Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The where

Above: 33 weeks pregnant!

If you're not interested in reading about the cool place where our daughter will be born, feel free to stop reading now. No hard feelings!

After hearing a million horror stories about women's negative experiences with hospital births, and after reading lots scary pregnancy-book chapters about how every freaking detail every goddamn step of the way will involve fighting to have our wishes respected, Ben and I toured the birthing center where we'll be welcoming our daughter into the world. It was such a relief to see for ourselves how progressive and welcoming the place is! It's a birthing center within a hospital, which is becoming more common these days. I feel good about being in a hospital in case anything goes wrong, and about giving birth in a birthing center that gives us the opportunity to customize our experience.

They don't ask you to wear a hospital gown! You're allowed to eat and drink during labor! The place is full of yoga balls, bars, whirlpools, rocking chairs, and anything else a pregnant lady might need. I'll be encouraged and expected to get up out of the bed as I wish. Rooming in is 100% standard. Would I like to listen to a CD or watch a DVD? Enjoy some aromatherapy? No problem.

I don't think I'm a crazed, demanding pregnant lady (although you should check in with me again around the due date), and I don't think Ben and I have any unusual or extreme instructions* for the birthing team. Whenever I'm asked what kind of birth I'm planning, I say something along the lines of, "My plan is to just see how it goes." I mean, I've never done this before, so how can I possibly know, for example, how I will react to the pain, or what position I'll want to be in? Flexibility seems to be the best policy. I'd love to have a drug-free labor, but making that decision beforehand seems a little weird. How can I know what I'll want before I know what labor is like?

All of that being said, there are a couple things I know I want, or don't want -- I want to be able to move around, for example, and I don't want our baby taken away and vigorously scrubbed before Ben and I have had a chance to meet her! So seeing the birthing center and finding that I don't have to worry about these kinds of things has given me (conflict-averse me) considerable peace of mind.

* Although I suppose no one, even the most crazed and demanding pregnant ladies, think that their unusual and extreme demands are either unusual or extreme.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update and pupdate

I won't bore you with the particulars of how we're still getting the new house in order. The details of carpet-cleaning, linoleum-scrubbing, shelf-hanging, repair-doing and yard-taming are not funny or fun. Instead, I'll simply note what has been observed by new home owners since time immemorial: that there's a ridiculous and overwhelming amount of stuff to do, and most of it is expensive, and we'll never finish it. At least, not by the time our baby arrives. C'est la vie!

Our new town is really a wonderful place, and every day I'm happy that our house, and all of the chores and repairs and upkeep that come with it, is located here. We can walk almost everywhere, there are a billion trees in our neighborhood, people know one another, and it's just... pleasant. And for now, the weather is gorgeous -- cool and crisp and sunny. The Minnesota winters are long, so we cherish these comfortable autumns and springs.

I'm 33 weeks pregnant now and the baby moves and wiggles a lot. Apparently needing a change of scenery, she has already relocated to the all-important head-down position, and it's awfully weird to be able to feel (with our hands on my belly) what we believe to be certain body parts (head, spine, feet) stretching my abdomen. For the last several weeks, my belly has been moving of what seems like its own accord, and resting a glass of chocolate soy milk on my belly has proven potentially messy. In other news, I bought a kick-ass stroller this weekend from a Craigslister in our new town, and I like it even better than the one Ben and I were looking at in the store! And it was such a bargain! Also, this week I begin the once-a-week doctor's office visits already. As a band I loved in high school wondered in a song, "Where does time go? I don't know."

Ben and I had an action-packed evening yesterday when I managed to give myself chemical burns on both hands by chopping and seeding a jalapeño. Despite having chopped many, many jalapeños in my life with no adverse effects, this time was baaad! It burned with increasing intensity for hours until, as we read the desperate online comments of others who have burned themselves by trifling with jalapeños, Ben decided to whip up a healing concoction that gave me enough relief that I could fall asleep -- quite a pathetic scene here last evening. (If you're curious, Dr. Ben's Special Fancy Cure-All Solution involved an entire box of baking soda whipped into a wonderful, messy paste.) I slept with my paws coated in the stuff (you should have seen the sheets and blankets when I woke up the next morning -- they are in the washing machine at this very moment). I have to admit, it was all pretty funny despite the pain and the pathos. Today, my hands are sore and feeling sunburned, which is about a hundred times better than the intolerable burning of evening last. I've learned my lesson -- never chop jalapeños without wearing gloves.

Pupdate: the dog and I are getting along a little better these days. Ben wondered if she might be misbehaving more because a) I'm pregnant, b) we're in a new house, and c) she senses that I'm irritated with her very presence. I can't do anything about a) and b), but I can try being a little less disgruntled whenever she walks into a room. So that's what I've been doing, and it has actually helped a little. Although I'm not willing to
spend all day, every day reassuring the dog that she is Special and Loved, I am happy to treat the dog with less exasperation, and to act less aggreved, if it means that we're both a little less nettled each day. I'm putting effort into walking her more (which is good exercise for both of us), as well as not recoiling in disgust when her drooly mouth approaches me. She's whining far less and there haven't been any Urine Transgressions since I started this new course, so that, at least, is good.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


My wonderful parents-in-law visited over Labor Day weekend and spent the entire time doing home improvement projects on our new house. (Are we great hosts OR WHAT!) One of those projects involved painting the nursery this peachy-cantaloupey color (chosen by me, so be nice). It's very pretty in real life, I promise.

When they weren't mowing the lawn or desperately trying to make the nursery walls ABSOLUTELY PERFECT so that their moody, pregnant daughter-in-law would not freak out, Ben's parents checked out our new town (which they had visited many times before we moved here, actually), did some birdwatching, and enjoyed Chinese food with us. It was a nice visit. Oh, and there were chairs: we now have Ben's BEAUTIFUL wooden high chair (our girl will be the third generation to fling mashed-up banana from it!), and Ben's folks bought us a ridiculously comfortable (and pretty) white Shermag rocker/glider for the nursery. So nice!

We still aren't fully unpacked, because we haven't established our storage and shelving solutions for the studio (and for our ungodly number of books) yet. So almost all of my studio stuff, and absolutely all of our books, are still in boxes. And, you know, looking at those boxes inspires pain, but not as much pain as actually putting up shelves.