Guess What?

Beatrice June finally made her appearance yesterday afternoon at 1:48. After pushing for just a few contractions, the 6lb, 12oz little girl popped into the world!

It was a pretty crazy morning. I’d been having contractions all day the day before, then all night, then my water broke Thursday morning and it was immediately evident that my body was READY TO GO.

We rushed to the hospital, and I was already 5cm dilated. I made it a couple more before I lost it and asked for drugs. Next thing I knew, it was time to push and this is what came out:

Nothing’s Working

Charlie said I should write a book about “natural” labor induction advice that I’ve taken and what doesn’t work. Namely: everything.

While most everyone I know had an experience prior to her labor that may or may not have been a coincidence, I have still resorted to trying almost all of it in an attempt to get things started. I don’t think I’ve done enough to actually write a book, so we’ll just have to accept a blog entry.

Here is a list of what I’ve tried and has clearly not worked for me: walking (I walk blocks several times a day, to the point that it feels as if my legs are going to give out from under me); spicy Mexican food, including but not limited to a Mexican pizza from Bazbeaux at my friend Annie’s request; spicy Indian food on several occasions; frequent masturbation to orgasm, which is supposed to stimulate oxytocin and, hence, contractions; unprotected sex, which is supposed to stimulate cervical softening through prostaglandins (I’m already effaced, so maybe that part worked?); nipple stimulation (also to produce oxytocin); riding in a car on bumpy roads (this just makes me really uncomfortable and sort of nauseated). Considering I was full effaced over a week ago, and the baby has been at the zero station for at least two or three, I’m not sure why the pressure from her head hasn’t encouraged the cervix to open.

What I have not tried: eggplant parmesan (I hate eggplant); jumping up and down; castor oil; frequent enemas. I think it should be pretty obvious why I haven’t tried the last three. I’m guessing the last two only work in the case where you get dehydrated, either from diarrhea or just in general, and go into labor as a result. That doesn’t sound appealing to me at all. They don’t let you eat or drink at the hospital, so why guarantee yourself an IV with fluids? I’ve also had a some people recommend I get “upset.” One woman told me she saw a cat get hit by a car and was so upset by it she went into labor. Another few people have told me they knew someone who was really stressed out about something right before they had their babies. I’m not sure how willing I am to put myself in an upsetting situation.

Today marks 40 weeks, plus 4 days pregnant. For what it’s worth, that means I have been pregnant for 284 days. I was so worried about preterm labor because of the infection I got from having kidney stones, and here I am, half a week overdue and feeling as if my insides are bruised to hell. I just noticed stretch marks last week for the first time, and they’re right where I feel the most bruised, where the heaviest, largest part of the baby seems to be sitting all the time. It’s funny to go 8 months and 3 weeks without any stretch marks, then have them magically appear at the last minute, looking red and angry.

Yesterday I had my first non-stress test and, within the first two minutes, the RN was laughing, saying she was sorry, but I was going to have to stay there for at least 20 minutes to get a baseline. Everything happened exactly as it should have; the baby moved frequently and strongly, and every time she moved, her heart rate went up. I felt sorry for the other woman that was in the room at the same time. She seemed to be having some problems and I felt bad that she had to listen to us not having problems.

My next appointment is Thursday. At 10am I have a second NST and at 10:50 I see my OB. At our last visit, I was told that, if I’m not opposed to being induced, I can come with my bags packed. I am opposed to an induction. Despite the incredible discomfort, the constant trips to the bathroom, the weight on my stomach, the pressure in my back, the creaking of my knees . . . I just don’t know if I want to take that step less than a week past my due date. IVs, catheters, epidurals, a potential C-section; those aren’t things I want to sign up for. Those are things I want to happen because they HAVE to, not because I’m sick of being knocked up.

