Today is Baby H’s due date. As it turns out, that does not mean that he spontaneously emerges at the stroke of midnight. (I know, SO disappointed.)
In seasonally appropriate fashion, he is the size of a pumpkin! What a cutie:
And this is what it looks like to have a fully grown baby in your belly:
In the last two days I have been told twice that I look too normal and energetic to have a baby this weekend. Those people? They are sweet to say so, but also they can suck it, because I am so abnormal enough to have a baby this weekend. Another lady shouted down the sidewalk at me that “Ohmigod, you have such a gigantic baby in there!” Yeah... shouted... at a stranger... about her huge belly. I refused to acknowledge said lady’s existence, even though she clearly thought that her comment had been a brilliant conversation-starter.
I spend a sort of surprising amount of time these days wondering if I am going into labor. And one would think it would be so obvious. But once it became apparent that I am an oblivious dope when it comes to contractions, well, I started researching the matter. (Obvious and oblivious... just two letters different... did everyone else already know this?) Anyway, well, some women totally don’t realize they are in labor until it’s time to push. It really happens. So I keep telling Jasper he’d better read the page in our childbirth book about delivering the baby himself. I’m mostly joking, and he pointed out that since it’s just one page, he can read it when the time comes. Which is true. He’s a super fast reader! And also, yes, one page. TO DELIVER A BABY. So, apparently medical school? Pretty much overkill. Doctors. Such suckers.
Yesterday it was clear that I was not in labor, so we took a small adventure to the Home Depot and Alameda. Home Depot is a frequent adventure for us and, surprisingly, I am a pretty big fan. My favorite time to go is early in the morning on a weekend. I like to speculate on what people are up to. It’s always a healthy mix of contractors and semi-clueless homeowner guys. People with big projects, people with a suddenly leaky sink, people with gardening ambitions... all way more lively than anyplace else at that hour. For some reason I get a real kick out of it. Also, my baby’s daddy is really cute when he’s, like, picking out a hammer.
After Home Depot (where we got something for the inside of the toilet... a flapper, I believe), we headed to Alameda to check out the toy stores. But first we happened upon a terrific Mexican restaurant -- the kind with huge platters of food with lots of toppings and margaritas the size of small fishbowls. We love this type of Mexican restaurant and they are so rare in the Bay Area. We love a good taqueria too, but sometimes you want to sit among the faux frescoes and have a giant tequila beverage with your complimentary chips and salsa. And you might want to do this someplace that is not Chevy’s. In such a case, you should head to La Penca Azul. My baby’s daddy does not always appreciate my adventures, but he appreciated this:
By the way, that drink in the background was a housemade blackberry limeade for the gigantically pregnant and it was delicious and made me want to return for a blackberry mojito. Jasper went big and tried something called a Michelada. This was new to us, and was a beer-based Bloody-Mary sort of thing. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this is that it came in lots of different flavors. Like, even peach. Jasper’s was the original and while he liked it alright, it’s not his new favorite. But La Penca Azul! Totally our new favorite!
After stuffing ourselves, and getting Baby H kicking like crazy with jalapeños, we headed to the toy store. There we finally found our baby’s first stuffy, which we’ll give him for Christmas. It’s a blue monkey, and possibly the softest blue monkey in all the land. I would post his picture, but we washed him when we brought him home and his fur is still a little damp. So, he’ll have to make an appearance at a later date.
Today, while wondering whether I am in labor (I’m telling you... not as clear as you’d think!), my baby’s daddy took me out for a giant jalapeño-laced cheeseburger at our local spot. Thus I would be well-fueled in case of labor. We walked over from our house, which isn’t a very long walk, but left me feeling like my baby might fall out. Which would be really impressive. Me and my burger:
Number of contractions this week: seriously, so many. and those are just the ones I know about! Number of days until Baby H will be evicted, if I don’t get him out on my own: 10
Number of Christmas presents we have bought for Baby H: 3 Number of Christmas shipments we have been warned to expect from Granny J and Gumpa: 2 What Gumpa wanted to get Baby H, before Granny J reminded him that Baby H will still be a baby in a month: a toddler motorcycle
Things that are difficult when you are 40-weeks pregnant: painting your toenails, making Thanksgiving plans, rolling over
Jasper would say that we are now at Defcon 4. I think that sounds a little extreme, but will acknowledge that we have reached a fairly high state of readiness. Now that I know (sort of...) what contractions are like, I realize that I am indeed having quite a few of them. Often five minutes apart, even! But they still aren’t intensifying or organizing themselves into a baby-eviction mission. So, we mostly wait.
