Yesterday we had our Kaiser Permanente Oakland Baby Care class. It was mostly a waste of time. Half of this four-hour class was spent on baby poems along the lines of
Babies are new
Babies are blue
Babies will have the best of you
But they are precious.
Actually, my take the poem is more entertaining then whatever she had up on the screen. Along with the poems she brought a number of baby-related comic strips and a bunch of other invaluable material. She also volunteered to give us recommendations on how to handle our families, and suggested that our second cousins might be conflicted about us having a baby. I was there to learn how to hold a baby and how to swaddle it. I wanted the instructor to look at me diapering a doll and give her suggestions. She didn’t cover grooming at all because she ran out of time.
I wonder if it’s because she’s white. In my first trimester I went to another useless workshop where they teach you that you shouldn’t let your partner punch you in the stomach, and that if you are on crack, quit now. But that workshop was lead by a black lady with three kinds and much charisma. She made it at least somewhat tolerable. This lady was a bore and she only had one kid. Some authority!
Colored folk was growing a bit impatient with her, and some people left towards the end of the class. A fifty year-old white lady pregnant with twins kept asking unrelated questions about lactation and immunization. She seemed to be of the opinion that the government is out to kill her babies via required immunization shots.
Oh, the Bay Area! We went to see The Last King of Scotland last weekend. People in the audience applauded to Idi Amin’s speech about the Greeks stealing civilization from black Africa. Me and my husband looked at each other and started to laugh.
I watched other women in class, most of them first time mothers. Most of them were somewhat further along in pregnancy, and their bellies were larger. They wobbled more then me. It helps to know where I stand pregnancy-wise in relation to everyone else. One woman had less then a month to go, and I was able to make out the outlines of her kid inside of her belly – kid’s arm and torso.
At the end of the workshop my husband declared that he likes to swaddle, and that it swaddling it to be commenced, he will volunteer to do it. I am looking forward to seeing him swaddle a real baby waiving her limbs in the air.
Now that I have less then two months to go, I am trying to socialize my soul out. Mind you, “trying” doesn’t normally amount to much because I run out of energy before you know it. Nevertheless, this Thursday night I did go to my very own husband’s record release show. I spent most of the time behind the merch table. I kind of wanted to stay away from people for the fear of being pushed. I’m a bit paranoid now, because normally people don’t get pushed at my husband’s shows.
The audience loved the show and was very kind to me as well. One guy, for instance, bought the new CD and brought me a bottle of water.
Everyone wanted to know how my daughter is reacting to the music. She was mostly unmoved, except when her daddy’s band started playing their number one hit song. Then she enthusiastically kicked.
First few months after her birth are going to be madness, I’m sure. Then we will resume some social life – dinners and B-B-Qs mostly, and other occasions where we can drag the baby. We are even considering a one-year wedding anniversary Sonoma trip. We’ll see how it goes with the baby. In any case, shows, bars and other forms of nightlife are probably out of the question for quite some time.
For those of you who don’t know, uterus is hard as a rock, and as it grows various forms of upper body bends and twists become impossible. By now my range of motion is sadly limited. I took dance ten years ago now, and although I never had much of a turn out, I compensated for it with upper body flexibility. Back then I was able to put my stomach on my thighs and then flex my feet without lifting my stomach. I wonder if this agility will return after I deliver…
On the positive side, my posture is generally better. With uterus occupying most of my tummy area, I wouldn’t be able to hunch over if I wanted to. Unfortunately, I developed a habit of lifting my shoulders, possibly as a result of carrying larger then usual breasts.
My legs and butt are getting stronger, and now my stomach is rounder then it was a couple of months ago, possibly because I’m accumulating some sort of bloat in my abdominal area. I hope it will go away eventually soon…
I’ve been more of a hermit then usual lately. I’m not straining myself to go out, and, in feat of being pushed, I no longer go to any shows. Luckily, according to everyone there aren’t that many good shows out there now.
