Thursday, January 17, 2008

Please Welcome to the Cast....

Dos is snuggling happily on my lap right now. Blissed out on warm mama's milk and the comfort of a purloined hospital blanket. She arrived last Tuesday night, apparently in a rush to greet the world.

After I wrote my last post about taking care of the bug, I started having contractions. Nothing big, just some gut pains that I wrote off as gas. 'Cause the pregnant womens, we do have the gas. Oh, yes.

I let the Grinch know, woke up the bug from her nap and went about the afternoon thinking the pains would probably go away. When I squatted to get the Bug's milk out of the fridge, something told me it would probably be best if I didn't get into that position again unless I wanted to actually have a baby. Like, now.

I called work. "Looks like I'm not coming back from vacation! Suckers! Boo-yah!" Or something like that. Actually, it was more like, "I think I'm in labor. And no one's here and...and...(sniffle)....ok, well, bye."

Grinch called to suggest that my sister take me to the hospital while he stayed with the still-recovering-Bug. I resisted the urge to reach through the phone to strangle him. Sis got all excited about that possibility, and suggested I take a shower to slow down the contractions. I took a shower. The contractions got more intense. Definitely NOT gas pains. Cue the moaning and nausea.

Grinch, Sis and Neice-o-rama arrived. Grinch decided to drive me to the hospital after all. We left the house at 8:40. In the car, in between groaning and deep breathing, I was fretting over leaving the Bug, text messaging and telling the Grinch how much I was looking forward to that epidural. Yes, SIR. I was getting an epidural, no matter what. Mmm-hmm. Epidural City, here I come.

9:00pm. At the hospital: There are forms to sign and questions to answer, IVs to start before an epidural can be done. I don't care about forms and IVs. Please, I'd like an epidural now.

9:10 Doc checks me and says she'll be right back. Can I have that epidural, please?

9:15 I WANT an EPIDURAL NOW. Grinch, they're not listening to me. "They'll take care of you. You'll be fine. You'd doing great." I don't feel great. Contractions are kicking my butt big time.

9:17 To every person who walks in the room, I ask, "Are YOU the anesthesiologist?" No one is. I'm begging now. PLEASE. The epidural. I open my eyes to see a nurse with her hands between my legs and looking concerned. "What are you doing?" I ask. "I'm, uh....I'm holding the baby in." WHAT? I look at Grinch. He's nodding, looking surprised, but strong and confident. He's holding my hand, encouraging me, reassuring me. He's saving me from panicking. I'm so glad he's there and not my sister who would have been great, but not like this. I start to tingle all over. That's my body's signal that I'm in overload. I'm going to do this, I tell myself. I'm going to do this with Grinch and these nurses and no epidural and....

9:25 Groooooaaaaaaaannnnnnnn. Contraction from hell. I feel a thump between my legs. "Do you feel like you need to push?"
"I don't knoooooooooowwwwww. That hurt. That really, really hurt." I whine to Grinch.
"I know." He says. "I know. You're doing great."
"I'm gonna die." I say, using the Southern "dah", which means nearly as bad as death, but not actual demise.
"You are not. You ski black runs in Jackson Hole. You run 10Ks. How many have you run?"
"I don't knooooooowwww." "That's right! You've run so many, you lost count!"
He's encouraging more, but his voice fades a little in my ears. I barely hear him. I feel his hand in mine. Another contraction is coming. I don't care what happens, or who's here to catch, I'm going for it.

9:34 Push. Thump, thump. I open my eyes in time to see the doctor juggling a wet, squirmy baby, screaming at the top of her lungs. I hear the cheers, "It's a girl! With reddish, light brown hair! Oh, and she's cute!" Grinch is wide-eyed and smiling, "You did it!" My ears finally pick up the sound of her cry. She's crying. That's good. That's good. Ok. Whew.

There is meconium in the amniotic fluid, so it takes a little while to get her checked out and cleaned up. All the while, I keep asking Grinch, "Is she ok? Is she ok?" "Yes." He assures me, still holding my hand. Still wide-eyed. "You didn't need me!" the doctor says. "Great! Then we won't get a bill from you!" I reply. Always trying to get a bargain. The nurse says, "We can finally get you admitted now! Do you have a birth plan?" Everyone laughs. "Yes. My plan is to have an epidural."

They finally bring her to me and she IS cute. Round head. Big blue eyes. Perfect skin. A sneeze like an animated lady bug. Cute, I'm telling you.

Now we're home and all of that seems like so long ago. I can't wait to tell Dos the story when she's old enough.

Bug loves her little sister. Gives her copious hugs and is fascinated by the belly button situation. Thinks it's hilarious when she toots, which is often so there is a lot of giggling around here.

