Too Much Information

The latest OB appointment was neither as exciting nor as horrifying as I’d thought it would be. Checking my cervix didn’t hurt as bad as it did the first time, but the information she gave didn’t give me the hope that I’d be having this kid immediately that I’d been waiting for.

Apparently, it is still head down and is fixed in that place (the baby has been head down now for several weeks), which is good. This is called zero station. You can go four up or four down. I learned that a “+4” would mean the kid’s head was coming out of your body, and a -4 would be bad ’cause it would be under your ribs. I am also effacing (my cervix is thinning out), but not dilating yet.

The whole “station” thing explains why I am so uncomfortable. The kid’s head is right in my pelvis, with all its weight on my bladder. This has created a lot of tingling and numbness, as well as some sharp pains in my groin which make it difficult for me to walk. Between 6am and 10am this morning I work, I counted 8 bathroom trips; once every 30 minutes. I didn’t even drink as much water as I normally do.

Now is the time that people have started recommending ways for me to hurry along the process: eggplant parmesan, Mexican pizza, Outback Steakhouse, jumping up and down, raspberry tea, long walks, bumpy car rides. I’m probably not going to do any of that. I’d rather it came out on its own. In another week, however, I may be singing a different tune. After just a little over five and a half hours on my feet this morning, they were so swollen I could barely walk home.

Childbirth Anxiety

I’m on high alert right now. Only 25 days till my due date and it feels like it might happen sooner. I don’t know what that means, and I have no scientific evidence or reason to back it up other than the fact that my belly is lower, which means the baby has “dropped” some. Of course, my mom likes to remind me that she was induced after going two weeks overdue with both me and my sister. I certainly hope that isn’t the case for me, because I honestly don’t think my body can take weather any hotter than it has been without swelling to the point of explosion. My feet have started to swell as soon as I put on shoes, and I don’t feel like I can properly grip anything in my hands. They’re like puffy little sausages.

I have my bag packed (for the most part) for the hospital, although I’m really not sure what I need. I put in a nightgown that unbuttons from the front so I can nurse (assuming that’s a possibility for me), plus I ordered an actual nursing nightgown from Amazon a few days ago, and a hospital gown I bought online that’s cuter than what they normally give you. I have the iPod docking station, some clothes to bring home the baby in, and a makeup bag with shampoo and soap and stuff. If you have any ideas about what I really should be taking, please let me know.

I know I still need to line up someone who can come over with the dogs the first day or so. Plus an alternate. I need to get spare keys made for the house, as well. Audrey most likely will be out of town when it happens, so right now we just have Leticia as a backup dog sitter. Times like these I wish Cavan hadn’t moved. He at least knew when the dogs ate and was comfortable walking them.

My next OB appointment is Wednesday, which marks the beginning of them seeing me once a week (I would have gone last week for the first time, but she didn’t see any reason to check stuff out right away). Which means they’re going to start checking stuff out. I’m not exactly looking forward to that, because my first pelvic exam during pregnancy was less than comfortable, but I imagine it’s only going to get worse. I’m hoping she gets in there and goes, “Wow! Look at that! You’re dilated 3 centimeters and the baby’s head is exactly where it should be. Looks like it’s going to go super fast!”

We’ve been watching a childbirth class on DVD that a customer loaned to me because I never made it to any at the hospital. I’m trying not to let it freak me out. The woman who teaches the class is a bit dorky, but she doesn’t mince words. She makes it clear that labor is painful — incredibly more painful than anything you’ve ever experienced — and she breaks down the amount of time an average woman spends in each stage. 10-12 hours for pre-labor, where you can time your contractions but they aren’t excruciating; 6 hours in the second stage where you can’t talk or walk through contractions; 2 hours in transition which is the absolute worst. That’s a long-ass time.

I know people who have had a few hours of labor with 15 or 20 minutes of pushing, but I tend to think rather negatively about the whole thing. I’m trying to go into it with a positive attitude, but I really just assume that I’ll be in active labor for days before they decide it isn’t coming out on its own and I’ll have to have an emergency C-section and it’ll cost more in hospital bills than our first house. Oh, and I’ll have to have an episiotomy and be there for four days, and sit on a bag of ice for two weeks and it’ll take me a month to be able to shower on my own and I can’t even pee without crying . . .

Then again, maybe I’ll come out of it going, “Hey, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!” But does anyone really think that?

