Wednesday, November 30, 2011

But since I don't work in advertising or have a penis, nobody has to worry. In case you were in the first place.

I have now given some thought to how to best display four fingernails and a thumbnail-worth of nail polish.

Gripping a nail polish bottle, as Jenn suggested yesterday, is a less clenchy-looking way. And, I believe, how they do it in the magazine ads. But it's still very staged and weird.

So I picked up a cup. My hands aren't big enough to reach all the way around. You couldn't see the nails. Nick's hands are, but giant manhands are an unlikely choice. Granted, I have short fingers. This might work with longer fingers. And maybe a thin glass.

Then I thought, what about hand weights? Some of them are probably the right size. Although how often are you standing around gripping a hand weight? The ad would have to be set in a gym. And then would you be advertising how strong the polish is? Not as fun.

Maybe a large carrot. Or zucchini. But then again, you'd have to be holding them very artificially. Like, you're poised to make victory salad! With your new manicure!

No. With a new manicure, in my fantasy ad world, I'd want to be taken out to dinner. Not make my own salad.

And then it occurred to me!

The average penis is probably the perfect prop for showing off a handful of painted nails. It wouldn't even have to be a bizarrely contorted pose.

Which is not to imply that I sit around with a penis in my hand more often than hand weights. Because I don't. Sorry, Nick.

And I guess you wouldn't necessarily be just sitting around, really. Even if you were feeling patriotic next to a serviceman. Because that in itself would be odd. But you know what I mean.

You also know that if I had my own, I'd totally be waving it around all the damn time. So we can all agree that it's better that I'm a woman.

There is, of course, the awkwardness of the ad being centered around a penis. I suppose it could only run in porn magazines. And how many people looking at porn are likely to notice the nail polish and want to buy it?

Maybe if you had celebrities wearing the nail polish, so guys would then be prompted to buy the color for their partner and then fantasize about, I don't know, Alyssa Milano or somebody giving them a hand job. So you wouldn't want Justin Bieber advertising his own stuff. I mean, not in straight markets, anyway.

But would men actually be paying attention to how the nails were painted?

And no, I don't know why I spend my time on this kind of thing. I really don't.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've got a fieber and the only prescription is more, uh, cowBieber?

I don't know if I'd be as horrified about my attraction to Justin Bieber's nail polish if I didn't get hung up on grammar.

Although I probably would. Wouldn't I?

Also, I know my hand looks kind of deformed and clenchy, but it's kind of hard to take a normal looking photo of your own hand while trying to show your nails. You try it. I'm not kidding.

So I was in Target all by myself and just that fact alone felt like magic and then I didn't have time pressure and so I headed over to the nail polish section. And driven by my love of all things shiny and sparkly, I immediately noticed this clear nail polish with large silver sparkles. Exactly what I neeeeeeed.

Upon inspection, it was Justin Bieber for OPI. His One Less Lonely Girl collection.

Did you know about this? I didn't. Which was OK with me, really.

One Less Lonely Girl. Naturally, I was all: It really should be "One Fewer Lonely Girl." Girls, as we all know, are nouns you can count. In which case, fewer is appropriate. Not less. Unless, of course, she's just less lonely when she's with you. But still lonely. In which case, you're still an idiot.

An idiot whose nail polish I really like.

The specific name of the concoction I chose is Make U Smile. From the Justin Bieber One Less Lonely Girl collection.

Puke.

But...it was so...full of prettyshinysparkly! I put it in my basket. I carried it around the store. I liked it, and yet, it was so stupid.

I texted a friend. He said to walk away. I walked away...

And when I returned, it was gone. There was only one bottle to start with.

I thought about it for a whole week. Yes. Because I have nothing better to think about like my family, my job, pregnancy, nutrition, etc. I mean, intermittently. Not solidly.

But still. I spent a week of my life, time I will never get back, thinking about Justin Fucking Bieber and his glittery nail polish.

And then, when I dashed into Target to get snacks for the ride home from Thanksgiving, I minced by the nail polish aisle. And there it was! One of two bottles!

Made Me Smile!

My nails, they are less lonely now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I promise, I'm thankful. Just...not so much around the end of November.

I know I'm about to voice an extremely unpopular sentiment. I'm quite sure nobody is going to chime in and be all, oh, me too!

