You’d think my uterus would have had enough practice by now

I just wonder if Dr. John Braxton Hicks actually lobbied to have those uncomfortable pre-labor contractions named after him or if the dubious honor was thrust upon him.

Either way, I wonder if he realized, way back in 1872, that his name, a hundred and fifty years later, would be hissed out as a near curse by women nearing term. What a legacy.

Reese’s Induction

Hmmm…thought I’d heard of and tried every trick in the book, but I guess I missed the chapter on Induction by Peanut Butter Cups.

Although I ache, I’m not yet desperate. Nor am I ready for the baby. I’ve got too many things to do first (like wash baby clothes, get the bassinet out of the basement, rearrange all the car seats in the van). And things like that just don’t work if a baby is really unripe.

However, that weekend before the baby is due is looking like a really bad time to have a baby. It’s a big scouting weekend with lots of daytime activities plus camp outs both Friday and Saturday nights. Bill and the boys will be local, but I’d hate to have to drag them out of sleeping bags in the middle of the night to come home. And I really don’t want Bill to miss another birth needlessly.

I met a woman last weekend with an infant. She was induced, but didn’t want her husband sitting around the hospital room and staring at her. So, instead, she sent him off to school, and he called every hour between classes to see how she was doing. Once she dilated to 3 cm, she took off and got to 10 cm in 20 minutes. He called toward the end of this, and she told him not to hurry because he was going to miss it anyway.

This is so wrong.

First of all, if I have to spend a whole day in a hospital room bored out of my skull waiting for a baby to come, a baby he helped create, the least my husband can do is keep me company making the time pass a bit faster.

Secondly, unless there is a really good reason, like being deployed 3000 miles away, my husband should be able to be present at his child’s birth. This is his kid too. And I’m his wife. What if something went wrong? Who would be my advocate? Who would be my comfort? And if all goes well, should he not be an active participant in the joy of that birth?

Lastly, I actually like my husband and enjoy spending time with him. Katie was induced. We spent the day in the hospital together. Since she wasn’t born until early evening, it was probably one of the longest stretches of non-sleeping, non-interrupted-by-kids time we had had together in the three years since we had become parents. In fact, I doubt we’ve had that kind of time together since.

I don’t want the boys to miss their scouting activities, but I’d rather that than have Bill miss the baby’s birth. So maybe that week before, I’ll have to chow down on some peanut butter cups. It certainly wouldn’t hurt!

The final stretch

A few weeks ago, I decided to change my screensaver to a photo slideshow. A few days ago, I finally made a folder in which to put the selected shots. This morning, I actually went through my dated folders and copied the pictures I liked into the slideshow folder.

Yes, that’s how long it takes for me to do things around here.

As I flipped through photos, I saw some of me taken last summer through this past winter. At the time, I didn’t think I was skinny. But compared to the person looking back from the mirror today, I can see why people would think I was crazy for wanting to lose another ten pounds.

I’m due in 25 days. Not that I’m counting or anything! It’s the final stretch: my skin is stretched, my clothes are stretched, my patience is stretched. I’m tired of being big. I’m tired of aching.

Other photos I saw included me in the hospital right after Jenny was born and other pictures taken in those first few weeks at home with her. I still looked enormous, and that depresses me. I guess I’ll be happy that we don’t have those HUGE mirrors in the bathrooms like we did in our last house. I’ll be spared a constant reminder of how far I have to go.


I’ve done this before, I can do this again.

Back Labor No More

Denise at Ordinary Grace is currently my Favorite Person in the Whole World. She loaned me her copy of the book, Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King.

In an email to me she writes, “I figured the math/engineering side of you would get a kick out of testing her hypothesis.” I am so transparent. The first thing I read was the back cover which had this to say About the Author:

“As a math major…Janie McCoy King developed a thorough understanding of vectors and their application to natural occurrences. Little did she guess that childbirth would lead to her most significant application of this knowledge. {snip} In 1985, faced with her fourth delivery, and painfully aware that back labor was no minor inconvenience, she analyzed her three prior birth experiences and began to see vectors at work in labor and delivery. When she applied this insight to her fourth delivery, the results were remarkably effective. The pain was abolished, and her son, Thomas, was born within twenty minutes.”

My husband will attest to the level of excitement that paragraph generated in me. I think I said something along the lines of “Math majors rule!” The book came just as we were leaving for the Renaissance festival, and I read it while Bill filled the car with gas. I read it while he drove down winding country roads until I thought I would puke. I read it in the parking lot of Petsmart while my two youngest children slept, and Bill bought a dog toy in the hope of distracting Greta from hunting the moles who live under our yard. By the time he returned to the car, I had learned the technique she describes to change the direction of the vector of labor pains directed at the back instead of at the pelvis.

I especially LOVE the cautionary words which warn a woman to not try the technique in any place other than where she intends to give birth…like in a car on the highway in a traffic jam.

Yes, I really look forward to testing her hypothesis.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Birth plan

Later this week, I have another appointment with my midwife. The due date is a mere six weeks away. I forgot to mention in my list of to-dos this month: unpack the baby stuff. That would probably be helpful, huh? Do I wash it all in Dreft, too? One mom told me she just uses the second rinse cycle instead of bothering with Dreft. I’ve used Dreft with all the baby’s things until it’s used up and then switched to the double rinse. Such big decisions…so much extra work…

My midwife, Suzanne (I may as well name her, since she’ll be a big part of my life in the next six weeks), is interested in my birth plan. I’ve never really had a provider care about my birth plan. If we wanted to set a mood, that was up to us. All other ideas, like pain medication or breaking my water, were on the spot decisions …or orders (“I’m going to break your water now…whether you like it or not…”).

