Thursday, December 26, 2013

managing expectations, 17 days old

Managing expectations. Remaining flexible. Keeping an open mind. Recognizing that I’m no longer in the driver’s seat. Ceding control.

This, I suppose, is parenthood.

And why not? I mean, I confronted infertility in my twenties. After ten years of birth control and the occasional terror and panic at a late period, I’m slapped with the totally non-specific and mystifying hypothalamic pituitary dysfunction, followed by a little junior varsity infertility, early miscarriage and, finally, after a shorter path than many but a longer path than I anticipated, pregnancy. Clomid and IUI and <deep breath>, pregnancy. And now, after 40 weeks 38 weeks – which I was mistakenly led to believe was only 9 months – I have this incredible human being. A beautiful, coneheaded and jaundiced little cub who we made, who I birthed, who is somehow, ours. Forever. Or at least until he’s 18 and we ship him off to military reform school college.

And now, two weeks in, another curve ball. Another – of many that are sure to come – moment in which things are not progressing as I expected. In which I am forced to step back, re-evaluate, remove judgment – of myself, of others, of my ability to parent.

Born at 7 lbs 14 oz, little Ez dropped to 7 lbs 1 oz a few days after he was born. Right on the threshold of the 10% he’s allowed to lose before TERROR! PANIC! FORMULA FEED HIM ALL OF THE DAYS! FAILURE TO THRIIIIIIIIVE!

And so, after the initial shock of labor, of being handed this incredible little infant, this strong pair of lungs connected to a diaper, this tiny creature who is completely dependent on us for his very survival and incidentally, comes with ZERO instructions, and whose only consolation prize is (approximately) 47 stitches running the length of my perineum, we fed. And fed. And fed. And fed. Twelve times a day. Every two hours. Whether he was awake or not, we woke him, he screamed, we jammed boob in his gummy little mouth. I slathered on the lanolin and APNO, dreaded the hot shower and his tiny fingernails, like daggers. We brought in two lactation consultants and a post-partum doula. Our dear, avuncular pediatrician made a house call (so quaint). We went to a breast feeding support group. We read and read and read – from everything on the ubiquitous-in-the-world-of-boobs kellymom to the trolls on Yahoo! Answers to the ivory towers of academic peer reviewed journals. The latch improved. He opened his mouth as wide as he could. I pumped and pumped in an effort to stimulate more milk production. We tried to supplement with pumped milk. C did the bottle feeds so Ez wasn’t confused. We used slow flow boob like bottle nipples. I read about galactagogues. I ate oatmeal and drank (a little) beer. I read all about fenugreek, but for fear of GI problems piled on to my Crohn’s disease, declined. Then, on someone’s advice, I stopped pumping and focused on just feeding. We did more skin to skin, carrying him around in my shirt[1] whenever I could. And then we fed him again. Our sleepy little baby whose high billirubin initially made him lethargic had woken up. Awake and alert, quiet and wide eyed, this boy wanted to eat. And I just didn’t have enough.

And then, on Friday, we went back to the pediatrician. Another naked screamy baby, another weight check. 7 lbs 3 oz. I cried. And again three days ago, 7 lbs 4.5 oz. And again, I cried.

If you had told me before giving birth that my inability to sufficiently nourish my son in the absence of formula would leave me ugly crying and sweaty – in the pediatrician’s office, in our home, on the phone with my mom, while driving to the grocery store, or anywhere in between – I would have balked. But there I was. In all of those settings and others. Ugly crying through the perceived inadequacy of my motherhood (overdramatic much?).

It’s now been two days. Two days since we began supplementing with formula – the same formula that came free in the mail during pregnancy. The same formula companies that sent me relentless, insidious emails over the last 40 weeks, seducing me with their wares[2].

My emotions have swung wildly between extremes – grateful that Ezra is here. That he and I are healthy and that I have the means to feed him, whether or not it’s the means I anticipated. Resentful that nothing goes according to plan. Lucky and guilty. Ashamed and judged. And then right back around to grateful.

The general consensus – among the lactation consultants and the pediatrician and my dear doctor husband – is low milk supply. Maybe because of insufficient glandular tissue – I do meet several of the criteria – or maybe for reasons unknown.

