Sunday, August 28, 2005


I've noticed an interesting pattern among friends and acquaintances who are having babies these days. It seems like almost everyone says "yes" to the epidural as soon as the second pink line shows up on the test. Which in itself is perfectly fine - I'm not going to criticize women who choose a medicated birth. It's their body and their choice to make. Everyone needs to do what she feels most comfortable with.

My issue comes in here - almost everyone (at least among those I know) who opts for the epidural ends up with a c-section. Earlier this month two friends of mine each had their first baby within a week of each other. Each opted for an epidural to help her with the pain. Each pushed for an extended length of time, but was unable to push the baby out, and each had to have a c-section in the end.

My (oh-so-scientific) theory goes like this: if you can't feel what or where you are pushing, can the pushing really be as effective as it might otherwise be? You know, when the midwife pokes you in the perineum and says "Push here," how do you know where to push if you can't feel your ass? It seems to me like the ability to sense the baby moving down, and to feel the progress being made with each push can be very helpful for a successful vaginal delivery. Maybe the pain is really there to help you and guide you...

Now, before anyone thinks I'm some sort of saint or martyr, let me just say that I may well be the biggest wimp I've ever met. I cursed, shouted, and pleaded my way through 18 hours of unmedicated labor, and it wasn't even by choice. I was ineligible for an epidural due to a nonexistent platelet count*. So I sucked it up because I had no choice. It wasn't fun, or pretty. But, in the end, I had a successful "normal" delivery. And I'm so grateful that, for whatever reason, I didn't need a c-section.

Maybe these friends of mine didn't mind having surgery. I, myself, however, have a mortal fear of knives and needles, and would have totally panicked if I had to have surgery. It hurts when they cut you open! And you have scars!

The upshot of all this is that, even if I am "allowed" to get an epidural this time, I'm not going to take it. Looking back on it, I actually kind of enjoyed my birth experience. I don't want to risk having a c-section if I don't have to**. Besides, there's something sort of empowering about knowing that you can endure some of the worst pain life can throw at you without cracking. I like knowing that my body, while not manifestly beautiful, is capable of producing miracles.

*Did you know that if you have no platelets, and they stick a needle into your spine, you can bleed out into your spinal column and become paralyzed?

**And who knows... maybe there's no connection whatsoever, and it was just a coincidence. Or I have very unlucky friends.

***This may well be the most poorly organized and written posts I've put up in a while. Sorry - very distracted here. Please ignore.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Holy bubbles, Batman!

12 weeks, 1 day.

The baby is kicking me. I swear to Pete. I can totally feel it.

Husband is still convinced that there are Dueling Banjos in there. He's nuts (I hope).

But still. Moving! Yay!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Back to school...

::"back to school" song from Billy Madison playing in my head::

So, Monday I went back to work, and the Bear went back to daycare. I'm happy all day. She's happy all day. We come home together at night, prepared for a joyous reunion after being apart for 8 hours, and guess what happens?

We're not happy.

I, for one, am pregnant. And grouchy. I would like to be loved and petted and told that I'm special. And pretty. Not gonna happen.

The Bear, for her part, has only taken one nap, not her accustomed two, because all the big babies in the toddler room only take one nap; and so, not to be outdone, she skips her second nap. So, by dinnertime, she's completely exhausted. This makes her grouchy. So, while Husband cooks dinner, I get down on the carpet and attempt to interact with my child. Because that's what you do. And what does she do? She crawls over to Husband and tries to climb him. I call to her. I get books. I get toys. I make animal sounds. Only with a snack can I entice her over to me.

So, in two days my child has learned to hate and loathe me as the horrible woman who abandons her all the livelong effing day. Husband, on the other hand, who takes her to daycare and picks her up, is some sort of National Hero.

