SS Ashley Makes Berth

So today marks three more weeks left of my pregnancy before C-Day! I have some minor apprehensions about undergoing surgery again, especially knowing I will have a long healing process ahead of me. I am lucky though as my Dad will be flying out for three whole weeks to help us and I have been spending the last few months preparing for it, so I’m about as ready as I can be. I know what to expect this time around both during the surgery and afterwards. In order to both give me something to look forward to (apart from our baby, that is a given!) I’ve started thinking of all the wonderful things I will be able to do once I’m no longer pregnant.

1. I want to see my feet. They’re down there I’ve been told. But I can’t paint my toes. Or reach them (but I couldn’t really touch my toes before my pregnancy so that’s not really a big loss). It’s not really a priority honestly, but that seems like the obvious one.

2. I want to drink wine again. I miss it. Let’s be honest, this is really #1 but I didn’t want to seem too eager. I’ve spent the last two weeks slowly but surely restocking my wine rack from Costco and Bevmo’s 5 cent wine sale. I’m also really tired of the nasty awkward looks I get when I buy wine at eight months pregnant. I’m not drinking it now, people!

3. I’m quite tired of the judgey looks I get from people in general while pregnant. Yes, I’m drinking coffee. The wine in my cart is for cooking, not drinking. Yes, I’m having another child and my daughter’s only two. Yes, I can carry my own gallon of milk, but thanks for checking. No, I’m not having a boy. Yes, I can have cold medicine. No, you can’t touch my belly.

4. I want to be able to wear pants again that don’t look like I borrowed them from Comic Book Guy from “The Simpsons” and be able to wear one or two tank tops without my belly button popping out through the shirt. Or have to deal with the fact that my shirts don’t always cover my stomach, unbeknownst to me and I’ve been walking around not only with coffee stains down my front (because I only own three shirts that WILL cover my belly and they all have stains on them at this point) but with my lower belly hanging out. Pretty sure I’m on now.

5. I’m kind of a coffee person in the morning. Like the kind of coffee person that makes a cup, drinks it for an hour, then makes a second cup, and if I’m having a really bad day I pretend that I didn’t have half a cup after that. I’m tired of calculating how many milligrams of caffeine I’ve had during the day to try to figure out if I have to forego an afternoon glass of icy cold diet pepsi….mmm…

6. I know this will take awhile, but I can’t wait to be able to do back-to-back errands, take my kids to the park, go to the zoo, tackle a household to do list without having to take a couch break after an hour or give up and go home because cleaning the toilet AND  carrying Olive from the car to the driveway is too damn taxing. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good vegging out session with a glass of something cold, some chip dip, and my DVR, but I don’t like to be forced to be a couch potato. If it becomes a necessity I become resentful. And I eat too much chip dip.

7. For some reason both Blue and Olive seem to understand that I am severely physically limited. This means that Olive thinks its hilarious to wait for me to take off her diaper and then run away from me giggling and continue in a “keep-away” game and watch me waddle after her. Blue thinks this is equally fun, but he’ll grab a toy or piece of trash and then wait for me to get within two inches of his mouth and then gallop away to another part of the house.

Whatever. Eat your garbage. Don’t wear a diaper. I don’t care. If I’m lucky, maybe Blue will eat the toddler poo later. I may have used this tactic already earlier this week when the cat vomited on the floor. I waited for the cat to eat it later and when he didn’t, I just let the dog in. Its called working smarter, not harder.

8. I love my pregnancy pillow, it’s large and envelopes me at night like a super comfy boyfriend pillow. I think my husband would remind me that I shouldn’t need a boyfriend pillow when I have a husband but that’s beside the point. It takes up far too much of the bed (two thirds of a queen size bed) and I’m sure Matt will be glad to see it go.

