Back to the bump

Week 34, Day 1

Unless you’re Dr. Binka-Binka, taking measurements of Little Dude, in which case this could very well be considered Week 35, Day 1, because Little Dude is running a week ahead of size. Which is fine and dandy with Dr. Binka-Binka, who used the word “perfect” and then used the word “awesome” when looking over all the measurements and images.

This Self-Bump-Portrait series is getting a little tricky now that my bump's about to exceed my reach...

Regardless of whether we have five or six weeks to go, we’re definitely in the home stretch…

* Childbirth classes have started (oy, the films, and ours are still on VHS, though perhaps I am happy not to have them in HD) and we’re now set to see my regular OB every Monday and Dr. Binka-Binka every Friday until Little Dude’s arrival.

* Michael just finished the last of the trim painting in the nursery last night, after a couple of weeks where each thing he needed to do in there led to unpleasant surprises with old construction and the need for repairs and new projects, and we picked up the last of the furniture Saturday (a vintage ChildCraft dresser/changing table from Craigslist for $45, but the nursery-decor post comes later).

* Little Dude’s Gram (my mom) has come to visit for a week and so far has helped me sort through and organize all the baby clothes, made a huge pot of chicken soup because I’ve been so upper-respiratory-cruddy, schlepped to several different stores and hardware big-boxes in search of furniture and paint, taped and dropclothed and primed Michael’s whole bathroom (with painting on her agenda today), plus baked her famously wonderful chocolate chip cookies and generally worked hard to spoil us a little bit rotten.

* I can’t paint or lift or climb or bend a lot, so I’ve been putting things together like the Stokke stroller and the cow-print car seat and the little white footstool for the nursery, and folding laundry, and inventorying Little Dude’s books, all while snotting through Kleenex at a rate of about 12-15 an hour and peeing a little every time I try to hack the crud out of my lungs and not sleeping because I can’t breathe and am choking on disgusting phlegm and not napping because meanwhile our handy-guys are finishing the drywall in the laundry room and jackhammering out big hunks of concrete that once were steps from the garage to the laundry room and now are steps to a wall because their hard work means we now have a way to get to the laundry room through the house, which is more exciting than maybe it should be.

Little Dude's present from his Aunt Dana and Uncle Tony in Australia, who are spoiling us just a little bit. Bassinet attachment not pictured (it's out of frame), but dig the matching diaper and shopping bags!

(If you haven’t started your own little private count of run-on sentences in my blog posts, that one gives you a good place to start.)

What apparently should be coming next, according to the Babygram e-mail that pops into my inbox every week, is that I should have a bag packed and ready to go. Really? Already? And what do I really need to take to the hospital? They’re recommending things like “hard candies” (which I don’t really dig in non-labor life) and “reading materials” (as if my attention will be held by anything more challenging than US magazine’s in-depth report, “Sandra and Ryan, IT’S ON!”), and they say don’t bring my contacts? Seriously? Doesn’t that conflict with their slotting “makeup” pretty high up that list? Apparently I could also buy a special “delivery gown” that will keep me more comfortable and, more importantly, way more stylish than the standard-issue hospital rag and yet, at $42, is inexpensive enough to just throw away when we’re all done. Hair ties seem to be a key item.


So, in today’s installment of I’m Soliciting Your Advice On This Topic So You Don’t Feel Like You Can’t Give It Even Though You Know You Want To And Besides I Really Want It, what did my mom friends take to the hospital that was ridiculous and hardly even came out of the bag, and what didn’t you take that you wish you had, and what did you have that was just The Perfect Thing? Because whether this winds up being thirtysomething hours of progressing through the childbirth class charts like a good little A student or a sudden C-section, I have a feeling there will be a little time spent waiting for something to happen, and not all of it will be comfortable, and you can probably give me some ideas for dealing with it.

Coming soon… the big nursery reveal… more gushing over the Saab sportscar of strollers… kvetching about IKEA’s inventory-control and -availability system… brunching with the baby bump and two dozen good Austin friends, if Little Dude waits that long… and maybe even The Unveiling Of The Name, assuming we take the choice from two to one in the meantime.