So we proceed. Breastfeeding and supplementing, round the clock. Like a marathon. Pumping a few times a day. Gearing up for another weight check tomorrow. And in between, just trying to enjoy this amazing little kid.

[1] Pretty much the best baby-wearing gear we own. Very marsupial.
[2] Speaking of which, we are now taking advice on whether to use organic formula and if so, which brand. Anyone?

This photo has nothing to do with this post but, you know, shark baby!

[1] Pretty much the best baby-wearing gear we own. Very marsupial.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the first ten days

And somehow, just like that, we made it through the first ten days[1].

Here then, in completely random order, are five invaluable mildly entertaining things I have learned during this harrowing period of newborn-ness.

1. The laws of physics do not apply.
Before I was a parent[2], I was often struck by the amount of mommy-blogging-web-real-estate devoted to discussions of baby bowel habits. In particular, the ever popular and seemingly ubiquitous, BLOWOUT. The baby poop that seemed to travel through space and time, covering every inch of your newborn despite the apparent impossibility of it all. I never paid much attention until:


Since that harrowing middle-of-the-night-changing, we’ve switched to cloth diapering – in which I am assured blowouts are less of a “thing.” But I’m still deeply scarred/I still plan to remind my son of this moment on the evening of his high school prom. And I still hold it over C – like a threat and a promise. One day, one day! You, dear husband, will know the horror.

2. You will be reacquainted with your washing machine.
It is entirely possible for your newborn to cruise through his entire infant wardrobe – far too much of which is cutesy newborn hand-me-down wardrobe malfunctions that say things like “Daddy’s little guy” and “I like trucks!” – in a 48 hour period. 24 if he’s a real overachiever and/or sporadically urinates in such incredible volume as to penetrate his cloth diaper, Thirties cover, an adorable Baby Gap infant onesie and any confidence you ever had as a parent. Way to go, kid.

3. Television. Sweet, sweet television.
It’s important to teach your child bad habits as early as possible. Which is why, while breastfeeding, I am exclusively binge watching television with my son. Second only to a comfortable chair in which to acquire breast-feeding-related-sedentary-bed-sores, is a Netflix subscription with which to induce that eyes-glazed-over, drunk-on-Orange-is-the-New-Black look. Plus, now your infant will know what a “shank” is and have deep insights on the character Crazy Eyes. We have also powered through two and a half seasons of Parenthood and a smattering of Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia – the latter only to balance out the wholesomeness of the former. My child will be a television connoisseur and I will win Mother of the Year. Natch.

Ezra is already skeptical of my television choices.

4. Sleep when the baby sleeps.
Syke! This is quite possibly the most annoying piece of advice ever. Sure, it’s totally rational and if it were possible on a consistent basis, might even make these early weeks feel a teensy bit manageable. But here’s the hitch. My child will only sleep (a) in my arms; (b) folded up like an amphibious little creature in his super snug carseat with Sleep Sheep inches from his tiny skull or (c) Not at all. Anywhere. Because BOOB! GIVE ME THE BOOB, WOMAN!

Because I strive to set a good example – and mistakenly smothering my infant during his first ten days of life seems incompatible with that – option (a) does not really allow me to sleep. Do I occasionally frequently doze off while holding him, only to wake with a dramatic start that leaves us both him breathless and screaming? Oh sure. But legitimate, restful sleep? Umm, no.

What about option (b) you ask? Well sure. When he’s folded up in his carseat, developing the kind of stunted, disoriented sleep habits that will serve him well in his future career as a purveyor of hard drugs, I can lean back in my comfortable armchair and pass out for an hour. But then the Sleep Sheep ends it’s soothing cycle of “ominous ocean sounds,” Ezra starts fussing because umm, HELLO WHY AM I IN A CARSEAT ON THE FLOOR, WE’RE NOT EVEN MOVING and it’s back on the boob.

And that brings us to option (c). Which, during the first ten days anyway, seems to be the only option worth exploring.

5. Step away from the soapbox, Sanctimommy
Before bringing home this living, breathing human baby that depends solely on you to sustain it’s little life, it’s possible that you may have been, ahem, a little sanctimonious, even self-righteous, about certain things. Pacifiers, breastfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping, your own basic personal hygiene, etc. You know, the important stuff.

