Friday, December 25, 2009

So Tender and Mild

As far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted a baby for Christmas. This year—my 35th on the planet—I finally got one.

I could not be happier.

I am, in fact, so full of love for her and Dr. Husband that I almost can’t stand it. My cup seriously runneth over—and I haven't even started hitting the sauce.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Be of Good Cheer

Today is the winter solstice, which I believe means tonight will be the longest night of the year which means I might have to take my own life today because LAST NIGHT was the longest night I’ve had in a long time and it was pretty miserable and I don’t think I can handle a repeat, particularly two days before the arrival of my parents and brother and the full frontal assault of Christmas.

Apparently the gods really didn’t like my hubris—or perhaps my pseudo-Catholic invocation of “miracles” about the baby taking a nap in her crib on Friday. The baby is still fussy, including most of last night.

Granted, Dr. Husband and I are lucky. (You hear that, gods? We’re lucky! I’m grateful! Thank you for this blissfully well-behaved-almost-all-the-time child!) The fact that a bad, sleepless night with our baby stands out from the other nights with our baby is reason enough for some parents of newborns to refuse to speak to us and/or permanently hate us. And though a night of a baby making whiney “eh-eh-eh” noises and then crying if you try to move her off your shoulder or change positions slightly or take a deep breath—well, I’ve babysat enough kids and read enough books and heard enough parenting war stories to know that “eh-eh-eh” noises AREN’T THAT BAD, even if they’re keeping you up all night. She could be, for instance, screaming bloody murder at the top of her lungs all night long or threatening to run away from home and take the family cat with her.

The problem is partly that we expect her to be a decent sleeper. She almost always is, so why would we bother anticipating a night of constant fussing? As loathe as I am to admit it, sometimes Dr. Husband really is right about his happiness/reality/expectations equation. So from here on out, I’m going to assume that my child will never sleep and I will never get to put her down and I will never get to shower again. Because thinking that way is sure to make me feel better.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good for Goodness' Sake

The baby continued to be a Christmas angel all the way through Dr. Husbands’ workplace holiday party Friday night. She charmed everyone present and did not whine or cry or make even the tiniest peep the entire time—a whole hour-and-a-half!—we were there.

Then, because karma is the bitch that she is, the baby has been fussing non-stop ever since. We told her that Santa will only come if she stops being so difficult, but she just got this look on her face like I can’t believe you’re stooping to idle threats already. I’m only a month old, people. Haven’t you got anything better up your sleeves? And then the real crying began.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Baby's All Grown Up

Not only did my child nap long enough on the couch this morning for me to do a load of laundry, bake a cake for Dr. Husband’s workplace Holiday Party, and clean the dishes (Martha Stewart, I’ve got your number!), but at this exact moment—2:03 in the afternoon—my child is napping again all by herself—in her crib. As Dr. Husband said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen her do that before.”

Indeed. It’s a goddamn Christmas miracle.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Welcome to the Nursing Home

So, I’m standing in my kitchen rinsing some stray coffee grounds out of the sink when I catch a whiff of a rather nasty sour milk-type smell. I run the disposal, but the smell is still there. I transfer a used plate from the counter to the dishwasher, but the smell is still there. I stick the sponge in the dishwasher, but the smell is still there. I spy pieces of breast pump lounging in a bowl of water and think, Ah-hah! Of course! I wash them out and drain the bowl and stick it in the dishwasher, but the smell is still there. Fuck it, I think, and carry the baby into the living room—and the smell follows me. And I realize the smell is emanating from me—from my shoulder, specifically, where my darling baby girl spat up earlier this morning whereupon I decided that it wasn’t worth it to put her down—which would wake her up, which would make my chances of getting any work done “zero”—and change shirts—which would mean another load of brights which would be annoying because the last load just finished the rinse cycle, and, no, I can’t just toss the shirt in the laundry basket because, hello! The smell! So I left it on and forgot about it, and, yes, I’ve learned my lesson.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Modern Condition

The baby’s Social Security card arrived in the mail today. Now she seems like an honest to god person. No, it wasn’t the peeing or the pooing or the eating or spitting up or crying or cooing that made her seem real—it was a two-by-three inch piece of blue and white paper that the government sent her in the mail.

She’s supposed to sign it when she joins the workforce. So strange to think of this cute little lump getting her first job and paying her first taxes and experiencing what will hopefully be her first—and only!—inkling of why some people decide to become Republicans.

Friday, December 11, 2009

We All Have Our Beefs

The baby and I attempted to go out to lunch today. Pretty exciting stuff. Leaving the house! In a car! All for the love of a bacon cheeseburger!

Around 11 we started getting ready. I nursed her. She pooped while eating. I changed her diaper. She pooped again, leaking through her clothes. I changed her again. I laid her on the bed so I could get dressed. I put on some pants. The baby started to wail. I picked her up and calmed her. I laid her down. She started to wail. I left her on the bed anyway and put on my shirt. I picked her up. She continued to fuss, so I burped her. She spat up all over her sleeve and my shirt. I changed her outfit. I put her down. I changed my shirt. She, predictably, wailed. I looked at the clock and Holy fucking hell—time to nurse again.

It was 2pm by the time we finally left the house, both of us in clean clothes, one of us fed but screaming nevertheless because she doesn’t like being in her car seat since it doesn’t involve human contact. This is unfortunate when the bacon cheeseburger of her lactating and ravenous mother’s fondest desire can only be found on the other side of the city—a 30 minute car ride away.

It’s also unfortunate that her mother forgot that the burger of her fondest desire can only be paid for with cash.

By the time I lugged the baby in her loathsome car seat into the nearest grocery store to use the ATM and back into the car and to the burger joint, I had pretty much lost my appetite, and my will to live.

I ate 3/4ths of my burger while the baby blessedly slept, and I swooped her out of there the second she cracked an eyelid and realized she was sitting in the wretched car seat.

She screamed so hard on the way home I was convinced she was starving to death and pulled over to nurse her as rush hour traffic whizzed by and I fretted as I went to collect her from the backseat that I would either lock her in the car and myself out or one or both of us would be hit by another vehicle or I would hit her head on some part of the car as I nursed her (the steering wheel seemed a good choice) or some creepy old man would ogle my exposed breast.

In general I consider myself pretty calm for a new parent (others have even commented on this themselves! people who aren't my own mother!), but this tranquility apparently vanishes the moment transportation—or screaming—become involved.

As we resumed our drive home and the baby resumed her screaming, I decided that we won’t try to leave the house in the car again until the baby is 3, which is unfortunate for many reasons, not the least of which is that Christmas is right around the corner and unless I can get out and do a little shopping, all my precious baby will be getting from me is the gift of life—and whatever crap I can find for her on the internet.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Ladies' Lounge

The baby and I braved a department store today, as I was in desperate need of a pair of pants to fit my current post-partum form and psyche. (“Why don’t you just wear your maternity pants?” Dr. Husband suggested. Why don’t I just wash down a bunch of pills with some vodka and slit my wrists and, for good measure, stick my head in the oven?)

It turns out there’s this whole underworld of moms to be found at 11am on a Tuesday in the Nordstrom women’s bathroom. They have a few chairs and a couch, so it is the place to nurse and, apparently, the place to judge and be judged.

I’d just finished feeding the baby and in the 13 minutes it took me to hook my nursing bra back together she let loose one little cry, probably because she realized, Ack! I just ate lunch in a public bathroom! and this random other nursing mom looks over and says, “Sounds like someone is still hungry!”

Then, as I finished fixing my attire and my baby stared at a nearby light fixture, random nursing mom #3 told random nursing mom #4 she was glad to hear that #3’s baby likes looking at people’s faces because if a baby seems more interested in gazing at objects, like, say, a ceiling fan or, say, a light fixture, than at a person’s face, it’s an early sign of autism.

And then, as I we headed out the door and I tried to convince my fussing baby that riding in her stroller couldn’t be that bad, a random child-free woman waltzed into the bathroom and said, “Looks like someone needs to be fed!”

It looks to this mom like a couple of someones need to mind their own business.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Pretty in Pink

The past few weeks I’d been worrying that my baby was going to start having gender identity issues, as her entire wardrobe before her arrival consisted solely of gender-neutral clothing—slate-colored leggings, brown sweaters, pale-aqua shirts—clothes that, come to think of it, no man would ever wear—at least not off Broadway—but it turns out when you stick a baby in a plain-white onesie and a pair of ice-blue leggings, she looks like a boy. It turns out all those ruffles and frills and flowers and hearts adorning all those pink, pink, pink shirts and jackets and rompers and sleepers are the only things in the world that will ward off the questions, “How old is he?” and “What’s his name?”

Who cares if people don’t correctly assess the sex of the baby? you say! That’s what I used to say, too, back when I naively thought a person could dress her newborn in pale green and have the world receive her as a girl. But it turns out I feel very protective of my offspring—ready to pounce on anyone who fails to see her for exactly who she is: an adorable, brilliant, motivated, fashion-forward, perpetually hungry girl. What else does she have at this age beyond her sex to define her? She’s not old enough to acquire her own message-bearing t-shirts or haircuts.

So I bought her a package of girly knit caps: a white one with pink flowers, a pink-and-white striped one, and one plain pink. She was wearing the pink-and-white striped one this morning when a fellow customer at my local coffee shop asked, “So, what’s his name?”

If the antidote is more pink, we’re in luck as this week the pink has been pouring in from friends and relatives and relatives of friends and friends of relatives like a tide of frosting on Valentine’s Day: pink footie pajamas with a matching pink hat; pink overalls with a pink-trimmed shirt; a denim dress with pink sequins, pink leggings, and a pink undershirt.

