Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Enough Already

There comes a time in every pregnancy when you're done. D. O. N. E.

Unfortunately, your baby has other plans. Like staying put. Forever. Where he just floats around, nice and warm, gets all the food he wants, and if he feels like it, he can kick the shit out of something (ie my rib). It wouldn't surprise me if he had a flat-screen TV in there.

So his head is so far down that he's literally sitting on my pubic bone. Oh yes. Right on it. You can imagine how easy that makes it for me to do stuff, like walk. I guess I shouldn't complain - I'm sure he'll be a pain in the ass soon enough.

The other day I had a false alarm when I was awoken from a sound sleep at 5 a.m. by intense contractions. I called my poor doula, who was so out of it she had no clue who I was for about 3 minutes. Once she figured it out, she suggested I listen to a hypnosis CD. But the contractions didn't go away.

I was actually excited to get the show on the road. I've had a lot of anxiety lately: Sage has been REALLY sick for about two weeks (a double ear infection followed by some virus that gave her a runny nose, hacking cough and a 104.5 fever).

Then, my midwife completely freaks me out by talking about the dangers of hemorrhaging after home birth if you don't have enough iron. I believe she was telling me this because I'm not exactly down with all the homeopathic stuff she's suggesting, but I am taking some of it.

I actually told David after she left that fuck it, let's just have a hospital birth and be done with it. Luckily my doula came over the next day and talked me off the ledge.

At any rate, the contractions stopped after about an hour that morning.

Now it's just a matter of waiting. The birthing pool - which is just an inflatable kids pool - is blown up and airing out in our garage. I think we have all the supplies we need. The house is relatively clean, but that's a constant battle with two kids and two dogs to pick up after.

Thing is, I know having a newborn is exhausting, to say the least. I am trying to enjoy the moments I have left before his arrival, spending uninterrupted time with Sawyer and Sage.

Sage and I watched a DVD of water births. She was totally into it and was not alarmed at all. She had a few questions: Why is the mommy making those noises? (because having a baby is hard work); Why is the mommy crying? (because sometimes you cry when you're REALLY happy); is that the mommy's bagina? (yes, and see the baby's head?)

She really wants to be there to watch. Sawyer, on the other hand, is ambivalent. He's said he really doesn't want to be there. Which is, of course, fine. But he's also been super emotional lately.

This morning, on the way to school, he burst into tears because he saw a roly-poly bug and I wouldn't let him bring it to school. Last week, he said he wanted pita and hummus for lunch, and when I told him we didn't have any pita, he started sobbing. Pretty much everything has set him off. Poor little guy.

I'm attributing it to him worrying about the arrival of the baby. Not that it makes it any easier to deal with, but I figure I better cut him some slack.

Hopefully he will embrace the new baby like he did his baby sister 3 1/2 years ago.

Someday soon, we won't remember our life without No. 3 - or imagine him not being part of our family. All we need him to do at this point is show up!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just Say No? HA!

Bristol Palin, teenage mom and daughter of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, said in a recent interview with Fox News that abstinence education - espoused by her mother - "is not realistic at all."

In other breaking news, the earth is round.

I'm glad one of the Palins has some grasp on reality. Then again, is it possible for a teenager NOT to know how pregnancy happens?

At any rate, the bottom line is teenagers have sex: according to the Guttmacher Institute, 7 out of 10 teens have had sex by age 19. Oh - and, attention, Governor Palin: a sexually active teen who does not use a contraceptive has a 90 percent of getting pregnant within a year.

The best gift you can give your child is education, not ignorance. Let them know the facts about sex, birth control, STDs, emotional impact, pregnancy, all of it. Hope that, over the course of their lives, you've taught them to be responsible and how to make good decisions - and that they are comfortable and trusting enough in their relationship with you, the parent, to talk about it openly.

Maybe Bristol Palin's choices would have been different had she had that opportunity. Instead, she's just another statistic.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You Really Do Forget

Think about how many times people have told you to enjoy your kids while they're little, because it goes by so fast. Meanwhile, it's all you can do to get through each day, dealing with snot and poop and tantrums and playdates and hurt feelings and wondering whether your child is normal because he's not reading yet/she's not making friends.

Then you realize that the birth of your final child is going to happen very, very soon and you have to start all the newborn/infant stuff again. You're exhausted even thinking about the no sleep/crying/gazillion diaper changes/and wondering if your breastmilk be poisonous to THIS baby.

And for some reason your husband decides this would be a good time to go through old videos and put them in a new format. He emails you this and then you remember what a happy, smiley, giggly baby your son was. How he belly laughed at 10 weeks and had such joy about him.

