Friday, July 30, 2010

It's not about YOU!

I have gotten used to being the only woman left on the planet to wait until birth to learn the sex of the baby, but am I really the only one who lets the baby decide when to come out?! Does everyone opt for elective induction? All I keep hearing is that it's all about the mother, and it's her day, and the most important thing is to make her comfortable. Gee, you'd almost forget there was a baby involved. I kind of thought it was all about him! Or her.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


This baby had better come out soon. Ten days until Tommy's birthday, and I think it would be cool for them to share a birthday. But, can I make it another ten days?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

36 weeks pregnant

Last time I was this far along I went to the doctor on July 14 and then drove into a wall at 60 mph. Today's appointment was much less exciting, thank gods. I'm dilated to 2 cm (more than I've ever gotten to without pitocin) and am 50% effaced, plus the baby's head is so far down that my pelvis is spreading. I wonder what all that pressure on the skull will do to the baby's head? I've known babies who were so low they were born misshapen. Oh well, hats are cute.

Ryan and Mom go to Yellowstone Friday, for a week and a half so either this baby has to come in the next day and a half or it has to wait a couple weeks. I'm still hoping to have it on the fourth but we'll see just how much say I have in it. Wish me luck; I'll keep you all (one?) updated.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Baby Products I absolutely recommend

  1. swaddling blankets. I've used the kiddopotamus ones before and loved them, but this time I splurged and bought the woombie and I hope they work as well as I've heard. Either way, the principle is the same: blankets that fasten shut so the baby can't wiggle out as easily.
  2. toy links. These help bring hanging toys into baby's reach, hang Mom's purse on the stroller handle, attach handles cups to the stroller so they don't hit the ground, and basically whatever else you can think of. If I had a time machine I'd go back and invent them because they are so simple they make me feel stupid for not thinking of it first.
  3. musical crib toy. There are all sorts of these things, and some people just use a white noise machine, but we chose to start with a heartbeat teddy bear and then go to a musical seahorse, which Tommy still uses. When we put him in bed we tuck him in, hand him his stuffed kitty, and then turn on the music. Sometimes we hear him wake up in the middle of the night and turn on the music himself. He's like Pavlov's dog now and starts yawning once he hears it. It's on my list of things to buy before the baby is born, so they can both have their own.
  4. blackout curtains. Or at least a heavy blanket over the windows. Frilly, sheer curtains look good in the daytime, but unless you want your baby to wake up at dawn or have trouble napping, you'll want to find a way to keep the room dark. I made curtains for Tommy's room, and just lined them with a thicker black fabric and so far they seem to work well.
  5. Baby sunglasses. I've never used the goggles kind with the elastic strap, but any kind would be good as long as they didn't dig into the baby's head. The reason I like these so much is that I see babies all the time squinting against the sun. Either the shade in the car window stopped working after taking that last turn, or the stroller canopy leaves a crack exposed, or it's just a bright day out and they're in a sunny spot. Either way, the odds are about 50/50 that the baby will leave them on if you start young enough (like within 2 days of birth) and it's definitely worth the $5 a pair of sunglasses cost to play those odds. My daughter loved hers and my son hated his. I still don't regret buying them either time.

Pointless baby "necessities" that are a waste of money

  1. baby mittens. Most newborn outfits come with the little fold-over pocket on the sleeves to keep baby from scratching herself, and if they don't you can use socks, which are cheaper and stay on better than little thumbless mittens anyway.
  2. bassinet. I'm not talking about the pack-n-play with a higher level for a newborn to sleep in, but the piece of designer wicker furniture that stands in the corner, all top-heavy, just waiting for the baby to learn to move the slightest bit and topple it over. Cute, but pointless.
  3. wipe warmer. If your house is too cold for baby wipes, why is the baby sleeping in it? Otherwise, room temperature wipes are fine and don't bother most babies. Maybe if the alternative were bracingly cold wipes a warmer would make sense, but in that case either the butt in question would already be bracingly cold, or you'd be an idiot for storing your wipes in the fridge.
  4. gender specific gear. For one thing, ultrasounds are NOT always right, and buying your high chair, car seat, stroller, and swing in sexist colors could prove to be a mistake. For another thing, what if you have another baby someday and that kid is the opposite sex? Hand me downs are great, but when everything is pink and frilly, and the next baby comes out with a penis, it might be awkward (and expensive) to say the least.
  5. Jogging strollers. Unless you actively jog, in straight lines on a roadway rather than a segmented sidewalk, these strollers are kind of pointless. For one thing, they cost WAY more than the regular travel-system stroller, which will work from birth through the toddler years, but they also don't all turn. A lot of the jogging strollers have immobile front wheels, which makes turning corners and maneuvering through doorways incredibly difficult.
  6. crib sets. Of course when you're pregnant and setting up the baby's room, you want everything to be as cute as possible. But the $200 crib set is ridiculous. It is possible to buy a sheet (or two) and bumper pads for less than a hundred bucks. For less than fifty, probably. And the comforter and dust ruffle may look nice, but you don't use a blanket in the beginning anyway, and a dust ruffle is pretty pointless as it is. Also, these sets come with one sheep, which is fine until you put an actual baby on it and it gets spit up on, or pooped on, or it just becomes time to do a load of laundry, and then you have to have a second sheet anyway.
  7. shoes. Shoes for children and adults are to protect their feet in case they step on something, or to keep them clean. Babies need no such protection. They look good in pictures, but you have no way of knowing how comfortable they are and wearing shoes can actually hamper learning to walk. If you must put shoes on a baby (barring formal occasions like weddings) use the soft ones without soles. And for God's sake, don't spend $50 on Nikes for a kid who will outgrow them within a month and never appreciate it anyway.
  8. walkers. They don't teach babies how to walk; they teach them how to propel themselves backward into table legs and cabinets, and occasionally down stairs. If you want something comparable, get an exersaucer. It comes with more toys and less mobility.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