I have to say that even though when I put my baby in the frilly white bunting in which I myself was brought home from the hospital, she appeared to be dressed in drag, my pale white baby girl does look rather good in pink.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cat's in the Cradle

I have a confession to make. I rode in the back seat with the baby on the way home from the hospital. And on our first two trips to the pediatrician. It’s just that she’s so little back there alone—and I’m still not entirely used to her being outside of me. I swear the situation is temporary. I swear I’m not on the verge of becoming a Mennonite. I love dancing—and swearing—far too much.

On a related note, I swear the baby will not always sleep in the bed with us. WE ARE NOT ATTACHMENT-PARENTING PARENTS! As soon as she can learn to actually stay asleep when not in contact with another human, she will sleep in her little co-sleeper and then graduate to her crib. I cannot wait to snuggle with my husband at night again and, before too long, do OTHER THINGS with him, too.

So, a message to the cat: go ahead and keep enjoying the co-sleeper for now—but don’t get too used to it. And if you could wash the sheet when you’re done, that would be lovely.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another Kind of Normal —or— Why Western Medicine Rocks My World

Dr. Husband and the baby and I are home from the hospital now, and it turns out that being the mom of a newborn is a hell of a lot more fun than being the mom of a not-yet-born—and I haven’t even taken any of the Percocet yet! Yes, yes, it’s mesmerizingly lovely to gaze into the rich, Seattle blue-grey eyes of my sometimes-gorgeous baby, but equally lovely is witnessing the varicose veins rapidly disappear from my southern regions. It turns out that enduring such pleasantries for two months is good conditioning for enduring the after-effects of a vaginal delivery.

Speaking of which, giving birth to my baby was truly one of the best experiences of my life—just like the “normal” and “natural” childbirth advocates of the world—and all those dreadful pregnancy books—promise. I was, as you may recall, terrified of the whole hospital aspect of childbirth: all those needles and tubes being inserted into places formerly unvisited by foreign objects, all those chemical smells and beeping monitors and florescent lighting. But I had the world’s greatest labor nurses and anesthesiologist and obstetrician, and in the end, I slept through most of my labor.

Have I mentioned how much I love epidurals?

And how much I love Metoclopramide, which failed to stop me from throwing up (but, hey, my first 20 weeks of pregnancy more than prepared me for that!) but succeeded in knocking me out for two hours during which my cervix dilated seven whole centimeters. And for those pregnant ladies out there wedded to a “normal” “natural” childbirth: Do you have any idea how much it would have hurt to have your cervix dilate SEVEN centimeters in two hours? How abnormally, unnaturally excruciating it would be?*

I myself was lucky enough to have the world’s greatest epidural. I didn’t feel a thing—just a light, painless pressure as I pushed for 40 minutes and my baby slid out of my body and into the world. My hefty baby girl with whom I fell instantly and completely in love.

The entire experience was just as glorious as my Lamaze coach promised—but without any pain.

And I hate to gloat (but that won't stop me!)—I didn’t even break a sweat.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go take some more Advil and apply a new Tucks to my tender (but proud!) nether-regions. Because even the world's best epidural has to wear off sometime.

*Okay, fine, my cervix may well not have dilated that fast without the Pitocin coursing through my system, but whatever. I just had a baby. Cut me some slack.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In a Name

So, I have a new theory on why I kept gravitating to girlish boy’s names throughout my pregnancy—Robin, Avery, Wesley, anyone? I now think it’s not because I harbor a secret wish to have a sissy for a son (it’s actually not a secret!) but because the human being displacing my intestines for nine-and-a-third months was a girl. Is a girl.

Yes, after nine months and ten days I am the mom of a baby girl.

A girl!

An eight pound 11 ounce baby of the female persuasion, born around 8pm last night. (Which, by the way, makes my O.B. psychic in addition to being a gifted suturer.)

This makes me inordinately happy, as the chances of a girl child liking to spend her afternoon quietly making necklaces or potholders with me in my art studio/office are, while not 100%, still far greater than if said child were a boy. Particularly a boy named Conrad or Conan or Thor. (Okay, I made that last one up.) Robin, Avery, and Wesley clearly would have been the sort of boys who love making potholders and necklaces with their mama, but if not one of them preferred basketball to basketweaving, their daddy’s heart would have been broken. And if I had endured three vomiting- and varicose-vein producing pregnancies and not produced a single girl, my heart would have been a little broken—along with my vagina. Because no matter how sweet Robin, Avery, and Wesley would have been, bringing me mugs of hot tea and a hand-embroidered hanky whenever I wept, it’s not quite the same thing as having a little girl.

Even if she turns out to be a basketball-loving, craft-hating, rambunctious little tomboy. No matter what kind of person she turns out to be, my baby is a dreamy dream come true.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Induction Day

I’m trying to relax and just enjoy the day before my 7pm hospital check-in time, but there’s a dude power-washing our deck and sidewalk, as per our September request so that nobody would slip on the moss and algae this fall or winter, especially while carrying the baby. It’s nice that one more thing is getting checked off the list, but damn is that noise irritating. At this rate, the hospital will actually seem relaxing. As will that blessed epidural.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the Thirteenth

One week overdue. One day past the “most likely to give birth sometime in this range” window articulated by my obstetrician weeks ago.

I myself was born five days late—as my mom keeps reminding me—so it feels semi-fair in a cosmic sense that my baby would be five days late. But six?! And, at the rate this day is passing by with nary a uterine twinge, it will soon be seven. Seven! Days! Late! At least!

My mom was supposed to come for a five-day visit tomorrow, but when I told her there might not be a baby by the time her return flight left on Tuesday morning she said, “Well, I certainly don’t want to do that,” thereby shattering my illusion that while she was coming in part to meet the baby, she was mostly coming to entertain me and make me soup.

Apparently once this baby arrives I’m going to have to make my own damn soup.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When Life Imitates TV

Dr. Husband and I finally got around to watching the Happiest Baby on the Block video, at the urging of every person with children we’ve ever met. Which leads me to wonder, if every parent in America is following Dr. Karp’s famed baby-calming techniques, then every baby in America is the happiest baby on their block, and how is that possible? I mean, statistically speaking?

We’d been putting off watching partly because the prospect of watching a bunch babies scream seemed like an aggravating—and overly foreshadowy—way to spend an evening and partly because I’d read on the back of the box that the DVD was 128 minutes long. Two hours of screaming babies getting swaddled and shushed and held on their side and swung and given pacifiers to suck on? Thankfully it was some kind of typo—or maybe there are some really long bonus features on the DVD or something because the main feature was more like 28 minutes long—long enough to make us feel like we have a fighting chance at successful swaddling and not so long that we were driven to drink. (Well, at least not more than a few sips.)

As regards the swaddling, Dr. Husband said, “They really do become burritos, don’t they?”

Yes, they do. So much so that when I was standing in line today at a Mexican fast-food chain watching the employees make other peoples’ lunches as I waited to order mine, I kept thinking, “Wow, those burritos are like little swaddled babies, aren’t they?”

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Talk to the Cervix

So the baby scooted down another centimeter in the past week, which is all lovely and good, progress-wise (it’s less lovely and good bladder-wise and varicose-vein-wise), but since I’m not at all dilated or effaced or any of those other labor-related delights, the baby has nowhere to go. Apparently my cervix needs to “ripen,” which makes me think I need to put it in a paper lunch sack with a banana to speed up the process.

I worried out loud that maybe my cervix is, as the books say, “incompetent”—a phrase I remembered only for its supreme offensiveness, not so much for its meaning.

“Uh, that means that your cervix can’t hold the baby in,” Dr. Husband explained. “Not that it’s holding the baby in too well.”

My cervix, it would seem, is hyper-competent.

I told Dr. Husband that we need to stop harassing the baby to come out because the wee one is doing its part. “If you have any requests or complaints,” I told him, “address them to the cervix.”

Dr. Husband protested that talking to my cervix is not nearly as much fun as talking to the baby, but I was all, “How do you know? Have you ever talked to a cervix before?”

Happily, the answer to that was No.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Deadlines, Revisited

Okay, Baby No-Name. You have a deadline now: 7pm, Tuesday, November 16th. If you aren’t out by then, they'll give me some drugs to start getting you out. A week ago this date seemed impossibly far away, but now it's a huge relief to know the pregnancy won't be infinite.

If you’re at all like your dad or me, having this deadline will be very motivating—maybe downright inspiring.

And, just so you know, your dad and I often finish things early... and it would be okay with us both if you did, too.

Oh. My. God.

Well… my due date has come and gone, and here I am: still pregnant. Dr. Husband did his best to keep my spirits up throughout the weekend—cooking me lots of meals, taking me out to a movie, joining me on walks, bringing me flowers from the grocery store—but none of this did much to lessen my crankiness.

Like so many aspects of pregnancy, this last, insomnia-laden, too-huge-to-move stage was so oppressive at first that all I could think was, “I’m not going to make it.” This was my thought when I was massively nauseous and barfing all the time and when my indigestion kicked in in earnest and when I got varicose veins in intimate places and when I injured my knees falling on the gravel driveway and when it became clear I’d never be able to wear an attractive bra again.