I hate Thanksgiving.

It seems popular to hate Christmas. Lots of people hate Christmas, which is a holiday I love, despite family baggage. But last week the Internet was full of posts of thankfulness and joy. It's a holiday of family and food and more food and who doesn't like that?

I just couldn't muster it. And you sound like an ingrate and an asshole hating thankfulness, right?

The thing is, I used to think it was about weight paranoia and fear of pie and everything food-related. But it isn't.

Honestly, holidays in our house were very stressful. You never knew how my dad might behave on any given day, but Thanksgiving and Christmas tended to be bad ones for him. And consequently for us.

He might drink and be belligerent. He'd certainly be moody. He'd pick on my mom. I'd fight with him because she wouldn't. I can't remember a winter holiday that wasn't stressful and fraught with emotional peril.

The best Thanksgiving I ever had was when I traipsed off to Cancun with Jen just before I started dating Nick. It was so much fun. Nothing but fun. And Latin porn.

Now we go to Nick's family in New Jersey for Thanksgiving. Even when nobody is being an asshole, there's nothing relaxing about it. Typically we drink our faces off. Self-medication, I know, I know. It wasn't an option for me this year.

And fall and winter are not my friends. The lack of light sucks out my soul. I am never at my personal best this season. And pregnancy is its own mindfuck.

Truthfully, I'm kind of struggling. Which is a whole nother post. I'm currently working on the illustrations.

So the Sunday before the holiday, Nick called his mother. He had us all on speakerphone.

Wait, let me back up. Nick has never liked her cooking. So the last several years we ordered a honey baked turkey sent to her house. So we could have delicious turkey and she wouldn't have to do a lot of work.

Turns out she hates turkey. Last year we bought turkey AND ham. They love the pork products. We figured that would make everyone happy.

This year we were told NO MEAT. She wanted to make pork roast. We could bring dessert.

And so on this call, Nick asked, as I mentally clapped my hand over his mouth, "So, mom, what should we bring?"

Before I could give her a chance to say something like "suet pudding" or "lard tart" I said, "We're bringing pumpkin and pecan pies."

Normal, traditional, delicious. No? I love pecan pie.

To which she responded, "Don't bring pumpkin pie. I HATE pumpkin pie. Nobody likes pumpkin pie."

I'm not proud of my behavior, but I will say that for me right now the line between rational and able to bite my tongue and raving batshit crazy is not so much in existence.

And so I said, "That's right! Let's just never fucking have turkey or pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving again!"

She snapped, "It's MY house and I get to have things the way I want them."

She may have said more, but I stormed upstairs, slamming doors and such. Like I said, I'm not proud of any of this.

I raged around. I threatened to stay home with Jordan so Nick would have to go and be miserable all by himself. I was very Very VERY angry. She's unreasonable and immature, yes. But I was fantasizing about fiery car crashes and the like.

Not good at all.

Nick asked me, in the interest of family harmony, to please go, and to behave nicely. We were talking in the kitchen. I was standing at the sink when he said, "We make compromises in marriage. We both do things we don't want to because they're the right thing to do. I'm asking you to do this. Do you agree that it's fair?"

I agreed it was fair, and the right thing to do. And in a small voice added petulantly, "But I just don't want to!"

We went...and most of Thanksgiving evening was incredibly uncomfortable. His mother didn't speak to or look at me except when absolutely necessary. It got better as the night went on, and later in the evening, she invited me to go shopping on Friday.

I got up the next morning, found his mother alone, and apologized for the outburst on the phone. All I could say was that I'm really emotional and irrational right now. And I don't really care about the pie.

She said that the pumpkin pie (because we brought three) turned out to be very popular. She'd had no idea.

And then we were fine.

But I fucking hate Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weird science. Not what teacher said to do.

At this point in my life, I don't actually think there's anything available in a drug or grocery store that I'd be embarrassed to take to the register.

Seriously. I've bought plenty of things that might make people twitchy: Condoms. Dipping tobacco. Ovulation tests. Pregnancy tests. Sperm-friendly lube. Fiber powders. Laxatives. Stool softeners. Preparation H.

I just can't think of other products that might embarrass me. In fact, the last time I can remember being embarrassed checking out of a store was a couple years ago at a Trader Joe's.

