Monday, January 31, 2011


The littlest lovebug has arrived and he's so sweet and so delicious. I am so excited he's here! Friday's contractions were the real deal, and I will forever be branded a bad ass for going to work with labor contractions that were 9 minutes apart.

We are still in the hospital and likely to be here until Wednesday because of the C-section but we are getting great care and my mom came in town for some Sadie care and they have great drugs at this joint.

Still processing birth experience and I want to focus on Simon, who is gorgeous, looks like his sister, and has the longest feet and hands I have ever seen. He's a great eater and has been nursing great. We have a bit of a latch issue as of this morning, but I am going to get some help with that today.

He's pretty quiet so far, but he can peel off a scream when he needs to. So much of the caretaking of a newborn I expected to come back to me, but the information is coming up scrambled. I spent some time wondering if I should burp after every feeding, even though it's just that pre-milk colostrum coming out of my breasts. And, swaddle? I forgot all the fancy tucking and draping moves.

We love our baby naming story with Simon. As of 7 hours after his birth, we were narrowed down to two names: Simon O'Brien and Henry Alexander. Comments have been made that those names are not remotely alike. I think I agree with that. Jeff's frontrunner was Simon and mine was Henry, but we were really close. We spent some time practicing with both names.

Then, my afternoon nurse came in to "check my vitals," and we were chatting about the fact that we hadn't picked a name. The nurse, Ann, went over to get a good look at the baby. I said, "What does he look like to you?" She hesitated and I told her I wanted to hear whatever she thought. (BTW, this nurse has 5 children and all of them had gorgeous names.)

Ann peers into the baby's face and says, "I think he looks like Simon."


Jeff and I looked at each other incredulously. I asked Ann why she said that and she said she didn't know, it just popped into her head as she looked at him. I told her that was Jeff's top pick. I knew that was a sign we couldn't ignore. It was the best feeling to have this incredible "coincidence" unfold right before our eyes and ears.

For the record, Simon hasn't been in the top 100 of American names since some time in the 1800's. So, it's not like Ann hears that name all day long, unless she watches American Idol all day long with Simon Cowell, or The Mentalist with Simon Baker, who is very hot.

Simon current ranking as boy's name:263. It means: "to be heard."

We also love the pairing of Sadie and Simon: both have 5 letters. Both start with S. Both are Hebrew.

O'Brien is his middle name, which is also my middle name, my mom's middle (and maiden) name and a genuflection to my side of the family.

SOE. Our little prince.

Simon O'Brien Ellis. How we love thee!

Friday, January 28, 2011

"And eyes of sweet amethyst"

In college, there was a band called Jackopierce that was really popular down in Texas, even though I am not sure how talented they were. They had a song called "Vineyard" that my sister included on her wedding CD, where I fell in love with it again. It's about a forlorn boy who escapes to Martha's Vineyard to nurse his broken heart and falls in love with an amethyst-eyed woman.

I love the amethyst. I love its purple hues and its delicate shades.

But I am not sure we're going to have a baby during amethyst birthstone month of February. Things are moving. And they're shaking. And they hurt. Not horrible hurt, but there is like a menstrual cramp type feeling that gets kind of intense. It started last night at 2:00 a.m. and it's been sort of consistent today since noon. Maybe longer.

In short, I am having contractions; they aren't killing me, but they hurt. They come THIS CLOSE to taking my breath away, which was the criteria the doctor gave me for coming in. It's confusing to actually be in pain and not remember what kind of pain I am supposed to be in to call the doctor. I actually talked to the doctor's office once already and they told me to keep track of the contractions and if they get either (1) more intense or (2) closer together to call back and maybe get admitted to the hospital.

And, then I talked to a colleague at my office whose second child was born in triage. That's still the hospital, right? She said it was the hospital, but she gave birth while BY HERSELF IN HER TRIAGE ROOM because she had sent her husband out to get the nurse. Let's just say that there are lots of things I want to do by myself, but birthing a baby doesn't make the top 100. Or 200.

PLEASE GOD, can someone be in the room with me when I have my baby? Preferable someone with a degree from a top medical school with gentle hands and a soothing voice. Oh, and Jeff can be there too.