But somehow, against all odds, I did make it through the nausea and the barfing and am still making it through the indigestion, the varicose veins, the knee injury, and the unattractive bra-wearing—and chances are I’ll make it though this last stage, too—I just wish with every sore, achy, tired muscle in my body that this stage would end already. Because a life spent lounging about in yoga pants, propped up by pillows on the couch, more or less immobile is not the life for me. At the very least I’d like to be wearing jeans.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Seattle Nice

It’s no secret that Seattleites are, as a whole, a passive-aggressive people. We give panhandlers money and then get offended if they don’t smile or say “Thank you.” Or, if we’re a panhandler, we carry a sign that says, “What if I starved tomorrow—would you care?” We are too wary of conflict to confront people directly but too petty and self-righteous to just let stuff go—which leads to the leaving of lots of notes, mostly under peoples’ windshield wipers, often sealed in a Ziploc baggy to protect the seethingly polite contents from the rain.

I have received windshield notes from neighbors asking me not to park on the strip of public street in front of their house, notes from fellow drivers asking me not to parallel park my “fancy German car” so close to theirs, and notes from garbage collectors asking me not to park my own car on my own street on trash day. As a joke, I once left a note on a friend’s car when I saw that she’d parked behind me, exhorting her to check the city statutes on the minimum distance allowable between two parked cars. To make it totally over the top I included a legend indicating the length of one inch [__________] for her reference. She had no idea it was a prank until I confessed, so similar was my note to ones she’d received in the past.

The approach is annoying and lame—and a hell of a lot easier than actually talking to people directly about something that’s bothering you. And so it was that I came to park in the truck of the construction dude who’s been working on the next-door neighbor’s house since mid-summer. For months now the dude and his helpers have been leaving their trucks in the alley, thereby parking in me and Dr. Husband. When we want to leave the house via automobile, we have to go next door and coax someone down off a ladder or off the roof to come move the truck out of our way. This is obviously exasperating, but we’ve tried to be patient. We’ve tried to be reasonable. We’ve tried to be accommodating—and this, of course, is how passive-aggressive behavior is born. Did we flat out tell them not to park us in? Did we talk to the owners of the house and ask them to ask their workers to park on the street instead of the alley?

Um. No. Each time the workers moved the truck and apologized for blocking us in, we would say something along the lines of, “That’s okay.”

Until today.

I’d been out doing errands and when I returned discovered the truck blocking the path to our garage. It was raining out. I had two bags of groceries in tow. I’m 39-weeks-and-six-days pregnant.

I very quietly snapped and decided to just park them in. Fuck it. If they wanted to leave, they knew where to find me.

Sure enough, an hour or so later the contractor knocked in the door, all hangdog and contrite. “I’m so sorry,” he said. I managed to keep myself from saying, “That’s okay,” and instead came up with, “It’s just that my due date is tomorrow—”

“And the last thing you need is the fucking contractor blocking you in!” the contractor finished for me.

“Well, yeah,” I agreed, not quite being able to make eye contact with him as I lumbered towards the car to move it for him.

“You’re pregnant! You get to say whatever you want!” he pointed out. “You should have told us to fuck off a while ago!”

“I’m working on it,” I muttered.

He repeated his apology and promised it wouldn’t happen again.

And that, my friends, is how it’s done here in Seattle.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sew What?

What’s wrong with me? Every time I’ve set out recently to purchase any flat, textile-based item (i.e. table runners for the wedding or curtains for the baby’s room), I’ve come home not with the item in question but with a vast swath of fabric and a nagging feeling of resentment towards myself. Because, the thing is, I don’t like sewing. I like things to be pretty, and I like things to be homemade, and I like making things, and I like having made something, and I like being surrounded by things I’ve made. I also like fabrics and textures and colors and patterns and often get turned-on just by being in a fabric store—even a giant chain with dirty linoleum floors and harsh fluorescent lighting. You might think that all this, combined with the fact that I’ve been sewing various projects since I was in junior high would add up to “this woman likes to sew”—but you would be wrong. Very, very wrong.

I hate to sew.

I also hate to knit and, to a large extent, I hate stringing tiny beads onto wire, even though I’ve made most of my own jewelry and a significant number of wooly scarves.

Something about these endeavors leave me feeling like Beth March in Little Women—cooped up and sickly and destined to die a virgin.

So why is it that I, 39-weeks-and-five-and-a-half days pregnant woman, came home from Ikea this afternoon not with a pair of curtains for the guest bedroom but with a piece of fabric—a piece of fabric that will require washing and ironing and cutting and measuring and more ironing and sewing and, gah, my head hurts just thinking about it.

One answer—the one I gave my husband—is that the curtain options were all ugly and not as inexpensive as I’d hoped and would have required hemming anyway whereas the fabrics were interesting and vibrant and downright hip—not to mention less than ten dollars.

But the real answer, clearly, is that I’m a masochist. And a slave to aesthetics. I’m all, I’ll be damned if the tables at our wedding reception are decorated with shiny, tasseled crap made in China. And, For the love of all that is holy, I will not purchase one more pale green or yellow item for my gender-not-yet-determined baby’s room. And today, Oooh! Lookit that pretty, pretty fabric! Must have!

So I’m sitting here hoping I’ll go into labor right now not just because I’m tired of not being able to properly digest food or walk up the stairs without getting lightheaded or see my own private bits without the assistance of a mirror but because going into labor right now would be just the excuse I need to not have to sew those motherfucking curtains.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

No Babies Here

What more is there to say?

I mean, other than #$% $*#^# *$!&*!!!

And: fuck patience.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Deadlines

I just returned from the obstetrician who, upon walking into the exam room cheerfully announced, “Any time between now and November 17th!”

November 17th? Is she out of her fucking mind? I will have to be hospitalized for hysteria loooong before November 17th. Fifteen days from now? And where did she even come up with that number? Take your due date, add the age of your husband’s half brother, subtract the age of a child of a friend born in November and voila!?

Pregnant women absolutely, positively should not be given due dates. I’ll take a window—even a large, gaping, leaky, poorly insulated five-week-long window—any day over a date that everyone and their mother will inquire about even though I’ll have only a 5% chance of delivering on that date. Throughout my entire 20-year career as a student, I only asked for an extension on an assignment once. To me, a due date is a due date. If I haven’t had this baby by November 7th, it will feel late to me, even if statistics indicate I’m more likely to deliver after the 7th than before.

In fact, I’m so prepared for this particular assignment that I would like to turn it in early. I would like to stop fretting about the margins and spacing and alignment and the title and the contents and just be done already.

November 17th, my (slowly but surely widening) ass.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Things They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy #101,482

Your friends, colleagues, family, and neighbors will feel inexplicably free to say rude things about your body—things they would never say to you if you were, oh, fat rather than pregnant, and you’re not supposed to get upset or offended. In fact, it seems you are supposed to reassure them in some way. Some examples:

“Oh my god! Do you ever just feel fat?”

“Oh my god! You’re still pregnant? When I saw you two months ago I didn’t think you could get any bigger!”

“Oh my god! You look like you need to be popped!”

“You remind me of my mother these days.”*

And my favorite: “Oh my god! You’re enormous! Are you sure there’s only one in there? Not, like, a whole litter of puppies?”

Puppies. Seriously. What the fuck?

*Said to me by my father, not my husband—which would have been much worse, Freudian-wise.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Public Assistance

After waiting semi-patiently for six months, trying to stay calm as I read every New York Times article about the dangers of swine flu in pregnant women, I got vaccinated today—a week before my due date. When Dr. Husband and I arrived in the little town of Snohomish at 8am, an hour before the clinic opened, we were maybe 150th in line. Everyone was in good spirits, in part because it wasn’t raining, in part because it feels really good to cross something off your to-do list that’s been languishing there for half a year, and in part because we were 150th in line, not 3,000th. The woman in line in front of us who was holding a spot for her 3 and 4 year-olds offered me her portable chair and didn’t shun us when I confessed we’d snuck in from Seattle. It was like a little taste of Iowa right here in chilly, grey Western Washington.

The event was the most well-organized government-sponsored activity I’ve ever witnessed. “Hey, is that guy handing out barbecue?” I asked, only slightly surprised when I saw a man in a black t-shirt with a pig’s face on the front working the line.

It turns out he was part of the Swine Flu Brigade handing out consent forms—not an employee of the BBQ Shack down the street handing out snacks—but still, no other county in the state has gotten swine flu vaccine to the public, and this place had their shit so together they’d made matching t-shirts!

When the man in the pig shirt came to our section of the line, someone asked whether there was a charge for the vaccine. The questioner was assured that the vaccine was free, whereupon the man behind me deadpanned, “That sounds like Socialism. I insist on paying someone.”

The scene had an air of festivity, from the take-a-number carnival tickets they handed out to the huge box of cheapo toy prizes for the kids. Often when someone’s number was called, they would cry out “Bingo!” and the whole crowd would chuckle. Every single time.

It was American Socialism at its very best.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Public Assistance

I finally got around to canceling my state-sponsored health insurance with the Department of Social and Health Services, sending in a form letting them know that I’m married now and no longer qualify for their assistance.

A nice lady from home office called me to make sure I know that just because I’m married doesn’t mean I get kicked off their program—even if I live in a fancy neighborhood in a house with three porches. “You could win the lottery and you’d still be covered,” she assured me.

“Um. Interesting.” I replied. “I just don’t think I’d feel right staying on when I have insurance from my husband’s work.” And when our yearly income is in the 6 figures.

After verifying that, yes, the baby will also be covered by Dr. Husband’s job, the nice lady said, half-cheerfully, half-forebodingly, “Well, if anything in your situation changes, just let us know and we can get you back on.”

It’s nice to feel so loved by the state, but it does beg a few questions about the American health care system's finances.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rural American Values

Even though I’m not on any kind of enforced bedrest, I’m finding myself spending a lot of time in a semi-reclined position on the couch. Reading, writing, napping, and watching Grey’s Anatomy (I close my eyes during the gross surgical parts) are the only activities I can sustain for longer than a half hour these days. I’m a little bored and cabin-feverish, but every time I venture out into the world for too long, my head starts to spin and my knees sort of buckle, and all I want to do is hurry home to read or write or nap or watch Grey’s Anatomy on the couch.