And along these lines, it wouldn't have occurred to me that anything could shock me at the register either.

So last week, I found myself standing behind a man buying three cartons of Marlboros. And two giant bottles of Pepto Bismol.

The cashier said, "$210.37."

At which point I got really interested. Seriously? That much? And who knew they made Pepto Bismol in what practically look like liter bottles?

The man pulled out a large wad of cash. His hands were shaking severely, but he managed to give her two $100 bills. And then, pile of cash in hand, he kept checking his various pockets for the rest of the money.

It was a long process. I was starting to think I was going to be there all day. But I was also rather interested in the scene.

Does he always carry big wads of cash? Does he really smoke that much? What's the deal with the Pepto Bismol?

She eventually reached across the counter and took a $10 bill and a $1 bill out of his hand, telling him as she was doing so. I was so grateful. It was painful to watch him struggle. I couldn't imagine him counting out 37 cents.

She double-bagged his purchase, and then he kept asking for more and more bags. I think he had at least four or five by the time she turned her attention to me.

What does he need with all those bags?

He was still puttering around as I was getting ready to walk out.

I told Nick about this very heavy smoker. He said not to be naive; the man clearly does crack, and crack tears up your stomach and gives you instant diarrhea.

The cigarettes? Probably to calm him and his cronies. The bags? No speculation.

He said it so authoritatively that I totally believed him. Even though I know for a fact that his only real-life experience with crack is watching David do crack with the crazy hitchhiker on Six Feet Under.

But I don't have a better theory.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Maybe if I were the Georgia O'Keefe of vegetables. And here we are at 17 weeks. With news!


This week the kid is the size of a turnip. And if I wasn't willing to draw an avocado with toenails, I'm damn sure not drawing this one out.

So we had the amnio and we were supposed to get early results in 48-72 hours.

The genetic counselor we met with was very nice. When she called the following week she said, "The preliminary results look good. No Downs, no Trisomy 13 or 18. [Thank God] And it's a girl. [What?] BUT..."

BUT is not what you want to hear in this circumstance. I sucked in my breath.

Turned out it wasn't a punch in the face but. It was this kind of but:

"But they got some maternal cells in with the sample."

"What does this mean?"

"It means that at this point, they can't be certain that these are the results from the fetal cells. The odds are that they are, but..."

"In other words, it could be a healthy girl..."

"Yes."

"OR they've verified that I don't have Downs, or Trisomy 13 or 18. And I'm a girl."

"Well...yes."

So we had to wait for the culture to grow for 10-14 days. Apparently they feed those little suckers something that only promotes the growth of the fetal cells. So they really really know by the end.

And then the cells were slow growing. Which I took as a very bad sign. Slow growing? Slow? They assured me this had nothing to do with the cells. It could just be lab conditions.

Nick called for updates twice a day. Just to see if they'd gotten results. He was very polite. Just, you know, persistent.

I am sure they were sick of him. He was fine with this. He wanted them to be tired of him to the point where they'd give us results the minute they had them just to stop the calls.

This is not something I can do. But I am so grateful he can.

He said, "I don't care if I annoy them. We're paying them a lot of money - and it's not like we're going to invite them to dinner next week and it's going to be so awkward."

And they called - the minute the lab reported the results. In fact, the genetic counselor spoke with the head of the lab to get his assurances that there were no concerns about maternal cells.

And so...

It's a GIRL! A little vagina-having turnip!

And she doesn't have Downs, Trisomy 13 or 18, or any of a host of other potential genetic things they test for!

And neither do I.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sh*t Jordan's dad says

In response to me asking him to make sure I'm in bed by 9:30, because if I go to sleep any later, I'm barely functional the next morning:

"Absolutely. Even if I have to drag you up the stairs in a headlock every night."

Talking about dealing with a particularly not-bright judge in a trial:

"I've realized that the line between dumb and fairly sharp is extremely thin."

When I said that Sibley is going to send my labor and delivery and operating room reports to the midwife group:

"OH ARE they?"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

And now they're going to refer to us as the Genital Table.

Which, now that I think about it, is better than the Bedbug Table.

Also, this makes me think of the phrase "the curtains don't match the drapes" - which is not actually the phrase, is it? It's more like "the curtains don't match the rug" or something like that, I think.