Anyway, I am keeping track and counting the contractions and wondering when the sh*t will hit the fan physically. We have dinner plans tonight; brunch plans tomorrow, and a playdate Sunday morning. I wonder, which of those, if any we'll make it to.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemon Cravings, Order Yellow Shoes

Yesterday at work I kept smelling my grandmother O'Brien's lemon bundt cake. No one was eating anything lemon-flavored and there was no bundt cake around either. It was very strange how I could smell it so clearly that I could almost taste it. I remember pulling a stool up to help my grandmother put the sugary-lemony glaze on the bundt cake when I was little. I didn't really like the glaze that much, but I loved helping and I loved my grandmother. I remember the cake being very moist and not too lemony. I remember picking up delicious little crumbs from the center of the bundt where the cake was the most soft and moist. Yesterday, I even looked up lemon bundt cake recipes to see if there was an easy way to whip one up when I got home, but I got overwhelmed when I saw that most of the recipes require more than 3 ingredients. (3 is really my limit right now.)

Anyway, that intense craving has passed, and how I am obsessed with lemon-colored wedge sandals from Boden. Technically, the color is called "straw" but lemon sounds springier and happier to me. I write this as a little winter snowstorm that is expected to yeild about 1 inch of snow is blustering outside my window. (The snow actually looks like it is falling upwards because the wind is so intense by the lake. The PERFECT weather to dream about lemon sandals, no?) This obsession with these shoes is not helping my secret vow to be less driven by consumption and more attune to enjoying what I have (and to my budget given I am about to embark on a 14-week unpaid expedition into motherhood). But, damn those shoes make me think of hope: hope that my legs will be able to support my body in those fine shoes even as a mother of a toddler and a newborn. Hope that spring will one day (soonish?) descend on the stark Midwest. Hope that I will have a place to go that will require me to be shod in buttery/lemony wedge sandals.
This all sounds ridiculous, but I can't control where I find my hope. By the time I am sashay-ing around this city in those shoes, the question of how our son is born will be resolved and already processed in the memory bank. He will have a name. He will have preferences. Given how long it takes spring to come in this area of the country, he'll probably also be eating solid food. The yellow of that sandal matches the yellow tops of the Medela bottles we'll use to feed him breast milk I have pumped (maybe while wearing the shoes). Time will march on. These wedges will give way to the next shoe obsession of Fall 2011-- the perfect boot; the updated UGGs, the shoes that will bring hope for whatever psychological ailment plagues me at the time.
We'll have two children. We will all have plenty of shoes, a fact I pray ardently not to take for granted for one second. Sadie either will or will not be accepted into Montessori School (for which we either will or will not pay premium Montessori prices) and I either will or will not be able to drop down to 80% work so I can spend time with my children. (And my shoes.)
It would be way more "responsible" to find hope in a learned text or some internal resource I tapped into through yoga or meditation or even pilates. That's not the provenance of this particular brand of hope. It's from an on-line website, which, for the record, I have never ordered anything from. But, when you need a little hope, do you care where it comes from?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Moment in Time

You know how when you see a movie about the 1970's the movie soundtrack is full of music reminiscent of the era: Lou Reed, early Elton John, Helen Reddy, Simon & Garfunkel. The music helps create a sense of the cultural moment in time.

In some distant day when I recount the story of his birth to him, I want to be able to give the Meatball as many details as possible. I like hearing stories with lots of (pop) cultural detail: What songs were popular? What was the big movie? What were the political debates? It feels like giving additional context to a story. So, I am going to take this time and this post to describe the intersections of my life and popular culture in this moment so that Meatball will have some context.

Here are the pop songs that ubiquitously run through my head (and the radio, and the grocery store, and the gym, etc.):

Just The Way You Are or Grenade-- Bruno Mars
Firework and Teenage Dream-- Katy Perry
Alejandro, Telephone, Bad Romance, Poker Face-- Lady Gaga
Only Girl in the World-- Rhianna
Raise Your Glass-- Pink
Forget You-- Celo Green
DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love--

I would talk about movies, but I've only seen three in the past 12 months: Sex In The City 2; Eat, Pray, Love; and The King's Speech. Clearly, I am not qualified to talk about what's going on in the movies.

I will note that there is a baby explosion in Hollywood right now. Here's a list of celebrities who are pregnant or who very recently gave birth:

Kelly Preston (wife of John Travolta)
Alicia Silverstone
Kate Hudson
Penelope Cruz (with yummy Javier Bardem)
Orlando Bloom and his partner, Miranda Kerr, just had a baby boy, Flynn
Alicia Keys
Alannis Morrissette
Natalie Portman
Jane Krasinski
Nicole Kidman (has a secret baby, which I don't know anything about)
Christina Applegate
Victoria Beckham
Selma Blair
Marianne Cotillard
Owen Wilson and his Baby Mama, Jade Duell, just had a baby boy
Ivanka Trump
Mariah Carey
Jennifer Connelly

The most popular thing I am doing right now is gestating! How exciting. Owen Wilson and I have so much in common.

