Category Archives: pregnancy

Thirty-eight plus one

            Today, I am 38 weeks and one day pregnant.  I have never been more than 38 weeks pregnant before.  Zachary came along at 37 weeks, and his brother was delivered by planned c-section at 38 weeks.  I always feel a little guilty, like I have cheated and gotten out of several of the most hideous weeks of pregnancy, but I couldn’t do much about the first kid.  And the second?  Well, I could not walk for over a month at the end of that pregnancy due to back pain, so we had to move the delivery up.

            This week, the doctor did her little exam and informed me that the baby is crushing my bladder, not to mention other, more intimate parts of my anatomy.  No shit.  Like I couldn’t tell.  Given that I have continual and painful contractions, she offered to move things up to… today.

            Let me tell you, it was tempting. 

            But, my reasons remain.  If we are going to schedule this thing, we are going to do it for when it makes the most sense for everyone.  Of course, the baby may come earlier, but if she doesn’t, I am going to hold off on major abdominal surgery till I am safely past my 35th birthday.  And, it is better for the boys to get as settled into school as possible before their sister comes along.  Not to mention that it is better for the baby to stay in their a little longer, fat and happy, pressing down on my woman parts.

            And so, I remain ginormously pregnant, with a pancake for a bladder and a foot in my rib.  Not much clothing fits me anymore, but a very kind mother from school gave me a few of her old things that are getting me by.  Every day, the other parents and the teachers at the preschool seem a little surprised to see me.

            Just, really, are this many Braxton Hicks contractions necessary?

Since so many of you have asked

            When I was 35 weeks pregnant with Zachary, my first child, I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions every night.  They intensified each night, until one day, two weeks later, I found myself in Labor and Delivery wondering aloud whether the anesthesiologist was some kind of a sadist for taking so long to show up and give me an epidural.

            My labor was not all that long, 14 or 15 hours in total.  My delivery, however, was a disaster.  Despite all the rumors that an epidural makes delivery take longer because the woman cannot feel to push, I was apparently an excellent pusher.  The OB and the nurses were pretty damned impressed, in fact, with how well I pushed.  Especially given that I pushed for three and a half goddamned hours.  The suctioned, they episiotomized, and then they finally gave up.  Although the tip of Zachary’s head was coming out with every push, the rest of that scrawny little body was staying inside of me. 

            The verdict?  My pelvis was too small for a baby to get through.  They pushed him back in and wheeled me down the hall for a Cesarean section.  He came out purple and battered from all that time in the birth canal, and I was fortunate enough to emerge with two sets of scars.

            So, it was pretty easy to determine that my second child would be delivered by planned c-section.  At 38 weeks, we calmly went to the hospital, got me some pain control, and the doctor reopened the scar.

            We had a c-section scheduled for this third baby for 39 weeks.  That may seem foolish, waiting so long, but I was hoping to avoid major abdominal surgery prior to my 35 birthday, given that my mother died before her 35th.  So, we scheduled it for the 26th of September, one day after my birthday and one week before my due date.

            And then I realized that meant I would be coming home from the hospital on Rosh Hashanah, which is even more inconvenient when you consider that my kids go to a Jewish preschool that closes for every single holiday.  So, we pushed it off. 

            I am scheduled for a c-section on October 3.  That also happens to be my due date.  It would be very convenient if I actually had the baby that day.  And maybe I will.  Every now and then, life turns out as we have planned it.

            I am having contractions every night, getting more intense and more regular each day.  I get them all day long, too, but the painful, I-can’t-talk ones are in the evening.  I have notes typed up, people on call, and a bag out (although not packed).  Chances are, this baby ain’t waiting for October 3.  Babies have a tendency to like to do things their way.

           While I cannot imagine a more fitting day than today for bringing a new life into the world, I just hope she waits until this afternoon.  I am planning on waxing my legs today.