A Mother's Wisdom

I'm definitely nesting now. I'm doing laundry every day, even if I don't have enough to make a whole load, and packing up my hospital bag and feeling a restless energy that should be put to use cleaning my house but often isn't (nesting does not negate the pointless feeling that comes when you realize your toddler will just grind more cheerios into the floor when you're done cleaning anyway). So now that I've told myself for the third time in fifteen minutes that I am not going to climb in the tub with a bottle of Soft Scrub and a brush, since I just showered and would like to stay clean for a while, I am going to make a list of things I've learned about childbirth, in case anyone actually reads this thing and maybe they've never been through this before and would appreciate my wisdom.

The lists that tell you to bring make up to the hospital for pictures are stupid. Sweaty hair, burst blood vessels, and a tear-streaked face are not going to magically transform into your everyday visage with the addition of lipstick and mascara. And they shouldn't. Your immediately-after-giving-birth photos should look like you just gave birth, not like you just showed up to meet the baby you're adopting.

The books and articles and websites about childbirth that tell you to steal the "handy" mesh panties from the hospital are stupid too. They all say to take the panties so that you can wear them for the first few days after delivery, so that if your pad leaks you won't stain your own underwear. Well, first of all, any underwear you wear within a week of giving birth will be stretched out beyond recognition anyway, stained or not, and you'll have to throw it away. But, second of all, think about it! If your pad leaks and you're wearing mesh fishnet panties (which are so stretchy they don't hold the pad against you anyway) you will ruin whatever is next in line for the blood to get to. This could be your clothes, or your bedding, or even your car if said clothes are thin enough. This is why I NEVER wear the mesh panties. Nope, not even the first day. I do, however, wear disposable underwear, in the form of adult diapers. No, not the diaper looking kind they sell on fetish websites (so I hear), but the padded paper underwear kind (like Pull-Ups but without the Minnie Mouse graphics). That way I can sleep well knowing that there's no way I'm going to ruin my sheets, and I can go out knowing I'm not going to be the last to realize a large red blotch blossoming on the back of my pants, and I can go more than an hour without running to the bathroom with an airline-pillow sized maxi pad in my fist. Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking there's no way you could possibly wear an adult diaper, because you have dignity. Well. . .

You have no dignity. Once you've had strangers who may be part of the nursing staff but who really knows because you're in no position to be checking IDs checking you for dilation, and peed into an upside down plastic toddler cowboy hat every hour all night just to have your kidney output measured, pushed out a baby with none of the fears of public pooping that you'd previously had, and then asked just about anyone capable of pronouncing "La Leche" about nipple pain and the football hold (or alternately about engorgement and cold cabbage leaves), your dignity is gone. Before this happens, you can't imagine such a thing, but it's true. Kind of the way you swear you'll never let your husband see you less than presentable but then you get the flu and he not only sees you sick but knows what color you vomit after chicken soup. Like that.

Breast feeding hurts. Not as much as childbirth, or even as much as stubbing your toe, should you stub your toe for ten minutes on each side every two hours, but what the experts refer to as "sore nipples" is more like tearful pain. Don't get me wrong; I've done it for a year with each of my kids so far and fully intend to do it for a year with the third. But when they tell you that breast feeding doesn't hurt unless you're doing it wrong, they're bullshitting you. For the first month or two it will hurt. Nipples chap and sometimes crack (like if you suddenly were to start washing your hands a hundred times every day), and babies have stronger suction than squids (I assume; I have no proof), and it hurts. But it gets better, and it gets easier (if it hurts too much, buy a nipple shield; you can get them online or at drug stores), and by the baby's two month check-up most nursing mothers wouldn't trade it for the world. Just, don't listen to experts who will tell you that it shouldn't hurt, or that nipple shields are only for people with inverted nipples. Those people are wrong. Period. End of story. And it only hurts for the first few weeks. After that your nipples toughen up (in pain tolerance, not in texture- don't worry) and you could slam the damn things in a car door without getting hurt.

