One Week Out

“In Mama-Daughter Disputes, Politics is Personal” – MSNBC

I like this article because I sense that my baby’s best bet on teenage rebellion is to join the Young Republicans, resplendent in an Alex P. Keaton sweater vest and wingtips.

This really is an incredibly polarizing election. David Sedaris put it the best when he discussed undecided voters:

“I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention? To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?” To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”

And that’s really the kicker–Sedaris is a bright blue liberal and one can safely assume who is the chicken in his scenario, but the metaphor works in both directions for this election. Fervent McCain supporters and the most rabid of Obama supporters can all agree on one thing: the candidates are so polarizing, so different, that people who haven’t made up their minds are simply baffling.

I also linked to this article because I liked the line about the daughter getting so angry that she just wanted to shake her mother. How we’ve all (except those wacky undecideds) felt that in the last few weeks: the urge to come to near-blows with loved ones and friends over their political beliefs. Because of course, if you’re an Obama supporter, you’re a socialist baby killer who wants his terrorist buddies to teach five year olds about their genitalia. And if you’re a McCain supporter, you’re an anti-choice, anti-change, war-mongering bigot who bathes in Penzoil. Neither of those stereotypes are terribly appealing to the other side. Nor are they all that accurate. Nobody is willing to see the good points on either side anymore, if they ever were; only the (mostly) false stereotypes are left. I’m guilty of generalizing too, and of baiting people that I know will disagree with me; almost everyone I know is guilty of it. Thank God it’s almost over.

As for politics and my parents? I just think back to the day I told my father the news that broke his heart. “Wow…I mean, we just tried so hard to raise you right,” he said as he shook his head sadly. “We tried so hard to raise you a Democrat that we didn’t even THINK about telling you not to be a country music fan!”

Yes, I am one of the rarest of breeds: a bleeding heart one-step-from-socialist liberal who also thoroughly enjoys her Toby Keith. Nobody’s perfect. :-D

Week 16

Today was my week 16 appointment. It turns out that not all cramps are pre-eclampsia, miscarriage, or the turning of the uterus completely inside out. So when experiencing those cramps, you shouldn’t Google any of those things. Especially when the urine sample contains no protein and I have had no spotting or other unpleasant fluids escaping my body. It did, however, contain a fair amount of bacteria. Please do not ask me how I ended up with a bladder infection without getting a UTI first and with no attendant pain whatsoever, because I assure you that I do not know. The upside is that one of my coworkers was sent home yesterday and ordered to stay there until Monday to recover from a nasty bronchial infection/head cold, so while I’m feeling a trifle poorly, the antibiotics for the bladder thing should effectively carpet-bomb all the other germies in residence. In the meantime, a toast of cranberry juice and acidophilus pills to the end of cramping.

In other news, the baby kicked the heartbeat monitor. *whump whump whump THUD whump whump whump* 16 weeks old and it already resents us trying to establish communications. I dread the teenage years. Urban legend says that predicting the baby’s sex is possible with beats per minute; it goes that under 140, boy, and over 140, girl. There’s maybe a 50% chance at accuracy in guessing, but our baby doesn’t even like to cooperate that much: the heartbeat clocked in at a perfect 140 per minute.

We haven’t decided if we’re finding out the sex, but gosh, Baby, can’t you play along a little?

May The Force Be With You

In my ever-continuing post-adolescent quest to be cool in at least ONE aspect of my life (and please, God, after my jr. high and high school years YOU OWE ME), I decided to hit Etsy.com and look for cloth wipes there. Etsy is the coolest website on the Internet, an online 24-7 craft fair of amazing things made by very talented men and women. So naturally, I’d rather support someone’s small business than a company like BumGenius when it comes to things like buying cloth wipes. After searching, the quality is uniformly higher–often double-sided and well-reinforced–and they come in a rainbow of colors and patterns; the ones I purchased are plain cream-colored single ply and $12 for a dozen. The prices on Etsy are comparable.

I hit the jackpot with a seller who offered double-sided cloth wipes in a pack of 15 for $15, custom-ordered with any five of the prints on this page. Surprisingly, I did not choose any of the monkey fabrics. I did, however, choose the Darth Vader print at the bottom of the page. (The other four were purple stripes, lime dots, moocow, and camping–for Tom.)

