Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

No… still not talking about me! (Although after eight weeks with stroller strides, I am more toned. No weight loss yet, but I am looking slightly more aerodynamic… in the way a blimp is aerodynamic.)

But I just saw these awesome fit mommy maternity clothes from Fit2BMom. I think the halter (above) is particularly flattering on a pregnant belly. Very nice stretchy material, too! Today they have a deal for these items on Zulily. If you haven’t checked out these “daily deal” websites, they’re fun.

Zulily has children’s clothes and toys and maternity wear. They’ll send you a daily e-mail with discounts. Just try not to buy something everyday. We need to start saving for college, after all. It will be like one million dollars a semester by 2030.

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Everyone said the weight would just come off. Everyone. I eat healthfully (write every single thing I eat down); I exercise almost everyday. I run, do Stroller Strides, I’ve been breastfeeding for six months. I’m still thirty pounds overweight. I’m still wearing maternity clothes. Did people lie to me, or is something wrong with me???

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Christian Siriano

As if I didn’t already love Christian Siriano enough, he’s come out with designs for Fierce Mamas. I spied the first commercial product in the PajamaGram catalogue. If only I had the adorable skinny body with just a bump like the model, I would actually buy it…there are several other styles at Target for those still pregnant.

But I do recommmend the nursing outfit from Japanese Weekend also at PajamaGram. Will flatter any figure. Even post-partum can’t lose a pound and can’t stop eating figures.

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I am lucky enough that my mother has become “the help.” She takes care of the baby when I’m at work, cooks me diner to go once a week, and buys me staples like toilet paper and wine. Sadly, she’s not available for housekeeping.

I have always wanted a housekeeper, but have only had occasional help, like before or after a move into a new apartment or house. Do you want to know why I hesitate? Because my Spanish is terrible.

But now I have no excuse. I found this incredible website that gives you Spanish sentences for housekeeping help. It’s fantastic. You have to try it.

And if you’re in San Francisco, there is a really great service called La Colectiva where the workers are a collective and they all use eco cleaning products. They also offer $10 off your service if you supply the green cleaning products yourself.

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I voiced many complaints through my pregnancy. Many. But only one wish (aside from wishes for the health of the baby). My one wish was to have my belly button go unchanged.

In a way, my wish was answered… while I was pregnant, my belly button did go unchanged. I did not get an “outie” as so many people do. My button (formerly) like a perfectly oval dip, stayed that way all ten months.

But then I had the baby. And now, where there was a button, is a pocket. Perfect place for keeping the pacifier that keeps getting lost under the changing table. Seriously, I could keep car keys in this thing.

Why, God, why?

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I went into labor at about seven p.m. on a Sunday evening. At first I had no idea what it was; it felt a lot like bad period cramping. So, I looked it up on the internet.  The internet said I was in labor, so I told my husband, and he began to panic immediately and tried to call the hospital. Once he was under control, we settled down to hang out for awhile.

For the first five hours, we watched television (interspersed with my personal cuss-laced soundtrack.) Then, I got tired of being in labor, and decided that I would have the baby some other night. I lay down and put my hands over my belly to hold the baby in. My husband reminded me that it wasn’t an option, and encouraged me to take a shower. So I did, screaming through it. (Why do people think showers help so much? It still hurts, it’s just that you’re also wet.) Perhaps it did calm me down a little, but not much.

At this point, about eight hours in, my husband thought we should go to Kaiser Hospital. But since it was the middle of the night, I thought not. Plus, I wasn’t having regular enough contractions, and was pretty sure I wasn’t far enough along. So I told him to go to sleep, and I tried to sleep too. It was sleep-screaming.

By seven a.m., I was pretty sure we should go to the hospital. We called, and they agreed. It took us another two hours to get there, however, because we were both so disorganized. Neither of us could remember what we needed to do or bring with us. I did have an almost-packed bag, but there was some major running around (in between the screaming).

When we arrived, thankfully, the maternity ward was pretty quiet (except for a husband and wife who were there to be induced and who I certainly terrified with my blood-curdling screams). We were put into a room right away, and a doctor appeared a few minutes later.

Guess what? After twelve hours of labor, I was only 2 cm dilated. How annoying is that? I believe I might have said something like, “no, no, no that can’t be, check again!”

A nurse came in a few minutes later.  She was a young Asian gal who immediately commented on how “poorly” I was handling the pain. After telling me that this was “just the beginning,” she asked if I wanted an epidural “already.”  I turned to her and said, “I don’t like the way you’re talking to me. I want another nurse. NOW.”

My husband looked so shocked, but come on. If you’re going to work in the maternity ward, be a nice person. Or take your anti-depressants. Whatever.

A lovely nurse, an older woman named Merrie Jo, came to replace the mean nurse, and my husband was so glad I had been rude and asked for another nurse. Merrie Jo was so wonderful. She was soothing and kind, and when I started really feeling terrible, she got the doctors right away to help with some pain medication.

I was only there an hour when they checked me again and I was 4 cm dilated.  “Excellent progress!” And, an explanation for why I was handling the pain so badly. It was really painful. So my doctor, a resident named Dr. Lemar was wonderful and calm in every way, started me on a medication I can’t remember the name of. I called it the martini, because it made me feel like I had just had a few. That worked for about two hours. Then I began projectile vomiting.