I have found that the first ten days of your child’s life is the appropriate time to: FORGET EVERYTHING YOU EVER THOUGHT, BELIEVED IN OR SWORE YOU WOULD NEVER DO.

The time for your “beliefs” and all that BS you painstakingly researched in the seemingly interminable months leading up to baby’s arrival? That ship has sailed. Because now, now your goals are simple and straightforward and leave no room for deeply held values: eating and sleeping (for the baby – you will never do either of these things consistently again). And that is literally it.

Maybe that means awkwardly breastfeeding in some kind of upside down, ergonomically incorrect cross cradle hold while getting a pelvic exam (check!). Maybe that means that, when inside your home, you crank the heat to 75 and walk around topless 23 hours out of the day[3]. Maybe it means that when the buttons on the onesie are just too damn confusing at 4 am, your child will exist, only partially clothed in what you convince yourself is a very fashion forward outfit. Maybe it means that the best part of your day is the 6 minutes you have to go to the bathroom in peace. Or maybe it means that you embrace the oh-dear-god-totally-creating-a-bad-habit of having your infant son sleep in his carseat. See supra.

Whatever. Now is not the time for sanctimony.

So. What gems of wisdom have you guys picked up in these early days?

(P.S.: I am very aware that this post seems to meander aimlessly between first and second person. Because my eyes are so glazed over I can barely see the screen, I am officially not going to make any effort to correct this. I blame the baby.)

[1] Okay, so technically, today isn’t over yet. ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.
[2] Just writing that kind of gives me pause – I mean, really? Shouldn’t I have to like, I don’t know, take a class or something? Maybe submit my CV to a panel of judgmental child development experts?
[3] For the first hour or so of her visit, my mother-in-law sheepishly kept her eyes on her shoes at all times. I finally told her she was going to have to get over it and continued waving my boobs around like a maniac.

Monday, December 16, 2013

the tyranny of breast feeding

So, as it turns out, breastfeeding is really hard. *lightbulb goes on*

Also, the tyranny of breastfeeding! The sanctimony! The guilt! The UNRELENTING PRESSURE.

For the uninitiated – a group of which I was very much a member until very recently – you don’t actually appear, minutes post partum, full of breast milk and ready to feed. In fact, it can take up to about five days for your milk to “come in.” In the meantime, you’re blessed with thick, yellowing colostrum. It’s like baby gold. Full of antibodies and all the good stuff. But for babies, getting it out of your no-longer-your-own boobs, is like sucking jello through a straw.

The first day, I barely tried to feed at all. I felt like I was outside of my body looking in, Whose baby is this? Where did this stranger come from? What am I supposed to do with him? Oh, right, FEED HIM. KEEP HIM ALIVE. *Palm to forehead* (closely followed by OWW, STITCHES).

Thankfully, while I bumbled around for a few hours in my drive to win mother of the year award, Ezra was pretty chill – you know, trauma of coming through the birth canal, lungs plugged with mucus, and so forth. In fact, newborns are so pumped up with extra fluid that they could – but please, don’t try this at home – survive for 2-3 days with literally no other nutrition. Or so the kindly, avuncular pediatrician tells me.

By Tuesday morning (Monday middle of the night? Time is no longer something that concerns me, it just, well, passes), I started to try[1] to breastfeed. And it hurt. And I felt defeated. And he cried. And I cried. And he rooted around and around and around – all gums and smacking lips and nudging his head toward my boob and grabbing at my chest with his pointy little dagger nails. It was all very animalistic. I got a good latch on one side only to experience toe curling pain as he adjusted or as I accidentally touched the back of his head, sending a signal to pull back! pull back! And leaving him gumming every so tight and pinchy like around my nipple. And quickly, what seemed like the inevitable occurred – the beginning of the downward spiral. He latches, I cringe in pain, I detach him, I feel ENORMOUS GUILT HEAVIER THAN THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD, I try to reattach him, but sore nipples beget sore nipples and fussy babies make for bad latchers.