In local politics, there is much hand-wringing about whether or not Rahm Emanuel will get to run for Mayor of Chicago, given that he hasn't been technically in residence in the past year because of his Washington, D.C. duties for President Obama. The latest I heard (from Jeff) is that the Supreme Court of Illinois agreed to hear the case so there has been a stay issued, the practical effect of which is to prevent ballots from being printed without Emanuel's name on them.

Even closer to home, should we name our baby Rahm? Emanuel? Court?

At tonight's State of the Union address, there may be some bipartisan seating arrangements to show solidarity and signal that some of the acrimony and partisan politics can and should be toned down for the good of the country. This is a response to the violence in Arizona.

The Oscar nominations were just announced this morning. Looks like I better see Black Swan, The Fighter, The Kids Are Alright, True Grit, The Social Network, and 127 Hours ASAP. There were movies on there I have literally never heard of, but again, that's not really saying anything. I can't have a goal to read 30 books, be a lawyer and mother and wife and get to the movies on top of it. Ain't gonna happen any time soon.

These are heady times indeed.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spending time on the mood swing

Whew. We had our 39-week appointment today and I am having so many feelings on the back end of it. First, we saw a great doctor in the practice who is both seasoned and very frank. I was so happy to be seeing her at this juncture. I looked her in the eye and asked her what she thought about VBACs and whether it was a good idea for me. She said she would examine me first and then answer that question. She did what felt like a very thorough examination to me, and then gave it to me straight. She put my odds at a VBAC success at 50%. I was hoping for more like 60 or 70% (or higher), but she explained that there is some narrowing of my pelvis that may spell difficulty for vaginal birth. In almost every other corporeal circumstance, I think being described as narrow would thrill me, but in childbirth, it seems like being narrow is not exactly the first ingredient of success. She assured me that the doctors in the practice would not let me do anything stupid; they are in charge at all times. I was a little afraid that I was pushing a procedure that isn't a good idea, but doctors don't let patients run the show. And for that I am grateful. I hear lots of stories about women refusing to have a C-section or demanding the change to push for "one more hour," but that's not me. I don't want to call the shots until I graduate from medical school and know what I am talking about. Which is to say, NEVER. I am happy to surrender to doctors.

So, here at 38 weeks and 6 days, I am 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. It's not bad and yet I feel disappointed at the prospect of a C-section. What runs through my head is that I will have so much on my plate: a deliciously lively toddler and a newborn, but I will still have to spend so much energy recovery from Major Abdominal Surgery. As working mom, my time to be at home and focus on my kids is limited; at this point, limited to 16 weeks. I want to spend that time nursing and playing and catching fleeting moments of sleep and watching spring unfold. With a C-section, I have to contend with drugs and scars and tenderness of the abdomen for weeks. I really need to accept that it's a possibility and that having surgery for the health of the baby and me is the greatest reason ever. I have this somewhat irrational idea that having more surgery will shorten my life overall. I read it on some checklist (probably from Dr. Oz) once while in a dentist's waiting room. Good lord, if they are going to cut these children out of me, then I want to live a LONG LONG time to enjoy them (and maybe remind them of what I went through to give them life).

I am glad that for as violent and scary as a C-section is, that it is an option. If I really do have a narrow pelvis then it's a good thing there are other options.

I will note that the nurse mentioned that I was "doing great" with my weight; she said something about me barely gaining a pound here and there. Let's get real: That's cause for a happy dance. I certainly feel great and haven't deprived myself of anything (though yesterday I didn't eat any carmel corn from Garrett's because it's too damn addictive) so it's great to hear some confirmation that surrender is a very nice path to follow.

And, I've got some options on being proactive about labor, including accupuncture and staying active. You know what, I just don't want to. I want to spend time with my family and friends and relax and not run all over the city chasing dilation. I can't imagine that would help me relax. I reserve the right to change my mind on this, but for now, I am holding off on accupuncture treatments. I did see what another suggestion was to have a big old cry: rent a tearjerker and just get some release going.

Please. I don't need to rent a tearjerker. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Last night, Jeff and I were finishing up a Scrabble game and I got very emotional thinking about my relationship with Sadie and how much I love her. I started wondering if she'll ever have any idea how much I love her. Jeff says she'll never know or understand until she's a parent. That may be true. When I think of pain coming to her for any reason at all, I practically come undone with sorrow. The other day she fell out of a chair trying to get at the computer, and I can still see her falling in my mind's eye. She wasn't terribly hurt; she was mostly scared and upset about gravity. When she scrunches up her face and those tears start to fall it takes my breath away and squeezes my heart.