9. I would like to be able to not have to pee every ten minutes. I almost peed my pants yesterday, because Blue blocked my entrance into the hallway and refused to move out of the way so I could open the baby gate to go use the bathroom. I’m also too pregnant to be able to physically move the dog myself (actually I’m too small to do this even when I’m not pregnant). He literally had me trapped in the living room with no way to get past him. I may have gained twenty pounds, but those twenty pounds are currently resting on my bladder  and Blue still has forty-five pounds on me on a good day. On a bad day he has more. He was upset because he thought I was going to leave him in the living room alone for the rest of the night, but he didn’t understand when I explained I just needed to pee. I almost started crying. It was super embarrassing. I finally had to grab treats and chuck them into the living room and then make a run for it. I felt like Sam Neill in Jurassic Park when he throws the flares over the bridge to distract the T-Rex. I also sort of felt like the lawyer on the porta potty who later gets eaten by the T-Rex. I was that desperate.

10. I know its supposed to be a good thing when the baby is moving and its supposed to be this magical experience feeling the baby kick. I realize I’m not going to get the “Mother of the Year” award for admitting this, but I’m over it. I’d like to be able to eat a handful of Skittles or try to take a nap without getting jabbed, kicked and somersaulted from the inside in the ribs, spleen, and hoo haw. And after five months of it I literally feel like Sigourney Weaver in “Alien.” Like at any moment a hand or foot (or for all I know an alien head) is going to pop its way out of my stomach, probably demanding more Skittles. If that happens, is it still considered a “natural birth”?

11. I’m tired of being a vessel. Some women love being pregnant and relish the whole experience. Their body is this mystical vessel and they are growing new life inside of them. I just want my body back. And I don’t mean because its swim suit season. I want to be able to do all the things I did before I was pregnant without having to worry about whether its OK for the baby. It sounds bad and selfish, but its true. I don’t want to be a vessel anymore. I’m not a vase or a boat. I’m a person.

I know I have plenty of other awesome things to look forward to once I’m not pregnant anymore. Like having two kids, instead of one. Being a family of four, instead of three. Olive will get to be a big sister. But I also like to find joy and purpose in life’s little things too. Like a couch, a glass of Francis Coppola, a nice spread of goat cheese, and a full DVR queue waiting for Matt and I after the kids go to sleep. And that’s kind of hard to do when I’m also a vessel.

Threenagers, Caramel Caribou, and Bunny Poop

You know that moment when you’ve finally put your kids down for the night and you get out your half gallon of caramel caribou ice cream, plant yourself on the couch, and start eating directly out of the container? And then you know that moment afterwards when your dog, who is sitting in front of the couch dips his head fully into the container, which you’ve tried (unsuccessfully) to hold out of his reach and starts to help himself?

No? Only I’m faced with these kinds of dilemmas?

I tried to swat him away and explain to him that I would let him lick the spoon with some ice cream on it if he would wait his turn, but his response was to head butt me with his open mouth directly into my baby bump (gently, but it was still mean). Its like he was saying, “Mom you’re getting fat. You don’t need ice cream. Plus you’re eating it directly out of the bucket and that’s just sad.”

What’s really sad is that after I put him in a time out in his crate for nipping me (and calling me fat), I continued to eat the ice cream even though he face planted into it. If I didn’t, it would mean the dog had won. At least, that’s how I’m justifying it.

Mom, I don't know how to tell you this, but you should probably lay off the ice cream. Put the bucket down and walk away...

Mom, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you should probably lay off the ice cream. Put the bucket down and walk away…

I also didn’t get much sleep last night, not because Olive kept me up or I was tossing and turning from pregnancy back pain and heart burn (which has been pretty normal these days), but because Blue started howling in the living room and wouldn’t stop. When Blue starts barking, its hard not to pee your pants a little. Because not only does he resemble a bigger, darker version of Hooch from “Turner and Hooch” (and sounds like him too), but you can’t help but automatically assume there is a serial killer breaking into your house at that very moment. So of course, I throw off the covers, flip on all the lights and come waddling into the living room at one a.m. on full alert.

“Blue, what’s wrong buddy?” I ask him.

He tilts his head and pouts in pure puppy fashion and then just stares up at me. When I don’t reply (because I can’t read dog minds), he starts in on his low growl and rushes for the back door and starts what I like to call the “slow bark.” I walk towards the sliding glass door where he is staring into the dark, awaiting what I can only assume are the vampires from “30 Days of Night” or the zombie apocolypse.

They were bunnies.

I patted Blue on the head and reminded him that while I understand he doesn’t like bunnies pooping in his yard, this was not on the prerequisite list of “howling in the middle of the night” type of emergencies. And of course after all that excitement, I just couldn’t fall asleep.

