What It’s ACTUALLY Like To Have A Baby, Including All The Gory Details Your Mother Wouldn’t Tell You

A couple of months ago, I transformed from this

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Two days before Mini Tex arrived.

 

into this

 

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You can’t see it from this angle but I have in essence created a Mini Tex, the only way you’d know for sure that my baby is related to me is if you watched him emerge from my junk.

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Sometimes I can’t even tell them apart.

What happened in between was kind of like when a butterfly emerges from a cocoon. That is if butterflies screamed at the top of their lungs and covered the space around them in blood like something out of a B grade horror movie.

Until Mini Tex actually came into the world, I had no idea how it was going to happen, I mean obviously I had a rough idea of which people were going to come out where but Moms and surprisingly the internet have a way of keeping the whole process hush hush. Something I discovered before Mini Tex’s arrival while researching online. My friend Sula also commented on this fact after she asked her mother to elaborate about having children. So strap on your helmet interwebs, I’m going to give you a crash course in the birthing process. SPOILER ALERT – It’s going to be terrifying and also possibly a little gross.

 

Early Labour

Babies like to inconvenience people. Hence they choose to start their entry into the world at inopportune times like 2 am. You can lie in bed during this time but good luck sleeping because contractions hurt, not bad enough to take your breath away but just enough so that you can’t have sweet sweet dreams about former Playboy bunnies or whatever it is you like to dream about.

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Don’t judge me, their ditzy mannerisms and way of deeming everything “Super fun!” bring me joy. (Photo Credit: fanpop.com)

This continues for a while. Like a long while. Such a long while in fact, that you decide that your baby’s arrival should inconvenience your partner too, so at 4 am you wake him up. At this point you’re both stoked because your baby is almost here! All you have to do is walk forever to get him out faster. So even though it’s the middle of the night, even though it’s minus twenty-five out, even though you’re both a little drunk on sleep deprivation, you start walking. And walking, and walking. For Pete’s sake where is this baby? Does he need you to march an actual marathon with kilometer markers and race officials before he will come out?

10 am – Still walking. The good news is your labor is progressing; the bad news is that means during every contraction you have to lean a little on your partner, also you aren’t getting very far very fast. Please note labour is not the time to do sightseeing.

11 am – You walk past the hospital where your partner proclaims that it’s time to see a doctor. Having seen the birthing “suites” you are reluctant to check into the hospital; it appears the people who designed the rooms have never visited an actual hotel and didn’t understand the meaning of the word “suite”. Just outside the doors, you realize you need to pee NOW. However your body needs to contract this baby out of you. It’s a dramatic fight to see whether your bladder sphincters triumph over your slow pace to the washroom. After dragging yourself up a flight of stairs you make it to the loo just in the nick of time.

12 pm – You arrive at the maternity ward where there are wheelchairs everywhere as if women just randomly lose the use of their legs and drop to the floor. After checking in the receptionist asks you if you can walk the five feet to the next window. Clearly she hasn’t looked at the steps on your Fitbit that day.

12:30 pm – You are directed to a room with another woman in it who is either dying or about to have her baby right then and there based on the pained groans coming from behind the curtain. Her husband runs frantically in and out of the room crying “Epidural! Epidural!”

Get ready my Unwashed public, you’re about to get the Coles Notes version of how labour progresses. Standing between you and your beautiful newborn is your cervix. You’d call it an asshole for keeping your baby from you but your cervix has kindly been holding the little bugger in for nine months, so you forgive it. In order for the baby to emerge, your cervix both has to thin out (efface) and dilate 10 cm (Make a hole 10 cm in diameter for the baby to come out of. Also, does that seem like a really small opening to anyone else? After all, you’re having a human baby not a ferret. )

The doctor comes in to check your roommate, it isn’t polite to eavesdrop but you and your partner do anyway because in all likelihood the father of the child is going to be running down the halls shouting for pain meds rather than in the room to catch the baby who is certain to come flying out any moment now if the woman’s cries are any indication.

It turns out your fellow labourer is three centimetres dilated, just like you and a long way from having her baby. Score one for yoga breathing to reduce pain and relax your contracting muscles. You ask to go home so you can continue the world’s slowest walking tour of your city.

4:00 pm – You lie down to rest because you are not the Proclaimers walking five hundred miles and then five hundred more because you can’t fall down at the door at the end as directly after all that endless marching about, you have to push.

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That’s great that you guys want to keep going- I’m going to take a nap. (Photo Credit : citylab.com)

 

However, sleeping is a bad decision because between this bout of inactivity and the bath you take immediately afterwards, your baby takes the opportunity to turn and you have back labour.

7:00 pm – If given the choice between pushing another human being out of me and back labour, I would happily squeeze another person out of my lady garden. Back labour is painful, for the first and only time, yoga breathing fails you; there is nothing aside from loud sobbing which can contend with this pain.

Funny side note about back labour and marriage – One of the many aspects I found sexy about Tex was this sprinkling of salt by the temples in his dark coloured hair. The day after Mini Tex was born, I noticed a new patch of grey by his ear, it’s hard to say whether it was caused by watching me scream in agony while his son was coming into this world or watching me rock back and forth while sobbing because of back labour.

