Week 40: Any Day Now …

Books read in the past week:
“Little Earthquakes,” by Jennifer Weiner
“Digging to America,” by Anne Tyler
“Nights of Rain and Stars,” by Maeve Binchy
Assorted chick-lit paperbacks that caught my eye in the library

Movies watched in the past week:
Rumor Has It
Over the Hedge
The DaVinci Code

Phone calls from friends and relatives in the past week:
too many to count

My due date has come and gone. Even though my doctor says that first babies are, on average, six days late, I didn’t think it would happen to me. But here I am, still pregnant at 40 weeks. Technically, the baby is only a couple of days late. And, as I’ve been reminded infinite times during my pregnancy, predicting the due date is not an exact science. Still, I was discouraged when at my last appointment, the doctor reported that nothing was happening. At all. She prescribed evening primrose oil and sex to “get things moving.”

Now, everyone and her sister has a trick for jumpstarting labor. Some swear by spicy food, others insist that long walks, a glass of wine, or a hot bath work wonders. And, of course, there’s the sex suggestion. The theory is, that’s what got the baby in there in the first place, and it can help get the baby out. Only before the baby was in there, you probably weren’t carrying around an extra 35 lbs. and a basketball-sized belly. You probably still had ankles, could fit rings on your unswollen fingers, and didn’t grunt every time you changed position.

So it’s only natural that some of the other suggestions would seem a wee bit more appealing. In the past week I’ve tried: spicy drunken noodles from the Thai place (twice), the Victorian-sounding primrose oil capsules (which get stuck in my throat), daily walks (torture on my sore hips and pelvis), a hot bath, a few glasses of wine, yoga, bouncing on my exercise ball, visualization, massage, and having C. issue stern statements to the baby indicating that we’re ready for him or her to be born.

The amount of phone calls we get these days is comical. I haven’t been this popular since I was the first of my college roommates to get a car. My mother calls daily, and has taken to pretending she’s calling for reasons other than to find out if the baby is on its way. (Sure, Mom, whatever.) If I don’t answer the phone, people panic and start calling everyone else I know to see if THEY know if I’m off having the baby. Believe me, people, when I do YOU’LL KNOW!! I’ll broadcast it on the radio and take out a front-page ad in the newspaper.

Of course, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie beat me to it this weekend by giving birth to the most anticipated celebrity baby ever (a daughter named Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt) — ON MY DUE DATE. Maybe my baby’s just waiting for the publicity to die down before he/she makes his/her appearance.


Week 39: Have You Had that Baby Yet?

So much for my mother’s prediction that this baby would be early. Even though I haven’t reached the 40-week mark, I’m starting to get anxious. I’ve officially started my maternity leave, the car seat’s installed, the bassinet’s set up – there’s nothing left to do but wait for the baby to decide to be born.

I’m not the only one who’s impatient to greet this little person. My phone’s ringing constantly these days – my mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, friends, “just calling to see how you’re doing.” (Translation: Did you have that baby yet?!) I’m tempted to joke, “Oh, yeah, thanks for the reminder. We actually DID have the baby a couple weeks ago. I can’t believe I forgot to tell you!”

My friend E.G. was visiting from the West Coast this past weekend. “Are you going to have the baby while I’m here?” she asked eagerly, eyeing my ready-to-pop belly. But it didn’t happen. My dad is attending a conference nearby and had tentatively planned to stop over afterward to meet his new grandchild. But alas, he/she didn’t make his/her debut. I know it’s disappointing for people, but what can you do? The baby will come when the baby darn well wants to come.

I’ve tried to speed things along. C. and I went out for Thai food the other night. I had been thinking the spicy drunken noodles were the golden key to jumpstarting labor. No dice. I’ve been taking long, daily walks with the dog, which only cause me to take to the couch for the rest of the day to recover. (Having an approximately 7 lb. weight with sharp knees and elbows hanging low in your pelvis is PAINFUL, people!) Last night I even bounced on my yoga ball for a good 20 minutes, hoping to jar the baby loose.

So I guess there’s nothing left to do but wait. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go record a message on our answering machine: “If you’re calling to find out if we had the baby yet, press 1. If you’re calling to ask how the mother-to-be is feeling, press 2. If you’re calling to ask when the baby will arrive, please hang up and dial the Psychic Friends Network.”


Weeks 37 & 38: Leisure Pursuits for Preggos

Somehow, I got a week behind. Quite possibly because once you’re in the final stretch, there’s not all that much to report except YES, I’m still pregnant; NO, the doctor has no idea when the baby might arrive; YES, I realize I should enjoy my peace and quiet while I can; and NO, we (still!) have not officially decided on baby names, and even if we had I wouldn’t tell you so stop asking.

So I pass my time reading (three novels in the past week), watching movies (Netflix can’t send them fast enough these days), and going to the gym when I have the energy. It’s not as ambitious as it sounds. I pretty much just plunk myself on the recumbent bike with the latest US Weekly and pedal leisurely for as long as it takes to read about Paris Hilton’s latest exploits and who wore what hideous outfit to which awards show.

Still, I’m somewhat of a spectacle amidst the mostly slim, Lycra-clad set. My maternity workout clothes do little to camouflage my gi-normous midsection. In the elevator and on the elliptical machines, women eye me up and ask, “When are you due?” Most of them nearly fall off the treadmill when I say a couple of weeks. “Wow, you’re brave,” said one lady, inching away as if she expected my water to break at any moment. Well, what else do I have to do these days? At least the gym offers a change of scenery and clean towels.

