Friday, May 30, 2008

Unneccessary Use of Second Person in a Post

It is after midnight and you fidget to get comfortable in your hospital bed. All around you, the galloping sound of babies' heartbeats float through the walls from the various monitors in the observation ward.

Every woman in every bed has her own story.

You are dozing off when you first hear it; a long, low moan. It is intimate, uninhibited, the kind of moan a woman might make for her lover, and very out of place in the sterile hospital. Then it comes again, and you realize what it is.

It is the sound of a woman in labor.

Absent are the dramatic screeches and cries of television sitcom labor. This is the sound of someone exploring their limits. This is the sound of someone's life changing.

The woman moans through each contraction, and you feel a tug deep inside of you, an urge, an awakening, that you never knew was there before. Your body nearly sways with the force of it. There are entire oceans, planets, universes, in your womb.

You see your body in a physical way that is beyond the physical you've known up until now. You've always associated physical with the act of being seen, being noticed. For the first time in your life, you are able to really understand the true purpose of your breasts, your hips, your thighs, your vagina, and it is a sweet relief. Your nakedness belongs to no one but you. You are flush with power, pulsing with energy.

Even though you are wearing an itchy hospital gown and sitting on a lumpy hospital bed, you feel like a queen. You know in this moment that all women are queens. And warriors. You drift off to sleep again.

You jolt awake sometime later and the woman's moans are louder, faster, more urgent. This time, the woman is joined by a chorus of excited voices cheering, "Push! Push!" You wonder if the woman is scared. If she is hurting. If she is empowered, or if she's just so over this childbirth thing.

The moans and shouts build, build, build, then all is quiet.

The cries of the new baby next door start soft and grow louder and louder.

You know that someday, it will be you in that bed, drenched in sweat, wasted with effort, waiting for the moment you hear your baby cry for the first time. You are frightened, yet you can't wait to experience it for yourself.

You send your good vibes out to this woman you do not know. You do not need to know her. You are bound by what your bodies can do; in labor, we are all the same. We grunt, we cry, we moan, we bleed, we celebate.

We all have our turn.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend: During Which I Go Into Pre-Term Labor and Spend Three Days in the Hospital

I have a bitchy uterus.

It tends to contract at random times throughout the day and night. This little issue, known as pre-term contractions, has earned me the wonderful pregnant-lady honor of being on bed rest until sometime in July.

While the contractions can be scary, extensive monitoring determined that they were not causing any other changes in my body (like other labor symptoms), which is good.

Until Thursday. That's when my uterus got bitchy again. And my cervix must have gotten jealous, because this time around, it decided to join in on the fun and cause some trouble of its own.

So while the rest of Manhattan packed its bags and headed out of town to celebrate the holiday weekend, Spiceboy and I took yet another cab ride over to NYU Medical Center.

After much poking and prodding by various doctors, residents, and med students, all of whom peered at my vagina as if it was on exhibit at the Met, it was determined that my pre-term contractions and morphed into pre-term labor.

That means that my body seems to want to go into labor now, rather than in August, when it's supposed to.

They gave me a shot of Tribulylene to stop the contractions. The Tributlyene is just awful; it makes my heart race and it makes my body flush and worst of all, it makes my hands shake so badly I can hardly lift a glass of water.

The shot didn't work.

So they gave me a pill, and then another shot, and then a few more pills.

Then they gave me a painful steroid shot in my leg to help mature Spicebaby's lungs.

Then they sent in the doctors from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) to speak to me about premature babies and how the NICU works.

I would have much preferred a Memorial Day picnic, let me tell you.

At one point on Thursday night, when the contractions had gotten really bad and Spiceboy sat next to me with his head in his hands, I grabbed his hand and squeezed it. "I just want you to know that I'm not having this baby tonight," I said.

As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew they were true.

My uterine temper tantrum finally ended sometime Saturday, and they let me come home on Sunday. In spite of my bitchy uterus, Spicebaby is quite happy; her heartbeat is strong, and she weighs 2 lbs, 6 oz.--right on target for her age.