Since I haven’t yet settled in my mind the home birth or hospital birth question (I have six weeks, right?), I’ve come up with two plans. They are pretty similar.

Hospital birth plan: I wake up well rested on a Saturday morning (has to be a Saturday). I feel some regular, dull achiness about my midsection, but I’m able to rotate the laundry, eat a nice breakfast, feed my children, and take a shower. At a reasonable hour, say, 8 am, I use the toilet and my water breaks, conveniently, at that time (who wants to be mopping while in labor, right?). This gives me a clear indication that the baby will be coming soon. I call the midwife who says she’ll be right over. I call a few neighbors who gladly take the children. I begin to notice stronger contractions, but they are not too uncomfortable, and they are definitely not in my back. Suzanne shows up, checks me, and lo and behold, I am fully effaced and at 5 cm! We head to the hospital (it takes us about 40 minutes), and my contractions continue to be manageable, but I notice they seem to be only 3 or 4 minutes apart. Once at the hospital, they seem a bit stronger, but I’m still walking around and smiling. Imagine my surprise when Suzanne checks me again, and I’m at 8! The next half hour is a blur, and those contractions become pretty uncomfortable, but then I feel the need to push, and out comes a beautiful new life. Bill is home in time to put Petey down for his 1 pm nap.

Home birth plan: After several hours of good solid sleep, I wake up around 1 am. While going to the bathroom, my water breaks, and I decide I better call the midwife right away. As I’m doing this, I notice some strong, but not too bad, contractions happening every few minutes. Suzanne says she’ll be right over. I decide to wake Bill, and pull the comforter off the bed (and fold it neatly off to the side). When Suzanne shows up, she checks me and, holy cow, I’m at 7 or 8 cm! The next half hour is a blur, and those contractions become pretty uncomfortable, but then I feel the need to push, and out comes a beautiful new life. It’s about 2 am. I didn’t scream, and my moans do not wake any children. The dog remains calm despite the middle of the night interruption. By 3 am, the house is clean, I’ve showered, the paperwork is done, Suzanne leaves, and Bill and I and the new baby settle down to sleep.

Alright, so I’m an optimist.

As you might imagine, I’ve never had a birth story like one of those. I generally have a good day or two warning that labor is coming: I’ve had prodromal labor each and every time. I’ve had back labor each and every time. With my two non-epidurals, I screamed, quite loudly.

And may I just say right here that there is perhaps nothing more irritating than having someone criticize your screaming while you are in active labor? The very idea that there is a wrong way to scream makes my blood boil.

But I can dream, right? I can imagine and plan for a calm, perfect birth. I can pray to St. Gerard that I don’t have back labor, and that I learn just how manageable contractions can be when one can actually relax between them. I can hope that I’m not totally exhausted from days of prodromal labor that I have no strength left for the real thing. And I can expect that I won’t have to bother neighbors in the middle of the night to be with my kids, and that schedules and routines won’t be thrown off track from Day 1?

I suppose I’ll just have to make sure that I know where the matches are for that “Clean Linen” scented candle and make sure that my favorite classical music CDs are all in one spot. I guess I’ll put together my list of neighbors who are willing to come over in the middle of the night, or who can handle my brood while still getting their own off to school. And I’ll have Bill practice his back compression techniques, just in case.

“Ask, and you shall receive,” says the Lord. Okaaaay…I’m trying to be really specific to avoid any confusion. But Lord, I will accept any alterations to that plan that you deem necessary. If I wake up at 2 am, instead of 1 am, that’s fine by me.

Simple addition

One toddler, confined to crib for nap time and fully capable of clothing removal…

Plus one stinky diaper (a post confinement occurrence)…

Equals one mess you have to experience to understand the depth of its yuckiness.


Minus one nap for freshly bathed toddler…

Equals no nap for pregnant and exhausted mommy.


Plus daily temperature exceeding 100 degrees…

Equals afternoon TV for the kids.


Plus a dose of Tylenol for an emerging headache…

Hopefully equals a cheerier attitude, hopefully soon.

How could I have forgotten that?

In the pre-dawn hours as I lie in bed still mostly asleep but starting to float to consciousness, I often remember important things that I have forgotten to take care of and require attention. This morning, it was:

Baby mill…I haven’t seen the baby mill…I’ve unpacked everything, but haven’t seen the baby mill…I’ve got to find it…

Because a newborn (due in two months) doesn’t need a bassinet or itty bitty diapers or receiving blankets or onsies or pajamas…all still in several boxes in the basement marked “baby stuff”…nearly as much as a food mill I might use sometime after the baby turns six months old.

I’ll get right on that…

That Blue Shirt

You know, the one that got my household goods delivered the next day. Now that I can get to the internet from my PC (where I have the capability to download photos), I had my husband take my picture wearing that blue shirt.

It’s nearing the end of it’s usefulness – one of those “buy your pre-pregnancy size” shirts that works fine for the middle trimester, but now that I’m approaching 28 weeks, is beginning to get full in the belly…and in the chest. In fact, I think it looked cuter 2 weeks ago when I dealt with the transportation people. But here I am in all my sensual hippopotomic glory.