's the facts.
The woman in Mississippi (Victoria) is coordinating truckloads of donations directly to shelters. Grace (the santa cruz ground central coordinator) is doing much of the technical work. What am I doing, you ask, being a cashpoor technophobe?
Well, currently I am helping to update the website with fact checking - like which zip codes in Mississippi are deliverable by Fed Ex and UPS and which are not. Organizing readable shelter lists alphabetically, numerically, etc. Talking with Ms. NVH (not very helpful) at UPS. This requires a phone, web access, and much patience to wade through the automated responses I get when on the phone.
ANYWAY...please check out the following link and do what you can. Your donations - ANY donations- are much appreciated. GRACIAS!!!!!!!
there it is again - the link to how you can help.

Many of the things needed can be found in your own closets and garages (clothes, baby items, blankets, old towels, outgrown disposable diapers, etc...check the lists!) so the only expense you would have would be shipping, not shopping.....PLEASE START SORTING AND HELP NOW!!!
More info: ships free for any order over $25.00 - and it's only 3 bucks for 3 day shipping after that.
Also try

This is the sort of help that needs doing, not the uber-patriotic songs and schmaltz that seem to go hand in hand with wars and natural disasters.

And hey Grace....thanks for the gentle kick in the ass.
Here's my life.