Due-waah-Diddy Date and the BeBop Baby Blues: Beyond D-Date to Say Hiyah Chayah

As 39 weeks faded into Full Term Forty, Ms. Adella Misunderstands the lack of progress in Friday appointments, falls into a spell, and nearly has her very own home birth, before a grand event and a changed world for the DINKs-no-More. A week of parenthood and nobody's dead yet... or are they??

Doobeeedooobeee Due Date 

Haloo the Big Four-Oooooh. 

I find the whole concept of "due date" strange. At least insofar as the "due date" is technically the apex of a range of likely dates. Meaning that only 50% of women give birth by their due date. Calling somebody "late" or "past due" when she's going with 50% of those who birth afterwards just suggests that at least we should revise that to "fashionably late to the labor party" if she gives birth in the latter half of the well-accepted window between 39 weeks and 41 weeks+6 days. I guess, technically medical sorts don't call "after the due date" late just yet. I'm ok to take this right up and abutting 42 to prove some kind of point here. 

But, well, either way. We're arrived at "the big day!"

I am not currently in labor. That could change. Quite rapidly indeed. Or over the course of several hours to weeks. Who can say? Babies do not keep very organized schedule books and change plans quite spontaneously. 

I feel like it's a milestone nonetheless - I am FULL TERM. And therefore it's PARTYTIME!!! Or "hang out at work until my upcoming Obstetrics appointment and then hang out at work some more time!!" Which is longhand for "party" of course. 

At forty weeks, my wee one is pretty much baby-sized, although we can add one last watermelon or pumpkin to the mix.

 I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to Halloween this year. Infant costumes! So many options! All so cute!! We were thinking maybe a bat this year, since we tend to think of her as a creature , one which is hanging upside down in my inner caverns at the moment. 

And even if an infant is way too little to really participate in Halloween, having one is still an excuse to maybe actually celebrate myself. Maybe. If I'm not too terrified of goblin germs infecting my precious little incunabula. But new moms... costumes... I see potential for some kind of madness. 

Speaking of new mothers and meet ups, I participated in my very first babysitting co-op experience. Kind of a sweet deal, really. Claudia - the other member of the group who is still pregnant as opposed to fully mommified - had offered to watch a baby in the group, but suggested it might be easier to have another mom. I suggested that two almost-moms makes a right and offered to co-sit. 

Turned out that (1) baby Miles is ridiculously amiable, (2) Claudia is great with babies, (3) Claudia's husband Bill was also there and is also great with babies, (4) I basically got to sit around grabbing cute baby feet and being treated like a well cherished houseguest for a good two hours. All around, sort of a score. 

I still suspect that babies ultimately like me a lot, but don't dig the way I hold them. Or maybe I just have a tendency to pick them up just when they're starting to fuss (and maybe bop their heads on their little mobiles while attempting to do so). Guessing I'll figure out how to do that better (or better my timing) when the beastie arrives and I've had more time with them. Maybe. Or maybe I'll just wrap our little baby to me as needed and allow Andrew to be the "other baby" holder. 

At any rate, as of my but D-Date, I have a 9% chance of going into labor today. current probability of 7-8% for going into labor on any given day in the next week. And a 56% chance of going into labor within that week... So if by "due" we mean "do you really think you're ready 'cuz you'd better be" then I think we've hit it. Then again. That implies that there's a 44% chance I won't go into labor in the next week! Which is not entirely slim. Statistics how I love you and loathe you. 

And ultimately find you irrelevant despite feeble attempts to garner a sense of control through predictability. Ultimately I'm just going to chill and see where the body oddities take me. And apply more cream to my thoroughly overstretched belly. Because it's getting itchy here!

Happy Friday all!!

Houston We Have a Watermelon!

We have a baby! 

Chaya Lindsey Wright is 6.10 lbs and 19.5 inches and does not need around when she decides to be born. I was 9.5 centimeters dilated when I came in

After the due date check up I was certain we were a week out. I even had an ultrasund and stress test scheduled for the 21st. Just surreal how quickly it all happened.

 I'd had a pretty uncomfortable evening on her due date. My mom can attest to an increasingly distracted mood as back pangs started to get more and more vigilant. Still I figured it was just a pulled muscle, and some irritation after the cervical exam. Assuming it would fade, I mostly tried to follow the books and keep distracted. The evening was fairly difficult, in that I woke at very regular intervals to experience these pangs, then would manage to drift back to sleep. Admittedly I started to wonder if this was at least false labor. But again, I shrugged and figured it was probably just some kind of bug or something. 

In the morning, I was hell bent on keeping up with the day right until I had to curl up on the couch and yoga breathe between contractions. I even brought up snacks and coffee for a regular weekend morning with Andrew. Not that I could even sit in the bed with him, being so uncomfortable that I chose to kneel forward instead. Not being one to assume more than informed, Andrew hoped I felt better but didn't make too much of it other than to cuddle with me as I lay a bit on my side trying to ignore the discomfort. Later in the morning, Andrew decided to stay in because I said I just couldn't tell if this would go anywhere. He was down in the basement with his bikes while I finally started trying to time contractions. This was after my mom had dropped by to pick up some mail and became fairly certain that I was laboring. She didn't quite insist on this to me, but told me that she would be coming back soon. By noon, I wasn't totally sure I was in labor (crazy pain, yes, but since it was a back labor, I was sure it wasn't a contraction or that I was timing them wrong) until a bit before going in. At which point I was sure I was timing them wrong because they were coming at 2-3 minutes apart. 

Andrew was a little dazed and confused when I texted him downstairs that we should probably call in now. My mom was already there and they got most of our stuff together before driving me in. A that point I was polite to the outside world, but mostly burrowed into my own head and just starting to moan through the pain. 

Hour and half!  Most of this was spent at pre-admission with me hunched over and moaning guttural warrior noises in the waiting area, and then almost collapsing in the triage bathroom unsuccessfully trying to (1) figure out the hospital gown, (2) produce a urine sample. Gave up on both and finally got checked with the gown tied around my waist! I was sure they'd tell me to go home and wait longer. Instead, the triage nurse said "huh I can't find the cervix" and they were wheeling me into delivery murmuring in awe at the rarity of it all and something about my pain threshold. 

Nobody had our birth plan, but it didn't matter. I went on my hands and knees for a while at my OB's suggestion. All that talk about interventions, positions, soothing and being able to walk around... not super relevant. Sort of like most of our hospital go-bag, which wasn't opened until late last night (darn, and I made an awesome labor playlist too).

 The nurse said if I felt the urge to push, I could go ahead, and I followed her recommendations. Pretty soon, she got a look on her face and said "whoooah, um lets try to hold off for a sec," and went looking for the doctor. Andrew helped deliver and I actually saw our little fuzzy coneheads coming out over the last several pushes! Daddy keeps saying things like how we "lucked out" and what an "easy labor" it was. Mommy begs to differ and points out the several nurses who passed by muttering things about pain tolerance, the popped capillaries in her eyes/chest/face, and the bruises on her legs where she held them back. Daddy gets a pass this week, but future proclamations about "easy labor" will maybe seek to recreate what mommy just went through here. Because it was fast and furious to say the least. But oh so worth it. 

Now our lives have officially changed with no going back! Goodbye sleep, but hello overwhelming love and unfathomable adventure!

Into the Baby-Abyss! Homecomings and Happy Hormones

Despite some panic, hewing, hemming and double checking that this was indeed the properly tagged baby to send us out with, the birthing center released us into the wilds of Wrightlandia with our very own Chaya-creature. 

The ride home was... somehow... easier than the ride in. Shorter. Less full of reality rending road bumps. And Andrew was no longer insistent on trying to ask his moaning Missus about how to adjust various settings on her car in a semi-snit of judgmental preference for his Pathfinder. Moanin' Missus also was not climbing onto the ceiling of the car via the hand strap over the window on the return trip, but instead staring adamantly at the little beastie in that ever so meticulously installed carseat.

And home. Home, sweet slightly ransacked and thoroughly upended home. We seemed to have left in something of a hurry on baby;s birthday. Or so I can surmise from the moldy tea on the couch, the inches of maternity detritus that had been thrown from the hospital bag on our way out the door, and the smoldering reek of the coffee that had been brewing into a solid ash of coffee that would make Turkish coffee seem effete.

