Something is happening

Birth supplies

I woke up early this morning (Friday) in a wet spot. I usually don’t pee myself in my sleep (or elsewhere) but I knew that sort of thing can happen in pregnancy, so I wasn’t quite sure what was going on. I laid there in bed for a while and noticed an ache in my lower back that felt like a menstrual cramp. It radiated out toward my stomach. Each cramp lasted about a minute and they came in 10- to 17-minute intervals while I laid there pondering what to do. I talked to my midwife and we agreed to sort of play it by ear and pay attention to the progression of the symptoms. Not too long after noon, when I was contemplating getting ready for work, it became quite clear that I wasn’t peeing myself but that something in fact was happening. I’ve got to take some precautions and keep an eye on some things to make sure no infection sets in (always a concern with premature rupture of membranes). But so far I feel good.

So I’ve been resting up today and taking it kind of easy in the anticipation of something major happening soon. Of course the timing could not be wackier because Ray has to take the MPRE at 9 in the morning. I know none of this is really under our control, but we’re hoping we can kind of coast until Ray’s done with his test. And then, unless things have picked up on their own (which my midwife thinks might actually happen over night tonight), we’re going to start some natural methods of getting things going, since the clock is kinda ticking now.

Soon, we’re going to have a baby. My labor supplies are ready to go and I had a nice dinner of salmon and roasted vegetables. I’m about to head to bed to see if I can get some sleep since I was up so early today and just sort of napped a little this evening.

I just had another one of those back pain menstrual cramp things. God, I guess I should call them contractions, but saying that makes it even more real and … OH MY GOD I AM HAVING A BABY.

Week thirty-eight

This week Mom came to visit and went with us to our ultrasound on Monday and then our midwife visit on Tuesday. The ultrasound went well and things are still looking good. The darling progeny’s growth is right on track (he’s leek sized!) and they estimated his weight at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Cord and placenta are still functioning well, heart rate is good, all his parts seem to be there (especially his ginormous cash and prizes, which the techs loooove to point out ceremoniously every time we get a chance to look). Mom was all gushy with grandmotherly love and I was enjoying how the tech didn’t have to smash my insides all to hell to get decent images like they did when baby boy was the size of a lemon.

The midwife visit also went well — my vitals are good and the baby’s heartbeat is strong — and we got to leave the office with our inflatable pool and liner and disposable skimmer. I explained to Ray that that’s not for fish. Hyuk. 38 weeks and some skin

I got the OK to go ahead and start with the evening primrose capsules, so I am adding that to my prenatal + fish oil + garlic + vegetable supplement + probiotic + fruit supplement + Vitamin D regimen. Mmm, pills.

After the midwife visit, we took Mom to eat at Abyssinia, because I want her to be able to brag to my dad that she ate Ethiopian food and lived to tell about it. (Can I just make an aside about how great the inside of Abyssinia is looking these days? I am digging the new wall color and new bar area and general layout, although it was hot as a sweat lodge in there during lunch.) Mom seemed to enjoy it well enough, I think.

Wednesday we had a meet ‘n’ greet with our prospective pediatrician, Dr. Hanson at Laurelwood. He was super nice and personable. Ray and I both were really impressed with his demeanor and approach to his practice. He comes highly recommended by several people I trust, so I’m not surprised. I’m very grateful that we’re not having to shop around too much for a doctor we like.

Things are shaping up at home, little by little. I’m getting nesting urges in fits and starts and getting weepy when I can’t get it all done the way I want to. Bending and squatting are tough and my back and hips start to hurt after a little bit of work but we’re making good progress, I think. My little house is teeming with so much crap, I feel sort of suffocated by it and can’t figure out where to put things.

I took my computer in to work to have it set up to work from home when I transition back in a few months. And I’ve started cleaning out my desk. Nine more workdays left. I’m already sad about how quickly I know my three months away are going to pass. Oh, to be able to spend my child’s entire first year with him. I hate that that is a luxury in this, the wealthiest nation on the planet.