And anyway, this has nothing to do with curtains. Nor really the rug. Or it sort of does. Depending.

Also, I'd like to point out that while I wind up in a lot of penisy genitally kind of conversations, I am not always the initiator. I don't know if this matters to you, but I just want to have that out there. OK?

So.

What this post mostly has to do with is this: BEDBUGS.

Which we do not have. We don't. Really and truly.

But because of these friends, on my last trip to NY, staying in a Hilton, I set my suitcase on the desk, and immediately hung my clothes in the closet not touching anything. My typical behavior is to just let my suitcase explode organically as I try to figure out what to wear.

Also, I only changed in the bathroom, perched on the tile floor. It was very hard to force non-maternity panty hose on a preggy belly balancing on one foot and holding onto the sink.

The price of paranoia. And not being organized enough with hose for business meetings.

I tiptoed across the room in my underwear. I don't know why, but it seemed like the less surface area on the floor, the better. I wore disposable socks from the doctor and threw them away on my way out the door.

Thus visiting the bedbug capital of the world seemingly unscathed.

But anyway. We had dinner with friends last night who had bedbugs. They have just, after months and months and two expensive rounds of house treatment, just gotten rid of them.

Doesn't just hearing the word bedbug make you all clenchy?

The wife, M, said there's such a stigma attached that she's just been telling everyone to get it all out in the open. Kind of like when she got out of prison.

I'm just kidding. She hasn't been telling anyone about the bedbugs.

Oh, I crack myself up. However, candid as she may be, I told her I'd write about them anonymously.

So - get this - the second treatment, which has a one-year warranty - leaves residue on the floors, walls, everywhere. And you cannot clean or mop for two months or it voids the warranty. Nor can you move any of the furniture. For a year.

What they said was that you move out for the weekend, the bedbug people come in and put all this (ostensibly child- and pet-safe) chemical all over the house. And then after 48 hours you move back into your house, unpack, and start living your normal life.

In fact, you have to. Because you are the bait.

The bedbugs have to think life is back to normal so they come out of hiding and head towards you and then walk all over the poison and die. And you have to wait for their sticky sticky eggs of evil to hatch so they can do the same.

I dislike insects and suspense and I think this combination would pretty much kill me.

So far, it's been a couple weeks, and they haven't been bitten once.

Now, there we were, last night, discussing this over Thai food at this nice, low key place with very friendly service. We always seem to wind up there when the four of us meet for dinner.

We were across the table from them, listening intently. For my part, I was slack-jawed, goose-bumped, with arms clenched tightly across my chest.

It's the universal pose of warding off evil, no?

And then our friend M said, "But they don't bite palms of hands or genitals!"

"They don't bite hands or genitals?"

"Or maybe it's that they do...The bedbug guy said something in particular about the hands and genitals...but I was too upset to process it."

"Genitals seem like a prime target. All that blood flow. I'd want to know."

Unfortunately, this was said in the moments juuuust prior to the moment that our server chose to refill our water glasses. So he was reaching in, hovering across the table, as M said:

"Anyway, my genitals are always covered when I sleep, making them hard to bite." She looked across at us and shrugged. "I don't know about your genitals."

And our server, this very gracious man, paused, ever so briefly, mid-reach.

He kept the same smile, but you could tell that he'd heard, processed, and couldn't quite decide if it was better to just keep pouring, or back away.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Meager Mushroom

November 22 update: I got an email from one of Mellow Mushroom's co-owners, and she was incredibly kind and gracious and wanted to make it up to us. We will be going back to try their pizza, and I will report back.

-----

I don't know if you've tried the new pizza place the Mellow Mushroom in Adams Morgan?

I was excited to try it. Until we did. And I'll never get pizza from there again.

We've been eating really well, but last Friday we all decided was a pizza night.

So I called Mellow Mushroom, which I'd heard good things about, and ordered a large pizza with gluten-free crust, tomato sauce, two kinds of cheese, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and Italian sausage.

(We were splurging, health-wise, on pizza for dinner, but being a little virtuous with the gluten-free. Plus we used to go to Rustico and have amazing gluten-free pizza. So that was my frame of reference. I miss Rustico.)

Nick and I walked over to pick it up. It was $27. He plunked down his credit card.

