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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Childbirth is not like running a marathon

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Pardon me while I ruminate over childbirth for a hot second as I scarf down a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios at 3:30AM and deal with insomnia. Usually, when I’m up surfing the internets at this hour, I’m Dr. Googling stuff like “19 weeks 3 days pregnant” or “extremely painful bowel movement” but today I somehow came across a site that was literally the You.P*rn of natural childbirth video sites. If you don’t know what You.P*rn is…ask your husband : D

Anywho–I basically started watching a slew of bloody, painful, screaming, pooping, natural childbirth videos, and although I’m (surprisingly) not completely traumatized by them, it has the ole gear shifts in the brain turning that the whole “do it naturally” thing will most likely end with me with a triple chin screaming “It burns!” or “Get it out!!!” while shitting myself and looking like a bloated cow. I searched the hundreds of videos for those mystical “quiet” natural childbirths where the woman does a few moans and gently pulls her baby out. I found one, but this woman also had like 3 kids running around her birthing tub, and the whole thing felt waaaaaay too weird for me to get behind.

I haven’t written much on my birth plan (which basically only exists in my head right now), but part of the reason I decided to hire a doula was in hopes that having a trained professional at the birth will help me as I attempt to go au natural. Yes, I would like to attempt birth without meds. I know it may sound corny/strange/sadistic, but feeling the raw pain of childbirth and coming through the other side has actually been something I’ve known I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl. See– I have an odd relationship to pain (and not in a 50 Shades of Grey kind of way. Spanking/bondage/gags don’t do it for me, ladies!). My relationship to pain is that I don’t tend to fight against it, but rather, I like the challenge of the mental game it takes to get through it. From what I understand, this may help me in childbirth. Of course, who am I kidding. I have no fucking clue how much pain I’ll be in.  But I want to experience it, if that makes sense. Depending on what literature you read, there is a slew of info that also highlights the benefits of going natural by correlating it to a decreased C-Section rate, and a more calming birth experience for the baby, so I’m down with that too. But again…I just don’t know how the pain will feel, and I don’t want to beat myself up if I can’t make it through the birth without some pain intervention. That being said, I don’t want to go into this with the mindset that I will quit if the pain becomes intense because I really want to push myself to go as far as I can.

Before I got on the pregnancy/infertility crazy train, I was happily running marathons. I miss running, but mostly, I miss the rush I got after completing 26.2 miles. Like I said–I have a weird relationship to pain. Before my brain was permanently seared this morning with episiotomy images and close ups of vaginas with extremely large baby heads protruding out of them, I thought that childbirth may be like running a marathon: You pace yourself, breathe through the pain, mentally focus on the sound of your shoes and the road ahead, and then you cross the finish line with a baby in your arms, and the pain goes away.

Nope.

Childbirth will not be like running a marathon. And here’s my logic behind this:

1. Marathons have mile markers. This means that there is a sign for every mile you complete, allowing your brain to mentally “check mark” how far along you are in the process. For me, Miles 18-24 were always the most difficult, as your body is screaming at you, and there is still quite a ways to go. But you push through because you have to, and also because you know the end is near. Each mile marker you see gives you more confidence to push through. There are no mile markers in childbirth. You can be in excruciating pain and still be on Mile 4 and never know it. It’s a mental mind fuck, the likes I’m not sure I will know what to do with.

2. Blisters, bloody nipples, shin splints, knee pain, and back pain all suck the big one when you’re running. I usually pop a couple of Advil during the run and keep going. But a human head splitting your vagina open *may* be more painful. Just a guess.

3. Marathons generally last anywhere from 4-6 hours, depending on how fast you run. That’s a pretty small margin of difference, and also not very long in the scheme of things. Labor can last for 10, 20, 30 hours…Yes, we’ve all heard stories of the lucky few who feel a few painful contractions and then plop a baby out, but that’s usually Baby #4. I’m not kidding myself. First time childbirth will most likely be a long process.

