‘Pregnancy’ Category

  1. High School Reunion, Then and Now

    August 21, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Our 20th high school reunion was this past weekend. It was held at the same place our 15th was (a local sightseeing boat), and many of the same great people were there, but it was a very different experience:

    Then: Me, in the middle of a depressing divorce and feeling a little weird talking about it to people I haven’t seen since high school.
    Now: Me, 39 weeks pregnant and hoping I don’t turn suddenly and sweep any of my former classmates overboard.

    Then: Allow plenty of time to shower, dress, and apply makeup so as to look my best.
    Now: Throw on a stretchy black muu-muu over my unshowered, grubby self (after a morning on the lake with Lorelei) and hope she has not wiped any last-minute stealth boogers on my shoulder.

    Then: Drink several glasses of wine over the course of the evening to boost my confidence and steady my nerves.
    Now: Drink two cups of Pepsi over the course of the evening to help keep me awake past 9 pm. Also get a complimentary bottle of Poland Spring from a sympathetic female bartender who catches a glimpse of my belly and notes, “I’ve been there.”

    Then: Hope I don’t get too tipsy and say something stupid.
    Now: Hope I don’t go into early labor and have to ask the captain to make an emergency stop on the far side of the lake.

    Then: Look at proffered photos of classmates’ offspring, trying to keep track of names and ages and wondering how long it’s appropriate for me to ramble on about my cat.
    Now: Proudly boast of Lorelei’s recent forays into potty-training and impending big-sisterhood.

    Then: Feel slightly uncomfortable after depositing a generous portion of the “sea & beef” buffet into a stomach full of wine.
    Now: Feel slightly uncomfortable when the Chickpea starts digging his little foot under the left side of my ribcage (I’m still not sure whether he was attempting to burrow in or leverage himself out in the hopes of a dramatic delivery at sea).

    Then: Make polite small talk with the spouses of classmates whom I’ve just met.
    Now: Trade graphic labor and delivery stories with the spouses of classmates whom I’ve just met that would make General MacArthur blush.

  2. A Bit of Excitement

    July 27, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Generally speaking, when you start your day with a coughing fit that results in an unexpected release of pee all over the bathroom floor (I swear, Eric is going to have to start putting newspapers down for me), it’s safe to assume the day will pick up from there.

    Yesterday, not so much.

    I had a regularly scheduled ob/gyn appointment followed by an ultrasound to ascertain the position of the Chickpea – who has been flipping all over the place like he’s trying out for Cirque du Soleil. Due to a scheduling conflict at my doctor’s end, however, the appointments were switched so that the ultrasound was first.

    The good news was that the Chickpea has indeed positioned himself head-down, as babies are ideally supposed to by this point in the pregnancy. The bad news was that his heartbeat was slightly elevated. My thinking was that he was simply in a high cardio zone, due to his vigorous training regimen, and/or irritated by being repeatedly poked in the head with the ultrasound wand. (He kept hiding his face behind his little fist, like he was trying to dodge the paparazzi.)

    Although his heart rate slowed down a little bit by the end of the ultrasound, it was still slightly elevated, so they brought in a nurse to talk to us.

    Nurse: “I think you may be a little dehydrated.”

    Me: So I should drink some water when I get home.  “I was on a course of prednisone this past week for my asthma – I think that can also dehydrate you?”

    Nurse: [Eyes wide, visibly trying to tamp down incipient hysteria] “Prednisone?? Who gave you prednisone?” she demanded.

    Me: I got it from some guy in the alley behind the gym. “My primary care doctor. I went in on Saturday because I was having trouble breathing. He told me I was far enough along in the pregnancy that it would be fine. I was going to mention it to Dr. N at our appointment today but I haven’t seen her yet.”

    Nurse: “I hope you don’t blame yourself for this, dear.”

    Me: Well, the heroin last night was probably a bad idea. But I feel pretty OK about wanting to breathe. Selfish mommy. “Uh, no – not at all, actually.”

    Nurse: “Well, good. Moms can be so hard on themselves. So anyway, you’re heading over to L&D, and – ”

    Me: “Um, L&D?” Lunch & dinner? Lottie & Dave’s? Lollipops & doughnuts?

    Nurse: “Labor and delivery.”

    Me: “At the hospital? You mean now?”

    Nurse: “Well, yes. I thought someone had told you. For tests. And fluids.”