I’m still feeling pretty good, although I’m getting slower and slower and, some days, super achey in the pelvis/hip region. I finally had someone make a “You’re about to pop, ain’t ya?!” comment to me the other day. Total stranger I passed in the lobby while leaving work. It was amusing. “Getting there!” was all I could muster.

So, our glimpse inside on Monday showed that Le Leek had his arm up near his face, sorta sucking on his wrist. WHICH WE HAVE TOTALLY CAUGHT HIM DOING BEFORE! Behold! (Monday is on the left, 22 weeks is on the right.)

little wrist muncher at 37w 5d Tadpole Turner lookin' pretty handsome, if I do say so myself

And while I find that particular pose to be devastatingly adorable — I have referred to my son as a caped crusader because of it — I am really hoping that when the time comes for him to shoot down the birth canal, he gets that hand away from his face and makes himself as sleek and svelte as he possibly can. Otherwise, he is going to TEAR MY JUNK UP trying to make an exit like that. (Google “compound presentation” if you need details.) Also, I don’t want his arm to get hurt, even if I think it’s sweet that he wants to fly out of me like Superman.

Week thirty-seven

All righty, then. We are officially full term this week. Wahoo! That means that this kiddo can pop out any time he pleases and he’ll be equipped to make it in this harsh world of ours. Of course, I fully expect him to stay in there a few more weeks and get nice and ripe, but hopefully he won’t overstay his welcome. Let’s be punctual or maybe just fashionably late, baby. But don’t keep us waiting too long, because we want to meet your sweet face and smell your sweet skin and whisper your name in your ear like we’re giving you a secret.

I had my GBS test on Wednesday and I’m patiently awaiting my status on that end. Probiotics, don’t fail me now. The rest of the midwife appointment went well. I gained more weight than I wanted to (shock horror) but my blood pressure was good and the baby’s heart rate and position were good.

I’ve had some minor swelling in my ankles and feet the past couple of days when I got home from work. I suspect I need to drink more water, which is a fun thought when I already feel like I should be paying rent on the restroom at work.

37 weeks No Braxton Hicks yet, that I can tell anyway. I have had some odd, intermittent throbbing in my lower back, but nothing remarkable. I have felt a big ball of tension here and there in my stomach, but I think that’s just baby boy shoving his butt up into me. It’s the weirdest thing to see and to feel.

Sunday Amanda, Amber, and Courtney threw us a shindig at the house with some delicious food and even better company. Naturally, I got completely distracted and didn’t take many pictures at all. It was so great to see everyone who came. I have felt sort of cut off from the world thanks to my crappy hours and the general exhaustion that comes part and parcel with pregnancy (I don’t do a lot of partying these days), so having friends I hadn’t seen in months — some of whom traveled a good haul — come to my house to celebrate the major life change that’s about to click into place, well, it means a lot to me. We got some lovely and super useful things for the baby, and once again I am just blown away by how generous the people I love are. We are truly fortunate. I hope this baby will be able to pick up on that and appreciate it from day one.

16oct3 16oct6 16oct4

So we’re kind of in countdown phase now. Twenty-odd days until the due date and my last day of work. Some nights I’m not sure which I’m looking forward to the most. Some moments I’m more than ready to get this show on the road. Other times I cannot believe this is happening and am convinced that there is no possible way we’ll be ready in time. But we’ll be ready. We’re ready.

Week thirty-six

The shape of this October is different from all the rest. Already we are nearly halfway in and the leaves are changing, tops of the trees first where they are kissed by sun, cascading down into the shade. Horror movies are on TV and for some reason I found myself watching Saw II the other day even though I’d never seen the first or any other in the series. It wasn’t scary and I didn’t find it particularly shocking, now that I live in a world where there are Human Centipedes. The Food Network is plating its Halloween-themed shows, during which I marvel at how beautiful and inedible a cake made of fondant and spun sugar can look, and how I would eat the shit out of it anyway, just because. I’ve put up my fall wreath on the front door and a strand of spider lights in a window (jankily and with packing tape that keeps falling, I might add), but the rest of the decorations (my big skull faces, bloody handprint window gels, skeleton garland, purple lights, pumpkin candleholder) are in a bag while I contemplate whether I am actually going to feel like taking them down come Nov. 1. I haven’t bought a pumpkin yet or even considered how to carve it this year. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I had a fleeting thought about a little jack-o-lantern family: Two big ones and a teeny one. Because my body is lousy with gestational hormones, that’s why. But then I thought about how much of a pain in the ass it would be to carve three pumpkins right now, considering how they will probably last for maybe two or three days, given the longevity of last year’s gourds.