8:00 pm – After watching you rock back and forth sobbing for an hour, your partner insists that you return to the hospital. Existing is uncomfortable, breathing is uncomfortable, so walking back to the hospital is definitely out of the question. Also when I say “uncomfortable”, I actually mean excruciating.

9:00 pm – After all of that laboring, the doctor checks and deems that you are fully effaced but still only 3 cm dilated. Being fully effaced is a good thing but you don’t hear that part through your pain, all you hear is that you’re in the same place as ten hours ago and conclude this labor is going to continue forever. Then you think of the video from birthing class of the woman who had to have a C-section after her labor failed to progress. You dissolve into exhausted tears.

Baby birthing side note – While caesarian sections make for cuter infants right out of the womb; Mini Tex came out puffy eyed, bruised and looking like he’d been on the losing end of a baby bar fight. I don’t know what babies would come to fisticuffs over. Who gets dibs on the breast with the tastier milk first?

I digress, C-sections are actual SURGERIES. Meaning there are stitches and a much longer recovery process. Having had six stitches in my leg this past year which hurt like the dickens, I can’t imagine enduring a surgery and then caring for a small person while I recovered. Also you stay in the hospital for longer which is zero fun. Picture traveling on an uncomfortable bus for four days, that’s what the hospital is like; there is a lack of fun and it smells funny.

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If you add an IV to this image, the experience is identical, right down to the person next to you who gives WAAAAY too much information. (Yes I recognize the hypocrisy of this comment as I am in the process of sharing my birthing story with the greater electronic world.) (Photo Credit: yelp.com)

10:00 pm – Given that you’ve been up for twenty hours, are in pain and exhausted, you decide to try some morphine. There’s a catch though, morphine makes people puke so the doctors administer Gravol along with it.

There were a couple of reasons I decided that I didn’t want an epidural. The first is that pain evolved for a reason; people without pain receptors don’t live as long. Those little jabs are your body’s way of communicating what’s going on. Also, it’s my completely unfounded belief that epidurals mean more tearing. So in my mind, an epidural was like trading short term pain for long term recovery pain. Lastly and most importantly, I’m built small and metabolize pain medications poorly. Cold medication leaves me a stoned wobbly mess. This was why when I was given a normal adult dose of Gravol and morphine during my labor, my pupils shrunk to pinpoints and I passed out. It was so bad that Tex had to lift me into my preferred position during a contraction and then lay me back down after it was done so I didn’t topple off the bed.

12 am – You walk around the hospital, still wobbly from the Gravol and morphine. You swear off drugs, green fairies and rainbows for the rest of your life.

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Except for you my delicious morning friend. (Photo Credit : fakefoodwatch.com)

12:30 am – Having spent the past five months practicing squatting because it shortens labor and helps get the baby into position, you decide to squat.

12:31 am – You scream bloody murder for your partner to help get you out of a squat because it makes the contractions so intense you can’t bear it. There goes five months of doing the malasana yoga pose for zip.

2 am – You get moved to a delivery suite. Again don’t let the second word deceive you, unless this is some sort of private American hospital for millionaires, there is nothing swanky about this hospital room. By contrast, the staff are amazing. I’m not saying the labor nurse was an angel, but if she had pulled out a harp and sprouted wings, I wouldn’t have been surprised. The nurse spoke in soft soothing tones, anticipated all of my needs and was wonderful.

3 am – Not everyone’s water breaks in a grand and embarrassing splash in the middle of a grocery store. Some must have their water broken during labor. The doctor will apologize for the discomfort while they do this, I’m assuming because they’re under the impression that every other part of this process has been like a day at the spa.

4 AM – The heavenly nurse decides to leave her harp in the closet for the time being, but offers you something even better -gas. You remember from birthing class that if laughing gas is used for longer than an hour that you get a wicked bad hangover. You make a mental note to check the time and then realize that time and your ability to tell it, has lost all meaning.

5 AM – You’ve now been up for twenty-seven hours, niceties are no longer necessary, you yell at your caring husband when he doesn’t move his chair right away. You bellow at the doctor that you are ready to push. Perhaps it’s because you seem rude and unreasonable that the bad cop physician is called in.

When I was young, thin and believed that short shorts were appropriate attire in February, I ran marathons. My mother who has run the Boston marathon five times ran my races alongside me. She would yell when I walked, urging me back into a run then run circles around me singing and taunting me when I slowed my pace and once, my mother threatened to leave me in the middle of nowhere if I didn’t run faster. That last story may be a slight exaggeration, but only slight, all I remember were chasing her heels for five kilometers as I tried not to lose my ride back to the hotel. Anyways, it seems that all of this loud, determined coaching was preparation for the consultant who bellowed a baby out of me.

Nowadays doctors are taught empathy and to think about patients’ feelings. This woman must have been trained before this era. She was merciless. During every contraction she yelled “PUSH GIRL PUSH!” at the top of her lungs as if she was on a distant mountaintop, instructing me from afar. Her insistent instructions were contrasted against the soft, angelic tones of the labor nurse who whispered into my ear “You’re doing great Unwashed” in between the drill sergeant’s shouts. When this forceful woman wasn’t roaring instructions at me, she would critique my efforts to the resident who was sitting in the hot seat, silently waiting to catch Mini Tex; “she’s not using the full contraction, she could be pushing longer; she’s barely doing anything.”