At the moment I’m reading Rhoda Janzen’s Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, the memoir of a 43 year-old woman who returns to the land of the Mennonites (i.e. her parents’ house) after she has a hysterectomy, gets in a really bad car accident, and her husband leaves her for a man he met on Gay.com. It’s completely hilarious and has me reminiscing about the many Mennonite moments of my own childhood, what with that Mennonite minister’s daughter best friend of mine. I’d forgotten how glorious the dichotomies are… The girl with the tightly braided hair and hand-sewn blouse and calf-length skirt showing off her enviable-sized Smurf collection. The mom with the sensible sandals and daily homemade cookie-making habit ensuring the permanency of the household stash of high-quality candy bars, never once running out of Snickers or Milky Ways.

The Mennonites of my youth were pretty progressive—for Mennonites. No bun-covers or outright bans on dancing or secular music. My best friend’s dad was not so much scornful as curious about a record I’d brought over one junior high day—an album that featured a stubbly shirtless man in a black leather jacket and large cross earring with the title Faith. I frantically grabbed it out of his hands before he could read that the roster of songs included one called, “I Want Your Sex.”

Our family hairdresser—a recommendation from the Mennonite best friend—even did the hair for a movie cast once. Granted, it was a movie about Amish people, but still, it was a pretty worldly endeavor, and the hairdresser herself is sufficiently worldly that she suggested yesterday to my mom that one way to go about getting a swine flu shot (something my mom has been worrying about for many months on my behalf) is to find a neighboring county—a rural one without any giant hospitals full of vaccine-hogging medical personnel—and get one there.

Mennonite or not, hairdressers know their shit!

And because the idea came from a Mennonite, I feel confident that I won’t burn in hell for crossing county lines to get a vaccine this weekend. I’m sure the good people of rural Washington would not want me or my offspring to die of something named after pigs. Even if I once encouraged a young Mennonite girl to partake of the music of George Michael.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Toehold on Sanity

You’d think that one of the perks of having a doctor for a partner would be that when bad, gross, or alarming things happen to your body, you have someone right there to check things out without having to bother with making an appointment with your Internist or G.P. or whomever. The problem is, not all of us want our partner looking at our various grody bits, even if they are a trained medical professional who claims they will not think any less of us or find us any less sexy just because, oh, say, our toenail fell off.

Seriously? I’m nine months pregnant and my body thinks that now would be a good time to remove the protective covering from one of my toes? Why? Why now? I had long ago come to a détente with the fungus that’s been living in my big toenail for the past seven years. My doctor (who I was not romantically involved with) informed me when it first appeared that it wasn’t hurting anything and that these types of things are notoriously hard to get rid of, so the best thing to do would be just learn to live with it. So I did. And now it’s betrayed me. Stupid toenail.

Dr. Husband says that no doctor will be able to do anything to help sort out what’s left of my toe while I’m pregnant—so I can add it to my post-partum self-care to-do list: learn how to nurse, find nursing bras that fit once my milk comes in, make friends with my hemorrhoid pillow and stash of Preparation H, be on the lookout for post-partum depression, and have toenail situation cleaned up for proper—and hopefully fungus-free—healing. Lovely.

When Kids Take the Backseat

We all carry images in our mind of the kind of parent we don’t want to become: the minivan-driving soccer mom in yoga pants and a designer hoodie popping a forehead vein as she screams at her kindergartener to show a little life out there! The distracted father who forgets his kid’s birthday and tries to make up for it by bringing home a kitten the next day, having also forgotten that his child is allergic to everything that sheds. For me it’s being one of those moms who rides in the backseat of the car with her kid while the dad drives around like a chauffer or like a single dad with two kids with a 34-year age span.

Growing up in my family, the front seat was decidedly for grown-ups and the backseat was for kids. This was not negotiated or argued or questioned, it just was. When we visited grandparents or they visited us and two adults sat in back with one kid while the other kid rode in the “front middle,” it was a special treat and the source of much giggling—particularly the time my dad scolded a backseat rider for making that horrible squeaking noise with their straw in the lid of their take-out cup, and the squeaker turned out to be my great-grandmother.

In my best friend’s family, the Mennonite minister dad and little brother rode in front while the mom, big sister, and I rode in back devising a plot to overthrow the patriarchy. Or maybe that was just me.

So it was with alternating waves of dismay and denial that I received the news, after 5 months of research, that the only way to fit an infant seat in my car would be to move the passenger seat all the way up until it practically touches the dashboard—leaving no room for a passenger—and put the car seat behind it. “It’s the only way,” insisted the National Child Passenger Safety Board-certified sales clerk at a nearby suburban children’s boutique where I’d gone in hopes of finding something more compact than the sprawlingly large American child restraints they hawk at big-box stores.

It’s not like my car is some teensy, sporty, child-unfriendly thing. It’s a VW station wagon, for christsake. Surely someone has found a way to transport their baby in a Jetta wagon without having to first become a Mennonite minister’s wife.

“Oh, you won’t be able to use the front passenger seat for a few years now, so you might as well get used to riding in the back while your husband drives. Or you could get a new car,” quipped the NCPSB lady.

She wasn’t kidding.

“Okay, thanks, sounds good, will do,” I muttered as I shooed her out of my car and headed back to Babies-backwards-R-Us to buy the car seat that had sort of fit in the middle, so long the handle was kept upright—which, according to the instructions one wasn’t supposed to do while driving—and so long as it’s okay for the car seat to rub heavily against the front seats—which, according to all safety information, it’s not.

I bought the sort-of-fitting seat, then went to Target to check out yet another brand of seat to see if it fit any better. Unfortunately, the seat from Target wasn’t sold individually. It was only sold as a package deal with a giant, unwieldy stroller that we have no use for, having already purchased a giant, unwieldy European (and therefore beautiful) stroller off Craigslist. I figured I could buy the car seat-stroller combo and test the seat out in the parking lot. If the seat fit I would return the whole combo right then and there, go home, and order the car seat solo off the internet.

So there I am, lugging a 127-pound travel system out to the parking lot, finagling the car seat out of its giant plastic baggie and away from its stroller friend without dropping either part onto the wet, muddy (it’s autumn in Seattle) pavement, and sticking it in the middle of the backseat to see whether it—Nope. Not a chance.

I wrestle the car seat back into its baggie, somehow reunite it with Mr. Stroller, which is still mostly inside the box, which is perched precariously on a shopping cart, which is rolling every which way, which no one is offering to help with (God, I miss Iowa)—and I wheel the whole thing to the customer service counter. I explain the situation, how I bought the thing not ten minutes ago, just wanted to see whether it would fit, but it doesn’t, blah, blah. The teenage customer servant looks at my receipt and immediately calls her supervisor over.

“I’m sorry,” the also-teenage supervisor says gravely. “Once the box has been opened, we can’t take these back.”

Let me take a moment here to say that throughout this entire pregnancy, I have been very well-behaved. I have not bored sandwich shop personnel with overly long explanations about the threat of listeria looming in lunchmeat or soft cheese. I have not regaled salesclerks or other people who aren’t my mother, husband, close friends, or readers with tales of my aches and pains and splotches, and I have never broken down into hysterical tears over some bureaucratic nightmare.

Until this day.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” I wailed. “That was the whole point of buying this thing! If I’d known I never would have come here! That’s just totally, totally insane! I bought it five minutes ago!”

“I’m sorry, but the seal’s been broken. We can’t—”

“The seal?! The seal!? It’s packing tape! Get me some packing tape and I’ll fix it up so no one will ever know it’s been opened!”

“It’s our policy that once the seal has—”

“Oh. My. God. It’s. A. Stroller! Not a sterilized piece of medical equipment! A. Stroller!”

“It’s our pol—”

“I don’t care if it’s your policy! I want to talk to your manager’s manager’s manager. The president of the company. I don’t care who, but there is absolutely no way I am giving this store 120 dollars for a car seat that doesn’t fit in my car and a stroller I can’t use. I will never shop here again!”—then I brought out the big guns. “I will tell EVERYONE I KNOW never to shop here!”

Which really ought to have gotten him scared because I know, like, fifty or so people.

The female customer servant just stared at me, clearly thinking the second I get home I’m making an appointment to get my tubes tied.

The manager guy started to seem sympathetic. Or maybe just tired. In any case, he eventually instructed his underling to process the return as “defective merchandise” and then made sure I knew he was breaking the rules.

I thanked him through my sniffles and then inanely tried to explain that I don’t usually cry to get my way—well, maybe just when I’m pulled over for speeding. But usually I cry because I’m mad at myself for not being assertive, so in a weird way my breakdown was a triumph. Not exactly how I would have scripted it had I had more time to prepare, but what’s the fun of being pregnant if you don’t get to scream at a pair of teenagers in red polyester vests and plastic nametags at least once?

After I got home from the Evil Store I Will Never Again Frequent—except to buy those cheese crackers nobody else seems to sell, I broke down and called The Car Seat Lady—yet another National Child Passenger Safety Board-certified volunteer car seat inspector—but one who understood (or at least accepted) my refusal to give up the use of my front passenger seat for the next two years. She promised over the phone that she had “just the car seat” for me. Seven minutes later she magically appeared at my front door, an enormous woman bearing two car seats and a four-and-a-half pound preemie-sized doll named Fremont.

