The Labor: Part I - I Get Delirious

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Spoiler alert... it's a girl!



Yesterday, November 29, at 3:58pm Hadley Marin joined our already estrogen-wealthy family, ensuring Nick's slow yet inevitable descent into Hormone Hell. 

I tell you this up front because I'm running on two hours sleep and I have no idea how many posts this momentous occasion might get milked into.  I'm most likely going to veer off into some really weird directions and I at least wanted to give you the important information up front in case you decide to bail when I start digging into the details of my spanking new pee bag.

So since you're already here, I think I'm going to start a few months back. 

And I say what I'm about to say with the full knowledge that it's impossible to take something back once it's been thrown out into the Blogosphere.  And with the full knowledge that one day Hadley will probably read this and I just might want to because she'll realize that I've not always been the world's most perfect Mom she thought I was, despite popular opinion.

But I also say this with the knowledge that I started this blog as a way to get, and give, support from you all.  And with the knowledge that one day she might even be dealing with the same emotions that I've been fighting.

So I'll just say it - the past few months I've been having a very difficult time with regard to this pregnancy. 

Nick and I knew we wanted to have a third baby, but 14 months after the last baby was not exactly what we had planned. 

I think this picture speaks a thousand words. 

 

When I brought Lila home from the hospital, Ellie was 16 months old and the first few months of her life I was definitely off my Mom game.  And by off my Mom game I mean I literally almost called the child abuse hotline on myself four times that I can remember.   

I was short with Ellie for acting out because she was terrified that I would abandon her in favor of a younger model.  I was short with Nick because he didn't get home fast enough.  I was even short with Lila, then just a newborn, because she wouldn't sleep enough and she completely thrashed my nipples. 

But most of all I was disappointed with myself because I couldn't do it as good as the other Moms.  As fast as the other Moms.  As smart as the other Moms.  As skinny as the other Moms.  I wasn't the Mom I had always envisioned myself to be.   

Every day I went to bed feeling like a big Mom failure and I didn't have any clue where to even begin to make it better.  So I usually ended up taking out my frustrations on my family.  And hating myself for it.

As the due date for this baby grew closer, so did my fear that I would be spending the first few months of 2012 again in a dark place.  Without the tools to be the Mom my awesome kids deserved.  Living every day in survival mode, then waking up one day to find they were six months older and somehow I had forgotten to stop and smell the roses.  Completely abandoning the idea of experiencing any joy in parenthood.   

My terror - and I don't use that word loosely, terror - for what would happen when this baby came completely overtook the happiness and excitement that should accompany a new baby's arrival.  I knew this baby deserved as much fanfare and celebration as the other two, yet I was unable to allow myself to experience the unconditional happiness that good parents should feel toward their unborn children.  And the accompanying guilt was all-consuming.   

See, I told you I might want to take some of this back once I've slept. 

One night I finally had the courage to tearfully admit this to Nick.  And together we worked out a game plan, deciding to hire a nanny three days a week once the baby came.  A cost that required us to re-finance our house so we could tap into some of the equity, but we both agreed that was a small price to pay to avoid Hannah Mayer landing the lead role on an episode of Snapped.

It wasn't the only solution to our challenges, but it was a very good start.  We're trying to work through some other issues, like how to find a balance between his demanding work schedule and his demanding family obligations.  And I'm trying to work through some of my own issues, like how to remember that Ellie is only two and she's going to throw a tantrum or two.  Or seventeen thousand. 

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And how to laugh and just focus on how I can use it as a bribery tool when she's 16, and not focus on how much I suck as a Mom.

And how to just go ahead and expect Lila to take five massive dumps every day, all when we're either about to walk out the door when we're running really really late or when we're at Oktoberfest and I forgot to put more diapers in the diaper bag after I used the last one the week prior. 

So feeling better, though still a little apprehensive, about our impending bundle of joy, on Sunday - nine days before our scheduled c-section - I cracked open my first bag of red raspberry leaf tea.  AKA The Send You Into Labor Tea. 

And send me into labor it did.       

Nine and three quarters

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Nick:  So explain to me again why you're drinking that tea to make yourself go into labor when you have a c-section scheduled next Tuesday?

Me:  Because I'm miserable!  I need to get this baby out STAT. 

Nick:  So why don't you just move up the c-section?

Me:  No!  I don't want the baby to come before it's ready!  I want it to come out on its own time.  You can't rush these things - it has to get good and cooked.

Nick:  Oh.  (turns back around to watch Ghost Adventures). 

Nick:  Why are you drinking the tea again? 

Me:  Look.  I am nine and three-quarters months pregnant.  It's not my job to make sense right now.  Now run to the store and get me some red velvet cupcakes and a container of bacon bits.  