Baby Anxiety

DSC00136So I’m officially a month away from my due date (June 20th, if you weren’t sure). Friday marked the beginning of Week 36. I’m beginning to feel a lot of pressure as I imagine the baby is beginning its descent. Dropping, that is. Into the birth canal. Gross. I have remained surprisingly calm throughout the pregnancy, despite spending at least the past two decades of my life horrified by the concept of pregnancy and childbirth.

Calm, that is, until the past week. After leaving our last OB appointment Wednesday, I had a small anxiety attack in the car. The doctor had made an off-hand remark about me carrying a “chubby” baby and said something over her shoulder to the resident shadowing her about how I’ve been “above average” throughout the time she’s seen me. I was under the impression that I was exactly average and enjoyed telling insensitive people commenting on my girth that I’m exactly where I need to be. The OB also didn’t tell me what my belly measured like she usually does, and I neglected to ask, so I got all freaked out on the ride home.

Oh, my god, what did she mean by “chubby”? I kept saying. I started imagining this awful, long, painful labor before they finally decided it wasn’t coming out on its own and I’d have to have a C-section or something. Charlie finally convinced me to just call the doctor’s office and ask for my measurements and make sure the remark wasn’t as bad as I’d thought. Of course, it wasn’t, and I felt really stupid when the nurse did call me back to say the doctor was just sort of joking and didn’t mean anything by it, but that I had actually measured just a little above average — for someone my size, that is. I’m barely 5’1″ and, without giving away too much information, we’ll just say I wasn’t exactly obese when I got pregnant. A little on the chunky side, yeah, but not overweight.

The second (narrowly avoided) freak-out was this evening, when Charlie and I were on a tour of the hospital. It was very unusual according to the woman giving the tour, but I guess all the labor and delivery rooms were filled, so we couldn’t view any of them. We walked around to see where we’d check in, and the ER in case it was after hours when we arrived. We saw the recovery rooms, which I’d seen when Mel had Simone. But then someone got moved out and we were turned around to go back and see the delivery room. The birthing bed was one of those kinds that pulls apart, and the room was chilly with lots of medical equipment; weird machines with readouts and wires and screens.

I talked myself through that potential anxiety attack on the walk back to the car. Women have been doing this for bazillions of years and I’m just one of many who are nervous about the idea of giving birth. I am not alone. But there’s nothing to worry about. The things I’m concerned about are the things out of my control: how long it will take, whether or not I can deal with the pain and end up getting an epidural, if, for some reason, I end up having a C-section. Oh, yeah — and the COST. It’s all stuff I can’t predict or control. But, of course, that’s the sort of stuff that gives me anxiety. I have control issues.

But tempering all this anxiety was a pleasant afternoon yesterday. I was lucky enough to have my first baby shower hosted by my favorite aunt. Lots of people came out, and everyone was incredibly generous. Mel and Annette got us the crib mattress, and Annette gave us an absolutely adorable plush owl rattle, we have an absolute ton of clothes (not including the haul we got from Annie that her daughter has grown out of), Jennifer got us onesies and burp cloths and the mattress sheet. We got a travel stroller, a car seat, laundry detergent, breastfeeding tank tops for me that open up for easy boob access, a painting from Audrey for the baby’s room, an endless supply of wipes from Liz, a really hip bib and baby book from Leticia, super-cute clothes from Jay and Scott (plus “something else that’s coming this week,” they told me) . . . Oh, I can’t even remember everything else! It’s just a ridiculous amount of super-cute, super-thoughtful stuff. I especially loved all the octopus and owl gear. My favorites!

I posted a bunch of photos on Facebook, and maybe I’ll put some on Flickr, although I think I’m running out of free space on there.

Pet Peevery Part II: Consumer Entitlement

I’d Rather Not Pay, Thank You – One of my new big pet peeves at work is people who decide it isn’t necessary to pay for newspapers because they aren’t actually taking them home. I’m just going to sit down and read, thanks, so no need to charge me for it. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if they didn’t tear the papers apart, leave them scattered around the store, take them into the bathroom, and then we get charged for whatever papers we can’t account for. We also have several regulars who have transitioned from just peeking at the headlines, to sliding the papers off the rack to just check out the leads, to eventually setting the paper down on the counter and pulling the whole damn thing apart as they read it. Last week I was closing and a youngish man came in to meet another guy for some sort of business-y meeting. After he bought his small coffee, he took a paper off the rack and sat down with the other man. I was watching them, and the other man noticed it. I saw him nod over at me and say something to the younger guy about how he was probably supposed to pay for it. The young man shrugged his shoulders in a “What the eff is she going to do about it?” way, then proceeded to read his free paper.
The Toothless Angry Hungarian is exceptional at this. Since she’s Entitled, and since very few of us give her the things to which she feels entitled (free refills on her dollar espressos, free iced tea, going out of our way to clean her things for her), she apparently feels as though we owe her a free newspaper.

