Category Archives: sometimes life interferes

win a night with a baby warthog!

let’s talk anatomical development! ramona’s mucus membranes are starting to mature, which means she is producing mucus. lovely, huh? but that also means that she has all this snot & she doesn’t know what the fuck to do with it. it was kind of cute at first, because it just made her snore these adorable baby snores. but then she had a not-so-cute snot explosion all over her face & started making these intense snorting noises when she was both asleep & awake. they are the kind of noises that would embarrass the shit out of you if they were coming from your great-uncle murray at your cousin’s wedding or whatever. but they are coming from a tiny baby who doesn’t have any comprehension of her actions.

honestly, the warthog impression doesn’t bother me too much. i know she’s not doing it because she’s unhappy or even necessarily uncomfortable. it’s just a phase, until she learns how to clear her throat effectively. she’s not asphyxiating or anything. we’ve been giving her nose drops & suctioning out her nose on the regular (enough that she doesn’t even mind it anymore). but i guess the snorting really bothers jared.

it bothered him so much last night that i decided i would just sleep on the couch with ramona next to me in her bouncy chair on the floor & let jared have the bedroom for the night. we’ve been sharing the nighttime baby load pretty evenly. we go to bed no later than 10pm, & trade off getting up with her throughout the night. she usually wakes up three times between 10pm & 7am. i get up with her at 7am & jared usually sleeps for another hour or two. (i kind of lose my mind if sleep in too long, especially if i’m going to bed so early, regardless of how much ramona keeps me up in the middle of the night. i found her feedings really onerous when she first got home, but now we have a rhythm. she sucks down her bottle & then i read while i pat her back until she burps & falls back to sleep. it’s not a bad way to spend an hour at 3am.)

however, ramona seems to be going through a growth spurt because she wanted more bottles than usual. jared gave her one at 11pm, & then i took over. she wanted a bottle at 12:30am, 1:30am, 2:30am, 5am, & finally again at 8am. i got up with that last one (an hour later than usual, which already had me all stressed out) & put coffee on. jared got up shortly thereafter & immediately launched into a litany of complaints about how hard it is to sleep when she’s snorting & how stressful it is to feel responsible for stopping the snorting. i wanted to say, “are you fucking serious? you just slept for eight hours straight. i haven’t slept for eight hours straight since NOVEMBER, & let’s be serious, more like MARCH if you factor in all the pregnant lady nighttime peeing. do NOT talk to me about how hard it is to sleep when i got up with this little beast FOUR TIMES last night. ALONE.” instead i just sipped my coffee & asked if he had any suggestions for how to address the problem.

i went into the kitchen an hour later to top off my coffee & try to tackle the rest of the day…& the coffee was gone! jared drank it all. even though i shouldn’t have been surprised–we bought a new espresso maker right before ramona was born specifically so we could share coffee in the morning without having to make multiple batches–i’d gotten into the habit of finishing all the coffee on my own in the morning because i was usually up for several hours before jared. & i am usually better rested in general because he was helping take care of her in the night. instead, i’d done all the night care solo & only got half the coffee. & we were out of espresso so i couldn’t even make more until one of us went to the coffeeshop for a fresh bag. i started crying. i told jared i felt resentful of him for not helping with the baby the night before & then finishing the coffee, even though i had volunteered to take care of her alone & hadn’t asked him to leave the coffee for me.

i decided it would clear my head to go for a walk & get more coffee, so off i went. when i got home, jared was lugging a hamper of damp laundry up from the basement, telling me the dryer had conked out halfway through its job. this is never good news, but especially when you are cloth diapering a baby that goes through like twelve diapers a day. he started stringing up a clothesline in the living room, like we’re living in some kind of lower east side tenement circa 1910, but i called the landlady, who immediately came over & fixed it.