36 weeks No, this October is different. I’m counting down and not to Christmas. Well, in the conventional sense of the word. I am waiting on a big ol’ present to get here, that much is true. I am scurrying around much like a squirrel preparing for winter, picking up knick-knacks here and there to store in preparation. I’m organizing and reorganizing these knick-knacks into systems that make sense. I’m making lists of things we have and things we need, my hand perpetually coming to rest on my belly, which is so unavoidable now that people are beginning to ask me when my last day of work is (it’s in a month, groan).

My ritual lately has been reading a home birth story or two from the Mothering boards every night before drifting off to sleep. These stories are all so different and some of them more encouraging than others, but they all carry the same weighty beauty, and I am obsessed with tracing the patterns of labor from one woman to the next. I look around my house and try to imagine where I will pace, where I will lean, where I will leak, what spaces will open up to comfort me when things get tougher than I expected. What the cats will do. What Ray will do. What I will do.

Amy came over on Wednesday and brought a birth day gift — a bedpan full of medical supplies that will become my friends: A peri bottle, gauzy underwear, boat-shaped feminine pads, gloves, a bulb syringe. I showed her my birth supply bags and realized quickly just how much I have left to assemble. After this week, I will be clear to deliver at home should labor start spontaneously. That sure is something to think about. We talked about how and when to go about calling her if I think something’s starting, and the procedure for a hospital transfer should one become necessary. She took my blood pressure and listened to the baby’s heartbeat and everything checked out perfectly. He’s in the same spot he’s been in for weeks, little heart just thumping away. Only this week, he’s the size of a crenshaw melon and I’m betting he’s long ago passed the six-pound mark.

My guts are all smooshed by him. I can feel him stretch clear from the depths of my lower left pelvis all the way around to the right, up and around my hip area. He stays tucked up underneath my sternum sometimes but is usually polite enough to refrain from kicking my lungs. Last night, though, he triple kicked me rapid-fire in the side and took my breath away.

A few hours later I woke up choking on my own stomach acid again, this time unable to keep from puking everything up onto myself, my bed, and the big long pillow I hug throughout the night. The vomit was brown from a chocolate protein shake I’d had too close to bedtime, and there were chunks of undigested Special K in it. I couldn’t stop puking. Every time I tried to cough or clear my throat, it would trigger my gag reflex and up would come even more. Ray was in the living room and I couldn’t find my voice to call to him, so I texted him for help. His phone beeped … from right beside the bed. I stumbled my way into the bathroom and just kept puking. It was horrible. Puke, heave, choke, clear throat, cry, rinse, repeat. I am up and down, in and out of the bathroom so much during the night that he didn’t even notice anything was wrong and I couldn’t yell out to him. I finally stumbled into the hall and announced dramatically that I was okay, not to worry! This is my fear, always: That I will finally relent and need help and that I won’t get it in time, for whatever reason. We changed the sheets and I went back to bed, stomach empty and head elevated, pillow and shirt whirring in the washing machine. I conked out and dreamed about Blake Anderson, I guess because I read a bunch of his tweets right before falling asleep.

It was not my finest night.

I’m so ready to be done with work. Organizing the remaining days of child-free time I have in my life around my job is frustrating. I wish my company offered paid maternity leave, even a week of it, so I could take some time off, even a day or two, before my due date. But they don’t so I have saved up every vacation day and sick day I could muster this year, meaning I have had hardly any time off at all this year. It’s crazymaking, but that is how we do things here in the land of the free to work yourself to death, I guess.

