36 Weeks.

I’m 36 weeks pregnant. My body is pretty much begging for mercy at this point. Up until about a week ago, I was telling people that I needed every day I could possibly get before Penelope was born because I didn’t feel ready to deal, and that I hoped she didn’t arrive early. 

But then. 

All of the sudden.
 

I went from pretty miserable to BEYOND UNCOMFORTABLE and I’m ready for her to get out. My pregnancy buddy (who was also pregnant with her third child) had her son last week, three weeks early, and now I am insanely jealous that she gets to hold her baby instead of feeling his bones grind against hers every time she bends over to pick something up. This probably won’t happen to me, early delivery. I’ll likely carry this baby every single one of the 280 days that 40 weeks of pregnancy entails, as my skin continues to stretch into oblivion.

But you know … there’s Asher, my sweet, sweet boy, who is soon to be ousted from his position as baby of the family to forgotten middle child. He’s only 20 months old, but he knows something is UP. I keep finding him looking at a book we have in our house called “Baby On The Way.”

And he keeps doing this:
 

 And looking at me like this:


And it makes me feel a whole bunch of things. First of all, no one is allowed to make him the “forgotten middle child.” I will make sure of it, and probably cause a lot of damage in the process. Also, I’m worried he is about to go from being my sweet, sweet boy to some sort of hellion I don’t know what to do with. Becoming the middle child might ruin him, and that would be devastating.

Thirdly, for Asher’s sake, I hope his sister doesn’t arrive for exactly 27 more days. June 14. And maybe a little bit for my sake too, because today I tried my hardest to soak up all of the sweetness I could from my sons and I felt like I couldn’t get enough of them. I wanted to stop time. Which is a feeling very unfamiliar to me. I never feel like that. Ever. My days are typically so long that sometimes it feels like some kind of torture, and when people tell me to “enjoy every moment” I want to say “ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?! MY MOMENTS DRAG ON FOR ETERNITY!”  

But not today.

Today, even with the fits and the crying and the frustration that comes with parenting a 4-year-old and a toddler, I really soaked them in. I have two wonderful kids. None of us are perfect, but I don’t say enough how happy I am to be their mother. I don’t know what kind of shit is about to hit the fan in my house, but right now — despite the fact that I can’t take a full breath or sleep more than 2 hours in a row at night without getting a leg cramp or having to get up and pee — everything is good.

Let’s keep it that way, family. 27 more days, give or take. Let’s finish strong.
  

Pledges.

It seems like things are always going on at the preschool, and since Maverick attends full-time and Asher attends two days a week I pretty much never feel like I am on it. It’s a whole lot of activities and paperwork, times two. I’m constantly not making sure things are signed or money is turned in, and then I get questions from my son like, “I won the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon, so why didn’t I get a t-shirt like my friends did?” 

“Well … the reason you didn’t get a prize is because mommy didn’t fill out the form and help you get pledges or whatever was supposed to happen, I don’t really know because I didn’t read the form … sooooooo …  

Even though you rode faster than any of the other kids, you still didn’t make any money for St. Jude’s. And that is why you didn’t get an umbrella or a t-shirt or a teddy bear. Because we didn’t get any pledges.” 

And then he asked, “What are pledges?” And I said I was too tired to explain, but maybe he could ask Daddy. Which is exactly why my son thinks Daddy knows everything and Mommy knows next to nothing. Because I tire of answering.

I felt bad, but I didn’t make apologies. I have mommy guilt that I don’t voice aloud, because sometimes things don’t happen like you want them to, and 4 isn’t too young to learn that lesson. My son is a doer, like me, and I would like to walk the fine line between cultivating that trait and still being there when he needs me. I mean clearly he can’t read a form and make sure he gets pledges, but now is a good time for him to learn that his mother is only one person and sometimes she falls short and THAT IS OKAY.

Having more than one kid in school is challenging, which honestly was a surprise to me. I can’t even imagine what it will be like when all of them have homework to complete. Maybe I’ll just stop picking up and throwing away and filing the paperwork, and I’ll just let us get buried in it. We’ll be the first people ever to be on an episode of Hoarders because school papers filled the house and eventually threatened to smother us to death. 