I understand he takes his job as protector and guard dog very seriously at night, but during the day he really has become quite the threenager and Olive has been protesting his righteous attitude more and more. It used to be that as long as we put all of her toys away and out of reach her things were safe. And by “out of reach,” I of course mean in other rooms behind closed doors, there’s really no such thing as out of reach when you own a giant breed. I witnessed him pull out her toy bin from the coffee table shelf drop his head and pull out what turned out to be a princess toy mirror and start chewing. I rescued the toy, but it was not unscathed. There’s nothing more sad than watching your two year old clutch what used to be something not covered in tooth marks and dog drool and start whimpering. Normally, I would remind her that’s why we don’t leave toys out, but the trollop actually got the toy out of the toy bin.

It probably doesn’t help that she sees me constantly telling him to “Leave it” and “No” so she mainly follows him around the house and confrontationally points her finger at him (regardless of what he is doing) and yells “No, Boo! No!” I have to remind her that we don’t yell at him when he’s not actually doing anything wrong, but its sort of hard not to chuckle at her audacity considering that he outweighs her by 140 lbs.

I had so hoped that since we have basically been raising them together they would love each other. And they do. Like two siblings that can’t stand each other now but will be inseparable in their 20’s. Olive is just tired of being accidentally knocked over or sat on, being constantly doused in dog drool, and having her diaper chewed on while she’s still wearing it. And Blue is tired of having blankets stolen from him, getting sidearmed when he’s trying to give her kisses, and being yelled at in toddler tongues.

And I just want to be able to sit on the damn couch and eat my damn ice cream without someone simultaneously licking out the canister, drooling on my maternity wear, and blocking my view of the TV.

"Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized." Margaret Atwood

“Little girls are cute and small only to adults. To one another they are not cute. They are life-sized.”
Margaret Atwood

The Pole that Got Away

Its been awhile since I’ve written. I blame it on a lot of things…I bit off more than I could chew in terms of projects. I live in a crazy house with a crazy dog and a crazy toddler and a crazy (and absent husband) and more than likely a crazy baby that will be joining us in July.

So there’s a lot of crazy up in here. You get the picture

Toliet Baby

“So I climb in the toilet? Then what?”

For those that know me well, I’m not the most coordinated person. In fact if there was a clumsy contest I would nail it and bring home whatever prize they give for those who cannot be trusted to look in the direction they are walking or not trip on thin air.

This time there was more than air I was up against. I had a particularly harrowing incident involving a pole. Was my car totaled you ask?

No. Because I was not in the car. I was on foot.

I was taking Olive to a hearing appointment at the Balboa Naval Hospital which involves parking in a super big structure and either packing Olive into her stroller or huffing it with her in tow. Frankly, I would rather give our feral cat a bath than try to coax Olive into staying in the stroller for the duration of the walk to the hospital. Although I refuse to admit it, I’ve become far too pregnant to carry Olive for the amount of time required to get her from the parking lot to the doctor’s office.  But when I let her walk, the old disabled vets are literally hobbling past us muttering at us for blocking all of the sidewalk. So on this particular occasion, I opted to carry her on my hip and carry my diaper bag across my shoulder. Which was fine, until it wasn’t.

As we were approaching the medical buildings, I realized that for this particular appointment I had no idea where I needed to go. All of my other appointments had been for her pediatrician and this one was with audiology. And on this fateful morning, I forgot my cell at home which meant I couldn’t call and find out where I needed to be. I decided I would just start scanning directional signage until I found it and if that failed I would just walk into one of the buildings and ask.

Just as I was trying to decide how long I would walk aimlessly, the decision was made for me when I catapulted into a median pole. You know, those pesky little guys that are meant to keep vehicles from driving up onto pedestrian walkways (that are also just low enough to not be visible over a baby bump? I mean lets be honest, I can’t see anything  below my naval, so that’s like half the horizon directly in front of me that is just a big ole fat blind spot).