Man, this is going to be a very eventful 2 weeks.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicago Weekend

It's impossible to be in Chicago right now and avoid these two topics: the weather and the Chicago Bears football. It's 5 degrees outside, which is actually fine with me because the sun is out and I am always hot. The lake looks like a sheet of ice and it's definitely nippy out, but I prefer that to the sweltering heat where my thighs rub together and chafe. Both my kids have birthdays during the extreme weather. I respect that in kids; it shows me they won't shy away from dealing with extremes in their lives. Like, for instance, their mother.

As for the Bears, I have been a staunch, non-sport fan for most of my life. Certain exceptions have crept in: the Tour de France and some golf viewing with Jeff. There were a few tennis matches where I got to watch one of the Williams sisters curse out a line judge and one where I saw a Kim Clijsters win a huge tournament 18 months after giving birth. Maybe those events occurred in the same match. Every now and again I would get into the Final Four during March Madness, mostly because my entire law firm seemed to shut down during those pivotal spring days. I got a kick out of the vuvuzelas during the World Cup, but none of this qualifies me as any kind of sports fan.

I generally have been very proud of that. I have been too cool for sports, too intellectual, too busy and too un-Southern. Doesn't take 11 years of therapy to see it might have been a reaction to my Texas upbringing. (Or maybe it did take 11 years of therapy to understand my particular flavor of rebellion: some people snort coke; some people refuse to enjoy sports.) But now, thanks to Facebook, I can see how much unadulterated joy sports bring to so many people. Turns out that lots of smart, well-read, highly evolved individuals really love football, basketball and a host of other sports. I honestly had no idea.

I want to be a part of that spirit. So, this weekend, the Bears are playing the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, and I heard on the radio that this game may be even bigger than the superbowl. Something about a long-standing rivalry between the two teams, both of which seem hardcore to me to play in this ridiculous weather. (Wait, it's supposed to be a balmly 24 degrees on Sunday, so that's practically spring around here.) I have told Jeff I want to watch the game this weekend. I will need a few human interest tidbits to hook me in, which I will gather before kick off. I know there has to be a Brett Farve anecdote that will pique my interest.

So, this weekend, unless I am giving birth, I hope to ride the orange and navy wave of celebration at my city's team. I may learn players' names and numbers. I want to join in and not use it as an excuse to go to the grocery store or Costco because the lines are guaranteed to be short during the game.

Other than that, this weekend I think we are going to just be on Baby Watch and hang out with Sadie, whose life without a sibling is in its twilight.

I will note that I read on a baby message board that some OB/GYN told his patient that the following would help her dilate: Running around the neighborhod "like a horse" while "neighing." Apparently, the woman who posted this little nugget tried it and found herself dilated 3 cm at her next doctor's appointment.

Are you sh*tting me? Seriously. The most embarassing part of this post is that for about 5 minutes I considered trying this. There was something in that post about how the movement of the body ("like a horse") joins with the soundwaves from the "neighing" to induce labor. The fact that I thought that would work or that I wouldn't get picked up by the neighborhood watch is a signal to us all: I have totally stopped thinking rationally about anything dealing with labor.

So, if you hear a distant neighing, it ain't me. Oh, dear lord, I hope it ain't me.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

From the Humor Department

I walked around all day yesterday with a secret smile of satisfaction on my face after finding the you-know-what had come unplugged.

The best part? Jeff told me last night that on a conference call he announced to his team and (female) boss that I had lost my M.P. (mucus plug).


Show me a more modern man than my husband.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For Matoor Audiences Only

If you are going to do a baby/mommy blog, there are going to be times when the content is disgusting. There is no other word to describe a mucus plug that doesn't belong to you. For the one that belongs to you, however, the mucus plug is a gorgeous, confusing, emotional sight, especially when it springs upon you unsuspecting at 5:50 a.m. when you are at the gym.

Let me back up.

Today I am 38 weeks pregnant. In some ways I cannot believe we are here already and in some ways it feels like forever since I could buy normal clothes and eat whatever I want without worrying about harming my precious fetus. There are starting to be signs of labor, including increasing Braxton Hicks and the 1 cm dilation and don't forget the jaw ache that feels most akin to having carpel tunnel syndrome in your jaw. If I was in slightly less pain I would make a witty sexual joke about what I have been doing with my mouth, but the pain is too high for a blow job joke. And that means the pain is HIGH.

