That Time I Had A Baby (Part 2)

So I spent most of my labor in denial that I was actually in labor.  I know that sounds crazy, but it just didn’t seem real.  For one, I was so close to my due date, and everyone knows that nobody actually gives birth on her due date.  I mean, due dates are like unicorns or the tooth fairy or the male g-spot, amirite?  The last thing I wanted was to sound the alarm and call in all the troops, only to be wrong.  I really was expecting to go late; I’d already had countless imaginary arguments in my head with some faceless doctor* telling me I have to be induced**.   Furthermore, I don’t think I really realized I was in labor because let’s face it: it’s hard to know if you’re in labor when you have no idea what labor actually feels like.  Not that I hadn’t done my research.  Truth be told, I’ve been a bit of a “birth geek” since long before I was even pregnant.  The ever-helpful mamas at babycenter.com (with which I have a love/hate relationship) describe the pain of childbirth as akin to everything from “being impaled on a hot fireplace poker” to “menstrual cramps on steroids” to “a 400 pound man pressing down on each hip.”  Not particularly helpful.

So when I woke up on the morning of Saturday, May 4 to what felt vaguely like a menstrual cramp but also sort of not at all like a menstrual cramp (I don’t know, maybe I had to poop?), I honestly didn’t think much of it.  I got up and get dressed and went about my day.  I had plans – no time to dwell on what probably wasn’t labor.  My mom was in town so we met my sister downtown to get lunch before a mani/pedi*** appointment I’d made a few days earlier.  I’d heard that certain pressure points in the ankles and feet could help get labor going, plus I had long since lost sight of my lower half, so I figured it might be nice to get a little pampering.  As I awkwardly lowered my nearly-200-pound body into the chair, the manicurist asked me when I was due, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the look of shock (and maybe panic?) that crossed her face when I replied “tomorrow!”  I had a few more not-sure-if-they’re-contractions while I was there, but continued to brush them off.  After that I’d figured I’d go home and take a nap, but it was a gorgeous early spring day and my mom was planning on going to Harvard Square, so I went along with her instead, maybe-but-probably-not-contractions be damned.

We walked around Harvard Square for a while, window shopping and stumbling upon some Morris dancers:

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Nothing like men prancing with sleigh bells on their legs to distract you from what may or may not be labor.

We stopped for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, where the hostess, in awe of my very pregnant state, gently guided me by the arm to my seat, oohing and ahing over my belly.  At this point, my okay-these-might-be-contractions were coming a bit more frequently, but I still wanted to go on with our plans.  After dinner we jumped back on the T and headed downtown to see my burlesque troupe’s show.  Around this time I started noticing some maternal side-eye coming from my mom, but like the good mom she is, she went along with me when I insisted that I was fine.  After all, burlesque is more important than probably-not-labor!

Not even impending childbirth can come between me and my front-row seat.

The show was great, but I found myself increasingly unable to focus due to what were obviously contractions.  Still, I brushed off any sense of urgency.  My mom suggested I try to time them (with my fancy contraction timer app), but I told her I felt rude taking my cell phone out during the show.  We did a little after-show schmoozing,**** and decided that perhaps I should try to get some rest.

No really, I’m fine. I swear.

As we got off the T at my stop, we ran into a friend, who I insisted on stopping to talk to, ending the conversation with a jaunty “well, my mom thinks I’m in labor, so I guess we should go!”  Our walk to my place from the T took us through a semi-lit parking lot, which can feel a little ominous late at night, particularly when filled with teenagers***** like it was that night.  As we walked through, though, the boy hitting rocks into the wall with a makeshift bat paused to let us pass, and the kids sitting under the streetlight asked us how we were doing.  I answered with a shaky “a bit tired!” and my mom told them I was due the next day.  They asked if I was having a boy or a girl, and my response set all the girls shouting that I should name her after each of them.  “Maya!  Kayla!  No, name her Jessica!”  I told them I’d think about it and waddled on my way, mom in tow.

My plan when we got home was to get into something comfy, make a PBJ, and get to sleep.  My husband was out with friends and I’d texted him telling him that maybe something was happening, but I wasn’t sure.  By the time I’d gotten into PJs, sandwich in hand, I found myself doubled over in pain, grasping my dresser for support.  I feebly reiterated that I was okay and that no, it wasn’t quite time to call the doula, but it very quickly became apparent that I was in fact in labor.  No more denying it.

Stay tuned for part 3!

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*this is particularly silly because I didn’t even have a doctor; I saw a midwife for all my prenatal appointments.

**me, barefoot and cross-legged, patchouli-scented, between sips of kombucha: “I trust my daughter to tell us when she is ready to come earthside.”

***things I rarely do: use the phrase “mani/pedi,” get mani/pedis.

****me: “That was awesome!  I think I’m having contractions!  The show was great!”

*****I don’t know when I became afraid of teenagers.  I used to teach high school.

That Time I Had A Baby (Part 1)

Hi, friends and what few readers I may have out there.  Clearly, my hopes to chronicle my pregnancy on here were in vain.  It was a whirlwind 40 weeks, and although I loved being pregnant, I never quite found the time or energy to write about it.  I know someday I’ll regret this, but there’s no fixing that, so onward!  Let me tell you about our daughter!