4. Marathons and running in general is very “inward” focused. It’s you and the open road, and what you choose to do with it. Sure, the cheering spectators add some smiles and moral support, but they are not there to tell you how to run. You decide how to push through the next mile. Unless you’re birthing in the woods and gnawing off your own umbilical cord, childbirth is both “inward” and “outward” focused. It has to be extremely difficult to get into that “inward” zone when you are being shuttled around to the hospital, filling out forms, and getting monitored every 15 minutes or so. I want to “go inward” but I feel that this will be a challenge.

5. In a marathon, you can dial back the pain. I usually do this by walking a bit, having a snack, listening to a great song on the iPod. Unless you’ve seriously injured yourself, pulling back on your pace generally lessens the pain. Not so in childbirth. In fact, your body starts to act on its own. There comes a point when there is no “walking”, you are pushing out a human watermelon from your nether regions whether you like it or not. And that shit is painful. I’ve seen the videos.

I guess my whole point in writing this is not to discourage anyone from trying a natural childbirth–God knows, I’m still going to attempt it. Just trying to process how I’m going to get through it, is all. I had gone into this with a somewhat cocky attitude that being a marathon runner somehow made me mentally more able to endure a natural birth. I’m rethinking that a bit after watching all of these videos!

How about you gals? Anyone else planning on attempting a med free birth? Anyone think I’m absolutely insane for wanting it this way? Any moms out there rolling their eyes yet, and saying, “Oh, you’re so cute with your little marathon analogies…you’ll get the meds.”

Romance

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Me, lying in bed this morning, grumpy.

Hubs zips out of the bathroom Tom Cruise in Risky Business style (except naked), amped up on caffeine, looks at me, and says, “Goodmorning sunshine! What can I get you? Coffee? Tea? Desert?

Me: How about breakfast in bed. Why can’t you serve me breakfast in bed like the Downton Abbey women?

Hubs: You know, I was thinking about serving you breakfast in bed once during our marriage. Pick a date.

Me: Ah, the romance never ends.

Hubs: Plus, that’s what the servants do. Not the husbands.

Me: Guess I’ll just have to find me a Branson then…rawr.

Hubs did not like this.

downton-abbey-tom-branson-x-200

 

Hmmm…maybe there really is a baby in there….

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I will preface my first baby bump post with a few admissions:

1. I hate. Like…HATE. pictures of myself. You know those people who plaster various snapshots of themselves from every imaginable angle all over their FB page, and look great doing it? Not me. I can count on one hand how many good pictures I have of myself. Back in the days when I online dated, my most consistent “first meeting” comment from the shocked men who dared to ask me out based on my personality and a photo was “Wow. You really don’t look like your picture at all.” This wasn’t a “try to get in your pants” reaction. This was genuine shock. And it’s true. I really don’t. Thank God. And lucky for them, they took a chance and asked Quasimoto out and reaped the benefits. Hubs has noticed this phenomenon and is still perplexed by it. We’ll snap photos of me and laugh hysterically at how bad they look. He says, “I just don’t get it…you’re hot…but you look so…strange in this photo”.  So, the cropped head you’ll see in these photos is really less about internet anonymity, and more about me protecting the world from my lack of photogenics. You know those black and white pics of your grandma when she was young, and you oooh and ahhh over how gorgeous she was? My grandkids will not be doing that.

2. I have been on the fence about taking bump photos in general. At the beginning, I really didn’t want to jinx anything (silly logic, I know…)  and as I got further along, I thought (stupidly) “Well, how much could I have really changed in 6 weeks?” Silly, silly girl. It’s insane how much my body has changed in 6 weeks, and I really do want to be more mindful of commemorating it now that I’ve seen the comparison.

So without further ado…belly shots for all!

Headless me (and Bagel) at 12 weeks.

Headless me (and Bagel) at 12 weeks.