You remind yourself to cherish, cherish, cherish. It does go by way too fast.

video

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Babies

My friend and neighbor, Robin, is starting her own photography business. Which is fabulous because she has a wonderful eye for capturing kids at just the right moment. Speaking of which, if you look through her gallery of lil' kids, #14 might look familiar to you.

Today she took some maternity shots of me. I've never had them done, so I thought it would be cool since this is THE LAST TIME I WILL BE PREGNANT. Just wanted to make sure that was in all caps.

Here are a few:



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What Would You Do?

Salma Hayek was in Sierra Leone on a humanitarian issue, along with representatives from Pampers. Her trip was documented on Nightline last week.

The purpose was to promote Pampers One Pack = One Vaccine, where for every pack of Pampers sold, they will pay for one tetanus vaccine. Tetanus is a completely preventable disease which is in part responsible for the region having the highest infant mortality rate in the world.

The main culprit? Malnutrition. Women are discouraged from breastfeeding for more than a few months because, according to local beliefs, their husbands won't have sex while their wife is still nursing their child.

In part to take away the stigma of nursing, Hayek decided on doing something that's led to an explosion of international reaction: she breastfed a week-old sick boy, whose mother was unable.



What I thought was amazing is she never hesitated. Her only thought, for a moment, was whether she was being disloyal to her one year-old daughter, who she is still nursing.

It was a genuine moment that simply reminded us exactly what our breasts are for - and where their real power is. And in the process, also showed how natural nursing is.

The obvious question: would you do this for another child?

George Foreman Was Onto Something

And I'm not talking about his grill. The man knew what he was doing when he named all his sons George. Because internets, I have no name for my child, who will arrive in less than a month (do you HEAR me in there?? It's time to get out!!).

For some reason this is really stressing me out. Maybe it's because we don't really even have a list. Okay, we have a list, but I don't like anything on it. At least, not today. I've become increasingly grumpy about the whole thing.

Boys are tough. You want something different, but not anything TOO different. I don't want a name that appears in the top 10. Or the top 50. When we picked Sawyer, the name was like #490. Now it's 240th - and I'm not happy about it!

And the name has to go along with the first two. I can't have Sawyer, Sage and Bob. You know?

The other issue is I really love Sawyer's name. And I haven't come up with another boy's name that I heart as much. If you know Sawyer (and some of you do), you know that it just fits him.

If #3 was a girl, I know we'd have a ton of names that we liked and the problem would be narrowing it down. But since it's a boy, the problem is liking even one name.

Both our kids' first names start with the letter "S," but that was just a coincidence. But now there are those (you know who you are!) who think this kid will be bitching me out in therapy for not naming HIM with an "s" name. To which I say that will be the LEAST of his worries, with me as a mother!

The middle name will be after my father who died two years ago this summer. His name was Gerald and he went by Jerry. So it will be either a G name or a J name. That part's easy.

We have actually called the baby Baxter since I was nine weeks pregnant, just to have something for the kids to refer to him as. David thinks we should just name him that for real, but unless he comes out with a tail and fur, it's not happening. Besides, when Sawyer says it, it sounds like bastard. Not what we're going for.

Everyone says I will just "know" when I see the baby. But I think that only works if you actually have a fabulous options to choose from. I doubt he'll pop out and I'll look at his wrinkled face and be struck by inspiration. I think it'll be more like panic.

The good news is I have a year to choose. Or maybe that's not so good: I'm great on deadline, but that just gives me WAY too much time.

So we'll see. I could go with my first reaction when I learned I was pg, which would be "oops" followed by "shit!" Hey - at least one of them's an "s" name!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Are we done yet?

There comes a time in every pregnant woman's life when she arrives at the conclusion that she's Done. Although not in any way ready to deal with a newborn, she is simply through with the metal-eating acid reflux, tired of an ass that is growing exponentially to the size of her belly, and finished with sounding like a Very Old Person With Gas every time she has to bend over or get up from the floor.

Saturday I actually had to rest after taking a shower. Because I was THAT exhausted. I wake up in the morning completely sure I will not be able to actually get out of bed - and that's after I've slept nine hours.

And of course, there's no telling when this will end. I have two different due dates: one puts me at 37 weeks this Thursday, the other not til next Wednesday. I've decided to go with the earlier date. Let's hope The Boy goes along with this plan.

I don't want to have to resort to drastic measures, like, you know, actually have to have sex (prostaglandin in semen can help get the cervix ready). I just don't think I can stay awake long enough, to say nothing of the circus act that it is at this point.

But you know, desperate times and all that..

Anyway, my midwife came over today and, through external examination, determined the baby's head has definitely descended, and he's just wiggling his butt around (SO comfortable, let me tell you).

