Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Name Game

As everyone knows, we still haven't picked a name for She-Blob and, as D-Day draws nearer, it becomes more and more of a possibility that She-Blob will remain such. While a few friends have actually encouraged us in our craziness, most have expressed concern, if not full-blown alarm out our naming plan. In fact, yesterday I received this article from a friend.

Now in my defense, I would never name a child Tula Who Does the Hula From Hawaii. That's just crazy cruel and absurd. And it also leads me to think that there should be much more stringent laws on who should be allowed to procreate, and the amount of paperwork that should be filed before one is allowed to make the attempt (electronically, of course. I'm not trying to kill trees here.). On the other hand, Bree points out that outlawing Tula today can be tomorrow's ban on "George" or "Bob" or any of those weird, foreign sounding names. It does, indeed open up a very wiggly can of worms when judges are allowed to rule on things like naming one's children.

At the same time, it is encouraging. Sitting in a classroom with "Sex Fruit" and twins "Benson & Hedges", how badly will She-Blob really be teased?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Pregnancy Card

I haven't really pulled the "pregnancy card." You know, the one where I simply can't walk the see, I'm pregnant. Or Could you please lift this bag of cotton balls for me? You see, I'm pregnant... Barring a few irrational over-reactions to hiccups in our on-going kitchen remodel "I am NOT going to shop for tile! Isn't this why we're paying them???!!!!," and one tantrum-like meltdown regarding buying lighting fixtures (a long story, for a different time), I've really tried to keep my hormonal drama out of the lives of those around me.

I thought I was being "easy," but perhaps that was the wrong attitude to take, since I was woefully unprepared for what happened today. This morning, driving from my doctor's appointment to work, I was unceremoniously turned away from the garage closest to my office. Apparently, it was full. "But I'm pregnant!" I protested, as a line of cars filled with unhappy drivers formed behind me. This was met with an impatient point of the finger, and a declaration of "Other parking garage. We're full." Apparently, the discussion was over.

I drove, duly reprimanded and tail tucked between my legs, over to the "other" parking structure, that has the deceivingly friendly name of "Lemongrove." It may as well be in Siberia. Seriously, whoever built this garage did it with the sole intent of making it as distant as possible from any place I may actually need to be.

As I stalked angrily the 10 miles from garage to office, I cycled through several trains of thought:

1) If I go into premature labor, I am SO suing the garage attendants. Well, at least we'll be set financially.

2) If I DON'T go into premature labor, and this (inevitably) happens again, I will SO run down the barricade at the local garage, and claim pregnancy-related hormonal instability. I tried to warn them.

Rinse, repeat. Being as I was walking from Siberia, I got to go back and forth between these two thoughts quite a number of times.

Every cloud is not without its silver lining, however. Approaching my office building, I saw pretty much the entire staff standing outside, exclaiming random things about how we were going to die. It seems that in my focused irritation, I had completely missed a 5.4 earthquake that had rocked Los Angeles.

...And Turns Right Back Again...

I'm pretty sure She-Blob is going to be stubborn. I know this, because two days after teasing us by turning sideways, SB continued to turn. Unfortunately, it was in the wrong direction, back up into her sitting position. By Friday of last week, she was right back where she started, albeit with her head tipped back a little.

Whereas in the past, my numerous doctors had expressed optimism at She-Blob flipping, as time goes on they are slowly but surely abandoning the "Babies Are Known To Turn" ship in favor of the "Why Don't You Go Ahead And Schedule That C-Section" lifeboat.

Which is what we did, today. So as they say in the music biz, She-Blob is set to drop on August 26, at 2:30 pm, give or take. Unless, of course, I go labor before then. Which I told my doctor wouldn't happen. "She'll cooperate!"

To which Dr. Marine replied, "I don't know... She is a stubborn one."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

As The She-Blob Turns

The ongoing saga of She-Blob "assuming the position" continues. This time with some actual progress to report.

A few posts back, I reported that She-Blob was Ass Backwards, and seemed to have no intention of getting into proper baby mode. She's a stubborn one. Now, after weeks of confirmation that she had no intention of going anywhere, SB is once again toying with our emotions as she moves...though only half way.

Apparently she's unfolded, and is now laid out on her back, lying crosswise. Though this is still not a solution to the problem, at least she's showing some signs of cooperating with Mother Nature. My doctors told her I need to "encourage her" to keep turning. Not sure if she meant visualizing, talking to her, doing my Ass Up exercises, or physically pushing her down (all of which I've tried to a greater or lesser extent, I'm afraid to admit).