I really would like to meet this little girl, get her an official name, learn to change a diaper, and complain about getting no sleep instead of complaining about being bored. I’m ready to experience childbirth (rather, be done with experiencing it) and, especially, heal from that. I’m ready to wear regular clothes again, have a beer and maybe a smoke. Of course, if I can breastfeed, maybe those last two things won’t be happening. I’m definitely ready to have SOMETHING ELSE to talk about.

But I’m not ready to give myself eight enemas today.

The Local Flavor: Daisy Trump

Yesterday and this morning when I walked Alvy over to the coffeeshop, there was this one regular who no one really likes making small talk with me about how I’m still pregnant. A few customers stop and speak to her every day, but she tends to say really off-putting, offensive things and the number of chatters has dwindled significantly during the time I’ve been employed there. I’ve actually had people ask me what’s wrong with her, or admit me to me that they come in less often or at odd times in an effort to avoid her. She comes in every morning of the week the moment we unlock the door except for Saturdays, when she comes in an hour after we open. In four years, I can count on one hand the mornings I have worked that she never showed up. Usually, holidays, and she announces it in advance. I guess so we won’t worry.

We’ll call her Daisy Trump. She has this weird, thin, grey-ish (not blonde, not brown, not exactly grey — almost colorless) comb over thing going on with her hair that looks a lot like a female version of Donald Trump’s style. She’s also apparently a big fan of Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, because she regurgitates things she’s heard on TV and the radio without giving them much thought. She wears Mom Jeans — high-waisted, tapered, light-washed denim that does nothing for her figure — and hunches over a little when she stands and walks. She’s sort of pigeon-toed and has an almost-imperceptible lunge, like the top half of her body is propelling her against her will and the bottom half is just along for the ride. I’m assuming she has this gait because of a car accident she never stops talking about that happened in, like, 1983.

We all figure she has probably never had sex in her life. If she got laid, she might not be as irritating and nosy. But her life revolves around the coffeeshop and gossiping to everyone about everyone else. I know how old she is because she once asked me how old Sarah was. I told her and she responded, “Oh! I thought she was closer to my age, 46.” Ummmm, no, there’s a twenty year difference. “Well, you know,” Daisy went on, “It’s hard to tell because of her body . . .” And proceeded to make this top-heavy motion with her hands. “And she just looks and acts really tired all the time.” You can’t even dignify stuff like that with a response. This is what I mean about Daisy — she tries to make things sound like simple observations, but she’s really just being insulting and negative.

She once tried to strike up a conversation with me about universal health care after (or right around the time) Obama had been elected. She was saying that Canadians will move to (or attempt to somehow defraud) the U.S. in an effort to receive “decent” health care here because the “socialized medicine up there is so bad.” She then volunteered the fact that her insurance company sued her for a settlement she got from her car accident and she had to file for bankruptcy. This came up during the same conversation, which I found odd. I pointed out that, in a universal health care system, she would not have had to worry about hospital bills and could not have been sued by an insurance company but she just ignored me and kept talking about whatever Bill O’Reilly told her.

No one is sure if she has a job. I’ve seen her around campus at IUPUI, at two different libraries miles apart, and once at a Target store, all at odd times during the day. She drives to our store from her apartment downtown every morning. She turns off her headlights when she pulls into the parking lot, which I find extra-strange because it’s often still dark out at 6am and she just coasts into a parking space. She has scared more than one unsuspecting person by doing this. She has used to “N” word twice while talking to me. I asked her to not use it because I thought it was offensive and she said she only meant it in the “literal sense, like an ignorant person.” I said using that term was ignorant and she didn’t speak to me for almost a week. That was nice.

She also enjoys making homophobic jokes (which is amusing, considering she throws herself at every man who walks into the coffeeshop that isn’t wearing a wedding ring — about 75% of these guys are gay). Apparently she used to bring in comic strips she printed off from the Internet that were sexist, as well. One of our former employees snapped at her for doing it once and asked her to never bring in something like that again. She once started to say something really racist about the Olympics — implying something about black people and people of African descent being better at certain sports and this somehow being unfair to white competitors. I’m sure my mouth fell open as she was speaking. Then, one of our other regulars (who just so happens to be black) walked in and Daisy stopped talking. I asked her to finish what she was saying, and said, “Oh, no, I’m done.” And I was like, “Go ahead, I didn’t hear all of what you said. Finish.” And she just clammed up.