Maybe next year or the next, after I’ve birthed this baby and survived the first year of her life, I’ll get better at this multiple kids in school thing. Something about it is just too much for me in my current state. So. A few weeks ago we got yet another form — times two, because I got one in Maverick’s folder and one in Asher’s — that said Staff Appreciation Week is coming up and here are my options! And please select one by April 26th!

1. I could give money (Um, no?), or,

2. Volunteer to serve lunch to the preschool staff (Who would watch Asher while I did that?), or,

3. Donate a “door prize” from my “company” (Believe me, they don’t want any kind of “door prize” from my “company”), or,

4. Send a baked good to school.

Clearly, my best option was the baked good because I am good at baking, so I signed up to bring homemade chocolate chip cookies on May 6th. I was really proud of myself. For once, I was on it. At like 9 months pregnant. BOOM. I was going to bake my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies for the entire staff and atone for the complete lack of togetherness I’ve displayed this school year. I would wrap them up nicely like the other crafty moms do, with ribbons and bows.

Flash forward to today:

This is what they are getting. Market Pantry. My feet are killing me and I’m exhausted and I was going to put them on plates and try to fake homemade goodness, but WHY. A lot of people don’t like eating things from other people’s kitchens anyway. I could kill myself in the kitchen or I could put my feet up.

I shall put my feet up.

Preschool teachers, I appreciate you so much, and I pledge to do better. Eventually.

34 Weeks.

This is the story of getting a tummy shot with no one around but a 4-year-old boy.

“Hey Maverick, can you take a picture of my stomach? Oh, wait — are my pants see-through? No? Okay … I’ll take your word for it … ” 

“Don’t do that with my phone!”

 “Give it to me NOW. This isn’t funny … ”

  
“I’m just going to take it myself, I’ll be back in a minute.”

34 weeks and some change.

Here is what I used to look like when I still had energy and a normal-sized face. I hate that bitch.
 

I Need An Assistant.

 Here are some of the people who watched me incorrectly eat a tamale.

I need someone to follow me around and assist me with LIFE, because I seem to be incapable of functioning at full capacity.

Like just now, when I opened our storage closet outside to get a beach ball out and somehow accidentally turned on the air compressor and freaked out and called Husband repeatedly (no answer … GOOD THING I’M NOT IN LABOR) before realizing the mayhem would stop if I just unplugged it from the wall.

Also: the tamale. Before Saturday, I’d never eaten a real tamale before. I don’t know how that’s possible, but it is what it is. I didn’t realize you have to unwrap it from the corn husk before you eat it … I mean … they look just like burritos. So I was eating a lovely lunch this weekend with my fellow alumni and their families when I took a great big bite out of my tamale and discovered too late that the corn husk is not … biteable. And once you bite in, there is no ladylike way to deal with the situation. 

Also: the slide. Last week, I tried to be adventurous and take the boys to a park by myself. It was going well until TWO followed his big brother to the very top of the play set, a good 12 feet up in the air, and was standing on the top of a platform looking over the edge like he was thinking about jumping. Bigger kids were running all over the place and I just knew one of them would knock him down and he was going to break something.

I didn’t think any of this through before I climbed up to where he was, squeeeeeeeeeeezed through the opening with my huge belly, and picked him up. The only way down was via slide. So down all three of us went. A little girl was standing at the bottom and I yelled at her MOVE!!! We can’t stop!” before we landed in a pile. I’m sure it was quite a spectacle, there were people everywhere but I was so stressed out from the ordeal that I was oblivious to the stares.

Never. Again.

In the past few weeks I have: screwed up our bank account, mismanaged multiple situations, called my children by the wrong names, and scheduled the delivery of the boy’s new bedroom furniture for tomorrow … not thinking about the fact that we still haven’t gotten the OLD furniture out yet. A queen-sized bed and huge armoire aren’t going to move themselves. I don’t know what I was thinking, but we have no choice but to press on. 