GUYS WE HAVE A DAUGHTER!

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Yup, I made this person.

We have a daughter and her name is Sadie.  She has big blue eyes, pouty little lips and a full head of dark, fluffy hair.  She looks like her papa most of the time but when she looks like me, I swear she looks just like how I remember looking as a tiny person.  She has a huge smile and a husky little voice and a dimple under her left eye.  She is exactly who I was expecting and nothing like what I had imagined.  In short, she is magical.

And not to brag, but I brought her into the world!  Sadie was born on her due date(!), May 5, 2013.  The story of her birth is, at least to me, crazy and funny and fascinating.  Let me impart it to you.

I had planned to work up until I went into labor so I could maximize my maternity leave, but as my due date approached, I could feel myself slowing down.  My body was ready to be done. At my midwife appointment the week before I was due, my midwife looked me over and asked, “if I wrote you a note, would you feel okay leaving work?”  And yes, I decided that would make me feel okay.  While I was concerned that I’d be sitting around for weeks waiting for this kid, I was undeniably tired, and my commute to work, which included a bit of walking each way, was becoming more and more taxing.  So I went in the next day, note in hand, and informed them that that day – Tuesday, April 30, would be my last.  As it turned out, that was just in time.

After making sure my desk was in order and my temp replacement properly trained, I hunkered down for what I thought could be days of nesting and waiting.  I was born 10 days late and my husband was three weeks late, so I knew there was a chance that this kiddo would be similarly tardy.  Still, by the third day after I left work, I’d felt nothing, and was already starting to feel antsy and impatient.  I hadn’t even reached my due date, mind you, but I was just so. Ready. To be done.  That Friday, May 3, we went out to see our friends Hallelujah The Hills play a show at the Sinclair.  I hadn’t been doing much going out at that point, but I thought maybe dancing around at a rock show would help things get moving.

Hallelujah The Hills that night, playing some baby-freeing music.

We had a great time – the band even gave us an impending-baby shoutout – but I didn’t feel any different when I went to bed that night than I had before.

And then the next morning, Saturday, May 4, I woke up to my first contraction.

…to be continued!

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Checkin’ In, or, Gettin’ Emotional.

I’ve got some pretty bad pregnant blogger guilt right now, y’all.  This is a time when I should be documenting everything, but instead my brain is full of things like stroller choices and pregnancy-friendly burlesque costumes.  In my downtime, I’ll start a blog post and then inevitably end up on Buzzfeed* or reading A Feast for Crows.

Basically, I’ve seem to have some sort of gestational ADD.   

So, let’s see.  I’m currently at 29 weeks (!) but haven’t taken a belly photo in a while, so here’s my 24-week one.  Imagine that plus five more weeks’ worth of gestating (and eating).

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Shit ain’t getting any smaller.

Despite my fuzzy mental state, though, I have to admit I am one of those obnoxious women who loves being pregnant.  Sure, I’ve been feeling the less-than-wonderful effects, too.  My back and hips ache, my balance is off, I get out of breath if I talk too much, and some days there’s nothing I’d like more than to just drink an entire bottle of red wine.  There are times that I’m ready to be done, ready to have an identity outside of “pregnant chick,” ready to meet this kid!  But still, there’s just something so strange and exciting about walking around growing a future human in my belly.  Maybe it’s the extrovert in me, but I can’t say I mind the attention it brings.  People love to touch my belly.  And I (usually) love it when they do.  Because what’s better than having people lavish love on me and my daughter?  People who’ve never met me think she’s wonderful and special.  And I may be biased here, but she kind of is, right?  She is new and fresh and nobody has ever been or will ever be quite like the person she will become.

A couple of months ago, late into a pre-holiday evening at the bar, our friend Jaime asked if she could talk to the baby.  She bent low and spoke close, almost touching, next to my belly.  It was loud at the bar and I couldn’t hear a word she said, but she must have said a lot because she was down there a while, and I found myself getting teary.

It’s humbling to see the love that’s already waiting out here for my kid.  I wonder sometimes if she can sense it.  Does she hear the many voices of the people who can’t wait to meet her, murmuring through my skin to her new ears?  Can she feel the hands and arms and hugs lavished upon me?  Does she hear it when her sweet papa speaks to her through my belly button, or plays her grandpa’s guitar for her?  There are so many people who love her so much already.  And me!  I have no idea who she is or will be, but I already love her so ridiculously much.  What a weird feeling it is to love someone you’ve never met.

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Papa speaks into the baby-phone.

Maybe this is why I haven’t written much about pregnancy – it gets me all emotional and teary if I think about it too long.  I’ve always been a tad on the mushy side; being knocked up just seems to have pushed me over the edge.  Now it’s all puppies and rainbows and tiny little baby booties.  Sheesh.  I’m hopeless.  You’ve ruined me, little baby.  Soon I’ll start collecting Precious Moments figurines and it’ll all be over.

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* I pretty much died while reading this one.