A young black guy worked at our store briefly a few years ago. He was training to be a supervisor and came in to open one morning. Apparently, Daisy pulled up and saw him inside. With all the lights on. Wearing an apron. Clearly baking and putting things in the pastry case. So she called 911 and reported that the store was being robbed. Take from that what you will.

Daisy is a nasty gossip. I say “nasty” because everything that comes out of her mouth sounds like she’s telling on someone or making fun of them. I’ve heard her say, at least half a dozen times, that Sarah’s little boy “has so much hair he’ll probably be bald by the time he’s 30.” She’ll meander over to the register where we have a photo of the boy for people who ask to see it. Daisy snatches the photo and shoves it in people’s faces, laughing about how witty she thinks her joke is. To me, it just sounds like she’s making fun of an infant.

She was in the store when Sarah called right after having her baby. I’m told she got up from her table and stood as close as she could to the people on the phone in an effort to hear every word, then asked them for details after Sarah hung up. She then proceeded to share this information with every single customer who walked in the door that morning. The next morning I worked, a customer who is nice and chatty with her walked in. Daisy jumped from her chair and lunged over to the other woman. “Did you get my email last night? About the baby?” The way she said it made it sound like gossip: SARAH HAD A BABY. Gasp! Also, I can’t believe someone would willingly give her their email address.

Yesterday she made a remark about how she was surprised to see me at the store. Of course, I just said, “Well, here I am.” Because, duh, I’ve obviously not had a baby and when she said it, it didn’t sound like “Oh! You poor thing.” It sounded like an accusation. Today she walked in while I was talking to Sarah and said the same thing. She accused me again: “Weren’t you due yesterday?” It bothers me that she has this piece of information. How does she know what my due date is? Clearly, she asked and asked until she got it. I purposefully shared with her almost nothing about my pregnancy so as to avoid being a topic of conversation for her to gossip about.

As I made my way towards the front door, she asked if there was “another date.” I just looked at her and said no. “Oh, so whenever it comes, then?” She continued to pump me for information and I had this visual image of her sitting at a public computer at the library, trying to email as many people as she could: Did you hear? Courtney’s overdue. She’s going to be induced on such-and-such date.

But she got me a few moments later when she said “I can’t believe that thing hasn’t come out yet, considering your size. You’re really massive.” She then said something about how difficult my labor is going to be because it’s such a huge baby. That pissed me off, especially coming from a woman who’s never had children, let alone gotten laid. I hate it when people say things about how large my belly is. For Christ’s sake — I’ve been effing pregnant since September of LAST YEAR. I stand barely an inch over five feet tall. What do you expect me to look like?
So I said, “Well, we just had an ultrasound and she wasn’t even seven pounds.” I immediately regretted it. Daisy’s eyes got really wide and she said, “Oh, it’s a she, then? I didn’t know that yet.” She was super-pleased with herself for gaining this priceless bit of info. As if we’ve been holding out on her and she tricked me. Which we have been, and which she did. And I am so disappointed for letting that slip. I’m sure she’ll be telling everyone that walks in the door this morning. Courtney’s having a girl. Did you hear? Courtney’s having a girl.

It’s like a skill. Daisy Trump just has this innate ability to make the tiniest or most positive of things into something negative or nasty.

Due Date

Today is my official due date, which I’m realizing means absolutely nothing. Despite being effaced and the baby having dropped weeks ago, and despite the fact that everyone I know who’s had a baby in the past year went early, nothing is going on with my cervix. I haven’t gained an ounce in two weeks, which is a good indication that labor is imminent. But even though I’ve been having contractions of some sort or another for three months, they don’t appear to be doing their job.