This is the part that some women dread, that you’re told about beforehand. You poop in front of God and everyone. But it’s a bit like being the kid in line for a carnival ride. You’re just so damn excited and caught up in what’s about to occur that you mess your pants then keep going because – what the hell? It’s the tilt-a-whirl.

The part that is not mentioned is that all the signals for your bladder get kind of scrambled, so if it’s full, which it probably is, it will make pushing a baby out harder but more on that later.

So you keep pushing, and the bad cop doctor keeps shouting instructions and you can feel your baby’s head almost coming out of your kootch. You change positions, ostensibly to make pushing easier, but in reality because you’re more likely to be able to kick the vocal doctor-cop while sitting up. The bad cop tells you to feel your son’s head as a way to try and encourage you to keep pushing. This is a bit like someone saying at mile 25 of a marathon “Look! You’re almost there! You just have to run for fifteen more minutes!” Instead of being invigorated, you want to slap them and then lie down and die from exhaustion.

The only tidbit I could find which described the actual birthing process said that when the baby crowned (laymen’s terms for when the largest part of the baby comes out) it felt like someone taking a blow torch to your crotch. Having received a small terrible burn on my hand once, I kept waiting for the blowtorch. It didn’t arrive. I will admit that it hurt, and you definitely feel your skin stretching and tearing. If your husband is watching, he might be horrified. Those who didn’t grow up on a farm should likely stand near your head around about this time. Although that puts them in closer proximity to your mouth which at this point is emitting a lot of sound because you’re yelling so loudly that your voice will hurt for two days.True story.

But then you have a baby. Which is awesome for the twenty minutes you hold him for before you pass out from exhaustion.

 

Afterwards

Remember the spoiler alert that it was going to be gross? And the part about the bloody butterfly and everything looking like a B horror movie? We’re totally at that part. You might want to stop reading. Or at least put down your sandwich.

Birthing is a messy business. I feel badly for the custodial staff of the hospital, because despite my attempts to clean up, after I used the bathroom, it looked like the set of “The Shining”. There was blood EVERYWHERE. The poor sod would have needed three mops to deal with that floor.

Also recall my statement about the wiring from your brain to your bladder being scrambled? Basically there’s so much going on in that area that your brain is all “Bladder, shut the hell up, we’ve got bigger issues than the need to evacuate your contents” this lack of communication continues even after you’ve had the baby. Luckily the nurse who took care of me in the maternity wing knew this. She carefully explained this fact, then turned on a faucet full blast, told me to sing in to help me relax and basically did everything short of sticking my hand in a bowl of hot water while showing a slideshow of Niagara Falls.

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“What does this make you think of?” (Photo Credit : youtube.com)

 

Have you ever gotten a paper cut? On a joint? It’s super painful and keeps opening up right? That’s exactly what peeing after having a baby is like. Only there are a thousand paper cuts. On your kootch. And some jerk keeps smearing hot sauce on them.

This sounds awful but urinating is a picnic compared to your first bowel movement after having a baby. Nic Sheff, author and drug addict, described in his book “Tweak” having to pick pieces of granite-like stool out of his butt after going on a month long meth bender. This experience seems preferable and significantly less painful than pooping after having a baby, an event which happens multiple days after the birth. My advice? Take the stool softener they give you at the hospital, and then steal your neighbour’s supply of stool softener too, consider it their comeuppance for not having read The Great Unwashed’s cautionary tale of birthing before creating a person.

So that’s a true life birth story. If I had a larger audience I would expect the birth rate to drop significantly but as it is, I think I’ve probably just traumatized my uncles and grandfather. Sorry, but I did warn you to stop reading multiple times.

Also, I should probably add that even though my doctor missed her calling as the furious head of a military operative, I only pushed for forty-five minutes. The average amount  of time is two and a half hours. The take home point here is that if you want to get the job done, choose a physician with anger management issues who really wants their coffee break NOW.

This post is dedicated to Sula who asked all of the best questions and was appropriately horrified by my responses.

 

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Your Pregnancy Week By Week: The Second Trimester

Week 11 – Your partner thoughtfully greets you at the door after work with freshly made lamb stew saying “I made you dinner”, presenting a dish that you loved prior to being pregnant. You respond with “No you made YOU dinner that you are going to eat OUTSIDE”. Lamb is off the menu for the next seven months.

Week 12 – Welcome to cravings week at baby making central. Forget gestational diabetes that creates giant sugar babies, after consuming five avocados in the span of a couple of days, your baby is going to be two parts guacamole.

Week 13 – You’ve switched from avocados to eating ten kiwis in a sitting. Your baby is definitely coming out green. And possibly hairy, because who has time to peel sixty kiwis in a week?

Week 14 – Your partner now recognizes your “Puke Face” having seen it so many times in the past weeks. Car rides are peppered with this conversation “Are you ok? You look like you’re going to chuck. You’re not answering, I’m pulling over.”

Week 15 – Consuming an entire bag of movie theatre popcorn yourself (Don’t question it, you’re pregnant) causes your feet to slowly swell up like Jiffy Pop bags until your shoes no longer fit. Good luck walking back home.