& then i called the tiny k people. i guess they do assessments of premature babies & help their parents figure out how to best stimulate & interact with them to optimize their development throughout early childhood. it’s a free county service & ramona was seven weeks premature, so…why not? i have been reading a lot of books lately about premature babies & NICU experiences. they are written by people whose babies are much more premature than ramona. she was born at 33 weeks; most of these authors had their babies at 24 weeks, 25 weeks, 26 weeks. in the world of premature infants, a single week can make a monumental difference. but it’s still sobering to realize just how early ramona was, & how many bullets we managed to miraculously dodge (knock on wood–with preemies, sometimes developmental delays or behavior/health issues don’t show up until the child is older). it makes all those early congratulations we received on our “healthy baby” all the more incongruous to me, even though i was in denial at the time & was just like, “thanks!” i talked to jared about it & he admitted he had been very concerned about ramona’s health, in a way i never was, probably because i never saw her on the ventilator (i was too sick to visit when she was on it) & was on too many drugs to really take it all in when she was having other major interventions. by the time i was off the percocet & actually able to pay attention to ramona’s health with any degree of real comprehension, she was on room air, her central line was out, she was over her jaundice…she seemed perfect to me. just small.

bumpwatch terror alert: week 31

i’m still a little behind, but this is the most recent pregnancy photo, from last weekend:

definitely looking a little bit puffy.

yesterday was thanksgiving. i had to go to the hospital & get some labwork done. specifically, i had to drop off a great big jug of pee (the look on jared’s face when i explained that it had to be refrigerated to inhibit the growth of bacteria was truly priceless) & relinquish a few vials of blood. because it was a holiday, the elderly docents that usually rule the registration desk with an iron fist were gone. off terrorizing their great-great-grandchildren, i assume. i had to go to the ER to register, which was unsettling. & then the lab tech misread my orders & thought i needed to pick up a fresh jug for the 24-hour urine catch. i was like, “oh no, i already did that. it’s in my bag,” & he was like, “awesome! hand it over!” it’s really awkward handing someone a jug of pee. i felt like i should say something, so i said, “um…happy thanksgiving!” luckily, it got a big laugh.

jared & i did a fairly traditional thanksgiving dinner, despite at least a week of non-stop haranguing on facebook from all our well-meaning hippie friends who want to convert the world to vegetarianism & raise awareness about the genocide of first nations people. i was the same way when i was 21. so was jared. i don’t know what happened. i just find all that shit really tedious now. i mean, be a vegetarian, that’s cool. i have no problem with that. i even have some great vegetarian-friendly recipes i can make when i invite you over for dinner. it’s also a very good thing to set the historical record straight when it comes to indigenous people in north america, & the fact that they are still around & still being oppressed. but there’s something about the social networking aspect of all of this that makes it kind of insufferable. add in a bunch of people flipping out over how fucked up & consumerist black friday is & exhorting everyone to celebrate buy nothing day & it’s just a perfect storm of sanctimony. no one is saying anything i disagree with, but they’re also not saying anything that is blowing my mind so it all comes across as a distinctly smug strain of white noise.

then again, i read something recently about the way hormones affect a pregnant lady’s brain, making her want to just hunker down in a safe place with her baby bump & be loved & focused on her growing family more & more as pregnancy progresses. rationally, that strikes me as a bunch of essentialist wombmoon bullshit, but i can’t deny that i have become more & more averse to political arguments & drama as my pregnancy has progressed. compared to growing an entire person from scratch, arguing about buy nothing day–AGAIN, because people have been getting up on their self-righteous buy nothing horses for well over a decade now–seems utterly ridiculous.

jared & i were talking about buy nothing day last night after dinner & he said, “buy nothing day. the holiday created by ‘adbusters’. a magazine whose livelihood basically depends on impulse purchases at whole foods. kind of ironic.” the man makes a good point.

anyway, for dinner, jared brined our turkey & it was fantastic. moist & just a hint of saltiness. he also made cornbread stuffing, which was superb, sour cream mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with apples, & gravy. i contributed green bean casserole, made from scratch. i might be from ohio, but this is not a household that uses cream of anything soup as an ingredient. we also made a pumpkin pie (from scratch–we used the baby’s food mill to puree the pumpkin), an apple pie, & a chocolate pecan pie. i reduced the quantity of syrup & sugar in the pecan pie & added extra pecans & chocolate. it was a lot better that way. denser & not as sugary sweet. jared just used molasses to sweeten the pumpkin pie so it had a rich pumpkin flavor. the apple pie was something of a disaster. jared was too tired after cooking everything else to make a proper lattice so a lot of moisture escaped during the baking process. he deemed it his worst pie ever. i’m not wild about apple pie to start with, so i wasn’t too disappointed.

we ate & ate & ate some more & then we laid on the couch to digest for a while. i asked jared what he was thankful for & he said, “i’m thankful for our new family, & the generosity people have shown us in the baby showering process. & i’m thankful for the internet. …actually, in retrospect, i’m not so thankful for the internet.” i said i was thankful for him & the baby & charlotte, especially the fact that charlotte is much nicer now that she’s getting kind of old. & i’m thankful that i only have like seven weeks left in this pregnancy.

