Friday, July 27, 2012

Four Ninjas

I had a dream last night that I was putting on makeup, and Mitch made me spill my really expensive Bare Minerals foundation (okay maybe you don't think it's expensive, but it's a splurge to spend that much money on something that my dog just licks off my face later) all over the floor. In my dream, I got really pissed at him, and he started laughing at me and wouldn't stop, so I just started beating the crap out of him. I was smart enough to stay away from his neck and face, so people wouldn't see that I had dominated him, but I totally cornered him in the bathtub and punched the crap out of his arms. And he kept laughing at me the whole time.

I don't know what this says about my marriage, or about me in general, but I always feel guilty when I have dreams about beating people up. I think it means I have this subconscious violent tendency. Most people don't know (or choose to forget) that I have a second-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo, which I obtained as a 12-year-old Ninja Turtle devotee. I totally played around sewers and manholes (keep it to yourself) with the neighborhood boys. We pretended that Shredder would come out and give us missions, and we would kick BeBop and Rock Steady's asses. Then I started to get distracted by girl things like Bonne Bell lip gloss and removing my leg hair, and I abandoned my dreams of auditioning for the next Three Ninjas movie as their tomboy sidekick who roundhouses her way into their hearts while at the same time rescuing them from their own misogynistic hubris. I would own that.
Anyway, my dream flooded back to me suddenly this morning as I was brushing my teeth and Mitch was toweling off after taking a shower. I confessed that I had assaulted him in my sleep, and apologized, all the while resisting the urge to give him a purple nurple. It's just so tempting.

Monday, July 23, 2012

30 weeks

pants are a rarity these days
We had a baby shower this weekend. The weather was perfect; the food was good; and the people were entertained. Of course, it's hard not to be when there's free booze and cornhole and a petting zoo. It was hosted at this really cool farm called Gorman Heritage Farm. It was beautiful, and we were reminded of how fortunate we are to have so many amazing people in our community, and people who know us well enough to gift us used books and repurposed blankets. I feel so lucky that our daughter will know so many principled and supportive men and women. Female role models are extremely important for young girls, but it's equally as important to have male role models who treat women well. It's liberating for me to know that I was able to wait to have a baby until our marriage was seasoned and stable, and we had surrounded ourselves with people who show us how to exist presently and love unconditionally. It was a great way to acknowledge this next phase in our lives, and the people who were there with us (in person and in spirit) helped remind us of how blessed we are.

On to less serious matters. My darling husband was gazing dreamily at my belly the other night, and told me that my belly button has started to look like a cat's butthole. While I resent that remark, he might be right.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

in defense of doulas

I have a lot of hopes and dreams for this birth, the biggest of which (aside from a healthy baby) is that I am satisfied with the provision of my care and my experience afterwards. My wishes for pain management or intervention or how we'll cook the placenta can be disregarded. I simply want to experience my labor and birth presently and have no regrets (or PTSD) afterwards. So, we hired a doula.

A lot of people may not know what a doula is (a professional, non-clinical birth attendant, typically a female, who provides emotional and physical support during labor and delivery), but a lot of people have questioned our decision to hire one for this birth. Frequently people have interjected on Mitch's behalf, suggesting that I'm attempting to replace him by hiring an anti-establishment she-warrior who would gladly lop of the arm of any health professional who dares approach with a needle or scalpel. This is not so.

First, this was a decision we arrived at after what I recall to be a pretty brief discussion. We both acknowledged that this was a new and exciting experience, but that we really had no idea what we were doing or what to expect. We both hope for an optimal start for our baby, and we realized that within our existing healthcare system, it might be difficult to receive the continuity of care we desired. Doulas fill in these gaps.

Second, Mitch chose our doula. We interviewed several, and he fell in love with a two-woman doula team, one of whom will attend our birth. After all, he's still going to be doing most of the support work, and he wanted to choose someone who complemented him well and made him feel confident in his ability to support me during labor. Their job is not to replace him, but to support him as he supports me. If you hire a good doula, she'll know this and act accordingly.

Third, doulas (good ones) leave their own preconceptions about birth at the door. If I want an epidural, she will support me through that. If I demand that someone rip this baby out of me with forceps, she is supposed to hold my hand and tell me what a good job I'm doing. If I decide that I want my baby to be born to the song "Lady" by Styx, she will be standing by the iPod speakers ready to push play. Although there are some doulas who refuse to care for women with certain intentions (I know one who wouldn't take clients who intended to circumcize their baby boys), most are accepting of all women and their desires for labor and delivery.

Lastly, with all the benefits associated with doula care (i.e. shorter labor, reduced oxytocin use, reduced C-section rates, reduced episiotomy rates, increased breastfeeding initiation and duration, decreased postpartum depression, etc.), why the hell wouldn't we want one? No seriously, I'd love to know.

I can give you citations if you like; I happen to be writing my thesis on the matter, but really it should suffice to say that this is something that we both decided, and Mitch doesn't need anyone to defend his honor. I know I'm scary, but he's quite capable of telling me what he wants or doesn't want. Plus, he tells me I've been a box of kittens this whole pregnancy.