Andrew conquered his first dirty diaper to be followed by several more. Fanfare and trumpeting has lent way to seasoned laughter as meconium evolves into the less clingy more colorful and certainly more prolific baby paste. In tandem with his diaper mastery, my birthday bosom arrived in swellings on Monday evening. It is now a buxom baby dairy just in time for little Chaya to turn ravenous boob Beastie. Nearly hourly feedings in Monday night's first home return and we have most certainly entered that peculiar limbo land of kid time. 

For instance, we slept in yesterday but there seemed no reason that the day would not accommodate two recovery walks and at least as many mommy naps. In non-kid time there wouldn't have been. As it was, after formally waking around nine, we had almost made it out of several feedings at 11:30 when Molly texted asking if stopping by with little three month Lucy would be OK.

 Ok we actually got out of bed shortly before she arrived when I rallied from my feeding stoop, located pants from a pile in the landing and decided that a baby in a boba wrap was more than sufficient as a shirt. We had plenty of time still after she had to go and pick up Emma. Plenty of time when mombossa came by with lunch and handily decorated the place in birthday finery while Chaya fussed over alternating boobs. 

Plenty of time after we were left alone again. Plenty of time when Andrew changed a great poopy diaper. Plenty when he changed for a run and then took Chaya from me so i could locate a bra and a shirt. And we almost made that walk at 2:30... Which was inevitably when boob Beastie Started smacking her little lips and rooting until mommy took everything back off and sat back down and commenced the feed. Then there was napping rooting fussing time and another boob and it was three. We made one walk. Just barely before Chaya's first pediatrician appointment. 

There had been grand intentions of bringing a diaper bag but we just managed to strap a diaper clad fusspot into her carseat, grab a onesie and speed on... Once the 4:30 appointment had moved past paperwork, it was, of course, time to feed again. And again after we returned home and grandpa Ian brought us frozen meals and witnessed Chaya debut her new trick- peeing on daddy once he's removed an offending diaper. She topped this last night by starting with a midnight diaper, peeing on daddy after he'd started the second diaper, waiting until she'd come back to nursing, and letting loose a rather juicy gastric fling into yet another diaper. She came back from this diaper a belligerent boob brute (all flailing arms and thrashing head) until after she'd spat up as well for good measure. 

Last night continued the trend of "cluster feedings" with a few more dirty diapers for daddy and spit up for all (is it disturbing when baby spittle is the color of nacho cheese?) It's a pretty sure bet that Chaya's preferred evening involves boob-burp-snuggle-snooze-other-boob-rinse repeat. Some people have no appreciation for the awesome innovation of our awesome bassinet.

Mommy is sleep deprived and sore but still under the thrall of these wicked little bonding chemicals. However her English don't work too good for the talking here and now! At least she's mastered the one-handed cell phone use. So much for limiting screen time in front of baby!

Happy whatever day it actually is!

Wolverine Bandicoot and the Big Boobs of Abbadon

So mommy swelled up into a pretty decisive " guess none of my pre-maternity clothes are going to fit again after all " stacked and buxom. She is adjusting with the help of several sports tops, nursing bras, and lots of suspicious starting at her visage in mirrors. In response to this little birthday surprise, Chaya picked up her feedings. We're now at something like deranged badger baby. She is giving her daddy all kind of shocking diapers and baptismal piss-poo-spit up incidents. He's adjusting beautiful and we are both laughing about it... so far.

Except for one two hour spell yesterday afternoon (after which she fed for an hour straight), it's been "feed for twenty, pass out/poop/pee, move to next boob in a ravenous frenzy, and begin again" for the last thirty plus hours. I'm not saying it's her intention, but I do have to point out that these are sleep deprivation torture tactics. This morning I am feeling so relieved that she will occasionally give me a while forty minutes of straight sleep. It's a qualitative difference when you cross a half hour, truly. 

I'm still not feeling the exhaustion as much as I likely ought to, but it's coming. So far my maudlin moments have mostly been of the teary-eyed (to outright dripping) moments of wonderment when the little tyrant is resting solidly between mommy's Monts Ventoux and I am getting so incredibly moved by her sheer existence. Yesterday morning, it was a thank you note to Dr. Cho (of Seattle reproductive) written one-handed with enough sniffles to wet both mommy and baby. See that sleep deprivation works. Definite Stockholm syndrome. 

But yes. The new normal involves several little spells of twenty minute naps for a cumulative sleep of something I daren't tally. Because I'm on tap for some time, and its not likely to let up soon. 

They call it "cluster feeding"although cluster f-ing mommy seems a little more likely. There's a point to the whole cruel cycle, so they say. Essentially, my breasts make as much supply as baby demands. We're very Keynesian, we post partum women. And demand is best felt through that lanolin lathered nip and owie. Since Chaya is on her way towards tripling her birth weight in the first year alone and is working from a poor partum deficit, all the suckling is a big old telegraph to mommy's body to make those Dolly Ps even bigger.

 Don't know how such a little thing eats so much! But that complements some of her grander diaper table demonstrations in which I can't imagine how she produces such streams of yellowish fluids. 

Incidentally, because all you can focus on say times like these are baby's main pursuits, new motherhood is also about the undying fixation on the magical mysteries under each little newborn diaper. And, yes, I will say things like " yay Chaya!"in full earnest when her daddy reports that her current diaper looks like Indian curry... That one kind that's yellow that he can't remember the name of. That maybe looks like - as some baby site put it - mustard mixed with cottage cheese! Yes, yes, Chaya, your baby book shall have reference to your fifty shades of crapola condiments, because although I'm batshit under your thrall right now, I still fully expect revenge on my future teenager... Never you worry!

This morning, Chaya is a whole five days old! It's so strange to realize that a week ago I was still pregnant and expecting to be so for some time. My belly almost immediately deflated after birth and I'm slowly regaining innie-status. As expected, I currently have the dreaded diastasis recti (basically the abs got separated and weak). When you have DR, you are supposed to avoid all motions that stretch or twitter the abdominals. That includes planks, yoga stretches, crunches, etc. Oh and heavy lifting. Meaning the last thing I should be doing probably is lifting up from bed in a jack knife holding our little baby. But there really is no other way to get her and me out of bed! Hopefully those abs knit back together. I had such a great core. 

Of course I'm still recovering from the birth, which does a number on the body. My bathroom is a terrifying chamber of medical products.And using the bathroom is a complex protocol falling barely shy of CDC standards in the face of full scale outbreak. Despite walking for hours a day right up until birth, I'm not able to take more than a thirty minute walk without falling into extreme discomfort. It's weird being this inactive but since I'm on call to sit with the baby and the boppy so often, I guess it works out. My poor tush is not loving it.

Downsides aside, not being pregnant has its reliefs. There is that healthy beautiful child thing. The understanding that you no longer have to obsess over the coming labor. And flame ears have been quenched. Especially since I can't be very active, I've actually become the one who finds 77 degree rooms ,'not bad.' It was Andrew who suggested we hang it in the air conditioned bedroom yesterday! Granted it also helps that I've given up on clothing for the most part (a boba baby wrap IS a shirt damnit). But I've mostly left the fans off and the air conditioning in the bedroom is pointed away from me and set at 72. I even turn it off and open a window at night. My little boob beast was a thorough flame ball it appears. I also seem capable of sweating again, something that answered near the end if my pregnancy, perhaps cause or perhaps effect of constantly having and toweling myself with come water. It's strange either way

And sleep? Who needs that? Coffee on the other hand...

Enfamil Baby Crack and the Vitamin D-bacle.

Another day, another nonstop roller coaster rip roaring through the land of milk and "honey, Chaya made a nice stinky diaper just for daddy!!!"

The overnight viand vigil has persisted into day with some sincerely snoozy parents. Setting up for a very full (date I day engorged day)

Some were snoozier than others. Everyone advises the new daddy that since he cannot actually breastfeed, his early role might be to support the bosom bearer better than her nursing bra, doing all those things for her that she can't do while laid up with baby duties: grab her food and snack, help clean and cook, bring the baby to her... Naturally it stands to reason that "sleeping in an extra couple of hours... For her" counts as well.

But, no, as much as parental leave threatens to permanently undo all the work done to adjust hubba-hubby to morning personhood, it's best to have the cumulative sleep debt to the lowest possible minimum.