The last appointment was Thursday morning. I got checked and the nurse practitioner called my OB who was out of the office last week. The doctor set up two non-stress tests for Monday and Thursday. If there are any concerns about the baby’s welfare (losing amniotic fluid, or placental/umbilical cord/oxygen problems) or she appears to be in any sort of distress on Monday, they’ll induce me. If not, we’ll wait till Thursday and see how things are going. If, at that point, I still haven’t begun to dilate, they’ll probably just check me in to the hospital and get the ball rolling.

I have to admit I’m not thrilled about this option. A small part of me thinks maybe I just got my dates wrong. I don’t know when I ovulate, and I can’t remember the date of my last period, so I just sort of guessed. Then again, we had an ultrasound at 9 weeks and were told that these are often very accurate; fetuses grow almost exactly the same for the first 12 weeks. It’s beyond that first 3 months that they change in how they develop.

I know that a healthy baby is key, and when they’re ready to come out, they come out. It’s not like she’s going to stay until kindergarten starts and pop out knowing how to read. I won’t be pregnant forever. It just feels that way. But there’s a lot of frustration on my end with having taken off the past week and just waiting. And waiting. I can’t help but think that every day that passes is another day where I’m not getting accustomed to having a baby in the house, and another day without a paycheck. And, despite the fact that I’m very lucky to have health insurance right now, it’s not a stellar plan, so I could be looking at out-of-pocket costs in the thousands.

I got my last check yesterday and deposited it. It was a little more than enough to pay the cell phone bills and I’m done. With Charlie’s work situation getting more complicated and less likely, we’re both trying not to let it freak us out. He got called in for a meeting with the owner after our last OB appointmet on Thursday. We thought it was going to be a talk about his raise. Instead, it was a printed list of problems the owner has with him. Really trivial, stupid shit that ended up making Charlie angry. Like, he doesn’t wear dress shirts on Saturdays; he doesn’t answer his cell phone quickly enough; he spends a lot of time in the office doing paperwork.

I’m not shocked that this happened, but I think Charlie is. I think he believed he was immune to the owner’s micro-managing and paranoia because he’d gone so long without being on the receiving end of this sort of stuff. But it was really just a matter of time. The guy can’t keep general managers at the club because he always begins to obsess over tiny details and pushes people away.

I guess I’m being kind of selfish because I really wanted to stay home with her for an extended period of time while I finished my last 30 credits and got that damn degree. I hate the idea of looking for a job when I have yet to finish college and don’t have that piece of paper to “prove” my worth. Especially with how things are going in the job market right now. But Mel is right: the joy of the baby will overshadow these concerns as we get to know her. I know, in the end, we’ll be fine. We always manage to figure out a way to make ends meet.

False Sense of Hope

Yesterday afternoon some new, weird stuff was going on. Then, around 8 or 9pm, it all settled down,  I went to bed, and I woke up this morning feeling just fine. Well, as fine as can be expected 3 days from due date, I suppose.

I had a strange sense of peace when I was walking Alvy to the coffeeshop around 7:30. I know the baby will come when she’s ready and, despite trying a significant portion of the stupid old wives’ tales to get labor rolling, nothing has worked. But the moment I walked into the shop and saw the looks of expectation on everyone’s faces, my peace faded. I just wanted to start crying.

Why do so many people have so much personal investment in my pregnancy? Why are they so disappointed in me for not having had her already? (I’m not talking about any of you guys, dear readers, I mean people who are basically strangers.) The other afternoon, a customer actually said to me, “Jesus. I didn’t think you could get any bigger, but you did.” And she didn’t say it in a nice way. I wanted to say, “Yeah, well, I’m 9 months pregnant. What’s your excuse, fatass?” Her friend was quick to point out that I was “all belly,” and haven’t gained that much weight. But the woman who’d made the comment isn’t known for her tact or diplomacy, so I shouldn’t have let it bother me. Half of the time she comes in she’s indifferent and short with us. The other half she’s downright mean.