I’m starting to suspect that this is much more boring for others than it is for me. I mean, I’m basically staycationing for the first time in my adult life. It’s pretty great. And I’ve started sleeping through the night more! So, I mean, maybe work was my problem all along? But I realize that for others, I am just still gigantically pregnant. BORING! DO SOMETHING NEW, WOMAN! I assure you, I would go into labor if I could. I’m an ENFJ, after all -- the compulsion to perform is strong.
The good news is that Baby H is a very impressive fruit this week. A mini-watermelon! How cute is that? This cute:
Meanwhile my belly is this... cute? Ahem, yeah.
That picture was taken after a lovely dinner date with my baby’s daddy. Because our dinner-date days are numbered! So we have to go now, while we have all this freedom! We also used our freedom this weekend to go on an adventure to Danville. There, we ate delicious pizza that Jasper wasn’t really all that excited about:
And also got some treats at the bakery. The driving force behind the adventure was my desire for an apple fritter. Apple fritters are my favorite baked good of all time, and I haven’t had one in years, because no one makes gluten-free apple fritters. I mean, obviously. But Miglets, in Danville, does. ALLEGEDLY. I really couldn’t say for sure, because they were all out of them when we arrived! I actually stood in a momentary state of shock when the bakery-guy told me. I don’t think he realized that he had pretty much ruined my adventure. I was really remarkably mature about it and ordered some other stuff. The bakery, which is now the target of my apple-fritter-deprived resentment:
Number of contractions I’ve had this week: lots, I think, now that I sort of know what I’m looking for Number of painful contractions I’ve had this week: maybe six?
How imminent labor felt on Thursday: very! How imminent labor feels right now: not at all How Jasper feels about probably having to go to work tomorrow instead of having a baby: pretty cranky
Number of potentially labor-inspiring walks Jasper has taken me on this weekend: 2 Number of potentially labor-inspiring bowls of very spicy soup I have consumed: 1 Number of potentially labor-inspiring bathroom-scrubbings I have done: 2
Number of movies we have gone to, knowing that movie-going will soon be a more complicated (i.e. impossible) endeavor: 2 Number of buckets of popcorn we have consumed at these movies: 2 Interesting thing we learned about the popcorn: it is much tastier at matinee-showings
Number of pies I have baked and frozen in anticipation of having a tiny newborn on Thanksgiving, but also needing pie, because it’s fine to skip turkey and all the rest, but pie is non-negotiable: 1
Number of pages we have left in Cryptonomicon: zero! But that has been the case for nearly a week, so apparently finishing the book was not the key to going into labor
And on the third day, I spent way too much time kicking it at Kaiser, for someone who is not even in labor. First I had my routine prenatal. There my doctor discovered that Baby H’s heart rate was chilling on the low end of normal. Not concerning, but on the low side, and lower than at my last appointment. (This is clearly due to the rigorous workout regimen he has undertaken in utero.) Then she measured my belly to be ever-so-slightly small, which was also normal, because at this late stage of being gigantically pregnant, the baby settles lower into the pelvis to prepare for exit. Thus, the belly tends to lose a little height.
Still, the combination of both perfectly normal factors led her to order some additional testing, just to make sure Baby H hadn’t settled in for exit in a way that was pinching his cord or otherwise causing distress.
So, down I went to the strange exam rooms in the basement, with thoughts of emergency c-sections bouncing around my brain. Apparently my baby’s daddy (having been updated on our adventures) was simultaneously coming to a place of calm acceptance that perhaps we would have an induction that afternoon and that would be fine. And isn’t he so zen with his worry? I had about 45 minutes to kill between “appointments” but that clearly isn’t enough time to do anything, other than call your baby’s daddy so that he can also worry, so after I did that, I ate a granola bar. I figured that no matter what happens, it’s always good to be well-fueled.