I know it's probably just the hormones and the bone-crushing fatigue, but I spent most of the evening considering how much it would cost me to get out of my contract right now, since I should obviously be at home with my child. Of course, I can just wait til I tell them I'm pregnant and see if they'll fire me. The new Cub chose yesterday, the first day of the new school year, when nobody knows I'm pregnant, to start showing. I'm making due with the rubber band trick for now, but pretty soon I'm going to have to break out the fat pants. I'm waiting until I hit 12 weeks (this Sunday) to tell my boss. Hopefully all will go well with that...

If I can't even get one child to like me, what business do I have having another one? Oh, good. More people to hate me. Perhaps they'll start a club. I can make them matching t-shirts. Where can I find a onesie that says "MY MOTHER IS A SELF-ABSORBED BITCH"?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Dickens

In an attempt to savor the last few days of my summer vacation (I go back to work on Monday), I've been reading Dickens. Great Expectations, to be exact. I know that I'm a huge dork, but I really do love Dickens*. The way he paints his characters is so interesting to me, and his insight into Victorian society is piercing. Plus, he's just funny. Laugh out loud, rolling on the floor funny. When I was in college, my roommates would come home to find me laughing aloud at a novel, and without fail it was always Dickens. They thought I was nuts. But when there are books like those in the world, I remember why it is that I *have* to teach. It's so important that people read. Not necessarily Dickens - anything will do. Reading has gotten me through many of the toughest times in my life - it's a joy and a solace. Kids today are so wrapped up in video games and computers, they don't always take time to read. It's just so important - someone has to show them the pleasure and the benefits to be derived from a good book. Yay for having a calling in life!

I am getting a bit sad about leaving the Bear again, though. She and I have gotten very attached to one another this summer. I haven't been anywhere without her, and when I went up to school to do some work yesterday, leaving her home with her daddy, I really missed her. I was so excited to see her when I came home. Still, I get antsy when cooped up inside the house without socialization for too long, and she really enjoys being around people her own age and size. I know she enjoys daycare - and I enjoy my work. It's just hard to be apart. There are never enough hours in the day, it seems.

I'm 10 weeks 3 days pregnant today - definitely a little more... voluptuous than five weeks ago. I can still button my jeans, but there's a definite muffin top, or mushroom cap, or whatever you like to call that sexy little roll of fat that hangs over the top. Still, at 10 weeks last time around, I couldn't button my pants, so this is an improvement. I'm trying to control the eating this time - I just get so. damn. hungry. I can't help myself! Plus, I have to eat every three hours, max, or else my blood sugar drops and it's not pretty... so, what with the natural hunger and the enforced snacking - I'm guessing I've added at least five pounds already. We'll see what the scale at the midwife's says later today.

*Incidentally, why is it that there is always a rag and bone shop in every Dickens novel? What is the precise purpose of that illustrious British institution?

Friday, August 05, 2005


Overheard on my baby monitor today: the Bear, refusing her afternoon nap for the third time.

It sounded like this:

"Gar. Gargargar"






(pause, then very distinctly)


Also new to the vocab: "allgone," "down," "up," and my personal favorite, only used when talking to my MIL - "Don't!"

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Anxious days

Well, in an attempt not to jinx myself, I don't want to mention too much about this until it's final, but...

We're Buying A House!

Finally... Although we will be among the first in our set of friends to do so, it just seems like time to quit throwing our money away on rent and start throwing it toward an investment. I know, I know, this will stretch our already tight finances even further. But, you know, what's life without a little risk involved? I rather enjoy living on the edge like this...

I'll share more if/when the deal works out. In the meantime...

Last night, Husband was deep in conversation with my belly, attempting to ascertain if there are one or two Cubs in there. Although I share the midwife's opinion that my week of bleeding was probably the loss of an empty sac, Husband is still sceptical and thinks there might be two. So he's talking to it/them, trying to convince them to communicate, and he says, "Knock once for one baby, twice for two." Then he put his ear on my belly, and swears up and down to me that he heard two distinct taps. (Keep in mind that I had fajitas for dinner last night...) So now, he's convinced we're still going to have twins. Nothing I say will dissuade him.

