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On Monday, February 7th, at 7:26 AM, my son (that feels so fucking weird to say) Max was born. And he's adorable, and looks nothing like me (I had been hoping that Will had at least a couple of his grandfather's white-guy recessive genes to contribute, but alas, we have a dark-haired, dark-skinned, dark-eyed baby with Asian facial features, so I just look like the babysitter). And I am going to write about his birth.

The event started at 1:47 the previous afternoon, when I started having contractions 15 minutes apart (yes, I remember that it was 1:47 -- why, I don't know), although they weren't even painful at that point. So I puttered about my day, started making dinner at around 4 because I figured I should probably get anything that needed doing, done ASAP while I still could. I made chicken pot pie and it was delicious. But anyway. So while I was putting the crust on the pie, I realized my contractions had gotten to only 10 minutes apart, although still no more than 5 or 10 seconds long and not at all painful (although every once in a while I'd get one that made me have to stop and catch my breath).

I called Illysa, my midwife, and she said that if I wasn't in hard labor at this point, I probably wouldn't be until the next day, given that this was my first baby, and to have a glass of beer or wine before bed to try to settle things down so I could get some rest before things really got going. So at around 9, I did just that, since I happened to have a bottle of Framboise Lambic in the fridge and had been waiting for an excuse to drink it, and that put me to sleep for about an hour, and then I took a Benadryl, which the midwife also suggested, to try and get some more sleep, which also worked for about an hour, at which point I woke up because the contractions were getting really quite painful, so I puttered around, took a shower around midnight, which helped, and tried to rest between contractions.

At about 3 AM, I couldn't take it anymore, and called Moo, because she has a TENS machine and because I was in a house full of guys who had never even seen a woman in labor, much less been one, and so they weren't exactly great support. Will was pretty freaked out, and Ryan was just trying to stay as far out of the way as possible. So she came over, and I hooked myself up to the TENS machine, and oh my god, if you have any plans to have babies, do yourself a favor and get one, because those are fucking miracle machines. This wasn't even a hospital-grade appliance, this was a little Dr. Ho thing she bought off a late night infomercial, and it took my pain down from a 7-8 to a 3-4. It was FANTASTIC.

So around 4, my contractions were 40 seconds long and 4 minutes apart, and we called Illysa again, who said that based on how I sounded, it'd still probably be hours before anything really happened. Around 5, the contractions were about 45 seconds long and 3 minutes apart, and we called the midwife again, who somewhat reluctantly agreed to come.
She took about an hour getting here, which kind of pissed me off, or would've if I were capable of keeping track of time at that point, because she lives close enough to me that if you fired a gun on my balcony, she would be able to hear it in her bedroom. The closest bus stop to my apartment is not quite halfway to her house. My mom was starting to worry that she would have to catch the baby herself, which, although she's a nurse and we had some of the necessary medical-type equipment (rubber gloves, chux pads, et cetera), was a truly terrifying thought to her, since she has never done L&D and anyway, I'm her daughter: if she fucked up, not only would she have fucked up a patient, she'd have fucked up her daughter and/or grandson.

Finally, Illysa (and the student midwife there to assist/observe) arrived at about 6 or 6:30, fully expecting to have time to wait around and get things set up and yadda yadda, checked me, and found that my cervix was dilated to 8 cm and receding rapidly and I was starting to push. She had Will fill the bathtub, since there was neither room nor time to set up the birth tub, and I labored there for about two minutes before she said that it wasn't deep enough; if you have a water birth, the tub you do it in needs to be deep enough that you can be sure the baby is completely underwater, because otherwise, they try to breathe. So I went back to the bed, a little annoyed at having had to take my Dr. Ho off for no good reason, and labored on my hands and knees. I remember being rather impressed with Illysa when, after she told me I needed to lift my butt so there was room for the baby to come out and I said I couldn't (being in labor is a weird mental state), she said, "Okay, just walk your hands forward a little... there!" It was helpful to have specific instructions rather than a general concept.