Then Wanda showed up to do my test and was horrified that I had been waiting and thought maybe she had overlooked my appointment and why hadn’t anyone called her??!!!???!! I assured her she was right on time, and that my appointment was brand new and it was okay. Then she gave me an ultrasound, which is always fun. Checked in on the fluid level of Baby H’s swimming pool (all good) and noted that he is still a boy.
And then! I was escorted to a lovely pink recliner, where my belly was hooked up to heart rate and contraction monitors and my only task was to lounge and read a junky magazine. As Wanda connected the contraction monitor, she said, “I don’t expect you’re having any contractions, but if you do have one, it will be good to see how the baby responds.” I assured her that I did not seem to be having any contractions.
So I reclined there, listening to Baby H’s heart thump away and watching the bumpy lines crank out of the machine. About 20 minutes later, Wanda returned.
“Did you know you’ve had four or five contractions?”
“Um, there was one thing I thought was maybe a contraction.”
“About five minutes ago? That was the biggest, but you had several others.”
“Oh. I had no idea. I’ll know when I’m in labor, right?”
“Yep. It’ll hurt. I promise.”
Then she reviewed the other bumpy line, and diagnosed Baby H’s heart to be “textbook awesome.” She confirmed that it was pretty much the most beautiful test result she had ever witnessed in all her experience administering such tests. And I thought finally! Someone is acknowledging how exceptional my baby is! Because I was really getting bored with all this “normal” and “fine” nonsense.
Monday was my first day of maternity leave, seeing as how I am officially disabled. But also seeing as how my boss made it fairly clear that he would prefer that no labor events take place in the office. So, now, my baby’s daddy is twiddling his thumbs and impatiently waiting, while I am enjoying whatever days of leisure Baby H elects to give me before he makes his grand entrance.
Since some of you have told me that you very much enjoy mundane posts about what the heck I do with my time and what goes on in my brain-parts when I am not talking, well... here you go.
On day #1, I did these things:
Woke up at 4:44. (So silly.)
Made coffee and lunch for my baby’s daddy. (By the way, I do this every day... this was not special on-leave behavior. Wasn’t he so smart to marry me?)
Ate the slow kind of oatmeal for breakfast.
Caught up on my Google Reader.
Considered taking a nap, but abandoned the plan when my body did not want to nap.
Washed our sheets.
Did another load of laundry, which included the seat cover from my car and the dog towels.
Dragged the trash cans in from the curb. All three of them!
Ran (and emptied!) the dishwasher.
Swept Reese’s fuzz off the floors.
Ate a pear and a cheesy rice cake and probably some other stuff too.
Cleaned a bathroom sink, then decided I was not in the mood for more bathroom-cleaning business.
Took my car to the car wash place to have it cleaned only to discover that they are closed on Mondays. What is it with being closed on Mondays?
Wandered around the makeup section at the Rite Aid, but didn’t buy anything. Came closest on some yellow nail polish, but failed to commit.
Bought some half-n-half, butter, salad greens, and cheese at the market.
Made baked potatoes and salad for dinner. Because it was Monday and that’s how we do.
On day #2, I did a better job of engaging in the leisure part of leave:
Got up at 2-ish because Baby H was not going to make it until morning without a snack. Growing a baby is so demanding!
Went back to bed!
Got up at 6-ish to make my baby’s daddy’s coffee. (Tuesday is seminar day, so he doesn’t take a lunch. Because he nourishes himself with data and nerdiness, I imagine. I mean, he must, because he never tells me what he does have for lunch and if he went out for lunch, then surely he would report back on the adventure, right?)
Went back to bed!
Received a goodbye kiss from my baby’s daddy.
Got up at 8-ish.
Ate some cereal.
Took a shower.
Dropped my car off with Jim the mechanic for a little proactive check-up and an actually timely oil change and tire rotation.
Got a haircut from a lady who clearly doesn’t know what “Zooey Deschanel bangs” are, but I think it’s still passably cute. Was also told that I must be having a miniature baby (!) which I found to be terribly rude.
Agreed via phone to replace battery in car, at Jim’s suggestion, as it was apparently very weak and was just keeping up appearances with a paper-thin veneer of competence. I mean, what with winter and baby coming, who needs a battery on the brink of a nervous breakdown? (Also: confused Jim briefly because apparently he had two Suzannes with Subarus in the shop today -- what are the odds!!???!!!)