(A brief aside: I normally wouldn’t mention someone’s girth as it seems rather rude and sizeist, but it’s sort of important for the visuals here—nine-months pregnant lady, twice-her-size other lady, two infant car seats and a four-and-a-half pound doll all fitting into the space that one goddamned car seat from Target refused to be wedged into.)

The Car Seat Lady demonstrates how one of the car seats I’d previously thought wouldn’t fit actually does fit, so long as you keep the handle in the upright position, which is okay in this particular model (unlike the other one) because this one has been safety tested—and approved—in this configuration. Who knew? The Car Seat Lady, that’s who!

I go back to Babies-backwards-R-Us to exchange the seat that can’t be used with the handle in the upright position for the one that can, and I am proud to say that now, a full five months after I began the process of outfitting my car with an infant seat, we are in business—no religious conversion required.

Monday, October 26, 2009

One Day at a Time

I had my 60th or so visit to the obstetrician today. She said the most likely window for delivery of this baby is between November 5th and 12th—two whole weeks from now! She then guessed the 10th as my delivery date—based on what, I do not know, but she was looking at my chart and wearing scrubs when she said it, so it seemed credible, even though I'm pretty sure these things can't be predicted. Otherwise, shouldn't she be running some sort of psychic network rather than peering into cervixes all day?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Deep Thoughts by a Random Pregnancy Website

“Whether it's your first or fourth baby, labor is quite possibly one of the most anticipated aspects of pregnancy.”

Quite possibly, indeed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Soothsayer

Tomorrow is the day I’ve been telling everyone (or everyone who will still listen to me when I talk about my pregnancy) that I plan to give birth. I’m not having a C-section or induction or anything, I just like the sound of “October 24th” and randomly chose it many months ago as my baby’s birthday. I realize that by doing this I have likely jinxed myself into having the baby on November 14th—the first day of the standard, week-long overdue-baby induction window—a date that is appallingly far in the future.

I share this tidbit in case I turn out to be psychic. I mean, it would have been a shame if I were and nobody knew.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We Go Way Back

A baby present arrived in the mail yesterday from one of my mom’s elementary school friends. Let me say that again: someone my mom used to sew matching outfits with in sixth grade sent a Baby Bjorn-type infant carrier contraption to the soon-to-be-born child of her childhood friend’s child.

That would be like one of the girls I used to play Cabbage Patch Kids with (Emily? Katie? Are you out there?) sending an umbrella stroller or something to the baby that this person hanging out in my uterus might have one day. It’s inconceivable on so many levels, not the least of which is that before that can happen, the person in my uterus has to come shooting out my vagina.

We’re just weeks—possibly even days—away, and it is just, after nine long, uncomfortable months, starting to feel real. Really real. Like, I need to stop accidentally whacking the top of the car seat with my elbow when I crane my body around to look out the rear window of my car because there will be a baby inside real. And, at my weekly appointment my therapist said I can bring the baby along next week real. And, if the construction workers next door don’t pick up the pace and finish the re-roofing project they started in July before the baby’s born, I’m going to have to buy a gun real.

I’ve wanted to have a baby for so long—pretty much since March 9, 1975 when I myself was born. It’s hard to believe I’m on the threshold, crossing over from wishing and longing and pining and being wildly jealous of other people and their babies to having one of my very own for other people to be wildly jealous of. Especially if he or she turns out cute. And sleeps a lot. And has the world's coolest, most enviable name. And gives good presents.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Centimeter at a Time

He (or she) is not even born yet, but already my baby is a genius! Due to the popularity of my obstetrician (who I love again. It turns out she was having a bad day that one time) and the realities of modern American health care, my last two “weekly” check-ups were only 3 days apart. And in that small amount of time the baby dropped a full centimeter! Without any contractions! My first- (and given the discomforts of pregnancy possibly only-)born scooted him- or herself one centimeter closer to the outside world, where he or she can cause a beautiful, extra-utero ruckus—and, more importantly, no longer cause his or her mother indigestion, GERD-cough, shortness of breath, constipation, or varicose veins in unmentionable places!

I’d been getting a little worried about the baby’s exact level of genius, given his or her inability to grasp the concept of keeping still when it’s night-night time or uncurling his or her toes from my ribcage upon request, but clearly my concerns were misguided. He or she understands biology, physics, medicine, linearity, and basic human decency. Go, baby!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things They Don't Tell You About Pregnancy, #38,792

While some foods will taste like glue for the duration of a pregnancy (rice crackers, pumpkin seed butter, peanut M&Ms, saltines), other foods will taste like delicious treats one day and like glue the next. Even in your third trimester, even when the bun in your oven is, pardon the technical term, fully baked.

Yesterday: Coca-cola = a delicious and delightful treat that soothed the savage and massively deprived caffeine beast.

Today: Coca-cola = glue.

Yesterday: Fiesta Lime Rice Chips = a delicious and delightful treat that almost made me forget that wheat-containing foodstuffs exacerbate my indigestion and formerly delicious corn chips haven’t tasted right for, oh, about nine months.

Today: Fiesta Lime Rice Chips = glue.

Yesterday: Apples = a delicious and delightful treat that provided some much-needed fiber in a format far more appealing that Metamucil—which, by the way, tastes like glue.

Today: Apples = glue.

I’ve already warned Dr. Husband that the instant I’ve given birth and regained my senses (all five of them), I’m going to be demanding an espresso beverage—not from the hospital cafeteria, a butter croissant, and an entire log of the freshest, most unpasteurized chèvre money can buy.

And, as long as I live, I never want to see another saltine again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Game of the Name

Dr. Husband and I still don’t have any agreed-upon boy names for the wee one, and I’m getting slightly panicky about it. Yes, we could be having a girl, rendering the issue irrelevant, but the only thing getting me through this 5-week window of “any minute now you’re going to start the most excruciatingly painful/gloriously magical experience of your life” is by being prepared as a way of deluding myself into thinking I’m in control. Baby clothes and blankets washed? Check. Burp cloths personalized with poorly executed DIY alterations? Check. Diaper delivery ordered? Check. Freezer stocked with labor-friendly popsicles? Check. Pediatrician met, interviewed, and approved? Check, check, check.

If this critter curling its toes around my ribcage does turn out to be a boy, we know what we’re doing with the foreskin on his penis—we just don’t know what his name might be.

Every few days I come up with a new name that I love—Issac, Oliver, Grover—and every few days Dr. Husband makes the same horrified face at me that I make at him when he reasserts his inexplicable love of Conrad, Casey, and Percival.

“We’re not going to find the perfect name,” he warns. “We need to focus on ones we can both live with.”

Has this man not met me?

I’m a writer. Words are my life. Of course my child needs the perfect name—one that’s not too popular or trendy but not totally weird or obscure, something dignified that doesn’t scream I’m destined for private school! (especially since he probably is), a name that’s classic but not so old-fashioned that people will assume we chose it from a tombstone in a local graveyard.

If our baby is a girl, we’re all set with two solid options and a third likely contender if neither of the first two options seem to suit her.

If it’s a boy, Dr. Husband and I will likely be leaving the hospital with a blank birth certificate and a renewed need for couples’ counseling. How else to reconcile his insistence on something manly like Conrad (!) with my desire for something sweet like Robin?

Last night during the second of two hours-long bouts of infamous third-trimester insomnia my mind decided it would be delightful to present a roster of bad, evil, and otherwise nefarious men with the various names on Dr. Husband’s and my “don’t totally love it but are willing to consider it for the sake of our child not being nameless for the rest of his life” compromise list. In no time at all, my exhausted but wide-awake mind came up with a child molester, a mass murderer, and an assassin. Do normal people just block out these associations? Do I just need to get out of the house more?

Okay, the answer to that is clearly Yes. But where can I go that doesn’t require standing, sitting on any hard surfaces, smelling any strong smells, staying awake, or wearing a properly-fitting bra?

Is it wrong to think that because the baby will have my husband’s surname and because I’m the one growing this creature inside me that my vote should hold more weight than his? Perhaps, oh, thirty pounds more?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Little Black Rain Cloud

Yesterday when Dr. Husband and I were out on our daily walk we talked a bit about my fears of childbirth—specifically my fear that he’ll get annoyed with me when I ask for a different flavor of popsicle than the one he’s handing me or when I ask him to retrieve the soft toilet paper from the stash in my overnight bag because the hospital’s toilet paper is too sharp or when I tell him the smell of his hair gel is making my nausea unbearable and can he please go wash his hair? or whatever crazy demands I make in the throes of labor.

“I’m not attacking you,” I gingerly explained, “I’m just saying that we have a bit of a history of my needs causing you irritation, and I’m nervous about that happening when I’m giving birth.”

My emergency room doctor husband reminded me that he’s really good in emergencies (duh) and figures that childbirth qualifies as such. When I reminded him that childbirth is a rather prolonged “emergency” scenario and I just wanted to make sure that he could handle the popsicle/toilet paper/hair washing demands of hour eleven or nineteen or whatever, he said, “Oh, don’t worry. I know it’s not going to go quickly. You’re kind of a black-cloud patient.”

A black-cloud patient? I was trying to assess what this could possibly mean and whether I should be offended when Dr. Husband added, “That’s mean, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Okay, then. That cleared up whether I should be offended.

I asked him what he meant and he said that in residency there are residents for whom everything seems to go right—the “white cloud” residents—and those for whom everything seems to go wrong. “You know, a patient who seems totally fine suddenly dies,” he cheerfully explained—and then hastened to add that it was through no doing of their own. “It’s like a curse, a lore.”

“But the ones who see more bad stuff get a better education,” I observed, always rooting for the underdog.