    Me: “Will I still come back here later for my appointment with Dr. N?”

    Nurse: “No, she’s over at the hospital. I’ve called ahead; they know to expect you. You’ll see her there. Don’t worry – everything will be fine.”

    I think everything is fine. I’m a little worried about you, though.

    Eric and I dutifully trooped three buildings over to the hospital, where it quickly became apparent that they weren’t quite sure what I was doing there. They admitted me to a delivery room – Eric thinks it was actually the same one I had Lorelei in, though I wasn’t really at my most observant the last time I was there – and hooked me up to a fetal monitor.

    The Chickpea’s heart rate never strayed from the normal range of 140-150 BPM, confirming my suspicions that he was simply happy to get away from the onslaught of the ultrasound wand.

    Despite the dire concerns about my potential dehydration, and potentially devastating course of prednisone, nobody was in any hurry to give me IV fluids. They did give me a small cup of cranberry juice in an attempt to “accelerate” the baby, which was confusing because I thought the entire problem was that he was overly accelerated in the first place.

    We also got a battery of questions so extensive that I was wondering how long they were planning to keep me there. By the end of it, I was actually concerned that maybe I’d never leave. The only ground we left uncovered, I think, was my feelings about Kenny G. and whether I’m an “over” or an “under” when I set up a new roll of toilet paper:

    – Are you religious? Do you want anyone to visit you while you’re here?

    – How do you learn best? Visual, oral, video, or other?

    – What was the first day of your last period? It was a long time ago, lady.

    – This is your first child? Huh – I don’t seem to have any record of your daughter’s birth here, so I’m going to have to ask you all those questions, too.

    – Have you ever been tested for Mercer? I lived in a dorm called Mercer when I was in law school…I think that’s the only Mercer I know about.

    – Do you have a living will? Advanced directive? Are you an organ donor? What, exactly, are you planning for the rest of my stay here?

    – Have you had intercourse in the last 24 hours? You know I can’t even see my feet these days, right?

    – Are you married? (Interestingly, she never actually asked whether the nice man sitting in the corner was, in fact, my husband – or whether he was the one involved in anything fun I may have been doing over the last 24 hours.)

    [Right about here, she bobbled my file and sent a cascade of papers swirling around the room. Eric managed to refrain from commenting that maneuvers like this could be why Lorelei’s records had gone missing.]

    – How much alcohol have you been drinking during the pregnancy? (My answer of “Maybe one drink a month or so” was quickly followed up with, “Any other pattern of substance abuse?”)

    – When was the last drink you had? I don’t remember, but can I have one now?

    – Any big life events in the past month? We’ve adopted six ferrets and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. 

    – Due date? How was this calculated? They looked on that little spinning paper wheel and told me – back when the first day of my last period was more fresh in everyone’s minds. 

    – Where’s the thingy where they got the baby’s heart rate? (I swear she actually asked me this. I pretty much pled the Fifth from this point forward.)

    Fortunately, the on-call doctor (not Dr. N, but another doctor in the practice) finally arrived, figured out that some wire had gotten dreadfully crossed somewhere, and mercifully released us from the clutches of Nurse Harpo. “You look great, the baby looks great, go on home,” she said.

    My auto-generated discharge papers helpfully noted that I was “evaluated to see if you were in preterm labor.” No, I think I was just there as part of a double-blind study on pregnancy and exasperation.

  3. 7 Things That Continue To Baffle and Astonish Me About Pregnancy and Parenthood

    June 21, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    1. Why so many children’s clothes – identical clothes, mind you – come in both “2T” and “24 month” sizes. I know I’m a little mom-brained and sleep-addled, but two years and 24 months are the same thing, right?

    2. Why Pampers makes it so damn difficult to figure out at a quick glance which is the front side of the diaper and which is the back. I once bought a frozen Pepperidge Farm cake that said, on the bottom of the box, “This Is The Bottom.” It struck me as funny and a little ridiculous then, but I would have cried with gratitude when I was home with a newborn if the Pampers people had done the same thing.

    3. That the little chair I made in seventh-grade woodshop class is a) still in my life, b) being used by my toddler on a regular basis, and c) supporting her weight without apparent difficulty. The high quality of middle-school craftsmanship is clearly underrated.