Browsed in a bookstore, where I made two bookish purchases and pondered a onesie purchase, even though we don’t need more onesies. But it was grey with orange writing that said “born to read”! I kind of think my self-control may have been misguidedly overzealous on this one...
Lounged in a coffee shop, drinking a latte and being the last person on the planet to read Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Also ate a lousy cookie. I actually almost threw half of it away, it was so lousy.
Bought Reese and Puppet two new fancy stuffies to give them as gifts from the new baby. Apparently this is something you do for older siblings?
Did a shoe store walk-thru and realized I wasn’t in the mood.
Browsed in another bookstore, where I found some great used books for Baby H’s library, made a small friend named Angus, played with a pop-up book about firetrucks, talked about trains, and was then complimented by the cashier for my brilliant book selections.
Wandered into a children’s shop where I pondered a onesie with a pretty outrageously terrific cowboy print but weird-feeling fabric, and sat down in the floor-sample glider, which confirmed that it was time for me to go home.
Arrived home to a Puppet with the zoomies and a Reese who wanted to wrassle.
Made jambalaya for dinner, which was not as impressive as it sounds, since the rice came from a box.
One of the things I did not want to do during this pregnancy was to go into labor at my office. In particular, I did not want my water to break in unlikely-but-dramatic, Hollywood fashion. You see, we have this carpet at work that stains if you look at it funny. For serious, a small splash of water causes a permanent stain. So we theorized that a dramatic-Hollywood-style water-breaking would leave a giant, permanent stain and people could forever point and say, “Yeah, that’s where Suzanne had her baby.” Because, as I’m sure you know, as soon as your water breaks, the baby falls out.
Well, the good news is that I will not be going into labor at the office, because I am now officially on maternity leave. In fact, according to the state, I am officially disabled and have been for two weeks. And this makes me wonder why my baby’s daddy did not refill my coffee cup when he got up to refill his.
This week is again rather disappointing in produce. Baby H is as long as a leek. Which is really quite long when you think about it. This explains why he is mostly bunched up, but also quite assertive about trying to expand my uterus in all directions. Everything I read says that his movements are becoming more muffled and less frequent, due to his extremely cramped quarters. This is still not happening! Instead, he is moving with the same level of enthusiasm, but now he is, you know, a basically full-grown, brawny infant. As a result, I mean, ouch.
His efforts are not going unrewarded, however. As is evident, he is indeed expanding my uterus on the daily.
Pretty breathtaking, isn’t it? On Friday, my last day of work, people said these things, many of which were really lovely things to say to the gigantically pregnant and as such were probably lies, but I don't care (See: Suz and flattery):
“That just looks physically impossible.”
“You remind me how flipping weird pregnancy is.”
“You are too small to carry that belly... how in the world is your back holding up?”
“How is is that you still have a bounce in your step? You should clearly be waddling.”
“Wow. I mean...”
And truthfully, my back has started to get a bit sore in the afternoons. That this just recently started is pretty amazing, given that I have a really terrible back (or I thought I did). I feel very lucky that it waited this long to complain, and also that I don’t have to sit in a desk all day anymore.
Number of people who have touched the belly: 24 Number of contractions I felt this week: probably around a dozen?
Number of weeks until my maternity leave starts: zero (0) Number of months until I return to work: 6 Number of reports I drafted in the final hour before I went on leave: 1 Number of boxes required to pack up the contents of my cubicle: 2 (My whole office is moving across the Bay while I am on leave!)
Number of pieces of Halloween candy I consumed this week: a lot
Number of mobiles in Baby H’s room: 2 Number of nerdy posters in Baby H’s room: 3
Number of pages we have left in Cryptonomicon: 34 (Jasper has a theory that Baby H will not come out until we finish the book, because clearly he is eager to hear the ending and maybe thinks the reading is only happening inside the belly?)
This evening Jasper and I are attending not one but TWO gallery openings, where our artist-friends are showing their work. Yes, we have artist-friends. Believe me, we are as surprised as you. So many dimensions to us.
This is what I would wear if I were quite a lot more hip and even more than that less pregnant: