9.12.2013

How Not To Induce Labor

Everyone and her cat has a suggestion on how to induce natural labor.  Drink wine!  Eat Chinese food!  Draw a picture of a pony under a rainbow while hopping on one foot!

I'm here to save all of you future mothers of postmature-born babies a lot of frustration by telling you that absolutely every suggestion is total bullshit other than waiting it out naturally or getting the dreaded pitocin.  So just sit back, let that watermelon in you continue to grow more and more every day which will ultimately make it harder to get out, and accept your fate.

***

METHOD
Walking

CONCLUSION
Bullshit

WHY IT DOES NOT WORK
For real?  Walking?  Listen.  I am a New Yorker now and walk an average of 5 miles a day, still with more speed and vigor at 41 weeks pregnant than the average American.  If this were going to induce labor, it would have done it by now.  It's like Sandy H. says: if you do something enough times for enough days in a row, something is bound to "work" eventually.  Walking is kind of unavoidable for most people and you have to do it every day at least a little bit.  "I walked from the couch to the fridge and my water broke!  Must have been all that walking!"  By this math, what other mundane daily activities will send us into labor?  Like "Hey, I sure did a lot of blinking the day I went into labor!  I'm absolutely sure all of that blinking is what sent me into labor!"  At this point I am just going for walks because I have nothing else to do.

***

METHOD
Membrane Sweeping/Stripping

CONCLUSION
Bullshit

WHY IT DOES NOT WORK
Because I am still pregnant, that's why.  I had heard of this procedure before but had no idea how painful it was.  For those of you who have not had the pleasure, imagine having a barbaric nightmare featuring Freddy Krueger sticking his claw in your lady parts and scraping at them for what feels like hours, and you think he's done but he just sweeps again, and again, and again, and again, and when his claw finally comes out of you it looks like he's stuck it in a vat of raw, bloody hamburger meat.  {Sorry.}  Except it isn't a nightmare, it's your really-happening-in-real-life life, and it's going to happen every third day, whether you asked for it or not, until they finally just medically induce you, already.  Anyway, bullshit, doesn't work.

***

METHOD
Eating spicy food

CONCLUSION
Bullshit

WHY IT DOES NOT WORK
The proof is still in my abdomen.  I have eaten every tamale and Indian delicacy, every General Tso's morsel doused in Sriracha and nope, nope, and nope.  Still pregnant.

***

METHOD
Sex

CONCLUSION
Bullshit

WHY IT DOES NOT WORK
If having sex actually induced labor, wouldn't they tell you to steer clear of it completely until you were full-term to avoid going into premature labor?  Just sayin'.  Also: nope, bullshit.

***

METHOD
Drinking wine

CONCLUSION
Unknown

WHY I AM PRETTY SURE IT WOULDN'T WORK ANYWAY
Supposedly this relaxes you into labor.  Which is it, everyone?  Are you supposed to over-exert yourself into labor or relax yourself into labor?  Because you cannot do both!  Bullshit!  I actually still sleep like a baby so if that doesn't do it then this definitely won't.  I'm not going to find out because I refuse to drink any.  I haven't had any alcohol since 2012 (New Year's Eve, was probably 5-6 weeks pregnant at the time, sorry future baby's SAT scores!) and if I've made it this far, I plan to go all the way.  Everyone says I can have a glass, but I don't want a glass - I want the whole bottle.  In fact, some people use focal devices during childbirth, like a favorite photo or keepsake, or a picture of the sonogram so you can see your end goal.  I want Derrick to hold up a magnum bottle of chilled Sauvignon Blanc as my focal point.

***

METHOD
Drinking castor oil

CONCLUSION
Bullshit

WHY IT DOES NOT WORK
Come on now, I think someone just made this up as a cruel, weird joke.

***

METHOD
Massage, pedicures, reflexology

CONCLUSION
Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit

WHY THEY DO NOT WORK
Although I had a relaxing morning with Sandy H. getting massaged and pedicured yesterday, I continue to carry this child cramp-free.  Mom even did 5 whole minutes of internet research to learn about labor-inducing reflexology and executed her learnings on my hands, ears, and feet.  It was funny, but nope, bullshit.