Strangely, no one had mentioned that was an option in the birthing process. But there I was–heaving across the hospital bed. Heave–SCREAM-heave–SCREAM! Sweet Merrie Jo got me a giant square plastic bucket in which to pour the (mostly watery if you must know) contents of my stomach. What a nice lady.

Still shaking with nausea, contracting in my back, legs, and stomach, and crying vicious tears, I said, in defeat, “I want an epidural.”

The whole process of an epidural is daunting. There’s tape being placed all over your back, big needles being attached to tubes, people telling you to stay “very, very still.” And, the insertion of the needle is very uncomfortable.

I was so much happier to have the pain lessened, though. I was so happy, I fell asleep. I slept for two hours, and when they returned, they found my labor had completely stopped.

So, on came the Pitocin, and my beautiful sleepy epidural stopped working–but for fun, it stopped working just on one side. I was confused about why I was hurting only partially… I figured that’s what an epidural feels like. It helps with the pain… just on one side.  Eventually, when I began screaming regularly again (by this time, seven cm dilated) they came and tested the epidural. Hm. Not working.

So they replaced it. Another ordeal. And, guess what? Didn’t work, again. So I went through the next ten hours or so without pain meds of any kind. During this time, my doctor broke my water sac thing “accidentally” which caused me to go back to five cm dilated. I believe I screamed “why GOD, why????” Or you know, something like that.

My first real worry came in the next few moments when they said that the baby had “gone” in utero, and that we would need a Pediatrician at the birth. Later, I found that this was common enough, but at the moment, it felt terrifying. Not for the last time, I wondered if I should have had a c-section.

I went on and labored intensely, all the while nurses and doctors telling me to “just hit your button” for the epidural again. I hit that button every five seconds, but I could still feel unbelievably intense pain in my legs, back, and abdomen. The nurses moved me from one side to the other, trying to force the epidural into the “right places.” It seemed a little witch-crafty to me, but I was so out-of-it with pain I just did as they said. But then, the baby went into distress, and so they moved me back to where the baby was more comfortable.

It was around this time, ten p.m. or so (after being in labor 27 hours) that I began cursing myself for getting the epidural, which I now blamed for all my woes. If only I had been strong, and gotten through the throwing up, I could have already delivered the baby. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I should have done things differently–even as I was still going through it.

I began crying off and on, and allowed myself to get to the point of hysteria. And then, a new doctor came in with the nurse. Another dozen hands inside of my body doing God-knows what. “Looks like it’s time to push!”

Are you serious? I might have screamed this. My husband, who had trooped through all of this stoically, mostly silently, looked at me and said, “Oh, come on! Just do it already!”

“Go away!” I said, shoving his arm away from mine. “Go the f— away!”

When the nurses began encouraging me to push, I began shaking my head.

“No, I can’t push. I can’t.”

The attending physician, a small woman with a short pixie haircut and a stern set to her mouth said, “fine, do you want a c-section?”

Was she serious? I had been in labor for how long, and she asks me this NOW?

“Get out! Get the hell out of my room!” I screamed this at her; screamed. I was more out of control than I had ever felt in my life, and insane with pain. She threw up her hands and left.

My nurse, by this time a young woman named Meredith, suggested we check the epidural. When they found it wasn’t working at all, she suggested I talk to the anesthesiologist about another. “No way,” I said. “No way. It hurts, and it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work on me.”

But when another few contractions came so strongly I thought I might break in half, I acquiesced and she brought the anisthesiologist in.

It was a different doctor from before, and a nicer and better one, it turned out. She introduced herself, and told me that she had just had a baby six months before. Her own epidural hadn’t worked, either. After telling me her story, she suggested she reset my epidural, and I said yes.

And then, I finally felt what an epidural is supposed to feel like–nothing! Nothing, but the pressure of the baby as she began to push through my cervix.

With Meredith’s instructions on how to push, and my husband back on the team, I began to try to get that baby out. Despite the painful pressure, I was so relieved to not feel the contractions, I was almost excited. And I pushed my daughter out in an hour flat.

My husband looked at me with such pride. He was crying. I was all cried out, but I had one smile left.

At the end, it was like running a really long race that got longer around every corner… with a broken leg… but finishing very strong.

I’d like to forget what happened next. The stitching of the vagina (extremely painful, and the resident said that “no, she couldn’t just give me pain medication.” I’m still wondering why not) the clearing of the baby’s lungs and her terrible quiet then terrible screams, the nurses trying to get her to feed unsuccessfully. I’d like to forget those things, and go straight to the recovery room, where there was food and little champagne glasses, and where my husband and I lay down together with the baby for the first time.

I wanted to record everything that happened because they say you forget everything. But in my mind, I’m going to try to remember only the moments when I was strong, the moments when people were most helpful, the moment when my husband was proud of me. Because, in the end, that’s what counts.

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The Wreckage

Technically, I understood that your body “changes” after you have a baby. I was worried about risidual stretch marks (check) not being able to hold my pee (I’m OK there) discomfort during sex (no comment) et cetera. But no one warned me that even two months after the fact, my hips, knees, and various other joints would feel stiff, cracky, and painful. I feel like I was hit by a truck.

Is it the Relaxin? Is it the trauma of the birth itself? Whatever it is, I wish that I didn’t feel like my legs were going to fall off every time I walk around the house.

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