I cried a pile of pregnant hormonal tears the other night as I realized I might just have to go gangbusters on this uterus. Baby girl just seems wayyyyyy too comfortable in there. I realized I’d done lost my mind when in a bout of pregnant insomnia, I googled “ways to go into labor” at the unfathomable hour of 4 am.
When ladies tell me their birth stories of how their “water just broke,” not to mention it was “two weeks early,” I tune out. It seems fictitious to me. Really, people, the water just breaks? I wouldn’t know a thing about it.
I want to tell the ladies, “I get it, your uterus knows how to party, mine is apparently an introvert who needs to be delicately coaxed to the middle of the dance floor.”
Lucky for me, I discovered there are all sorts of ways to “naturally induce labor” and in “15 easy steps” I can go into labor. I know I’m getting a little impatient. There’s still about a week before I really have to panic about how to get this baby out of here
Although, for this indecisive lady who can barely choose a dish off the overwhelming novella that is the Cheesecake Factory menu, deciding when and how to have a baby strikes fear in my heart. Just do this thing body.
As I perused the list of ways to go into labor, I thought, “where’s the justice?” I mean most of my internet searches left me thinking I’d try .02 of the techniques.
Where are all the women attesting to eating their weight in donuts as a sure fire way to have a baby? Why isn’t a 4-hour massage at the top of the natural labor induction list?
Castor oil, why you so nasty? And on every list? I vomit in your general direction.
Am I not desperate enough yet if I won’t jump on a trampoline, gallop like a horse, or shine a flashlight on my business as my searches suggested?
For the sake of my dignity, I just can’t go around my hood galloping like a horse. I’ve worked too hard to get some sort of street cred and while many people understand pregnant ladies are totally crazy at the end, the galloping, the flashlight wielding is just too much. I have standards.
Before I have to make any real decisions, there’s a very short list of things I’m willing to try to get this baby outta here:
1. Walking. “Now walk it out” is my personal mantra and we are clocking the mileage daily. Don’t worry, we be walking it out all over the West side, South side, East side, and North Side. We’re doing you proud Dj UNK.
2. Sexy time. My mother reads this blog. I’m well aware of this technique and the fact that it made the short list already tells you more than you need to know.
3. Dancing. I am not above the pole at this point if people can give me legitimate proof it will work.
4. Spicy food. I’ll trade a night of heartburn for a baby any day of the week.
5. Squats. I do approximately 57 unintentional squats a day when I pick up my toddler. After realizing they were a labor starter, I’ve been dropping it like it’s a night club in here, hoping the universe will throw me a bone.
6. Food and beverage. There are a myriad of foods people suggest to evict a baby: pineapple, raspberry leaf tea, moon pie, oregano to name a few. As long as it doesn’t have adverse side effects, see castor oil above, I’ll try it. Sorry eggplant, even though many people suggest you, we were not made for each other.
7. Yoga. I’m all over tree pose, eagle pose, and resting and napping pose. Namaste.
Are there any tried and true techniques I’m missing? Patience you say? What’s that?
Please, only enjoyable natural induction techniques need apply.
As much as I believe you that taking a bumpy car ride while standing on your head, balancing a birthing ball between your feet, taking shots of quinine, and having your membranes stripped all at once totally worked…it’s just not for me.
If your technique involves napping, cheeseburgers, or pedicures, please share away!
Image: A bun on my head and a bun in the oven.
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39 weeks/9 months
Let’s all do Rockette style pregnant lady leg kicks (we pause from our regularly scheduled post to let me catch my winded pregnant lady breath) because it’s BABY month! It’s here! I will not make it through this glorious month without having a babe. I’m a ticking time bomb.
There have been a myriad of beautiful signs that it’s about to be go time:
My doc asked if I wanted to be induced (I declined).
My pregnancy app tracker tells me I’m carrying a pumpkin, aka my belly is like whoa.
All the people scheduled to have babies before me have popped them out.
I am on deck people.
Really, we should change the title of this blog to “diary of an impatient lady who won’t talk about anything but how many days until her baby comes.” Rolls off the ol’ tongue doesn’t it?
What else can you expect though? I’m your baby lady, and soon, I’ll meet my lady baby.
The anticipation is off the Richter. The inquiring texts are rolling in like clockwork. A tiny part of me is very tempted to go off the map and see what that does to everyone. A few days of unanswered texts would drive the baby watchers mad. Oh to toy with emotions. I’d justify my game play as a fun distraction for the last two weeks of pregnancy, which some days feels longer than the entire pregnancy.