Yesterday morning Charlie texted me from work to tell me there are some problems with his potential raise and bonuses. I should have known. I mean, I always put in that disclaimer about how things are talked about but action is rarely taken. But I guess I really thought this time there would be follow-through. Essentially, the owner is going through some divorce stuff and money is either tied up or accounted for in some way because of his ex-wife. I don’t understand exactly what’s going on, but the latest news is that she’s trying to file for something besides child support and Charlie doesn’t know how long any of this stuff is going to take.

I did what I always do when money stuff comes up: I panicked and started trying to figure out what I was going to do in the next couple of months. With our current bills, there’s no way Charlie could afford to support himself and two other people. Our rent is too high, we have two car payments, and gas heat. To name just a few things.

All these questions kept popping up . . . How much time can I afford to take off from work? 12 weeks? 8? 6? How am I going to afford health insurance for the kid? How many hours will I be able to work with a two-month-old at home while I’m registered full time at school in the fall? Am I going to have to drop classes? Am I going to have to start paying back student loans? Will I need to start looking for a “real” job so I can contribute more financially? Will we have to put the baby in daycare right away? OHMYGOD, the hospital bills. And so on. As I always do.

And there isn’t anything I can really do about any of this stuff right now, so I might as well not freak out about it.

Status: No Change

I’m still waiting. Watching TV. Reading magazines. Trying to embroider and sew to pass the time, but carpal tunnel and swelling makes it nearly impossible to use my right hand or sit down at the machine for any extended period of time. And, by “extended,” I mean like “ten minutes or more.”

I see now why people are pregnant for 9 full months. You have to be ready to do anything it takes to get that kid out.

Not Exactly the Poster Child for A “Happy” Pregnancy

Okay, so I guess it wasn’t all in my head yesterday. I woke up this morning with a fetus in my lap. The baby has dropped down so low it looks like I have a lumpy beer gut. Walking creates so much pressure on my pelvis that it feels like pins and needles in my crotch. She’s also so low that every little movement is a surprise. I mean, like, a bit of a shock. It sends these little electric zings straight into my bladder and I have to pee as soon as she stops moving.

At the OB appointment this afternoon, we were told that I’m completely thinned out, “mostly ripe,” and she could physically feel the top of the baby’s head. Let me tell you – that was NOT comfortable. If nothing happens between today and my next appointment on Thursday (the 18th, not tomorrow), the doctor said we can talk about an induction. She said there’s no reason to rush it unless I go 5 or more days overdue, or if the baby seems distressed in anyway.
I don’t know for sure if an induction is something I would want to do. I know I want the kid out of there, but if things are moving along the way they have been, I don’t see why I wouldn’t have her by the due date.

I can imagine getting to the point next week where I’m begging and pleading to have the kid removed in any way that is humanly possible. I feel a little bit worse each day. I’m a little more irritable, a little more bloated, a little more pained, going to the bathroom a little more frequently, every day. But that doesn’t mean I want to be hooked up to an IV with Pitocin and an epidural.

I’ve spent all of my adult life and a significant portion of this pregnancy convinced childbirth will be the most horrific thing I ever experience. But, despite feeling fat, gross, bloated, and tired, and despite the kidney stones and infection, things have progressed well and normally for a woman who’s pregnant for the first time (full term, anyway) at 33. Maybe I’m too hard on myself. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I’ve worked myself up about it? It was kind of that way with the dentist. However, I’m not sure you can compare getting a cavity filled with pushing a watermelon through a lemon.

Just My Imagination?

Maybe it’s all in my head, but I’m feeling like something is going on right now. I got home from work and started having all this lower back pain. Then I had some stomach cramps and a little of the poopies (sorry!). Now I’m having cramping my thighs like I get with my period, the usual tightening of my abdomen, a strange pressure in my pelvis, and a new sensation all over. I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I definitely feel weird . . .