There is this running joke in the office now that when the baby is born, he’ll only be comforted by sounds of grunting and stomping and snorting and sneezing and sing-song yawning and humming and throat clearing — the sounds I hear for 8.5 hours every day. Seriously, the human cacophony around me on a nightly basis is sometimes too much for me to take. You would not believe it unless you heard it yourself. I get annoyed and then outright rage-filled because the offending parties have NO IDEA their tics are so loud and annoying and constant, and some of them like to complain about others’ noisemaking. Even headphones can’t drown it all out most nights so I just sit there and selfishly wish for a meteor to hit and make it all go away.

I am ready for a break. Spit-up and around-the-clock breastfeeding and diaper changing sound like a vacation to me. In small part because I will finally be able to see sunsets again, at least for a few weeks. I have missed almost every sunset that has happened since January of 2005. That is deeply, deeply fucked up.

Week thirty-five

The thirty-fifth week seems to be the week that pregnancy forgot. Nothing super special (por ejemplo: “This week your baby has sprouted eyeballs!” or “Your child can now hear you talking dirty to your significant other!”) is listed on the calendars. We don’t even get to make a very exciting fruit-analogy jump. Nope. We just go from cantaloupe to honeydew. Yawn-a-rific. A lot less listeria involved, however.

I spent some time in the bathroom the other night marveling at these stretch marks. They are like licks of flames crawling up my belly, a sick symmetry to them. Kinda like this, sans evil skull. I sort of want to show them to you, internet, but I also sort of don’t want to. I’m torn. My vanity is still too strong at this point.

I’m sleeping like crap pretty much every night now. Too much time on one side starts to make one hip cramp up and if I sleep on my back I snore and wake the neighbors. There is so much peeing and so much flipping that has to be done every other hour or so. It’s a very busy time between about 3 and 9 a.m. I’m sure Ray isn’t sleeping well because of me either but he’s pretty good about only pinching my nose so I’ll shut up once a night or so. Heh. 35 weeks

Still no tangible nesting urges taking hold of me yet. Just a vague idea of all the shit I need to get done. I am not frantically cleaning anything, even though I know I should want to. Or something. The light fixtures in the bathroom as dusty as a motherfucker and yet the energy it would take to extend my arm, weighted by a damp rag, up there to them to scrub off the dust? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.

The office has been a wreck since we set it up all those weeks ago, and there are at least three piles of cat puke in there I have been ignoring. I need to organize all my Etsy supplies, because I would like to be able to still take and ship orders during my maternity leave, when the extra income is going to be a big help. And yet, the word “organize” has always given me hives, and right now it seems like a particularly foreign concept.

The nursery is sort of in limbo because I have not yet been hit with the creative urge to whip out a big art piece for above the crib, even though I have one in mind and have all the supplies ready to go. We still need a rug to go in there but I am low on cash at the moment. I’m still not quite sure how to organize the clothes and diapers into a workable system. I guess those systems might just sort of evolve over time, so I am not going to sweat it too much right now. I’m still lacking some pretty basic supplies that I will need to round up before too much time ticks away (plain white onesies and cloth diaper detergent, you’re on deck). Ashley pointed me to this fabulous piece of furniture she saw on Craigslist that I need to check on now that I’ve been paid. It would be perfect for the nursery, considering we don’t really have a dresser for the kiddo and I don’t want to be hanging up every piece of his clothing from day one. But I need to measure the room to make sure it will fit well. Etc.

Our bedroom is a total wreck. It’s full of baby stuff that we’re hiding from the cats — the stroller, the car seat, the bouncy, the exersaucer, etc. The closet is teeming with that stuff plus bags of winter clothes that I will need to make sure I can get to easily when the weather turns.