Week 16 – Get ready for a big life change, after spending your whole life being cold, thanks to those two extra litres of blood, the need to peel off layers of clothing leads to this ensemble.

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Individually the clothing pieces make sense; UV shirt- smart, bathing suit bottoms at a music festival- smart, compression stockings – necessary to prevent the whole Jiffy Pop feet recurrence, however together with the sunglasses, you resemble a fashion challenged Lady Gaga, or maybe a partial nudist with sun phobia. Regardless, weird looks are both received and deserved.

Week 17 – Remember when you were fit and active? Those words have different meanings now; you once hiked ten kilometers and biked twenty in a day, now after five kilometers of trails you are exhausted and your bike ride is a nap in the car.

Week 18 – Your pants and all of your clothing have suddenly gotten too tight. In the words of your partner “You look like you could be pregnant or you might just have a pooch”. In other news your partner may never get any action again. Especially when he admits that when you are backed up (welcome to your pregnant colon), your abdomen becomes a “double bubble” and at one point pats your tiny fetus reassuringly after you’ve used the bathroom and asks “Are you ok in there? Did the poop baby squish you?”

Week 19 – Your colourful top that makes you appear youthful and outlines your burgeoning belly draws the attention of a group of women lunching. The words “She’s nineteen” are hissed at you while the women’s heads snap trying to maintain a judgmental stare as you walk past. This is made funnier by the fact that you turned thirty this past February.

Week 20 – Essentially you’ve become a celebrity as you puke repeatedly on the grounds of a swanky hotel, only replace cocaine and paparazzi with prenatal vitamins and a Kodak happy mother.

Stay tuned for weeks 21 to 40 and in case you don’t remember weeks one to ten. And who could blame you? I published it months ago! Here’s the link.

https://iamthegreatunwashed.com/2015/11/15/your-pregnancy-week-by-week/

 

 

Now I know it looked like the end of the post back there but I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate the atrocity that is my rendition of myself in Microsoft’s Paint.

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It’s so bad I had to post it a second time.

Initially I was going to post the actual picture but then Tex was all “Would you put that up at work?” to which I replied “You are extremely difficult, unreasonable and unfair when you are right” hence the toddler like drawing.

The hair was easy. Curly hair is curly hair is curly hair; it’s messy and does whatever the hell it wants to, in whatever direction it wants. The hands on the other hand were not as easily replicated. I decided while drawing that I would take a page out of Matt Groening’s book and only give myself three fingers and thumb for simplicity’s sake.

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See? Only four digits. Whoever created humans was clearly an overachiever. (Photo Credit: http://www.simpsoncrazy.com)

But even that proved too tough so my other hand became a skin mitten which sounds super gross but is easy to make on a touch pad. The picture was larger than my mini netbook’s screen so the sign is just hanging out in midair and it’s also the reason why I look like I’m doing some sort of Elvis Presley hip thrust; I was only able to see and thus work on half of the picture at a time.

Initially the lenses of my sunglasses were the same size and shape because I copied and pasted but afterwards I decided they weren’t large enough to deserve the description of Lady Gaga so now they match my wobbly misshapen mouth. Also I realized that the section between my legs didn’t get filled in when I inserted the picture into the post. A more detail oriented person who cared would have changed the image. I didn’t. My final comment and piece of advice is – if you squint and stand really far away, whilst wearing another person’s glasses it might look like a Jackson Pollock.

This Post Is Late But Ten Months Ago So Was My Period and Those Two Events Are Kind Of Interconnected (Apologies to my Uncles and Granddad for referencing menses in the title) Geez this is getting long

 

SPOILER ALERT: I had a baby. Or at least I think I had a baby, it’s hard to tell because I have essentially made a tiny carbon copy of Tex. In my sister’s words “If he hadn’t come out of your va-jay there might be some questions.” Thus I have dubbed my newborn “Mini Tex*”. At any rate babies are super time consuming, thus any posts published in the past six weeks were scheduled posts that I wrote before our new person arrived so this post is late but I like to think of February as the “Love Month” so as long as there are still discounted chocolate hearts in stores, I figure I’m within the acceptable range for sending out valentines. This is why many of you receive “Happy Easter” cards in July.

Before I got pregnant and had Mini Tex, I was all “pregnancy and breast feeding are just another physical feat that one does with their body; I rock at physical feats”. I’m not sure whether to laugh at my pre-pregnancy and motherhood self or slap her for being foolish. I was far from a glowy pregnant lady. I was a nauseous, vomit fountain who was exhausted all of the time, yet despite all of that I enjoyed being pregnant. This was entirely due to how hard my husband worked.

Initially our household arrangement was that I cooked and did dishes while Tex cleaned and did laundry. Early on, it became apparent that cooking was no longer possible because I was too tired when I got home from work and also too ravenous. Tex might have lost an arm if he had asked me to keep to our agreement when I arrived home starving and foul tempered from hunger.