I did sleep in a bit, if such concepts as "bedtime" and "getting up" make any sense in this context. But I had a harder time staying in bed after so many conscious feeds and a well mustered appetite. Oh and Molly had texted me that she'd be dropping off big sister Emma at gymnastics and could drop by with Lucy around ten. 

I planned to be up, dressed and fed by the time Molly arrived. Well laid plans. Of course the boob-Beastie had different designs on her morning. Just as I was about to wrap her on and start the morning, BWAAARP ... Fresh diaper required. I usurped slumbering daddy's usual role in the name of expedience, dealing diapers and strapping the Chaya beast into her boba before the inevitable post-diaper boob call.

She was not amused at this little jumble of lettering, beginning her new favorite head butting root by the time I'd located pants and started the coffee. I resigned to my fate before breakfast was finished, but remained able to at least (1) unlock the door for Molly (2) grab some lukewarm coffee. Chaya stayed pretty permanently attached during most of Molly's visit, finally yielding herself to the boba as Molly left and mombossa arrived bearing take out lunches and some extra grocery items. No that's an exaggeration. She spent a lot of that time thrashing, falling off, fussing over having fallen off and otherwise beating delicate exposed skin with her little knees. 

She is not super sociable sometimes. I'm afraid Lucy might find her a dull playmate, but Lucy seems pretty able to amuse herself and any one else around her. Amazing that Lucy's only a few month's Chaya's elder. She is so qualitatively more baby and less newborn!

I should give credit, Miss Monster stayed tucked in her boba long enough for the first of Adella's oh so ambitious post-partum walks around the neighborhood and an actual ingestion of lunch!

I would pay for it later, of course, as we neared nap time and extra feedings stretched into the hours range, but shockingly she managed to stop long enough for me to head up for a forty minute nap (the indulgence!). This was a nap begun shortly before Andrew's dad and grandfather came by and a nap truncated when Andrew woke me bearing a thrashing little boob Beastie.

And that follow-up feeding session took roughly another ice age while Chaya spurned yet more of our guests to alternate between boob and diaper change. I did eventually get to come downstairs and see said guests. I even got a second walk on the trails with them before the evening's excitement.

Which was... Exciting. 

So vitamin d supplements for babies. Our doctor prescribed the "new standard" recommendation. It comes in a bottle and is fed to baby with a dropper syringe. Other than the vitamin d, it is basically sugar (well glycerin) water. Despite my stated skepticism, we tried the surprisingly hefty dose after a feed. 

The syringe of sticky D-goo emptied into a sleepy milked-out mouth. Within a taste, baby's eyes shot open and her little body jolted into a greedy consciousness. The whole dosage did not make it into her mouth, forming a preemptive drool down her tacky cheeks...

Straight sugar frenzy ensued. I expect to find our baby tomorrow covered in donut dust and freebasing Twinkies. Seriously, she was tweaked the frig out! For a good hour or two after the incident, our sleepy little milk guzzler was bug eyed and twitching. And she did not care for it. She spat up extensively at her post dosage diaper change. During dinner, she began to rock back and forth, root with a Metallica head bang, whimper, and try to scratch her way through her patent's chests towards yet another feeding after two more diaper changes. 

Perfect timing for her first video chat with her grandma Lisa. Really our baby is not some kind of fiend... Ok she is but usually not this kind of fiend. She was too upset to eat for an hour or two, although she continued to try in increasing frustration. Finally I decided all that bashing and smacking was getting nowhere and we just went ahead and finished dinner with the little tweaker buried in the boba. 

Thank god, she did start to mellow out. And eventually she was able to eat. A lot. Stress eating herself into a full on stupor. Though not one to leave well enough alone, she managed to make up for lost cluster feeds with a good hour of satisfied demands! and then by following me up to bed and demanding yet another hour of solid come-down juice. 

Yes in my head I envision little Beastie floating towards me up the stairs, mouth first and leading D-drop spit up... Like ghostbusters or the exorcist (depending on how much sugar D is in her little system at any given time). In reality, daddy might have aided and abetted.

Following a long respite (just an eensy bit over an hour so maybe a full fifty minutes of sleep), I woke up to the murmur of stirring baby. As I emerged from the lower oceans of consciousness, a wet sensation on my right arm bloomed. Oh lord, I thought, did I leak? Drool? Oh no, a moment of semi-conscious panic, the baby! I've slept on the baby! In actuality, it was a piece of gum that had mushed into the milk stained pillows. While gross, no doubt, it is a fair relief and a sign that deeper sleep then those thirty minute windows are just asking for trouble.

She relented a bit this last overnight, giving me a handful of hour long breaks. Because all things are relative, I feel pretty darned energized and awake as a result. Going to carpe the heck out of this day. Well I will once the gremlin is done with this feed. Really. 

Watermelon Watoosie: Somebody Left the Colostrucake in the Inaccessible Garage

In the Thirty-Eighth Week Wrap-up, THE END inched ever nearer without making any tangible commitments or appointments. Nephews battled in maritime arenas, while the Bay of Bellingham fell quiet in their absence. Torrid torments truncate tantalizing trysts in the matrimonial chambers of fire and ice. And Rhubarb (W)right ached for revenge on the inanimate objects that railed against her. Soon... soon... she muttered, biding her time. 

As 39 eclipses in a Full Term window blaze of glory (and unseasonably warm weather), doors stay hinged while evenings unhinge and "it would figure" factors fret on laborious loomings. Nephews zip-line back to battles with a steely Cross-fit cross-stitch father. Monkey madness as little watermelons flail and sock-monkey bring cozy quilted goodness from afar. And the final countdown unsteadily trembles through a murky mire of uncertain maybes with succulent sweetness for every "last" that precedes the unknown future. And cake. Chocolate. Smooshy ooey gooey chococolostrocake for the big birthdays to come!

Having My (lactation?) Cake and Eating it Too on Thursday

Well we've inched up to a 3.7% probability of spontaneous labor. As if - I am so not the spontaneous type... except when I am... and usually chocolate cake is involved...

... is chocolate cake involved? Can I have some birthday cake to celebrate my kiddo's zeroeth birthday? Will somebody fetch me a nice thimble of post-partum champagne and a slice of chocolate cake? We can sing to her if she'd like. I'm not sharing the cake with her. At least not before processing it through some very complicated biological means and turning it into colostrucake (mmmmm mmmm, Lady Gaga's next commercial venture? Great for the lactose intolerant!)

Well that derailed quickly! 

That's me again on my first birthday. As you can see, I've always been a dainty little one with fastidiously healthy dietary ways. All I can say is I'm glad that I apparently was prevented from eating the cake with the candle still on it. But I worry for that dress. Some stains just don't come out. 

Yesterday gave me a titillating taste of Pacific Northwest autumn. Quite surreal to go from a scorchingly sunny upper eighties to pluvial barely-60 awash in cinereous cumuli. But oh so pleasant. As it would turn out, I am most comfortable donning a tank top in a cozy "room temperature" of roughly 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything warmer - say like being at a restaurant during date night - and my ears will still flush up with magma. But at least the flush-face was quelled with some open windows, splashes of cold water, and minimal clothing for the remainder of the otherwise lovely evening.

Really, I hope I can go back to "always a little cold" after this birthing thing. I miss my pink flannel robe and heated slippers! In the meanwhile, I'll just appreciate those occasionally cool days and praise all powers that be and that are not for the existence of air conditioners. 

Like the one still on full power in my office right now! Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'll be working right up until I go into labor. These machines are miraculous. 

Happy Thursday all. May all chocolate cake smoosh well into your eager maws!

March of the Mini-Watermelon Full-Figured Termier Than ACOG Term Today

I'm at 39 weeks today, which is a window within a window within a window. According to ACOG (American Cheese Oregano and Gorgonzola and/or American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynocology), the optimal window for "full term" is now considered to be between 39 weeks and 41 weeks, 6 days. I'm also March of Dimes approved to give birth to this baby. By their reckoning the baby has developed her crucial organs, has a much bigger head than earlier (poor mommy's nether bits), will likely have significantly lower risk of health problems down the road, will have fewer speech or hearing problems, and will be able to regulate her body temperature better than if I'd tried to squirt out the little squirt earlier. Oh and she should be able to feed like a superstar. All because she's pretty darned comfortable where she is right now and not feeling the slightest bit rushed. 