I have a LivingSocial deal for some housecleaning services in the event that I can’t bring myself to do a major scrub-down of the house before week 39 or so. Ray’s been talking about needing to winterize the windows to try and get the place more insulated so it’s not the usual icebox this winter. I need to coax him into cleaning the gutters because I swear there is an oak tree sprouting up there. I’d like to do some decluttering of every drawer and cabinet in the house, and go ahead and finish designing the birth announcements and get envelopes labeled and stamped and ready to go. I need to make a phone tree and make sure all the numbers are in both our phones.

Oh god, just starting to list this stuff has exhausted me, and it’s not really even about anything. Just shit I need to get done that I don’t want to do. Bah!

But you know what? None of it really matters all that much. So I ain’t skeered.

Week thirty-four


We’re rolling right along at the size of a cantaloupe in there. A cantaloupe!

One of the funny things about having a boy is that every dang week, the pregnancy calendars tell you something about what the kid’s testicles are doing. I say “testicles” because I nearly wrote “balls” and felt really, really weird about talking about my son’s situation in that way. So I will keep it clinical.

What to Expect practically squees:

This week, a boy’s testicles start making their way down from his abdomen to their final destination: his scrotum (look out below!).

Next week I expect something like, If you’re having a boy, right at this moment his traveling testicles are packing up their bindle and visiting the kneecaps for a weekend jaunt! But don’t worry, mama! Junior’s Traveling Testicle Show will make its homecoming some time before birth, and you’ll have nothing to worry about! 34 weeks

We had a good midwife visit this week — good weight gain, good blood pressure, good fetal heart tones, no swelling. I had a cervical exam just to make sure I wasn’t dilating early (a smidge of spotting will make you think the worst), so that was probably fun for Ray to watch, since my midwife is super cute and all. Ha. I kid. He just smirked at me the whole time while I tried to pretend to be dignified with my pasty legs up in the air. At least there was no speculum involved. The sight of those things makes every muscle in me tense up. Eeeeeeee.

Still reading? You are a trooper.

Next visit, Amy will come to the house to get familiar with where we live. I also am due for a GBS test. Not looking forward to that one. I’ve dodged so many other bullets that I hope I can dodge GBS too. Because it’s pretty serious and I don’t like to think about the treatment or the possible bad outcomes. Scary stuff.

I had scheduled a consultation with Dr. Stiles, a pediatrician who comes highly recommended by several people I know, for this morning at 8:15. Early, yes, but you do what you gotta do to get in with these doctors. Guess who left her phone in the dining room overnight and so did not hear the alarm to get up, totally missing the appointment? This dumbass. I hope they don’t charge a fee for missed consultations, or post my name next to the reception desk and bar me for life. We couldn’t get in to see Dr. Hanson until Oct. 26, and I haven’t set up any other consultations yet. MY BABY NEEDS A DOCTOR, OH GOD.



My insides are all cramped up all the time now, it seems. Melonhead sometimes lets his feet snuggle against the bottom of my lungs and every time I pitch forward the slightest bit, I lose all my breath. I can feel something wedged up in there in the lower part of my chest, in the middle of my torso. It’s the oddest thing. Actually, the oddest thing is lying still in bed and feeling the whole structure shudder and shake due to the movements in your belly alone.

The cooler weather we’ve had lately has been magnificent. We even took a walk in the middle of the day earlier this week and didn’t die. I have, however, been having some pretty wicked hot flashes here and there. Usually when I haven’t eaten in a while. The beast demands to be fed when he is hungry. Which is often.

I got a massage on Thursday. My first ever. Once upon a time I might have had some qualms with letting a stranger rub warm oil on my nekkid body but I have sailed past that modesty mark. I will admit, however, to wrapping myself in the sheet like a mummy when I was told to just drape it over me. So there is some modesty left in this embiggening body of mine.

What was surprising to me is just how good it felt to have my hands and my scalp massaged. These typing fingers store up a lot of tension, I guess, and my head teems with the crazy, which sometimes needs to be squeezed out. I thought before going in, An hourlong massage? That is a long time to get a rubdown! But I swear I could lie there for hours, plural, and not get bored if someone was working on me.