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Tell me there’s leftover lasagna! (Photo Credit: news.nationalgeographic.com)

Gradually even the dishes became impossible, as did my walks home from work. I never heard Tex complain, he merely picked up the slack silently, doing yesterday’s dishes while he prepared today’s dinner, texting me to see when I would need a ride home. He was amazing. The only reason I didn’t receive rides to work was because the lack of exercise would lead to restless leg syndrome and me becoming an antsy anti-Christ in the evenings if I missed my morning walk. But even on those days Tex would massage my legs and bundle himself up to walk with me in the cold winter air of the evening.

Relationship experts advise couples to continue to try new activities together. Until recently, I thought that was all hooey because how could I possibly love my husband more than I already did? I mean he checked all the boxes: Hottie- check, Super Hottie – check, Nice – check, Has a job that isn’t playing the accordion outside the liquor store- check. (For the record musical liquor store Abe, I am not judging you; I merely feel we would make a poor couple.) Pregnancy allowed me to love my husband as someone who I had no choice but to rely on. I pride myself in being independent; carrying Mini Tex around for nine months rendered me the opposite of that.

At nine months pregnant, I thought I couldn’t love Tex any more than I already did. Then I went into labor, and the only time he left my side was when I went into the women’s washroom. Labor is a lot like running a marathon only better because they give you a baby at the end rather than some bling and a bagel.

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I’m sorry cheesy multi-grain, as delicious as you are, if given the choice between your bready goodness and a newborn, you are not even the short straw. Photo Credit: blog.foodfacts.com)

Mini Tex was our marathon, and my husband was my coach who spurred me onward even when I was tired and couldn’t see the end. While I suspected that he could be patient and caring even under duress and fear, he shone brighter than I expected during those long twenty eight hours.

People don’t really talk about it, but breast feeding hurts. Like a lot. Possibly more than the actual birthing process if one were to add up the time and pain and lump it all together into one horrible day of bloody, painful nipples and engorged breasts. Again Tex showed his devotion to both me and his newborn son by placing boiling hot compresses on my giant, painful mammaries multiple evenings in a row. Watching the steam rise from the cloths, I worried for his hands (No amount of heat would ever be enough to hurt boobs with blocked ducts). “Unwashed, I was a blacksmith” he reminded me, replacing the lukewarm cloth with a hot one. I’m sure that devotion was there all along but during those early week when Mini Tex and I were still figuring out how to breastfeed, it wrapped itself around us like a comforting blanket.

I’ve learned to love my husband as a father. Coming from a farm, where from an early age, boys learn how to take care of not just animals but plants and the land, I had high expectations of Tex as a parent. Seeing our little boy listen with all his might to his Dad’s voice as he plays with him and tells nonsensical stories has given me another way to love this man. So for all of these reasons and for all of the ones we will discover together in the future, Happy Valentine’s Day Tex. I’m very glad I said vows with you on Lightninghill last August. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

*Please note, I didn’t actually name my newborn “Mini Tex”, I feel his life will be embarrassing enough with me as his Mom.

 

An Unwashed Pregnancy: Tex’s Perspective

I love my wife. She’s cute, fun, and travel-size. That said, life with her requires some…adaptations.

This is how I found myself having to keep cookies under lock and key, preparing furry projectiles  and featuring awkwardly in family Christmas cards.

At first pregnancy didn’t seem to bring much in the way of additional changes. Weeks went by, and Unwashed still looked and smelled like herself. She did seem to reluctantly shower more often and grumble about oily skin, but for the longest time she wasn’t sick. In fact, this lead to one confounding conversation at 4 am:

Unwashed, suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed: “Oh, no!”

Tex, concerned: “What is it?”

Unwashed: “I haven’t had any morning sickness yet, none at all!”

Tex, confused: “Um…”

Unwashed, beginning to sob: “There’s an association of morning sickness and higher IQ in children!”

Tex, consolingly: “It’s OK, I’m sure –“

Unwashed, wailing: “No it isn’t, I’m having a dumb baby!”

She began eating those words within the next two weeks, as the history of severe morning sickness that she inherited from her mother finally caught up with her.

It wasn’t long after that that I didn’t seem to see Unwashed much. I wasn’t away, it was that she seemed to sleep the entire day. When she wasn’t asleep, she was complaining about how ravenously hungry she was. Or turning green and running away quickly. Old friends like garlic were suddenly no longer welcome. Worse, she had prepared and frozen many meals worth of lamb stew, which we had both found delicious. Then one day when I heated some up, I discovered that neither it nor I was welcome anymore.

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Just add lamb to this police line-up. (Photo Credit : youtube.com)

The loaded question “Can you believe how LARGE I am?” began being thrown around. I assured her that she was not changing. She complained that clothes weren’t fitting. I apologized for leaving them too long in the dryer. She was worried her parka wouldn’t fit. I bought her a zip-in expander and carefully explained that it wasn’t for her, it was for the baby. This explanation was reused as necessary. Damn, I’m smooth.

Changes in Unwashed’s abilities preceded her understanding of her new limitations. Hiking ten miles in a day used to be routine. Nearly four months in, stopping after three miles was met with furious resistance on the trail and then exhausted acceptance ten minutes later in the car. More recently, half that distance is a challenge to cover at “top waddle”. Her fighting spirit is undampened, however, and with two weeks to go we are still hiking – at top waddle – and even skating, with the assistance of a walking frame,

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At 38 weeks she’s practically ready for the NHL. (Photo Credit : Me)

as today was a beautiful day for skating here in the frozen North. Unwashed has needed a lot of help with little things later in the pregnancy. Changes in balance meant needing a spotter to climb onto a chair. Not being able to bend over meant needing help to tie her shoes.

