September 2010

Think of it like a long international flight

When I was pregnant, several people asked me what sort of birth experience I was looking for.  I really had no idea.  I wanted my baby to be healthy.  That’s about it.

The best way for me to describe it is to say it was like a very long plane flight.  We left in a taxi early in the morning, while the city was still asleep.  We tried to pack light.  At the gate we had to check in and get tagged and go through security.  There was a lot of waiting around.

They showed us to our seat and buckled me in.  We took off around quarter-to-ten— only two hours after we were scheduled to depart. I was terrified of the pitocin drip, but the take-off turned out to be smooth.  The contractions I’d been having all week slowly increased in frequency and intensity, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

We loved the monitors.  Between the two of us, we have about 25 years of training in looking at rhythmic electrical signals.  I kept adjusting the pressure monitor to get better signal-to-noise.  Right before the pain got unbearable I joked that graduate school was good training for this: I could survive any amount of pain so long as the data looked good.  Then the pain got bad.

The nurses were friendly but they were also there to keep you in your seat.  You had the sense there was a highly-trained professional flying the plane.  When we stepped into the hall to try to walk through a few contractions it resembled nothing so much as air traffic control, with dozens of people watching the monitors.  The contractions felt like the worst menstrual cramp I’d ever felt crossed with the worst stomach ache.  I thought I could probably get through them for an hour or so.  I thought I didn’t want to get through them for another twelve.  I decided I would trust them to land the plane.  It was about three hours total before the anesthesia took effect.

After she showed me how to feed him, the nurse put my baby on my chest and wrapped a blanket over him and under my arms.  She called it the “kangaroo hold.”  I didn’t know a plane could fly so high.

I watched David fall in love with him.  They sat in the window, making faces at each other.  One time I came out of the shower and found David knocked flat on the bed beside him.  ”So this is how the species gets propagated” he said.

When we left the streets were full of students.  The year was starting.  The streets were familiar.  The streets were unrecognizable.

And when I got home I was a different person from the one who left.

Welcome to the world little Joseph.  Photo by your adoring papa.

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Hanging in there

It’s been a rough week.

Waves of contractions, yes.  Baby, not so much.  The doctor says I suffer from “uterine irritability.”  Let’s just say that the uterus and I are not on speaking terms at the moment.

My sis came up this weekend to keep us company.  Amazingly, it looks like the dress is going to work:

Since she didn’t bring any heels to try the dress on with, we made do with what we could find around the house:

Otherwise David has done his best to keep me distracted and comfortable.  We built a nest on the living room couch:

I started another painting.  (I didn’t get all that far).

David got me some more lovely flowers.

And I reorganized my fall fabrics.  I am coming to accept that my fabric stash is basically the 30-something version of my childhood sticker collection.  When I’m feeling more mature I’ll make something from it, but at times like this all I want to do is pull the fabrics out and arrange them and sort them by color and type.

A couple friends and relations wanted to see just how big the belly had gotten.  I think the dress fitting shot above shows it off best but here’s another.  Check out its majesty!

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Flowers while I wait

I hate waiting.

So rather than sit around a feel achey, I thought I would do some painting.  These are some flowers that David got me.  Aren’t they pretty?

I had the idea to make this painting a bit flatter— like a print.  But it didn’t really work out.  I put too much detail into the flowers and failed to decide where the light was coming from.  So it looks like a description of some flowers rather than evoking how they feel.  Oh well.  It wouldn’t be an experiment if it worked every time.

Also, why do I feel like no baby is going to show up and I’m just going to be large and hurt-y for the foreseeable future?

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More virtual sewing

Or…those that can, sew.  Those that can’t, draw.

The pieces of my sister’s dress are done and waiting for a fitting.  So what to do in the meantime?  I don’t have a mannequin of myself as I used to be shaped but I did come across a little croquis I had made.  So here I am trying on my fall sewing ideas:

Most of the skirts have been on my list for a long time.  The blouses ideas are new.  I don’t think I own a single woven blouse.  I never bought them ready-to-wear so it never occurs to me to make them.  But I became obsessed with one of the blouses in the “clown” section of the August Burda (here shown in brown polka-dot), and then I went online looking for more blouse/shirt fabrics (always dangerous).  I found two I liked on sale at FFC and then remembered this wrap-shirt pattern from February’s issue.  What do you think?

More things I’ve posted about before.  I like how the drawings let me try something out without going to the trouble of making it.  For example, I was worried that the second outfit would be unflattering.  I think that figure-wise it works but that it does make me look like a stewardess on a far-eastern airline.  Also, it became clear from the drawing that it has to be worn with heels, which I wear…once every never.  On the other hand I was worried that the Kwik-sew blazer would look too formal.  But I think it’s really cute in the drawing.  So that’s moving back up the list.

I also tried on the six (gulp) jackets I’ve been thinking about making:

My favorites are the gray motorcycle jacket and the orange one with the poofy collar.  I really like the white one as well but it looks an awful lot like last year’s November jacket.  As predicted the long blazer is too formal (though still oddly tempting).  The houndstooth is too fitted and I can’t figure out what I would wear it with.  I’m still not sure about the Hikaru jacket.

So there you go…a year’s worth of sewing in one afternoon.

Is it totally obvious that I stopped going to work on Monday?

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Any day now

Our baby is due on Sunday.  As the doctor informed us, that means he could arrive at any time between now and three weeks from now.  Last week we asked the nurse if she could give us odds.  Maybe a nice probability distribution.  What should we expect in a totally normal pregnancy?  But she insisted that there was no way to know (which makes you wonder why they bother doing the exams in the first place.)  Disappointed, we turned to another source of information: gambling.

David’s lab has a pool going about when the baby will show up.  25 people entered and their guesses form a lovely Gaussian distribution centered two days after the due date:

Since this is Price-is-Right rules we figure that means the most likely date is three days after.  Also, you’ll notice that no one went with the due date itself.  (Although my mom and my sister have informally entered bets on that day.)

On the other hand, a hurricane is supposed to hit Boston late Friday.  So that’s probably when he’ll decide to show up.

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