And, the mood swings. They have been very intense. Yesterday, Jeff and I googled "being bitchy as a sign of labor" and found no conclusive reports about the correlation for increased bitchiness and impending labor. If that were the case, I realize, I probably would have had this baby around week 21. In light of my moody and depressive demeanor yesterday, I decided to start today with a rousing trip to the gym to get my endorphines going. I left the house at 5:45 and took M'lady for a leisurely pre-dawn cruise to the gym. Before starting my walk on the treadmill, I decided I would go to the bathroom one last time.

And there it was. The fabled mucus plug. I was so stunned that I just flushed the toilet and then sat there thinking about who to tell about this amazing piece of bodily discharge. I am dying to describe it-- as if I am the only woman who's ever been pregnant-- but suffice it to say that it's well-named. We'll leave it at that.

I decided I would just get on with my workout, but as soon as I got on the treadmill I wanted to know more. I opened the google application on my iPhone and tried to google "mucus plug and labor." Unfortunately for everyone around me at the gym, google was insisting I use the voice activated searching. I whispered, "mucus plug," but it didn't work. I tried a little louder, "mucus plug." Still, it wasn't registering over all the din in the workout room. Finally, I said as loud as I was willing, "MUCUS PLUG." That drew some stares and still didn't work so I ceased and desisted out of respect for early morning exercisers who may not actually be interested in what my body is passing.

Oh, but I am. As I sit here right now it's one of the top 10 moments of my life. I can't exactly say why other than this is all so surprising. I never know what's going to happen next. Am I dilated? Am I effaced? Is this mucus thing going to happen to me? Not every women gets to have this experience (and I am sure some are just fine missing this), but I want to experience everything. Every. Single. Bit. I was sad this didn't happen in my first pregnancy because I wanted to know what it felt like. Now I know. (It doesn't feel like anything really, but the emotional aftershocks have been tremendous for me.)

And, more confirmation that my body is doing it's thing. For all the years that I tried outsmart my body: "Oh, you're not hungry. Drink some water." Then there were the binging years, "Oh, you're still hungry. Have another box/carton/bag." I tried to tell my body about its own pleasure, despite the utter lack of response from my body: "Oh, you ARE attracted to him. He's nice. You like him." (Um, nevermind my body was not responding to nice guys for many years.) So many times I tried to out-think, out-smart and out-do my body, but she's in charge now. Nevermore so than right now.

It's fun. It's exhilerating to let go. All the squats in the world didn't really move my body at all, but now suddenly my mucus plug is gone. Just like that. I love it. I can trust it. And, it's also sort of disgusting, but at least it's all mine. It's natural. It's pre-labor.

When I finally was able to google what exactly this means for my labor I found out that it means I could have this baby anywhere from 1 hour to 1 month from now. Gee, thanks for narrowing it down. But, while curious about what's coming, I am content to know that the body is in charge and science can't tell me more right now than my body can. There's lots of surprises in store for us for the next few months. My prayer, other than health of my family, is to remain open and awake for all of it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


We braved an almost-38-weeks-pregnant photo shoot yesterday with Sadie and here's one of the products. We learned a few things during our photo shoot, namely that Sadie will probably much more amendable to the whole thing if we do it before 6:00 p.m., which is not her most cheery and cooperative hour. To be perfectly honest, it's not mine either. But, I love the picture, which really captures something of Sadie's obsession with my belly. She's actually obsessed with her own belly and Jeff's belly, too, but mine is easiest to kiss.

Sadie's been a real sport about the changes we've already instituted. As the pediatrician suggested, we finally weaned Sadie off the bottle. (I will note we were supposed to do it about 9 months ago.) So now she's officially a sippy cup user and no more bottles. I am curious to see what she does when she sees her little brother drinking from a bottle at some point in the future, but since he's not here, that's not a top priority worry. Actually, the whole reason we spurred ourselves to action to wean off bottles was because we notice that when Sadie says words her tongue often gets in the way. And, while it may be a coincidence that she sticks her tongue out in the exact same way when she is drinking a bottle, the last thing I need on my resume is "Gave Her Daughter Speech Impediment Because Too Reluctant To Let Go Of Bottle Routine."

Here's hoping it's not too late.

As for this little brother of hers, may I just say, "Where the hell is he, already?" I had two very satisfying contractions on Saturday night at the Capital Grille, where Jeff and I went for a little date night. Right as the entrees were served, my whole stomach tightened up and I felt that familiar memory of pain. Painwise, it was only a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10, but it certainly woke me up and reminded me that this is all very, very imminent. Since there, there have only been a few Braxton Hicks, the jokers of the labor world.