Last night I let myself fall down an internet rabbit hole, and I read a bunch of stories about home births with not great outcomes. A morbid way to spend an evening, maybe, but I’ve read plenty of happy stories, so I wanted a little balance. So much sadness and loss and so many questions about why. It’s painful to read those stories and contemplate the possibility of everything going horribly wrong in my own labor, but it’s a reality I have to at least acknowledge. I trust my midwife to be observant and prepared and in tune with how things are going so that we never reach true emergency status, but it is a very heavy realization to remember that birth and the flesh can be unpredictable and very dark sometimes, regardless of how skilled the midwife is or how proactive everyone tries to be about safety. Sometimes it just all falls apart, I think. Mistakes are made, life is fragile.

I’m not worried, really, but I am trying to be very cautious, very serious about this.

Week thirty-three


Okay, I can officially say I have enjoyed being pregnant, but I am ready to not be pregnant anymore. My body is big and clumsy and unwieldy and the simple act of getting around is not unlike pushing an overloaded grocery cart with a wonky wheel. Wearing clothes is a real pain in the ass but I feel way too huge to walk around naked very much, and the sight of my stretch marks makes me very whiny. I am so tired, so sleepy. I miss sex that doesn’t involve having to handle what amounts to a large beach ball in front of me at all times. I would like to return to a less constant, less expensive eating pattern. I am excited about being able to sit up without first filing a requisition and then getting on a waiting list while my body hulks and cracks and groans itself into a 90-degree angle. I am tired of my love affair with Tums. I would relish the chance to go a single hour without peeing. I would like my bones and ligaments to be free of the extra pressure pulling them in all directions but mostly toward the couch. I miss wine. Etc.

I can no longer see my feet Oh man, this is so gross, but I have to share. I woke up in the middle of the night and barfed immediately into the bedside garbage can. Turns out that ol’ throat sphincter had damn near opened up completely during the night and leaked acid into my throat, choking me. I puked a mouthful and then tried to clear my throat and drink some water but it burned so bad. I kept trying to clear my throat or swallow or something just to get the acid out of my mouth and throat, but it took one more good retch and then several minutes of calmly sipping water before I felt okay enough to lie back down without thinking my body was going to kill me in my sleep.

Thanks, Relaxin!

Of course in the grand scheme of things, these small complaints are nothing and I sort of feel guilty for even writing them down. Yes, some days I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck (as my friend Amanda put it), but I’ve had a remarkably easy go of it physically, and it’s really not all that bad most of the time. It’s just dull aches and exhaustion around the clock but it’ll pass and it’ll be worth it.

Mostly, I’m ready to meet this kiddo. It feels like we have been waiting so long. The other day I likened this part of pregnancy to waiting on an impending houseguest to get here, but he’s taking the scenic drive across the country and can’t quite say when he’ll arrive. I just know he’s coming and I’ve gotten started preparing his room. But I’m not sure when he’ll actually get here and there’s no guarantee he’ll call ahead because he’s just so darn spontaneous. Also I’ve never met him but I’ve heard he’s going to be somewhat demanding and kiiiiiind of an attention whore. But we’ll see.

I want to know the little person who lives inside me, whose personality has already started stitching itself together. I want to get started learning his quirks and preferences and sense of humor so we can be BFFs for the fleeting years he will actually allow such a thing. I want to see his gummy grin and feel his little fingers curl around mine. I want to finally call him by his name around someone other than Ray. I want to introduce him to my family and friends.

This week the darling offspring has the heft of a pineapple. His lungs are nearing the point where they will be fully developed enough to breathe air like a real live human being! His eyes are open and blinking and are blue! He’s nearly cooked enough in there to be able to survive without many complications were he to make his exit a bit early. Not that I’m wanting that at all. It’s just a relief to know.

I’m feeling practically no frantic nesting urges lately. I have no desire to clean anything, really, despite all the things needing to be cleaned. I am, however, riding a creative wave that’s got me designing things like a madwoman. So, you know, I’ll take it when I can get it.