Nature’s Way of Continuing the Human Race

4 03 2012

Throughout my pregnancy and Hazel’s infancy, I’ve wondered if my husband is going to agree to have another child.  You see, I like sleep.  And without sleep, I get a little… testy.  What with the minor discomforts of pregnancy and the subsequent minor discomforts of parenting an infant, I’ve been a little… ahem… irritable at times.  And it has made me wonder how people end up with more than one kid.  Surely my husband is going to remember the raging maniac I have been for the past year and refuse to go through it again, right?


The last few nights, Hazel has had a difficult time going to sleep.  As I settled onto the bed to nurse her, she wiggled and cried and fussed and writhed.  And I wondered what happened to make my little angel child suddenly hate bedtime.

After two nights of this, I really put some thought into what has changed and what worked previously.  And it dawned on me: for a few nights previous to this, she had an easy time going to sleep.  I sat down, nursed her, she fell asleep, I put her into her crib.

For a few nights in a row.

Which, apparently, became my impression of how my child “normally” goes to bed.


Five months of pacing around a darkened room, bouncing on a yoga ball, laying down with her when she seems to have settled, only to have her wake up and start crying again…  I mean, the yoga ball is still in our room and I trip over three times a day, so you think I might have remembered that I bounced her to sleep on it LAST FRIDAY NIGHT.  Not, you know, a distant month or two ago.

This has happened at least once before, when she was three or four months old, and again, having a difficult time sleeping.  I was remembering with nostalgia the period of time when she would nurse to sleep, then sleep for about three hours on her own.  Which I remembered as being, you know, most of her early infancy.  But when I really thought about it, I realized that was from the time she was five days old and my milk came in until she was fifteen days old and the reflux kicked in.

Again: my mind turned “ten days” of good sleep into “most of the first three months.”

This, then, is the secret of multiple children: severe sleep deprivation, lots of hormones, and cute baby photos ENTIRELY OVERRIDE REALITY.

Mystery solved.

Luckily, I have this written record to prevent me from getting pregnant again.  At least for now.

Pictures like this one are part of the problem. They make you think, "Oh! Babies are so sweet and fun! And they just sleep all night and look cute all day!" and generally melt your brain and cause spontaneous ovulation. Note to future self: this picture was taken after the baby slept for three out of twenty-four hours. And you were very, very tired. But... she's awfully cute, isn't she? Oh, my god... See? It's already happening...


How It All Came Out In the End

13 09 2011

Between thirty-four and thirty-five weeks, Jason and I quietly returned to the idea of an out-of-hospital birth.  The midwife at our ob-gyn supported the idea.  Our pregnancy, nearing completion, had been uncomplicated and the baby was in a good position.

We interviewed lay midwives, learned as much as we could about home birth, and eventually settled on the same birthing center we had chosen for our first pregnancy.  With just a month left to go, everything seemed set.  My blood pressure rose, but no other complications interfered with our plan.

At just over 39 weeks, my labor started late Wednesday night and continued through to the morning.  Jason and I were too excited to do much resting; Jason immediately set up an Excel spreadsheet to start tracking contractions and I did the dishes (yes, between contractions at 3:30am).  It all seemed very normal.

Things had actually started getting complicated long before labor started, but we had no idea.  The first indication was that I seemed to have started sort of wetting my pants almost five days earlier – but due to a miscommunication about the amount of fluid I was leaking, the liquid wasn’t tested to see if my water had broken.  In fact, I was given the go-ahead to keep swimming.  Wednesday evening, the discharge changed color, from clear to green, and I started to worry about some kind of infection (I was seriously, seriously grossed out, honestly).  Thursday morning, we went into the birthing center so they could do an exam; they had already determined that I was still very early in labor, too early to come in, but they wanted to check out this fluid.

Jason and I had some notion that we might end up staying at the birthing center for the rest of our labor, and threw a few things in the car.  Which didn’t start.

We switched to the other car, and headed off, not a clue that we wouldn’t be back for three days.

At the birthing center, we found out that I didn’t have some cootchie infection (relief), but that the baby had at some point pooped – the stuff was meconium, a sign of fetal distress.  My water was broken, and had been for days.  Also, upon physical exam, the midwife thought the baby was coming face first, a potentially serious position.  Despite these dangers, the baby’s heartbeat was strong and regular; this fact got us through the next five hours.

We headed to the hospital.

The doctor also performed an exam and confirmed the face-first position.

Then we had the ultrasound.  That wasn’t her face, it was her butt.

Within a half hour or so of this determination, I was in surgery.