Also for your viewing pleasure, my most favorite interpretation of this song on one of my most favorite shows of all time, Freaks and Geeks. You can chew the awkwardness it's so thick. Thank you Jason Segel.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

why hello there third trimester

28 weeks.
WHOA. Two belly pics two weeks in a row. I know. I must be out of my mind. I just didn't want to let the start of my third trimester pass without acknowledging it.

I have been feeling super spazzy about getting the nursery finished. I still have 12 weeks (supposedly), but I'm sooooooo impatient. I'm also feeling really picky about the things that we put in it, so picky plus impatient make for a lot of anxiety (poor Mitch). Thus far, we have accomplished painting and acquiring two (used) pieces of furniture.
I have approximately zero sentimental bones in my body, but my paternal grandfather made the changing table for me when I was a baby, and my maternal grandfather bought the rocking chair for my mom to put in my room. The stool came from St. Vincent's. Not so sentimental. Also cheap.

Most days, I find myself sitting in here at some point, thinking about what kind of parent I want to be. Mitch and baby Buster eventually join me.
This room has been one of the most neglected rooms in our house since we bought it five years ago. It was originally a guest room, which actually meant it got pretty regular traffic, what with all our drunk dinner guests, couch surfers, chicken sitters, and traveling friends. Then it was an office, which meant we avoided it like the plague. Then it was a guest room again. So mostly people other than us have spent time in here.

Sitting in here, I've realized that this is the best room from which to hear the chickens. The coop is right below the window, and the window is single pane. Greta likes to sound the alarm in the morning. I think she thinks she's a rooster. I like to think that our daughter will like waking up to the sound of chicken bellows and demands for food. Plus, we've already painted, and I think Mitch would divorce me if I ask him to move the coop. So she better like it.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Eagle Scouts can't keep secrets

GAHHHH! So we weren't able to keep the baby's sex a secret. If you remember from this post, I smugly stated that, for various reasons, we would not be sharing that information until Meatball reared her ugly head. Eventually Mitch decided to grow a pair and tell me he did not like that idea, and wanted to tell people at our baby shower. I tried to compromise by suggesting we wait until we get another sonogram to confirm that it's actually a girl (babe's a squiggler; makes for blurry photographs), to which he said, "no." Plus, I had accidentally slipped a pronoun a couple of times, so really I just can't be trusted.

Anyway, he just started telling people, so now the cat's out of the bag. Now I just have to keep the name a secret. But seriously, if this baby's not actually a girl, I'm going to be super pissed and tell all y'all I told you so.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

27 Weeks

Mitch has started feeling inspired to give me artistic direction whilst photographing me. For this one he said, "give yourself a double chin and make your arm look like an overstuffed sausage." I think I captured it nicely.

We decided to finally start pretending like this kid is actually going to come out one day, so we picked out paint for the nursery (white), bought fabric to make curtains and rocking chair cushions (orange, lime, and robin's egg blue), and started washing baby clothes. Baby clothes are tiny and cute and have lots of metal things on them that burn your hands when you take them out of the dryer. We also tested our house for radon (negative) and our pipes for lead (negative), mostly because I just took an Environmental Health class and had a few nightmares about a mutant baby. Mitch has also attempted to start bonding with Meatball by yelling into my belly button "Can you hear MEEEEEEE?"

We also started researching college savings plans. Did you know kids are expensive? Somebody should have told us that. Fortunately, I found an online calculator that would help us figure out how much we needed to save every month. Assuming our child goes to an in-state, public university for only four years (estimated average is closer to 5 or 6 years these days), we have to put aside about $350 a month starting like, now.

Sounds reasonable I suppose, so we took a look at our budget to figure out how to make room for the investment. Cut the cable? Oh right, we don't have that. Then we'll cancel the data plan. Yeeeeeah, don't have that either. Okay, cheaper cell phone bill. Nope, already on the cheapest plan that comes with a plain ol' cell phone, plus I get a corporate discount. We live too close to work to make taking the bus economical. Our car is fuel efficient. We don't have gym memberships. Our mortgage is less then a lot of people's rent, and I mix our hand soap myself (costs a quarter a bottle). I even picked up three jars of peanut butter from Freecycle the other day. Because it was free.

We're cutting back on entertainment, groceries, and utilities where we can. And luckily, we have life insurance policies, so if one of us kicks it, Meatball is set. Soooooo...until I'm working full time again (March of 2014?), looks like that's our savings plan. Every time I start to panic about sending our kid to college (or saving more for retirement), I just remind myself that we have some time. One of these days, we won't have to pay for child care, and both of us will hold advanced degrees and better jobs (hopefully). We're getting there. I'm assuming this is where most young families exist: somewhere between prepared and preparing.

In the meantime, we've decided to cut corners by having Mitch paint my toenails until I can reach them again. I figure most people's eyeballs are about five feet away from my toes at any given moment, so they can't tell that it looks like the nail polish was on mist.
Baby Buster approves.