The little black tent

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If you read my Facebook status on Saturday you'll recall that I had a mini panic attack mid-afternoon because I had to go to to a black tie event for Nick's work and I was completely unprepared wardrobe wise.  I had a dress that I thought might work until I tried it on three days before and the six-inch gap in the zipper area gave me good reason to believe it would not work.   

So I did what I do best - ignore the problem and hope that it would just fix itself as I ate an entire batch of pumpkin cupcakes over the sink.

I spent Saturday morning walking around the neighborhood flexing my sphincter muscle trying to make myself fart in an effort to break my water.  When that didn't work I knew I was screwed.  My plan C was a nice pair of black yoga pants which I thought I could pull off at a black tie event by smothering the room in my unparallelled charm and wit but unfortunately icing leaves a lasting stain.

By some miracle of God, half a bottle of lotion, a pair of pliers, four hands, foggy memories from a free SCUBA lesson at Sandals about how to rid my lungs of air and a lunch of Coke Zero, it zipped.

Of course after about 1/2 hour I lost feeling in my feet and I think I saw a baby hand signaling SOS fly out of my crotch when I went to the bathroom later, but at that moment victory was mine.

I was feeling pretty damn good about myself until the drive home when I looked at the party picture that was taken of Nick and me when we arrived.  I mean... I know I'm pregnant and all, but Jesus. 

My boobs looked like two dead catfish stuck to my chest and my arms looked like two trash bags filled with cake batter.  And don't get me started about my chins, which have now completely wrapped themselves around my face.  Good lord. 

A single picture unleashed a chain reaction of depression about what's happened to my body, which was never really that great to begin with.  A single picture that is now rotting at the bottom of a landfill with no one to talk to except the empty container of icing sharing its trash bag home. 

I tried to think of my awesome kids, about how they are worth it.  Think back to the frustration and despair I felt when we were trying to get pregnant with Ellie.  But every positive thought just morphed itself into a giant stretch mark pointing to the cellulite which has now creeped all the way down to my knees.

It feels so narcissistic to get all upset about what pregnancy has done to my body.  And by pregnancy I mean existing on a diet of Chick Fil-A and pumpkin cupcakes.  The actual pregnancy can only be blamed for 60% of this damage. 

I guess the happy ending here is that once baby #3 comes I won't actually have time to eat and my once mediocre figure will be back before you know it. 
      

While I'm away...

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It's official.  December 6th at 11:30am the red curtain (aka my uterus) will part and Mayer Child #3 will make his or her debut onto planet earth. 

While I'm spending my 5-day vacation in Percocetville catching up on celebrity gossip, Nick will have a lot of one-on-one time with the girls.  A thought which makes me a little uneasy considering when I left for a girls' weekend in August I came back to find about 40 Hershey's wrappers in the trash and noticed Ellie had developed a permanent eyebrow twitch.

Also I'm sure you all remember that other time I came home to find he had safety pinned my baby to the sheet while she slept to protect her from SIDS.   

So I thought it might be beneficial to leave him with a list of helpful reminders.  A public list of helpful reminders so I have some sort of legal leverage should something go terribly wrong. 

1.  I don't care if they are baby teeth "and they're just going to fall out anyway."  Brush them.  Twice a day.  With a toothbrush.  And toothpaste.  Lila loves to have her teeth brushed.  Ellie can get a little squirrly sometimes about brushing her teeth and occasionally we have to do it "the hard way":  First, sit on the toilet stool and wrap your legs around her hips so as to render her immobile.  With your left hand, pin her arms down while you lock her head into place between your ear and shoulder, making sure to pinch her nose shut with your chin, blocking the airway good and tight.  Once her mouth opens and she gasps for air, brush like hell.   

2.  Comb Ellie's hair every morning.  I usually do this after the brushing of the teeth because if you do in fact have to brush the teeth the hard way it will inevitably mess up her hair as she tries to wriggle free to breathe.

3.  I know they think it's the !most fun ever!, but please don't run around the grocery store pushing the cart up and down the aisles like a NASCAR ass hole.  The grocery store has become my primary channel for a social outlet and many days the workers provide my only adult interaction.  I've worked very hard over the past two years to establish a reputation there for myself and I don't want it tarnished because you accidentally plow over some old lady.

4.  Dance practice is in the living room from 3pm - 4pm.  No exceptions.  Lila has a lot of work to do on that booty slap.

5.  You know that thing you do where you hold them upside down by their ankles behind your back and swing them around and I always say "please please please for the love of Christ stop doing that you're going to give me a heart attack?"  Yeah, don't do that. 