Speaking of Ass Up exercises, I'd love to say that it was due to these that we've taken a step forward. In all honesty though, I must confess that after several weeks of discomfort and sore knees, I had given up the regimen. Instead, this past weekend Bree and I went to see The Dark Knight, which is one freakin' loud-ass movie. She-Blob spent the whole time trying to burst out, Alien-style. And now, she's half-way there. So perhaps some more deafening, overly violent summer blockbusters are in my immediate future...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Learning to Breathe, Part 2

Monday was our Part 2 of 2 Prepared Childbirth class. And while I can't say that I gathered much new info in the field of breathing, I have picked up a few things in my two weeks there.

1. Apparently, there is a direct correlation between length of seminar and seriousness of the attendees. So the people in the 2 week class are there because they were pressured into doing it and don't have much time to waste on breathing, figuring it'll all go out the window once they're in labor anyway, while the people in the 5 week class are there to LEARN. As a result, the people in the 2 week class have a much better sense of humor about the whole thing and regularly make inappropriate comments about the process. These are my kind of people.
* This is based strictly on hearsay, as we fortunately, only attended the 2-week breathing seminar.

2. I have found several "labor positions" that are acceptable. Unfortunately, there seems to be an inverse correlation between the level of my comfort and that of my "labor partner" - aka, Bree. The most comfortable position involves him leaning on a chair and forming a "table" while I drape my full weight over him. Even without me writhing in excruciating pain, as I surely will be, something tells me this wouldn't last long in the real world.

3. I have seen things I can never unsee. I'll leave it at that.

4. To quote Bree, "There is no good way to do this, is there?"

At the end of the class, we were given a tour of the rather...cozy...labor and delivery rooms and handed our graduation certificates. Kind of like our dog did, upon completing Obedience School. Though he uses his new skills daily (if on a selective and limited basis), while most of my new Knowledge best be stored away, until the day I'm a contestant on Maternity Jeopardy.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Working at my job, I've learned a number of new phrases and acronyms. The first is the revealing "To be thrown under the bus." The second, the far more practical CYA, or "Cover Your Ass."

It should come as no surprise that CYA has applications far beyond the confines of television production. Professionals the world over, doctors chief among them, employ, nay embrace, CYA.

Case in point - several weeks ago, we found out that She-Blob is on the small side. Still within the bounds of "normal," but in a statistics-obsessed world, her percentiles weren't all that they could be. A litany of measurements, weigh-ins and sonograms ensued. Tape measures were brought out, fetal heart monitors were attached, specialists were consulted, bed rest was prescribed.

And though the entire time everyone reassured us that "Everything is more than likely fine," I found myself going to 2 appointments per week, being educated in the worst case scenario for everything that could possibly be wrong. The fact that I felt completely fine and She-Blob was doing her kickingest, was squarely ignored.

I dutifully attended all the appointments, sat patiently as a variety of machines reconfirmed time and time again that all was good in She-Blob world. It all came to a logic-defying pinnacle this week.

With my regular OB on vacation, I was seen by another doctor in the practice, one unfamiliar with the series of events that had brought me there. Looking at yet another round of good test results and my chart he asked incredulously, "So why are you here?"

"A good question," I thought. "Probably because no one wants to be responsible for telling me I no longer need to do this." Instead I explained the history of my "complications." "But you KNOW you're actually fine?" he asked. And I saw my ray of hope - perhaps this would be the end of my OB Office Penance. But no such luck - I was directed to make yet another appointment and go to the specialist for yet another sonogram.

That was today. The visit was going well - She-Blob had grown (apparently her only requirement) skyrocketing from the meager 15th percentile to the respectable (in my opinion) 30th. She's moving, she's kicking, her heart is clearly beating. All good signs. The doctor was impressed. "This is great," she said.

"So now what?" I asked, hoping for a response of "Well, maybe we'll have you come back one more time in a few weeks..." Instead I got the following explanation:

Just because everything was fine and continued to be fine, didn't mean it couldn't stop being fine at any moment. And the closer I am to my due date and the higher chance She-Blob has of having absolutely no complications, the more tragic it would be should something go wrong. So I should continue going to 2 appointments a week, if for no other reason than to be told that I'm STILL fine. And hopefully all goes well until I reach full term.

So let me apply this "logic" to another condition - No, you aren't having a heart attack. In fact, your heart looks healthier today than it did 2 weeks ago. Most likely, you're really not in any danger of having a heart attack any time soon. But how much more tragic would it be if you were to suddenly, unexpectedly have a heart attack now?! You better keep coming in for cardiograms.


Granted, I understand - in today's litigious society, heaven protect the doctor unfortunate enough to have told me that good health actually equaled a reduction in doctors visits and tests. Should something actually go wrong, my wrath and inevitable lawsuit would descend on her faster than you could say "sonogram." CYA must remain in full effect.

