Archive for the 'Third Trimester' Category

Handmade

Acupuncture has brought on more frequent practice contractions, and S is feeling more and more strongly like things are moving. Hopefully this weekend it’ll be go time.

In the meantime, I wanted to post some picts of various things people have made for the baby. One side effect of the pregnancy that I didn’t anticipate was how much fun it would be to have someone to make things for!

Just one of the sweaters S has knit for him

Just one of the sweaters S has knit for him

A colorful quilt from the mum-in-law

A colorful quilt from the mum-in-law

Solar System mobile parts

Solar System mobile parts

The Milky Way

The Milky Way

The completed mobile in action

The completed mobile in action

Evasive Action!

My friend C said that she imagines the midwives “standing around in a cluster, with long flowing grey hair and purple robes and gnarled canes.” That’s not the case at all! Except for one–who’s more like a wise, old grandmother–they’re young and hip. Still, they did recommend some old school methods of kick-starting labor:

  • Plenty of walks and activity
    Spicy food
    Sex
  • They also recommended hot baths to relieve the pelvic pain, which is being caused by a loosening of S’s ligaments.

    So after an hour plus of garden work, S took a long bath. And I’m off to pick up some Indian food, which we will gorge ourselves on before making passionate though not terribly athletic love. If nothing changes by Sunday, and if no other moms have gone into labor, than S may take Castor Oil. That’ll cause diarrhea (as will the Indian food) and get that baby moving. (We hope!)

    Part of our urgency stems from S’s discomfort. Also, if she reaches week 41 then we risk out of the birthing center. If all’s still quiet by next Wednesday, then the midwives will gather round their cauldron and stimulate S’s membranes–ancient magic from the pagan days! Seriously, I have no idea yet what that means.

    They Say Patience Is a Virtue, but…

    Two weeks ago we did a big shop, stockpiling food for after the birth. Then on Friday we did another one, as we had begun to eat into our supplies. Same thing with cleaning. The house was organized and together, ready for our new arrival. Now, after another afternoon of dusting, vacuuming, and straightening, it’s ready again. These are some of the small, dumb specifics contributing to our current pregnancy status: we’re tired of anticipating!

    Nearly everyone we talk to has the same questions: how’s S feeling? Do you think it’s going to be soon? Are you ready? We’ve become weary of answering them. These inquiries are usually followed with the advice that we enjoy these last nights of solitude.

    But the thing is we’re not alone anymore. S’s belly is all baby.

    He’s hanging so low, every time we think he’s hit bottom we wake up to find he’s dropped even further. The midwife said his head is firmly between S’s pelvis, so far down that she could touch it during S’s last exam. His position is putting intense pressure on S’s pelvis, causing discomfort if she’s in the same position for too long, or pain when she is standing or walking—basically constant achiness.

    It was so bad that whenever she rolled over in bed on Saturday night, she groaned. This of course roused me, and I would bring myself fully awake, thinking it was go time. But S would just find a new position, then mumble to herself and drift back asleep, leaving me keyed up and awake. I woke up on Sunday just as exhausted as she was (though certainly not as achy). Welcome to parenting.

    Ok, so sure, we don’t have to clean up gloppy poop or worry about babysitting. Which meant that, S’s aches and our general sleepiness aside, we had a nice weekend. After attending my thesis reading on Friday we stayed out late socializing (picture S parked on a couch and me ferrying cranberry mocktails and snacks back and forth while I got steadily sloshed on highballs). And we went for several long, slow jaunts in the city to meet a friend for ice cream and run errands in Chinatown. We were hoping to walk the baby out of her.

    Still, we hate the unknowns hanging over our head. From the little things—do we have to plan dinner for tomorrow, or will we be in the hospital? Can I get drunk tonight, or will S go into labor? To the big—how long will the labor last? How much pain will S experience? What’s our son going to be like? Similar to dried up bits of cuticle, we can’t help ourselves from playing with these questions even when we know we shouldn’t.

    Last night I called to the baby by his name, which only the two of us know and which we rarely address him by. I pressed my mouth against S’s stomach and told him he should come out now. “We’re ready for you,” I said.

    He moved against me, responding to the sound of my voice, but as of Monday morning, we’re still waiting.

    Its almost obscene...

    It's almost obscene...

    Last Dates with Late Date Pregnancy

    Any day now...

    Any day now...

    Everyone tells us that having a baby slows down your travel time considerably, and this weekend we had some good practice. It took us an hour for S to waddle the nearly two miles to see Star Trek, with one pit stop at Starbucks. When we arrived, we had our pick of the seats in the empty theater. Most people were out enjoying Mother’s Day brunch, soaking in the first strong rays of sun we’ve had in a week.

    A few minutes in and we’re both teary eyed over the tragic birth sequence that opens the film. Yes, that’s right. We’re so emotionally sensitive right now that even Star Trek can make us cry.*

    S made her way out of the house a lot this weekend—to yoga, a lovely dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, post-movie beers with friends—despite some intense pelvic pain. The baby’s hanging very low, putting unusual pressure on her ligaments. I find her pretty damn inspiring, buckling through the discomfort. Except for some sharp breaths, and moments of quiet spacing out, she’s been her normal bubbly self. Sure, every so often she frets about labor. When that happens, I put a hand on her, and smile, and tell her I have no doubt she’s going to make it through just fine.