6.  Open all pieces of mail.  If something has an envelope inside it usually means you're going to have to do something with it.  First, log on to our bank account and click 'online banking.'  You know what?  Forget it.  Just bring these pieces of mail to me when you visit.

7.  Sesame Street is on at 9.  You're probably going to want to feel like drinking vodka about 15 minutes in.  But you can't because there's a good chance you're going to run out of milk at some point during the day and have to drive to the grocery store.  If you can, try to wait to drink until 4pm.  Now that daylight savings time is over you can usually trick them into going to bed at 5:30.

8.  Lila says 4 words and does 1 sign - down, yeah, vitamin, yellow and signs more.  At first I thought her choices foolish and impractical.  Personally, I would have opted for something more self-serving or at least helpful, like please give me food (middle finger sign), or the house is burning (loud whistle).   However, you'll find that observing the context and paying close attention to her varied inflections these 4 words pretty much cover all the bases.

I could go on for days but really, this is all just gravy.  I would be thrilled beyond belief to come home and find they're both alive and in one piece.  That's really all I can ask of myself each morning when I wake up.  I consider each day a victory if someone didn't swallow a penny or starve to death.

This is my last pregnancy and I can't go through this again to make any replacements.   

Another one bites the dust

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Over the weekend we completed the last of the necessary evils to prepare for Mayer child #3.  We bought a mini van.

My 7-year covert mission, Operation Trap Nick, is now complete.


She's a beaut, huh? 

The whole experience was surreal, especially the part where I abandoned Sissy Spacek, my Honda Accord and vehicular partner of eight years, naked and stripped of her license plates alone in the dealership parking lot.  I'm sure the sales guy will keep his promise that she'll go to a good home. 



When I informed my friends of our decision to buy a mini van, the looks on their faces was equivalent to me telling them that sometimes I like to eat kitten brains for dinner.  

One by one they each tried to talk me out of it and convince me that an SUV with third row seating would do the trick.  An option we did consider, but with three car seats the SUVs weren't wide enough for me to easily maneuver my child bearin' hips to the back. 

Also, the mini van's automatic doors and low floorboard were pretty appealing features, right up there with listening to NPR on the sweet surround sound while wearing my snowman sweatshirt making a late night grocery store run for milk.  

When I explained this to my friends they all lowered their heads and whispered solemnly, "Well, I guess you're right.  I'm sorry.  At least it's not forever." 

As Nick and I drove out of the parking lot Saturday night with that old familiar "I don't know what just happened in that negotiation room but I'm pretty sure I've been ass raped" feeling, I felt like more of a grown up than I did when I had Ellie.        

20-year-olds do have babies.  20-year-olds do not drive mini vans. 

Somehow it seemed fitting that the song on the radio as we drove home was Hits From Da Bong.  We just sort of drove in silence while Cypress Hill reminded us of a life for which we were now entirely too uncool. 

Driving Ellie to pre-school this morning with this beast strapped to my back I felt like I had completed a rite of passage.  Right or wrong, just like owning a Jaguar or Harley there is a stigma associated with owning a mini van.  

I'm sensible.  I value convenience.  I'm probably not drunk.  I drive a car with a hallway because I have a shit load of kids.

I can already feel the van starting to take over my soul.  Now if you'll excuse me I need to go hot glue something.             




Somewhere between 35 and 36

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This morning I had my 35 week ultrasound to make sure the baby is growing properly and help determine a date for the c-section. 

I had an inkling this little fella (or whatever the female variation of fella is... fanny?) was on the larger side, mainly due to the sensation of a combine harvester crushing my spinal discs together every time I attempt to walk, get up off the floor or make a desperate and panicked leap into oncoming traffic.

Oh, and there's also this... The Stomach That Stops People Dead in Their Tracks and Elicits Comments Everywhere We Go:

 

Meet queso. 

Weighing in at 8 pounds, measuring 40 1/2 weeks and femur bones that are off the chart, its interests include:  insulin shots, writing pointed letters to airline management for insisting it buy two seats on a flight to Orlando and licking mayonnaise off the game controller while simultaneously defeating its own World of Warcraft high score.

For the first time since I found out I was pregnant I was thanking God that this baby isn't coming out my business end. 

Of course my relief was quickly replaced by concern for the baby's health, and this afternoon as I washed down my McDonald's #1 with a chocolate milk shake I wondered if there was something I could have done differently to put this baby in a healthier weight class.

After finishing off last night's leftover mashed potatoes I decided probably not, and I shouldn't be stressing myself out with such thoughts.

I saw the nurse practitioner after my appointment, who will share my chart with J.T. and we'll get a date scheduled next week.  All she said, after a sympathetic laugh, was that I'm definitely not making it to my due date.

