An update: pregnancy, the home birth book and definitely not feeling blessed

Remember when I was really excited about my home birth book project? And how I didn’t say anything about it for a while, and then I was consumed with Listen To Your Mother, and then I was obsessing about why, at this stage of my pregnancy, I can’t just wear a damn two piece swimsuit at the pool, (or wear anything anywhere for that matter) without being a spectacle…

Right. For much of that time, I was busy coming up with reasons excuses not to work on the book. Like, I was too busy with Listen To Your Mother, and then I was feeling uncreative and tired, which was (mostly) justifiable because of it being so late in my pregnancy, and then I was feeling just totally uninspired about the whole project and I was thinking the whole idea was stupid and I shouldn’t even pursue it, even though I have done a fair bit of work on it thus far.

And then something awesome happened, which I never mentioned here or on any social media because I am really fed up with the hashtag #blessed or anything that might resemble it. This New York Times article says it better than I ever could. Or if you’re not going to click over there, this pretty much sums it up:

…calling something “blessed” has become the go-to term for those who want to boast about an accomplishment while pretending to be humble, fish for a compliment, acknowledge a success (without sounding too conceited), or purposely elicit envy.

(But you should really click on that article, if only to read the hilarious tweet about the bacon.

What happened was, Dan insisted that I put Sweet Pea in daycare all five days last week so that I could get more rest as my due date was approaching (it’s today).  Normally she goes two days a week, which I consider a luxury. I felt horribly guilty about the idea of putting her in daycare all five days… Not because she hates it (she loves it), not because of the expense (well, not entirely, but somewhat), and not because I would miss spending time with her (I spend plenty of time with her). Mostly because I feel being her mom is my only job right now (I haven’t taken a shift at the hospital in a while) and I felt like a fraud, taking time off from my responsibilities.

But then Dan texted the daycare people and got Sweet Pea in on the extra days and it didn’t matter that I felt like I didn’t deserve a whole week to myself. It was happening, either way. Even with a daily nap/lie down/episode of Breaking Bad along with time to check off items on my to do list, lunches with friends, and errands, I still had a lot of time on my hands. There was no reason not to pick up where I left off with my book.

I reached out to a home birth Facebook group, requesting interviews. I emailed people I had been meaning to email for weeks. I expected nothing. After all, people are busy and I’m no one important. But an amazing thing happened. I got responses to my requests. People wanted to talk to me! Lots of people wanted to talk to me! And after they talked to me, they told their friends and they emailed to tell me they want to talk to me, too.

As I talk to people, I am learning so much. I am learning about all the different ways a home birth can look, including not just the birth itself, but also the prenatal and postpartum care. I am learning what questions I might not need to ask and what questions I ought to be asking. I am learning how to be a better listener and I am learning how to phrase my questions to get the richest answers. I learned that if my i phone isn’t on airplane mode and a call comes in during an interview, it will erase everything that I recorded on using my i recorder app. I learned that my cordless phone only holds a charge for so long and I learned that transcription is a b*tch and paying someone else to do it is usually about $1/minute of audio.

I learned all over again what a patient listener Dan is because there is so much to obsess over when you embark on a project like this. I learned (for the millionth time in my life) that starting is the hardest part and how easy it is to confuse fear with a legitimate reason for not moving forward.

I’m learning that people are excited about my book. I’m re-discovering how excited I am about my book.

Meanwhile I’m sort of ambivalent about the baby. Is that horrible to say? I’m in a groove with this book project and as much as I don’t want to be pregnant anymore, and I’m not scared or nervous about actually giving birth, I’m not excited about it either. I know it’s going to hurt and I know it’s going to be hard. If it’s anything like Sweet Pea’s birth it will also be transformative and awesome but it’s hard to get excited about that. I don’t exactly feel like transforming right now, other than I’d like to be able to put on my strappy sandals independently.

PS If you would like to know a bit more about the book or be interviewed for it, go here. Thanks!

No, I’m not pregnant with triplets but thanks for asking.

Maybe I was asking for it because I was wearing a two piece swimsuit. Or perhaps it was that that the body revealed by my skimpy attire begged for attention- with its abundance of stretch marks, silvery- taupe in hue, gently drifting across my pregnant belly in horizontal wavy lines. And let’s not forget the belly itself- perfectly round, except where the baby’s butt creates it’s own little bump in the upper left quadrant (that’s my left, your right), taut as the balloons the nice man at the liquor store blows up for Sweet Pea, and just about the same size.