i told jared i read this goofy story involving a 15-month-old in “parenting” magazine while i was at the hospital lab waiting for my blood draw, & he said, “fifteen months? that’s barely even two years old.” i said, “it’s barely even one year old.” he said, “no, you’re one as soon as you’re born.” i was like, “what?” & he was like, “yeah, it’s like the millennium, how there’s no year zero so the first year is one…oh wait. never mind. okay, you’re zero when you’re born.” i laughed & laughed & he got kind of upset about it. my doula told me that her husband had been thankful when their first baby was born that the baby didn’t have “sticky skin”. apparently he thought that some babies were inherently sticky & he was worried about getting a sticky one & having to pick cat hair off of it all the time. i think this was jared’s “sticky skin” moment. i don’t know where dudes come up with this stuff.

he also thought i was chuckling at how slow-moving he was when we were getting ready for bed & he said, “it’s hard to get ready for bed when you can’t bend at the waist because you have an entire thanksgiving dinner in there.” i flipped up my shirt to show the bump & was like, “dude, tell me about it!” he took this perfect three-second pause & then said, “you ate a baby?!?”

i don’t know how to insure my child

needless to say, i have been gobbling up the parenting books in the past few months. some are funny, some are helpful, some are just obnoxious. some make me realize how many little things i haven’t even stopped to consider when it comes to this whole parenthood lark. the book i am reading right now (the must-have mom handbook) has an entire chapter on how to educate & protect your kids from sexual predators. it’s all helpful info, & they do an excellent job of explaining that both boy & girl children can be preyed upon by sickos, & may respond differently, & differently-gendered warning signs to keep an eye out for, & even that the sexual abuse of boys by adult men has nothing to do with homosexuality. but…OMG! sexual predators! god, i hadn’t even thought about that!

i am officially five months pregnant now & while i was perusing some fetal development website for milestones, i noted that they recommended i start interviewing potential pediatricians. because, duh, newborn babies are supposed to go see their pediatricians like five days after they are born. on some level, i knew that, but on another level…i thought maybe some god of pediatricians just assigns one to you & you don’t actually have to do any work. but not only do you have to seek out & select a pediatrician before you even meet your baby, you also have to find a way to pay said pediatrician, ie, health insurance.

this isn’t so difficult for normal people with normal health insurance to which they can add a dependent by making a phone call or filling out some basic paperwork. but i’m a medicare recipient thanks to being on disability. medicare obviously doesn’t allow me to add a beneficiary to my plan. jared gets health insurance through the university, because he is employed by them, but for some reason, we assumed he couldn’t add a dependent either. in retrospect, this was kind of a dumb assumption. he has the same health insurance as all the professors & everything, & obviously they have insurance for heir spouses & children. so we were pleased to discover that he could add the baby to his plan. we were less pleased when we discovered that it would only cost $400+ a month! what a bargain, amirite? why, that’s only 20% of our total monthly income!

but, you know, surely there are subsidies that we would qualify for that would bring the costs down a little. jared went up to the university to ask around about this, & that’s when he discovered that his paperwork for this school year had been misfiled & he was classified as a student rather than an employee. not only does that eliminate the option to add a dependent to the plan, even if you are somehow able to afford the cost, but it also means that his own premium skyrockets like ten times in price (& trust me, the employee rate isn’t chump change). it’s fixable–it’s obviously just an HR mistake & they can re-file him properly. but we need to wait for them to take care of that, & then ask about subsidies, & then see if we qualify, blah blah blah. meanwhile, my due date is about 18 weeks away, & jared intends to spend eight of those weeks out of town doing dissertation research. & because this is all HIS insurance, there is nothing i can do while he’s gone to speed the process along. school will also be out of session for winter break for five of the weeks when he is here, & he won’t be able to pursue insurance questions then either because the university will be closed. so that leaves us five weeks until my due date during which we can get to the bottom of his mess. & perhaps i didn’t mention that three of those weeks will be spent with jared preparing for his master’s exams. & one will be spent on a “babymoon” together in boston. so…one week.

oh my god.