Now had I not been seven months pregnant and carrying a toddler it wouldn’t have been a big deal (and probably wouldn’t have happened). It probably would’ve been a really embarrassing crotch shot, but I would’ve walked it off. But because my center of gravity is already a “smidgen” off and I had both my hands full, when I came into contact with said pole I not only took the brunt of it to the underside of my abdomen (don’t worry, your unborn child will cushion the blow), but I went up over the side of the pole arms and legs flailing like the most epic failed attempt at pole vaulting (apparently I was right to never try out for track and field in high school, I can only assume this would’ve ended much the same).

This was one of those moments where time just seems to slow down and I realized several things simultaneously:

1. I’m going to hit the pavement shortly.

2. If I’m not careful, I’m going to land on both my toddler and my unborn child at the same time.

3. This is going to hurt.

4. I hope no one is watching.

I didn’t have enough control over the situation to avoid falling, but I had just enough control over the situation to see that if I didn’t correct my positioning, Olive was going to land on her head (she was facing head first on the way down to my utter horror) and I would end up falling on top of her. I moved my body just enough so she landed on her back on the diaper bag and I landed on my knee (there goes my career in figure skating and pole vaulting all in the same day).

As I’m sitting on the pavement looking a lot like this:

Maybe no one noticed...

Maybe no one noticed…

My first thought was….Oh gosh, I hope no one saw that…

It turns out though if you somersault over a pole carrying what looks like a bowling ball and a small child in front of an emergency room, people tend to notice. The good thing is that most of them will be medical personnel that will insist that you sit in a wheel chair as they cart you off to labor and delivery. Because you are obviously pregnant. And obviously an idiot. Thus you need to be monitored.

Part of the problem with the digital age of cell phones and saved contacts is that no one bothers to memorize numbers anymore. And I didn’t have my cell phone thus the only person I could call was my husband’s cell which he doesn’t take into work with him. I figured it would be OK, they would monitor the baby for half an hour and barring any complications we would be released. That was when the nurse informed me that in cases of a fall (I suddenly felt like the star of a sad Lifetime movie, where the pregnant heroine is pushed down a flight of stairs, by some evil baby daddy who turns out to have a checkered past), they keep the patient for six hours for monitoring.

I’m sorry? Six human hours?

This was the news I received while strapped to a machine, during which my toddler ran around unplugging equipment and playing with all the buttons on my hospital bed (she managed to page the nurse, unplug the baby monitor, and move my bed up and down all in the span of ten minutes).

Also the tv in the room was broken and I still had no cell phone.

I was trapped in toddler hell.

Luckily, they eventually wheeled in a phone and I eventually used the last of my brain cells to mentally recover my husband’s work number. Unfortunately I had to relay the message to someone else at the office and not wanting to alarm anyone I told him,”Can you please find my husband. I had a fall. I’m in labor and delivery. I’m Ok, but they won’t release me for awhile and I need him to take Olive.”

Unfortunately, all that was relayed to my husband was, “Your wife is in the hospital. They are monitoring her.” So when my husband came rushing into the hospital room with reinforcements (cheetos, pretzels and toddler food – somehow he knew the situation would warrant these supplies) all I had to say was, “I hit a pole” and Matt nodded, stifled a grin and sat down in the hospital chair. He was not surprised by this revelation and knew better than to ask me if I was in the car.

The other thing that happens when you have to sit in labor and delivery for six hours is that there are turnovers. And not the yummy kind with a flaky crust and cherry filling. That means three doctors and three nurses replaced each other during the time I was there and each had to be filled in on why I was there. Which means having to relay my embarrassing story of how I ran into a pole (“Wait, in your car?”) over and over again. Silver lining is that once it became clear that we were all fine and would be released in a couple hours I got to take turns making fun of myself and entertaining the medical staff who tried hard (and failed) to maintain their professional demeanor during two ultrasounds and a cervical exam.

“So did you make it to your appointment at least?”

“I made it across the parking lot. I even got here early….for the appointment, not because of the pole.”

I even got to relay my story a couple weeks later to my OB who looked down at his paperwork and did the tight lipped grin that I’m used to when doctors are trying really hard not to laugh at you (I get this a lot because my defense mechanism is usually self deprecation, even when I’m on an operating table about to go under the knife).

“Wait, you hit the pole in your car?” he asked.

“No,” I replied. “That probably would’ve been less embarrassing.”


Good thing Daddy was there with Cheetos.