And then they handed me the box.

It was so light and small, I was sure they'd given us the wrong order. "This is your large?"

"Oh, no. There's only one size in gluten-free. They should've told you that."

Huh.

And then we got home, and opened the box. There was a suggestion of sauce, a hint of cheeses, a giggle of sausage, perhaps three to five sun-dried tomatoes, and a pirouette of peppers on it.

In other words, a very thin, tasteless crust with the pretense of a number of delicious-sounding toppings.

For $27.

I wanted Nick to go back and complain, because he is good at that sort of thing and I am not, but it was Friday and he was tired, and he said fuck it and ordered a white pizza from Astor instead.

It was about half the price and fucking delicious.

And now I think it's just too late. You can go back later in the evening or the next day, but you can't really show up a week later and say that your pizza is really fucking expensive and skimpy and tasteless.

Or can you? Because candidly, it still pisses me off. I don't know why it's stuck with me, but it has.

Or should I just remind myself to breathe and there are children starving all over the world and one overpriced crappy pizza is nothing to be worked up about?

Monday, November 14, 2011

All the dishes rattle in the cupboards when the elephants arrive

We met four years ago last night.

I must mention, because a friend asked, that this is a NOW picture, not a THEN picture. Although it made me think how funny it would be if I had whipped out a camera to document each first date.

Awkward, no? Plus, I'd need an extra hard drive just to store them all.

So, I wanted a picture that showed us and showed the couch and the room so it included some atmosphere. But Nick chose to ask a couple sitting like 15 inches from us to take a picture. And so we loom LARGE in the photo.

(And no, I'm not sure why I'm hell-bent on capitalizing shit today.)

And also: I have to show you what I wore. I love this dress. I got it in Paris and it is A-line and knit and accommodating and I can still wear it and it has such cute flowers and embroidered collar and sleeves and did I tell you I love it?I love the anniversary of our meeting more than our wedding anniversary.

And not just because the service at the Tabard is so much kinder and friendlier than our wedding venue. Even though the place is spectacular and I do feel very fortunate that Nick's father is so into genealogy and found an illustrious dead ancestor (are ancestors necessarily dead? I think so) so that he could belong to this particular society and Nick therefore could belong, which ultimately resulted in us getting married at an affordable and spectacular venue.

But also at the Tabard they let you drink red wine and set things on tables and aren't all pursed-lipped and unhelpfully rulesy, thus making you want to spray urine in their corners.

Which I would of course never do. Of course.

So they do have a couple things up on the wedding venue. Plus I don't suppose anyone actually celebrates their anniversary precisely where they had their wedding.

God, I can speculate about useless crap, can't I?

ANYway.

I think the main reason I like our first date anniversary is that first dates are so fraught.

By the time our wedding happened, there was no uncertainty left. Walking into a first date? No certainty whatsoever. When I started doing all the Internet dating, I was excited about first dates. Honestly.

Oh, the possibilities!

And as you know, by the time I met Nick, I canceled our first first date, because I had already had so many that not only had all the excitement been squozen out of me, but I was tired and jaded and fully prepared to loathe him by halfway through the first glass of wine.

I write about this every year, so I won't bore you with the rhapsodizing or the oh-thank-Godding on luck turning my way again this year.

But...I still feel lucky, so very lucky. And not only because meeting Nick meant I never had to die alone again.

So far, of course. I suppose he could always get hit by a bus.

Look both ways, Nick. I mean it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Week 16: Mama's belly button! (while I still have one)

Nick was reading the Richard Scarry book What Do People Do All Day? to Jordan the other day.

This is low on my list of books to read. I love the illustrations, but I have a hard time with these books that are sort of but not really stories. Nick, however is great at being all, "Oh, look, there's a tractor! And a farmer! And a big truck!"

He makes it all very exciting.

So, there was a mama bunny who had a big tummy and went to the hospital...and then had a new baby to bring home!

It's kind of suspect in that Dr. Lion, her OB, instead of eating her right up, delivered her baby bunny.

Anyway. Nick thought he'd capitalize on the moment.

So Nick said, "Remember how much you liked David's new baby at his house?"

"Yes."

"Would you like a new baby at our house?"

And Jordan said, "No."

Also, yes, I buy boxer briefs to sleep in. I love them. They're comfier than any jammies I've ever had.