so i looked into healthwave, which is kansas’s medcaid program. income-wise, we qualify. on their website, they say they don’t count “social security or SSI income” toward the eligibility requirements. because my disability is the lion’s share of our income…does that mean they won’t count it? in which case we would qualify for the free insurance? or does it count as SSDI because it’s for disability, & therefore they will count it & we will only qualify for the subsidized insurance? it matters because apparently you can’t apply for healthwave on behalf of a newborn until said newborn is born. & obviously there’s a bit of a waiting period while your application is processed & considered. with the free insurance, you have three months of retroactive coverage once it kicks in, which means baby’s first visits to the pediatrician would be retroactively covered. but the subsidized insurance only takes effect upon approval, meaning any medical care the baby requires before the application is approved would be our financial responsibility. & considered that a simple blood draw at our local hospital costs $250 without insurance, this could swiftly break the bank.

naturally i called the helpful healthwave customer service line to inquire. first i asked if they would require proof of name change paperwork for me, since there’s a section on the application for “other names used”. the guy said, “if your name was changed on your birth certificate, then no.” huh? what does that mean? i legally changed my name & no longer use my former name, but i never got a new birth certificate with my new name on it. i have a new social security card & a new state ID, etc etc, but no one even told me it was possible to change your birth certificate, let alone that i should. i asked what proof of identity they would need & he said, “copies of your social security card, birth certificate, & state ID.” but…it’s illegal to photocopy to a state ID. i mean, people do it anyway, but it seems a little crazy for them to request an illegal photocopy to process an application for state-funded health care, right? i asked about the disability thing & he said, “we consider social security to be unearned income.” okay…what does that mean? it counts toward your income eligibility or not? he repeated, “we consider that income unearned.” o…kay…but could you answer the question? i’m also confused because most of my social security income is collected on my dad’s record, & that could be considered a social security pension, because it’s the money he would have collected had he lived to retirement age. i am supposed to classify the income myself on the application (SSI, social security annuity, social security disability), & i honestly don’t even know how to categorize it, let alone how each categorization would affect my eligibility. nor do i know how to find out.

so right now i am kind of hoping that we can just find some subsidies that will make it affordable to add the baby to jared’s insurance, because healthwave seems crazy complicated & confusing. but, as with all obnoxious things that have transpired during this pregnancy, i know it is but a taster of the crazy bureaucratic hoops i will have to jump through constantly on behalf of my child. argh!

bumpwatch terror alert: week 19

remember when i had boobs that weren’t just part of an undifferentiated mass of torso? that was pretty cool.

front view:

when i showed jared this photo, he said, “look at that thing! i’m really starting to think that there will be two of you at the end of this whole mess.”

i’m almost to the halfway point! only a week to go! word on the street is that i now look “unmistakably pregnant”. that’s a quote from my therapist. it was cool to hear, but it was also kind of like, “oh, i really did maybe just look questionably fat before.” not that there’s anything wrong with that. it’s just kind of like when you haven’t seen someone in a while & you’ve lost 75 pounds in that time & when they see you, they are like, “wow, you look AMAZING!” thanks, but i guess i didn’t look amazing before? because i was a fatty fatty two by four, right? not that that’s ever happened to me. i’m more the type to GAIN 75 pounds & then see someone again. & they’re like, “oh, wow, i bet elastic waist pants are really comfortable.” okay, no one has ever said that to me. but they are comfortable, just for the record.

i had my first prenatal water aerobics class yesterday. here’s a little tidbit about pregnancy that i didn’t really know going in: it makes you really hot. temperature-wise. it’s because your body is producing way more progesterone than usual & progesterone makes you feel warm. i force jared to sleep with the air conditioning on every night because i am always way warmer than he is. so, there’s a bunch of ladies in various stages of pregnancy gathered together for this water aerobics class. the most pregnant woman is due in late october & the most newly-pregnant is due in early march. & i had forgotten because i’ve been going to the outdoor pool all summer, but they keep the indoor aquatic center really warm all the time, i guess for all the oldsters & small children that use the pools & have trouble regulating their body temperatures when they’re all wet. i asked which pool the class was happening in & was directed to a pool i’ve never been to before. i’ve taken two previous water aerobics classes. one was in the shallow end of the regular lap pool, & one was in the deep end of the olympic-sized pool. this time i was directed to the “three-lane warm water pool”. yeah, they had a bunch of over-heated pregnant ladies splashing around in artificially heated water! i guess it’ll be nice if i stick with the class until i’m due, but the combo of hot aquatic center/warm water/pregnant/august was a bit much.