None of Us Wants to Buy Anything, Thank You – Apparently we’re the hot place for business meetings, especially because we have free wireless and they like to bring in their laptops to do their business crap. A few days ago I noticed at least three different groups of people meeting in the store, none of whom I had ever seen before. From one group of five, two people bought something. From another group of four, one person bought something. And from the last group of six, one just wanted a cup of water. When the other cheap bastards found out about this free water business, they were all over it. Free? Free? Free?

I Don’t Want to Buy Anything, I Just Want to Make a Mess – Apparently, our store is the only one on the block that has a public restroom. Because it’s a nicer neighborhood, lots of people are out walking around all the time. With their kids, their dogs, whatever. Occasionally, the need to go potty strikes some of them pretty hard. And, on occasion, it’s not just a pee. It’s the other one. The bad one. Last week, I was closing with Matt when I watched a total of five people walk in, go straight to the restroom, stay in there for five or ten minutes, then hoof it back out the front door. Not all at once, mind you, I just counted five people over the course of the night doing it. Only one person actually notified me what he was doing, stating he’s “in here all the time and just needs to use the bathroom.” In a way, I’d rather not know what you’re doing. I mean, I know what you’re doing, but you don’t have to broadcast it. Especially when you’re dropping the kids off at the pool.

I Like Pouring Things Into Various Holes I Find Throughout Your Store – We went through a remodel a couple of years ago that moved the condiment stand from one side of the front door to the other. I’m sure this turned dozens of people’s worlds upside down, especially because the new condiment stand had a built-in trash can. For a few weeks, the trash can and stand remained on the right side of the door, as it had for a decade. But while the new one was being installed, there was an arbitrary hole where a trash can would eventually be installed underneath a cabinet door. People found it absolutely irresistible. They loved stuffing things into and pouring things down this hole. Despite the fact that nothing sat beaneath it, it was a hole, and as a partriarchal society, holes are for putting things into. We taped over the top of it for a while, but people would stuff things around the side of the tape. Newspapers, coffee, water, receipts, bank statements, napkins. We were cleaning out the inside of that cabinet multiple times a day until the manager finally purchased a trash can just to collect the waste, hoping that the stand and cabinets would be finished soon so we could let people release their fluids and trash into the hungry hole, willy-nilly.

To this day, people continue to pour liquids into the trash, something I find terribly irritating. If you’re getting too much coffee in your cup, tell me. I’ll leave more room. Since every morning is pretty much the same series of customers over and over again, you’d think, rather than them all dumping two ounces of hot liquids into the trash can, someone would just let us know to leave them some extra room for cream. Again, the Toothless Angry Hungarian likes to do this. She pours our filtered water all over napkins and makes a huge production of wiping off her table, her seat, the bottom of her purse. I could have been standing over the table with bleach and boiling water when she walked up, and she’d still think it wasn’t clean enough. When she’s done with her espresso, she doesn’t go to the bathroom to rinse out her cup. Oh, no. She doesn’t bring it to us to ask us to wash it out. Nope. She takes it up to the condiment stand, grabs the filtered water pitcher again, and pours it into her demitasse, dumps that into the trash, then does it again and again until she finds it adequately cleaned.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this has created a lot of rust in our metal trash can. It burns through the plastic trash bags that we have to take out to the Dumpster multiple times per day. It also makes hauling the bag difficult, as we attempt not to burn ourselves or drip coffee and dirty water all over our feet and legs.

Your Experience is Different from My Experience and I Don’t Like That

The other day at work a woman asked me how it feels to “never be alone.” I didn’t understand and asked her to clarify. She said “When you’re pregnant, you’re never alone. Isn’t it nice to always feel like you’re not alone?”

I don’t have that feeling at all. I don’t exactly feel like I’m always alone, but I also don’t feel like I never am. I also enjoy being alone on a regular basis. In fact, I’m trying to really treasure these last few weeks of anonymity before my relationship goes from couple to family, and my life goes from capable-of-being-alone to never-ever-alone-again. I said something like this to her, and she gave me a horrified look and said, “Oh, that’s really sad.”