Oddly enough, I've thought once or twice that I've felt a little flutter, even though I *know* that it's too early. I felt early movement with the Bear at 15 weeks to the day, and we're only approaching 10 weeks here. Still, it was almost unmistakable. I wonder - they say you can feel movement earlier the second time around. But how early is too early?

Points to ponder for next time: what is the origin of the word "escrow"?

Monday, August 01, 2005


Well, we survived the Advent Of The Inlaws. My poor couch cushions will never be the same. I fluffed them lovingly the second I closed the door behind them, but I think their spirit is broken, as is their extra-firm foam. These are not small people, and they don't feel the love that I do for my sassy new couch.

I was really rather relieved to see the tail lights on their car this morning. While I love my extended family and think that they are all wonderful people, they can stress me out to the MAX. I was reading last night, and I came across a wonderful passage about the ways of our mothers. And you know, it's true. We tend to follow the ways our mothers followed - I don't necessarily mean career paths, etc. I'm talking about how we wash our clothes, how we cook, how we load the dishwasher, how we talk to our daughters, how we talk to our husbands. I will admit to this - much as my mother can irritate me, we are very similar. I follow her ways. And having someonoe else's mother in my house for five days really reinforced to me the dissimilarities of my mother (and by extension, me) and my mother-in-law. I don't want to get into horrible detail (well, I do, but I'm feeling polite at the moment), but here's a shining example of how my weekend went:

We (self, Husband, Bear, Grandma, Grandpa, and Auntie) are sitting at a table in a restaurant. I am sitting by the Bear, and Grandpa is on the other side. I am feeding the Bear her lunch. As she stuffs an entire cracker into her mouth (typical Bear behaviour - nothing to stress about), Grandma gasps from across the table and shrieks, "Grandpa! Keep an eye on her! Don't let her choke!" To which I coolly replied, "Well, you know, I CAN KEEP AN EYE ON HER TOO..." Since I'm, you know, her mother and all. Me, the one who feeds her five times a day and is used to her less-than-dainty eating habits. It's my responsibilty, or so I thought. How silly of me.

Also, she kept resetting my thermostat. Um, hello? MY THERMOSTAT. *I* pay the electric bill. If I want to keep my house at a reasonable temperature, that's my prerogative. Just because you sweat like a pig* when it gets over fifty does not give you the right to adjust someone else's thermostat without their permission.

On a more positive, less complaining note, the Bear has passed her first birthday. She is officially a Very Big Girl. Actually, she's not - she's only in the 25th percentile for weight, and the 50th for height. But she's big in spirit! She can dance to music (still with one hand on the table for support), and play chase and hide and seek around the house. She's not afraid of the dark, she devours her veggies with wild abandon (much to my MIL's shock - "why don't you feed her sweets?"), she will give you a high-five upon request, and laughs at her own jokes quite frequently. She's very much fun.

We had cake and presents and candles and singing, and the Bear did her slice great justice. She was very neat about it, and hardly made any mess at all. It was really a lot of fun. We took lots of pictures, and even though I know she won't remember it, I think she had a good time. I spent most of the day (and the day before) reminiscing about her birth, and I thought about writing her birth story down here, because I don't have it anywhere but in my head, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't find the words, and when I tried, they sounded stupid to me. I was induced early and so I never got to go into labor on my own. It was long (18 hours) and difficult (well, not so much difficult as painful), but it was one of the great experiences of my life. I felt so empowered in the time after her birth, and still do every time I think about it. But as for a birth story, I don't think I have it in me to write it down. Maybe next time.

Speaking of which, I am feeling much better. I am healthy again, and feeling much more optimistic about this pregnancy. It may actually work! Who knows...

Next time... More Big News!!

*Incidentally, an odd turn of phrase. Pigs have no sweat glands. That's why they roll in the mud when it's hot. Otherwise, they can overheat and die.