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We’re spontaneous, my wife and I. No, really. As much as we like to plan things (like childbirth) we often find ourselves unexpectedly in the car, bags packed, headed out of town. One time, years ago, we were watching a TV show about foods people eat at the beach – you know, salt water taffy, Nathan’s hot dogs, etc. An hour later, we had made oceanfront reservations and were well on our way to the beach, where we rolled in a little after midnight, checked-in, and grabbed a slice of greasy pizza on the boardwalk before strolling down the pier to see all of the late-night fishermen. Getting a dog years later put a damper on our ability to pick up and go as much as we’d like, but we still find ways to indulge our wild hairs when we can.
This afternoon, moments before the Brasil/Côte d’Ivoire game started, we saw a commercial for a local South African restaurant touting their World Cup coverage and “lots of TVs!” Approximately seven minutes later, we pulled into a parking spot and snatched a booth by the big screen that had been vacated seconds before. We ate samosas, fried eggplant, and chicken skewers while clapping and roaring during the scores and outrageous replays.
Vegas, on our watch, you will learn to appreciate when to make impulsive decisions. You may get snatched up from playing in the middle of the afternoon, only to find yourself in the car on the way to an amusement park in time to ride the rides at dark. You’ll also discover that suggesting something that starts with “Wouldn’t it be nice to…?” means that your mamas will always take you seriously, and most of the time, time and money willing, we’ll more than entertain the thought if it’s even slightly within reason. How do you think we ended up with a dog in the first place?
There’s a major difference in co-workers’ reactions, now that we’re in the last week, when they ask “When is your due date again?” and I answer “Wednesday” and not, “The 23rd.” Wednesday is next week. It would be too late, today, to schedule a meeting on Wednesday. Wednesday is three business days from now. I could get back to someone “on Wednesday,” and they wouldn’t feel like I was putting them off for too long. Wednesday is so much sooner than, “the 23rd.”
If I make to the other side of the weekend still hauling Vegas around in my fleshy watermelon-sized fanny pack, Monday will be my last day, technically, in the office before I’ll start “working from home.” Which really means, “checking my work email in my gym shorts.” I’ll be delighted to finally rid myself of the constant drive-by questioning. Yes, we’re ready, and excited. No, I’m not eating eggplant yet. Yes, we know the first two weeks will be hard. Yes, being a sleepless zombie at home with a screaming infant will always be better than being at work on a slow day. Hell, labor seems like a real treat compared to some meetings I have to attend. The new parents are SO VERY EXCITED for us. The parents of two or more kids, older in the age range, warn us of the AWFULNESS that is coming. Sleep now when you can! Run for your liiiiivvveeessss!
Is having a baby like getting a new laptop? For the first few years, when it’s the newest model, has the most memory and hard drive, it’s fucking awesome. But as soon as it gets all scratched up, covered in coffee spills, starts crashing, and everything else on the market is so much better, you think it’s the biggest piece of shit around, so you feel compelled to tell people not to ever buy one? Or at least, compelled to warn them that it’ll eventually suck?
Regardless, Wednesday is coming. My sister, via text, has picked the 22nd as the day. Vegas’ going home outfit has been identified and laundered, and per some nutty suggestion on the internet, we’re sleeping with it in the bed with us so that it will pick up our “scent” so that the dog (yes, the dog) will recognize the baby as one of us when we bring him home. Us, as in, a pack member. We’re those people.
I know, on some level, I will miss having Vegas inside of my body. On the other hand, gee won’t it be nice to not be so aware of my internal organs. I don’t know if he is as anxious to be on the outside as we are, but today has been a non-stop womb party. Is he having a goodbye party with my gallbladder? Are there tequila shots? Why can I hear bass thumping?
I made it into work today by 10am, and that seemed like a fantastical feat in and of itself. Some really awful and overwhelming right hip pain kept me awake this morning for about an hour starting at 4:45am. Maybe I’ll consider it a throwback to the crowbar/jackhammer days of yore, but it was pretty impressive discomfort. An hour of tossing, turning, and pillow tetris, I fell back asleep long enough to wake up moments later to snooze the alarm clock.
I’m convinced I’ll go into labor the day where my cell phone is not charged, there’s dishes in the sink, and I’ve left something vital in my office, like my wallet or a cup of uneaten ice.