Now a new adventure begins. We're a family of four. Grinch says, "Now our family feels complete." It does. My heart feels complete, too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Doing What Needs to be Done

Today was supposed to be the Bug's first day back at preschool and my last day of vacation. I had a long list of things I wanted to do and needed to do.

I wanted to:

get my hair cut for the first time since March. Donate 10" to Locks of Love and find a new style before the baby came and I won't be able to get haircut for a whole 'nother year. It would be nice to look pretty for the post-delivery picture this time. I look like a ship-wreck victim in my first picture with the bug.

get a pedicure. Due to the increasing bulbous nature of my belly, I haven't been able to see, much less reach my toes for months now. Frankly, I just wanted someone to rub my feet. Pretty toes would be nice, too.

see a movie. I haven't seen one in 2 1/2 years. I did rent "Garden State" so I guess that counts. I'm only, what....three years behind.

I needed to:

go shopping for all the new baby stuff we'll need and have forgotten up until now: diapers, wipes, car seat pads. I managed to get this done today. Target should have no problems meeting their quarterly goal, thanks to me.

I was looking forward to today, really. Because I've been on vacation for the past week, every minute of it spent with the Bug or family or rushing to this event or that. I wanted this morning for myself.

But Sunday night, the Bug came down with a stomach virus. It left her coughing and heaving and clinging to the Grinch and I all night. Monday, she slept on me for most of the day. Today, she was a trooper and went to Target with me, though I could tell she wanted to be home, reading books or just snuggling again. She's so out of it. She's so tired. There's no way she could go to school. No way I could leave her with even the most patient, loving friend or family member.

This may not have been what I wanted or needed to do these past two days. But it's what she needs from me. I'm doing what's important for her. That feels just right.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Germans Ate My Brain

We don't spend much time with my family because I have six brothers and sisters who have kids of their own and it's hard to make time for all of us to get together. When we do get together, it's usually for a group birthday lunch on a Sunday afternoon. My parents come down from their mountain, grumble about traffic, mix stiff drinks, ask you how you're doing and hustle back home. It's not a thrilling love fest. It usually annoys me a great deal, in fact. But I try to go because it's family and that's what you're supposed to do, right? I mean, a couple of hours once every three or four months: I can do that.

Grinch doesn't go to my family gatherings because...well, my family is a group of loud, TV watching, back-slapping, mostly insane people and Grinch's family is a very proper German mom and dad sitting in silk chairs, asking about your life plan, offering you Very Expensive Scotch and making sure you know that it's Very Expensive Scotch.

I'm almost glad that Grinch doesn't go to my family parties because I just end up worrying that someone will upset him or ignore him or say something embarrassing or stupid. He frets over the noise and how it might affect the bug and whether or not she's going to catch a cold or toddler Ebola from one of her cousins. It's stressful and I end up worrying so much about Grinch that I don't get to talk to my sisters, which is the best part of going to these stupid parties anyway.

So Grinch just doesn't come. I tell the truth: he's cleaning the house, he's working, he's studying, he's whatever. That's cool. Everyone in my family is used to not seeing Grinch at a party. It would be surprising if he actually came to one. "Grinch! What are you doing here?!"

But there's no skipping a Grinch family party for me. No way. The crowd is too small. Your absence is noted and many questions are asked. There is great concern, conferences are held and phone calls are made. Attendance, you see, is mandatory.

Grinch's family doesn't get together much, only because his siblings are living in different states or countries. So when everyone is in town at the same time, well, Gott im Himmel, everyone is there and every gesegnet moment must be spent together. YES! Es ist ein Auftrag!

So now you know how I spent my New Year's week. It's a good thing I had the week off work because if I hadn't I would be either cata-fucking-tonic right now, in labor, in the psychiatric ward, or on a one-way flight to Maui. Actually, the last one doesn't sound so bad. Where's my credit card?

I came up with a fun game this week: when a German asks you about your plans for the week, tell them, "I don't know. It's the holidays. I'm just going to relax and see what happens." They can't process it. The information just hangs in front of their eyes, like hard-core pornography. They're usually stunned into silence, except for the occasional, "But....but..."

Really though, I like my brothers-in-law and their families an awful lot. One of their little girls is nine-months-older than the Bug and it was great to see them have so much fun together. They're all very kind and considerate and it was nice to see them again. We may not see some of them again for a couple of years and that makes me sad.

Now everyone has gone home and it's just us and the tribal elders, silk chairs and overpriced scotch again. I'm going to miss the holidays for some reasons...and be glad they're gone for other reasons.