So, go baby! Today, she is the size of a mini-watermelon and I'm the size of a person who swallowed a watermelon whole and is now digesting it like a snake. More or less. 

The rest is kind of same old same old - be ever vigilant for signs labor. But realize it'll probably be false labor the first several times. Thank god for Facebook forums. The number of questions women have asked on my Bellingham-Bellies-Summer-2015 group indicates what I keep protesting is accurate: labor isn't necessarily obvious... until it is. But for hours to days before the big moment, you're going to be plagued with doubts. That is unless you're one of those exceptional few who have the advantage of both hindsight and very clear physical signals. This does not appear to be the norm, so enjoy it if you are. 

And I'm on it. I'm looking. Mostly what I see are baby knees protruding out of my belly. And while I am starting to have more recognizable contractions, these are typically drowned out by the "holy crap, little creature just rammed her entire head into my pelvic area and my bladder may have just officially receded into my abdomen!" With a side of "oh god, there snaps another ligament!" if I move too quickly. 

My exam this morning was uneventful. Still "starting to open" and healthy, but otherwise nothing looming. No "oh my lord, I see the baby's head, get this lady into the birthing center" or anything like that. She is - as is pretty obvious to me - nice and low and ready to go... when she decides the timing is right. In the meantime, I'm reassured that they don't press induction. After 41 weeks, they run a non-stress test to make sure things are going ok and measure fluids. Then it's kind of up to how much longer the pregnancy can sustain the baby's health. And eventually how desperate I am to get the little belly beastie out of me. But I'm pretty comfortable still and not in a huge hurry to intervene if I don't have to. I may run out of produce metaphors by next week, but I'm sure I can start figuring some out myself if necessary. 

So let the fortnight of uncertainty begin! And praise the powers that be, once more, for plentiful air conditioning!

A Finalish Tuck into DINKy Dreams and Quiet Monkey Business
This be the ultimate weekend before my predicted Doobeeedooobeeedoobeee Date. While of course I could also hold this little monster inside for some time after said due date, there's still a sense of gravitas about such milestones. I have definitely reached the point where every lazy & lingering morning, every quiet night out, every lunch snuck in with friends, and every evening ritual could be the last. There's a sweet sapor to such things. Strange having no idea when all this babyosity will burst onto the scene. Like having a big adorable fluffy dog that will eventually leap out from behind a wall and pin you to the ground with slobbery kisses (and maybe some fleas). I'm simultaneously excited and flinching at every corner-turn.

Yep, little belly creature. Mommy just compared you to a St. Bernard. Fortunately, you are measurably smaller than one so far. Though you've wrought far more havoc on my lower bits than my sister's Emma ever did. 

But well, as I say, it's time to savor each little moment while being excited for the great unknown to come. And to appreciate the fact that I married into a darned talented family. Back in the Pleistocene Era, Andrew's aunt and cousin made us a quilt for our wedding.

When they heard news of the Wrightlette, they decided to make us a complementary quiltlette for our li'l monkey. His aunt asked us if we had any particular color scheme in mind, so I sent her a picture of the bedding we'd inherited from the Falconers. Yesterday the Wrightlette quiltlette arrived! With a new monkey friend and double blankets (one eensy monkey one, and one that will fit a toddler bed some day). 

I almost want to try to use it for myself. If I just used it to cover up my feet (as I'm wont to do these days when 70 degrees is akin to an oven but I just can't set the a/c to 60 in good conscience just for a nice blankety snuggle). 

And I'm happy it made it before the wee one. She may hold on for a while, but she's also starting to make some noise. In addition to the usual aches, pangs, and braton hicks, I had some very strong little somethings across my abdomen earlier today. Granted I was doing a fairly aggressive walk through hilly areas and charges up stairs. It felt like a very strong abdominal side stitch as much as anything, but it was definitely contractioney. Those can start and stop for days, but maybe also just start and keep going. Thinking it might be a good day to mellow out a little bit and drink lots of cool soothing water. 

And begin some pre-parenting ruminations on my path to permanently preoccupied. I'm having a minor conundrum in realizing that many Bellingham moms, including some I might know and might encounter socially or rely on for childcare, are against vaccinations. Honestly, it took me aback a bit to realize how many are, but this is Bellingham. I'm not a raging judgmental person and I respect people's right to chose their own children's medical care (as strongly as I disagree), but... well... it makes me pretty uncomfortable. I am fairly passionately pro-vaccination where no underlying medical condition exists. And I have been making the rounds of all potential baby visitors to ensure that everyone likely to around the little implette in her first six months has been recently vaccinated. I don't want to make a big deal about it, but I'm not sure how much I want to leave my daughter around unvaccinated children until she's old enough (and godwilling healthy and able) to be vaccinated herself. Hoping that my antibodies have passed to her, but I am already mulling the balance between overprotective mom and responsible parent. Can't protect your baby from every sniffle, but... well, whoopping cough kind of sucks. I'm an introvert. Maybe I'll just use this as an excuse to introvert. At least until the immunization schedule picks up. Or wander around with a dart gun and shoot vaccines at unwitting families... 

In more recent concerns, of course, there's "what to do now that the stupid weather has stopped being cool and has gone back to stupid summer." I'm thinking it's time to see if the cleaner has been to the office yet this weekend. Because a/c is highly appreciated right now. We're reaching the point of insufficient fanning here. 

D-Day Week Begins: T he semi-final maybe kinda sorta who knows count-down

According to a rarely accurate (but still useful) formulation, I am four days away from giving birth to my own little bundle of cone-headed joy and meconium! According to our handy-dandy statistics site, this gives me (as of today) a 43% chance of giving birth within seven days, a 30% chance of giving birth in the next 5 days, an 18% chance of giving birth within the next three days and a 6% chance of going into labor today!

Of course statistics can be dangerous little things, since there's no guarantee that any one individual will be on the 99% likely side versus the 1% outlier side of things. And, of course, generic website statistics based on the experience "all pregnant women" may lack the personalization necessary for any semblance of personal accuracy.  

And there may be the risk that one's husband (who admits that he is currently gauging his odds of "having to bail on work this week") might hear a few comments that one has been having increased contractions of a less "practice" variety and is feeling a little less convinced that the baby is going to hold on as long as she can after all, and respond with a reassuring "yeah, but that's not that much different than last week - you had a 20% chance last week and now it's a 30% chance that you'll give birth by Friday!"

Which is fine now, but I'm envisioning some future moment where the baby is crowning and my husband is saying "yeah, but your statistical likelihood of having the baby before I get off work is still only like 40% so don't worry!"

But yes, statistical probabilities for the "average woman" aside, this prelabor thing is a quagmire of uncertainty. Having contractions? Welcome to the party. You could be one of those women who has a few twinges and then rollicks straight into labor. Or one of those who has debilitatingly painful ones for weeks without no progress. Did your water break? Sure you'd know. Unless you're one of those who just leaks amniotic fluid instead. Mucus plug? Maybe. Maybe you see it maybe you don't. And maybe that means get ready for 12 hours of "fun" followed by a lifetime of parenthood. Or maybe it means you might want to get that bag packed before two or three weeks from now.

 Cramps? Was it something you ate? Back pain? Duh, you're pregnant and doing all kinds of weird pre-labor exercises. You're always making your muscles ache. Is that pulling sensation a contraction or just more torn collagen and ligaments from an ever expanding belly? Lord knows! Did they amp up because you overdid it yesterday? Will they go away with rest and hydration? Bloody show (or as it is known in mid-2000's Boston, "Wicked Show")? That's it! For sure! Unless, you just had an exam... or... well...  you know... something else... Child dangling out of your body? Ok, you've just given birth. We're good, cut the cord. 

Nobody can say from moment to moment. Except that there are some statistical chances involved that they are or aren't "the real thing." 

Anyways, mostly (believe it or not), I'm pretty chill. But it does remind me of the early part of pregnancy. There's that first bit where you aren't sure it's going to stick and you're not really sure what all the weird changes going on in your body really signify. Requiring a constant vigil over every single ache, pain, and odd sensation, because any one of them could be the sign of unsticking. Pre-labor is less agonizing. And far less terrifying, despite the heavy portent of what labor signifies. But there are unfamiliar things happening in my body, and these are mixing with some old familiars, and all that pinballs about in my brain with several "what ifs" when they happen. 