Dr. Husband nodded—perhaps somewhat dismissively?—and then continued to tell me about some study that was done that showed that the “black cloud” residents were less efficient than the white cloudies and that somehow contributed to their seeming bad luck.

“So you’re saying is their fault?”

“That’s why it was a mean thing to say.”

Notice the man did not say he didn’t mean it—just that he shouldn’t have said it.

“But not everything. Has gone wrong. With my pregnancy!” I protested, huffing heavily after every few words so I wouldn’t get one of the crippling side cramps I’ve been prone to on our walks the past few months. “I mean. So many. Things. That could have. Gone wrong. Haven’t! I haven’t. Had any. Complications. At all. I’m just. Really sensitive. To the stuff. That does happen!”

Dr. Husband nodded enigmatically and held his tongue.

“I don’t. Have a black cloud. Over my head!” I insisted as we turned the corner to head up the alleyway behind our house. I then proceeded to slip on a loose patch of gravel and fall on my knees so hard I was pretty sure I broke them.

I can no longer put weight on the right one when I go up stairs, and both sitting down and standing up are excruciating—especially from a low seat, such as a toilet. And I don’t know if you’ve heard, but pregnant ladies tend to have to pee with some frequency, what with a giant uterus full of blood and water and baby squishing down on our bladders.

Also, the right knee bled all night long, soaking through the band-aids and making our bed look like a murder scene, albeit a small one—maybe a squirrel murder scene?—this morning. Dr. Husband had originally offered to give me stitches, but by the time I overcame my wimpiness and agreed, he had chickened out. “Stitches hurt pretty bad,” he explained.

Then I asked him if he could pick me up some pistachio ice cream from the grocery store and he said, “But we have lots of gingersnap in the freezer.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hippocrates

In all the hubbub over the past two years of meeting Dr. Husband and falling in love and getting engaged and moving in together and getting pregnant and getting married (and getting nauseous and getting fat and getting varicose veins) I neglected to remember one thing: doctors don’t like me. Or maybe it’s that I don’t always like them. In any case, I’m the type of person with a note on file at one doctor’s office that reads, “Patient is very [emphasis theirs] skeptical of Western medicine”—because I declined her offer of Prozac samples to treat my lifelong habit of crying when I'm sad.

I just had my first bad OB trip, one of those visits where everything everyone says is wrong—so much so that you have to wonder, is it just me? Am I being overly sensitive? Should I have taken some Prozac this morning?

The crimes of the nurse and doctor are too numerous (and boring and inane) to chronicle here, so I’ll just give you a sampler, like a box of Whitman’s.

One
Nurse [suddenly interested—on my, like seventeenth visit—in my professional life]: Oh, you’re a writer! Are you published?

Need I say more? That question is like asking a doctor, “Have you killed anyone?”

Okay, it’s not really the same—but neither is it the end of our disheartening exchange!

Me: Uh…yeah…in some literary magazines and Seattle Metropolitan and—
Nurse: No books, though?
Me: I’m working on that.
Nurse: Do you write baby books?
Me [taking a moment to parse what she means]: Um…no…not really…my stuff has pretty much been for grownups so far.
Nurse: Oh. Well if you write a baby book, you’ll have to let us know! You’ll be the first writer I know!

Two
Me: I’ve have this excruciating pain in my pelvis [and some other even more personal regions I’ll refrain from naming here] the past few days that I finally self-diagnosed as varicose veins.
Formerly Beloved Doctor [slipping on a pair of latex gloves]: Let’s have a look.
Me: Um… I’m actually latex-sensitive… not that it’s a big deal, but apparently it’s better if I don’t have a lot of exposure to—
Formerly Beloved Doctor: What are your symptoms?
Me: Well, itchiness.
Formerly Beloved Doctor: An allergy would be highly unusual.
Me [trying my hardest not to slip into apology mode]: Oh. Yeah. Um. Well… my last gynecologist told me it was better not to be exposed to latex if I’m sensitive to it because it could develop into an allerg—
Formerly Beloved Doctor [slipping on a pair of non-latex gloves]: Be sure to remind me at each visit. It’s habit to reach for the latex ones.
Me [in my head]: Right! Because that exchange went so well! And isn’t there a place somewhere on my chart for such tidbits?
Me [out loud]: Okay.
Formerly Beloved Doctor [peering between my legs]: Yep. You’re right. Varicose veins.
Me: Any suggestions?
Formerly Beloved Doctor: I’ve seen worse.
Me: But any suggestions for making this case less painful?
Formerly Beloved Doctor: Oh, they usually go away when you give birth.
Me [in my head]: Usually! Usually! I don’t even recognize my nether-regions anymore but that’s okay—these things usually clear up eventually?
Me [out loud]: So I just need to toughen up?
Formerly Beloved Doctor: …

The problem with being married to a doctor is when you have a doctor’s office visit like this one, he takes the mean doctor’s side! “She was probably just having a bad day” indeed!

I want apologies! I want do-overs! I want suggestions for how to make my crotch stop killing me! I want a nice, soft, squishy midwife!

But, yes, I still want an epidural, dammit.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Neither Snow Nor Rain

The mailman just came to the kitchen door and waved at the exact moment I was standing in front of the freezer, lifting up my dress and applying an ice pack to my crotch. (See “Things They Don’t Tell You About Pregnancy #927” or, as my mother refers to it, “Your latest problem.”) That will teach me to order cute baby clothes off the internet. Or maybe he was delivering my hemorrhoid doughnut pillow—which I naively thought I wouldn’t need until after I gave birth.

I suppose, as a mom-to-be it’s just the first of many semi-clothed encounters with the postal carrier, so I might as well get used to it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Toast!

Last night I dreamed that I was suddenly in charge of a family of seven—not me and Dr. Husband and five kids but me and Dr. Husband and three kids and those kids’ mom and dad. I had to get breakfast together for everyone, including the mom and dad who seemed quite pleased to be able to kick back and chill in the backyard while I slaved away over the toaster.

That’s what I made for everyone: toast. And it was exceptionally challenging. For starters, there weren’t more than three slices of any one kind of bread, and I’d never really thought about this before because I’ve seldom had to cook for seven, but it’s a lot more difficult to toast 14 slices of multiple sizes and shapes and colors and types of bread than it is to toast 14 slices from one loaf. Why? I’m not sure, but in my dream it was very, very challenging.

I was still in the toasting phase—I hadn’t even moved on to the buttering stage or the finding out what kind of topping everyone likes on their toast (Nutella? Jam? Peanut butter?) stage when it dawned on me I’d have to make them all lunch, too. How to do all this and get them to school (and in the case of the parents, work) on time? In the end, everyone was late and I forgot to write a note to the attendance lady so no one would get in trouble.

If I have this much difficulty making toast, how will I possibly make it as a Mom?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Things They Don't Tell You About Pregnancy #816

If anyone ever tells you that once you're done with your first trimester of pregnancy you're in the clear, barfing-wise, they're lying.

That's all I'll say.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scents to a Woman

Apparently my used furniture karma has taken a turn for the better. I bought yet another dresser for the nursery last week—a cute little minty green one—after assuring myself that it passed the sniff test and the aesthetics test and the “not the same colors as my junior high PE uniform” test. When I mentioned my previous ill-advised dresser to the super nice young couple who sold me the new, cute one they told me they might be able to take it off my hands, as they make a living fixing up old furniture and selling it on Craigslist. I sent them a photo and innumerated the dresser’s flaws and told them I was more than willing to take a loss it just to not have to deal with trying to sell it myself—or letting it sit in the attic until Dr. Husband and I die and our child has to return home to sort through our effects. Holy crap, what’s the deal with this ugly dresser that matches Mom’s junior high P.E. uniform? And why did she save her junior high P.E. uniform? Hopeless.

This afternoon the super nice young couple came and bought it! For more than the lowest price I’d mentioned being willing to settle for! And they gave me tips on getting rid of the mildew smell on our bed—which the female half of the couple described as “like mildew and feet” and the male half described first as nonexistent then conceded was “like the smell on a boat.” “Right,” I agreed, “which is pretty much the smell of mildew and feet.” They suggested trying vinegar, and if that doesn't work try some sort of fire-be-gone stuff you spray on furniture that’s been in a fire, and if that doesn't work try polyurethane, and if that doesn't work, sell it on Craigslist. “It’s a really nice bed,” they both said. “Maybe you can sell it to a gay couple since guys apparently can’t smell,” the woman suggested.

I am now the proud owner of not two but one nursery dresser—and the stash of twenties in my wallet has been blessedly replenished and I no longer feel like such a regretful moron. Now, off to sort out the changing table situation as the Febreze-stinky leather ottoman taunts me from the corner.

Monday, September 14, 2009

In Good Hands

What is it with life insurance guys? Why must they always live up to their reputation? We had one—I’ll call him Bill because that’s his name and yet it doesn’t exactly give away his identity—visit us yesterday since apparently he needed to meet the missus before moving forward with our new policy.

He showed up at our house a HALF HOUR early and called from his cell phone and was all, “I’m sitting here in my car trying to do paperwork, but it’s really difficult here in my car. Where I’m sitting. Outside your house. Doing paperwork.” I was all, “Well, Dr. Husband just worked the overnight shift and I’m a pregnant stay-at-home writer, so NEITHER OF US IS SHOWERED OR DRESSED YET, YOU MORON, so hows about waiting until the time you were supposed to show up before letting the slimefest that is life insurance sales commence?” Or something vaguely like that.