i was chatting with one my classmates about pregnancy stuff & i said something about how much i love maternity jeans. mine are kind of annoying because i guess i have actually lost weight everywhere except for my bump in the last few months. they are a little too big & i have to hike them up a lot. i am probably going to buy a pair of maternity corduroys too, one size smaller. but it’s still such a stroke of genius to do away with the waistband & instead harness the power of a large belly to hold up one’s pants. anyway, this lady was like, “you know what’s even better? seriously, save your money & get yourself some full-panel black maternity yoga pants. you can wear them out, you can wear them to bed, no one will know the difference & they are so comfortable.”

i do in fact have a pair of soft maternity pajama pants that resemble yoga pants, & they are very comfortable. & i do wear them as much as humanly possible. but i have not yet gone so far as to, like, wear them to the bank. i’m willing to accept that my boundaries around wearing pajamas pants beyond the confines of my porch might change as i become even more pregnant, but this was a lightning bolt moment for me. i’ve never met ANYONE who was more into finding a way around wearing real clothes than i am. jared had to sit me down last year & give me a little talk that went like this: “to me, you’re always beautiful. but maybe if you dressed less like a hobo…?” i actually made it an item on my daily to-do list to get dressed every day. sometimes it didn’t happen until 8pm, but as long as there was a bra & maybe some pants with buttons donned at SOME point during the day, i felt like i was making the effort to blend in with humanity.

i hit another baby consignment sale this weekend & picked up a clip-on high chair for only $15! usually those bad boys are like $50. it’s in great shape & fits perfectly on our table. i knew i wanted a clip-on high chair, even though the baby obviously will not be needing it for quite a while, because our house is small & we don’t have anywhere to stash a whole massive regular high chair, even if it folds up. this guy folds down small enough that it can just go in the closet with all the other baby stuff.

& the diaper covers i ordered from rockabye booty arrived as well.

OMG 2 cute 2 B 4gotten

we have been planning to use diaper covers & prefolds when the baby is really little because it can be hard to find a pocket diaper that will fit a newborn. & young babies aren’t mobile yet so you don’t need to worry so much about their diapers being really trim. but i am starting to have a change of heart now these covers are actually in my possession. maybe i’ll use prefolds until potty training just to keep these babies in the rotation. our baby will have the cutest diapers in the county!

i wouldn’t force this pregnancy stuff on my worst enemy

despite all my clever jokes, the pregnancy is definitely taking a turn for the uncomfortable & potentially worrisome. on sunday, i hit the pool hardcore while jared stayed home & did research. i usually try to do sixty laps at the pool, but my last session had been truncated by lightning, so i decided to try to make it up by doing one hundred laps. the other people at the pool kept me entertained as i water-trudged back & forth, back & forth. i saw another pregnant lady at the pool with her partner. she looked more pregnant than me. i kind of wanted to jump out of the water & say, “i’m pregnant too! want to come over for dinner sometime?” that is always my reaction when i see other pregnant ladies. i start daydreaming about how our babies will become best friends & we’ll watch each other’s kids so we can have date nights with our partners & we’ll hit the baby consignment sales together, etc etc. but i’m too scared to say anything because i still worry that i just look fat, not pregnant, or that they are pregnant with their seventh baby & are already all stocked up on mom friends, or that they’ll just have really different parenting philosophies & we’ll hate each other or something.

there was also a dad at the pool with two little girls. one was maybe six years old & the other was a baby, probably under a year. the baby was in a little baby innertube with holes for the legs so she could sit in there & be safe. he put the little girls in the lane next to me & did a few laps while they watched. the baby gnawed on her innertube & the older girl patted the baby’s head with water. i guess they were getting bored though, so he let the older girl ride piggyback while he pushed the innertube back & forth across the pool. so cute. i hope jared does stuff like that with our kid.

anyway, while i was walking home, i noticed that i felt weird. there was a strange, painful pressure around my pubic bone. i have heard of this weird condition that afflicts some women in later pregnancy, where their pubic bone actually separates because of the relaxin. apparently it’s incredibly painful. i started worrying that maybe this was the start of something awful. i asked about it in my due date club on the internet. one woman said it had happened to her during her last pregnancy & she was confined to a wheelchair until after the birth. another woman said that her first symptom of something being amiss was when her hip suddenly dislocated & she fell down on the ground screaming in agony. & these are women who chose to get pregnant again! holy shit! having a kid must be AWESOME to make someone risk their bodies like that more than once.