If I have learned one thing about pregnancy, it seems they are constantly waking up uncomfortable. Needing the washroom frequently. Nausea. Heartburn. Muscle pains. Too hot. Not enough pillows.

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I could probably use a few more, Tex! (Photo Credit : flickr.com)

This isn’t all that bad. I’ve become an expert at troubleshooting, quickly able to respond with my arsenal of remedies and massages. Where it becomes frustrating are the times when Unwashed wakes up, kicking the bed and groaning as if she has a hernia and loudly declares “I don’t feel well!”

Tex: “What’s wrong?”

Unwashed: “I – don’t – know!”

Tex: “Are your muscles sore? Did you take magnesium?”

Unwashed: “I took it, it’s not that.”

Tex: “Well then what’s wrong?”

Unwashed: “I don’t know, I have gout!”

This led to me coining the phrase “gestational gout” to refer to her inexplicable grumbles. Having now attended prenatal classes, I have a new theory: this is a baby-cry simulator, where the man has no idea what is wrong and must attempt to soothe his partner without her being able to tell him exactly what is wrong. Women instinctively do this in order to train their mate to effectively care for their offspring. This I call “gestational colic” and hope it is no indication of how much our baby will cry.

Cowboy Quotables Part Two- Tex on Body Hair, Ballets and Love

Since Tex and I moved in together and got married, there’s been a period of adjustment. For example, previously, I considered soup to be the most important meal of the day, so I ate it every day, sometimes twice. By contrast, Tex is a real man, who considers beer a breakfast food and soup a dish that comes before a meal. After a discussion, it was decided that I would cook food that was not soup occasionally because according to Tex “There’s a reason they call it supine- you eat too much soup, you go tits up”.

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Cause of death – an excess of soup. (Photo Credit : blog.sgbinky.com)

My love of hot liquids extends to beverages as well. My extensive tea collection recently came out of storage, since then Tex has had some fun trying all of my teas, although he isn’t always enthusiastic about every flavour.

Tex- ~pulling out a tea bag from the tea chest~ “Purple calming chakra tea? Made with dragon fruit and the hibiscus flower, to soothe energies? What is this? I feel like if I drink it, my underarm hair might spontaneously braid itself.”

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Tex didn’t even want to think about what the tea would do to the rest of his body hair, or that’s it’s floral high notes might inspire him to pan handle with a bongo. (Photo Credit: rebloggy.com)

On the topic of body hair, I’m thirty-six weeks pregnant, which is to say I’m like Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast” but not in the sweaty, athletic, “watch me lift this tree trunk over my head” kind of way, more in the massive “will you please help me untie my boots” kind of way. This past week, I sadly informed Tex that I was now too big to shave my legs, because I could no longer easily bend to reach them. “That’s ok Unwashed,” said Tex curling me into a hug, “Why do you think I don’t shave my asshole?”

As I’ve said before, Tex is a manly man, who enjoys beer drinking, riding horses and knife making. He’s introduced me to his passions, hence how I spent Thanksgiving helping with a cattle drive. By the same token, I’ve introduced him to mine. We recently took in a production of the Russian Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” together. While walking back to the car, I hopefully asked Tex what he thought about the dance, thinking that perhaps if he enjoyed it, I might take him to see more ballets. “It was like Christmas on acid:” he replied shaking his head as if he still couldn’t believe it, “giant mice, some weird guy jumping around waving a stick and toys that come alive.”

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The Russian Ballet Company’s exact vision of that timeless Christmas tale. (Photo Credit : glogster.com)

I’m still not sure whether that was a critique or an endorsement of “The Nutcracker”.

Regardless of what Tex says, I know that behind his words are warmth and humour. Just after we got married this past summer, we were lazing about in our apartment and I turned to Tex and asked “How could your life be better?” He looked at me and drawled “Well I could have two penises” then winked, which was his way of saying “What a silly question, can’t you see how awesome my life is? I have a wife who is five months pregnant with my son, what more could a person want?”

Your Pregnancy Week By week

Week 1

Nothing has happened yet. However this still counts as week 1. It’s a little baffling, but treat it like the FREE space on a BINGO card- say thank you and don’t ask questions because it’s going to get a lot more memorable real fast.

Week 2

You ovulate this week, you also go on a trip to see a friend and drink two and a half glasses of wine. You will feel guilty about this indulgence, possibly forever. You also walk twenty kilometers while sight-seeing with said friend. Just like the booze, get ready to kiss all of that activity goodbye.

Week 3

Again, kind of like week one, take it as a gift.

Week 4

Hurrah! You are late. But a pregnancy test reveals that you are NOT pregnant. You sulk by having a glass of wine with a friend. You thought you felt guilty about the other glasses of alcohol? This one will haunt you for at least a year.