We received our Advance Medical Directive and Medical Power of Attorney papers the other day (well, we got mine on Monday via email, just in case Vegas was early), and the peace of mind that came with them is absolutely priceless. Now, to follow in my family’s laboring footsteps, he will most certainly be one to two weeks late, as no one in my family has birthed an early baby before. Then again, maybe Vegas wants to be a trendsetter. We’ll see.
Oh for Pete’s sake, Vegas. One tiny centimeter is all you’ll give us? After all of the reflexology, pregnancy tea, walks around the block (up hill, both ways!), cat-cow, squatting on the ball – that’s it? Not even a budge on the effacement? Plus you might be sideways now, instead of head-down? WTF, man? Did you SEE that it’s supposed to be 96 degrees next week? You, my friend, are a mean ol’ baby.
OK OK, not like we NEED you to come today. You’d still be a week before your due date. Fine. You have a point. Plus, four million ladies in town are apparently having babies today, considering all of the hubbub at the OB office, and the lengthy wait times. We’d like to avoid competing for attention at the hospital, and potentially being bumped to the L&D overflow area. So fine. Today’s not the day. Even if I did experience more liquidy leakage last night, my water has not broken, but I might be incontinent. Sweet. Pass the Depends.
The good news is that my blood pressure is still A-OK, and the approaching tally for total weight gain is at 19 pounds, not counting the ten I lost during the great-nausea-depression. So a net gain of nine pounds, total. Thumbs up for that, at least.
I’ll need you to come soon, though, kiddo. Otherwise, your birth story will start with something like, “Holy fucking shit, Vegas, it was the hottest day of the year.” Your mother dreamt last night that you were a boy. Which would be fine, but when your man-friends in town will be Anders, Hudson, Griffin, Owen, and Jacob, it’s still kind of hard to figure out what the hell to name you. Thank goodness there’s an app for that.
Take your time. Hurry up. Come as you are, Vegas.
Oh Vegas. This morning, I woke up and thought, “I could sleep forever,” which almost never happens. See, your mother and I wake up sometime around 6:30am every morning, and are out of the bed by 7:15am at the latest, even especially on weekends. (This is a complete luxury compared to the 5:00am wake-up-calls back when we had a different life in a different city.) If we wake up as late as 8:00am on a weekend day, the day is practically gone already, and we wake up immediately thinking of our lunch plans, it’s so late. I secretly think that having a baby who is awake in the middle of the night and in the 5:00am’s is your mother’s ultimate dream, since we’ll finally be able to take advantage of all of the day’s hours that are wasted while we’re asleep.
But this morning, I wanted to sleep. If I could sleep AND eat chunks of ice at the same time, I would be in heaven. Alas.
Everyone has so much to say nowadays, which is to be suspected, I suppose. It doesn’t help, however, that I’d like to crawl in a hole and not entertain a single conversation. They all assume I’m having the worst sleep of my life. That I “want this thing out.” That I must be so miserable. And sure, it’s fucking hot outside, but it’s June. This just in – it’s fucking hot in June, folks. Unless you don’t live in Virginia. I’m not even sleeping poorly, unless people consider going to the bathroom every few hours “sleeping poorly.” I get up, I go, I come back and fall back asleep. Sure, it’s not the uninterrupted bliss of pre-pregnancy days, but this comes with the territory, right?
We’re 39 weeks tomorrow. I’m still at work… working. I can still make it up the hill and around the block with my wife and dog. I can still pop out in the car and pick up a pizza from the place down the street. I can still retrieve the dog’s ball when he loses it under the couch. I’m trying to stay on top of doing laundry to the point where I’m washing things as soon as we take them off. We don’t know when this is all going to start, which means every day I leave work as if I’m not coming back the next day. I have my out of office voicemail and email responses carefully crafted and ready for updating.
Last night, I started playing a game called, “What if we went into labor right now?” in which my wife then explained to me in details what we would do. I’m so so fortunate that my capable, level-headed, crisis-management-trained-and-certified wife is the non-birther. I don’t think I could be trusted to not call 9-1-1. My wife, though, is a crisis rock star.