Men who say they wish they could share your pain are lying. Grab them by the nuts during just one contraction and see for yourself. They will, however, attempt to share your hospital issue pudding cups. Bastards.

Steal from the hospital. Everything except the fishnet underwear. Take the Vaseline and the diapers and the wipes and pads and bottle of hand sanitizer and stupid little leaky bum pads (they call them chucks, can you believe it?!). Take it all, because they will bill you for it anyway and they actually expect it. Leave the onesies and the sheets, but take all the "disposable" stuff. In fact, I never buy diapers before having the baby. I figure if I buy size 1 they'll be too big and if I buy size Newborn I'll pop out a ten pound baby, so I just steal from the hospital and then send my husband to Walmart before I run out.

Hospitals are loud. And bright. And babies have no sense of time. You'll likely either give birth in the middle of the night, or during the day after a long night of labor. An airline sleep mask and a pair of earplugs are wonderful things to pack. You'll still hear it when the baby next to you starts crying but if you're lucky you won't hear it when the baby down the hall starts crying, and then sets off all the others in chorus.

Contractions hurt like a bitch. Some women can breathe their way through them and use focal points and whatnot, but they still hurt. There's no reason to go to the hospital for a tightening feeling, or cramping, or pressure. When you feel like screaming and gutting yourself with a fishing knife, that's when you should go to the hospital. Very very few women don't realize they need to go to the hospital. Even those women on "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" usually think their appendix is bursting or something. It's different for every woman, and for every birth, but it does hurt, and those of us who get epidurals don't do it because of a tightening, or cramping, or pressure. And once you've been through it just once, even if you had a relatively painless experience (emphasis on the word relatively), you too will laugh at the women who go to the hospital with indigestion.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Weepy mother post

It has occurred to me that the baby could very well be born this month, and that seems to be what it takes to kick me into gear. Today we bought the baby its first toy (a floppy stuffed Eeyore) and the picture/coming home outfits (one for each sex, since we don't know), and when we got home I vacuumed the bedroom and put together the pack n play. Well, I started putting it together but you need a waist to do that so Tom helped me. Then I ripped the covers off the swing and bouncer and carseat and am now doing a load of delicates to wash all that up. I need to pack my hospital bag (Ryan has the bag somewhere in her room and I try not to go in there because I suspect there are VC tripwires in the clutter) and wipe down the plastic parts of all the baby gear (Damn! I forgot to buy Clorox wipes) and then worry and panic and all the other stuff I've been successfully putting off by telling myself I had the whole rest of the summer left to go.

Tommy held the Eeyore in the cart while we shopped today and he was being so gentle with it. He kissed it and hugged it and rubbed it softly. He is going to be so good with this baby and it makes me tear up to think about. He's already such a big boy and he's not even two yet! He's decided recently that he loves taking showers with us. He took his shower with me last night and stayed in there through all my shampooing and conditioning and everything, and then he didn't want to get out when I did. I let him hang out in there under the water for a while and he looked so grown up. Not afraid of getting water in his eyes or anything, just holding onto the bar of soap and rubbing it on his belly until Tom made him get out. It seems so hard to believe that two years ago I was feeling all the same kicks I feel now, and it was him!

Ryan went to he movies with a friend last night. Her first movie without a parent. She saw Twilight Eclipse and I guess she liked it, although the whole Twilight saga makes me roll my eyes. Too much emotional drama and eternal love pledging by teenagers. But apparently mopey pouty kids are what people want to see these days. I'll wait till November and go see Harry Potter 7 with her, thank you very much. If she hasn't completely outgrown being seen with Mom, by then. I miss my little girl. Just a few years ago she was dressed up as Luna Lovegood at the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book, struggling to stay awake long enough to get it, hyped up on chocolate frogs and smoothies from the Border's coffee shop. Now she only wears black and everything has to have skulls on it and when she stands next to me she's almost as tall as me. Taller, if she's wearing her black platform boots and hipster fedora. I remember when she was the one with the stuffed Eeyore.

Ugh. Hormones! I'm getting all weepy now. I have to go switch the laundry out now, and avoid any more maudlin internet prose. Hopefully my next post won't be that the baby's here. I'm not ready for that just yet.