Which reminds me. We recently were given the Boynton book Pajama Time. Love love love! Except I've realized I pronounce pajamas "puh-jah-mas" but I say "jammies" like a plain old normal American.

Or maybe this is regional? Pajamas Dunno.

Happy weekend, all!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Everybody bump and grind... it was porno for pyros

So I was initially going to title yesterday's post "Racist porn got me where I am today."

But then I realized that it might sound like I had actually been featured in racist porn. Which I have not. And really, if I were going to be in porn, it would definitely be of the non-racist variety.

Once I went down that path, though, I realized that it was very much like the whole erection skirt thing and I would probably get all wrapped up in something tantamount to the size of the penis I don't have and really I should just pick a whole nother title entirely.

It also reminded me that I have this story from my single and going out all all all the time days that I never told you.

Back when I started this blog I went out almost every night. Sometimes I had dates, but I also had this close circle of single friends who lived within blocks of each other. And we'd make last-minute plans all the time.

So it was one of those random Mondays or Tuesdays that a group of us found ourselves out at Chi Cha Lounge, which, was (and perhaps still is?) low and couchy and a comfortable place to hang out.

And early in the week it was maybe about half full of small, quiet groups. It was decently lit, wiht low music, and an setting to make conversation.

Conversation which turned, in our case, to opinions on talking dirty in bed.

One of our friends said she thought it was ridiculous. "I mean," she began loudly, "what am I going to say?" She continued just as loudly, happening to coincide with one of those 8-minute lulls in room conversation, "Ooh, I just love your big cock!"

This kind of thing will garner the attention of pretty much everyone in the room.

And one of our guy friends, who is Indian, responded without missing a beat: "Brown. You forgot to say big brown cock."

Those were the days.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Although for all I know, racist porn may have gotten us where we are today

So you know I did the IVF.

For me that entailed a bunch of shots and having my blood taken 85 million times and then having my eggs sucked out and then having a couple of them put back in. When they suck out your eggs, they give you an IV with some very nice drugs, I have to say.

When they stick them back in, they're so itty bitty that the doctor has to take his syringe thingy into the lab and have them look in a microscope and tell him whether he got them out or not. So he did, and they determined that they were, in fact, set up in their new home, and they drew a little line on the sonogram screen to show where they were, and sent me on my way.

They were always all, "Good job!" Which of course is exactly the kind of thing you want to hear, even though really, you have absolutely no control over what's going on.

Anyway.

Nick's piece of the process entailed giving me a bunch of shots, being incredibly supportive of me ALL THE TIME GODDAMMIT and then leaving his, uh, contribution on the day of the egg-suck-out-ing.

He said they really need to improve their customer service towards men. They make you feel cheap and dirty. You walk in and they don't really meet your eyes and they hand you a cup and they're all "There's the bathroom."

He said he really wanted to ask them if he could leave the door open, and if they'd mind watching.

Me, I see no reason to joke in these circumstances. If you get a humorless nurse who thinks you're an icky icky creep, I'm the one who is going to have to see her multiple times a week. And even if you don't. For God's sake, man.

So then, without saying anything idiotic to the nurses, cup in hand, you head into the bathroom. He said there's a variety of porn to appeal to a variety of taste. The one he mentioned as example was called Whorientals.

Seriously.

I didn't ask for details, because I just don't want to know.

Also. Whorientals? Who picks these?

Friday, November 04, 2011

15 week goings-on

So today was AD, or Amnio Day. It all went fine.

We were hoping to find out the whole BOY or GIRL, but the kid was turned away from the camera. Nick is always all chitty-chatty with people, and sometimes this works with their personalities and sometimes not.

Hell, sometimes it works with my personality and sometimes not.

He was talking too much for my taste while they were doing the sono and prepping me for the amnio and at one point he said, "You're doing fine!"

And I said, "So are you, but it would be nice if you would do it a little more quietly."

Anyway, they got their basic measurements, confirming that we are, in fact, at 15 weeks and 1 day, and there are still arms and legs and a brain and what-have you. But Nick was holding out for the sex. Nick asked the sonogram technician, who was nice but not one of those humor-you types, if she'd prod the baby a bit to get it to turn.