I debated heavily whether or not to even go to the pool in the first place. On one hand, I was tired in a special 39-weeks-pregnant-and-carrying-an-extra-35-lbs kind of way. On the other hand, I hadn’t done anything resembling exercise in several days, and I had scored a guest pass at a fancy gym with a beautiful outdoor pool which was about to expire. It was a gorgeous day and Sweet Pea and Dan were content to stay home and dig in the garden without me.

So I swam in the heated, salinated outdoor pool in the sunshine for about 25 minutes. I even managed a few flip turns. When I could no longer stand the fact that I had to pee and I got a cramp, I climbed out, toweled off, used the restroom, and relaxed on a chaise lounge.

I got out my phone and did a Google search for “positive birth stories.” I thought it might be worthwhile to attempt to get in the mood to give birth, but I’m afraid it’s just like working out, scrubbing the toilet, writing, or having sex- you can’t wait for the mood to strike. You just have to do it and you’ll be glad you did afterward.

There I sat, searching for inspiration, when standing before me was this lady I’d never seen before in a blue and black Speedo. She was probably in her 40’s. I wish I could remember any other detail of her appearance but I cannot. It didn’t occur to me at the time that it would be nice to note some identifying features for when I would blog about this. Looking down at me, she said, with shock and wonder,

“Are you having triplets?!”

My dad is fond of reminding me there is nothing new under the sun, but apparently, there is. Though I have blogged about the crazy shit people will say to pregnant women here and here, I had not heard this before.

I met her eyes and paused for a moment, drawing on muscle memory from my teenage years to give her the dirtiest look I could muster and the most hostile tone I could convey in a mere syllable.

“No.”

I then looked down at my phone in my continued search for inspiration, assuming this was the universal sign for “Please do not speak to me anymore.” But she persisted.

“Well, you look great!”

I supposed she realized her gaffe and was trying to make amends. Certainly, I’ve engaged my mouth before my brain could catch up many a time. I could relate. Sort of. So I smiled and thanked her and promptly looked back down at my phone. I was busy searching for inspiration, damnit. She wasn’t done yet, though.

“You must be due, like any minute, then!”

I smiled again, this time with my my mouth pinched. Why does everyone think this is such a novel, interesting thing to say? I have been hearing this since March. Enough already.

“Yep, any minute.”

I looked down at my phone again. This conversation now resembled the life of my dog in the weeks before she was euthanized; painful, devoid of any joy or meaning. Yet she could not let it go.

“You look so ready and together!”

I was wearing my teal two piece Speedo from two seasons ago, my hair was in a half wet/half dry state of limbo, I had no make up on and there were goggle marks around my eyes. I do not remember the last time a razor made contact with my legs (bending is just not worth it), and as for my bikini line- I have not been able to see it in months, so I can’t really speak to its condition.

All of that said, I am not trying to tell you I look like a big, gross whale. Not to brag, but my face looks exactly the same as before I was pregnant (thin and free of acne), and I haven’t sprouted any odd moles, rashes, or patches of hair where patches of hair aren’t supposed to be, which are things people like to warn pregnant women about. And while I did recently treat myself to a manicure and a pedicure, I wasn’t sure where this woman got the idea, just from interrogating me for a few minutes, that I was “ready and together.”

She pressed on, “You really seem ready. Do you feel ready?”

I was ready for her to walk away from me.

“I guess so, yeah.” I put my head down again, and when I looked up, she was gone.

I did end up finding a decent birth story to read, though I’m still not entirely inspired. Inspiration or not, this is happening. And when it’s over I will be able to go out in public and freely make eye contact with strangers, even at the pool. How I look forward to that day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reality Check

Oh yeah, I have a blog. I’ve been too busy bellyaching about how hard it is to be 33 weeks pregnant to actually update this thing.

And then on Monday, someone told me something I didn’t know I needed to hear. After the spin class I am subbing for a friend who just started her maternity leave- really, they should call it the pregnant teacher class, not the Monday morning class- one of the women from the class lingered in the cycling studio as I wiped off the bikes and turned off the stereo. She told me how happy she was for me that I seemed to be having a healthy pregnancy, how she could never have done what I’m doing, that her body had a very hard time with pregnancy, so hard in fact, that her baby was born at 26 weeks.

26 weeks.

If you are where I was 3 years ago (eg You don’t understand why people would say “my child is 15 months old” instead of a simple “one year old” or why a woman would need to be all picky like “I’m 20 weeks along” instead of “I’m five months pregnant”), let me break it down for you. A typical pregnancy is 41 weeks. (Yes, everyone says 40, but actually the average pregnancy is 41 weeks). A baby is considered full-term at I think 38 weeks. At 26 weeks gestation, a baby wouldn’t even weigh 2 lbs. (An average baby weighs around 6-8 lbs.)