Once we’d put on clothes and let Bill into our home, he was very impressed to learn that Dr. Husband is an emergency medicine doctor and very happy to share his every harrowing emergency room story with us… The time his son had a bad prescription drug interaction, the time his other son fell out of a tree, the time the son who he no longer speaks to because he’s “too much of a nonconformist” went off his meds—or something like that, I wasn’t really listening, I was just trying to sign my name as quickly as possible so he would leave our house so I could take a shower and start my day like a typical nonconformist—i.e. without a life insurance agent at my dining room table.

Bill stayed for half an hour—the amount of time it takes a life insurance agent to collect four signatures and two drivers license numbers and two Social Security numbers.

Oh, also in that time he managed to squeeze in lots of fawning over Dr. Husband (You’re a doctor! An emergency doctor?! That’s great! That’s so exciting! How interesting!) and to finally turn to me to ask, “So, you’re a homemaker?”

A homemaker.

I’d forgotten that word existed. I thought it had gone the way of the dodo, the laserdisc, and menstrual pads with belts.

I explained, tight-lipped, that I’m a writer. There’s a big difference! Sure writers stay home during the day and putter about the house halfheartedly wiping down countertops and absentmindedly making grocery lists—but we also write! We digest experiences and render them entertaining and enlightening. We’re like the stomach of the masses—or maybe the kidneys, or perhaps we’re more like—

Bill interrupted my internal monologue to ask, “So what's your annual salary?”

He wasn’t being mean, he needed an answer for his paperwork.

I grimaced and told him the answer.

He was kind enough to reply, “Well, that’s something!” and, more importantly, he was kind enough not to laugh.

Thank you, Bill the Life Insurance Guy.

But please don’t ever come back to my house. Even if you're on-time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dog Daze

I searched the web today for the “best daycare in Seattle.” All that popped up were places that will take “loving care” in a “home away from home” environment for my “kid in a fur coat.”

When I searched for the best playgrounds in town I discovered all the hot spots for “tiny four-legged tots.”

I never thought I’d say this, but apparently it's too bad I’m not gestating a canine.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nosocomephobia: Who Knew?

Today we toured the hospital where I will be giving birth sometime in the next two months. Like so many other aspects of this whole pregnancy adventure, educating myself on exactly what I can expect from my hospital experience was not exactly the calming, empowering, anxiety-reducing experience all the books promise it will be. It was, instead, terrifying.

Yes, it’s helpful to know where to park and which button to push in the elevator, but aside from those educational gems, the tour merely served to remind me how much I hat hospitals. I mean, I reminded Dr. Husband as we approached the entrance that I know hospitals are no big deal for him but I hate them—I’d just forgotten how visceral my hatred is. And “hatred” probably isn’t even the right word. It’s more fear than loathing—as evidenced by the tears that sprang to my eyes the instant I saw a very unhappy-looking woman being wheeled down the hall on a gurney by a lone nurse. She wasn’t screaming or writhing or behaving in any way like a laboring woman in a movie or television show, she just looked like she would rather be anywhere else in the world doing anything else in the world wearing anything else than what she had on.

I simultaneously wanted to crawl up onto the gurney to snuggle her and to run away shouting, “Sign me up for a home birth!”

If only midwives could administer epidurals.

Fear of pain, fear of dying, fear of needles, fear of scalpels, fear of forceps, fear of anesthesia, fear of episiotomies, fear of nurses, fear of tubes, fear of beeping noises, fear of antiseptic, fear of hospital gowns, fear of hospital food, fear of bedpans. For as long as I can remember I’ve been plagued, too, by the fear of my slippery, slimy newborn being dropped on the hard hospital floor. I mean, I suppose the doctors have had plenty of practice catching babies, but would it kill them to put down a few towels?

It would probably be good for me to visit the labor & delivery wing a few more times before I have to go there for real, to desensitize myself a little. I’ve heard that fear slows down the labor process, and the last thing I want is to be there any longer than I have to. But I have a suspicion that exposure therapy won’t work all that well if I just stand there thinking, “I hate it here, I hate it here. What’s that smell? I hate it here.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Boarders

In the process of preparing the house this summer for the baby’s arrival, Dr. Husband and I switched the guestroom from the one across the hall from our bedroom to a cozy, quiet little room in the corner of the basement. A friend visiting from Minnesota tested out the new room for a week and declared it to be “perfect.” Perfect, too, it turned out, was having the guest room not right outside our bedroom. Not that Dr. Husband and I were up to anything worth spying on, we just fare better when we have our privacy. We’re more relaxed, more ourselves, more likely to brush our teeth while naked when there’s nobody else upstairs with us. Many of our favorite moments of our wedding were the ones where it was just the two of us in the car driving from one event to the next, either quickly processing some relation’s antics or just sitting quietly holding hands and enjoying being a tiny little team.

So it was with some horror that I realized recently that not only are Dr. Husband and I getting a baby out of this whole pregnancy deal, we’re also getting a housemate—one with an 18-year minimum lease. I had this flash of our son (we still don’t know the baby’s sex yet—I just keep picturing a boy) at age 13 living in the bedroom across the hall from Dr. Husband’s and my room, and the whole proposition seemed suddenly absurd. In no way have we been in the market for a housemate—particularly a teenage one! Some days the proximity of the next-door neighbors feels oppressive—and they’re hardly ever home! Why are we suddenly inviting this adolescent stranger to come live in our former guestroom and hog the TV and eat all the best snacks? It took a few moments of Lamaze breathing (hee—hee—hee—hee—whoooooo) before it occurred to me that by the time the boy is 13 he won’t be a stranger, and he won’t feel like a guest. First he’ll be this screaming, fussy suckling who keeps us in a state of sleep-deprivation so severe that we forget what it was ever like to have peace or quiet or privacy. By the time he’s 13 we’ll probably be rather used to him and rather able to be ourselves around him.

“Yeah, either that,” Dr. Husband deadpanned when I told him all this, “or we can just send him to boarding school.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Clothes Horse

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve cared about the clothing I wear—a favorite sweater or perfectly broken-in pair of jeans or shiny knee-high black boots that perhaps would have been better suited for riding horses than attending Care-Bear-themed birthday parties—I chose these items carefully each morning, relishing the “look” I felt I was creating. Bookish one day, flowy and romantic the next. I was a shy kid—friendly, but quiet—and used clothing as a way of expressing myself to the world without having to open my mouth.

I never understood people who wore pajamas all day long. One of my least favorite parts of the week was Sunday morning when my mom and dad hung out and read the newspaper in their robes—All. Morning. Long. Weren’t they bored and icky-feeling? I was bored and icky-feeling just being in the same room with them. A day of pajamas was a day of nothing interesting happening. And, frankly, after decades of use, those robes didn’t smell so great. Even when I was sufficiently sick to stay home from school, I hoisted myself out of bed and put on clothing. Just being in my pjs after 8am made me feel more unwell than I already was.

So you can imagine how poorly I’ve been rolling with the whole maternity clothing thing. Just toss on some yoga pants and one of my husband’s extra-large t-shirts advertising some extreme sporting event? I’d pretty much rather kill myself. Call it vanity, call it stubbornness, call it making my life more difficult than it needs to be—I do not wear exercise clothes unless I’m exercising. And even then I’m inclined to wear things like cute, stripey knee-socks rather than the requisite puffy white sweat-collectors.

As for actual, official maternity clothes, why must they be so hideous? There’s nothing quite like not being able to fit into pants unless they feature a “secret fit maternity panel”—essentially a giant tube of pantyhose where belt-loops ought to be—to send a woman, or this woman at least, running into the arms of the nearest therapist.

I’m surprised by how difficult it’s been. I always fancied myself to be one of those women who would like being pregnant. But that was before I came to grips with the grim realities of all-day morning sickness and permanent indigestion, and before the realities of maternity panels, granny-cut shirts, and the poly-blends maternity clothing manufacturers prefer because, hey, pregnant ladies don’t need natural fibers—they’ll just throw up on them anyway. As if being huge and hormonal and uncomfortable and nauseous and desperately hungry—but not wanting to get fat—all the time weren’t enough, we have look like we dressed ourselves from the Sears catalog, too.

The other day I was so desperate to wear pants after spending three months in a $10 stretchy skirt from Old Navy that I went out and happily—happily—purchased a pair of khakis with a secret fit maternity panel and rushed home to put them on along with a heather grey maternity t-shirt that actually covers my entire belly, so excited by the prospect of wearing clothing that fit and was reasonably comfortable that I neglected to remember that I don’t like khakis. They make me feel frumpy even when I’m not pregnant and they don’t feature a giant cylinder of panty-hose around the waist. I slid the cylinder up over my hips and belly until it was practically touching the bottom of my who-knew-cup-sizes-went-that-far-into-the-alphabet maternity bra and pulled the t-shirt down to cover the cylinder. I took one look in the mirror and collapsed onto the floor wailing, “I look like a pregnant army mom!” Nothing against army moms, pregnant or otherwise—it’s just not a look I've been meaning to cultivate.

My very sweet husband suggested I go shopping for some accessories to cheer myself up—perhaps some shoes or funky rings or hair ribbons—but by then I was in such a bad mood it just made me feel worse, like he was acknowledging that the core of my body is so hopeless I should just focus on my extremities.

Increasingly I’m realizing how afflicted I was by the soft-focus image of pregnancy our culture is intent on projecting. I thought when I got pregnant I would feel strong and useful and happily ripe, like the first tomato of the summer. I swore I would not be one of those women who complained about feeling fat and then polished off a pint of ice cream. I would just eat the ice cream and enjoy being filled with the miracle of life. I would grow round and wear horizontal stripes. I would be patient and soft with myself as the flood of hormones washed away the standard flood of insecurities, leaving me content and fulfilled and certain about my purpose.