And so we went. And just when I felt we had achieved one much sought after positive feed, we were hit with the news that his billirubin was high, and jaundice, the bane of pale white babies born in winter the world over, had hit. The only cure? More cowbell! Baby blue light phototherapy. You know, baby’s first day at the spa. C even downloaded a rainforest sounds app to get him in the mood.
It was all very entertaining – except for the part where I began weeping uncontrollably because MAH BAY-BAY! and then the other part where, you know, we had to watch him cry and squirm and scream, naked under blue light for 24 hours. Feedings were regulated, structured and competed in importance with the blue light. ALWAYS MORE BLUE LIGHT.
Baby's first day at the spa.

Meanwhile, I attended a hospital sponsored breast feeding support group, begged the lactation consultant to basically move into our hospital room/adopt me – she politely declined – and experienced only mildly successful feeds interspersed with SO MANY TEARS (his and mine).

The first week is a race against the clock – a race to prevent him from falling more than 10% below his birth weight. Born at a whopping 7 lbs, 14 oz, we were hoping to keep him from sliding past 7 lbs, 1 oz. But my boobs could barely keep up and when a nurse suggested supplementing with formula, I nearly lost it/declared myself unfit to be a parent[2]

Finally, we came home. No more blue light, feedings on his schedule, in a comfortable chair, in a place where I didn’t have to wear shower shoes in the bathroom. To try to ease the transition, we had a post-partum doula come to the house and offer her wisdom. It was easily the best spent four hours of my week – except, you know, for like, giving birth. She helped us with breast feeding, she helped us with bathing, she helped us with sleeping and soothing and various forms of baby wearing. Mostly, she restored an ounce of confidence and helped us not just muscle through this – although let’s be honest, WE ARE DOING OUR DAMNDEST TO MUSCLE– but also to <novel thought> enjoy this squirming bundle of lungs.

And through it all, the feeding continues. But perhaps of equal importance, so do the conversations – with other moms who had similar challenges that are never discussed openly in public because, RED ALERT INADEQUATE MOTHER. The babies that couldn’t latch, the supplementing with formula, the breasts that, due to an earlier surgery, can’t produce enough milk. I have not met a single mom who didn’t struggle to establish breastfeeding. And somehow, that is just a little bit liberating.

SO. Onward we go, armed with MyBrestFriend[3], gobs of Lanolin cream, a naked baby and a Netflix subscription for prime feeding distraction. On Friday – and, I should say, without any of the aforementioned accoutrements – I achieved one of my lifelong goals when I <wait for it> breast fed while flat on my back, enduring (the most painful of my life) pelvic exam and stitches “check up.” I’m pretty sure I deserve some kind of ESTROGEN MEDAL OF FREEDOM AND BADASS MOTHERHOOD™ for that little number. No, seriously, I’ll wait at the podium.

[1] Try being the operative word here.
[2] Which, let’s be clear, is not actually what I think. At all. But there’s this whole culture that feeds off maternal inadequacy; this idea that there are ideal ways to do things and that anything less is a reflection on one’s fitness to be a parent. That supplementing with formula – or using only formula – means your child will be a maladjusted delinquent hellcat, bent on world destruction and you, a parent in name only, barely capable of raising a house plant. Well let’s just knock down that trope right now, shall we? Pleaseandthankyou.
[3] I can barely type this name without gagging. I registered for a boppy because the name so offended me. But it turns out that for actually feeding – as opposed to for tummy time or other pursuits of which I am only becoming aware – the BrestFriend is brest (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Friday, December 13, 2013

le birth story

First, thank you all so much for all the cheers and kind words on the last post and your warm welcome of baby Ezra's arrival. The last few days have been a total whirlwind – of boobs and babies and teeny tiny fingernails that are sharp as knives and jaundice and phototherapy spa lights and then, mostly more boobs (mine) and pinchy gums (his). Much more on all of that to come.

The tag on this hat says "infant." Because Baby Gap is full of liars.

This post is long and light on witty sarcasm, entertaining links and my usual banter. Because you guys, I have human life to sustain! So, for what it’s worth, here in a nutshell, is <wait for it> THE BIRTH STORY.