    I have nothing but confidence in her. And mostly I feel confident about myself too. Mostly.

    A few weeks ago I said I felt intellectually prepared for the labor. Ha! I’ve been doing some last minute cramming, and found that I’ve forgotten a lot of what I thought I knew. Last night I woke up around 1:30 and didn’t make it back to sleep again till sometime after three, or maybe closer to four. While I was reading, then listening to music, and finally tossing and turning trying to recapture sleep, S slumbered soundly in between her frequent trips to the bathroom. I tried to let that comfort me. If she’s feeling ok, then I should be feeling ok too, right?

    It’s like we’re taking turns, one of us worrying while the other zens out. Guess that’s better than freaking out together. I tell you, it surprises me sometimes how good a team we make.

    *Not the first time I’ve wept at Trek. Total geek disclosure: The end of Wrath of Khan—“I have been and always shall be your friend”—never fails to make me choke up. It was touching when the new film referenced that line. Christ, even now I have a funny catch in my throat.

    Open Letter to Mommy-to-Be

    Seeing as your joints are sore from slugging around thirty extra pounds (or thereabouts), and that your midsection aches because it’s not only stretched to the breaking point but now strains with practice contractions, and that at seven plus pounds our little son isn’t feeling so little anymore, especially not when he pummels your bladder so hard your pee-hole stings, it is totally alright if you are grumpy, easily-annoyed, and not in the mood to laugh, and damn straight you should feel some trepidation about getting the little sucker out. I would be shocked if you were feeling totally happy and carefree about the whole thing. Probably even an experienced breeder like the octomom felt fear and nervousness late in the game, as well as impatience and pregnancy-fatigue.

    I know that underneath all the grimaces you still feel positive and excited to meet this guy, and confident in your ability to get through the birth without interventions. I’m going to be there with you every step of the way, doing my best to make you as comfortable as possible, whether that means rubbing your back for twelve hours, being a soft surface for you to scratch or bite (behave!) or hold onto during contractions, or just getting the hell out of your way when you don’t need me. I’m going to stay calm and collected in the heat of things, and stay on top of all the organizational details—calling the midwives, arranging the car to the hospital, taking care of the bags. (I promise no fainting or puking, though queasiness is a definite possibility, especially when after the birth when your insides gush out in a spray of gore.)

    I can’t wait to see the two of you together, and for us to meet him and hold him and see what he looks like. We’re going to have a great summer caring for him, learning what it’s like being parents. You’re going to be an awesome mother, and you’re more than strong enough to get through this birth intact.

    So be patient, and be grumpy when you can’t smile, and know that everything is going to be ok, and that soon enough these uncomfortable, yucky days, will be a blip in the distance.

    The Best Laid Plans

    Though I worked hard all semester to finish my thesis early, I was thrown a surprise curve ball in my final critique. So the past week and a half, which I had hoped would be daddy down time (maybe take a solo hike, visit a museum, go to a matinee, have a shvitz), became a mad push to rewrite the sucker. We had a few tense nights there, with a tired S coming home ready to collapse, and me in no mood to cook, clean, shave, shower, or provide patient affection.

    In between long sessions of rewriting, we managed to put the finishing touches on our preparations for baby. The to-go bag and snacks are packed, the baby’s clothes lie washed and ready to wear, his room is set with a changing station and crib, we’re stocked on diapers and wipes, etc etc. We went to the required class at the birthing center, met with our midwives, have been rereading books, and talked ourselves out.

    Now we’re at the mercy of biology, and then in the hands of the midwives, who we trust, and whose intention of an intervention-free birth matches our own. And after that…? At this point, less planning feels like more.

    Now all we need is a baby!

    Now all we need is a baby!

    New Toys

    When my friend dropped her kids’ old exersaucer off she said, “I know what you’re thinking – ‘I don’t want this honking big thing in my house.’ But trust me. Baby’ll love it.”


    A new addition to our baby vocabulary, an exersaucer is something the baby can wobble but not move around in, though his feet will touch the ground, so that he can practice standing.

    Once upon a time I wouldn’t have even considered bringing this primary colored monstrosity into my house. Then I spent a minute rotating the chair from station to station, honking the horns, spinning the steering wheel, rattling the various rattling thingamabobs, feeling like an infant Captain Kirk at his command consul. And now, to my noise-sensitive cat’s dismay, I’m a fan.

    I even want one for myself. I’ve imagined all the grown-up things it would be stocked with, the internet, a wii, some just-right crossword puzzles, maybe some light weights, and a mini-bar (the sauce in the adult exersaucer). Of course the chair would have to vibrate. The saucers can even be linked: one for baby, one for daddy. Moms would love it.

    That’s it–my fortune’s made. Look for the ad on daytime TV.