Week 5

Your spouse claims that you have been more moody and unpredictable of late and points out that the Party Crasher has still not arrived. You respond by stating that your behavior has been perfectly reasonable and to emphasize your point, punt the kitchen strainer across the apartment. He offers to take you out for ice cream, you accept graciously by gnawing on his arm. The pregnancy test that you pick up on the way home is positive. You apologize to the kitchen strainer for kicking it.

Week 6

There is no recollection of this week- you are asleep.

Week 7

See above. Although your partner claims that during this week, you woke him up in the middle of the night, completely hysterical because you hadn’t thrown up yet and you heard somewhere possibly from the Howard Stern show, possibly from your mother that nausea is associated with smarter babies. Regardless, it was an extremely reliable resource and you were inconsolable.

Week 8

On Sunday, you decide to change up your worship habits, instead of praying, you puke in Jesus’ garden, but it’s ok, the Lord appreciates all of our gifts. You’d feel mortified about your actions if you hadn’t of fallen asleep five minutes afterwards. Your spouse for some reason is relieved.

Week 9

Special Discovery: You read the “What happens to your lady parts” section of the pregnancy book. It’s like the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan but for genitals. You spend the next week cheering up your WooHoo to assure it of its continued role in your life; “Vagina no matter what happens after the baby and I split; I will still love you.” Luckily vaginas can’t read so it has no idea what’s in store for it, which is probably a good thing.

Week 10

The exhaustion continues. At work, during lunch while you are quietly eating your sandwich and trying not to fall asleep mid-bite, Sheila from accounting asks “Wow, do you feel as tired as you look?”

MEMO :

To Sheila

 

I hate you

From Unwashed

Also, yes.

Stay tuned for weeks 11 to 40. Spoiler alert! There is a lot more vomit in your future.

Skulking in Basements With Beloved Beverage Mascots Cum Psychotic Killers

I’m twenty-eight weeks pregnant, and being RH negative, that means I needed an injection of someone else’s blood products. At my last pre-natal appointment, the doctor had warned Tex and me that we would need to pick up said products from a small window hidden in the recesses of the unlit basement of the hospital before our next appointment.

Based on the doctor’s description, in my mind, I pictured some combination of “Labyrinth” and “Nightmare Before Christmas”, with Tex and I wandering about the tunnels of the hospital’s underbelly. With the help of a spindly monster dressed in rags we’d come upon a tiny hole in the wall with the words “Transfusion and Blood Products Center” written hastily on a piece of cardboard, as though the entire place could close up shop and move at any moment.

The experience was similar, but not quite like that. Ever the organized engineer and prepared Dad, Tex had dropped by the hospital during the day while I was at work to see if he could locate the secretive window of blood products. This meant that when he returned with me, we easily found the place.

I was a little surprised, instead of a makeshift hole in the wall, made by knocking a couple of bricks out of place, there was a large opening, complete with glass. Not surprisingly there was a bell, in my sinister imaginings of the place; I had thought there would be. Only I pictured tapping it once in an empty unlit corridor, then waiting in a strained and terrifying silence only to have a hand slip out and a disembodied and creaky voice curtly ask “Papers?”

Along with the obscure and difficult to locate placement of the transfusion window, Tex and I had also been warned to bring all the necessary paperwork with us and then some because the staff working there are hesitant to hand out blood products willy-nilly. I had prepared myself to answer some sort of skill testing question after handing over all of my documentation and ID. Actually I wasn’t prepared at all, I figured in the event that two characters popped up with impossible riddles that Tex would hopefully reply under his breath because with two professional degrees and being fluent in three languages, he seems to know the answers to most problems.

 Psst Tex, do you have any idea what these guys are talking about?” Photo Credit : readreactreview.com

Psst Tex, do you have any idea what these guys are talking about?” Photo Credit : readreactreview.com

No such event occurred, however there was a moment when I wondered whether we were actually going to get the product as the staff had trouble locating some paperwork on their side of the window.

While we were waiting, a blood products porter dressed in scrubs with a hurried air, came to the window. He apologized in advance for the gruesome sight of his order after hearing me say that I wasn’t sure whether I needed to puke. The porter needn’t have apologized, I always have to puke, it’s just the smell of the hospital had upped the vomit ante.

Tex rubbed my back in a reassuring way “Don’t worry Unwashed, think of it as a bag of Kool-Aid when you see it.”

Not only was this grosser because people actually drink Kool-Aid, I was made more upset because this thought transformed the Kool-Aid man from a beloved children’s mascot shilling sugary drinks into a serial killing, vampire-like character.

A photo of the Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall to celebrate his latest homicide. Photo Credit: Onetimefortim.wordpress.com

A photo of the Kool-Aid man crashing through a wall to celebrate his latest homicide. Photo Credit: Onetimefortim.wordpress.com

The thought of all that blood sloshing around in the Kool-Aid man’s big glass pitcher made me almost yak on the spot. Seeing my green tinged face, the porter sped away down the hall as soon as his transfusion bag arrived.

Happily, our product came wrapped in a tiny brown bag, and Tex and I left for our doctor’s appointment. We encountered neither other-worldly beasts on our way out, nor an enraged Kool-Aid man with a taste for the red stuff. Although we found the window and secured the blood products relatively easily, and as innocuous as the whole experience was, I was a little relieved we don’t have to go back.