Really, for your sake, I’m hoping that you won’t have to listen to me ramble on for more than a week about how there are X number of days until our little Valentine appears.
I’m especially hoping this doesn’t take an Arrested Development turn where I have to explain her extreme attachment to me because she “spent 11 months in the womb and the doctor said there were claw marks on the walls of [my] uterus.” I wish that on no one. I’d go gangbusters on this uterus first.
Really, it feels like a great week to have a baby. Don’t you think?
Let the games begin!
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As I lay in bed the other night, husband out of town for work, contractions at level pathetic, I had the sudden thought, what if, what IF these don’t stop? My “worst case scenario” mind ran rampant. I envisioned my husband unable to get a flight while I, the mayor of pregnant-ville, drove to the hospital in my chonies, toddler in tow, because I didn’t have the presence of mind to pack a few bags and make a few calls before the big L.
It would make a good story…
I don’t really remember a lot of what I packed the first time. I mean, I’ve got the baby in my belly and my lady bits are always packed so what else does a girl need?
Since I couldn’t sleep, I decided to google the necessities of a “hospital bag” because I am a vision of forgetfulness and lack of preparation these days. After reviewing a slew of suggestions, I decided to create a one-stop-shop here for all your hospital bag quandaries.
For the record, I still have not packed my bag. At least I know what I want to put in it? Any points for that? No? Tough crowd.
Whatever, apparently, I like to live life on the edge and I’m not above chonies at the hospital. Let’s be honest, that’s much more covered and straight up nunning it compared to the booty flashing that is birth. I digress.
Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin…
1. A giant, empty bag. Say what? You heard me, bring an extra bag for all of the paraphernalia you are going to acquire, demand, and/or steal from the hospital. This second go round I know my priority numero uno is to load up on all the newborn diapers, mesh panties, nipple cream, nipple shields, and thunder down under maxi pad diapers they give you. Do not leave the hospital without a bag of fresh goodies. Do not stand for a half empty pack of diapers. Get those lovely nurses to load you up. If you don’t need a cart and an extra set of hands to take all of your stuff to your car, you’re doing it wrong.
2. Camera, memory card, charger. You’re going to want to remember that baby in all of his/her newborn, adorable, old man wrinkly glory. If ever there was a moment to document this is it. Don’t fail yourself now by forgetting the batteries, charger, memory card.
3. Cell phone and charger. The people are going to want to see that baby. Bring it. Charge it. Snap it. Send those picture texts and post regularly to let social media do what it does best, ogle a fresh little baby.
4. Makeup. Pictures are going to happen. Be in them. Maybe makeup is vain, but if vanity is not wanting to look like the puffiest, under-eyed baggiest, corpsiest person that lived to tell their birth tale, I’m okay with that. Heck, the other night I was wearing the fattiest, fakest, diamond earrings and I told the husband, “I want to give birth in these earrings.” Apparently, my vanity runs deep.
5. Toiletries. Brush, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, deodorant, contact lens solution (for us blind folk), chapstick, whatever you’d pack for an overnight stay at a hotel. It’s nice to feel like a human being with some of the comforts of home. Also, post birth is a bit gnarly. Don’t let your BO and stanky breathe add to the gnarly.
6. Comfy clothes. I packed a going home outfit for myself the first go round and it sat, tags attached, in my bag until I unpacked it at back at home. While the hospital gown is convenient, I got tired of my full moon being constantly on display. This go round I’m bringing my coziest (outside of just chonies), prettiest, don’t mind if they get a little post-birthified pajamas and lounge wear.
7. Nursing bras and panties. I tend to go sans bra when first nursing, but sometimes the girls have a mind of their own and they need a little support and reminder to not leak every ten seconds. I added panties to the list because some women are not a fan of the mesh tighties supplied by the hospital. Just remember you’ll be wearing a diaper post birth so packing dem thongs is not in your best interest.
8. Treats. My motto is treats all around! Treats for you, treats for the husband, treats for your toddler, treats for guests. Birth makes you ravenous and in case you can’t get that hospital food fast enough, it’s always nice to have something stowed away to avoid getting hangry.
9. Footwear (slippers, socks, sandals). Pack whatever footwear you fancy but keep in mind that if there were ever a fashion moment that permitted shower sandals or aqua socks, this is probably it. This ain’t NY fashion week. It’s a hospital. Keep those feet germ free.
10. I.D. and insurance. They maybe just kind of want you to prove that you’re indeed who you say you are and that somebody is bankrolling this baby.