***

METHOD
Acupuncture

CONCLUSION
Unknown

WHY I DO NOT KNOW IF IT WORKS OR NOT
Sandy H. won't let me do it because she doesn't want me to come across any infected needles.  She says we should go to church instead.

***

METHOD
Getting on your hands and knees and cleaning your entire apartment

CONCLUSION
Unknown

WHY I DO NOT KNOW IF IT WORKS OR NOT
Because I hired a housekeeper a while back and I am really happy with her work.

***

METHOD
Eating pineapple

CONCLUSION
Bullshit

WHY IT DOES NOT WORK
I'm not sure how many times you want to read that I'm still pregnant but yes, I'm still pregnant and have eaten pineapple by the crate for the last few weeks - and even double-downed with the spicy foods method with spicy pork tacos topped with pineapple salsa - so I call extreme double bullshit.

***

So there you have it.  What bullshit labor induction methods do you suggest?  And how in God's name can you prove that's what actually sent you or someone you know into labor?  You're a liar.  Unless you suggest lounging on the couch, watching 12 straight hours of TV, then we'll talk.

9.11.2013

Negative Six Days

It is a weird and gross feeling knowing there is a 6-day old baby swimming around in me, happy as can be, feeling no urgency whatsoever to leave anytime soon.  I can't say I blame her; I do give her lots of cookies, and an environment made up entirely of amniotic fluid may in fact be less humid than NYC is today.

*Actual sonogram photo.


Poor Sandy H. arrived two days prior to my due date and may ultimately spend two full weeks here with me before the baby even comes.  By the time I'm finally given the gift of a screaming newborn, she'll be so sick of being here she will hop on the next flight home.  Yesterday I made her walk 40 blocks in the heat and to her credit, she did it with minimal complaining!  Today she asked me what I wanted to do.  What do I want to do today?

I want to avoid as many friends and neighbors as possible who say "STILL????" whenever they see me.

No, actually, in fact, I was never really pregnant at all - this has all been a giant hoax for a social experiment to see how pregnant women are treated on the NYC subway.

No, actually, I was never pregnant, just smuggling 30 lbs of drugs.  Everywhere I go.  Just to see if I could.

No, actually, I had the baby and forgot to tell anyone.  I just still look pregnant for some reason.  *Head smack*.

These friends and neighbors will then go about the rest of their pregnancy-free days, immediately forgetting they saw me, grabbing a coffee before work, prancing around the office, grabbing drinks with girlfriends in the evening, and then they'll see me again tomorrow, remember I exist and say, "STILL????"

But not me - I will have been thinking about "STILL????" that whole time.  Every day feels like a week now, making me approximately 46 weeks pregnant.  I am 100% sure I have a one-way ticket to Induction Town this weekend.

My dear darling friend Jeff posted this Bossypants excerpt to my Facebook wall this morning and it was exactly what I needed.  I have probably read it 20 times since 7 AM and I will continue to laugh and cry while reading it over and over until this baby actually comes - if she ever comes.

"First, Lord: No tattoos.  May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it's the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach's eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called "Hell Drop," "Tower of Torture," or "The Death Spiral Rock 'N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith," and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance.  Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.  What would that be, Lord?  Architecture?  Midwifery?  Golf course design?  I'm asking You, because if I knew, I'd be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.  Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short - a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day - And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit.  I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.  "My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck.  "My mother did this for me."  And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me.  And she will forget.  But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

Amen."

-Tina Fey




8.26.2013

Ten More Days

90% of why I began my maternity leave early had to do with a brutal commute from the Lower Upper East Side to the Upper Upper West Side and back every day.  It was long, arduous, involved multiple forms of transportation, and the only people who offered up their seats to a big pregnant lady were most often fellow women: usually older, often heavyset, and never any perfectly able-bodied men.  Most of them pretend not to see you by engrossing themselves in their smart phones, no matter how pathetic you make yourself look.  Side note: my big pregnant self got on the elevator at Fairway last week with an elderly woman, a young woman with both a stroller and a grocery cart, and a young man carrying nothing but a zucchini.  I don't pretend to know the physical details of why he chose the elevator over the stairs to haul his load, but that's not going to stop me from judging him.