    4. Why hardcover children’s books come with dust jackets – at least in our house, the much-loved Llama Llama Misses Mama is not destined to become a mint-condition collectible.

    5. Why some very intelligent women continue to insist that a 40-week pregnancy is actually 10 months instead of 9. As any bookkeeper (or, hell, first grader) can tell you, only February has 28 days (4 weeks). The other months, with 30 or 31 days, are longer. All those little bits and pieces add up to a 40-week pregnancy being, yes, very close to exactly 9 months. It’s not a conspiracy, ladies.

    6. How Lorelei’s adorable little feet can return home after a sweaty day at daycare smelling more pungently awful than the worst diaper she’s ever filled, by far. If I didn’t know better I’d swear they dipped them in liederkranz cheese during nap time.

    7. That I would eagerly look forward to time alone in the house – so that I can vacuum.

  4. Anxiety Dream, Pregnancy Version

    June 8, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Last night I dreamt that I was on a work trip and had packed only pre-pregnancy jeans and no belly band…which meant that my only option for the following day’s meeting was showing up with my fly wide open and my belly hanging out. (I have no idea what I wore enroute to the meeting destination – dreams are frustratingly vague that way – but whatever it was, my dream self didn’t view it as suitable meeting attire.)

    It wasn’t quite as bad as the unprepared-for-a-pop-quiz dream, or the showing-up-at-school-naked dream, but it ran it a close second. It kind of made me want to run out and buy a spare muu-muu for emergency use.

  5. A Preggo In Vegas

    May 16, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    I’m in Las Vegas this week for work. It’s not exactly the ideal destination for a pregnant woman.

    There is cigarette smoke, free booze, and debauchery unfit for preggos at every turn. Plus, today I actually found myself in a casino bathroom with two leggy showgirls in the midst of a costume change. I felt like an aged Clydesdale at the Kentucky Derby.

    But there have been some perks:

    1. Can’t sleep due to jetlag, baby bulk, or restless legs? Fear not – there are miles of casino floors to roam at all hours.

    2. I often feel somewhat conspicuous as a pregnant woman. I don’t feel that way here. I think I’d have to be giving birth in the middle of the Strip, engulfed in flames and maybe adorned with a capuchin monkey or two, to attract even a passing glance.

    3. It’s nearly 100 degrees outside but magnificently chilly inside the casinos. There’s nothing a hot-weather preggo appreciates more than powerful AC.

    4. Your concerns about appropriate preggo business attire fade away in this land of hot pants, tank tops, and piercings in places you didn’t think could be pierced.

    5. The underrated pleasure of being the most sober person in the room – in any room – after dark (and often considerably earlier).

    6. Food. Anything imaginable. Available 24/7. This morning I surprised and delighted my Brooklyn-born waiter by ordering steak & eggs for breakfast. “I’m impressed,” he said, smiling. “Don’t usually see a woman doing that at 6:15 am. Gotta be a real woman to do that.”

    (This real woman must confess that she was once denied the opportunity to order dessert at a Chinese restaurant elsewhere on the Strip – “No dessert; she already eat a lot!” my waiter exclaimed to the helpful host who tried to offer me some. Sadly, I wasn’t even pregnant at the time.)

  6. An Accident Waiting To Happen?

    May 8, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Late in my pregnancy with Lorelei, I got rear-ended on the way back from an ob-gyn appointment. It was barely a tap, and there was no damage to either car, but the look on the other driver’s face when I lumbered out of the Subaru was absolutely priceless.

    She was already apologizing before she even opened her door, but when she caught sight of me in my maternity smock things really got entertaining. My best assessment of her thought process was something along the lines of Oh my god I hit a PREGNANT woman oh my god oh my god oh my god I am so going to hell for this oh my god. It took less than a minute to determine the lack of damage to both cars but closer to ten before she calmed down enough that I felt comfortable letting her get back behind the wheel.

    Yesterday, I was stopped at the end of an exit when I was rear-ended again. This time, the (extremely young) girl who hit me was completely unfazed by the fact of my pregnancy. I’m not sure it even registered; she may have thought I just spent a little too much time at the Two Guys burger shop down the street. She seemed remarkably comfortable about the whole event, in fact.

    “I’m fine,” she said, smiling, as she hopped out of her car. “Hmmmm,” she said, as she peered at both bumpers (mine did sustain a bit of damage this time around). “It always feels so much worse than it looks, you know?” she asked, with the confident demeanor of someone who’s rear-ended many cars in her day. “We should exchange information,” she declared.