Sunday, 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sarah to C: this feels…different
C to Sarah: you seriously think you’re going into labor?

<Collective panic and disbelief>

Around 3 on Sunday afternoon, I began to notice some pretty intense lower back pain. It was rhythmic, in a pattern, sometimes a bit of a scattered pattern, but a pattern nonetheless. C thought I was crazy. Going into labor 12 days before my due date? No way. So we went about our day.
I ran errands and went grocery shopping and started cooking – C’s sister and her boyfriend were coming for dinner. I made this and this and C roasted a chicken. And during it all, starting around 4, I began to keep track of the frequency of what were increasingly becoming like, you know, real contractions.

By the time they showed up to dinner, things were picking up in intensity and let’s just be honest: I was pretty sure this was it. The pain was quickly ratcheting up. C remained in denial while we wined and dined our guests and I kept a firm eye on the clock. 5-1-1 totally ingrained in my brain.

Sunday, 9:00 pm – 11:30 pm

Finally, around 9 pm, they left and I casually mentioned to C that we might want to consider packing our hospital bag. We hastily took pictures of my bump – capture the moment! – and threw some random and totally uncoordinated clothing, the Sunday New York Times, two pears and a bag of almonds (?) into our already packed hospital bag. Like I said, collective panic.

I decided I would just give the on-call OB a ring and you know, have a little heart to heart. She said this was probably it but of course couldn’t know for sure without examining me. She said I was more than welcome to stay home for as long as I was comfortable – barring any of the scary stuff (blood, etc.) and since I’m group B strep negative – and could check back in with her in an hour or so. Not wanting to jump the gun on hospital admission, I decided to see if I could ride things out.

This was when things started to get pretty dicey. The contractions were definitely every five minutes and the pain rhymed with… excruciating. I got down on all fours and tried to breathe through it. I threw myself over an exercise ball and tried to breathe through it. I grabbed C’s hand in agony and cursed my way through it. I took a hot shower. Mostly, I just tried to stay relaxed. In between contractions I was a completely sane and rational person, I was packing up snacks for the hospital, hanging out with the dog, responding to work emails. But during the contractions? It was like I’d had a lobotomy. I was in a trance. A totally altered state. I could not speak nor be spoken to. It might have been enchanting if you know, I didn’t feel like I was dying.

Sunday, 11:30 pm ish

My water didn’t break, but something about this just started to get a bit too real. The pain, the frequency (was that seriously 3 minutes between contractions? Good lord). So we tidied up the house, took a nice long gander at the nursery - <imagine a total mind trip as we envision putting a BABY, our baby, in there> - and booked it to the hospital.
Did I mention it was snowing?

Sunday, 11:30 pm – 2:30 am

By the time we got to the hospital, I was about 3.5 centimeters dilated. So we just started walking. Up and down the hall, past the nurses’ station and back again. Every 3 minutes or so, I would – please take a moment to put on your visualization caps because, I promise you, this looked insane – drop to my hands and knees, in the middle of the hallway, and start breathing deeply while C put his hands on my lower back. About a minute later, I would get up, back to my usual self, and keep walking. I looked, in a word, like a maniac.

By 2:30 am I hadn’t progressed any further and the nurses and doctors suggested I go back home – that I’d be more comfortable there, I could be in my own bed (let’s take a moment to laugh hysterically at the idea that I could sleep through any of this), take a shower in my own shower, eat my own food (nauseating). So despite my better judgment, we returned home. For approximately 30 seconds.

Sunday, 4 am onward

After going home, indulging in suffering through a hot shower, one of us taking a nap (not it!) and screaming obscenities at the dog when she tried to lick my face during a contraction (I’m so sorry, Luna), I begged C to drive us back to the hospital – a harrowing 10 minute ride during which I may have broken several of his fingers.

Back at the hospital, I was congratulated on being 4 cm dilated <curtsy> and we were admitted to a room. Before this, my birth plan had been pretty simple: healthy baby, healthy mama. Those were the goals. Would I prefer to avoid medical interventions like epidurals and c-sections? Absolutely. Had I had the requisite conversation with my doctor and the nurses about taking natural measures to avoid all that? You betcha.