the pain i had was nowhere near that bad, but of course i woke up in the middle of the night worrying about it anyway. i called my doctor’s office & the nurse said that usually the dislocation thing is WAY more painful than what i was describing & it was more likely that the baby was just wedged up against my pubic bone in an uncomfortable way. she recommended stretches & liberal dosing with extra-strength tylenol (i have not told my doctor’s office that they really need to stop giving me the okay to take pills–the reason i’ve never experimented with hard drugs or heavy drinking is because i know i’m an addict at heart, as manifested by my grand love affair with over-the-counter sleeping pills). the baby moved the next day & now my pubic bone feels fine. though my ego is a bit wounded by the fact that jared’s response to this whole area of concern was, “haha. you said ‘pubic’.” that guy is going to paragon of maturity in the delivery room.

& then yesterday, jared & i decided to check out the new grocery store in east lawrence. it’s not technically new–just refurbished. it’s the closest grocery store to our house & used to be known as the “dirty dillon’s”. they tore it down last summer & completely made it over. this is why jared & i got a car, actually. this grocery store was close enough to walk to, but the other stores require a car, & we had to use the other stores while the dirty dillon’s was being transformed into what the local newspaper is calling the “dapper dillon’s”. it had its grand opening on sunday & it IS pretty dapper. there are now bulk bins, a “cafe,” a starbucks, an expanded bakery section, skylights, new carts that don’t have sticky wheels, way more express & self-check lanes…the produce is all displayed in a really arty way. we needed garlic, but it is now located in a faux roman pedestal bowl on top of a large display of various onions & endives. i almost couldn’t reach it with my big pregnancy belly getting in the way.

about halfway through our shopping trip, i started feeling crampy, clammy, & shaky. it got worse & worse & i noticed the crampy feelings were coming in waves. i actually had to stop & breathe through them. i haven’t felt anything like this all pregnancy. i bailed on jared when we got to the check-out & went & laid down in the car. sitting down immediately made me feel better, & by the time we got home, i was 100% back to normal. i assume this was braxton hicks contractions? it seemed too early, but i looked it up online & i guess it’s not uncommon for women to start feeling them this early. some women say they don’t hurt, some women say they do. i say THEY DO. it was probably nothing compared to labor, but the anxiety of experiencing a contraction at only 18 & a half weeks pregnant (baby won’t be viable until 24 weeks) definitely added to the pain.

of course the internet is of two minds. half the respondents in my due date club say, “same thing happened to me last pregnancy, don’t worry about it. just make sure to stay hydrated.” half say, “this happened to me last pregnancy, i ignored it, & then i went into preterm labor at 23 weeks & delivered at 26 weeks. call your doctor ASAP!” plus i’m still getting headaches, my feet are starting to swell (slightly) & i am scared of getting elephant feet, my hands feel swollen but don’t really look different (though i don’t wear jewelery, so it’s hard to judge), i’m congested all the time, i’m way too hot all the time…i’m just uncomfortable. already. & i still have 18 & a half weeks to get through before i am considered officially full-term (37 weeks). wish me luck, guys. on the plus side, i finished the top of my baby quilt:

it’s kind of messed up in places, but the baby will probably be messed up in places too. they’ll be a matched set!

i got 99 problems but the baby ain’t really one

when i had the nuchal translucency test done last week, the nurse told me they would have results in ten to fourteen days. but they called me back on tuesday morning–five days later, including a weekend–& told me that everything had come back 100% normal. my finger hadn’t even finished healing from the blood draw yet!

so now i’m officially in the second trimester & we know the baby is doing great. time to just sit back & let this thing cook, right? but this is ciara xyerra we’re talking about. i’m just not happy if i can’t be all angsty & anxious about something. so now i am anxious about when to go live with the baby registry we’ve put together. it’s all finished & ready to go…& really doesn’t have much on it, because we mostly intend to adopt attachment parenting practices, which requires very little gear. i just don’t know when it’s appropriate to put it out there into the world.

my confusion is complicated by the fact that most people make registries specifically for their baby showers. but it’s unclear to me whether or not i will have a baby shower. i assumed i wouldn’t, because jared & just aren’t that close to anyone in lawrence, & we know pretty much no one that is actually legitimately excited about this baby. (most of the people we know are childless graduate students who are dumbfounded that anyone would complicate the already-stressful process of graduate school by intentionally reproducing. one of jared’s colleagues took me aside at a barbecue & asked me, “so, how long before…you know. you can send it to, like, school for the whole day, & get your life back?” i explained that some preschools now accept infants, but i wasn’t intending to send my kid to school until kindergarten, at age five & a half. she seemed horrified.) the entire point of making an online registry was so that our friends & family members in other states–the people who ARE excited about the baby & most likely to want to help us out with gifts–would be able to do so from afar.