The other project that’s been helping to pass the time is my birth announcements. I decided it would be fun to make them myself. That was before I visited four craft stores in as many days searching for the perfect paper, spent hours trolling the Internet for matching envelopes, and endured countless paper cuts making several sample announcements. I began having flashbacks to my wedding, when I decided it would be fun (fun!) to personally make 300+ shell-shaped chocolates for our guests.

At least I only have to come up with 75 birth announcements, but mass production sort of takes the fun out of any creative endeavor. And, of course, there’s the issue of not knowing the baby’s sex and, therefore, name. So I’m limited to gender-neutral colors and will have to add the specifics later. In the meantime, I will busy myself with affixing 75 bows to 75 cards with 75 miniature pastel pins. How’s that for fun?


Week 36: No, *I* Have it Worse

Now I know why pregnant women waddle. It’s because we have a crick in our back from trying to get comfortable in a bed that suddenly seems the size of a Saltine. No matter how many pillows we wedge around our swollen selves, there’s still some body part that’s being pinched or smushed. Especially the bladder. Nocturnal bathroom trips have increased exponentially.

We have also developed odd hitches in our hips and pelvis. Things are shifting literally overnight, so that we might spring (OK, roll) out of bed one morning to find that we suddenly can’t lift our right leg and it hurts to bend down to put on the dog’s leash. The last trimester’s no picnic, people.

I figure I’ve earned the right to complain since the beginning of my pregnancy went so smoothly. But I suddenly have competition in the complaining department: my husband. See, he got his wisdom teeth out last week. At age 33, just days before a business trip. (Didn’t seem like a good idea to me, either.) Needless to say, he has been experiencing some discomfort. He’s popping painkillers like Tic-Tacs, and tossing and turning all night. Now, having had my own hellacious wisdom tooth experience not that long ago, I’m sympathetic – to a point.

But on the fourth consecutive day of such statements as, “It’s so hard to concentrate/sleep/be in a good mood when you’re uncomfortable all the time” and “This is the worst pain I’ve ever felt” and the topper, “Now I have some idea of what you’ll be going through – times five, of course.” Excuse me?! Childbirth vs. wisdom tooth extraction. CHILDBIRTH vs. wisdom tooth extraction. Does he really think he needs to explain what it’s like to be uncomfortable 24/7? Try dealing with that for NINE MONTHS, I want to snarl. Does he really think having a couple of teeth pulled is anywhere near equivalent to pushing an entire human being out of a part of your body that’s stretched to 10 times its normal size?

But I don’t say anything. At least not too often. I just smile sympathetically, get us both a bowl of ice cream and prop up my swollen ankles.


Week 35: Reading List

We’re backpedaling on our names. I thought we had FINALLY decided, but I’m having second thoughts, especially about our boy’s name. It’s such an enormous decision. And that one name I thought was perfect partially because it’s uncommon? I’ve come across it at least five times in the past week. So I’m back to trolling the baby name web sites.

According to one site, the name Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes chose for their baby girl, Suri, means “wealthy” in Armenian and/or “go away” in Hebrew. How unfortunate. Or, perhaps, intentional.

I’m also having second thoughts about the baby’s room. Now that all the junk we were storing in there is cleared away, it looks rather bare. And sort of mismatchy. But our decorating funds have run low, so there’s not much more I can do at this point. Damn that Pottery Barn Kids catalog that came in the mail this week!

We still have to buy some basics, such as diapers, a diaper pail, a changing pad, and some other stuff I’m sure I’ve forgotten. (Do babies need socks in May?) Despite the months of preparation, I’m feeling pretty unprepared still. It’s hard to believe they just let you take home this fragile little person after a couple of days, without even having to pass a test or anything.

In the meantime, I’ve been getting my knowledge from books. Plus, I’m trying to cram in all the reading I can while I have the time and attention span. In no particular order, here’s my pregnancy reading list:

“The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy,” by Vicki Iovine
Even though it was published 10 years ago, this book is still quite relevant and very funny. The author pulls no punches, whether she’s talking about maternity-wear mishaps or pregnancy sex. I do, however, take issue with her “why bother” perspective on exercise during pregnancy.

“Waiting for Birdy: A Year of Frantic Tedium, Neurotic Angst, and the Wild Magic of Growing a Family,” by Catherine Newman
Started as a journal on Babycenter.com, this book chronicles the author’s second pregnancy and her first son’s toddlerhood. The best parts are anecdotes about the precocious 3-year-old; the worst, often-hefty doses of the tedium and angst mentioned in the title.

“Operating Instructions,” by Anne Lamott
A quick, entertaining read about a single mom raising her unplanned son on her own. At times, Lamott’s confessional style is a little much.

“My Boys Can Swim!: The Official Guy’s Guide to Pregnancy,” by Ian Davis
I bought this for my husband, who never managed to finish it, even though it’s barely 100 pages. I thought it was a witty, if lightweight, account of a guy’s perspective on procreation. Lots of discussion about not calling your wife fat and how to avoid things you don’t want to see in the delivery room.

“Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers,” Ariel Gore & Bee Lavender, eds.
An anthology of pregnancy-related essays, many by atypical moms, e.g. unwed, tattooed, lesbian, proponents of home birth, ones who name their kids Lizard.

“From Here to Maternity: The Education of a Rookie Mom,” by Beth Teitell
The book I wish I’d written. Real, funny anecdotes about raising two small sons. I especially liked the chapters on the “new grandparents” (off getting Botoxed and doing Pilates instead of babysitting and baking cookies) and tricking her kids out of Halloween.

“Freakonomics,” by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
Solely for the chapter on baby-naming trends. You’ll see why, although it’s a lovely name, we won’t be naming our daughter Avery. Apparently, it’s the new Madison.

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