She also came up to my bedroom, where David rearranged the furniture so we can accomdate a birthing pool. She then explained to me exactly how one gives birth while in the pool. I will simply report to you all that in one position, I would be delivering the baby myself. Luckily, the baby is still attached via the umbilical cord so the slimy little baby can not slip out of my grasp and fly across the room.

We'll see how it goes. As long as it goes sooner than later.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Shower me!

My wonderful running partner, Cindy, upon learning I was pregnant last summer, immediately offered to host my shower. And how could I refuse? Her house is BEYOND gorgeous. Aside from the view, which is all canyon until the ocean, her home looks like something out of House Beautiful. You kinda have to see it to appreciate it.

Saturday was the day. And, of course, it was pouring out. I took a shower in the morning and wondered how my hair would dry in time for me to get it wet walking from the car to her front door. I then pondered how big it would grow once it dried again in her house.

Oh well. I figured most people would be looking at my belly, anyway, or at least the hair would balance out my lower half.

I was really excited to see Cindy and Torrey, my other running partner, who was co-hosting. I hadn't seen Torrey since the summer and was looking forward to catching up.

 


It was also cool to get different groups of my friends all in one spot: women from my mom's group, who I've known for five years; a couple moms from Sawyer's pre-k; a bunch of neighbors; and then a couple random friends. The nice thing was, aside from Torrey and Cindy, everyone knew at least one or two other people there.

 

 

 
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The place looked amazing. The food was fabulous. And I was totally overwhelmed by all the gifts and the time and effort everyone put it to make it a special afternoon for me.

 

I truly believe every baby deserves to be celebrated, whether it's your 1st or your 4th or your 14th. I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends to make everything so amazing. I definitely felt the love! The sun even came out so we could take this shot in Cindy's back yard.

 

Then, on my way, home, there appeared a double rainbow. Talk about a perfect ending!

 
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Friday, February 06, 2009

The Business of Being Born

A little support would be nice. I mean, the woman IS my mother. One would think that she could keep it to herself that she's not in favor of my having a home birth.

Yeah, right. In typical fashion, I'm sure she's only focused on EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG.

And yeah, sometimes stuff does happen. Most of the time, however, the only stuff happening is normal birth. Frankly, hospital births are statiscally much more dangerous.

To help my mother out, I recommended she watch The Business of Being Born, a documentary produced by Ricki Lake in 2007.



I'd wanted to see it since it came out, and finally got to last week. It is, to put it mildly, startling. Some of it I already knew, but jeebus, people. It's crazy how out of hand the baby industry - oh yes, birthing those babies is a billion dollar business - has become.

Did you know our country has the highest rate of C-section in the industrialized world? Actually, that's probably in the entire world. And guess what? Our rate of maternal and infant mortality is right up there, too.

Coincidence?

Add to it that only 1 percent of births here take place at home, vs. almost the opposite everywhere else.

I don't mean to get all preachy, but it's really stunning when you think about it. For instance, no one knows for sure what the effect is of all the drugs that get pumped into women in labor. They used to do all kinds of things that they later realized were not so good, such as pelvic x-rays of pregnant women - until they figured out why the babies were getting cancer. Then there's that lovely drug, thalidomide, that caused all kinds of birth defects.

There's a reason why they're looking into pitocin - a drug routinely given to women either to induce labor or to hurry it along - as a possible contributor to autism.

Now, obviously, there are high-risk births that definitely need to occur in a hospital. And yes, sometimes things do go wrong. Doctors specialize in the 2 percent of those cases. But for the majority of low-risk births, doctors are there to catch the baby and that's it.

I think a lot of people don't really get what a midwife is. They either think she's an old wrinkled lady in a babushka who comes with her magic potions, or just some woman off the street who shows up with a towel and a pot of boiling water.

The reality is my midwife is licensed by the medical board of California. She's delivered more than 300 babies. This is what she does. And you know, she's real good at it. She comes with lots of equipment - and a real understanding of how a woman's body works during the process of childbirth.

She can deal with a cord wrapped around a neck, shoulder distocia, resuscitation, hemorrhaging. She's got no hero complex: if she feels the birthing is not going well, she will transfer me to the hospital before there's any chance of a true emergency.

I encourage any woman who is pregnant or wants to be to see this film. If you belong to Netflix, you can stream it to your computer for free. Ricki Lake is no Michael Moore (despite my mother saying the film is "propaganda" and that it shouldn't be in a video store since it's not appropriate for a 13-year old to rent, unlike all the violent movies out there) but it still gets the message across.

At the very least, you get to see babies born. And there's nothing in the world more beautiful than that.
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