but then a friend in lawrence offered to throw us a shower after all. i still don’t have anyone to invite except for freaked out graduate students & grimy punks from kansas city, which will be an amusing mix of folks, but still. i didn’t think i’d get a “real” baby shower at all, so bring it on!

also complicating things is the fact that most women wait to make their registries public until after they get the second trimester anatomy scan, at which the baby’s sex can usually be predicted pretty accurately. that way they can register for gender-specific clothing, nursery decor, etc. but jared & i are planning to be surprised by the sex at birth. we’ll do the anatomy scan, because it checks for general birth defects & fetal health, but we intend to decline information about the baby’s sex.

adding to my anxiety is the fact that my sister gave birth to her daughter two months premature. my due date is still six months away, which seems like plenty of time to wait on the registry, wait on the shower, wait on doing any major shopping ourselves, & still have plenty of time to lay in all the necessary supplies well before the baby shows up. especially because, statistically, a lot of first-time babies come late. there’s no real reason why my baby would be premature just because my sister’s was–it’s not like it was some familial genetic complication. it was just the luck of the draw. but still. bad enough to have such a premature baby (my niece was in the NICU for her first month of life). to add to the stress by not even having an adequate supply of diapers on hand…i know this is my own neurosis, but i like to control for whatever factors i can reasonably control for. i don’t know if this baby will be early or late or right on time. i don’t know if it will be completely healthy or in need of emergency care. i don’t know how fast i will recover from giving birth or what my emotional state will be like during the first weeks of motherhood. but i can make sure i finish my baby shopping well in advance, damn it!

i did do some major shopping earlier this week…for myself. i dropped some major coin on maternity clothes. most frugal moms i talked to said maternity clothes were a scam & that i could totally get away with just wearing larger sizes of regular clothes while pregnant. my sister suggested that i stick with generously cut cotton dresses with some give in the belly area. one mom friend gave me all kinds of tips on how to make my own maternity jeans but cutting the waistband off some regular jeans & stitching on a stretchy elastic panel. i had been thinking about getting a maternity swimsuit, or at least a tankini, to replace my prepregnancy one-piece which is exploding off of me as i expand. my current suit has a little belt stitched to it, & a few weeks ago, the belt exploded off when confronted with my new girth. every morning, i feel a little bit more like a kielbasa while jared & i get ready to head to the pool. i started daydreaming about what it would be like to have clothes that really fit. t-shirts that were slightly too big for me two weeks ago no longer cover my belly. shorts that were baggy on me a month ago now have to be unbuttoned so i can lounge comfortably. i thought my pajama pants were holding up pretty well, but i noticed the other day that all of their waistbands now have tiny rips, which is how they are accommodating their larger load.

so i logged on to gap.com (not gonna lie, almost all my non-pregnancy clothes are from the gap–i like that their stuff is really plain & casual & easy to clean, & that they have about 9000 sales a week, so you NEVER have to buy anything at full-price…& i like that their larger sizes are actually large, which is not always the case at other stores; not very punk of me, i guess), navigated to the maternity sale section, & dropped $200 on a pretty extensive pregnancy wardrobe. jeans & skirts & dresses & tees & sweaters…i cannot WAIT to wear clothes that were actually cut for my weird new shape. jared was rubbing my belly the other day & he said, “man. you’re growing a whole new person in there. you big weirdo.” how sweet.

what we talk about when we talk about the bulk bins at the hippie grocery store

jared wanted to go to the hippie grocery store the other day to buy pumpkin seeds so he could make homemade granola. i know, right? i probably don’t need to explain that this is the same dude who won me over to cast-iron. i had been skeptical of anything that a) you can’t clean with soap, & b) is often used by people who live in collective houses & sew their own pants. so we went to the hippie grocery store & i guess jared figured that as long as we were there, he should stock up on pastry flour, lentils, i don’t even know what all he got. i was too busy wandering around in a stupor, saying things like, “bulk honey! what a great idea! wow, look at these cunning little glass jars with cork lids! can you imagine being the kind of morally superior person that would have a legitimate use for something like this? man, i wish i was the kind of person who cared enough about her health to actually eat stuff like steel cut oats drizzled with flax seed, blueberries, & goat’s milk yogurt!” i think some of the other shoppers thought i was making fun of them, but i was DEAD SERIOUS & totally having an aspirational hippie consumer experience.