This edition of “Forty Weeks” would not have been possible without my SC09-swag Philips earbuds and the delightful mix put together at “Spare the Rock,” a dad-and-daughter kids’ music broadcast out of New England, which managed to keep the roar of the jackhammer (mostly) out of my brain.

20 thoughts on “Back to the bump

  1. You’re doing such a good job of growing that baby!

    My thoughts on what to bring are a little situational. While acknowledging that things probably never go exactly as expected, can you tell us if you’re planning an epidural or an unmedicated? That vastly affects what I’d bring, personally.

    • I don’t have a strong feeling either way; my birth plan is all loosey-goosey and “whatever gets Little Dude here safely.” Basically, the idea is that labor is uncomfortable and hurts and so forth, and that’s fine, because it is what it is, though at some point I might be less fine with it. I want to be awake to say hello to my little boy as soon as he gets here, is my big thing, and other than that, I’m willing to see what the day brings.

      • I basically felt the same way. I just asked them not to give me anything that would make me fuzzy headed. As a fan of the epidural, I’ll tell you what was really valuable to me. If you go au naturale there are probably other things you’ll really want, but I’m not qualified to identify them.

        If I were doing it again I would definitely have:
        1. Yup, the ponytail holder/bobby pins
        2. lip balm. Critical. You will be mouth breathing a lot.
        3. camera
        4. a big stack of magazines. There is waiting.
        5. Snacks and juice. I know they are forbidden. I also know I felt a lot better having the occasional nibble or sip. (Only recommended if you’re going into a low-risk delivery.) I just kept them in a bag and Damon got them for me when I needed a few bites for a boost.
        6. phone
        7. some form of internet access
        8. socks.
        For after delivery
        1. A few sweet outfits for the baby. It’s fun to dress them up right away rather than just for going home.
        2. Familiar, nice soaps and shampoos. The hospital stuff is no good and you’ll really want that first shower.
        3. Comfy pjs you feel good in. I cannot relate to caring what you’re wearing when you deliver, but afterward it’s nice to ditch that gown. I had a small collection of track pants and and soft cotton scoop-neck shirts. (You’ll want something like that, or actual nursing tops, if you want to breast feed.)

        I didn’t pack a bag until I was in labor with Alden. There’s plenty of time.

      • So, Cheetos, Mexican Cokes, and a new Macbook Air. Got it. 🙂

        Seriously, this was a much more helpful list. Guess it’s time to figure out the nursing wardrobe!

  2. I clicked on your beautiful belly picture, and as it was downloading, it filled up my entire computer screen. You are lucky I didn’t floof you! (you know, the raspberry on the belly effect). Thanks for posting!

  3. Kate brought a couple of rice-filled tube socks. Fill a tube sock with uncooked rice, tie off the end, microwave for 2-3 minutes, and you’ve got a flexible heat pad good for about 30 minutes. Make two, and one can be reheated while you’re applying the other. Kate had a lot of back pain, and these were a lifesaver.

    Kate seconds lip balm. That was her first response when I put the question to her.

    I would offer a different opinion re: waiting until labor to pack a bag. Kate had quick labors: with E, her water broke at 4:30 and E was born at 9:30; with C, we went to a regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment at 8:30am, contractions started en route to the doctor, he sent us to the hospital with a detour home to grab the bag, and C was born at 1pm. It’s different for everyone, but in our case, we needed the bags packed in advance.

    • Ooh, I already have one of those rice-filled tube socks in the freezer (they help when I have a migraine; good solid pressure plus they freeze the ouchy blood vessels). I will put that on my list. And I think once I get over this crud and out of bed, or after the ultrasound tomorrow depending on Dr. Binka-Binka’s take on the timing, I will go ahead and at least *find* a bag in our stuff that I can use, and start making the list in earnest. Thanks, James, and thank Kate for me too!