I’ve Become a “Yo’ Mamma” Joke

Despite not being one of those glowy, happy women who loves being pregnant and has never felt better in their life, I’ve felt good about the experience thus far.

Not me, not even a little. Photo Credit : mommyish.com

Not me, not even a little. Photo Credit : mommyish.com

Despite the fact that most days I’ve felt like a combination between a swamp monster

In fact this picture was taken while I walked to work this morning. Photo Credit: hask.org

In fact this picture was taken while I walked to work this morning. Photo Credit: hask.org

And a pumpkin.

 Not like this pumpkin, it’s far too cute and reasonably sized. Photo Credit : instructables.com

Not like this pumpkin, it’s far too cute and reasonably sized. Photo Credit : instructables.com

Like an over-sized pumpkin advertised on signs for a fair, that people buy tickets to gawk at.

There comes a point when one needs to ask “Should this get bigger?” Photo Credit : bajiroo.com

There comes a point when one needs to ask “Should this get bigger?” Photo Credit : bajiroo.com

I mean, I stopped being able to get up off of the futon by myself about a month ago. Admittedly our futon is awkwardly shaped and low to the ground and ultimately a futon, which is to say it’s a piece of furniture that makes neither a nice bed nor a nice couch. Somehow I was able to move past this fact, although not physically obviously; Tex has frequently cupped one of my buttocks while saying “Alley–oop”, to help me off the couch. But mentally, I forgave the futon, well not so much forgave as routinely beat the living daylights out of, when I left the bed to sleep on the aforementioned uncomfortable not-bed, because Tex and my bed was too soft, hard, warm, small, smooth, or whatever other conclusion my crazy pregnant brain had come to at 2 am. I would then release my insomniac frustrations on the futon by kicking and punching my way back to sleep.

That was before last week when I realized that I was too fat to get out of bed. If I’m being honest, I’ve probably been too fat to exit the bed for some time now, however I wasn’t aware of this until my mountain of pillows rearranged itself to form a kind of barricade.

You know, I think I’d be more comfortable if I had just one more….Tex give me your pillow- the time has come. Photo Credit : sodahead.com

You know, I think I’d be more comfortable if I had just one more….Tex the time has come- give me your pillow. Photo Credit : sodahead.com

And I was unable to use my patented, pregnant technique of rolling sideways out of the bed so my feet landed on the floor. “Uuuurrggghhhh” I cried. “Ahhhhh”

“What’s wrong?” Tex asked, bolting straight up in the bed just because he could, what with not being six months pregnant.

“I’m too fat to get out of bed” I cried plaintively as my sweet husband reached over to help me to a sitting position.

So that’s it then. I’m now a “Yo’ mamma” joke, I shall commence my muumuu wearing tomorrow.

I’m Not Pregnant, I’m Just Fat

Not even days after posting Belly Button Watch 2013, someone asked me if I was pregnant. To which I had to answer, “No It’s Fatuary, I’m just heavier”.

What is Fatuary you might ask? Well once upon a time this month was known as February. But in recent years it’s come to my attention that this month has a lot of darkness, very little sunlight, an excess amount of cold and a plethora of snow.

All of this grey, bleak weather makes me want to sit on the couch. And eat bags of potato chips. Now the thing is, this is not my natural state. I’m a walker. I walk to the library, to the bus, to the grocery store, to the hair stylist. Anywhere possible I walk. But in Fatuary I sit. I sit until my seat spreads , until my skirts get tight and my belly looks round.  

And since no other month has this type of effect on me, I christened it Fatuary, a celebrated time for Canadians, where the only exercise we get is from shoveling the endless amounts of snow from our driveways and running quickly to and from the convenience store for more licorice and donuts.

So yes I am pregnant. With a food baby, I made him out of deep fried dough and licorice candies. I’m going to call him Jeremiah. I figure I’ll let him grow until April at which point I’ll want to be rid of him. Thus I’ll extract myself from my couch and start to run and walk and do all of the activities I love again and gradually Jeremiah will disappear, only to return next Fatuary.

Belly Button Watch 2013

I have a nice belly button. It looks kind of like most other people’s belly buttons, a little taut, but not too taut. An inny. Your standard issue belly button. And to be honest until recently I never gave it much thought.

However lately it’s come to my attention that my belly button has become a thing of interest. At work people sneak glances at it, during family parties my grandparents openly study it. This new unexplained interest in my naval has me confused. I have a theory on it though. As a child I had a lovely smile and so people enjoyed gazing at my face. In my teens and early twenties glances drifted a little further south. And now in my late twenties people’s interest has settled firmly on my abdomen. It has left me wondering whether people are going to spend my late thirties and early forties looking intently at my knee caps. Perhaps this downward focused trend will continue right into my fifties and sixties where I’ll catch people randomly examining my toes.

Or possibly it has to do with the proliferation of technology and that people have simply forgotten where to look and in the future, social mores will dictate that staring off in every direction but the speaker is an acceptable practice. At any rate all this preoccupation is giving my poor naval a bit of a complex. It’s left pondering whether it should borrow the clip on belly button ring which flashes green and pink from my mother so it feels it might deserve all this newfound attention.

If this keeps up, I know one thing’s for sure- I’m going to spend a lot less time doing my hair and makeup in the morning.