Jul 7 2010

The Birth Story

This post is for my mom friends, who are naturally the people most likely to be interested in the grisly details of childbirth. Men, the infirm, and those of delicate sensibility might want to stop reading now. Just as a cautionary example, this post includes a discussion of meconium—that’s when the baby poops inside your uterus. If this little bit of vocabulary disgusts you, then you probably shouldn’t read any farther.

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Jul 7 2010

There’s a Baby! There’s a Baby!

Hello World!

David Luke Phillips was born at 3:15 on Tuesday, 7/6/2010, weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces and measuring 19 inches from top to toe.

Check out this view from our delivery room! Yes, that is the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.

I might write up all the grisly details of the birth story later, but the important points are that I had a successful VBAC (with the aid of a wonderful, beautiful epidural that left me able to experience the contractions but not be overwhelmed by them, and to retain almost complete muscle control over my lower body) and that Davy is doing just fine by every measure.

Most notably, he’s a champ at nursing. I got to put him to the breast right away, and he latched straight on. He’s been nursing every few hours since. Sam thinks it’s because I know what I’m doing now, and I’m sure that’s a factor, but I think it’s mostly that the baby knows what he’s doing. There are some studies that seem to indicate that babies born vaginally are better at nursing, so maybe that’s a piece of it too.

I think mostly because the feeding is going so well, meeting Davy has been a much easier and more peaceful experience than caring for Robin was in those first days. I remember crying every day for a week after Robin was born, just from stress and overwhelm. With Davy, though, I’m calm and happy—happy he’s finally here, happy he’s such a great baby, looking forward to bringing him home and seeing him bond with the rest of the family. Yay, we have a baby!

Jul 5 2010

Still No Baby

Well, he didn’t come on the 4th.

I know due dates aren’t like UPS shipping estimates, and babies don’t come with tracking numbers (although when I mentioned this to my mom, she said “They should get on that!”)—but to be honest, all my expectations were focused on Davy coming early. Given how supremely close to bursting I was feeling, it seemed impossible that he could stay in there a full 40 weeks.

Apparently not only was that possible, but the Internet assures me that it’s in fact possible he’ll stay in for 41 or 42. If I truly believed this, I would cry: the idea of enduring these “prelabor” contractions on top of the usual full-term pregnancy discomforts for two more weeks is so awful that my mind basically refuses to accept it. And then I need to stop and remind myself, again, that it’s far from the worst thing in the world, and as long as Davy is thriving then I can manage whatever I need to manage.

But if we do go to 42 weeks, I’ll be faced with a real problem: the hospital will almost certainly want to intervene at that point, because past 42 weeks there are risks to the baby from remaining in utero. Many doctors want to induce at 40 or 41 weeks, but I’ve picked a hippie-crunchy-friendly hospital where I’m actually attended by midwives rather than doctors, and they tend to be more hands-off about these things. The problem is that I’m a poor candidate for induction because I’ve had a prior c-section, and the drugs they use for induction would increase the risk of my uterine scar tearing open. So although my midwife did seem willing to contemplate the possibility of induction when I talked to her, I’m not entirely sure that they wouldn’t end up just scheduling me for another c-section instead. I really don’t want that: Sam and I are probably going to want a third child, and each c-section you have increases the risks of complications in subsequent pregnancies. Induction itself also increases the risk that labor would end in a section.

Again, c-section is not the worst thing in the world, and I guess I may just have to dwell on that for a while. But I really hope Davy gets a move on—not just because I want him out of me now but because if he doesn’t come out on his own, none of my choices are great.

Jul 4 2010

Pregnancy Rap

I, um, may be losing my mind.

by MC Big Belly

Already had one, now I’m going for two
Like a library book, I’m overdue
Knocked up, expectant, gravid
Enceinte, with child, rabid
For the babies I mean
Like a wolverine
Gonna hit that labor with a frenzy
Doctor gonna wait and then see
I don’t need to be induced
Mama’s got the juice
You know you heard it from the emcee!

Jul 4 2010

What’s for Dinner

CRUSTS OF STALE BREAD AND OUR OWN SALTY TEARS. I’m on strike until this baby gets out of me!

No, I guess we still need to eat. Plus we have a houseguest—Robin’s Pappy has come up to stay with us, in hopes of being able to watch Robin when I go into labor—if I go into labor, I’m starting to fear I might stay like this forever—and I wouldn’t want him to starve. Also, yesterday we picked up a box full of cherries, strawberries, baby spinach, lettuce, carrots, kale, celery, broccoli, and zucchini, so there’s that.

It’s the fourth of July today, so I guess we’ll grill some burgers. I’ll make glazed carrots to go on the side. And I’d do something fancy with the cherries except that we’ve already eaten most of them—and I bought a carrot cake two days ago, so we should really finish that instead. As the saying goes, “It’s as American as carrot cake!” Right?

Tomorrow we’ll have spaghetti carbonara (I bought some guanciale at the San Francisco Ferry Building) and a salad. Then starting Tuesday we can work on some of the leftovers from last week—I have a good amount of red beans and rice in the fridge, and also some baked chicken. At some point I’ll also make zucchini fritters. I’ll probably use the kale and the spinach in a batch of bulgur salad with salami and greens; that’ll be a good lunch at least.

Jul 2 2010

Also, That Other Thing

Another thing making us uncomfortable right now is that a verdict is expected soon in the trial of Johannes Mehserle, and it’s pretty much assumed that there will be riots in Oakland if he’s acquitted. And specifically the violence may well center around Fruitvale—as I mentioned before, our house is on the border of that neighborhood. So, we’re a bit tense.

The police are bracing for riots. So are the local shopkeepers. I don’t want to freak anyone out (Mom, don’t freak out) by mentioning this; I just thought it would be worse if the riots actually do happen and you hear about it on the news or something first. It’s extremely unlikely that we would be affected by any violence, anyway: the BART station where protests will be centered is a mile and a half from our house, and most of those blocks are quiet residential ones. For myself, I hope Mehserle is convicted at least of voluntary manslaughter, and obviously we’re all hoping that any protests organized after the verdict remain peaceful ones.

Jul 2 2010

Due Date

Still pregnant dear God how is this even possible

I’ve been having intermittent Braxton-Hicks contractions for the past few days, which are doing a number on me psychologically, since I am so ready to be done with pregnancy that I get excited (and then crushingly disappointed) with each fresh onset of false labor. I have backache, foot and leg pain, various and diverse discomforts in the belly and pelvis, and any kind of movement I make—standing up, lying down, holding still in one position for too long—seems to hurt some part of my body. In fact I’m so much more physically uncomfortable than I was at this stage with Robin that I’m wondering if the extra three years in age has made some kind of crucial difference: am I old now? Is that it?

It helped a little that I went to the doctor today, and while they were monitoring Davy (everything’s fine) I happened to overhear a couple of other women who were in the antenatal testing unit for problems much more serious than my own velamentous placenta. It really is a reminder that I should be grateful for my good health. And I am, truly. But I would like to have my baby soon. In fact now would be great.

Some part of my brain is convinced that Davy is waiting until the 4th of July, so that he can be greeted with fireworks. I guess that would be kind of cool, huh?