Tonight will be the first night that the boys will share a room — this was unplanned. We still don’t have mattresses for the twin beds that are arriving tomorrow. Until we can procure some, ONE will sleep in the toddler bed that his little brother rejected, and TWO will remain in his Pack N’ Play. Husband will have to disassemble ONE’s old bedroom furniture when he gets home from work, and I have no idea how he will get it out of the house. Good luck to him. 

I’m fairly certain from this point on, with the boys sharing a room, no one will be getting enough sleep. I normally do not operate in this helter-skelter kind of way. This is not who I am! Luckily, this weekend my friend Melody brought me something called Natural Calm. You mix it with water. It’s safe for pregnancy and I hope it will help me cope with life, because what I really need is an assistant and some Prozac.

Please make me calm.

 

Crisis-y.

So … I’m feeling a little crisis-y. 

It could be the pregnancy, or the fact that I’m overrun with snot-nosed children. I think I need more adult time. Or maybe it’s my age. But my friend was telling me how she went out last night and was completely ignored by a group of 20-something guys and it made her realize how uncool and old she was. And her telling me that made me realize how old and uncool I AM. I mean, my friend is childless and goes to vegan restaurants and has really fun, spiky hair. She is totally cool.

I, on the other hand, drive a van filled with children, I never go out, and I have horrible hair thanks to the Haircut From Hell. I haven’t been able to muster the energy to write about it, because I am still SO UPSET but it was given to me by a woman who was either still hung over from the night before, or had been drinking prior to my 12:00 appointment.

When I arrived, I immediately smelled whiskey with my super sonic preggo sense of smell and I texted everyone I knew to prepare themselves because I was fairly certain homegirl was drunk. In hindsight, what I should have done was sneak out of there when she went to the back to mix up my color. But I didn’t, because I have manners. And now I also have effed up hair. 

I went to a different salon several days later and had my haircut fixed by a totally sober hairdresser who I will continue to go to until the end of time. It looks way better, but there was only so much she could do with that situation.

I just need to self-indulge for a moment and whine about the fact that when a girl is pregnant, ALL SHE HAS IS HER HAIR. It’s the one thing that doesn’t go south. So the fact that mine is now half the length that it was, and fuzzed-out because it was cut with a razor even after I explained that was a bad idea, really makes me mad.

I am ready to be my normal self again. I want to wear normal clothes and do normal things. I’d like my normal hair back again that I could put into a ponytail without weird little pieces falling out. I want to be able to at least pretend that I’m young and cool … it’s kind of hard to do that when you‘re wearing something that looks like this:

  
I am plagued with fears that this is it, this is the child that will send me over the edge, and I’ll never be cool or truly myself ever again. And so I’ve set a plan in place that includes a postpartum diet and exercise routine, growing my hair back out, and making time for myself. Hopefully, maybe, one day many months from now out of the blue I’ll realize that I’m BACK! And as cool as ever.

But not sane.

Let‘s not get carried away.  

I Don’t Wear Crazy Well.

It seems I have reached the point in my pregnancy when I turn psycho. It happens every single time.

It usually starts when I begin having recurrent dreams about Husband cheating on me or rejecting me in some way. Last night I dreamt that I was trying to put the moves on him and he stopped me and said, “I’m bored. Also, I have to pee. Can you please move?” 

I woke up feeling super upset — I mean, he said he was BORED — and even after I told him about the dream and he laughed, which made me realize it was ridiculous to even repeat it out loud, I was still mad at him for what he did to me in my dream. That hurt my feelings, and he better make it up to me the next time he shows up in one of my wacky ass pregnancy dreams. Bring me flowers or tell me something nice, and for goodness sake … pee first, Dream Version of Husband. 

Also, last night you looked too mountain mannish. Next time I’d like a little less of that and a little more of this:

Thank you in advance.

***
 
As I grow larger, it literally seems like we are drifting farther and farther apart. Luckily, this time has been the easiest on us because we know what to expect and how to behave, unlike when I was pregnant with ONE. We were blissfully unaware that I would turn psychotic, and when the crazy began Husband did not respond well.