    I, completely unhurt but somewhat rattled, dug around in my bag until I found a pen and a sheet of paper. I know that “exchanging information” after an accident is something one does, the same way one is expected to “pack a bag” for the hospital before the baby comes, but in both cases I’ve been somewhat fuzzy on the exact details.

    I knew that Crash Gordon probably didn’t need my astrological sign, resting pulse rate, or preferred ways to spend my free time, but beyond that I wasn’t quite sure what info was necessary. Fortunately, she was able to walk me through it – I was actually somewhat surprised she didn’t have a printout all ready to go at her end, as she had clearly been down this path several times before. “Don’t forget to get my license plate number,” she said, helpfully stepping aside so I could see it.

    The real question, of course, is why I keep getting rear-ended during my pregnancies. I’ve never been rear-ended before, and I fully expect it to never happen again unless I find myself pregnant a third time.

    Eric helpfully pointed out that it may have something to do with my increased gravitational pull. I’m starting to wonder if someone gave Lorelei and the Chickpea powerful magnet sets to play with in utero. Will have to keep an eye on my belly to make sure I’m not starting to attract stray iron filings and paper clips.

  7. Pregnancy: The Sequel

    March 12, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Being pregnant is very different the second time around. It doesn’t feel all that different, physically (that hasn’t been my experience, at least), but there are some key differences:

    1. You’re huger faster. I was nowhere near this big this early on in the pregnancy last time. It’s like my belly was just waiting for a fresh opportunity – other than Thanksgiving dinner – to really bust out and show its stuff again.

    2. You don’t think about it as much. Not that I’m absentmindedly doing tequila shooters every night, or signing up for sushi-eating contests, but whole days go by where the pregnancy just isn’t at the forefront of my mind (until I realize I can no longer button my jeans; see #1).

    3. You are already dealing with another little person in the here and now. The future baby somehow seems much more theoretical when you have an actual toddler running around your life on a daily basis (though the worlds do tend to collide when child #1 attempts to sit on your belly and bounce up and down on child #2).

    4. You no longer pay any mind to that “best bite” crap the What To Expect When You’re Expecting people try to lay on you. Okay, full disclosure: I really didn’t give this one any credence the first time around, either. The best bite is the one I currently have in my mouth (it’s probably something tasty, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered), followed closely by the one I’m about to swallow. If I’m not eating my meals out of dented, rusty cans, or drinking Cloroxtinis, I figure baby and I will be just fine.

  8. The New Kid on the Block

    February 3, 2012 by Jennifer Carsen

    Actually, more like the new kid in the womb:

    We are delighted to introduce the Chickpea, scheduled to debut in late August (by which point I will undoubtedly be an enormously sweaty, massive, cranky mountain of preggo flesh). We’re all very excited.

    Adding to the excitement is the fact that Dan and Alicia are also expecting again. In a truly impressive coincidence of timing, the new cousin is expected six weeks prior to the Chickpea – the exact same spacing that exists between Matthew and Lorelei. We could not have planned it that way if we tried (which, rest assured, we did not).

  9. 8 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Having a Baby

    March 28, 2011 by Jennifer Carsen

    Check out my new guest post over at Pregnant Chicken!

    If you’d like to write a guest post for us here at Mommy Tries, all the details are right here.

  10. A Prediction From the Doc

    June 11, 2010 by Jennifer Carsen

    I just came back from my ob/gyn, and her prediction, gazing into the crystal ball of my belly, is that “you will find labor sometime this weekend.” Seems to me that labor will actually be the one finding me, but I’ll take it. Failing that, my next appointment is scheduled for Wednesday, at which point we discuss Plan B (i.e., taking active steps to dislodge the Olive rather than waiting for her to emerge on her own terms).

    I have a sneaking suspicion that she’s holding out for in-utero fried dough tomorrow at Portsmouth’s Market Square Day, but I’ve tried to explain to her that Mama’s probably not going to be dragging her achy self to the festival in any event (alas, regardless of what anyone says, there’s no reasoning with a fetus).

    I just hope she’s not planning to take after her father, Eric “Fortnight” Foster, who held out for two full weeks past his due date (in the heat of August, no less), only to burst forth like greased lightning when he was finally good and ready.