12. Baby clothes. Whether it be a going home outfit, receiving blanket, or a hair bow the size of the kid’s face, it’s sweet to have a little something something to “ooh and ahh” and bawl over when you’re feeling nostalgic. And because baby clothes are teeny tiny, pack a spare set in case your teeny tiny decides to pee all over their formerly adorable coming home outfit.
13. A “thank you.” I didn’t do this with my first baby, but I heard through the grapevine that it’s nice to give a little thank you treat to the nurses. When I think of the bed sheets I peed, the blood they mopped up, and the bathroom trips they cheered me through like a potty training toddler, I’d say a thank you is in order.
14. First meal. Okay, okay, I know I can’t really pack a first meal but I daydream about my first meal post labor. Maybe I’ve already perused the hospital menu. Maybe I’ve made my post labor meal known. Panda Express. I know it’s disgusting but it’s all I’ve wanted this entire pregnancy. At least I’m waiting until the baby has left the building before stuffing my face with crap? Mother of the year. The only push present I care about is food and I am looking forward to some serious chowing down. I have a strict, “if you want to see the baby, I’m going to need a treat first” policy. Bring on the treats, visitors. Bring on the treats!
Is there anything I’m missing?
Image: Lady packing a hospital bag via salpics32/Shutterstock.com
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For a week or so now, there’s been a video floating around the interwebs put out by a Dutch television program where two men “experience labor” (Warning: some strong language).
Maybe I’ve been avoiding this video because as I watched them writhe in pain, I had the distinct recollection of exactly what labor is like. It ain’t pretty. A few nerves were cued as it hit me that the ol’ labor is certainly on my to-do list sometime in the next two weeks. As excited as I am to meet our daughter, their squirms, screams, and swears brought me to the reality of what I have to do to meet her.
Curiosity got the best of me though and I wondered how, just how will they simulate labor and how will these men folk react?
To simulate labor, they hooked the men up to an electro stimulation device that caused their muscles to contract while putting pressure on their stomachs and creating “immense pain” for two hours.
A midwife was in attendance to help them try different pain management techniques just like she would with laboring women.
As the physiotherapist ended her explanation of how they’ll recreate labor, one of the men stated, “briefly said, you’re electrocuting us for two hours.” My first thought was, “I don’t think anyone would describe labor that way.” My second, “I would never agree to that.”
As I watched them laugh and joke and clench their buttocks through the discomfort, it actually felt very similar to my initial moments spent in labor. When uncomfortable, I am the type to word vomit, make inappropriate jokes, or just laugh awkwardly. Oh, and clench my buttocks.
They called the contractions “annoying, like a barbed wire being pushed into your stomach in 36 places.” These were only the initial contractions. “Three percent,” the physiotherapist declares, “of the pain you’d actually feel in labor.” This is greenhorn status my young grasshoppers.
Next, the midwife and physiotherapist decided that if they are laughing, they were not in enough pain. Oh shoot. It just got real. (For it to get really real, there would have to be a way for men to experience the six week postpartum blood bath, granny panties, thunder pads, and swollen lady parts too.)
The midwife told the men to accept the pain to make it easier. Acceptance is a big part of labor. It seems far fetched however, for the men who are voluntarily being shocked. There is no great end goal they are reaching. They do not have the reward that each contraction brings them closer to unbelievable love.
This is the major problem with the experience. These men are shown a minutiae of the actual pregnancy and birthing experience. To isolate only the pain of labor cheapens the experience of pregnancy. It is a small part of the package deal. To focus on the pain alone is problematic because along with the fear, there is an excitement and joy that cannot be recreated.
A little over an hour into the two hours, one of the men declares he can’t do it anymore, and the electrodes are removed.
While the video may have captured some of the emotions of labor, the fear, the nerves, and even some of the dread, the fact that he can quit makes the experience unrealistic.
I think there is a very real moment in labor when many women wonder if they can do it. Or they don’t want to do it anymore. But unlike this man, women do not get to quit. He cannot accept the pain because he never really has to. Women endure so much during labor because they know it is not in vain.
As the last man standing completed “labor” and they handed him a fake baby, I felt sorry for him. He underwent massive amounts of pain for really, nothing. That is not labor. That is not pregnancy.
He did not understand the feeling of enduring a grueling experience to welcome the indescribable love of the baby he carried and labored. That is the purpose of labor. That is the purpose of the pain.