Here’s what happened when I reached 5 cm dilated:

I cannot adequately articulate the depth of the pain. I think I’m a strong person, but I’m also not sure that I don’t have an unusually low threshold for pain. This pain was deep – it was burning, it was relentless, it was overwhelming and all consuming in its intensity. It left me breathless. Not that I didn’t expect labor to be painful – even toe curling – but this, this was other worldly.

The epidural took more than 45 minutes to place in my back. Apparently I am blessed with “shallow vertebrae” and need more back fat. I was not amused.

But I can say without hesitation, the epidural was the best decision I ever made. I still felt my contractions, I still felt my legs and my feet. But it was so much more manageable. I could doze a little bit, have a conversation, breathe. At some point during this time, my water broke, my parents arrived and C ate a cheeseburger. Maybe even in that order.

Monday, about 3 pm

And then, just like that – or rather 24 hours after I first began to believe I was in labor – it was time to push. So with each contraction, I pushed. C would count to ten as he and the nurse held my knees and I pulled back my legs, bearing down as hard as I could, 3 times with each contraction, holding all the air in like an Olympic swimmer. Despite everyone’s repeated praise and admiration about my tremendous pushing abilities, it took eons (approximately) for the baby’s head to clear my pelvic bone. At a certain point, much to everyone’s amusement, I apparently began screaming demands like just pull him out of me! I don’t care! Just pull him out of me! JUST GRAB HIS EVERLOVING HEAD AND YANK HIM THE HELL OUT.

And then, after an hour and twenty minutes, at approximately 4:26 pm, there he was. Dropped immediately on my chest like a fetal pup[1] – red and eyes closed and fussing and oh my god he is peeing all over me and I do not care[2].

After that they delivered the placenta – that was less fun than I might have imagined, just saying – and proceeded to <gulp> stitch me up. At which point I was informed that I had a third degree (with fourth being the worst – which must mean, apparently that they basically just cut off your legs?) laceration and was essentially going to have stitches from my ankles to my elbows. And those stitches? ALSO less fun than I might have imagined. More on that harrowing adventure in another post.
But for now, that’s where I’ll call it a day.

This post has been brought to you by the Medela hands free freestyle pump, the Obamacare that paid for it and some ridiculous pink hands free bra that has a stylish 90s front zipper but is also totally amazing and OH MY GOD ALL I DO IS PUMP, FEED, PUMP, FEED, PUMP, FEED.

Not me, but totally could be.

<End Scene>.

[1] We had asked for immediate skin to skin contact (check) and delayed cord cutting (check).
[2] It’s entirely possible that I did not shower for more than 24 hours after my new born son peed all over my chest. That is love, people. Love and being totally preoccupied with someone else’s needs that are not my own. It’s also disgusting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Meet Ezra.
Born on December 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm
7 lbs, 14 ounces
19 3/4 inches
11 days early
Great set of lungs and an incredible cone head
Gave his mama quite a few stitches

Sunday, December 8, 2013

what's in a name? 38 weeks, 2 days

<Please excuse me while I take a brief hiatus from discussing my uterus.>

It happens every couple months. Like clockwork. Another article – for example here, here, here and just today, here – in the NY Times, that paragon of liberal media, about names. Marriage and names. Children and names. Families and names. About “maiden[1]” names and married names and professional names. And let’s not forget, the bane of everyone’s existence, the hyphenated name.

Among other deep insights regarding the FIRST WORLD PROBLEM HERE! struggles of name change, these articles generally include something about how hyphenated last names are hard. No one understands them. They confuse LITERALLY EVERYONE. Government agencies are endlessly perplexed by them. Children with hyphenated names hate them, are embarrassed by them, inevitably grow up to become disordered, maladjusted sociopaths hell bent on righting the wrong of their birth certificate misfortune – that dastardly hyphenated last name! (And so on).

So let me own up to something: I have a hyphenated last name. In fact, several of my close friends also have hyphenated last names. I realize this isn’t the “hard data” that the NY Times is working with, but among the dozen or so people I know with hyphenated last names, literally none of us has ever complained about the INCREDIBLY HEAVY BURDEN of, god forbid, two last names. It’s never been an onerous task to write our names out in full. It’s really not the end of the world that sometimes my JetBlue e-ticket truncates my name before it’s finished. And it wasn’t actually stressful to get married and decide to keep my own hyphenated last name[2].