26 weeks is really, really early. That’s a lot of time in the NICU, a lot of tubes, a lot of wires, and a lot of stress and heartache that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around.

So, I’ll take my round ligament pain (if that’s what it is. Who knows, really?). I’ll take the occasional heartburn. I’ll take the intermittent insomnia. I’ll take trying to explain to a 2 year old why “uppy” isn’t a great option after about 5pm. I’ll take the stretch marks (not that I have a choice). I’ll take either being able to breathe or bending down to put on my favorite boots (and I admit, sometimes I choose the boots). I’ll even take the suffocating feeling of our basement still being in boxes after the remodel and knowing I don’t have the stamina to put it all back together in one weekend.

As for the next stranger who asks me if I’m ready to have that baby already… No, no I’m not. We’ve got at least 40 days to go and I am grateful for every last one of them.

A Primer for Making Small Talk With Pregnant Ladies

I am now every-stranger-feels-the-need-to-ask-me-if-I-am-almost-ready-which-I-am-not-thank-you-very-much weeks pregnant, aka) 30 weeks. That means nearly three months to go. Three months until my body is mine again except not because nursing and holding an infant, plus managing the constant and ever-changing demands of my mean boss toddler.

In case you feel compelled to make small talk with a pregnant woman, here are some things to keep in mind:

What you say: Wow! You look like you’re about ready to go!
What she hears: OMG You’re huge!

What you say: [in line for ladies room] Would you like to go ahead of me?
What she hears: Angels singing

What you say: When is your due date?
What she hears: You need to squeeze that baby out asap because you look uncomfortably HUGE.

What you say: You look great!
What she hears: Angels singing

What you say: Whoa, are you sure it’s not twins?
What she hears: Jesus H. Christ you are huge.

What you say: That is a great belly!
What she hears: Angels singing

What you say: Is this your first?
What she hears: Do you have any freaking clue what you are doing?

What you say: Are you sure you’re allowed to eat/drink/do that?
What she hears: The slurping sound of a sponge sucking up every last drop of fun

What you say: Seriously, you don’t even look pregnant from the back.
What she hears: Angels singing

Obviously, I jest. Mostly. Remember, pregnant women are people too, except they are carrying the extra weight of a baby elephant, they are exhausted but can’t sleep because of heartburn, and they are crazy hormonal. Tread lightly, wouldja?

30 weeks March 2014

Barefoot and 30 weeks pregnant

 

 

A Baby on the Way in Boulder

Having a baby is a lot of work, even the second time around. There are months of planning, prepping, getting all the last minute tasks on your to do list crossed off, and then you somehow pull it off and you don’t know how you did it but it turns out to be amazing and beautiful and even better than you imagined.

Yep, it’s that time of year. Joelle and I are co-producing Boulder’s Listen To Your Mother Show. It’s getting real now. We’ve put a call out for auditions and for the next few months this show is our baby. This is what I’m talking about, people…

B:W bowing cropped

Boulder Listen To Your Mother Show 2013, Dairy Center for the Arts. Our awesome cast taking a bow

And you thought I was talking about this….

24 wks Jan 2014

My mantra: I will not go into labor on stage.

What I’m talking about is a Mother’s Day event that celebrates the joy, the pain, and the beauty of motherhood. Listen To Your Mother features live readings by local bloggers, writers, and plain old regular people, sharing their true stories about motherhood. It began in Madison, Wisconsin in 2010, when the creator, Ann Imig, decided that the stories of motherhood being shared online needed to be shared in person, with the communities where they were taking place. From there, a national storytelling phenomenon was born. In 2014, Listen To Your Mother will be in 32 cities across the United States.

I know it’s hard to think about Mother’s Day when half the US is covered in ice. But Boulder needs you to come out from under your layers of Patagucci and audition this month!

Think you don’t have a story to tell? Read this.

Think you have to be a mom to be part of the action? Totes false! Watch this:

 Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 11.19.12 AM

Think you shouldn’t audition because you’re not a blogger? Three quarters of our cast last year did not have a blog.

Think you shouldn’t tell your story because you’re scared to tell it? Then that’s probably the story you need to tell. Watch this:

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 11.19.48 AM

For details about auditions, visit our website.

Boulder, you need to do this. Mother’s Day and warm spring breezes will be here before you know it. I keep telling myself that anyway as I struggle to bend down over my ever-expanding belly to get my Ugg boots on… winter does not last forever and neither does pregnancy. The baby will be here before you know it.