It is unfair to men and the pregnancy experience to equate two hours of electrocution to labor. The only way to be fair is to give men the sweet experience of carrying life. They need the previous nine months, with the phenomenon of movement, to be ready to do whatever is asked to meet the baby that made them laugh and cry when bony knees and tiny bottoms pressed against their tummy.
That can never be simulated and it feels cruel, worthy of a witchy cackle to simply say, “here, endure incredible pain for no reason.”
The man who did not endure the entire two hours reflects at the end that he doesn’t know now if he can put his wife through this pain.
I think his comment shows how isolating the pain of labor misses the whole purpose. He doesn’t understand that the pain means something.
While it seems tempting to ask men to see if they can “hack it” when it comes to labor, it will never be an equivalent comparison. You can bet your bottom dollar I wouldn’t do it for any other reason than to meet a fresh baby from heaven. Without that incentive, it loses authenticity. It’s just an endurance test then. Almost game show/reality show-esque. Fear Factor enthusiasts apply now. Or masochists.
All is not fair in love and labor and we should stop expecting it to be.
Unfortunately, men will never know what it is like to carry life. That is truly unfair because while difficult at times, it is ridiculously wonderful.
If pain is the only way to depict and capture pregnancy, men should not “experience labor.”
Instead, I’m happy to experience all aspects of pregnancy. I’ll do the laboring and push it real good if you keep the jokes and ice chips coming, boo.
Image: Woman giving birth via Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com
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38 weeks/9 months
While wrapping up an interview with a psychologist for a pregnancy related article I’m writing, I kept coming back to her advice, “Just like a good wife never complains about her husband, a good mother never complains about her pregnancy.”
I’ve often heard that saying in regards to husbands, it’s one I subscribe to, but I’ve never heard it applied to pregnancy before.
With my pregnancy nearing the end and this unique opportunity to chronicle so many aspects of pregnancy, I can’t get her words out of my head.
I think back to the posts I’ve written and the way I’ve captured pregnancy and I hope that while honest and humorous, it’s also been positive.
There are only so many times a woman is pregnant in a lifetime and it seems cavalier, even detrimental to spend it complaining.
While some may find it arguable, I think it true, a good mother never complains about her pregnancy. Not because it’s easy or she’s being inauthentic, but because like with a marriage, what good comes from it?
The thing is pregnancy is finite. Not even a year in the long span of years we call a life.
Sure, this is the hard part. At 37 weeks, it’s uncomfortable, it’s mentally tough, physically excruciating at times but then, before I realize, the miracle will be over and there is nothing like the miracle of pregnancy.
I am truly grateful to be pregnant. I will miss this belly.
There are a limited number of times a mother feels her baby kick. There are a limited number of times a mother watches her body grow a baby. There are a limited number of times a mother gets to hold her new infant for the first time. These are the moments I want to remember.
All I’ve wanted to do is focus on the things I like about pregnancy. I’ve been afraid to openly say, “I love pregnancy” because I care too much what people think of me. “She’s annoying.” “She’s naive.” “She’s hormonal.” “She’s not being real.” “Her pregnancies are easy”…etc. But I don’t care anymore.
I am a woman who loves pregnancy.
For me, pregnancy is the grandest example of the body’s amazing capacity to grow life and the soul’s ability to love someone without ever meeting.
While this may be the last time I am pregnant, I hope that it is not. Regardless of what happens in the future, I want it written, documented, remembered, the things I love about pregnancy:
Baby kicks. The feeling of a life, a being, a healthy little babe inside of me is something I wish I could box up and save for the rainiest of days. It cannot be recreated and it is hard to conjure when pregnancy is over, but it is the most incredible sensation.
A constant companion. I love the fact that where ever I go, she goes. She’s with me day and night, sharing secret indulgences, silent tears, and sweet movements. To carry her is to love her.
Talking baby. I love discussing the new addition with family, friends, and even strangers. I love discussing how excited we are to meet her and hearing thoughtful congratulations. Babies are to be celebrated and the best way I know how is to talk about how much we already love her.
My husband falling in love with our baby. His worries indicate just how much he already loves our daughter. He’s protective and thoughtful. There are few things more beautiful than a man loving his children.
Envisioning our future family. I am hopeful when I think of our future. I look forward to the noise and chaos of multiple children. I welcome milestones and find fulfillment in the thought of trying to raise happy, helpful, compassionate children.
Picturing my daughters together. I find so much joy in at the thought of my daughters loving each other. Their shared kisses and toys and secrets is one of the things I look forward to the most.
As I’ve focused more on the things I like about pregnancy, I’ve realized how much their really is to love about it.
Image: My 37 week, full term belly
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