It probably hasn’t done a thing to up my cool quotient (quite the reverse, probably), but I feel a little bit better knowing that while my neighbors are paying extraordinary sums for prepackaged Huggies baby wipes, my baby’s butt is going to be cared for by the Sith Lord.

The Gift

My cousin was kind enough to post links to my baby registries on her Facebook and MySpace pages on my behalf, since I feel the same way about them as I do about wedding registries–you don’t issue demands for gifts without solicitation. I’ve read that for things like baby showers it is acceptable to print the registry info on the invitation, whereas for weddings doing so is a major faux pas. My understanding is that this is acceptable because the guest of honor is not the issuer of the invitations, the host of the shower is, and therefore the recipient is not blatantly soliciting gifts without prompt and not guilty of the etiquette breach. This is the reasoning I used to justify printing my sister’s registry information on her baby shower invitations, even though it was simply because the socially acceptable “word of mouth” method wasn’t possible–I was the host, living 500 miles away and arranging the party via email, and all my family live fairly close to one another in southern Maine. There was simply not a more efficient way to do it.

At any rate, if I sound defensive, I have cause. It’s a minor paranoid tic of mine; having been accused of rudeness and off-putting behavior once or forty times and totally failing to realize how my behavior could have been considered offensive until afterward, I try to avoid social blunders where I can. Anyway, she posted the links and I did my due dilligence by updating and refining the lists. But I was a little saddened by the wording: “because she will not be having a family shower…”

It’s not about the gifts. My sister has entire boxes of goodies to send to me; we’ll be well-stocked with supplies when the time comes. There’s a Walmart and a specialty baby store three miles from here; we can buy whatever we don’t have. It’s not about the “stuff.” My neighbor has generously offered to throw me a shower, which should be fun.

I’ve always pushed to live in new places and see new things, and I’m glad to be in Hawaii now. If only because I saw how difficult it is to go out with a baby in winter, I’m very glad to be in Hawaii. But while I may be pregnant again, this is the only time I’ll ever get to be a first-time mom. And there’s nothing my family loves more than a squishy-faced baby, unless it’s the squishy-faced lady carrying it. What struck me about my sister’s pregnancy was how it was very much a process of her being welcomed and taken into the mommy club; in a way, it was her initiation. I’m just a little sad that while people are equally excited for us as they have been for everyone who came before, we don’t get to physically be there to share in the excitement. Given my almost fanatical insistence on personal space, I’m shocked to find I’m a little upset about the prospect that only Tom and perhaps my coworkers will be grabbing at my belly and getting excited about feeling kicks. Erika and I won’t get to set up my nursery and exclaim over the incredible quality of both new and hand-me-down baby clothes.

We did this to ourselves, and coming down to brass tacks, I’m not at all sorry that we moved out here. It’s just that sometimes I wish it were easier to visit. Now if you’ll excuse me, we did just buy a cosleeper crib, and damn if I’m not weepy and emotional and nesting. I have sheets to fold!

Munchies

Game: Items for which I have had cravings in the last three weeks

Players: My willpower/ability to procure item vs. strange and maniacal womb

Craving: Moe’s Italian Sandwiches, extra meat and cheese, just oil, no tomatoes or olives
Craving factor: 10
Availability: None, nearest Moe’s location is roughly 6000 miles away
Point: Womb

Craving: Poke, a Hawaiian dish made with ahi sushi, chiles, onions, scallions, and soy sauce
Craving factor: 5
Availability: High
Drawbacks: No ahi allowed due to mercury content
Point: Womb

Craving: Root beer floats
Craving factor: 3
Availability: High
Advantage: A&W Drive-Thru Floats less than 3 miles away
Point: Me

Craving: Onion soup in sourdough bowl (like from Panera Bread)
Craving factor: 8
Availability: Medium (no Panera locations on Hawaii, easy enough to make at home with correct ingredients)
Drawback: inability to find sourdough bread, lack of patience/sourdough starter at home
Point: Womb

Craving: Oreos
Craving factor: 2
Availability: High
Drawback: Tom can, and has in the last three days, eat an entire package by himself. Fortunately, he bought two packages
Point: Me

Final Score: Womb 3, Me 2

Pregnancy isn’t quite kicking my ass, but the craving for a Moe’s very well may get me before this is all through.