But I also suspect there may be another component to the over-cautious doctor/patient relationship. It's called BYI - bill your insurance...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ass Backwards

She-Blob is a frank breech, which is a fancy way of saying she's ass-backwards. Or, to be technical, ass forward, since that's the body part she's planning on meeting the outside world with.

I got the news a few weeks back, when it was confirmed that She-Blob had basically rolled herself into a ball. So the answer to "Am I being punched, kicked or head-butted?" was a resounding YES.

What it all means is that unless She-Blob does some major acrobatics in the next few weeks, all my Learning to Breathe is for naught, as I will be more than likely getting a Cesarian. At least we know the pain killers will be good.

As appealing as resigning myself to anesthesia and surgery sounds, as a "responsible mother" I felt I should do all I can to encourage S-B to assume the proper position. As yelling "Move girl!" and "Flip!" at my stomache has had limited success (or a complete lack thereof, if you're a glass half-empty kinda person), and me trying to push her from the outside would be frowned upon by my physician, I needed to find other means of encouragement.

The internet suggested "visualizing" the child turning. Now I'm as spiritual as the next gal, but I suspect that would be about as effective as yelling at my abdomen has been. On the other hand, our neighbor, who is a doula, and about to pop out her own 5th kid had some advice on repositioning She-Blob. In a move that marries Downward Dog and Face Down, Ass Up, I stand on all fours, lowering my chest to the ground so that my hips are higher, and maintain that position for two 10-minute sessions a day, while gaining a new appreciation for all those off-color jokes about knee pads. It's about as comfortable as it is attractive, but claims a phenomenal, though completely undocumented, success rate.

Still, if positive thinking has anything to do with it, She-Blob will turn, dammit. My doctor, on the other hand, seemed less assured. At my last appointment, I shared my thoughts on the subject with him. "If you're waiting for her to turn on her own," he said, "don't hold your breath. See this?" He pointed to the sonogram. "That's her butt, and it's pretty wedged in there."

Image by ~Semi Sweet~ Computer needs repair again!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Learning to Breathe, Part 1

For 34 years I've breathed on my own, and quite well, if I may say so myself. I've breathed through a variety of situations and moods, happy breathing, sad breathing, pained breathing - and have never run into trouble or felt I needed instructions. What with the involuntary nature of the whole process, and all.

So when my OB first suggested that I take a "Prepared Childbearing" (read, Lamaze) class, I nodded politely and forgot about it. But then she mentioned it again...and again... Bree thought it was worth checking out. People at work said I should definitely go. Peer pressure was mounting.

A few months later, Bree and I found ourselves wandering through the halls of Cedar Sinai, looking for Conference Room E, where our education was to take place. Granted, we signed up for the shortest possible class, figuring two sessions of breathing should cover us.

The class was a throwback to health class, without the opportunity to pass notes. Our instructor offered us homemade chocolate graham cracker cake (???) and began by revealing that her passion for Lamaze was awakened at the tender age of 11, when she began reading "What To Expect When You're Expecting" and similar publications to entertain herself while babysitting. While the rest of us were preparing to be firemen, astronauts or vets, this girl wanted to teach women to birth.

Who reads those books for entertainment? I have yet to read them for a purpose! More importantly, who lets an 11-year-old babysit?! We then had to go around the room, introducing ourselves and explaining why we were there. Since "I gave in to peer pressure and am truly regretting that decision," didn't sound sporting, I mumbled something about doctor's suggestions and gathering information. This was going to be a long 3 hours.

I am happy to report that I took no cake, as the next section of class involved a demonstration using a plastic baby and skeletal hip bones, as well as a HIGHLY graphic video of women birthing without meds.

Next, was some hands-on practice which involved (you guessed it) breathing, lying on the floor, focusing on spots on a wall, counting, more breathing and the hapless men (our "Labor Partners") getting yelled at for improper leg rubbing technique.

We then finished out the night by watching yet another birth video, during which a former professional bicycle racer exalted the virtues of the epidural while birthing with a drug induced grin on her face. Then we headed off to dinner.

Here's what I learned so far:
1) There are a bunch of stages of labor, and a bunch of sub-stages of those stages. How this helps, I'm not sure, but if I'm ever quizzed...
2) Don't come to the hospital too early. They'll make you sit in a small room.
3) How to make the chocolate graham cracker cake.
4) Doing it the natural way may win you some bragging rights, but none of the women in the first video were smiling...
5) Holy shit! I DID know how to breathe before this!
6) Next week's class involves me being on all fours.

I'm very afraid.
image by szlea