Push

6 years
ago

 

Week 41: Babies ’R Not Us

After waiting in our basement for two weeks, my parents leave tomorrow. They will miss the delivery, assuming it ever happens. This bums me out, and I know they’re frustrated that their whole visit was for naught, though they’re far too diplomatic to say so. It was never clear to me what exactly their role would be during the delivery, though my wife continues to maintain—even after spending 11 days with them—that she wanted them in the room when she delivered. I just don’t see it…

7 years
ago

 

Week 41: Plan 20 From Outer Space

Still nothing. Now we’re just pissed.

My parents leave in two days.

In our Bradley class, which seems like a distant memory now, Denyse encouraged us to write up a “birth plan.” I didn’t get the concept at the time, figuring the plan was: Give birth; go home. How could we possibly develop a plan for the most complex, unpredictable moment of our lives, when the experts should be calling the shots? It seemed ridiculous…

7 years
ago

 

Week 40: The Lion Does Not Sleep Tonight

Just got off the phone with Sarah. Very excited. Still no baby, but here’s a transcript of the call—which I pray no one overheard:

Me: Hello?
Sarah: You sitting down?
Me: Yeah. What’s up?
Sarah: I passed my mucus plug.
Me: (excited) Really? Your mucus plug? What did it feel like?
Sarah: I didn’t notice. I went to sit on the pot, and…

7 years
ago

 

Week 40: Cervix Industry

My parents have been living in the basement for a week now, and Sarah’s womb has been painfully quiet the whole time. Every time I go downstairs, Tom and Lois are sitting on the couch, eating peanuts and watching Law & Order. And every time Sarah goes down there, they jump up with excited anticipation, and when they realize she has come to simply put in a load of laundry, they sigh. Audibly. They don’t mean any harm—they just want to meet the baby, too—but their presence seems to have spooked Sarah’s cervix. The pressure is overwhelming. “I feel like every day I don’t produce a child, I’m letting everyone down,” Sarah said…

7 years
ago

 

Week 39: Department of No Labor

Every time my phone rings at work, I think, Here we go. I look at the calendar: This is the day. I look at my clothes: This is what I’m going to be wearing in all the pictures. Usually, it’s someone calling to ask my least favorite question: “Has the baby come yet?”

No, it hasn’t. Thanks for reminding me.

It’s easy to forget that Sarah’s due date was an estimate—not an appointment. In most cases, post-term pregnancies aren’t really “late”; they stem from miscalculations of the time of conception…

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7 years
ago

 

Week 39: St. Annoyance

Here’s what it’s like sharing a bed with 39-weeks pregnant woman. Or, at least, with mine.

Early this morning, I was sleeping peacefully when I felt a tugging on my shirt. I rolled over and Sarah was staring at me, wide awake.

“What’s up?” I asked. “Is it time?”

“No. I’m miserable.”

“What’s the matter?"…

“I’ve got a fucking human being in my stomach, that’s what’s the matter.” …

7 years
ago

 

Week 38: Cry Wolf, Cry Uncle

Sarah was breathing strangely in bed the other morning, and I asked what was up. “I think I’m having this baby,” she said. My heart stopped. It’s go time. And I’m ready.

For the next hour we tried to figure out whether or not she was in labor. After consulting multiple books, and timing what we imagined were contractions, we’d reached our conclusion: She had gas…

7 years
ago

 

Week 38: Drop and Give Me Twenty … Wipes

I spent all day Saturday painting furniture for the baby room, which I figured would buy me a free pass to watch the AFC championship on Sunday. It was shaping up to be a great game: The Steelers had won 15 in a row, and the Patriots hadn’t lost a playoff game in years. An hour before game time, I asked Sarah who she thought would win. She looked around the basement at little piles of unfinished projects here and there, and answered: “Me.”

I spent the day building a crib and assembling a day bed…

7 years
ago

 

Week 37: Bare-Assed and Pregnant

I’ve spent much of my life avoiding women who appear to be pregnant, because they scared the hell out of me. What if I said the wrong thing? I had nothing to offer them, conversation-wise, beyond “So, what’s it like being pregnant?” Now everything is different. Today at the gym I asked the pregnant woman on the cross-trainer next to mine how she gets her recommended daily calcium intake.