At our doctor's appointment yesterday, I was hoping to have dilated even more, but the doctor said I am really only at 1 cm still. She said it was a very "soft 1", but still only a one. I tried hard not to be disappointed that I wasn't at 4 cm and 75% effaced. My doctor, who is on to me and how much I want to control this, reminded me very gently that there is nothing else I need to be doing and nothing is wrong, but my body is just doing what it has to do.

Jeff and I celebrated MLK, Jr. day by going to see a starchy British movie, the King's Speech. When I wasn't worrying whether Sadie would end up having to have a speech therapist like King George, I was able to appreciate the marvelous acting of Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth, who has never done it for me. It was so fun to spend the afternoon at the movies with Jeff that even if he insisted we see some inane boy flick starting Vince Vaughn, I will would have enjoyed it. It might not have inspired me like the King's Speech, but I would have enjoyed it. We also got to spend some extra time with Sadie and friends, Frank and Joyce, who stopped by to expose Sadie to their goodness since she may wake up one day soon and find them helping her out of her crib instead of me and Jeff when Project Labor Part Deux commences. We are blessed to have friends who love Sadie and want her to be comfortable when we can't be there.

So, this is the vista from 38 weeks. The childcare plan for Sadie is taking shape, my belly is rounding evermore (as seen above) and I have developed a new and curious symptom: jaw pain. What the hell jaw pain has to do with pregnancy is beyond me, but a quick internet survey indicates that jaw pain during pregnancy is distressingly common. It started on Friday night and it's mostly on my left side. Some of the internet information indicates it may have something to do with sinuses. I have never really had jaw pain before and it's super intense. It isn't stopping me from eating, but it's slowing me down. I had the fantasy that maybe my body was so confused about what it needs to do, it may have thought that the baby was coming out of my mouth. Last time, afterall, I had hip and pelvic pain. For now, I will give my body a little more credit than that, but I'm nervous about the provenance of this jaw pain, as well as the duration.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Mistakes Were Made

(Can you tell I am reading Franzen's Freedom right now?)

So, today I did a little perusing on the Babycenter website message boards for the February 2011 babies. Why? I guess I couldn't find a working stapler to jab into my eyeball, because that would have been gentler. Those messages boards really mess me up. First, I get upset because it turns out "lots of women" (on the board) are between 34-36 weeks walking around more dilated than I am (3 and 4 centimeters!!!) and some are effaced as well. People are losing their mucus plugs. Now, instead of being thrilled about my own 1 cm progress, it feels piddly in comparison.

So, that's bad.

Then, I read about the people who have already had their February 2011 babies super early and the stories are a mix of tragic and euphoric and that's just a roller coaster I don't need here at 37+ weeks as I sit and wait for some power people at work to determine whether or not we are doing a trial next week. Let me just say, by way of a side note, that working past 38 weeks is challenging for a host of reasons, including fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sheer girth, and shortness of breath. But to add a trial/arbitration on top of that with all the stresses of witness prep, evidentiary questions and longer hours, well that's just a recipe for me to lose my shit. Pretty sure that will happen if this case doesn't settle soon. Actually, I was fine with the schedule and work load until someone flew the settlement flag and it got me thinking about having an easier time over the weekend and also getting Monday off for MLK Day and I got greedy. I started planning a movie date with Jeff after our OB appointment. I started thinking about the extra squats I could do if I had a 3-day weekend instead of witness prep and trial research to do all day Monday.

Don't tempt me with talk of settling a case, which would allow me to forego all the work that's ahead of me. That's just cruel. And, pregnant or not, I have never been the type to do well with uncertainty with my scheduling. It's actually a bit of a flaw of mine because it makes it impossible to be spontaneous or appreciate a certain "go with the flowness" that is part of life. But, I am 37 and I can't do it.

I also caught wind of some perhaps mythical ways to help the body go into labor (while on the message board). My doula even recommended something called Evening Primrose to be taking orally or vaginally. I have no idea what it is and no idea how one would insert that vaginally, but I am going to ask the doctor on Monday all about it. If it helps me get through labor more quickly so I can meet my son, I'll try it. Caster oil is not going to happen; I refuse. But Evening Primrose oil sounds pretty innocuous and feminine sounding.

Next time, however, that I find myself sitting around waiting to hear about whether I have to keep grinding away at work or whether I can "put my pencil down," I am going to get a stapler and hit myself in the head with it, which will hopefully distract me from the stupid babycenter sight.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keeping It Fair

If you know me, then you probably know I am neurotic and none of this will shock you. With the impending birth of our son, Meatball, there are new vistas of neurosis for me to explore. The one that drives me the hardest these days is trying to keep things fair between Sadie and Meatball. For example, I ordered the exact same baby record book for both kids. If it's exactly the same, that's fair, right? It gets trickier from there. How can I keep this up for the rest of their lives?