This pregnancy has been difficult for me, but not for the reasons I thought it would be. I like watching my body go through these amazing changes, preparing itself for a baby. Every day I get a little bigger, not only physically, but emotionally. Who knew that one's body could expand not only to accomodate a baby, but all of the new emotions that go with it? Who knew my heart was so big?

What's been difficult is waking up each day and understanding that I don't have control over this. Life is going to happen as it happens, Spicebaby is going to come when she comes, and no amount of crying or worrying or frustration on my part is going to change that.

So maybe there is no "early" or "late" or "on time." Maybe there's just time, and how I deal with that is up to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Love is a Hamburger

It may be difficult to believe that two people can cohabitate for nearly three years in a mere 350 square feet of space without killing each other, but we have managed quite well thus far. So well that we threw a dog into the mix. So well that we're now throwing a baby into the mix.

It's like our own little social experiment.

Spiceboy has scarcely left my side since I went on bed rest, which means we’re together nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You would think that we’d be happy to get away from one another, that Spiceboy would be ready to kill me (maybe he is?), or that I’d be dying for a little space, a little quiet time.

Yet when Spiceboy leaves the house to run his daily errands, I perch atop our bed, anxiously await his return.

Why am I so anxious to see him again? Is it the magic of true love? The dark mark of co-dependency? The madness of raging pregnancy hormones?

Is it because upon his return from his adventures in the outside world, he brings me gifts of flowers and jewelry?


It's because he brings me food.

Last week, it was a reuben sandwich. Two nights ago, it was Haagen Dazs ice cream bars.

Today, Spiceboy has promised to bring me a burger from Stand. With ketchup. And mustard. And those yummy thick-cut pickles.

Do you see why I am so in love with this man?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bed Restlessness

How is it possible, with all of modern medical technology available to us, that we haven’t found an alternative to the rather Victorian prescription of bed rest?

We can monitor the baby’s heartbeat and brain activity and kidney function. We can predict whether or not I will go into labor within the next two weeks (I won’t, thank goodness). We can take 3D pictures of Spicebaby inside my uterus, pictures so clear that we can already tell that she has Spiceboy's adorable nose.

Yet we can’t come up with a better solution for my abrupted placenta than: Stay in bed!

I have to stay in bed. Until JULY.

I cannot go to the office. I cannot walk Betty around the block. I cannot even stand up to make chocolate chip cookies.

No, I’m not kidding.

Yes, I know it will all be worth it in the end.

Yes, I know it's for a good cause--that good cause is kicking me in the ribs at this very moment.

But bed rest? It kinda sucks.

So I might be a little crankier than usual around here until around July 4th, which is when I hit my 34th week of pregnancy. At that time, I will unleash my pregnant belly on the streets of Manhattan once again!

I will buy flowers at the greenmarket! I will wait in a ridiculously long line for a cheeseburger at the Shake Shack! I will waddle down to the Lower East Side for some rosemary gelato, which I will share with the lovely Spiceboy, who deserves a medal of honor for his valor during this pregnancy.

I am already counting down the days...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bippity Boppity Boo

I never intended to write about pregnancy-related stuff on my blog so often. I mean, there's plenty of other stuff to write about, right?


But this pregnancy thing? It takes up a lot of mental space. When you're prego, the entire world wants to pass their parenting and childbearing wisdom on to you. And when you're on bed rest, you're forced to sit and listen to them.

Which brings me to the Boppy.

I've had several well-intentioned souls tell me that I HAVE to get a Boppy and that it will CHANGE MY LIFE. I nodded politely, thinking what the hell is a Boppy, and what can it possibly do that's so amazing?

And yet with so many women raving about it, how could I not explore the world of the mythical and much-hyped Boppy?

So I Googled it.

A Boppy is basically an oversized version of one of those neck-pillow things that you wear on a transcontinental flight. Only this pillow comes with a cutesy, colorful slipcover. And instead of putting the pillow on your neck, you stick it on your baby's ass.

You're telling me that a neck pillow on steroids is going to change my life? Really?