There were more, still minor, contractions this morning, which feel a little like Freddy Krueger is trying to escape through my cervix. I can’t wait until the ones that really hurt start, if this is the preview. Otherwise, physically, I’m drinking a lot of water (and eating a LOT of ice), and experiencing a little heartburn for the first time. I upgraded to some flip-flops about a month ago, which are the only accommodating shoe-wear for the impressively swollen feet that my equally impressive wife has been rubbing in the evenings. That, folks, is love.
For those of you not following along at home, my wife posted pictures of Vegas’ room. Now all we need to do is switch out the fake baby for a real one. Enjoy.
I am most flattered that you think that it will take five people to do my job while I am away on maternity leave. Flattered. Really. I do not mind one bit cross-training everyone on the ins and outs of my job, which you are making so much more complicated than it actually is, but honestly, use some common sense, and I think everything and everyone will be OK. I can only put so many things in place before I unexpectedly do not come in one day, and you all are forced to make decisions for the following eight-to-twelve weeks. It will be OK. Repeat after me. Now let’s all take a cleansing breath and keep moving forward.
PS – I’m thankful that you’ve stopped stealing my pens. Now please return my tape dispenser.
- We installed the car seat Sunday night without too much trauma. We also installed a little mirror thingy that goes on the headrest so that the driver can peep at Vegas. The second car seat base will be installed in my wife’s car sometime soon, if only to get the cardboard box it came in out of the house.
- Babies R Us is to new parents as Lowe’s is to new homeowners.
- What you receive from folks as baby shower gifts can sometimes surprisingly redefine what kind of relationship you have (or thought you had) with them. For instance, my best friend from childhood sent us a pack n’ play (har har) and a bumbo. I would have really pegged him more as a swaddle or mid-priced baby toy sort of a guy. Now I feel like I need to write and visit more often.
- For the first time since 1995, I am wearing a pair of panties. It makes me shudder to even write that. How do ladies wear these things all the time? Good god.
- As of Friday, my cervix was still hard, long, and closed. It might as well also had a padlock and an ADT sign out front. However, this morning I’m halfway effaced and dilated about a fingertip, so I suppose that’s progress.
- The lady who was due this weekend had her baby Sunday night.
- We’re driving up three hours (each way) this Friday to sign all of the legal papers to protect us all as much as we can from people like my family and the entire state of Virginia.
- My overall consumption of ice, these popsicles, fresh watermelon, and chicken pad thai is very serious. For real.
- We still have no idea what we’d name boy Vegas.
June – I know we’re only two days into you, but you’re making quite a remarkable impression. After April and May practically sucked out our souls, here we are less than 48 hours into you, and things are starting to look up. Oh sure, my ankles are unrecognizable, and today I have to unexpectedly work late, but it still can’t shake the feeling that I already like the looks of you.
It started yesterday, when I successfully got off of the phone with Comcast with a monthly bill that will now be $70 lower. And no, that’s not a promotional rate. After my conversation with them (which consisted mostly of dropping our home phone number and all of the porn channels), I called our number one daycare center (very nearby, reasonably priced, priority given to kids of our employer), of which we are on their wait-list for when Vegas turns 12, to update our records with them so that when they call us in 2022, they have the right number. After some digging around, the director found our wait-list form. Seriously – why is there always digging? I told her I knew about our wait-list position (hoping to avoid the “I’m sorry…” conversation), but mostly wanted to update our phone number. “Wait, you submitted this in October?” “Yes,” I say, waiting for another soul-crushing moment. “Well, I made some calls last week, and need to update the list. I actually have a spot to offer you today, if you’re still interested?”
Still interested? Does SHE know what Soon Cram is?
Yes. Yes, yes, and yes.
My wife and I went over this morning to take a tour and meet with the director, who gave us applications and handouts, with not one referencing soon cram. We saw the infant room, fully stocked with seven crawling and walking kiddos and two adults being crawled/walked over. I didn’t cry, but I came close. And I had my wife with me as my witness, to remember to ask the questions, and be another set of ears to confirm our spot. I may have some daycare-induced PTSD, as it still hasn’t completely sunken in that Vegas has a permanent day-home – somewhere close, clean, and where the director, although super nice and unscathed by our two-ladiesness, didn’t want to take us out drinking until 5am at the gay bar. And that’s OK.
On an unrelated note, Vegas loves Snow Patrol. Dance, tiny dancer, dance.
Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear my voice
I’ll be right beside you dear