I want there to be the exact same level of excitement over the birth of Meatball as there was for Sadie. I want the same number of visitors and the same number of gifts waiting for us when we get home. I want the same well wishes and the same level of care and support from friends and family. (Controlling much?)

I am already worried about the fact that their rooms are not the same size. We opted to keep Sadie in her room to minimize the change and disruption for her. Does she really care about extra square feet in her bedroom, where she goes only to sleep and have her diaper changed?(And, occasionally to pee on the floor when we let her run around au natural.) So, Meatball got the other bedroom on our floor and it happens to be bigger by about 2 feet. For little people who still shit in their pants, does size matter?

Plus, I am different and Jeff is different and there is Sadie. I keep telling myself that it's not my responsibility to make life fair for my kids; my responsibility is to be honest with myself and with them. I can't control that Meatball could conceivably arrive in the middle of a winter snowstorm or during the Superbowl any more than I could control that Sadie didn't arrive on Bastille Day (also, her due date). In fact, the world isn't fair so maybe making my kids think it is will just screw with their heads. It may be better life preparation to teach them that life isn't fair but Jeff and I have their backs no matter what happens. I plan to be fiercely partisan when it comes to my kids. I am perfectly comfortable being THAT mom: The one who stands by her children no matter what happens. Not to say I won't discipline them, because I will (by I, I mean Jeff will), but I will always be on their side even if my purpose for jumping to their side is to guide them back to reason or compassion.

I have to make peace with the fact that Sadie's baby book indicates she went to a federal prison (Pontiac Prison) while in utero, but the most exotic place I can list in Meatball's book is the ladies room at the immigration court (which, is not so dissimilar to Pontiac Prison, but I digress). It seems extreme to try to get myself "admitted" to Pontiac prison over the next 3 weeks so that the children have the same baby book entries.

Let's just celebrate the unique stories of each of my kids' lives. It would make it so much easier for me than all this fairness BS.

Here's to diversity in my own family!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Journey to 10 cm

Begins with a single centimeter. And, ladies and gentlemen, that's how much I am dilated as of today. I just saw the doctor and as she stuck what felt like her whole arm into my body to see if I was dilated, I got the rewarding satisfaction of hearing I am already 1 cm.


I was shocked because when I labored with Sadie, I was only 1/2 centimeter after about 7 hours of labor. I was ready for that epidural before I ever reached 1 centimeter.

I am beside myself with joy. I am feeling the distant stirrings of trust: trust in my body and this process. It's been a long time. It would such a gift (and, frankly, a novelty) to go into this labor/birth with a sense of being on the same side as my body. I am feeling it now that I know it's doing it's thing.

As for me, the doctor said that intercourse and doing squats may help this move along. I told her I was all over it. If anyone needs anything from the bottom shelf, CALL ME. I would LOVE an excuse to squat down and get it for you.

Maybe I'll keep dropping things so I have an excuse to squat and pick it up.

Suck it, C-section. I am at 1 cm and not stopping there.

Getting on my bad side

Here's a primer on how to get on my bad side:

Come into my office (with a swagger, preferably) and ask me how long my maternity leave will be. When I answer that it will be 16 weeks (80% UNPAID, if you care to ask about that part), make a comment about how long that sounds to you. (Especially if you happen to be a male in a position of authority over me, even though you are younger and have been practicing law the same amount of years that I have.)

Then, when I bite on your little snide remark and mention I may have to have a C-section (which, FYI, is major surgery and very devastating to lots of women for reasons too complicated go into during a casual drop-in conversation at the office), then say the following:

"You get all that extra time for the privilege of not having an unmedicated birth?"

Yep. That will do it. You just made an enemy. And, that's why I went into my speech about how, actually, getting a spinal and having your guts cut open and your baby whisked away the minute she is born is really pretty traumatic and I will take as many unpaid god-damned weeks off as I feel is necessary to bond with my son and my family in order raise children who are sensitive and aware and tolerant and loving and respectful of other people's choices, especially those that involve intimate decisions like childbirth and healing therefrom.

So, yes, that's how to get on my bad side. It's been done so the method has been proven.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What The World Needs Now...

Terrible news in Arizona this weekend that I am trying not to spend all day reading about. Crazy 22-year-old kid gunned down 6 people, including a federal judge, a Congresswoman and a 9-year-old little girl. When I hear about incidents like this I feel such rage at how easy it is to get a gun in this country. I shouldn't even get started, because I am not sure when or how to stop when I start this rant.