I don’t feel like this is “really sad.” Even though I’m carrying around a person that’s almost 5 pounds and the size of a cantaloupe, and it just so happens to beat me up internally throughout the day, I guess I just haven’t had that extreme maternal bonding with the fetus that many women do. I’m not worried about this and I don’t feel like it makes me less of a “mom” (it’s kinda hard to be a mom without an actual, physical child in your arms) or less female. I expect to bond significantly when it/she is born.

We have one more ultrasound that will probably be about two or three weeks from today. At that point, I’m hoping to have a definitive, 100% specification of gender. The more time that passes since the 20-week ultrasound, the less sure I am of the sex. Especially since I have so many people telling me every day that I’m for sure having a boy. Of course, now I want it to be a girl, just to prove those people wrong for using such silly old wives’ tales to determine the sex of my baby.

“Oh, you’re carrying low.”
“Are you having heartburn? It’s going to be a really hairy baby.”
“It’s definitely a boy because your stomach looks like a watermelon.”
The ridiculous thing is, when I look up the old wives’ tales, the things people are telling me are frequently turned around. Someone once said that since I’m carrying my weight all out in the front, it’s a boy. But, according to the legends, that means it’s a girl. And some people have said that I’m carrying high, so it must be a boy. But that, too, is the opposite of the tale. I can’t believe some of the observations made about me, or how different and, occasionally, personal, everything is: you’re narrow, you’re wide, your skin is good, your skin is bad, your hair is darker, your hair looks dry, are your nipples really dark?, do you want to have sex a lot or not at all?

Like it’s their business anyway.

Two other things that have surprised me since becoming visibly pregnant: one, people are not actually coming up to me in droves to touch my stomach, which I was really worried about. Two, people are really offended when they discover how far along I am and I never told them. I’m talking customers at the coffeeshop. People who I see, maybe, once or twice a week. I had no idea that anyone would think I was intentionally hiding the Peanut from them. I wear an apron at work everyday, and I’m 5’1″. It’s pretty difficult for anyone to peer down behind the cash register or espresso bar to get a full view of my tummy. Some people give me the impression that I must be ashamed of it, or else I would have told them a long time ago.

I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t have printed up an announcement to keep by the drink bar months ago. Would that have made them happy? Probably not.

Pet Peevery: Part I

I know how much some of you guys like reading about the irritating things customers do. Every shift that I’m scheduled, I think of a new pet peeve, or am reminded again of one I’ve had all along. Most of them are specific to being an employee in a coffeehouse, or at least in a retail environment.

I’ll Call It What I Want and You’ll Like It – As you are well aware, one of my biggest annoyances is people who bicker over the names of drink sizes. I almost always try to reassure them that I am perfectly capable of translating any number of words into small, medium, or large. But the worst is the people who really want to dig, like it makes them feel better to try and make me feel stupid.

Just Do It – Another pet peeve I’ve got at work is people who say “do” rather than “have.” Like, “Yeah, I’ll do a medium coffee.” What do you want to “do” to it?

The Wandering Finger – Imagine how irritating it is to try and help a customer who pokes the pastry case from the outside, right about waist level, saying: “What’s this over here?” I’ll ask what they’re pointing at and they say, “This thing,” and poke some more, so I end up bending over in half in an attempt to see where their finger is placed. When I finally manage to get down there and peek through the back of the case, the person removes their finger from the front and just stands there, looking at me. Occasionally, I lose my patience and say I can’t see what you’re pointing to, at which point they usually say something like, “This iced lemon loaf thing.” And I say, “That’s an iced lemon loaf.” “Okay, I’ll do one of those.”

Psychic Coffee – Lately I’ve noticed people making a habit of saying they want “a regular coffee.” You assume they mean caffeinated, so you ask what size they’d like. They get impatient and say, “REGULAR.” Rather than piss the person off, you assume a regular is somewhere in the middle, so you give them a medium. Then they ask if it’s decaf, or they tell you they wanted a small. I don’t understand why we can’t determine these things ahead of time. You know, prior to anyone getting pissy.