Even during the surgery, the baby managed to give us one last scare: as they tried to pull her out, my uterus contracted, trapping her head.  Hearing the stress and tension in the two surgeons’ voices as I waited for my daughter was a nightmare.  Drugs didn’t help release her head, and a second cut was made to finally free her.  She was rushed to a respiratory team to have her lungs suctioned in case she had inhaled any of the meconium.  I had to wait to hear her cry; I had to wait to see her.  I was too terrified even to ask what was happening.

Jason swears it was minutes.  I swear it was an eternity.

Eventually, I heard her voice and then she was on my chest, bloody spit coming out her mouth and nose but with an all-clear: she was healthy.

She was ours.

I wanted a natural birth.  Unmedicated.  No interventions.  What I got was one of the most serious kinds of hospital births out there.

I don’t care.

As I walked up and down the hall post-surgery, I passed the NICU again and again.  All I could do was wonder, how come we aren’t there?  With all that went wrong, with all the potential for serious infection, with mistakes that had been made, how on earth did we end up with the most beautiful, perfect little girl in the world?  Thank you, thank you, thank you ran through my head.  Still runs through my head.

Baby girl is sleeping right in front of me now.  Miracles happen.

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19 08 2011

… all that has been standing between me looking like the Michelin Man versus some semblance of my pre-pregnancy self was three days a week in the pool.

Between a camping trip and a visit to family, I skipped a week of prenatal water exercise.  My feet, ankles, fingers, and wrists swelled a little each day.  I had to remove my watch and the hair bands from around my wrists.  Seriously, the hair bands are elastic.  They stretch.

We got home from a three-hour drive yesterday at 5:30.  I kicked Jason, the dog, and the cat out of the car and headed straight for the pool.

Luckily, nobody stopped to ask me any questions about tires.

35ish Weeks: Pondering the Milk Industry

12 08 2011

My 35th week of pregnancy is coming to an end.  Okay, well, it’s half over now, so in my own mind I’m in the vicinity of 36 weeks.  And 36 weeks is just one week shy of 37 weeks, and 37 weeks is a milestone because then I am technically full term, though it may be 5 weeks beyond that when I actually have the baby.

Which means there’s hope that I won’t be the first woman in history who really does stay pregnant forever.

At around 32 weeks, I began to feel like I was getting close to the end, and I had a surge of excitement.  I can do baby laundry! I thought.  I should pack a bag for labor!  Then I did the math and realized I still had as many as 8 weeks left.  8 weeks is, like, 2 months.  Which, in terms of pregnancy, is practically forever.

But yesterday, I bought some milk at the grocery store.  It expires on September 28th.  The maximum anyone will let my pregnancy go is September 26th.  Do you see the significance?

I will have a baby before the milk in my fridge goes bad.

Jason and I talked about this last night.

“I’m getting excited about the baby,” I told him.  “I bought milk at the store today…”

“What, like breast milk?”

“No!  I bought milk at the store, and it doesn’t expire until September 28th…”

“Milk stays good for six weeks?”

“Well, actually, that seemed weird to me, too.  And it’s organic milk.  But listen…”

Anyway, it’s just three weeks now (and a couple of days, for you calendar sticklers) until my due date, and I am excited, of course.  I’m so curious to see this little demon who has been terrorizing my body for 9 months!  It just seems preposterous that we’ve created a brand new person.  No matter how many times I look at the crib and the diapers and changing table and the tiny clothes, I still have trouble believing that we’re going to be bringing home a baby.

And not just some time in the future, but possibly before we bring home another half gallon of milk.


11 08 2011

I was in the kitchen when I heard Jason, talking on the phone in his office.

“I’m going to have a daughter here pretty soon, in September…”

Okay, call me a giant, quivering mass of pregnancy hormones loosely held together by a veneer of maternity clothes, but I had to freeze right where I was and absorb that sentence.

Jason’s talked a lot about the baby, but this is the first time I’ve heard him talk about his daughter.

Honestly? It’s impossible for me not to tear up every time I think about it.

I Totally Called It…

4 08 2011

So just 2 days after my I’m-Really-Getting-Humongous Post, I’m in line at Target (where I am frantically spending the last dollars of my last paychecks as quickly as possible) and the woman in front of me gives me a big smile.

“So, you’re due any day?”

“Nope.  Like, five or six weeks.”

“So it’s twins?”

“Nope.  Just one little girl.”


On the way out, we passed each other, and she did seem slightly mortified by her comments, and apologized profusely.  However, since she had just made my blog prediction come true, I was able to be quite gracious and polite about the whole exchange.

Besides, it’s time to learn to censor my retorts, since I’m way too big to waddle away with any sort of dignity.

Third Trimester

26 06 2011

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