She was all, "Look. It's on its tummy. We wouldn't be able to tell your sex if you were on your tummy, would we?"

And Nick was all, "Oh, you'd be surprised!"

I just lay there and cringed, naked belly towards God.

Seriously?

---

Also, what's your opinion of belly pictures? I quite liked having them with Jordan, but I wonder if it's silly to do twice? But I am house-bound and it just seemed like why the hell not.

One remarkable thing (to me - not to anyone else who has ever been pregnant more than once) is that my stomach poked out significantly faster with this one. It's not surprising. I had kick-ass abs prior to our friend J, and then they went all to hell.

I think I'm poking out about a month faster than I did the first time. I need to look back.

---

And! Big news in my world! something just happened to me that has never, ever happened in my whole life.

The midwife I met with on Wednesday? Called to check on me.

Have you ever had a health care provider call to see how you're doing?

I told her, very candidly, that I felt like she had taken what I assume is her hostility towards the medical establishment and directed it at me. I said I felt very put on the defensive, when I would never have chosen to have a C-section, and wasn't happy about how things went the first time...but this was what my OB was supporting, and nobody was suggesting otherwise.

I told her that I was so upset when I left. I was just very frank about how bad she made me feel.

And she apologized! She didn't try to justify, except that she said that they have to bring up some very difficult, negative things, to make sure that this is what you are looking for.

She said she was sorry that she made me feel so bad. She didn't mean to put me on the defensive. Especially when I'm in such a vulnerable position, being pregnant. It's the opposite of how they want to make you feel. Their goal is to make you feel very supported and to give you a good experience.

Which, I told her, is what I'd heard from everyone. Everyone I know who has gone to her, including two friends of mine, everything I have read, has been nothing but positive.

We spoke for 15-20 minutes. We talked about all my concerns.

There is an increased risk of fetal death past 37 weeks. It is small, but it is there. She said it's 2 babies per 1,000 after 41 weeks. Which is a small number...unless it happens to you. So it needs to be talked about.

She asked if I'd made a follow-up appointment, and I said no, I'd been too upset when I left and I was thinking about what to do. That she had caused me so much anxiety that I wasn't inclined to put myself through what I assumed would be another hugely anxiety-provoking appointment. But that our conversation had made me feel a million times better.

And I do. I've never had a medical professional call me to ask how I'm doing. I've never been apologized to.

This woman has already spent more time talking to me than my OB did at almost all my prenatal appointments combined. And she actually talked about FEELINGS. How I FEEL emotionally. Something I'm sure my OB would rather have cut off his toes than do.

So I am going to go to another appointment.

I will be 19 weeks, and if at that point it doesn't seem right, I still have time to switch. And if it seems like a supportive, safe place to be, then I will feel like I'm in the right place.

Nick, however? Still mad. If you hurt someone he loves, he takes a long, long time to get past it. He is not in any hurry to get past this.

In this regard, he's just like me. I get it. I used to follow Maude's horrible ex-boyfriend around at parties just to give him the stinkeye and make him twitchy. I did this for years.

It made him very uncomfortable. Which I found profoundly satisfying.

I'm not saying it's normal. Just, you know. Uh. That it's probably not, now that I think about it. But I appreciate the protectiveness, and I have a huge dose of it in me, even if it comes out in weird ways.

Happy weekend, all!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

And now I totally have "The Ides of March are come" stuck in my head. Whatever, Caesar.

So, I got all weepy waiting to see if there was a baby in my uterus, and if it had a heartbeat, but I'd never, ever been made to cry , like, really cry, at a prenatal appointment. Until yesterday.

When I saw my OB - the one who complimented my hair - for the first time this pregnancy, he said that we would just schedule me for a repeat Cesarean at 39 weeks. They cut on the same scar. Easy.

And I was thinking, Yeah, easy for you. Not your abdominal muscles. In fact, you don't even have a vagina. What am I doing?

But I said, "Uh...that's the next thing on my list to ask you. What's your approach to VBAC?"

For those of you who haven't jumped through the Cesarean hoops (Hahaha - it's not really a hoop, just a small incision in your abdomen and uterus. A small incision through major muscles.), VBAC stands for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean. Those in the club pronounce it Veeback.