So, I'm mostly waffling between assuming the little sprat really will hang on straight until "Labor Day" (baby badinage!!), and wondering if I'll be a mommy tomorrow. I can see why so many women want to self-induce after a few weeks of this. It's a little disorienting. 

Yesterday was a very uncertain day. I overdid it by barrelling through a walk through the Whatcom Falls Park. Or so my body would have me believe. I take the same route every weekend, but it is admittedly one with several intervening stairs and some pretty graded climbs. In my slightly embarrassed way, I was indeed the pregnant woman passing everyone else (with little room to spare). By the last ten minutes, my body had started to indicate that maybe I needed to slow it down. Or sit down. Certainly some of it was straight joint pain mixed with the shocks of baby head ramming into my groin. Some of it was the usual dehydrated and warm Braxton Hicks. Some of it, though, felt like a very powerful side-stretch all across my abdomen. To a point of mild pain. And my stomach was a bit upset. So all that combined together to make the final bit of my walk pretty difficult. I sat for a while and drank a lot, but was feeling crampy and kind of weird for the rest of the day. Suddenly I was questioning my "not feeling close" in many new ways. 

This morning, there are still some lingering shots of abdominal tightness that seem different to me. And my stomach was still a bit unsettled when I woke up. In between these, I feel totally normal and not really all that concerned that today will be much different from any other day. 

Well, except for the inevitable family frenzy. The Falconers returned from Canada on Saturday evening. They're leaving for New Jersey tomorrow. So there will be special times with them today. Unless I go into labor. Which... well you never know!

Well you do at some very certain points. Like if you're not pregnant at all. Or actively pushing in a hospital. There are points. 

Garage a Go-Go

If I lived in a sit-com and/or some kind of quirky indie flick, I would have gone into labor last night. Trust me on this. All the signs were there. I had had sufficient tweaks and twinges through the day to make it all plausible. But more importantly, the timing was absolutely rife with "what a story" potential. 

To lay the groundwork:

Of course, there's the fact that the Falconers are still in town. I spent much of the day with them yesterday, in fact. We convened earlier in the day at the unofficially named "Zipline Park." This is some  new park in the middle of Nowhere, USA, which has found fancy with the nephews. I mean when they're not gnashing their teeth over the injustice of having to (1) go there, (2) remain there, (3) leave there, (4) be anywhere - including there - during the brief interludes between full on rapturous rompings. 

It's fascinating to watch the dynamics unfold when Daddy Ryan is added to the equation. Rachel is definitely a dialectical type. She wants to discuss why behaviors are not cool, what's going on behind those feelings, alternatives to these behavioral expressions of said feelings, and so on and so forth... it can be incredibly instructive and powerful. It can also lead to several hours of bargaining followed by an impromptu tantrum that knows no reason. Just depends on the mood.

Ryan, by contrast, takes the stern and firm approach. Make a decision, bark it loudly, and be willing to enter the endless and combative battle of wills until victory is ascertained or everyone falls asleep from sheer exhaustion. Or, maybe, the two eldest and most vociferously unhappy Falconer boys begrudgingly join Daddy Ryan for a long sit in the car and a drive to the Harbor and back while the rest of the family stays at the park. Because it should be learned that whining repeatedly that you want to leave the park is not an acceptable way to suggest that it is time to move on, and rather makes everyone else feel obliged to stay at the park longer so that there is no reward seen in such behavior. 

The battle of the wills most likely will escalate in fascinating alpha dog ways as Ian enters his teen years. But Ryan's a cross-fitting, urban marathoning, financial guy (who does a mean cross-stitch and may one day finish that wooden canoe he carved out of a tree). I think he's up for some years of competition. And if it means we hang out at the park for a while longer hanging out, I can handle that. 

But yes, day with the Falconers. I reconvened with them later to have dinner with them and Grandpa Ian, who may or may not see me again before I'm with baby (a surreal thought). We returned to the Old Country Buffet. I love that the boys love this place as much as I seem to. I think we've been there several times the last few weeks. I have eaten a small city-state's worth of gardens from their luscious salad bars. 

In the meantime, Boy-toy David apparently texted my mom that he'd been having chest and arm pain and would be spending the evening at the ER. She rushed out there to be with him for most of the evening. Apparently he hadn't thought to eat all day. I offered to bring them food, but he made do with a bag of peanut M&Ms I guess. 

So yes, yesterday I could have given birth surrounded by rabid nephews on wheels with spiky helmets while the rest of the family lingered nearby at the emergency room. Or I could have waited until after I attempted to go home and things didn't quite work out so well. 

No, no, I actually made it home just fine. But then I couldn't get into the garage. The door opener was defunct. I'd thought it needed a new battery and had purchased one before dinner, but this did not seem to have any impact on effectiveness. 

So I got out of the car, walked in the front door, opened the garage door from the inside and drove the car in... to find that the door between the garage and the house was no longer functioning. The door knob locking mechanism had apparently burst between my last use and this attempted use a few minutes later. 

While I walked around and back into the house, Andrew decided to take the door knob out of the inner garage door. Not a bad idea. But in the offing, he first decided to close the outer garage door. Which he did by walking into the garage from the outside, hitting the garage door button inside, and then running back outside. The door didn't close on him, but it essentially guaranteed that unless the door knob could be fixed (or the door vanquished), my car was no longer accessible. And of course, once half of the door knob was installed, he realized that he needed to be on the other side of the door to continue fixing it. I was quite in favor of unhinging the door (anything to get back access to my car). Andrew  continued battling with the door instead. He tried his defunct garage door opener. It did not work. He tried his door opener with the new battery. No luck. 

And yes, the car now trapped in the garage happened to be the only one with a properly installed car seat. And yes they won't let you leave the hospital without proving you have a properly installed car seat to bring the baby home. 

So at that point, I was figuring my next contraction could be THE BIG ONE. Although, for maximum effect, I suppose Andrew's car should have exploded when he first hit the button on his garage door opener. 

Anyways, I actually managed to get one of the remotes to work, and we were able to continue extracting the door knob. And finally, I am back to having a working garage with full-car access. David's tests were fine yesterday though they kept him overnight for observation and will do a stress test this morning (fingers crossed). And the Falconers will be heading out late morning to brave Seattle traffic and hopefully not miss their flight like last year. 

All that talk of statistics and overanalyzing every bizarre body twinge (of which I've developed several in the last day or two) and really I am still predicting labor by the "it would figure" factor. Yesterday was a strong candidate. Today, a little less so. My birthday has potential. Sunday the 16th apparently does as well, since my dad will be at another business conference in Everett... just like he was when my mom went into labor with me! Apparently she was unable to get ahold of him and he came home to a madly laboring wife who had already dropped my sister off with sitters and was not entirely thrilled with her returning Ulysses. He also took scads of photos without realizing that the camera had not been loaded with film to record these photos. 

But for the sake of being nerdy, we're at a 6.2% chance that today is the day, 31.9% that it will be in the next five days, and 45% chance within the week. And I still have about a 6% chance of giving birth on my birthday (next Tuesday)!

Leeky chard in the Dewy Grass: Unbroken Waters in the Mad-Boy-and-Baby Bonanza

As Pre-Term Turns Early Term in the 37th, the demons of diapering dug up chasms of mom-guilt-anxiety, while hugged-trees are huggied into death-throes. The case of the missing junk-in-trunk remains open with few leads beyond the bulging belly. The Cute Shard of Cantaloupe prepares her moat for an onslaught of visitors, while chaotic cousins began the battle. Carseats took the heat at fire stations far and wide. Falls of the Whatcom ways presented no peril for the foolhardy group of visitors. And a very distracted final trek up the Alps for final cycling glories faded in psych-out sessions of food truck deliveries. 

In the 38th week, Volcano-face Wright reels in the deadly spiker-sponge in momentary detente while massage maces are readied for the legendary Nephew Melee 2015. Perilous oceans of grassy uncertainty hit heights in the statistical window, while emergency fruit kits are mentally prepared by frantic fillies Rubbery rhubarb kung-fu babies launching their assaults in the hinterlands. Battling boys down the dew and take their struggles across the ocean. Sleepless evenings in the chamber of fire and ice spark gravid grumps in the morning light. Bursting water mains and mathey moments bring us to the uncertain future of a chillin' work week with options for spontaneous life-altering contraction chaos!