From One Extreme to the Other – Super-complicated orders irritate me, but so do really simple ones. Half of the time, I’m not sure if people are ordering a lot because they really want it that way, or just because they can. I mean, seriously — why in the hell would anyone want to pay six bucks for a cup of froth? When you get a dry, decaf cappuccino with a bunch of Equals and an extra shot, and three pumps of sugar-free caramel, and skim milk . . . I just don’t see the point. And it’s not usually a health issue, like someone who can’t have caffeine; those people usually tell you they must have decaf.
A great number of people are super proud of themselves for wanting nothing more than “just coffee.” But at the same time, these people are usually the ones who can’t be bothered to tell you what size just coffee they want (see above).

Coffeeshop Daycare – I state the following being well aware that, in just a few weeks, I’ll have a child of my own, however, I hate when people bring little kids in coffeeshops. And I don’t mean standing in line with your kid while you get a drink because you’re on your way to take the kid somewhere and you don’t want to leave her in the car. I mean, when you bring a four-year-old kid in to STAY and expect him to be entertained for two hours while you have a conversation with your friends at a table. Maybe you can block the kid’s screams out, but I can’t. When I was young, two places were off-limits to me and my sister: bars and coffee houses. These were “adults only” establishments. In the 1970s and ’80s, I don’t believe stay-at-home moms carted their brats to a place that sold tea or coffee and stuffed them full of hot chocolate and biscotti while they chatted with their girlfriends. I once rang up a woman for almost $30 in “treats” for her, her friend, and their combined four children. It was two lattes, four cocoas, a bottle of water, and a pound cake or cookie for each of the kids. THIRTY DOLLARS.

This Is Not a Starbucks – Of course, the worst is the Starbucks people. The ones who don’t know a Caramel Macchiatotm (a Starbucks latte with caramel and vanilla syrup) from a caramel macchiato (espresso with a dollop of foam and caramel syrup). The ones who want something just the way Starbucks likes it, despite the fact that I have no idea what they’re talking about, and they can’t explain to me what is in their drink. I also love it when someone hands me a gift card from Starbucks to pay for their drink. I take too much pleasure in telling them I can’t accept that as payment.

That’s all we have time for today, folks.

Worry, Worry, Worry

I know it’s been over a week. Every day, I think about what I want to post, what I have to say, and every day, I think none of it is all that profound, and it’s certainly all the same stuff. My life lately has been revolving around getting to work and making it through a shift without passing out or screaming at someone. That has taken a lot more dedication on my part than I thought possible. Any other activities I engage in are only seriously considered based on my constant proximity to a bathroom.

I probably haven’t done as great a job keeping hydrated the way my OB requested (like, quarts of liquids every day), and I still can’t stay out of the bathroom. Drinking even more might jeopardize my employment. I’d never have time to do anything at work because I’d be peeing all the time.

The last few nights I’ve slept on the couch, not because I can’t get comfortable (although that is an issue), but because Saturday night Trinity fell down the stairs. It was awful. We have a landing after the first 5 steps, then you ascend the remaining ten or so. Luckily, she only made it up to the landing, and she slid down about three steps before her legs gave out and she fell the rest of the way. I was right behind her, heading to bed, and in my attempt to try and catch her, I almost fell, too. I got all freaked out and called Charlie at work, who reassured me she was okay; if she’d been really hurt, she would not have been able to even stand up, let alone limp back over to her bed.

So I spent the weekend worrying about her and sleeping downstairs to keep her from whining and attempting to go up the stairs. We blocked them off, but that didn’t stop her from walking over, standing in front of the steps, and crying to go upstairs. We eventually got some aspirin (now we have a $12 bottle of doggie aspirin that is no different from people aspirin other than having “beef flavor,” which seems really silly, but whatever) , and she seems to be doing a lot better today.

At the last vet appointment, the doctor said we could give her one or two a day, as needed, when her legs really seem to bother her (she already has hip dysplasia and arthritis), but the fall really worried me. There’s nothing that stresses me out more than a sick or incapacitated 100-pound dog. But, like I said, she seems to be doing better today, so I shouldn’t freak out too much.

Saturday we accidentally wandered into a PetSmart in the middle of an adoption fair. Of course, this was before Trinity fell, so the last thing I was thinking about was somehow “replacing” her. But there is a part of me that knows her time with us is getting shorter and shorter (just typing that out brings tears to my eyes), and another worry I have is Alvy’s reaction to there not being another doggie around. Although I don’t relish the idea of bringing in another pet immediately after losing another who’s been in my life for over a decade, I don’t know if Alvy can handle it. I don’t even know if I can handle it.