So then my water finally broke, and there was meconium in the fluid, and when I looked down and saw that, I thought, "Oh, fuck," (when I later told Illysa that, she laughed and said, "You know too much for your own good!") and there wasn't enough fluid, either, but I didn't know that. And then Max's heart rate dropped from a nice, healthy 140 bpm to 90 bpm, and they put an oxygen mask on me, and I started to freak out, and Illysa told me I had to get on my back with my knees to my chest, and I said I didn't want to move, and she said, "okay, you can do it in that position, but you're more likely to tear," and I flipped right over. The next contraction, Max's heart rate dropped to 60, and everyone in the room started freaking out. Will and Moo were crying, and Illysa said, "Oh god, we're gonna need to call 911. Brie, I need to cut an episiotomy."
"No!" I said, and she got a pleading look in her eyes. "Okay, but he has to come out, NOW."

So I started pushing as hard as I could (by this point even the TENS unit was gone) and screaming at Max to hold on just a little longer and please be okay and please come out, and Illysa told me I needed to stop yelling and put that energy into pushing, which kind of pissed me off, but I stopped yelling and redoubled my efforts (Katie, the student, later told me she thought it was beautiful the way I was telling him I love him, which made me feel a little better), and I felt something slide out of me, and I said, "Is he out?" "Not yet, keep going!" and I felt something else slide out, so I guess the first one was his head and the second was his body, and I heard Max crying and everyone was so relieved, and they put him on my belly and I watched him turn pink as he took his first breaths. Moo and Will actually hugged each other.

So then the placenta came out, which I actually didn't even notice as it happened, and Illysa said everything about Max seemed like a 41-week baby, rather than a 39.5-week baby (well, except his size, a rather slight 6 pounds, 3 ounces), from the amniotic fluid to the lack of lanugo and vernix to the folds in his feet to the state of his placenta, but I said no, I'm sure of my dates and she said, "huh. I guess you just cook 'em quicker, then." And she checked me -- I tore a little, but not enough to need stitches -- and Max and gave us both a clean bill of health, and taught me how to latch him onto the breast and started cleaning things up.

Then Will lay down next to me to hold me and the baby, and I looked into his eyes and I said, "Never again."

So, all in all, it wasn't horrible, the pain wasn't unbearable (although, like I said, the TENS machine helped; Illysa said as she was leaving, "After watching you, I HAVE to get one of those now!"), but good god it was terrifying toward the end of it, and I don't think I could ever put myself or Will through it again. But everyone said I was amazing and I found it to be a psychologically healing experience. So I'm glad I did it the way I did, especially since it turned out okay in the end (it helps that it wouldn't've gone much differently in the hospital, except my "No!" to the episiotomy would have been much less likely to be heeded and I'd then be nursing a huge cut rather than itty bitty little tears that are already basically healed).
Every so often, I get the urge to have all my hair cut off. Like, we're talking Emma Watson hair, here. And it's only a matter of time before I pass by a hair salon and go YES! That would be a GREAT idea!!! And then, 24 to 48 hours later, I remember that I look AWFUL with short hair. I would have done that today, but Simon, the god of hairdos, took mercy upon me and made me come up with the idea at approximately one in the morning, and the salon I was passing by was closed.

Tax refund!!!

I'mma get about a thousand bucks! Hellllll yeeeeeeeeeaah!!!
A couple of weeks ago, Will was sick, and he and I were standing outside, and he starts coughing. After he finished the coughing fit, he goes, "Oh god, I think I've got some horrible disease that's going to kill me." I said, "I strongly doubt it."

"Why in the hell would you say that???" he asks.

"What, that you're not going to die anytime soon?"

"No, that I'm probably not going to die anytime soon!"

And he went on about how he hopes I don't speak to our son like that, because he worried a lot as a kid, and non-definitive answers like that would've just made him worry more. But really, I'm just like that. I'm very precise with language. After Mark and I got robbed at knifepoint, when we told the cop what happened, he said, "Wait, did you give him your money, or did he take it?" my response was, "Well, we gave him the money insofar as he said he would stab us if we didn't."

So yeah. I try to be a little less OCD about words with Will, because I know he hates it, but I really have no idea what'll set it off, and also because he's so imprecise with language that I don't always know what he's really asking. Like today, when he asked why I gave him quinoa for constipation (sorry if that's TMI), I thought he wanted to know why it worked (the high fiber content, combined with the fact that the quinoa plant produces saponins, which taste bitter -- but also get the mammalian digestive tract moving -- to keep birds from eating its seeds), but all he wanted was reassurance that it works. He thought I was poisoning him, and I had to spend the next ten minutes explaining that no, in fact, I ate a ton of it myself to get things moving when I was taking the prenatal vitamins with about a billion milligrams of iron; if it were poisonous, I'd be dead.