Today’s handy advice from the “What To Expect” e-newslettter:

“Early pregnancy fatigue has you dragging, and you just want to crawl into bed. Unless you’re sick, give yourself a pep talk and get your butt moving. Figure out what motivates you. Are you trying to manage your weight gain? Stay flexible? Banish a case of the blues? Fit into a bikini next summer? Or just get in shape for delivery? Remind yourself that exercise will help! And don’t forget to reward yourself for reaching mini goals (for example, you worked out five days this week so treat yourself to a manicure).”

Seriously, all I have to say to that is f*** off. I’m going to take everyone’s advice and sleep now while I have the opportunity. I, er, also am a mite cranky. Hormones and whatnot.

In other news, our first set of diapers came today, and my, are they precious. Fleecy soft and brightly colored, and the Egyptian cotton wipes are lovely. If our child ever disputes our love, we can always tell them that from they day they were born until the day they were out of diapers, they have only known the joys of 100% cotton butt care. That’s love, people.

Week 13 Appointment

Today we had our Week 13, Day 5 appointment. We are very precise. Since my last appointment, which I had to interrupt to collect my wits about me, I’ve had long periods of feeling good interspersed with still being ill. My OB was convinced I was having a girl until I told her my sister lost 15 pounds her first trimester and had a big burly 8-pound boy. Then she told me “Guess you’re just genetically lucky, then.” Ha. Ha.

For the record, I lost five pounds since my first appointment two months ago. To look at me, you have to know what you’re seeing; if you didn’t know I was pregnant you’d think I was just chubby and carrying it all in my gut. If you do know I’m pregnant you’d see I’m steadily losing weight anywhere that isn’t my belly and what I must now refer to as my truly bodacious tatas. From the front and back I look no different; from the side there’s definitely a topography there that did not exist before.

Today we also heard the heartbeat for the first time, way over to the right side as I had suspected. Most of the pain I had in the very first few weeks was in my right side, and I think that’s where the Sea Monkey has taken up residence. The heartbeat is a perfect 140/min.

We got two big surprises at the appointment. My doctor also announced that she was only doing deliveries at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, instead of Kapiolani Women and Children’s Hospital like we had originally thought. Kapiolani is the best maternity/children’s hospital in Hawaii, and one of the reasons we originally picked this doctor. Queen’s Medical is fine, just not la creme de la creme, and, well, we all know I’m a snob, so I liked the idea of Kapiolani. We did discover that Queen’s Medical is very family-oriented, offering lots of classes including a special prep class for older siblings who are going to attend the birth. That doesn’t apply to us, obviously, but I like the implication that they treat the whole family with respect and consideration instead of trying to dismiss the needs of certain family members. Tom’s aunt is also an experienced L&D nurse and a lactation consultant, so we do have help available on the phone 24/7 if we want a second opinion.

The second surprise is that there are no water birth facilities at any of the birth centers on Oahu. I was thoroughly dismayed, since I had a nice little pain strategy worked around floating in a hot tub but I see now that is not to be. Fine. I’ll take up residence in the shower and push in there if I have to, and use the removable shower head to aim the hot water where needed. I’ll christen the baby Water-Pik.

We had considered home birth as a way to ensure I could have my hot tub intervention-free labor, but it is simply not for us. The main reason is that Tom and I are “What could go wrong?” people; we try to anticipate and plan for all the worst case scenarios. We hope for the best, but no reason not to be prepared. I know that most normal births are straightforward and uncomplicated and that an experienced doula could handle most of the issues. But the fact remains that something could go wrong. The nearest hospital is 45 minutes away under ideal conditions. There is ONE way to the hospital from our place, and if anything went wrong on the highway–the constant construction, the traffic choke points–we would have almost no recourse. There is simply no way for us to get to the hospital in time if something did go wrong. We pray that it won’t, but it could, and knowing that, Tom would not be able to relax, and therefore I would not be able to relax. It would be a miserable experience for us. I have deep respect for couples who can do homebirth, but we are not of their number.

A final note: the nurse told me on the way out that they “only need a little” next time they ask me for a urine sample. This is the same woman who refers to giving a urine sample as “making shi-shi,” apparently in the Hawaiian tradition. Seems I provide them much more than they need. I like to joke around with nurses and doctors, but my sense of humor is often inappropriate, and lately I’ve had to pee all the time. Example: I looked at the nurse and said, “But…I have so much to give.” *Awkward pause.* “Ha? Haha?”

Yeah. The nurses and I are going to have to get used to each other.