Nephew Wars 2015  and the Battle of the Bumping Belly A Ceasefire on one front while tensions escalate on another

Perhaps this is merely a ruse to lower my guard, but the domestic assault on my baby bump has momentarily reached a standstill. Well, ok, I've opened several doors into myself in the last week, but gently at least. Advice from a preggers pro: Never barge through doors when you have an extra 10 inches around your midsection. It's just ill advised. Always test the waters gradually, and try to hinge from the hips a bit. 

Door aside, however, the perilous hinterlands of countertop edges have settled quietly into a momentary safety. Yesterday, the sponge was tucked gently along the rim itself. Not 100% safe. I certainly spill out over the countertop due to my height and bellyliciousness. But however low the baby is into my bladder, I'm still not "dropped" enough that I actually run into things just near the edge of the counter (again due to my height)... most of the time, anyways. So progress... And then today, the pointy sponge missile was actually safely ensconced inside the sink itself! Victory!! Respite! Belly creature breathed an amniotic sigh of relief (and then started hiccuping like mad, as she does between jail break jiu jitsu on my innards)!

But where war dies, another battle begins. At least this one minimally involves me. I'm mostly the arms dealer in this scenario. Who knew my many massage devices  could be such weapons of mass destruction?? Those foam rollers are lethal, and we'll not speak too much of the back roller mace or birthing/exercise ball bombs. 

Yes, I had guests yesterday! First at the office - largely because I refused to join them at Jimmy John's (a deli type place that turns out to be a national chain, who knew?) on the grounds that (1) it would be hot and (2) there was no food there I'd really like. I did offer that we could meet somewhere shady - er shaded... I leave the shady until after dark. Or at the office. Perhaps the containment of the office appealed more. Not that I failed to burst into face flames nevertheless. If I am not directly in front of air conditioning, I am prone to these silly things and can rapidly go from rosy to raging in a way that will make other blanche and feel very uncomfortable for me/around me. 

But volcano-visage aside, the real show was the boy-on-boy battle raging after lunch and through to my house. There was a brief naval interlude at my condo pool, but I admit to missing that part on the grounds that (1) it was warmer out than I'm comfortable being in, and (2) not matter how soothing that cool pool water might be, any exposure to the sun inevitably results in some kind of heat reaction that also leads to sizzling red skin, (3) indoors has air conditioning.

I only know that no combatant delivered a final quietus to any of his brothers and that Gramma Pam and mommy Rachel survived mostly on the sidelines. Mostly. 

Let nobody say that Adella's house lacks in "toys" as requested by the boys. They might be tools for some, but boy do we have enough to keep the hounds a howlin'. At least for a while before Braden wants to rendezvous with some chickadees at Boulevard for a B'ham play tryst. Sadly the girls weren't actually there as promised, but I hear that much rollerblading and scooting and tiring-out was accomplished. 

Parenting three boys is kind of like playing a videogame in which the main goal is to tire them out before their energy quotients rise to a nuclear level (but not too much lest they get overtired and - as seems to be the going trend - alternate between grumpy outbursts and being totally unable to sleep at night due ironically to an escalating sleep deficit). A constant grab at uneasy equilibrium using whatever tools necessary. At home? Use sports, camps, and extracurriculars. On the road? You'd better find at least three playgrounds before noon. And whatever you do, don't let them go home. Distract at all costs when they request to do so. Take them out for meals. Keep them out between meals. Don't dare rest for a second; be constantly vigilant for flagging moments - they are illusory attempts to gather second winds that will destroy you and all you've built. You may occasionally pick up an extra life or two, but you start with three and that's all you get before you have to start over. So choose carefully. 

At least that's how it looks to me. I'm exhausted hiding out in my room most of the time, so - while I know I'm on the verge of a good several month experiment in extreme sleep deprivation - I'm still glad we're starting with just the one little baby. Who probably lacks coordination to wield my massage stick as a bludgeoning device... for a while. And if she tries, we can swaddle-straight-jacket her without prompting CPS calls... for a while. But you've got to train up to this parenting thing after all. 

Until that pending blessed day, I'll do my best not to totally fail as an auntie (although, my current limitations are really cutting into the A for Awesome on my Auntie card). And keep a watch on those countertops. Never be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to sponges and countertops... 

Windows 38-Oh-What-Was-That? Tummy McFlameface and the Dewy Pre-Pre-Prodromal Pants

Batten down the hatches and break out the rubber sheets: this gal could blow at any time! Or weeks from now. But according to the grand statistics, the odds are now 50% or so that I'll give birth in the next two weeks. I also have a 1.5% chance of spontaneously going into labor today. That doesn't sound particularly high, but the highest percentage chance on any given day is 3.9% on my due date, so... I further have an 8% chance that I already have gone into labor (think I'd have noticed, but we'll get to that part...), a 6% chance of going into labor in the next couple of days, 20% it'll be this week... Of course statistics are fairly meaningless once the little belly creature decides to flutter kick her way out, but they're oddly entertaining at least. 

We are within the month that straddles my due-bee-doo-bee-doo-date. And that is the big window in which 80% of women give birth. So bring on the hijinks! Or sit on some dewy grass in thin pants, and spend a good fifteen minutes googling "water breaking without knowing it" after discovering your underthings are saturated beyond imagination (seriously, didn't realize it was that wet on the ground), before affirming with another grass-sitter that the grass was indeed just damned wet. 

Rinse. Repeat. Serves me right for repeatedly announcing that I was not feeling close to giving birth and that I was pretty sure she was in it for the full term or more. 

Those googley seconds of ambiguity brought home the whole "any day now" part of things. Good moments of trying to problem solve getting the rest of my hospital go-bag in order. It involved somebody taking a trip to Costco to buy me several tons of grapes and frozen pineapple. Because this is all I could really think of when contemplating several hours of labor. That, gum, and some soda water. Maybe a fluffy pillow, but I have several of those at the office already. 

Whatever else, one thing is clear: My little blue-eyed (for now) brute is ready for action inside or out. She's been showing no signs of relenting in all her activity. I should have eaten more through pregnancy. Taken growth hormones. Anything to make her a huge baby so she'd lack the space to do her full MMA sparring practice on my innards. Her new found novelty seems to be head-butting my bladder and various pelvic hot spots. I'll be walking along just fine and dandy when suddenly a groin muscle flops like a marionette with a cut cord. A quick stumble and an "oh my" and the sensation is gone... but usually just somewhere else. 

She is apparently a leek again. I'm pretty sure she's been a leek before, but she must have enjoyed doing so, because she's back to basics. Or she might be rhubarb, which is certainly more novel but sticking with the long and lean imagery for sure. Canary melons flew straight away. 

And more or less her body is ready for the outside world. The next few weeks are largely about adding some chub to those cheeks and tears to those ducts (actually, that has finally developed just in time for a nice birthing wail!). Possibly giving me a few more precious hours of time to sleep (which I will instead spend running around restlessly doing everything but the final things necessary for "baby prep"). 

Oh and these last few days to weeks, she's developing billions of neural connections and fine tuning her nervous system so that things can totally tweak her out and overstimulate her even better. Thus prompting us to whip out The Happiest Baby on the Block and SHHHHHHH-ing into her shaken-not-stirred sideways ear until she quiets down in her little baby straight jacket. 

Maybe instead of the Happiest Baby methodology, we should apply the classic Happiest Millionaire and let her ride on crocodiles while bursting into song about her Irish heritage. But I get ahead of myself. Baby is properly swaddled (yeah right - as she does another roundhouse kick to my spleen) and shhhh'ed in there for now. 

And me? Well yadda yadda yadda. I've lost all concept of what not-pregnant feels like. People look in horror at my suddenly flushed face and I shrug and say "what, it's hot!" I don't really believe a day will come where "comfortable room temperature" means something other than "64 degrees and I've got an ice pack on my head." I've grown accustomed to babbling at my belly instead of into space. And the odd waddle is just sort of inevitable. I feel a little sense of shock and awe when I see a photo of myself from this time last year. Or remark on how very small my female relatives relative girth is. I'm resigned to wearing my stable of compression socks (very attractive compression socks) until the end of time. And I've got my maternity wardrobe on rotation now. 

I'm in for a rude shock pretty soon. But I'm sort of preparing for that as well. Sure the bridge between this life and the next still lies at labor, but if you aren't already obsessing over breast-feeding and diapers and play dates, well, hormones aren't doing their proper job here... 