before i got pregnant, it’s not like i was unaware that i don’t always make the healthiest or most responsible choices when it comes to what i eat or how i spend my leisure time or whatever. example: one of my friends was telling me recently about how her dad is kind of an intellectual practical joker. apparently he once convinced a child that he often sees that “down” means up & “up” means down, so the kid started asking to be “picked down”. he convinced another friend, recently emigrated from some country like turkey or something, that pizza is the ultimate american health food because it provides all the major food groups in a single recipe. the dude just started eating pizza for every meal, & as my friend (who is teeny tiny, i should add–i helped her pick out a graduation dress once & she had to request the dress off the mannequin because all the dresses on the floor were too big; this is not a problem i have EVER had) was explaining this part of the story to me, i was like, “yeah, of course, that’s pretty much how i live, pizza is the world’s most perfect food.” but i guess the conclusion to the story is that the pizza dude gained a bunch of weight & started developing high blood pressure & such forth from his purportedly “unhealthy” all-pizza all-the-time diet.

anyway, i had this idea that once i got pregnant, somehow a switch would be flipped & i would transform into a version of myself that does all the stuff that i imagine people better than myself do. like cook with cast-iron without being resentful that cast-iron has to be cleaned in a different way from all the other dishes. or eat steel-cut oats with flax seed, blueberries, & goat’s milk yogurt. or ride a bike to prenatal appointments (because the hospital isn’t really THAT far away…maybe like twenty blocks? maybe less). keep an introspective & insightful pregnancy journal. take weekly belly photos to enjoy the way my body changes. spend more time sitting on the back porch with a library book, soaking up the sunshine. getting out the sewing machine & making all my own cloth diaper wipes from old towels & soft flannel patterned with cheerful animals. realizing that keeping a stock of witch hazel could be a use for a cunning cork-top glass bottle that is also good for my health & healing. actually read the articles my friends send me about the dangers of vaccinations instead of just throwing them away & then distancing myself from the crackpot friend. i could go on.

i feel that i have spent a good chunk of my life feeling alienated from people that do things like go running around the pond just because they like to stay fit & active, or who join amateur marching bands as adults & learn how to play the french horn, or decide to invest $10,000 in buying a falling down old cabin & then renovate it completely relying only on their own skills & those of their friends. these are things i feel that i would NEVER do in a thousand million gazillion years, but i also have this nagging suspicion that the people who do do these things are probably happier, less judgmental, less cynical, & more well-liked than i am. & don’t i owe it to my baby to try to be happy, well-liked, non-judgmental, & non-cynical? i don’t want to be that mom that sees her baby walking for the second time & is like, “right. awesome. call me when you learn to stop shitting yourself.”

because jared & i can’t afford the hippie grocery store (seriously, some bulk grains, a new water bottle, & a three-pound chicken cost us almost $60, & we had to pack it into a reused cardboard box, which again, is one of those things that a person morally superior to myself probably wouldn’t resent at all), we go there very rarely & only to buy specialty items we can’t get at the regular cheapo grocery store. so every time i go, it’s a weird aspirational consumer experience where i imagine what life would be like if, you know, i was the kind of person that remembered to bring her own canvas bag to the grocery store & hand-bound her own journals & noted the passing of the seasons by pressing leaves & enjoyed eating new & unusual fruits, etc etc. i look around at everyone else in there & i’m like, “i bet you can do triangle pose without falling over, & i bet that guy over there totally knows how to make potato soup without a recipe, & that lady definitely knits her own socks.”

now that my pregnancy is like a third of the way over (-ish), i am coming to terms with the fact that becoming a mom is not in fact going to fundamentally change my personality. i’m still going to eat pizza. i’m still going to drag my feet on going to the pool for pregnant lady exercise. i’m still going to go into really long-winded explanations about how i cope with hot weather that result in me accidentally quoting avon barksdale from “the wire” (“you only do two days: the day you go in & the day you get out”). i’m still going to primarily interface with the world by making fun of the stuff that i think is stupid, which includes everything from musical theatre to people who stencil their baby’s name on the nursery wall to people who think being arrested by campus security is a really effective way to wage political protest. baby, you can’t change me.