This Friday a friend of ours had an art opening, so I figured the event was sufficiently mellow for a seven-months pregnant woman to make an appearance. I’m glad we went because the show was good, and it was good to see people there. There was much interest in pregnancy on the part of many female, and I was more then happy to indulge because, as you may suspect, I like talking about my daughter. It was also nice to hear from my husband that people were saying that I look great.
One unfortunate thing about my looks is that it appears that I have no waist. Therefore a pair of jeans without the wide stretchy waistband requires to be regularly pulled up… I still have almost two months to go… If the baby isn’t late, that is.
I’m supposed to rest and get enough sleep this trimester for an easier labor. So actually going to that art opening and staying up past midnight is not exactly recommended. On the other hand, though, I have a feeling that in the coming months I won’t be doing much socializing at all, so I might as well crumb some into my remaining pre-labor weeks.
In preparation for my daughter’s arrival I printed out a milestone chart. It’s a little unsettling that pleasant skills like smiling and laughing take several months to develop, but unpleasant skills like laughing and crying are inborn.
For several weeks now I was noticing that my daughter likes to hang out on the right side of the uterus, or rather that her body is often to the right, but her head is on the left. This horizontal arrangement is a bit unnerving as I am approaching labor, but, I am being told, there is still plenty of time for her to turn. Actually in terms of her kicking horizontal position is not bad because she’s only kicking my skin.
Several times I was able to kind of make out he body; she was all cuddled up with her head to the left of my long-suffering belly button and her body – to the right. This past Wednesday though she pressed so hard against my skin, I could clearly see the rectangular outlines of her back. My belly became totally one-sided with the left side dropping and the right side protruding. She set like that for several minutes, and then gently kicked some sort of a vital organ hurting me a little in process and went back to sleep. My uterus turned to normal.
As I mentioned in the past, middle-aged black ladies are the best. They are the first to notice that you are with a child, and they treat you like a queen. Next, black man and younger black women start noticing, and they all smile at you and say Congratulations! In general colored people, like Philippine older women are really into talking about kids and pregnant ladies as well.
I haven’t had any experiences with Hispanics, believe it or not, so I can’t tell.
Nearly everyone at work is a Jew, and the once who lived in Israel are especially baby-happy. But people I know don’t count; they have their own protocols. I’m talking about strangers here.
White people and Chinese are the worst. Old school Chinese especially. Old school Chinese push like they are in a hospital delivery room. I don’t know if they even see me. They are always on the mission, and they seem to accept the fact that sometimes to accomplish their mission they’d have to knock you off your feet.
Drivers in this town are getting worth and worth every day. Not just Chinese drivers, everyone. Of course, in San Francisco half of the drivers are foreign. People just need to accept the fact that Americans are the best drivers in the world, and learn from Americans in this respect, at least. In San Francisco Bay Area they are ready to run you over. Sometimes I feel like challenging them: Go ahead, run over a pregnant woman! The other day I went downtown to buy some pregnancy stockings to protect myself from varicose veins. It was about 6pm, and this one middle-aged blond was in such a hurry to get home, she took my right of way. She is probably childless and bitter.
So, as it turned out, my husband was 9 pounds and 9 ounces at birth. My dentist says, that it could have been because his mom was older, nearly forty, when she gave birth to him. So she might have had gestational diabetes. I don’t have gestational diabetes.
On the other hand, my husband is the largest in his family. Perhaps I looked for wrong qualities in a mate. I was searching for someone cute and someone cool, and certainly, someone smart and not an ass. What I should have done, I should have asked boys how large they were at birth. My husband says, “Yeah, you should have mated with a midget.” I disagree. There are people who are born tiny, but grow up to be tall adult. It’s not the case with my family, though. My dad is only average, but everyone on my mom’s side is very tall. My mom is not that tall, but she was born in 1942, in the middle of the war, and grew up in the post-war years. I am average on the tall side. I was born 8.125, also average on the tall side, at least b contemporary American standards.