Could just be related to being on my feet for a few hours this morning.

Oh, Yeah. College.

If all goes as planned, Charlie’s raise will financially allow me to stay at home with the Peanut. Of course, I am flabbergasted that this is a possibility, although I make so little money it’s not really that huge a surprise. I’m sure you can do a fine job of imagining the back-and-forth I’m doing about this in my mind.
But, honestly, I don’t care nearly as much as I thought I would. I don’t have a “career” right now to which to return. No offense, but brewing coffee and making lattes every day doesn’t exactly define me. I just want to get my degree so I can get a “real” job. (Disclaimer: My definition of “real” may be much different from other people’s. I don’t care about money so much as doing something I really enjoy.)

The only problem we’re really facing right now is the health insurance. I have it, he doesn’t. I have to work full time to get the health insurance and he makes too much for me to get any other sort of assistance because we file taxes together. School health insurance is cheap for me, but to add the kid . . . we’re talking several hundred dollars a month, which means we might as well just get private insurance for her.

I also am registered for a full load of classes in the fall. I’m hoping I graduate someday. It’s soooooo close, yet so far away. All the courses I have left are ones I really, really don’t want to take. This late in my college career, I’m hoping that a few more B’s won’t knock down my GPA all that much, but with a new baby, I don’t imagine grad school is going to be an option in the near future. Maybe when she starts school?

I don’t know if I even give a rat’s ass about grades anymore. One of my classes is Spanish, which I need to fulfill a foreign language requirement, but I tested out of the first part of it, so I only need two 3-credit classes, rather than a total of 10 credits. Then there’s the math. Oh, my god, the math. This is part of why I started out at Herron; you don’t need any math to go to art school. But since I switched majors and got a “D” in the last Algebra class I took (and that was the happiest “D” of my life), I have to take it again. And, assuming I get at least a “C,” I still have to take finite math. I think I’ve registered for and dropped those classes about a half a dozen times over the past three years.

Then I registered for an online psych class which, if I’m not mistaken, fulfills my minor. Lastly, an English language history course.

I used to know exactly what I needed to graduate, but I’m not sure where I stand anymore. I think, after this semester, I’ll need somewhere around 17 more credits to finish. That is, assuming I take the full load for which I’m registered. And, starting back at school with a two-month old . . . I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

Nothing new to report with the aforementioned Peanut, though. I’m ready to get her out.

Forehead, Nose, and Labia. Oh, My!

Nothing for a week, then two posts in one day. What a special event!

Well, today’s OB appointment was a little longer than I’d expected. After all the initial stuff (how are you feeling, look at your swollen feet, blood pressure, peeing in the cup, check the cervix), she went ahead and had us schedule an ultrasound to determine how large the baby is. Apparently, when you combine my total weight gain (25 pounds and stabilized – I haven’t gained any weight in the past week), with the size of my belly, it seems as if the kid is really large. But when the OB feels around, she said it doesn’t seem all that big. So she just wanted to make sure.

We actually got in right away, which was nice, because we were both starving (me and Charlie, I mean. Although if I’m hungry, I guess the baby is too). I thought it was funny that when we went in for the 20-week u/s I was in excruciating pain from the kidney stones and it took an hour to be seen, but today we walked right in. I was prepared to wait.

The baby measured normal all over — 7.2cm femur, about 6 pounds and 12 ounces — except for the head. Apparently she takes after Charlie because her head is already 11cm in diamter. Of course, as soon as I got home I started Googling this information. Is that a guaranteed episiotomy? How much larger can the head get in the next two weeks? Oh, my god, is my kid going to have a freakishly large head? I guess we’ll find out at the next appointment in a week where the doctor goes over the results with us.

The tech pointed out the forehead and nose, and, as crazy as this sounds, it looked just like my nose. I don’t know if that’s something you can really tell from a sonogram, but it honestly appeared to be my nose.

And, the labia were clearly defined. In other words, it is definitely not a boy.