Basically I thought pregnancy would make me an entirely different person.

But in reality I miss my form-hugging jeans and clingy shirts and sweaters. I miss being able to run up and down the stairs without holding onto the railing and worrying I’m going to kill precious cargo should I trip and fall. I miss wearing bras whose cup sizes belonged firmly to the beginning of the alphabet and came in colors other than beige. And I miss the days when my husband’s hospital scrubs were too big for me to wear as pajamas.

Mostly I miss feeling like myself, weather in my favorite jeans or snuggled up naked next to my sweetie at night without a big, hard beach ball wedged between us. Don’t get me wrong—I’m excited to have a baby (who, incidentally, will not be sleeping between us)—I’m just not loving the whole being pregnant thing. And it’s not the maternity clothing industry’s fault that I feel this way, but they sure as hell aren’t helping.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a pair of secret fit maternity panel khakis to exchange, because guess what? Maternity stores don’t take returns! Only exchanges! If they took returns they’d be out of business—all two of them. Hopefully they sell accessories because I could really use a new pair of stripey socks and a nice set of funky barrettes right about now.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Land That I Love

Today is the beginning of my third trimester, more or less. No nausea or massive exhaustion, just indigestion worthy of one of those commercials showing a red, pulsating esophagus.

I fear that I’m already becoming completely boring, and I’m not really even a mom yet. All I want to do is shop for baby stuff (cribs, changing tables, stuffed bears). So I’m not just boring but hopelessly American.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Maddening

This morning I took a sip of water from a glass that had been sitting out all night and quickly discovered that it tasted like worms—an observation I immediately shared with my new husband.

“How do you know what worms taste like?” the good doctor replied.

“Well, in Iowa whenever it rains the worms crawl out onto the sidewalk, and they smell really bad, and this water tastes like that. Like the smell of worms.”

“Oh. The smell of worms. That’s different.”

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A Real Kick

We’re deep in the throws of last-minute wedding planning (you know—ordering bow ties, shopping for shoes, choosing the wording of our vows, sewing table runners—all the stuff the experts suggest leaving for the last possible minute), and I’m finally feeling the baby kick in earnest. Now that it’s happening a lot, I realize I’ve been feeling it for a few weeks—I just thought it was, well, there’s no polite way to say this: gas. It feels nothing at all like butterflies but quite a bit like an air bubble moving through my intestines. Who knew?

When Dr. Fiancé put his hand on my belly to feel the kicks from the outside I told him they weren’t that strong yet.

Turns out I was wrong. The babydaddy was quite pleased. As was his soon-to-be-wife.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Boys Only

In these last days before our wedding, Dr. Fiance reports that his colleagues are giving advice like, “Live it up while you still can!” and, “Enjoy life on this side of things before it’s too late.” Can I just say: no one says these things to a pregnant bride? So not fair.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mr. Astute

The other day while reading the paper Dr. Fiancé glanced up and exclaimed, “Hey, as soon as we get back from our honeymoon, it’s going to be time to start taking childbirth classes!”

No rest for the weary. Well, I guess a honeymoon is restful, but that’s about it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Lithium of Sorts

Clearly something is up with my hormones.

Is it possible for pregnancy to make a woman’s moods more stable? Has this ever happened in the history of the world?

One of my very best friends wrote yesterday to say that her partner isn’t recovering as fast as they’d hoped from his recent surgery and she wouldn’t be able to come to the wedding after all. I’m sad and disappointed but haven’t shed a single tear or slammed a single door or turned my fiancé into a scapegoat for, say, buying the wrong kind of butter. I’m all, “The show must go on.”

It’s unnerving.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Hormones

Last night I dreamed that the über hot guy from Friday Night Lights—the long-haired receiver (or whatever one of those guys who gets the ball thrown to him is called) with the alcohol problem who’s in love with the paralyzed quarterback’s girl—I dreamed that he was the father of my child. Even though he has the emotional IQ of a mole and was, in my dream, perpetually on the phone telling a different woman he loved her, I wanted him to come to Seattle with me to take an active role as my baby’s daddy. I was also sort of in love with him myself. And though I don’t have a precise memory of this from my dream, I’m pretty sure the sex was amazing.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Small Favors

This wedding planning thing is never-ending, I tell you. I sent copies of the readings Dr. Fiancé and I selected to our three readers, and one of them wrote back to say he wasn’t sure the poem he was supposed to read was appropriate for a wedding. “Do you really want a poem that uses the word ‘immolate’ read at your wedding?” he asked. Dr. Fiancé and I panicked, then re-read the poem, then re-read it again, and finally decided, yes, we want a poem that uses the word “immolate” to be read at our wedding. However, Dr. Fiancé no longer liked one of the other poems we’d selected. Upon further inspection, it turns out Shel Silverstein is a pretty dark dude. So we both spent the day not dictating charts or working on a magazine article or looking for branches for a chupah or sewing table runners for the reception dinner or any of the other 4,934 things we need to do in the next 13 days but instead looking for another reading. Again.

It only took the whole day, but we finally found one. And it’s kind of perfect. We’re just a little behind—but what else is new? At least I’m not still barfing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Another Career Possibility

I’m thinking of writing a series of children’s books about the adventures of a pregnant lady about to get married. The Pregnant Bride Gets Her Wedding Dress Fitted Two Weeks Before Her Wedding Day. The Pregnant Bride Goes Bra-Shopping. The Pregnant Bride Goes Bra-Shopping Again. The Pregnant Bride Tries to Help Her Fiancé Choose a Champagne for the Wedding Without Giving Her Baby Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The Pregnant Bride Drags Her Fiancé to Nordstrom Rack to Shop for Wedding Shoes. The Pregnant Bride Shops for Tile and a Faucet and a Sink for the Bathroom Remodel. The Pregnant Bride Makes Yet Another To-Do List. The Pregnant Bride Wishes She Could Take a Nap. And, The Pregnant Bride Says “Fuck It” and Takes a Nap Anyway.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Butterfly Effect

I woke up this morning knowing that my baby is a girl.

I am 0% confident that this means I’m actually having a girl, as sometimes I wake up in the morning “knowing” that I’m in my childhood bed or that I’m still single and need to get busy looking for a mate.

When I poke and prod at this “knowledge” I have about my offspring, it becomes indistinguishable from sheer wishful thinking. So, Dr. Fiancé and I settled on a baby girl name 12 months ago whereas I’m having second, third, and fourth thoughts about the boy name we also “settled” on months ago—that isn’t the universe telling me that this child is a girl. It’s just the universe telling me that one shouldn’t choose names so far in advance—and that the girl name we chose kicks total ass.

Speaking of kicking, where are those much-advertised baby kicks? As far as I know, I haven't felt any yet, though I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to be feeling. I’m certainly having intermittent cramps, but reportedly baby kicks at this point feel like butterflies pounding their wings against the walls of your uterus—and any moron would know what that feels like.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Maybe I'm Just Agnostic

You know what I just realized? “for all of eternity” is a really, REALLY long time. It seems so much longer than “'til death do us part” or “for as long as we both shall live.” So much longer. I’m pretty sure atheists aren’t supposed to feel this way, but there you have it. Promising to be with Dr. Fiancé until I die is no problem. But promising to hang out with him—or anyone—for all of eternity is just asking for trouble. There is no way I could keep that commitment, and there’s no way I would allow someone to hang out with me and my moodiness for all of eternity—especially someone I love. That’s just rude.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Variety: The Spice

Ever since I met him, Dr. Fiancé has been talking about his dream to remodel the downstairs bathroom so that it’s as nice as the other ones in the house—as long as you overlook the washing machine and dryer filling up the eastern half of the room. It’s not necessarily where I’d vote to spend our money, though the sink is truly hideous and the floor was laid out around the sink instead of under it, so if we replace the sink we have to replace the floor and if we’re doing that we’ll have to remove the baseboards anyway, and why not replace them with nice ones that match the rest of the house instead of the cheapo ones the previous owners threw down? It’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie every day around here.

I thought I’d go insane if I had to make one more decision, but it turns out my sanity is more robust than I’d previously given it credit for. Because our contractor can only do the bathroom project in the next few weeks if it’s going to get done before the baby comes, Dr. Fiance and I were assigned to spend the day shopping for a sink, a faucet, floor tile, a light fixture, a medicine cabinet—and, while we were at it, a new washing machine and dryer.

I’d like to say that it was a nice break from choosing votive candle holders, table runners, and hors d’oeuvres—but I’d be lying.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Just Shoot Me

This is what my life looks like right now: wandering through Goodwill—not the first but the second Goodwill of the day—carrying a wedding veil and a onesie in one hand and a stack of shot glasses and a pitchfork in the other.

This is what it sounds like: Is this veil white or ivory? It looks white compared to that other one, but that one is practically yellow. Like my teeth lately. Why are they so yellow? I haven’t had coffee for months. Maybe it’s the pregnancy. Should I get them whitened for the wedding? Is that safe for the baby? Maybe I should hold the veil up to something I know is white… how about this cotton onesie? Oh, it’s so cute—I wonder if I should buy it or wait and see how many people give us for baby presents… there’s just something so classic about a white onesie. Okay, the veil is definitely ivory. Too ivory to wear with a white dress. Should I buy it anyway, just for fun? Maybe for the kid’s dress-up clothes box? No, they can play with the veil I actually wear to the wedding, and what am I saying “they”? Remember how miserable those first 17 weeks were? Remember the constant nausea? Just one kid. Zero population growth. Right. Okay. Focus. Shot glasses. Will these shot glasses work for the wedding? Are they too ugly? Too big? How about this pitchfork? What’s the pitchfork for again?