Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The story thus far

I have no pictures to post, though that's because they're on the cameras or Eric's computer, not because we haven't been taking any. Mom and Dad are staying with us to help out, and so far they have pictures of each day of Chloë's life.

I'll post a birth story later...it's bound to be long and possibly fairly graphic. Here's the short version: my water broke at about 9 PM on Wednesday. We went to the hospital (where the nurses at the maternity ward laughed at my soaked shorts) and napped for about forty minutes, then walked the halls for several hours to get my labor going fast enough that I wouldn't have to go on Pitocin. (Apparently having my water break first caused all kinds of concerns; I got scolded for it a couple of times.) Both labor and the pushing part took a long time because the baby was occiput posterior after all (face-up instead of face-down, which makes things harder), and I was very whiny. The baby came out at last at 5:31 PM on Thursday, looking like a bag of purple eels, and things got much better.

That was day one; the rest of it consisted of some food and some sleep and a lot of baby-gazing, and a late bath (for her, not me). Day two we spent at the hospital, getting me cleared for a shower (it was the best shower EVER) and Chloë cleared for discharge, and to verify that my slight fever had abated. We got home late that day. Day three was spent trying to catch up on sleep; day four we went to the pediatrician and rejoiced that my milk had come in because Chloë suddenly started sleeping better.

Today is day five, and apparently day five is when newborns become social. We had hardly seen anything of Chloë's eyes until today. Alternately, it's the day when new mothers realize that something ought to be done about their newborns not wanting to eat, because being upset about gastrointestinal distress apparently affects even an evil overlord's disposition. After a successful administration of Mylicon and dinner we actually saw her strumming her fingers together in classic evil contemplation. The world should beware.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Meet your new overlord

Chloë Leeja Snyder
July 23, 2009
8 lb., 3 oz
Details, better pictures, and first steps toward world dominion to come.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


We're now in the single digits on the countdown to our due date. Not that I necessarily think that means anything. I am officially the most boring prenatal patient in the world ("It's such a joy to read your chart!" Chris exclaimed at my checkup today, but I was not deceived: forget yawning, she was trying not to snore) which suggests, at least to me, that I'll be exceedingly average, which means a few days late. Anyone want to start a betting pool?

The nursery is now ready, to the point where I've actually opened the bottle of powder. (It's pure cornstarch but it smells just like any other baby powder. I suppose they do that so you know it's baby powder.) I've even finished the sort-of-bumper for the crib:

(That's really only about half of it; the mattress lowers as the baby gets older and more interested in climbing, so the bumper continues below the current mattress level.)

We've packed our bag, as much of it as we can. The newborn clothes are washed and put away. I've finally programmed the midwives' phone number into my phone. My maternity leave paperwork is ready to be turned in after two small questions (Eric insists that I am not in fact an idiot, so the necessary conclusion is that this paperwork is exceedingly pregnancy-unfriendly). (Though Eric would say that anyway, as his sense of self-preservation is becoming more and more finely honed these days.)

I am in fact in the middle of making a quilt to match the bumper, but I'm not actually concerned about finishing that before the baby comes, since it's not like she's hurting for blankets. Except for a small personal project (code name Shoelace) that I'd like to finish, I think we're actually...ready. Physically, anyway. Eric seems to be mentally ready as well. I don't know that I am. But it probably means something that when the baby pokes her little feet into my upper belly, I've started telling her there's a lot more room on the outside.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

To diæresis, or not to diæresis, that is the question...

Specifically, the question is one of Chloë vs. Chloe

That little diacritical mark on the e--the one that looks like a German umlaut--is called a diæresis. It comes from the Greek diairesis "division," and it indicates a place where a vowel is spoken when it otherwise might not be. You might have seen it before, as you've probably read something by one or another of the Brontë sisters, and even in America naïve is usually printed with the diæresis. But other uses have disappeared in America--preëminent now gets a hyphen instead, and coöperate is written without any way to show confuzzled children that it's not pronounced like a misspelled version of what a barrel-maker does.

So... we're trying to decide whether to use the diæresis in Chloë or to just leave it as Chloe. Both are generally accepted spellings. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Week 38 visit

Eric came with me to this week's midwife appointment--he figures he might want to start meeting the people who are going to be in the delivery room with us, plus we'd meant to talk to them about this whole "birth plan" business (and the back-and-forth I keep getting from them about the specter of induction), but we totally forgot that last part.

Instead, I got my first cervical check. This involves the midwife--the student, Jennifer, in this case--donning a pair of gloves and *WARNING: GRAPHIC GIRL CONTENT* putting her hand inside my you-know-what to see how many fingers she can put through the cervical opening, and how thick it is. Jackie had described the cervix as being like a turtleneck; it can be tightly closed and all thick and bunched up, as is normal, or it can be open and thin, which is what will happen when I'm ready for labor. After some pushing and leaning and telling me to put my fists under my hips to tilt me enough for her to get to the right position, *END WARNING* she determined I'm one centimeter dilated and somewhere around 25ish percent effaced (she didn't sound very confident), -3 to -2 station (baseline is -4). In other words, not very far along at all. But it's kind of nice to know that something actually is happening.

"You're just about where I'd expect a new mother to be," she told me, *BEGIN WARNING* pulling off her blood-tinged gloves, "where not much is going to happen for another couple of weeks. You might spot a little tonight," she added thoughtfully as she disposed of the gloves. "The cervix is so vascularized at this point." *END WARNING* The exam was not actually painful, but definitely uncomfortable, and Eric looked kind of alarmed.