Headless me (and Bagel) at 18 weeks!

Headless me (and Bagel) at 18 weeks!

No doubt about it, ladies. There’s something growing in there, and only 57% of it is 3 days worth of constipation poop.

I’ll make a vain admission: I love my boobs right now. And I also like my belly. I like it better at the bigger 18 week size than I did at 12 weeks where I was still sucking in pudge and feeling uncomfortable in my pants. Now, I let it all hang loose, and it’s been faaaaahhhbulous.

I Skyped with my Mother in Law over the weekend and showed her my stomach. She paused and said, “You know your belly is the size of a 7 month pregnant woman, right? How did it get so big???” And you know what? I loved hearing that! So what if my tummy is a bit bigger than the rest. That there is Bagel, and he/she is growing loud and proud (P.S: Bagel, you still have to fit through my vagina, so please try to keep it under 9 pounds.)

 

My To-Doula List

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After five phone interviews a few weeks ago, Hubs and I finally sat down with my top phone interview for a face to face meeting, and I am proud to say that we have decided she’s the one! As I mentioned in a previous post, doulas in LA are mucho expensivo, and I spoke with none over the phone whose initial quote was under $1500. Fortunately, we were able to talk her price down to $1,000 which is still kind of steep, but somewhat manageable. After speaking with five different doulas, it’s so interesting how different the energy and vibe was with each of them. There were many that were a bit too…”au naural” for my taste. The doula we are going with is pretty young (probably in her mid to late 20s), but she is very high energy, down to earth, and no nonsense when it comes to everything. I loved that about her, but I can see how some people might want someone who was a more ethereal “become one with the atmosphere” type. She is going to meet with us monthly up until the birth, giving us all sorts of lessons on what to expect during the birth physiologically, and also some techniques on coping with the pain. With her support and instruction, Hubs are hoping to avoid having to spend more money on a birthing class, and will probably try to find some DVDs that will supplement her instruction.

All of your recs for baby gear and gadgets last entry was so helpful! I’m making a list right now, and trying to cost things out. Looks like my mom will be buying our crib, and Mother in Law will be buying our stroller, so YAY! Two big ticket items we are in the clear for. This weekend I will also be clearing out the room for Bagel. We have a desk and a book shelf that will need to be moved, and a closet guy coming to estimate the cost of installing some better shelving in there.

This morning I did my Summer Sander’s Pregnancy workout DVD for the first time. Honestly, it may be my last time, and not because it was too hard. She is just SO fucking annoying. Seriously. I would not recommend this DVD for anyone who has ever had trouble conceiving or anxiety around pregnancy, mainly because she is so goddamn blissed out and happy all the time, or trying and failing at being self deprecating about her lack of rhythm, balance, and her “big butt” (which is about the size of my thumb).

But in good/exciting news…I have been feeling Bagel move!! It usually happens when I’m sitting or lying down, or in the morning when I’m eating breakfast, but the only way I can describe it is that it’s like a teeny tiny muscle spasm in my mid-lower abdomen that moves around a bit during the day. I gotta say…the feeling is…amazing.

 

Home Sweet Home

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Back from my whirlwind business trip in New York. A five day trip was extended to seven days, through the weekend, as my flight was originally scheduled to take off on Friday night (during the height of the Nemo blizzardpocalypse), and yeah…that wasn’t happening. I’ll preface what I’m about to say about coming home with this: I went to school in Boston, I think the city of Manhattan is magical (for a couple of weeks at a time), and I genuinely appreciate so many of the sights and sounds and landscapes that the east coast has to offer. But HOLY SHIT I’m glad to be back in LA. I think a lot of it had to do with feeling like since I’ve started this new job, every weekend I can spend with Hubs before Bagel arrives is precious. I’m not home much during the week, and I was really looking forward to spending Saturday and Sunday with him. Instead, I walked to a Broadway show in a blizzard on Friday night (saw Cinderella–meh), and walked the city and saw a photography exhibit on Saturday. All in all, Bagel got some great exercise, but as the bitter cold wind whipped my face, all I could think about was that this wasn’t my city…I needed to be home. The thing I love about NY that you don’t get in LA is the walkability. There is an intense freedom in being able to step out your door and head somewhere on your own two feet…I just also like being able to jump in my car and crank the heat every once in a while.