My mom says that she was pretty big when she carried both me and my sister, but not quite as big as I am. So I blame my husband. Of course, I can also blame prenatal vitamins and generally good nutrition.
I still have about one month and one week of very rapid growth, and I just don’t see how I will be able to fit into my maternity clothes. A friend of mine who had her baby girl in November said that she too wasn’t able to fit into her maternity clothes the last month, and she didn’t gain that much weight. I’m afraid that whole not being able to fit thing is going to happen to me earlier tough…
Knock on wood: I am not seeing any stretch marks yet. But my bellybutton continues to unravel, which is a pity. I am worried about the skin on my belly shrinking back postpartum. I am also a little worried about gaining weight following the childbirth. Apparently this is what happened to my mom. She said that she gained weight to breastfeed. But she lost it all as soon as she weaned us. So it’s not much of a problem potentially, right? But what if I don’t lose it?
After I told my mom how big my husband was, she calmed down a little about me gaining weight. Now she’s concerned about her granddaughter being fat.
All I can say, she’d better be tall. Otherwise, why am I carrying this balloon on my belly? On the other hand, does she really need to be taller then 5’10”?
And mom, don’t worry: Judging by how she’s kicking my ribcage, she’s an athletic type and won’t have any trouble staying thin. AND she’ll keep the whole family thin running around after her.
My husband says that the baby doesn’t even know how lucky she is. Yesterday after much research and deliberation we finally bought travel system (a stroller with an attachable car seat). It was the brand and the model we wanted. Unfortunately it looks kind of ugly – black and sporty blue-purple, but that’s not what’s most important in a travel system. We’ll deal. We’ll decorate or something.
So my husband says that the baby is so lucky. She’s not even born yet, but she already has that nice travel system. She will be so well traveled! She will be born and – wow! – What a nice travel system! She’ll be so cozy in her infant car seat, even if it’s an ugly infant car seat. And the stroller has many nice features; it’s plenty cozy too.
We made the purchase at Babies’R’Us. They had expectant mothers parking spaces close to the store entrance (how does it ever get enforced?) that we didn’t really need to use yet. For some unfathomable reason most sales people are young men. Can you imagine yourself, or your husband or boyfriend or brother selling baby gear at eighteen or twenty? Gosh, even when I was that age, when most women I know were that age, we took pride in our projected lack of sentimentality and maternal instinct. I wanted to work in coffee shops and clothing stores. Or book stores, may be. The only explanation I can thin of for the proliferation of young men at Babies’R’Us is the fact that they are all ethnic. Perhaps it’s socially acceptable in their circles. White people, on the other hand, don’t have children. Young white people are so not into babies.
I went to a party last weekend. It was a bit refreshing for a change. I now spend most of my spare time laying around and resting.
I met some new people, and they said: “Wow! I didn’t notice right away that you are pregnant! Only when you turned sideways.” “Duh! — I thought – My uterus doesn’t grow out of my hip.”
Then they ask where am I going to have the baby. “In the hospital, — I replied. – And most possibly with an epidural.” They nodded. “Only in the Bay Area, –the said. – You’d ask a question like that. Of course you should have it in the hospital!”
I prefer to think of myself as an independent-minded person. And yet even I feel pressure to forgo the epidural. The main motivation is my mom, who, while not encouraging me to forgo anything said that she wasn’t in that much pain when she had me and when she had my sister. It was pretty fast both times too. So that started me thinking on whether or not I’ll need much pain management.
Perhaps it’s better to go ahead with the epidural because for one thing you never know how it’s going to go. Your baby’s head might be turned a little wrong, and then you’ll be trying and trying and trying, all without any luck and at the end will need a c-section. And of course, why subject yourself to pain when you can avoid it.
I’m not the kind of girl who fetishizes “the natural” but even if I were, one thing to understand about the human being is how unnatural we are. Our labor is so much longer and so much more painful then animal labor both because we are bipedal and because our heads are so much bigger in relation to our bodies. So why not use our disproportionally enlarged heads to alleviate the labor pains?