Everything else looks fine, baby seems to be occiput anterior (her back to my front, which is what we want), and I got them to give me a doctor's note to excuse me from the jury duty summons I got for August 10. We're figuring that's not going to work out so well, unless they want the twelfth member of the jury to be a bleeding, sore, hormonally unbalanced new mother, and the thirteenth member of the jury to be a tiny evil overlord.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

And another thing

Why does everything I eat have to be what I'm "craving"? Why am I not allowed to simply eat something, as normal people do, without being suspected of a ravening desire for it? Pregnancy does not make me into an entirely different subspecies. Maybe I'm having a piece of leftover cake because I want one, just like you, and not because I crave it.

Also, I hate my clothes. I have only one pair of maternity pants that are reasonably comfortable and even the maternity shirts are getting too short and I only have one dress that I can fit into and we probably can't afford to buy more other than the support rigs I need to go get in the next couple of weeks before the RINDS become fully operational.

Now I know why women say they're so ready to be done at the end of pregnancy. It's not the pregnancy itself, it's everything else.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Questions, questions

Apparently people only know four questions related to pregnancy. They are, in order:

  • When are you due?
  • Is it a boy or a girl?
  • Have you picked out a name?
  • Are you excited?
I understand and appreciate that these people are happy for me and want to show their interest, and since they don't know me these questions are their polite method for doing so. But seriously, people. You don't know me. Why would you actually care what my kid's name is going to be? If I say "Yes, but we're not sharing it," as some people do, will you feel you have a right to be offended? And am I really supposed to say anything other than "Yes" to that last question? It's as bad as people who say "How are you?" when they're speeding past you in a hallway and are clearly substituting the question for "Hi," or the old-time "How do you do" (to which the only acceptable answer is "How do you do"). I almost enjoyed the variation that one of my coworkers threw in the other day, though it kind of appalled me as well: "Did you guys particularly want a girl, or did you not care?" After all, she was inviting me--begging me, almost--to say "Actually, we really wanted a boy. We hate the idea of a girl. We're not sure we're going to keep her."

Relatedly, I got my first "Are you sure you're still pregnant?" call recently. I'd been warned about these, when people call to say "You didn't have the baby and forget to tell me, did you?" I can understand the impulse; Eric's waiting on the result of an interview and I keep wanting to ask him "Have you heard anything?" even though I know perfectly well that he'll tell me as soon as he gets any news. But do they really expect me to say, "Oh, right, I did spend two days in a hospital extruding a whole new person out of my body. Totally slipped my mind or I would have mentioned it" or "Yes, I had the baby, but I didn't care enough about you to tell you" or maybe "Why yes, as a matter of fact, I did have the baby. She's sweetly asleep on a perfectly made bed with rose petals scattered around her and I've just sat down after my manicure to consider penning a few haiku in silver calligraphy to announce her birth, but gosh darn it, you've anticipated me"?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ice cream and bugs

We had ice cream for dinner on Monday--well, technically we had a substantial snack, then stopped at Dairy Queen while out shopping because I really wanted a Blizzard, then got home late and had another snack instead of cooking--which I realized I ought to appreciate more than I did, since my days of "but I'm pregnant!" are coming to a close. I haven't even used my "send the husband on a midnight run for an unusual food" card. I suspect I'm something of a disappointment to pregnant women everywhere. Maybe I can keep the card for later.

My now-weekly checkup was yesterday. Everything remains fine--blood pressure back down to my normal levels, baby still head-down and poking her feet (or raygun, we can't tell for sure) into my ribs--except that I have tested positive for Group B strep, which is a bacteria that's asymptomatic in normal adults but is apparently the leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in newborns. In order to avoid passing it on to L.E.O., I'll be getting IV infusions of antibiotics at the hospital. Not a big deal, though I was grumpy about the idea of being hooked up to a pole my entire labor until they explained that I could just get a hep lock (a little needle port that gets left in your arm) and be hooked up just long enough for an infusion once every four hours. I think I'll feel a little bit like a cyborg, but that's all to the good.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Ready, set

I'd been feeling reasonably good about how much we'd gotten done to prepare for L.E.O.'s coming. But Friday night we had dinner with some friends, including four potential fellow trusted lieutenants, and one of them asked, "So are you ready? Is the carseat installed? Are your bags packed? Is the crib set up? Do you have clean clothes?"

This naturally threw me into a panic, and as a result this weekend we did four loads of baby laundry, including sheets and blankets so that we could make up the crib. We wrote a list for the hospital bag. (Most of what we'll want to put in it we're still using.) We wrote a list of people we'll need to send announcements to (designing them and addressing envelopes ahead of time seems like a good idea). And we installed the carseat bases and mirrors. I do not have work paperwork turned in yet, but that should happen this week, too.

We realize, of course, that this activity has guaranteed that L.E.O. will arrive late. There are still a couple of other tasks we want to finish before she gets here, and I'm seriously considering leaving them undone to increase the chances that she'll come earlier, but I'm not so sure she's that easily manipulable.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

36 weeks

Here we are at a little over eight months, just one week from technically full-term.

(Nice hair. Man, do I need a haircut.)

My shirts are getting awfully short at this point. I don't really feel ready for labor in a few weeks, but there have been a few twinges that suggest it's going to happen. At my checkup Tuesday the midwife remarked, "You were having a Braxton Hicks contraction while I was helping you lie down." I didn't feel a thing, but it's good to know I'm actually having them, I guess. The checkup went well: I finally met the third midwife of the three who might be attending me, my blood pressure is slightly higher than normal for me but not actually high, and L.E.O. is still all systems go. Now to get through the next two to six weeks.