So, with that being said, I’m going to attempt to be a better blogger now that I’m back and hopefully not traveling anymore. Surprisingly, traveling while pregnant wasn’t too annoying physically. My energy levels were way up, and my work colleagues all ooh’d and ahh’d over my belly which felt a bit strange at first, but then I got into it. What I think annoyed me most about the travel and intense schedule is that I feel like I’ve just lost an entire week of this pregnancy to a conference, and I don’t want to miss anything more. It all feels like it is flying by right now. I’m a little over 17 weeks…it just feels…fast.

As one who has a horrible tendency to procrastinate, I have realized that I am doing that with everything about this pregnancy. I need to start looking into things we’ll need to buy for the baby, but much like the way I felt I was being raped and pillaged by the cost of my wedding, I feel that most “must have’s” for babies are really non essentials that trap you into buying things you don’t really need because who wants to scar their kid for life for not giving them baby wipe warmers.

Does anyone have a list of their top baby items? A favorite breast pump (why is it I feel vaguely icky when typing those words?), a baby monitor that is awesome, a stroller, some sort of magic lullaby machine…I dunno…I’m just struggling as to where to even find reviews on baby products that are legit and impartial.  Also, where does one shop for these items? Is there an online baby mega store I can get things at? Where does one find a crib if I don’t want to shop at Baby’s R Us? Would you ever buy a crib online without seeing it in person first? What about a glider? Where do I find one of those?

We are re-doing the closet in the (gulp) baby’s room, and I am going to spend this weekend clearing it out an making space to think about decorating it. The overwhelming feelings I feel about decorating a baby’s room have left me a bit paralyzed, but I need to make a move. I need to start pushing this ball up the hill. Why is decorating so anxiety provoking for me? Maybe because I suck at it, yet I have this vision that somehow my baby’s room will look fabulous and interesting and adorable…yet I have no clue where to start. Crafty people, any advice on how to begin the process of decorating if I have not one single craft bone in my body?

And finally…

A belly shot!!!!

Body-Shot1

Harharhar.

Have I been bad about taking belly shots? Yes. I blame it on the fact that I hate HATE photos of myself, but I really do want to start commemorating this pregnancy a bit better. So I will post my 12 week, and then an 18 week shot this weekend, and then make every effort to take a photo every 2 weeks or so.

Bagel’s 20 week scan is coming up soon, too, and I will make sure to post pics of his/her cute little toesies when we get those in.

State of the Poo-nion and other updates.

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Greetings! Although I have gone silent as of late, I have been quietly stalking all of your blogs at 3AM as I deal with the horrible insomnia that has held me captive the last couple of weeks. I blame some of it on new job jitters, and some of it on my back (ever since 7 weeks, my lower back has felt like someone has taken a cattle prod to a nerve every once in a while, and sleeping positions are incredibly difficult to maneuver right now.)

Poo Alert: Little Bagel is getting his/her mini dose of caffeine right now so I can shit. It is 10-15 minutes into the dose, and I do not feel any “movement” coming. This terrifies me. Seriously. I cannot go another day at work without shitting.

Job Report: I really really wish I could tell you all where I worked and what I’m doing there, but let me just say it is with a holy-shit-amazing company, and a crazy creatively fulfilling position. Hint:  you have all bought something from this company at one point or another. I can say this with certainty. I’m over the moon about this job, the likes I haven’t seen since, well, ever. The job itself is the most work I’ve ever had in my life, but the days are flying by. I start at 8:30ish, and finish at 7ish, but it doesn’t feel like work. I find myself so immersed in work some days that I realize that I haven’t thought about being pregnant ALL DAY. In a way, I feel guilty about that, but I also feel my life opening up a bit from the intense hamster wheel I was on at the beginning of my pregnancy.

