20 February 2010

The wait is over

And it was really really worth it.

Gabriel was born on Monday, February 15, at 4:15 in the morning. My water broke on Sunday morning, and because labor didn't get going on its own, and because of the risk of infection if he wasn't out within 24 hours, I was induced. That was scary because of all the possible scenarios, but labor and delivery went so beautifully and peacefully that I still feel euphoric thinking about it.

More to come soon...I want to write down the whole birth story before I begin to forget things. I'm not sure yet whether I'll post it all here, but I hope I find time to get it written. Meanwhile, the cutest baby in the world is calling my name.

13 February 2010

Waiting game

The goal: avoid thinking about it too much.

Reality: impossible to not think about it.

Coping mechanisms: distraction! Cook, bake, read, shop, nap, eat. Mall walk, yoga. Singer/songwriter cousin in town! Going to hear her play!

Distracted from distraction: skype ringing, baby kicking, Braxton-Hicks contractions, BabyCenter updates that tell me my newborn is one week old, worrisome benchmarks loom.

Worrisome benchmarks: Monday, a non-stress test to make sure the baby is, um, non-stressed (I'm pretty sure he is: chillin out, maxin, relaxin all cool). Thursday, when the midwife will start talking induction. Next Sunday, when my family leaves.

The goal: avoid thinking about it too much.

08 February 2010

Due date

Here it is, the day that we've mentally circled in red for over half a year. The day that means this baby has been growing for forty weeks, a long time by anybody's counting, but time gone so fast that I'm a bit sad it's coming to an end. I wouldn't mind being pregnant for a little while longer.

Just not forty weeks pregnant. At this point, all the expectation and the excitement and the very heavy crampy belly are hard to handle all at once. There's the scary and exhilarating thought "it could be today/tonight!" tempered with the relief and dread of "it could be a week from now."

We've spent record time on Skype with family and friends in the last few days, and there's never anything to report, although it's reassuring to talk to them all and makes me feel totally surrounded by their love even though they're far away.

We went to the opera that we've had tickets for since September, always knowing that we might not get to go. We went, and enjoyed it, and lo and behold! my water didn't break.

My mom and I have been cooking and baking up a storm (no-knead bread is the best thing ever!), and we watched the Super Bowl at a nearby hotel (even though M. and I are total football philistines).

I am trying to appreciate everything that is still easy to do unhampered by a baby (an external one, that is): sleeping in, taking long showers, jumping in the car at a moment's notice, watching movies, eating out, shopping, reading for long stretches of time. Tonight we're going out for a nice meal to celebrate the due date.

But even late-third-trimester indolence has its limits, and I can't wait to have a good reason not to be able to do all of those things for a while. A *really* good reason.

01 February 2010

Clothes woes

As my belly gets bigger and bigger--the growth is quite exponential in these last days, and to think that I was impatient even to have a belly for most of this pregnancy!--my wardrobe gets smaller and smaller.

I didn't purchase too many "maternity" clothes to begin with. The entire lot of my own purchases consists of 1 pair of jeans (absolutely essential, and I swear by the Gap 1969 line now so much that I will buy an identical but non-maternity pair when I can wear non-maternity jeans again), 1 pair of thrift-store black pants, 6 long-sleeve shirts or lightweight sweaters (all Gap), 1 short sleeve t-shirt and 1 tank top (both Target). Oh, and another warm cowl-neck Target top that is not maternity but is long and comfy and (still!) handles the bump with ease.

My sister loaned me a few more maternity shirts and a couple of sweaters, and my mother-in-law brought me a couple of non-maternity but still roomy tops from her boutique. Besides that, I've relied on my bella band to make a few of my regular pants last until around Christmas time, two pairs of yoga pants, LOTS of cardigans to make it seem like I wasn't wearing the same darn shirt again, a few of my old shirts and t-shirts that were stretchy enough to accommodate a belly (these are fewer and fewer now, maybe 4-5?) and a couple of stretchy-banded skirts. I've been wearing my regular winter coat, although the buttons no longer button, and my regular pajamas, although my belly now pokes out of them quite comically.

Anyway, the point of this inventory is that compared to the amount of clothing I have at my disposal when I'm not pregnant, my wardrobe is pretty tiny. My choice of pants comes down to: Am I going anywhere today? If yes, the jeans. If no, the yoga pants. My choice of tops comes down to: Have I worn this in the last four days? If not, it's time to wear it yet again! Maybe with a different cardigan!

But the funny thing is, I kind of like this state of affairs. It makes things easy. Jeans and black yoga pants match everything! I don't have to worry too much about looking cute, because I have an excuse not to (and because I'm not teaching this semester). I do like most of the clothes that I've ended up with here at the end of the game, so I feel pretty confident that I look decent, if not a fashion plate (not that I ever was, or ever will be, a fashion plate). The colors I have to work with--for some reason, a lot of jewel colors like deep purple and jade green--are bright and make me happy. I guess the lesson here is that in my normal life I have more clothes than I need. Plus, in the last week, I've gotten new slippers, new boots, and a haircut--three things that have made me feel cozier and kickier than anything, and don't depend at all on belly girth!

Meanwhile, as my wardrobe shrinks, the baby's grows. I've tried not to go overboard in buying baby clothes (actually, until after Christmas we had barely bought a single thing) but the other day I got nervous that he didn't have enough basics so I went to the thrift store and bought him a rather impressive pile of $1 long-sleeve onesies in cute stripes and solids (I've banished made-up logos and fake athletic wear--what's up with that anyway?), sleepers, and assorted little jackets and jeans.

He is, without a doubt, going to be the cuter of the two of us. Not that I'm complaining.


One of the unfortunate side-effects of this pregnancy has been the near-constant pain of fiery heartburn. This has been mostly kept under control with the blessed relief of doctor-approved Zantac, taken twice daily. But I still have breakthrough pain: mostly due to my inability to stop eating spicy foods.

I never realized just how dependent my diet--or, I should say, my cooking repertoire--is on the spicy foods. In the last week of meals, I have made:

1. thai green curry with shrimp, spicier than I had planned because the curry paste already had a lot of heat built in
2. rice and beans with chipotle chilis
3. burritos made with the leftover beans and extra (hot) salsa
4. fried rice made with the leftover rice and plenty of pepper flakes
5. this broth with soba noodles, to which I could not resist adding judicious glops of sambal oolek
6. home fries, with plenty of red and black pepper

I'm probably forgetting some. Each time, I dither about whether I should make the dish because I know it will cause (usually late-night) distress, but I still make it. Each time, I try to make the dish only a *little* spicy and still end up with some degree of fire. Why?

Also, I drink loads of cold water with the spicy meals and the midwife told me that drinking liquids with a meal can increase the effects of heartburn. She also told me that drinking water before bed can make things worse, but I can't help it because I'm continually thirsty, and can't stop drinking as much ice-cold water as I can get my hands on. Then there are the smoothies... because aside from the spicy dishes I keep making, mostly I crave cold, frosty beverages. I NEVER drink soda and I've even had a few cokes in the past weeks because the idea of a really cold one sounds so delicious to me.

Looks like I'm creating a fire-and-ice situation in my gut that is bound to end badly. Oh well, the Zantac takes care of most of the problem, and this all should go away once this kid is out and about and no longer hogging my personal gastrointestinal space.

In other news: my mom arrives today! I guess that means this baby is really supposed to make an appearance, and I'm actually going to be, like, the mother of an infant. Huh.