Here's what I really wanted to say: with all the unfortunatey, tragic, and violent things that happen to real people in the world, I think it's all the more important to create a home full of love and support and tolerance. At every moment today, I could focus on the nut in Arizona (and plenty of nuts right here) or on all the love in my life and my body.

So, here's to Meatball and the family love in my house.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

36 Weeks, Bitches!

I am a very wound-up 36 weeks. The fuel for my wind up includes the following:

  • having a great visit with the doctor today, where she performed the intrusive Group B strep test and confirmed that Meatball is head down (yay!) and that my cervix is not getting thinner or lower (less yay!);
  • working on project mouse trap at night even though Jeff is out of town (God help us all if I come downstairs one morning and find our furry friend ensconed between the wires of the mouse trap);
  • getting closer to our due date and feeling the accompanying anxiety along with an insane amount of work suddenly on my plate (should I even be in client services? How can devoted parents be good at client services?);
  • feeling excited about my upcoming VBAC (working on positive visioning);
  • having found a pair of pants I thought I lost week ago when all along it was sitting in the dryer from the load of laundry I attempted this weekend but never managed to close the deal by getting the clothes out of the dryer and folding them and putting them away (who really does all of that at once?);
  • working my way through a long novel about the Vietnam War (Matterhorn by Merlantes), which makes me feel like I have the cushiest job in the universe, even though I had to work (in the office) until 9 on Monday night and had to do some basic legal secretary work all day yesterday (Hey! It's better than getting jungle rot on my hands and feet and fearing for my life while on the job);


Basically, I can bullet point all I want, but I am having a baby in about a month and that's enough to make me squirrely and jittery and exhausted all at once.

I was sad that I wasn't at least a little bit dilated or effaced, even though it's early and those occurances do not guarantee anything. Still, I had the faint hope that maybe I was at 1 cm and 50% effaced, which I think might have boosted my confidence on the VBAC front. I think I will call the doula and get a little pep talk about how my body is a wonderland and all that.

In the meantime, still feeling ravenous most of the time, though very few things sound appetizing. Maybe I'll work on my chocolate biscuit tonight.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Lots of excitement in the early days of 2011. Sadie started off our new year with a little pee pee in the potty. I started screaming and yelling for joy so spastically that she's probably now traumatized by the whole prospect of ever going near the potty again. I still wrote it in her baby book, though. There is nothing like the thrill of your offspring's urine in a plastic bowl.

On the second day of the new year some friends got together to share with me their visions of my life as a mother of two. It was an incredible experience to hear other close friends share their love with me and their greatest wishes for my family. I am proud and happy to report that many of my friends saw lots of time at the Penninsula in my future and some Louis Vuitton baggage as a pushing present. Now, that's a vision! I am very lucky to have so many great women behind me and my family. Since becoming obsessed with Andre Agassi's autobiography, I have decided that what I need is a coach. A mom coach. I will need the pep talk when my spirits flag because I haven't slept and I am frayed to the bone. I will need someone to give me perspective or a manageable goal for the day when my mind is too mean or mal-functioning to be of any use to me. Like when Agassi's coach would say, "stop missing the balls." I would need my mom coach to say, "you aren't going to get good sleep for a while. Focus on breathing and nursing your son." Something. Anything. Someone to be in it with me and on the sidelines addressing my needs and sensing my weaknesses and able to offer a corrective suggestion. I think this is a great idea, so I am now accepting candidates to be my mom coach.

Another great discovery of 2011 is that I actually did read 30 books last year. I forgot about a Nick Hornby book I read called "Juliet, Naked." It was light and typical Hornby fare with tons of musical references and commitment-phobic drunks stumbling around England. Not my proudest reading accomplishment, but it does take me to 30 and that was sort of a goal.

Our little bambino is due in about 30 days. Less than a month if he arrives on due date. I am so excited. He moves around so much I always think people on the train or in meetings can see my belly moving back and forth. I will miss our in utero experience, which has been very special and intimate. I can't wait to see what the next phase brings!

We do, however, have a few projects to attend to before Junior arrives. Sadly, one of them is dealing with the mouse I saw with my own eyes this morning. I saw a little furry friend scurry from under the fridge to under the oven as I sat peacefully reading my book and eating a banana for the craze of Monday morning began. Turns out it's not so relaxing to find a creature in your kitchen. Between dealing with Mr. Mouse and trying to sew a slip cover with sock monkey material for Meatball's room, it's probably best if he stays put as long as possible. Do I need a mouse in my house when there's a newborn sleeping one floor away?