I have enjoyed having the opportunity to try to get our apartment organized before the baby arrives - yes, our one-bedroom apartment that will soon house three humans and a small petting zoo.  These are my life choices and I'm sticking by them, thank you very much.  We were able to wall off a portion of the living room to create a good size nursery, and once Sandy H. gets here to meticulously and psychotically hang up some pictures perfectly evenly, I will post some photos of her handiwork.  So far it is the only room in our home that is even remotely coordinated, thanks to having to buy everything all at once (or as Derrick says, take a bunch of money and light it on fire) rather than collecting hand-me-downs and Ikea pieces over time.  Why is it that the Ikea pieces you buy to tide you over until you can afford something you actually like seem like they could withstand a nuclear holocaust?  Maybe I'm just TOO good at taking care of things.

When I'm not sorting baby items whose purpose I don't understand - yes, this makes it hard to sort - or failing to keep Violet out of Frank's litter box buffet, I've been able to make it to pregnant lady pilates a fair amount and hope to go a couple of times this week.  Last time, the instructor had to physically hold me up half the time, but at least I was there!




8.02.2013

The Crumbs

Confession: I am so enormously pregnant that all food must be consumed in a reclining position.  Unless I go all-out Mama June and put on a bib, food goes right down my shirt.  Once a day, I have a ritual where I open the bottom of my shirt and shake out the excess crumbs, but I'm too big to lean over and clean it up, so I call Violet over to lick the floor.  I am disgusting.



No, your eyes do not deceive you, and no, Cats in Baths has not been hacked.  At least I don't think.  This shit is real.

What in the hell have I been doing?

Derrick graduated.  We moved to Spruce Pine, NC for 2 months where I pickled things, grilled things, and picked up that little French bulldog I always wanted.  Her name is Violet; she leaks and is a little stinky, but we love her anyway.  We moved to New York.  I got knocked up.  (It's Derrick's).  And here we are.

Violet is not this little anymore, but neither am I.
Also: Not to brag or anything, but I kept that fern alive all summer.
She loves it when I do this; don't let her fool you.

Hopefully the next time I update CiB, little Princess RuPaula Beyonce (or as she's currently known at her future pediatrician's: TBD Preston) won't already be in pre-algebra. 

I had wanted to blog last summer while living in Spruce Pine but it would have involved spending more time at the local library, which was our only internet source, and I really just didn't want to spend that much more time with the obese solitaire-playing population of rural North Carolina than was absolutely necessary.

A basic summary of my magical summer in the NC mountains.
My first split-second thought when I saw this bear lumbering through the yard was,
"Gosh, Franco needs to lose some weight."  I'm not even kidding.

I had wanted to blog when we moved to New York, but I started interviewing for jobs within two weeks of moving here, and was frequently asked, "So what have you been doing to keep yourself busy if you aren't working right now?" Ummm, two weeks?  Two weeks I've been here.  Soooooo yesterday I finally started throwing out cardboard and bubble wrap, and now I'm sitting here in an interview with you.  And we all know how well I do in interviews anyway.  But really it was the guilt brought on by that question that kept me away.

I had wanted to blog when I got pregnant, but, getting myself to the Tasti-D's on my block took so much out of me, I just didn't have the energy left to write anything.

Me, knocked up, on an invigorating walk to Tasti-D's,
detouring through Central Park, months before I became the slob I am today.

But now!  I am spending the next month trying to get myself together before this little gumdrop arrives.  Unpreparedness does not begin to describe my current situation.  I remain the youngest person in the Hartwell family, and truth be told, babies scare terrify me.  I hold a baby and think, "PLEASE DO NOT DIE, BABY!!!!!" They feel my tension and start to cry, which makes me realize I am too tense, and then I get tenser from the crying and the realization that I'm too tense and I'm just a big hot baby-holding mess.  



Derrick and I have a "Caring for a Newborn" class this week, and if it's anything like our baby CPR class or our childbirth class, around the mid-point break one or both of us will mentally break down, begin to pluck out the hairs on our heads, one by one, and there may be some thumb-sucking involved.

Oh, and one more update: Franco is doing well and frequently employs a salad bowl as a bed.  Not exactly a bath tub, but it'll do.