At this rate I don't even know if I'll make it to tonight.  I think I can feel this thing scratching at my tonsils with its toenails.     



Grimace

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This morning I woke up and my life flashed before my eyes. 

Not the life that I've already lived, mind you, filled with free will and pancakes fast food drive throughs.  But my future life.  My future life making license plates, do-it-yourself tattoos and avoiding prison gang rape. 

Ellie was gone. 

I vaguely remembered her coming into my room around Why Oh Why Are You Awake O'clock asking to watch cartoons.  And like any good Mom I told her the cartoons were still sleeping, rolled over and went back to my awesome dream that my sister-in-law married a pro wrestler which resulted in me frequently turning up looking fabulous in the pages of Us Weekly.  I also vaguely remembered her crawling in bed with me right before I drifted off.

I woke up a few hours later to an empty bed and silence.  Which was bad.  Real bad. 

What I should have woken up to was the sound of a 2-year-old emptying her Diaper Genie into a dresser drawer or a certain someone jumping up and down in her bed in an attempt to catapult through her window to freedom. 

I leaped out of bed, which is not an easy feat considering my back has passed the point of no return and getting out of bed usually takes about 20 minutes, a Clydesdale and a biting stick. 

I pushed through the pain, forcing one foot in front of the other, and in a very Grimace like fashion flailed my arms in circles on either side of me to help propel me forward. 

She wasn't in her bed or in her room.  Or anywhere upstairs.  I hobbled (pants-less, mind you - I also vaguely remembered kicking them off last night because this belly becomes an inferno after 2am) downstairs. 

My frantic screams of "ELLIE!" as I limped from room to room were met with silence.  I ran, breathless, into the playroom, where she was laying calmly on her stomach doing a puzzle.

"What are you doing?"  I asked, acting as cool as possible while trying not to pass out from a combination of pain, panic and eating nothing but Halloween candy for the past 17 hours. 

"Playing with blankie,"  She said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. 

"Oh, okay,"  I said, clutching my chest and getting into the fetal position. 

Then I had an idea. 

"Hey,"  I asked, lifting my head off the carpet.  "Wanna learn how to make pancakes all by yourself?"
 




Chocolate Rain

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So last Thursday I experienced two awesome "firsts":

1.  Ellie vomited for the first time.  I knew this day would come - I just didn't expect it to be in the middle of St. Louis Bread Company and completely coat me in regurgitated chocolate milk.  From collar bone to knee, yo. 

The worst part about it is that I was wearing my "special" maternity pants and really hoping I could avoid washing them for the next 6 weeks because I don't know if they'll survive a trip through the laundry. 


2.  A mere matter of hours after cleansing myself from the liquid demon, I got to put on my fab Halloween costume 


and head down to the annual Coolfire Media party with my friends Dan and Angie and meet Young M.C.

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As you can see, by "meet" I mean avoid his terrified look of panic as he motioned for security as I rushed onto the stage to put myself upon him.  I did this despite the fact that I had been having contractions all day long and promised Nick I wouldn't dance on the stage like I did last year with Tone Loc.  

Snookie, by the way.  The answer to your question is Snookie.

As usual the party was off the chain and for a few short hours I forgot all about that one time when I was wiping someone else's vomit out of my crotch, which I couldn't see by the way, because my huge pregnant belly was obstructing my view.

The entire duration of the party I was showered with attention and had many interesting conversations, including:

Man:  Is that a real baby belly?

Me:  Yes, sir! 

His Wife:  What the hell are you doing asking her that?  What if it wasn't and she were just really fat?  She would be pissed!

Ahem. 

Despite my temporary escape from reality, my life station came catapulting back to me in the form of contractions that were getting more painful and closer together as the night went on.  I was beginning to think the running man was possibly not the best choice in 8-months-pregnant activity.

My friend Angie and I stayed for the next act, Rob Base, but I began to fear the baby was going to come sooner rather than later so we left before the final show, which happened to be Coolio.  When I was complaining to my sister about missing Coolio she said, "well, if you'd a had that baby there it definitely would not have been Coolio."

True.

By the time I got home, washed what is probably toxic fetus brain paint off my belly and laid down, the contractions were every two minutes.

Nick seemed especially concerned.

Me:  I've had 6 contractions in 10 minutes!  I'm getting a little freaked out.

Nick:  Well, let's just wait a little longer before we zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Me:  Nick?  NICK?  Did you just fall asleep?

Nick:  No - I TOLD you I'd rake the yard tomorrow.  Now pass the salt.

I was on my own.  Luckily now that I was laying down and not busting out my best 90's dance moves with a box tied around my neck they calmed down.

Though I'm pretty sure the baby is going to come out completely terrified of anything with a back beat.