Further evidence that a Ph.D. don’t mean I’m smart

            Los Angeles is not a particularly hilly city.  I mean, there are hills surrounding the basin that so famously captures and holds the heat, but it is one of the flatter places I have lived.  Chapel Hill, N.C., for example, is a place totally aptly named, as pretty much every part of that city is either up an incline or down one.

            Despite the abundance of flat locations to choose from, whomever first conceived of the Los Angeles Zoo decided to build it on a rather steep slope.  It is in Griffith Park, a lovely area surrounded by the hills that reportedly were used to film the opening sequence of M*A*S*H, which goes a long way towards explaining why every time we head out that way I feel like I am driving into Korea.  The zoo itself has a flat parking lot, but it is all uphill from there.  You have to trek about a half mile upwards, past innumerable concession carts, before you even get to see a single animal (other than the flamingos, which are positioned maybe a quarter mile from the front gates).

            Now, I knew this because we have been to the zoo before.  And I knew I was seven-and-a-half months pregnant.  And I went anyway on Sunday.  I even pooh-poohed the tram that could take us up because it wasn’t scheduled to leave for another ten minutes.  Benjamin wanted to see the tigers.  You know they put those damned things at the very top of the zoo.

            Consequently, I am currently very close to immobile.  I can only walk very short distances, due to some muscle or another I pulled or strained above the groin and below the belly button.  (It is much worse when I have to pee – anyone with better anatomical training that I have want to hazard a guess as to which it might be?)  Thank heaven we have a nanny to cover some of the hours when my husband isn’t around, because I am sure not showing my kids a good time right about now.

           Naturally, when we finally got there, all four of those tigers were sound asleep.

Our whole family failed health class

            We had fertility issues.  Of this I have made no secret.  We actually know three other couples who had fertility issues and met with success using precisely the same drug that is responsible for the medical miracle known as Zachary.

            One of those couples is a cousin and his wife.  Feeling some sort of cousinly rivalry, they couldn’t just conceive a child on the same drug we used. No, they conceived twins just a few months after I got pregnant with Benjamin.  Twin boys (who, I might add, were successfully breastfed for a very long time.  I add this because every time I think of it, I gasp in awe of their mother.  I think I would have needed to be catheterized had I breastfed two children at the same time.)

            Well, it seems we are once again in lockstep, because these fools were using the same damned birth control that we were.  With the same results.  When are people going to learn?  A PAST HISTORY OF INFERTILITY IS A LOUSY METHOD OF BIRTH CONTROL.  Write it down, OK?

            So, to our cousins, congratulations.  To the other two couples we know who conceived children on the same drug as we did?  I hope you people are paying attention.

My sister-in-law is backing Zachary on this one

            We decided it was time to tell Zachary about the baby.  We had waited, figuring that a transcontinental move was enough for him to worry about, without the additional stress of an impending third child.  However, when one of his new classmates arrived for a playdate, his mother informed me that her son had told her, “Zach’s mommy has a baby in her belly.”  We sort of figured it was best for him to hear it from us, rather than around the preschool water cooler.

            Zach was thrilled at the prospect of another sibling.  We told Benjamin, too, but it was hard to tell whether he was excited over the baby I am hauling around or the baby stegosaurus bath toy.

            The next day, I was on the phone with a friend in Boston, and Zach was feeling chatty, so he took a turn on the phone.  “There’s a sister in my mommy’s belly,” he announced.  Now, I have long suspected this one is a girl, but I do not yet have any medical evidence to support my conclusion, and it is five more weeks before the ultrasound where the baby gets a chance to flash us all.

            “It could be a boy,” I told him.

            “No,” he told my friend.  “We already have two brothers and one daddy and one grandpa.  We don’t have a lot of ladies around here.”

            And so it has been.  Everyone he cares to discuss my delicate condition with is informed that he is getting a sister because we already have enough brothers.  Stay tuned for May 20 to see whether we will need to have yet another difficult conversation with him.