But now, here we are, on the precipice of birthing another human life. And everyone wants to know: EGADS! WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR A LAST NAME?! For whatever reason, this question seems to be a source of great, all consuming stress for other people (just not really for us).

So, let’s cut to the chase. For the sake of confidentiality, let’s assume my last name is Smith-Jones. And my husband’s last name is Brown. Our son will be <wait for it> Smith-Brown. Is it a perfect, sustainable solution? Of course not. Is it actually that confusing? No, it really, really isn’t. 

So yes, dear friends, readers, and miscellaneous interweb robots chiming in from the northern Caucasus: our son will have a hyphenated last name. We will be <prepare for impact> a family of three people, with three different last names. It will, I can assure you, make us no less of a family. We will still be bound by blood and DNA and you know, love. So at least we’ve got that going for us.

What about you guys? What’s your naming game plan?

[1] I don’t know about you, but I myself was never a maiden. <curtsy>.
[2] And no, I promise I don’t judge other people who “take” their partner’s name. I just kind of happen to like my last name.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

losing my dignity, 37 weeks, 4 days

It must have been my birthday[1]. That's the only plausible explanation for the exciting gift I received at the OB's office yesterday - a cervical exam! For the uninitiated, a cervical exam at nearly 38 weeks is something akin to vaginal torture[2]. Oh the pressure! The pain! But, alas, the reward: I am <gasp> 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Dare I say the OB was rather impressed. After weeks of my not so subtle requests that she promptly and accurately predict my exact due date right now pleaseandthankyou[3], she stated, pretty optimistically, "you won't go past your due date." *angels singing, horns blowing, etc.*

She then proceeded to suggest some natural ways of accelerating the birth process which she says I am free to undertake next week. The exhilarating options range from nipple stimulation to get the pitocin and uterine contractions flowing (specifically, for five minutes, three times a day – because, you know, what full time attorney doesn't have the time for such whimsical endeavors?) and the illusive "stripping of the membranes[4]" which she is, ahem, happy to perform during my next office visit[5]. Because the former made me feel like a 6th grader in sex ed and the latter sounded downright terrifying, I decided to just blush discretely to myself and change the subject[6]. It's kind of a blur, but I think we then started talking about meditation and chocolate truffles. Also Zantac. Because, you know, at nearly 38 weeks, this is what it's come to, people.[7]

After she left, and I rose from my naked-from-the-waist-down stupor, I looked down to find what was essentially a harrowing crime scene. Apparently, and much to my surprise (because I am nothing if not a logical thinker), her exam had left me, how do I say this, bloody. So, with zero of my dignity still in tact, I scampered to the door, still-naked-from-the-waist-down, to try to call her back in. Because, you know, I’m pregnant SOMETHING MUST BE TERRIBLY WRONG. A miscellaneous nurse spotted me first, and clearly INCREDIBLY DISTURBED by my lack of dignity, shoved me back in the room, closed the door and abruptly informed me she would find the doctor. Sauntering back in, my OB, visibly amused, apologized, noting "I should have warned you!" before directing me to the PLUS SIZE ADULT DIAPERS “maxi pads” in the corner. Ahem. Noted.

So dear readers, do tell. At 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced should I be lying very still and eating bon bons? Feverishly packing my hospital bag? Going all in, membranes and all? And if the last, what on earth should I expect with that little activity?

[1] Spoiler: it was not my birthday.
[2] It is nothing like torture. Another symptom of the third trimester: drama!
[3] Or, in her case, nothankyou. Since, apparently, obstetricians don’t like to make baseless predictions and later be held to them by anxious patients.
[4] Stripping Membranes. Clearly an 80s metal band with a hair problem. Or something you do while on a skateboard. Or else, you know, cervical agony of an indeterminate variety.
[5] I feel like I just got solicited. The most pregnant hooker in the Northeast.
[6] <Mature adult here>.
[7] (Seriously though. I'm pretty sure we talked about these things, in this order. I kind of adore my OB despite what follows).