On a sidebar: in the fertility/birth world, I believe there are more acronyms than in the military. I don't know if you read Julia, but if you've ever struggled with fertility, or even if you haven't, you might love her. I think I've read her entire archives, would stalk her if she lived in DC, and love this post about dippos.

Anyway.

My OB, who I actually really like, gave me a verbal pat on the head and said, sure, sure, we could think about it and discuss it later in the pregnancy. Although very candidly, he strongly favors repeat C-section.

At which point I promptly started shopping for another practice. I might wind up with another C-section, but I don't want it to be automatic.

So I was very excited when I got into this highly regarded midwife practice, which is part of one of DC's major hospitals. You deliver in the hospital. But they are midwives, really focus on nutrition and exercise, and will work very hard for you to have natural childbirth.

This approach appeals to me. And the midwife I got to see is THE recommended person in DC for natural birth and VBAC.

(And I am deliberately not using names. They have an extraordinary reputation, and it's a a well-respected practice. They just take a harder line than I am equipped for. So if you're in the DC area, and this rings a bell, please don't guess.)

So.

As soon as we began talking about my prior birth experience, the conversation became, well, kind of hostile.

WHY did I have a C-section?

Well, I was induced at 41 weeks...and I never dilated...and...

WHY was I induced?

Well, my OB was in favor of it, and it was August, and I was huge, and it was so hot, and I just couldn't handle being pregnant anymore.

Long story short, I found myself defending the choice I made to be induced at 41 weeks. The choice that was highly supported by my OB. Who would've made me induce at 42 weeks in any case.

I wound up bursting into tears, explaining how my dad had killed himself two months prior, and we had moved into this row house with a 4th floor kitchenette, and I was just so big and everything was so HARD.

What I didn't say was: first we moved out of Nick's place, and then there was my dad's suicide attempt, and then my dad's suicide, and then we moved again into this asshole of a house where everything was broken and dark and creaky and creepy and there was no normal kitchen and I had to lumber up to the 4th floor. And sometimes I would just waddle over to the liquor store and buy 10 pounds of ice because they don't sell it in smaller bags and waddle home in the hot fucking hot August sun with the goddamn ice melting down my leg.

And then I would haul both of us - the ice and me - up to the 4th floor and drink iced drinks and refuse to come down. And my husband worked ALL THE TIME and my mom was in her own crisis and FUCK YOU LIFE WAS REALLY REALLY HARD IT'S NOT LIKE I WAS SMOKING CRACK AND HAVING SEX WITH STRANGERS.

But I didn't say all of that. I just cried. And she asked me if I was under the care of a therapist.

I'm not currently.

She suggested that it would be helpful.

I said I'd had a lot. I'm on a break.

Her response then was as follows: I need to understand that with their practice, there is no induction because you're tired of being pregnant. I will probably go past 40 weeks. Given my profile, I will probably go to 42 weeks, because in their practice, you wait for the baby to come. And I could be in labor for five days.

If this is what I want, they will support me in this. It's a lot of risk for them, and so you have to sign a risk statement. Which makes sense to me. It's a litigious world, and their liability is high.

Also, I need to understand that the risk of stillbirth increases every week after 37 weeks. Every week after 37, the chance of your baby dying goes up. Am I prepared to take these risks? I need to really think about this.

(I didn't know about this. Nobody told me about this, as Jordan was happily cooking away, week after post-37 weeks week.)

Also, she said, having IVF increases your likelihood of a C-section. So there's also that.

Oh.

Plus, being older, you could just take longer to dilate. And clearly that's an issue, since I didn't before.

I see.

"So," I said, "you think I'm a bad candidate for VBAC?" (At that point, it seemed silly to even ask the question.)

"Not at all. I think you're a good candidate. You just have to really think about all these things and be prepared to deal with the risks. And your husband has to be on board."

I am dramatically condensing the conversation. We talked for at least 45 minutes, I think. I'd say I was on the defensive for 43.5 of those minutes.

So finally, finally when she said it was time to get on the table to listen to the heartbeat, I was so relieved. And then it took her a while to find the heartbeat. And I almost started to cry again.

She then found it, and said it sounded good. She added, "You have a lot of anxiety, don't you?"

I nodded. But I really wanted to say, "I was fine when I walked in. The only way you could possibly have made me more anxious would be to set my hair on fire."