I remember one time my mother-in-law stopped at our house to stay overnight while she was traveling for work, and a few days later I found a hotel key buried under some magazines on the coffee table. I knew it was not Husband’s lost hotel key. I knew there was a rational explanation, like it was left on accident by my mother-in-law. That did not stop me from acting like a complete freak when he got home. There was definitely an interrogation.

It was not my finest hour.

I share all of this because making fun of my irrationality is the best way for me to cope with it. And I know Husband loves me, because he bought me a minivan yesterday. I mean, if there was another woman, would he buy her a minivan?! I don’t think so. She would probably just get grocery store flowers, but I got a VAN, bitches.

Of course, when I tell Husband that I’m worried he is going to get sick of me and find someone else who is:

1. Fun
2. Not pregnant
3. Fun,

He always gives me this very serious look and says, “I could never, ever handle more than one of you,” meaning, I suppose, that women are a handful and he can barely deal with the one. To which I say, “Good thinking.”

I have many more months left of abnormal behavior: 15 more weeks of gestation, and a good 12 weeks to recalibrate after that. That’s a very long stretch of crazy that we all have to look forward to. And so, I will do what makes sense and try my best to embrace it.

Full-Body Varicosity.

I know you have all been waiting on the edge of your seats, but the suspense is over – I do not have a hernia.

I have an issue with one of my ligaments, round ligament varicosity, to be exact.  It mimics a hernia. Joke’s over, ligament. I know what you are, and you are not my intestine. I hope you had fun watching me freak the FREAK OUT.

I actually think I have full-body varicosity. I have diagnosed myself with this (made-up) condition because all of my veins are big and blue and sticking out in places they shouldn’t be. It’s an unsightly problem, but what a relief to learn that is my issue … and not innards escaping.

I told Dr. Boudreaux two things yesterday during my appointment: I think my entire vaginal area is rebelling (“No more babies, you bitch!” is what it’s telling me), and, I love her. She is such a great doctor, OMG. Like I think we could be friends outside of the doctor’s office. I feel a bond with anyone who has taken the time to me at length about my hoo-ha. My old doctor would never have indulged me and stated aloud in the exam room that my vagina cannot actually decide to “rebel,” because it doesn’t have a mind of its own.

She would have given me a well-deserved blank stare.

I love a health professional who will bring it down a level and be funny for a minute. I know they are rushed, but my OB never makes me feel like I’m being brushed aside. I give her 5 stars. Now … let’s get through the next 120 days, and get this baby out of me so my varicosities can go away.

Thank Goodness For …

… things that make me happy. Because without them, I would be one miserable bitch.

A yucky bug has been loitering in my household and nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is easy when the snot of four people is involved. Check, please!

Today I visited my gynecologist for a checkup. I’m 14.5 weeks pregnant with my third child so I don’t know why I expect something miraculous to happen this time around, and, I don’t know … maybe not gain an absolutely insane amount of weight!?

Note to self: don’t wear these next time I have to get on a scale.

I tried to look really nice because I don’t get out much. I put a lot of thought and effort into my “I might be having my third baby, but I can still work it” look. But. I made a grave miscalculation and wore the heaviest pair of shoes I own. I made a late afternoon appointment. I DECIDED TO HAVE A BABY. These factors were all working against me today … aaaaand, I’ve gained a whole lot of weight. Like a pound for every week of pregnancy. 

I kind of freaked out in front of my doctor and she laughed. She patted me. She said it’s fine. She offered to re-weigh me and waited while I removed my boots which turned out to weigh two pounds. So I’m two pounds less fat than I thought, which is still … fat.

Anyway, thank goodness for things that make me happy. I have some absolutely amazing friends who send happy little things in the mail and I don‘t think they even know how much those little things mean. They are proof that I’m more than just a mommy. I’m still myself. 

Here are the things that made me happy today:

   
My friend Amy made this amazing gift for Husband and I. It’s in this cool red frame and for now it’s sitting right above our computer. I cried when I opened it … because as you know, our hearts ARE in Baton Rouge.