  4. A lot depends on at what point in labor you end up going to the hospital. My water broke ~9 p.m., and had I gone to the hospital then, I’m sure I’d have appreciated the magazines I packed. As it was, I didn’t go till the next morning, and by then was in pretty active labor and uninterested in magazines. We’d packed snacks for Rob, and he really appreciated them. The things I remember being really useful: fully loaded iPod with little battery-powered speakers; nursing pillow for later (I had “My brest friend”); the aforementioned snacks; our “call list” of people and whether they were “yes, wake me up the minute he’s born” people or “no, you can wait till a reasonable hour” people; a phone card, as cell phones were not allowed in the delivery room; camera; going home outfits for me and the baby; standard toiletries–that first shower after giving birth is heavenly. If Michaels plans to stay at the hospital the whole time, he’ll need a change of clothes or two. It’s a messy business, and I didn’t really want to mess up my own pjs; the hospital gowns were fine.

    • Meg, depending on when I figure out I’m in labor, I’d rather spend the first bit of it at home than at the hospital. (I don’t think I’ll go so far as a couple on one of the childbirth class videos, who spent the day “hiking and hugging and *then* we went to the hospital and it only took an hour!”) I really appreciate the list! I’m about to put mine together, and this is really helpful. I hadn’t thought about taking the nursing pillow with, but how totally sensible is that!

      • We didn’t actually bring it either, but fortunately the hospital was/is about a mile from our house, and Rob went home and got it later. I found it really helpful esp. in those beginning stages of nursing. Getting the right positioning is an art, and the pillow helped.

  5. Did hospital for Ava…thinking back… Yes, lip balm! Juice boxes, Gatorade, and snacks to drink and eat on the sly. Labor’s hard work. 🙂 Remember food and drink for Michael. He’ll be working hard to help you and won’t want to leave you in search of snacks…and you don’t want him getting light-headed.

    For the birth, I’d say wear the hospital gown, or–shock!–nothing at all. You’ll be amazed how little you care when the time comes, and how your wants and needs will shift. You’ll be hot sometimes, cold others. At some point in transition, there’s no beating a warm blanket, and they’ll have one on hand when you ask.

    Yes, also, on your favorite toiletries. That first shower is indeed heavenly! Afterwards, consider having a nightgown and two-piece PJs on hand and see which one is more comfortable. Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste for each of you.

    And yes on whatever breastfeeding pillow you plan to use.

    Your best camera, for sure. I found I liked the still pictures best.

    For Noe, I packed so very little…camera, lip balm, drinks and snacks, toiletries, and clothes for each of us to wear home. Granted, we planned to be home the same day (it was a freestanding birth center), but I also found from our first experience that the facilities have most of what you really need.

    Oh–your favorite, comfiest maternity clothes to ride home in. You’ll be needing those for at least a few more weeks (or months) after baby arrives. Hilarious, right?

    As much as I love music, I took none. I needed silence. I also never had a chance to read books or magazines. I was way too busy and in endorphine la-la-land beforehand, and after baby arrives you’re either feeding, talking giddily because YOU’RE SO INCREDIBLY HAPPY AND PROUD, or sleeping, which is very wise.


    • Lea, thanks! I’ve been thinking the same thing about the music. I may go ahead and take the iPod and headphones, but I can’t quite wrap my head around what I’ll be listening to. Actually, the more videos we see in class, the less I can wrap my head around any of it! But that’s a whole nother post.

      My biggest new question, which I’m going to ask the childbirth class teacher, is about pillows. I am a pillow girl. I think my record is nine. There was one flat sad little hospital pillow in the labor & delivery room we just saw on our tour this week. I am going to need more pillows than that.

      • Oh, great point–the pillows are FOUL. They are made of dense rubber, and god knows what has been on them. Ugh. Definitely take a couple or three.

        BTW, you can never wrap your head around it until you’re there and then done. Just let it flood over you, carry and possess you for a while, then ebb and leave you with a sweet baby. Such an amazing experience.

        Glad to see you use “whole nother”! I used it the other day with some people and they laughed at me. Hey, I’m from Atlanta–it works!

        – L

      • We listened to the iPod (with little speakers) during labor, but not after that. They had a hospital “relaxation” channel on the tv, with new agey music and pretty scenery, but I found it annoying when I was in the throes of labor.

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