To that end, I've tentatively joined a newly forming childcare co-op with five other new-or-almost-there-moms. The idea is that we will each have a certain number of credits for free childcare with one of the families in the group. And we'll gain credits for providing our own childcare for other moms. Should be interesting. But I like the idea of having a steady set of reliable families and playmates for the little one. Lest my parents actually need a break from time to time. We met yesterday - in the very wet grass, apparently - to discuss formation. There is now a facebook group and a google calendar. I'm not 100% sure anyone wants me watching their three month old baby just yet, but moms have got to do what they've got to do for some personal time. 

In more immediate preparation, I'm off to the OB yet again today. We've got a standing Friday date until I'm smack dab up against my due date. Hope they give me flowers this time! 

Caffeinated Composting Garage and the Ultimate Cage Fighting Cuddle 

And it's eye-o-the-storm (and maybe "eye of the tiger" depending on my labor timeline, although I still swear that I'm probably a little ways out from the blessed event) time in the grand Nephew deluge of 2015. As of 6 a.m.(ish) this morning, the entire Falconer clan is off to Canada with Grampa Ian. By god there shall be baking. And pickleball. And kayaking. And lord knows what other insanity. But it'll be intense... -ly relaxing. Or something.  

Not unlike what I imagine occurred last night after I parted ways with the wee little dervishes. Rachel had things to do last night. Non-boy things. Well, things that served the boys. Like picking up the twenty tons of groceries that are targeted at ensuring some snack will hopefully hit with each individual boy on any given day. This requires more trial and error than all of medical science devoted to treating cancer and Parkinson's combined. Since there aren't really grocery shopping options up in the Gulf Islands, the pre-shopping duties are vital.You can't predict what the boys will actually eat in any given minute, but you know that they will be quite finicky. Oh and one of them has a fairly serious allergy to several common ingredients in pre-packaged foods. So you'd best err on the side of caution and bring a small township's worth of food.

And after groceries, there was driving down to Seattle in their second rental car of the trip (exchanged yesterday since the last one did not actually lock and this was problematic for leaving parked on Galliano for a week). There will be another rental car by the end of the trip. But in the meantime, this sufficed for retrieving Daddy Ryan. Our mystery man. Who is shockingly actually staying in Bellingham for a full three to four days after Parker. This is a long stretch for him. He kind of comes out here for Parker and sends the family to Bellingham when he can. We all have our means of vacationing. 

Anyways, last night Rachel was gone. The boys were let loose. To rage in their cages. Or something like that. Or for Braden to purportedly have an epic paroxysm at the thought of mommy leaving him. This involved screaming and grabbing and physical intervention. Sounded quite dramatic. He had mellowed by the time I met up with Gramma Pam, the boy-toy and the boy-boy-boy-beast-of-three.

By "mellowed," I mean "ameliorated his psychic pain with video games, then snuck some Mountain Dew into his soda and psychosomatically assumed the mien of a major cocaine binge type high." Which worked well with Ian's psychosomatic Cherry Coke high. They told a series of very post-modern knock knock jokes (knock knock - who's there - pizza hut BUIPPPPFDJEE - pizza hut buipppppfdjee who? BWAHAHAHAHA). Then they were properly inspired by some very mediocre cage fighting on the television to ... well... do what they always do when they aren't actively sulking, hugging, or playing on a device: pummel the crap out of each other while cackling like banshees. 

So seems like all cleared up ok. They were planning to stay up until mommy and daddy got home in the middle of the night. No idea if they managed. 

On the home front things are eerily quiet. No Tour. No nephews. No particularly plangent pangs of labor (yet). Even the spike-sponge attacked with a half hearted snuggle. Andrew is downstairs "sorting out the basement" and I have been grocery shopping but have yet to do much else in terms of productive activities. Well, I dealt with the traumatic discovery that my compostable garbage bags are pretty darned compostable. I had put smaller trash bags in a larger lawn and leaf bag to take to my mom's house after some storage in the garage. I don't recommend doing this. Use a nasty plastic garbage bag at the very least. My poor garage was soaked in coffee grounds, carrot peels, egg shells, and rotting food. No wonder we've been getting fruit flies! So I did survive the scrubbing spelunk through a few weeks of breakfast there... 

But once I've recovered from that, perhaps I'll do ... something... anything. Who knows. Maybe nothing! It's getting warm here again, so there's a high likelihood I'll flee to an air conditioned space soon. 

Marveling at Magic-Month and the B-Day Birth Day

So, this actually happened yesterday, but I forgot - in a haze of nephew musk and mountain-dew hangovers - that we're now officially in the month that is almost certain to be the birth month of the little belly creature! And my birth month, incidentally. One of these events may eclipse the other. Like basically, I'll probably go late and then give birth as an afterthought while eating cake and demanding presents from people who maybe thought they'd get away with just giving me five bajillion baby toys and calling it good (um, no, I said "an annual membership to the gym and a personal masseuse/trainer", not "squishy rhino teether"). But both are gonna happen. 

So yeah. Deny as I might, I'm going to be a parent this month. Probably of a proud little Leo just like me, although she's got about a week of Virgosity to potentially play with before induction gets pretty well slammed on the table. 

Who on earth approved me to be a parent? Are they insane? Poor little belly beast. I am going to owe you big time!

Don't worry, little beastie, I'm preemptively starting to make up the infinite debt with plenty of awesome for you. That is, if the stuffed animal brigade is willing to share with you! I think they'll be amenable. If not, your in utero kickboxing sessions clearly demonstrate that you'll be tough enough to claim what's yours from those doughy little luvs.

Thanks to proto-daddy hubba-hubby  for assembling the very last of the nursery things. We now have a monkey swing and a changing table. This was a weekend we weren't sure we'd get, and every last magical weekend day of calm-non-event will be cherished especially for the fleeting nature of such days. Needless to say, we lived it up (W)right style. In other words, Andrew took a long bike ride and I hid out in front of the air conditioning at the office for much of the day. Did I mention it's still all hot hereabouts? I'm so looking forward to, say, late-October. For the cooler weather and for the adorable newborn costumery!

In the meantime, let the denial continue for just one more benighted week or so. Mr. (W)right has it on good statistical authority that for folks like us who know their date of conception (instead of the old standard LMP), most women give birth plus or minus 8 days of their due date. So this coming Thursday, I'll really get around to finishing off that hospital go bag. Really. Hey, I bought fruit. Lots of frozen fruit! And given how long first time labor takes, I will probably have some time to make Andrew put the upstairs toiletries into whatever garbage bag we improvise when we realize that we are already well out of space in the bag we've already started. 

Sleepless Nights in the Weltering Wind-Tunnel O'Connubial Chaos
We did not sleep well last night. That's a different "we" than the one used in "we are pregnant." It's more of a "respectively, the members of the (W)right household are feeling less right than rain due to a dearth of our own individual snoozes." 

I did not sleep well because... well... I'm pregnant. I forget these things. Or minimize the impact of pregnancy on certain symptoms. But it's a pretty convenient overarching excuse.

 On the one hand, no matter how convinced I am that actually everyone else I love has recently developed a thyroid condition (seriously, I keep finding Andrew sleeping under a blanket and with long sleeved shirts in 71 degree rooms! This is not normal! I think! I don't even know anymore!!), there's a possibility that my current tendency to go full on flame-ball in a 68 degree room is not actually normal for even the delicate sensitive flower that constitutes Adella. It's possible that maybe in non-pregnant moments of my life, I might be able to sleep in a room with the air conditioning directly on me and supplemented by a second box fan at medium-strength. It's possible that same well conditioned wind would feel "cold," or that I'd at least have the decency to require a blanket and/or do something other than continue breaking into flames on at least one side of my body. It's possible. 

On the other hand, maybe if I weren't pregnant I wouldn't constantly be plagued with the tag team of an insatiable hunger and a screaming bladder. Because yesterday night I was starving. But too tired to go feed myself. And too irrational to imagine that would help. And just when I managed to forget that pang, my bladder would start shrieking like a baby-battered banshee. 

On the other foot, I also probably wouldn't suddenly become obsessed with sleep positioning on the grounds that my little creature is clearly "sunny side up" at the moment. Sunny-side ain't so sunny or funny in pregnancy land. Ok, it's cute right now. It basically means that she's facing my belly. Ok, given her positioning today, more like my pubic bone. But you know, up. So I get her little elbows and knees and feet sticking out of my belly. And her little fingers tickle the most delicate of lady-areas. 