Bagel: It is now 90% certain that we know what gender Bagel is. At my latest checkup, they accidentally put me in the ultrasound room, and the doc did a quick one rather than just listen to the heartbeat. Bagel just happened to be in a prime position for checking on the nether regions (tush pushed up towards the front of my stomach), and my doc seemed pretty convinced on the sex (his opinion was the same opinion as the doc who did my 12 week NT scan, so…) Results to be revealed in a separate post! Of course, I am ecstatic about a boy or a girl, but I can’t help but fantasize on what it will be like to raise Bagel. I’m in love with this little one.  Bagel is measuring about 5 days ahead, and heartbeat was at 156bpm. His/her back and tush was faced outward, so I got to see all of the cute little vertebrae on the spine, and Bagel all snuggled up. Jesus it was cute.

Pregnancy in General: I gotta say….I am freaking loving being pregnant right now. There. I said it. The first trimester was filled with a lot of anxiety and Dr. Googling, but this second trimester has left me a bit more at ease and comfortable. My skin is not “glowing” (in fact, the skin on my face is dry and peeling), and I do have the back pain, but holy shit, y’all. I love my stomach! I have always been self conscious of the fact that I have an extremely short torso and no waist line to speak of (I’m more “carrot stick” than “hour glass”). But I gotta say, it’s working to my advantage in pregnancy because my uterus has no where to go but up and out, so I have a cute little round belly now (probably bigger than most 15 week pregnant bellies.) My boobs have always been on the large-ish side, but now they are large and IN CHARGE. I have gained 3 pounds so far, which is low and kind of disturbs me, but the nurse assured me it was “normal” and rolled her eyes and said, just wait till the second trimester really kicks in. Yeesh. Point taken!  I may be singing a different tune at 30 weeks, but since I rarely compliment myself, I’m going to outright say that I love my pregnant body. Now if I could only get Summer Saunder’s ass…

Sex: As much as I’m digging my pregnant body, my sex drive has been in the shitter, and has been ever since the week we conceived Bagel and we had to rush to ER at 2AM due to my UTI. I’m not sure if it is hormonal, or just the fact that sex has equated lots of stress for the past year an a half, but I’m hoping I get a surge of second trimester horniness. Pregnant sex does feel a bit different than TTC sex, and even Hubs is a bit more tentative when it comes down to doing the deed because he’s afraid of hurting Bagel. I know logically there is no need to worry, but mentally, there really is a baby between us when we’re getting down and dirty and the image is not exactly “sexual”.

Hubs: Hubs has been stressing lately about job applications and interviews for a tenured position somewhere next year. Because of the baby and my job in LA, he is really limited on where he can apply, and anyone who is in the academic world knows that a limited job search is not the way to get a tenure job. He has never ever been a person who takes it easy, or “coasts” so the thought of not having a permanent job next year scares the shit out of him, and we are trying to work through all of this the best we can. My mom and grandmother are both local and will be helping out a lot with child care, so at the very least, I want Hubs to be able to get out of the house 3-4 days a week to work on his publishing and writing if he does not get hired somewhere near LA next Fall. Full time “Stay at Home Dad” is not a title he wants to wear, and I have absolutely no grudge about that.

I am headed to NYC for work for a week on Monday which I’m really looking forward to. I feel bad for whomever sits next to me because I have a window seat, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to get up at least twice during the flight to pee, but such is life.

I will close with this commercial that Hubs and I saw as we were watching “Biggest Loser” a couple of nights ago (well, I should say…I watch Biggest Loser, Hubs just mocks me the whole time). ANYHOW. This ad made both of us misty eyed. Damn you, Subaru!!!