Now. In a few months (exactly 3 months from yesterday, if my actual due date is to be believed), I could be writing a retraction of this post while out of my mind from the oxytocin hormones and lack of sleep, issuing an apology to lovers of all things Boppy and joining the masses of people heaping praise on the Boppy and badgering every mom-to-be I know to run out and buy one.

But at the moment, here's what I'm thinking: If you're going to give me advice about something that's so wondrous, so powerful, so amazing, that it's going to actually CHANGE MY LIFE, you'd better make it count.

Tell me that hospitals are going to stop plying laboring women with drugs so they can actually experience birth as birth and not as a medical "problem" that needs "fixing".

Tell me that the United States of America has finally woken up and decided to provide women and men with actual paid maternity and paternity leave instead of the bare-bones coverage of the FMLA that we pass off as leave.

Tell me that doctors have discovered an alternative to the archaic notion of bed rest that will allow women to have a life and a safe pregnancy at the same time.

Tell me that when the baby crowns, it's going to feel like a thousand singing angels are flying out of my butt.

But don't tell me about a fucking pillow.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tastes Like Poulet

Spiceboy and Betty have just gotten home from the vet.

"How'd it go?" I ask from my post on the bed.

"Betty has plaque."

"I didn't know dogs could get plaque," I say.

Spiceboy tosses a package onto the bed with a wry smile.

"Is that...a doggie toothbrush and toothpaste?" I ask.

"Yep," says Spiceboy.

"You're telling me that I have to brush my dog's teeth?"


"How do you brush a dog's teeth? What does doggie toothpaste taste like? Is it mint-flavored?"

"Actually," Spiceboy says, reading the package. " It's chicken-flavored."

"Mmmm. Tasty."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


One recent Sunday, I was feeling quite weepy about this whole bed rest thing, so I insisted on making mayonnaise.

Spiceboy set up a TV tray for me. He attached my hand mixer to an extension cord so it would reach over to my post on the couch. He brought me the eggs, olive oil, vinegar, lemons, and mustard.

It was important that I complete this simplest of tasks, that I do something other than sit around, hating this archaic, Victorian thing that modern doctors call bed rest. It was important that I do something other than worry about what’s happening in my uterus.

I cracked the eggs into the bowl, streamed in the oil, sprinkled the lemon juice. I moved the mixer in slow circles until the mayonnaise formed a thick paste. I tasted, added more lemon juice.

Spiceboy stood by, observing my precarious set up with a wary eye.

I scooped up a bit of mayonnaise on my finger and held it out for him to taste.

“It’s good,” he said.

“Thank you,” I said, and then I started to cry. Again. “I needed to do this.”

Spiceboy leaned in and kissed me, and his breath was lemony.

“I know,” he said. “You’re welcome.”

Thursday, May 08, 2008

You Know You're Pregnant When... discover a chocolate bar that contains applewood smoked bacon and sea salt.

And it is good.

Monday, May 05, 2008

One Week Down...

Bed rest, no matter how pleasant it may sound to the uninitiated, is not so easy. Especially not when the trees are blossoming white and pink in Central Park and there's so much to do at work and you had about a billion plans for the spring--none of which included sitting propped up in bed for Placenta Watch: 2008.

Here's the deal: I most likely have what they call an abrupted placenta. Simply put, that means that my placenta is detaching from the wall of my uterus. If there is a large abrpution--well, that spells trouble. But sometimes there are very small abruptions, so small you can't even see 'em on the ultrasound machine. These small abruptions will cause light bleeding and sporadic contractions. The doctor believes that's what's going on with me. The solution: bed rest, bed rest, and more bed rest.

I spent the majority of last week feeling quite sorry for myself, thank you very much. I did a lot of internal bargaining, a lot of wishing I could turn back the clock to a week ago, to two weeks ago, when everything was "normal." I laid on the bed and cried. I sat on the couch and cried.

But on Saturday, it hit me: This pregnancy may not be going the way I originally planned, but ultimately it's my pregnancy, my process, and it's really up to me whether I want to enjoy it or fear it.

I choose to enjoy it.