Also, my friend Anca mailed me this fantastic necklace she found on Etsy and I literally want to wear it every day. And the orange purse is something I found when shopping with my friend Jamie a few weeks ago. It‘s loud and orange and holds a ton of stuff.

Apparently, I do everything in a BIG WAY … including pregnancy weight gain. I try to eat healthfully, I stay active running after ONE and TWO, and I’m certainly not going to deny myself chocolate. So if I have to be a fattie fatterton, I’ll be a fattie fatterton. I’m going to wear my fabulous necklace and carry my fabulous purse and stomp around in those fabulous boots as long as I can pull them on over my fattie fatterton legs, and at the end of it all I’ll have a healthy baby, lose the weight, and move on with my life.

Meanwhile, I reserve the right to complain about it. 
 

Pelvic Rest Is No Laughing Matter.

DISCLAIMER!

If you are my mother or one of my family members who really don’t want to know anything too personal … stop reading.

You have been warned.

***

Okay. So, this pregnancy has been going relatively smoothly so far, except that I have two children to care for and one of them weighs 25 pounds and still has to be carried a lot. Every other week or so since I first found out I was pregnant, I’ll have a day where I just overdo it and start spotting a little. Not enough to cause me to rush off to the E.R., but any amount of spotting isn’t normal. So I lie down and make Husband take care of the kids, and it goes away.

Anyway, I mentioned it at my last appointment. I should tell you here that I love my new doctor. It was nerve-wracking to have to find a new one when we moved back to Louisiana, but a good friend recommended Dr. Boudreaux. I find it charming to have a cajun-sounding gynecologist now that I have returned to my roots.

On my first visit I immediately liked her so much that I decided to ask her after my exam if I should be concerned about my insides falling out. “Uterine prolapse?” she asked. Yes … that’s right. PROLAPSE. Because having three children is no joke and surely all this childbearing is doing a number on my insides.

She won me over when she laughed (not condescendingly) and assured me I was in no danger of any sort of pr — as a matter of fact — everything in there was still, and I quote, “quite high up.”

For this reason alone, she will be my gynecologist forever. It was the closest thing to flattery I have experienced with my feet in stirrups.

So back to my original topic: the spotting. At my last appointment, I mentioned it to her casually and she immediately sat up straight and started asking questions. No, I never had this with my first child. I had a miscarriage after that pregnancy, which she noted from my chart. With the next child, I did spot a few times. I’ve spotted more already with this pregnancy than I did with the last one. And so she said words sent straight from Heaven above: “You are on pelvic rest. No sex for 4 weeks. Once you’re out of your first trimester, you can resume.”

I knew Husband wouldn’t be thrilled. Of course he wants me to be healthy and the baby as well … but let’s be honest. The news made him grumpy. And then after a few days, he started getting super grumpy and asking questions like, “Did she REALLY say 4 weeks?” And then the following conversation took place:

Husband: Did she REALLY say 4 weeks?

Me: YES. Geez. Why would I lie about this?

Husband: I’m just making sure.

Me: If you don’t watch it, I‘ll tell her at my next appointment that the spotting has continued.

Husband: Yeah, well … the dentist hasn’t put you on any kind of restriction.

*** 

Hopefully, our irreverent sense of humor will make the next 7 months bearable. Ridiculous statements about how nothing is wrong with my mouth (except what comes out of it) make me LAUGH.

Laughter and pelvic rest really is the best medicine for a tired mommy who isn’t allowed to have any wine. 

Pelvic rest: no laughing matter.

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Labor: Day Three.

After 36 hours of consistent and progressively more painful contractions, they stopped. Dead. Despite the fact that I went to the mall at 8:00 a.m. to walk until I couldn’t walk anymore. Despite the fact that my parents are here, my husband is home, and everything is ready … except … the baby.

I turned off my phone. I refuse to check Facebook or my e-mail. People are waiting, and they don’t understand what is taking so long. I DON’T EITHER, PEOPLE. This is a maddening experience.

TWO will come when he is ready, on his own. I won’t force him out. It’s not a matter of pride at this point, it’s just my gut feeling that I’m doing what is best for my baby. I can wait. 

I think.