Watched Sarah’s belly vibrate today. It looked like when you throw a stone into a still pond, and the splash ripples out to the edges…

7 years
ago

 

Week 37: Ten True Things I Wouldn’t Have Believed a Year Ago

1. By the last trimester, a pregnant woman’s breasts may leak a few drops of colostrum (practice milk). It’s thick and yellow and has the consistency of wood glue.

2. Sometimes a drop or two of blood leaks out. Blood.

3. During pregnancy, the average woman’s uterus expands up to five hundred times its normal size…

7 years
ago

 

Week 36: Puerto Rico, You Lovely Island…

Our condo in Fajardo, a town on the country’s breathtaking northeastern coast, was lovely. We had a panoramic view of the ocean and palm trees—and our airy apartment had everything we needed. When the toilet became a little volatile one afternoon, Isaac decided to buy a plunger, and when he came home, he realized we already had one. Two plungers: now that’s the lap of luxury.

I was left alone to babysit Lillian one day. We had masses of toys at our disposal, but for two hours, she was interested mainly in three things: a book called Huggy Buggy, a tin that once held a deck of Seinfeld playing cards, and my facial hair, all of which she endlessly studied and put in her mouth…

7 years
ago

 

Week 36: Flight or Fight?

Several airlines refuse to allow a woman on board if she is more than 36 weeks pregnant. What do they do, measure the fetus at the gate? I assume this policy exists because airlines fear for the safety of a lavatory delivery at 20,000 feet. Nope. It stems from the high cost of diverting a plane for an emergency landing. Ah, the friendly skies of United. We got in just under the wire on our flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was Sarah’s family vacation, and my traveling companions were an older man, a pregnant woman, a 9-month old baby, and a mother and father obsessed with the 9-month-old baby. The most reliable member of the crew was the baby…

7 years
ago

 

Week 35: Guilt, Misogyny, and Vaginas

Why the hate? That’s what I want to know. Misogyny is alive and well and living in male-oriented books about pregnancy. Take a look at these excerpts:

•"There are many reasons to resent your wife when she’s pregnant.”
•"[Y]our wife should be treated like any other savage creature ready to attack.”
•"Instead of acting like a temptress, she’ll act more like a toddler. Once you start thinking of your wife as a baby, not a broad, you’ll notice other similarities as well.”
•"[T]hink of pregnancy as a nine-month stint at a prisoner-of-war camp . . .”
•"Sure, living with a pregnant woman can’t kill you, but it sure can take the fun out of living.”

Boy. No wonder so many men bail out just after they’ve pulled out…

7 years
ago

 

Week 35: The Love Bloat

I just read a new study that claims the average pregnancy is not 40 weeks, but rather 41 1/2. Great. I feel like we just got another couple of years tacked on to our life sentence.

Regardless, a healthy woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds over the course of a pregnancy. A few years back, I saw a woman—let’s call her Sharon—gain roughly 70 pounds. She didn’t look like Sharon; she looked like a person who had eaten Sharon. With a side of fries. She was predictably miserable. Her wedding ring went in a drawer for nine months because her finger was too bloated to accommodate it. I recall the moment she realized she could no longer cross her legs. “Well, shit,” she said, trying to locate her feet for a few seconds. Then she went back to looking miserable…

7 years
ago

 

Week 34: Prenatal Porn

We’ve begun watching horribly graphic childbirth videos in our Bradley class. Yes, I understand their purpose: no one is trying to candy-coat this whole delivery thing, nor should they. Labor is obviously painful and wet and loud and bloody, and if we aren’t ready for that we’re doing ourselves—and our baby—a major disservice. But it’s still gross.

There was the video in which the husband crumpled to the floor like an empty tent when the doctor presented the massive needle for his wife’s epidural.

There was the water birth in some kind of icky prenatal jacuzzi that eventually had nine or so different kinds of fluid floating in it, none of which you’d want to see in your kitchen sink…