You say "engaged," I say "engaging in guerrilla warfare against my nether-parts." Potato-potahto.

But yes, posterior babies can be a pain. If they stay that way for the labor. The heavy part of their skull can hit right up against the tailbone, and they can't tuck their chins in the same way. So there's a potential for all kinds of fun: prelabor broken water, prolonged labor, the infamous "back labor" (horrible pains felt in the back), and baby not being able to actually make it through the birthing canal. Most posterior babies will flip around during delivery, but I'm pregnant, so begin the obsessing.

There are things you can do about painful back labor during labor. According to the actual scientific review, studies basically have yet to indicate that there's anything you can do to flip that sunny-side to a nice mooning baby position before labor. Or studies  suggest that you can maybe flip that little omelet, but all that work won't impact labor. Babies can flip back if they're determined! And frequently do so. 

Nonetheless, there's a trove of unconfirmed advice about getting babies into position. Much of it I already follow: I walk, I do cat stretches, I lean forward over the back of chairs, and I'm known to sit on my hands and knees airing myself in front of the air conditioning.

But the conventional belief is that if your pelvis is sloped in any way where the knees are higher than the pelvis, then the baby will be apt to fall into posterior position. If you're at an angle where the opposite is true... praise be to baby, you're better off. And if you're upright, that's good too. Basically, the baby spinners and midwives of the world suggest I should spend all of my time draped forward over things, stay in an all-fours wiggle position for at least ten minutes a day, use pillows to elevate my toosh should I need to sit down, never slouch or lean-back, and by god if I'm going to sleep, sleep on the magical "left side" that everyone was touting as the end-all position for babies.

As above, there's actually no evidence that any of this helps. Epidurals do seem to decrease the baby's ability to turn herself, they know that. There's no harm for decreasing pain by assuming an all-fours labor position. But all that advice above... who knows.

 Still, I'm pregnant. I have baby hands coming out of my venus mound. I am routinely obsessed with some trivium like this on a rotating basis every two or three days. So last night, I had to sleep on my side. Anything but on my back with my legs propped up on a pillow (knees over pelvis - the mark of sunny-sided doom). 

This is theoretically a fine position for me, but ... not recently. Since this pregnancy began I have found that sleeping on my side inevitably has resulted in (1) hip pain, (2) shoulder discomfort, (3) totally dead-arm, (4) fiery flame ear for whichever ear is nestled into the pillow itself. 

It's better at this stage of the pregnancy than the first trimester, but it's still not ideal. Still worse, one side of me always gets overheated from being buried in pillow and mattress while the other is in the full fan blast that even I find daunting. Commence the tossing and turning. Between bathroom trips and food fantasies. 

Also, there's a possibility that when I'm not sleeping propped up on a mountain of pillows, I don't provide any break from the breeze for Andrew. It's possible. This is as yet unconfirmed. 

Andrew didn't sleep well either. He slept in the basement. There's always a pall cast over the morning when Andrew has had to sleep in a different room. I'm not entirely sure why. I actually think separate bedrooms are quite reasonable for couples. Besides, the few times I've retreated to the downstairs couch in a torrid torpor, it may be mentioned (by me) in passing, but is rarely observed as much of an event. 

I suppose this is partially because I get up first anyways, so Andrew probably didn't even notice the absence. And, well, when Andrew's tired he gets kind of a default face of "I'm a four year old boy whose puppy you just killed." Even if he doesn't mean it. And we'll go with I'm pregnant again to say that I may get overly "are you ok??" in alternating spells of defensiveness. 

Almost sheepishly he came up from the basement and made probably the worst possible joke to smooth over the sense of failure hanging in the air: "just think of it as practice for when our daughter cries so much she drives me from the bedroom." Bringing to light every fear about parenting I can conceive, all wrapped in a dead-puppy-ribbon: sleepless nights, disengaged father, being abandoned and completely at baby's mercy while my partner prioritizes himself, resentment... apocalypse!! AGH. I did not respond with a sunny side up. 

Needless to say, the morning devolved into a thorough dialectic on how the fans are a metaphor for our crumbling marriage... er, I mean, of how we might rejigger things to make the room comfortable for both (or at this point either of us). Andrew had forgotten that I have always preferred a breeze and that we had discussions like this about fans and windows before the pregnancy. And I - of course - had forgotten that I'm poppingly parturient and a human flameball. 

I barely resisted the urge to go all district-attorney on his ass and poke a million pointillist holes in his "my wife is a crazy pregnant lady destroying my sleep" version (as I clearly took it) of the prior evening. Although I wanted to at least figure out why last night versus any other night. Since he frequently sleeps just fine in similar conditions. And I will add that he noted he did not sleep particularly well downstairs either. 

Partially because he was trying to sort out the air mattress, but also because his mind "kept spinning." (Pregnant lady panic - OMG are you alright??? mixed with DA - "AHA! And yet my precious fans are blamed for your inability to sleep!!) 

And we did both acknowledge that when I'd come home yesterday around 5 p.m., he was completely passed out with full cup of coffee (that he subsequently finished). 

Still, I'll try to figure out the fans a little more. And we'll just see about this side sleeping nonsense. I actually prefer it in several ways, but it just doesn't work well long term. Then again, the little belly creature's constant assault on my lower body kind of keeps "long term" as very theoretical anyways. 

And, as I finally concluded, I will not be ok with being left upstairs to take care of the baby at night (we're in this sleep deprivation thing together), but if our sleeping conditions are just so disparate that he wants to sleep downstairs until she's born, that's actually fine with me. And after she's born, we'll have a lot more to worry about than the fans, even if my internal thermometer doesn't reset automatically. I hear I'll have plenty of delightful internal fluctuations leaving me freezing one moment and drenched in sweat the next! 

In the meantime, I feel surprisingly well (for now) given how little sleep I achieved. We'll see what happens with this coming splurge of work before the nephew and baby cocktail cha-cha right back into view next week!

Two-percentage Oddity Day

Last night, my darling hubba-hubba dreamt that I was having severe contractions. I was refusing to acknowledge them, instead insisting on going to work (pausing through the really bad bits and then carrying on). I think he knows me a little too well. 

Maybe the reason I made such a "any day now" and "it's going to be really intense" type prognostications as early as July was that I knew that once I got to the actual event, I'd have a healthy sheen of denial about the experience for a good part of the earliest bit. You know, until I couldn't talk through it and tears started involuntarily leaking... I imagine at some point, the evidence will be insurmountable, but until then, I continue to wonder "was that a little contraction there or a really uncomfortable muscle tweak/stomach upset/baby kick/spasm-related-to-anything-other-than-contractions?" pretty much every time I feel anything in the midsection that isn't baby-elbow shaped and obviously pointy. 

And the closer we get, the more I'm kind of ok with waiting. I'm not scared or nervous. I just kind of enjoy our status quo and want to enjoy these last moments while I can. I may do five bajillion quotidian activities that theoretically facilitate or induce labor in the desperate, but... I'm happy to go with her timing. Especially if she feels patient and wanting to suck up just a little more in utero time.

But que sera sera. Baby will happen when she happens. My favorite statistics site (for now) says that I have a 2.42% chance of spontaneous labor today and about a 30% chance of going into labor within the next week. Weird! My "tempting the fates - it would just figure" metric suggests that I really have a high likelihood of holding out straight until August 21st, a day in which my second coach/mombossa has not one but two hearings and the day in which Andrew's father and grandpa come to town for the weekend. 

Sounds like a friend of mine who was due on the 24th just discovered her water had broken last night, so I'm not sure if that marshals for me to follow suit or to politely put off my big entry into the baby world. Or did it? After much debate and a morning phone call to the nurse, she decided it too had been a false alarm. Whoever keeps saying "you'll know when it happens.." Maybe, but we all sure won't when it doesn't!

In the meantime, I'll just be chillin' (with the a/c on full blast even if the weather is easing up a bit) at my treadmill desk pretending to work or working and pretending not to work too hard... depending on my whim. It's just been such a nice quiet and productive little workweek so far. The office is technically closed and Mombossa is technically on vacation (despite a number of appointments), so the general frenzy is muted. But we have plenty to do and it's the sort of highly focused activity that is ameliorative after a fair bit of chaos.