God I love being married.

(Really, on the whole, I do, but sometimes he just makes me want to bash my head into something)

I'm an awful person

So one of my cousins is a professional dominatrix (not that there's anything wrong with that). Her daughter just posted a picture of herself on Facebook performing with a Rocky Horror Picture Show troupe, wearing, naturally, little more than a corset and fishnets.

Is it wrong of me that I am having a hard time refraining from commenting, "Following in your mama's footsteps, then?"

Yay, new clothes!!

Went to Target today with my mom and bought:

-Maternity pants (my god! Pants that fit me! I can't believe it! I don't even have to keep them tied down with a hair elastic, or anything!)

-A new bra (got it home and it turns out the underwire was all pinchy, but a couple of quick snips with a sharp pair of scissors fixed that)

-A couple of maternity shirts (they're longer than regular shirts, so no more peek-a-belly! Bonus: Will thinks I look really good in longish, tightish shirts)

-A belly band (I feel sorry for those women whose childbearing years came before the invention of the belly band, because that thing is amazing)

-And finally, some tights, socks, and long underwear for my excursion to Connecticut in a couple of weeks (layering for the cold is AWESOME)

Things I still need:

-A coat that is wide enough to go around my belly (I had one, but it was in my mom's old house, which was utterly filthy, and it was leather and fur and smelled of mold and cat pee, and good lord did I not have any desire to (a) pay for it to be cleaned, or (b) have it in my home until such time as I had the money for (a))

-Snowboots (I'm thinking of buying these online and having them sent to my dad's house, to make it that much easier to go through airport security, and because, well, I just don't get much use out of snowboots, living in Texas, except when I go visit my dad in Connecticut)

It's amazing how much better I feel whenever I've been wearing shitty clothes that don't fit, and suddenly, I buy a bunch of new stuff that does. It's like the clouds part and angels sing in a heavenly choir and suddenly my body isn't this lumpy, ugly thing that inspires only loathing.
Fuck everything and everyone*.

That is all.

*Present company excepted.


Harems, O Ikons

The man across the classroom from me
could be drawn mostly in ovals,
and, though he is not so old, there is a war
between his black curly hair and his forehead
and the latter is forcing its opponent's retreat.
He thinks himself an intellectual;
when I read his work, I imagine him
imagining himself on the patio of an ancient, wood-paneled cafe
in Prague, or Budapest, or Istanbul,
or some other outlying European capital,
sipping cappuccino as he writes.

He also thinks I'm trying very hard to be subversive,
or maybe that I'm not, but succeeding nonetheless,
a gem of Western decadence.
He certainly thinks, though he can fill whole reams of paper
with his Buonarotti-esque homoeroticism, of course -- that's art! --
that I should stop writing about sex;
about my lover's equine thighs (and other parts
which match the same description)
I never even got to the sapphic premarital assignations,
which would surely scandalize him --
no cock, not even Jupiter's, in sight!

Well, he can clutch his pearls (his pearl necklace?),
but let it be known that I am happy with my destiny
as a daughter of Lilith -- not just a temptress,
but one who never learned shame --
to be a Jezebel succubus who will steal your very lifeblood
and who will wither your erection.

Jul. 20th, 2010

So my grandfather died today, although I'm not really sad, because I can't say I was terribly close to him. Really, he was kind of a dick to me. So if I had to describe it with Tarot cards, I'd use the 8 of Cups: "decline of a matter which is of little consequence for good or evil." So yeah. Doo invited me and Will to come live with him in Grandpa's house, which is tempting, but we've got a lot of shit going on here -- I've got school, and I already paid the down payment for the midwife, not to mention that I've got Medicaid through the state for my pregnancy. So maybe next summer we'll move up there, I dunno. It kinda just depends on whether I can transfer to a nursing school in Hartford, and whether things go well with Will's not-yet-girlfriend-maybe-thing?, because if they do, I can't imagine him wanting to leave her behind, and of course, she's got school and stuff, and she'd probably want to stay. So it's not looking likely, but maybe.